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Q. Am I limited in the hardware that I can use with Pro Tools?

Published June 2011

I've wanted to try out Pro Tools for years, but I've never been able to get around to it. One of the things that has stopped me is that I'm not sure how compatible it is with different hardware. Is it still the case that I could be limited in what I can use with Pro Tools?

Earlier versions of Pro Tools (such as Pro Tools M‑Powered 8, shown here) needed I/O hardware from specific manufacturers — namely Digidesign/Avid, M-Audio or Mackie — but the latest version (Pro Tools 9) works with a much wider range of modern interfaces.Earlier versions of Pro Tools (such as Pro Tools M‑Powered 8, shown here) needed I/O hardware from specific manufacturers — namely Digidesign/Avid, M-Audio or Mackie — but the latest version (Pro Tools 9) works with a much wider range of modern interfaces.Q. Am I limited in the hardware that I can use with Pro Tools?

Adam Magnusson via email

SOS Reviews Editor Matt Houghton replies: That depends on the version of Pro Tools you're using! The latest version (Pro Tools 9) is intended to work with any audio interface that uses ASIO drivers, and can run on Intel Macs running OS X or on modern Windows PCs. However, in his review of Pro Tools 9, Sam Inglis found that the fact that it only supports certain buffer sizes caused problems with some interfaces. Thankfully, you can find a list of compatible hardware at www.airusersblog.com/pro-tools-9-hardware-checker. Even with Pro Tools 9, there are a few functions that are only available with Avid's HD hardware (TDM plug‑ins, for example). Earlier versions of Pro Tools required specific audio interfaces to run: for Pro Tools LE you needed Avid or Digidesign hardware; and for Pro Tools M‑Powered you needed specific M‑Audio interfaces (some older ones weren't supported), or one of very few third‑party ones, such as the Mackie Onyx 1640i mixer. Before Pro Tools 9, the last version of Pro Tools to run with generic third‑party hardware was available way back in the days of Windows 98! For full details of compatibility, check the Avid web site at www.avid.com.  

Published June 2011