Is Windows Vista A Dying Platform For Music?

Over at CDM, Peter Kirn has a rundown of the status of music drivers for Windows Vista & Leopard.

Leopard music making has had a few hiccups, but it really doesn’t look good for Vista music making:

Digidesign + Vista

Digidesign Windows OS Requirements

On the Digidesign side, the good news is Pro Tools 7.4 LE and M-Powered are now supported on Vista — sort of. The bad news is, you need 7.4, there’s still no support for Pro Tools HD, and Digidesign hasn’t yet qualified SP1 for anything. (M-Audio has made the same statement.) Now, I’m used to Digidesign’s lagging OS support, and to be honest, I think being cautious about support is a good idea. But in this case, SP1 largely involves fixes for Vista — some of them very significant issues. It’s a little odd that you could qualify Vista without SP1, containing most of the same fixes installed as HotFixes, but not SP1 itself, even though the latter is more likely to be stable and compatible in almost every other respect.

Then it gets odder. Vista Home Premium is still not supported by Digidesign, despite being identical to the supported Ultimate and Business editions in regards to music, audio, and driver support. Maybe Digidesign has some reason for doing this, but I can’t imagine what it is, and they’re not saying.

M-Audio + Vista

M-Audio’s support for Vista, which had been lagging badly, has now improved somewhat:

M-Audio Vista Driver Development

Among the drivers still missing as I write this, though, is M-Audio’s flagship audio interface and control surface, the Project Mix I/O. And while Roland/Edirol, MOTU, RME, and others have supported 64-bit Windows, M-Audio has no support whatsoever.

We can’t really make generalizations based on the state of drivers from Digidesign & M-Audio alone, but I have yet to see anyone perform a set with a Vista laptops.

Any readers performing with Vista laptops?

18 thoughts on “Is Windows Vista A Dying Platform For Music?

  1. I’ve done a couple gigs with my Vista laptop. The audio out was reliable; I was just using DirectSound though, not anything low-latency or otherwise technically-advanced. However, before SP1, audio in was also glitchy. SP1 seems to have resolved this somewhat.

    The issue is that the entire sound architecture was redesigned, and the new APIs (WASAPI) are not completely bug-free yet. A good friend of mine tried to get WASAPI working and ran into problems with many consumer-grade devices. 10ms latency is nothing to sneeze at, however.

    The reason for the redesign, to the best of my understanding, was the poor design of several high-profile drivers. So, to remedy the fact that Creative pays its driver developers peanuts, Microsoft redesigned the sound architecture to be more resilient. Once Windows 7 lands, Windows will probably be very competitive. As-is, it’s just immature, not dying. I’m excited to have WASAPI as an alternative to ASIO, which has several notable design flaws.

  2. I can’t see doing live music on a Vista laptop, though I’ve had good luck with Sonar under Windows.

    Music on Windows seems like its going backward. If Microsoft isn’t careful, Vista music is going to end up like doing music on Linux.

  3. It is interesting that you mention it. Symphony/Rosetta/Apogee & Nuendo will not be supporting windows as of Windows 8. No word yet on Windows 7. But, it looks like music is dying in Windows.

    On a reverse note, there are a few companies considering not supporting Mac anymore. Weird world.

    Oh yeah, and money is the only reason ever. Especially if you are talking about Digidesign.

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