Windows 7 and Audio Software

By | February 14, 2009

Have been running Windows 7 for a about a month now at home since the
last build (7000) came out, and I have to say I am mega impressed, I
came so close to dumping Windows for a Mac, something I always said I
would never do, but this came along just in the nick of time.

I have been using Vista since first Betas and was always waiting for it
to get "better" but it never really did, SP1 was great but there is
still that continual disk thrashing which quite simply started to drive
me nuts, on a big desktop with fast hard disks you can almost live with
it but on a slower laptop forget it, to say it’s hopeless would be an
understatement. Thats the down side, the upside of Vista was that it is
infinitely more stable than XP, and if you say otherwise you are
dreaming, XP is good, but it has it’s faults. UAC never worried me as I
was used to it already having used Linux and Mac desktops a lot where
one has to not just press a button but type in an admin password for
certain actions, like install software, I have never turned UAC off.

So, when the last beta of Windows 7 came out I installed it at home and
have been using it since, no plans to go back to Vista unless MS force
me to by shutting down the Betas before a final version comes out. In a
word it is what Vista always should have been, it’s fast, reliable and
looks great. At work we have tried it on a P4 with 512Mb and it worked
pretty much as good as it does on my home machine with a quad core 2.4
Ghz and 4gb RAM, I am going to install it on my work laptop next week
which is a Vaio with a core solo that I downgraded to XP simply because
it did not have enough grunt to run Vista, that will be a good test.

So, what am I using, well I would not have been able to stick with
Windows 7 unless I could run some of my core audio programs I use all
the time.

M-Audio Delta 2496 PCI card drivers, installed using Vista
compatibility mode, card and sound work fine for the high end audio
programs, most Windows sounds are fine but can sometimes break up, have
yet to find out wht this is, but anything using ASIO is 100% solid.

Digidesign Pro Tools 8 (didn’t try 7.4 but should be OK) installs and
runs just fine, I can’t for the life of me remember if I installed
using compatibility mode but the answer is probably yes. This was the
clincher for me, once this worked I was pretty happy to stay with
Windows 7 as it just seemed to get in the way less of what I was doing.
I will try to run some large projects on XP, Vista and Windows 7 later
this week and see what resource usage is like on all three. I am using
this with an old MBOX 2 USB interface, I have the Delta card from an
older version of Pro Tools M-Powered, but I got sick and tired of the
bloody dongle and went back to Pro Tools LE which to this day remains
dongle free ! I own both versions of Pro Tools.

Vegas Movie Studio 9. I needed something for Video editing, I usually
use Vegas, I had been using an older version OK on Vista but decided to
upgrade so I was using a compatible version, this version runs fine on
Vista and equally fine on Windows 7.

Firefox 3 and Thunderbird, as would be expected no problems except for
Firefox updates which was a problem with Vista also, see article on
this web site about how to get around this.

Sonar 8.0 Producer Edition installs and works fine, I can use ASIO with
my Delta card, have opened some large demo projects and they all run
flawlessly, but I need to compare these with how they run under Vista.

Mackie Tracktion this was another had to work or else program,
works flawless using ASIO with the Delta card. I will try to benchmark
the demo projects against Vista later this week, but I opened and ran
them all and no drop outs of any kind.

Reaper 2.5 installs and runs great using standard wave out and ASIO through the Delta.

Thats about it for now, will try to update this abit later on, but just
to give an idea of what does actually work well with Windows 7 audio
wise. I still have lots of stuff to install and test. I also love the
new task bar, it’s a bit of a copy of the Mac dock but it’s better in
my opinion. I will be running this up at work next for sure as my main
O/S. I do however miss the sidebar, but have worked around that.

One last thing, Anti Virus. I started out with Kasperksy but had problems to install some programs while it was running, I would get these weird errors when the installer tried to access it’s uncompressed temporary files, so I uninstalled it and said programs would install OK, I am pretty sure Pro Tools was affected by this, I then tried AVG and it seemed to use less resources than Kaspersky, while it seemed to work OK I really wanted to be able to use Avast which is what I use at work and usually use at home, AVG was a 30 day trial only. So I uninstalled AVG and installed Avast 4.8 Home Edition, it installs and works perfectly on Windows 7.

Updated : Had problems with my  Delta card and latency under Windows 7 that I am still trying to find a solution to, I am getting around 40ms latency when I should have about 6 ms. Anyone knows a solution to this let me know, I didn’t notice this till I tried some software that needs almost real time latency like Guitar Rig which is unusable.


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