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A Pro Tools HD and computer question
Old 20th April 2020
Gear Maniac
bertanica's Avatar
🎧 10 years
A Pro Tools HD and computer question

Greetings, I have stuck with my old Mac Pro Cheese grater and still run Pro Tools HD on it for most tracking sessions. I am not unhappy with the performance of system or access to plugins. I want to stay with Pro Tools because I know it and have it on multiple computers. My biggest beef is that I am locked into the current Mac OS and things like iTunes and Google sync (needs OS 10.11), which I would bounce mixes to and share sessions from, can no longer be upgraded or used respectively. I am forced to drag and drop folders in a web browser. I don't think a dual boot will help me save much time or headaches. Therefore, I am looking at different upgrade paths that hopefully won't cost me a fortune. Maybe there is a path I am not thinking of. Here are some bullet points about my set up for readability.

1- I record live bands and ensembles so I need the low latency without extra software mixers and I don't use a console anymore.

2- I do quite a bit of mixing on a fairly new MB Pro with Pro Tools 2019.6.0 which is great for in the box mixing or remote overdubs.

3 - I have Pro Tools HD Ultimate software (purchased in 2018) that has HD10, 11, and 12 licenses but I am stuck at HD10.3.10 as far as I know.

4 - I am on OS 10.8.5, which I think is the last OS supported for my hardware software combination.

5 - My Mac Pro tower is from early 2008 with 2 x 2.8 GHz quad core Intel Xeon processors

6 - I have two 192io units and an Apogee AD16-x for conversion. (I also run sends to my digital headphone units thus the need for easy routing and low latency.)

Which brings me to the following options I can think of.

1- Upgrade to an HDX core card and move to HD11. ( I have it on good authority that I can run HD11 with the older converters using adapter cables.) I might need a newer cheese grater because of the processor.

2 - Get an expansion chassis to use with my laptop and an HDX card. (I don't think HD accel cards will work with Thunderbolt chassis) I can keep old HD cards for back up or sell on the cheap.

3- Somehow trick/modify my system so I can bump up the offending software & OS so I can keep working as is.

I know there are probably quite a few people in my situation so I wondered if I could get some input on studio upgrade options. I have worn myself out searching threads. Thank!
Old 20th April 2020
Lives for gear
🎧 5 years
This will probably be moved to the computer (Avid) forum.
For tracking I use PT 10 HD3 Accel (PT 10.3.10 & OS 10.9.5) on 1 drive of cheesegrater 5,1 12 core.
Have set up on another drive with PT HD Ultimate (2019.6) With Sierra & will be using a different interface (converter) - undecided (leaning towards MH LIO-8) - via USB. using Core Audio since all PCIe slots are being taken.
Old 20th April 2020
Gear Maniac
🎧 10 years
Just a few notes for you on some technical things that could help a little bit.

First off, even though OSX 10.8.5 is the last OFFICIALLY qualified OS for PT 10.3.10, I (and several others in various threads) can all report that it is rock solid and works great with Mavericks 10.9.5. I know you say the other apps you're worried about need 10.11, but in my experience the upgrade to 10.9.5 opened a lot of doors to finding older usable versions of software that just were not around or compatible with 10.8.5. Could be worth a shot. That said, you are rocking an older cheesegrater (mine is a 5,1 so I'm not sure if the generation difference presents any complications -- definitely clone that system drive as a safety if you try it)

On your options -- yes, the old blue face 192's work just fine with the HDX card with the purchase of a $50 DigiLink to DigiLink Mini adapter cable.

I just made the jump to HDX 2 months ago and thus far it has not been smooth. There are several important and necessary features in newer Pro Tools versions, but 10's ability to run RTAS/TDM AND AAX is huge. Definitely be aware how few options are available in AAX DSP land, and how many plugins you're gonna have to pay to upgrade, as well as how many you're just straight up going to lose with no available replacement.
Old 20th April 2020 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
bertanica's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the response. This will help me get a clearer view of my options. If money were not an issue I would likely grab an thunderbolt PCIe chassis, move to HDX, and carry my laptop back and forth. I may still work towards this.

Good points on the plugins. Fortunately, if I use plug-ins during tracking and overdubs they are mostly the stock Avid EQs, verbs, comps and and a couple of waves plugs that I believe are still available/up-gradable. I run a UAD card and have quite a few native plugs-ins as well. The low latency internal mixer is the most important piece for me.

I have not used a dual boot in years. What is the best way to manage that software wise and what does that look like switching between the 2 boot options? Is there a best way (software) to clone my current boot drive or can I easily do that natively?

