Presonus. Makers of [good] affordable audio hardware. Anyone that knows me knows about my love affair with their stuff. I’ve got a Firepod, Firebox, Headphone Preamp and a TubePRE from them. I love them all dearly, the Firepod’s been the centerpiece of my home studio for the past 4 years and the Firebox has lived in my travel bag for the last 2.

Credentials established, I think that I can speak on reasonably solid ground with regards to their products.. They’ve always been great. I’ve never had a driver problem, and when the old [yeah, really old] version of Cubase LE didn’t cooperate with my Macbook Pro, they sent me the most recent version with zero hassle. Happy days indeed.

Over the past few months, however, I’ve been watching a bit of a slow saga unfold on the Presonus Support Forums in terms of Windows 7 support. A good number of users mentioned issues with the Firepod and Windows 7 which Presonus essentially brushed off since the OS hadn’t been released yet, but seemed to say behind the lines that it will be supported since they support all current operating systems.

I’m not a strong Windows advocate by any means. In fact, my audio workstation is the only computer I own that has a single boot install of Windows and furthermore, is the only Windows I use that gets booted more than once a month. That said, I applaud their seemingly genuine effort to release 7 right, through Beta’s and RC’s. This also served as a bit of a warning to driver dev’s that MS didn’t want a repeat of the Vista launch. Nvidia and ATI clearly took the cue and Windows 7 compatibility and drivers are plastered all over their websites.

Presonus has apparently opted to go for the wait and see game. This seems a bit dangerous for two reasons: Those trying out Windows 7 before its release are likely more technically inclined users, a.k.a those that can provide accurate, reliable feedback. Not offering pre-release drivers is like turning down free labor to do your testing. The second lunacy here is a failure to recognize the splash that MS is trying to make with 7 in order to account for Vista’s early shortcomings. Not having solid drivers ready to go at launch won’t fly like it did 3 years ago, as people are now expecting more. This time, they won’t be blaming Microsoft, they’ll be blaming Presonus.

I’ve used Windows 7, I like it. I’ve got the retail version (OK, the ACM deal for 7 Professional) installed on two machines and would have no problem using it the way I dreaded some tasks in Vista. Unfortunately, audio isn’t my main gig and I’ve gotta keep moving with the times. I won’t be impeding the rest of my work to suit a single piece of hardware unless that piece is the source of my cash flow. In other words, I’ll be upgrading my OS and switching companies if a solution isn’t provided in a timely fashion. MOTU seems plenty happy to take my money but I’ve never had a reason before.. Now I might.

I still love you Presonus, please wake up.