Last edited by bertanica; 20th April 2020 at 04:44 PM..
Old 21st April 2020
Gear Maniac
🎧 10 years
A few points in response --

You mention using stock Avid plugs mostly during tracking -- these are still available in DSP format and they've actually expanded them quite a bit very nicely (a new channel strip, a lot of analog compressor/eq emulations, some multiband, etc.) HOWEVER, you mention using some Waves plugins during tracking -- Waves never went AAX DSP, they are native only now. I didn't find this out until after I upgraded and this has upended a lot of my session templates and workflow so be aware of that if you weren't already.

In regards to a dual boot -- when I mentioned cloning your drive beforehand I just meant as a safety in case there were any unexpected hiccups between your older cheesegrater and the Mavericks 10.9.5 combo and PT 10.3.10 -- something like Carbon Copy Cloner will work fine.

That said though, if (like I was) you're considering an actual dual boot with Mavericks/PT10 on one drive and a newer OS/PT Ultimate on another, be aware that the HDX and TDM cards cannot coexist in the same system. I had hoped to be able to keep the TDM cards in a chassis and the HDX card in my MacPro and simply run either system depending on which drive and version of Pro Tools I booted into -- best of both worlds. However, Pro Tools will not see the TDM cards if the HDX card is in the system. You either have to have two separate chassis that you connect one at a time depending on what system you want to run or you have to physically change out the cards. I've actually considered selling the HDX card, running Ultimate natively for editing and mixing, and keeping the TDM 10 system for tracking and production, but I haven't figured out a way for it not to create a whole new set of headaches due to the disparity between available plugins.
Old 21st April 2020
Gear Maniac
bertanica's Avatar
🎧 10 years
I guess the only waves TDM plug I use during tracking is the H-compressor. No biggie. I might grab some Sonnox stuff. I think I might be on my way to an expansion chassis and HDX. Rebooting to a newer OS to bounce end of the night mixes or plug the HD into my laptop all sound like a pain. Paired with not having the same PT version, plugins, and my UAD card for mixing.

Good point on my old 2008 tower. I had read that it doesn't play well with HDX. It's a shame a solid system is made obsolete because the of the OS and other programs. At some point everything is just a duct tape fix. It's probably not worth selling so I will keep as a back up or move to another room for writing and occasional overdubs.
Old 25th November 2020
Gear Maniac
bertanica's Avatar
🎧 10 years
I just bought an HDX card to upgrade from my old HD2 system on PT10HD. The 2008 Mac Pro still runs without any problem with PTHD10 for tracking ans some mixing. I have been mostly mixing natively on a laptop but I missed the UAD card and ability to use hardware inserts for some mixes. I was wondering what to do with the old Mac Pro machine. I bought a Thunderbolt chassis for the new HDX card and a UAD card to use with my MBpro. I will miss the internal drive bays and need to come up with an external storage solution for the laptop system. I can't make up my mind on what to do with it. So far I have the following options.

1. I could yank the HD cards and sell them for next to nothing and just upgrade it for office use and/or a demo and overdub rig. (It will be nice to use Google Drive desktop again.) I still have a separate PTHD8 license for it.

2. I could leave it as is (minus the UAD card) for a back up or an alternate demo room machine.
- Maybe I could run it in dual boot so I can run a newer Mac OS with a USB interface. I believe the last supported OS for the machine is Sierra or High Sierra

3. It was suggested to me that the HDX card might work in the old Mac Pro
- but would not allow me to move up to a current version of Pro Tools HD via my PT Ultimate license. I believe the extra 192io I have is also limited to PTHD10 or 11.

It might be worth mentioning that the current HD rig has 2 192io, and Apogee AD-16X and a Lynx Aurora 16 VT.
Old 3rd December 2020
Gear Maniac
🎧 10 years
Regarding your old Mac Pro, I'd check to see if that machine is actually upgradeable. My studio computer is a 2009 Mac Pro that was upgraded to great 5,1 specs, and I've been running High Sierra/PT Ultimate/HDX and it's solid as a rock. (A graphics card upgrade is required for Mojave and up)

There's a decent sized market of people selling upgraded 2009/2010 Mac Pro's because of how widely available they are and easy to upgrade to modern specs that are more than powerful enough for any audio application.

Personally, I'm holding on to my old TDM cards and 2006 Mac Pro as a backup rig if I need it, or more likely if I need to open old sessions with TDM plugins in them.

Why is your extra 192 limited to PT 10/11?

Finally, earlier on in this thread I was expressing frustration with the lack of AAX DSP plugins -- wanted to add that Plugin Alliance has been a lifesaver on this front and well worth the subscription if you're needing AAX DSP.
Old 6th December 2020 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
bertanica's Avatar
🎧 10 years
I may very well hold onto the HD system. I misspoke about the HD IO converters. They do indeed work fine with the HDX cards. They are only unsupported. It is just the cards that should not work after PT10.

I do have several Plugin Alliance DSP plugins. I like there stuff a lot.
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