Is Windows Vista Still Not Ready For Recording Computers?

Brandon Drury —  December 8, 2007

I answered a few threads on the recording forum today and noticed that people are still having MAJOR issues with using Microsoft Vista on their recording computers. Microsoft Vista came out over a year ago! What’s the hold up? I know that audio interface manufacturers such as Presonus released Vista ready drivers back in the summer. (Maybe I’m just not hearing about the good stories with Vista).

If anyone is running Microsoft Vista successfully on their recording computer, I’d love to know about it. Comment on this blog, send me an email, or join the forum and tell all the members about.

It just seems very strange to me that it’s been a year that Vista has been out and I still have to recommend that people dump an extra $100 on XP, an operating system that came out like 6 years ago! With that said, Microsoft got it right with XP. While not 100% foolproof by any stretch of the imagination, it appears that they really haven’t solved any of the flaws in XP. Really, I don’t consider XP to have flaws. I wish it could make good use of RAM in amounts over 2GB. Every operation system could be more stable. I’d love for it to have lower latency. Other than that, I’m quite content.

While Vista claims to conquer the RAM limitations and latency, it appears that they haven’t gotten the stable part right. In fact, it appears to be worse.

Oh well, I’m quite happy leaving Windows XP on my recording rig.


Brandon Drury

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Brandon Drury quit counting at 1,200 recorded songs in his busy home recording studio. He is the creator of and is the author of the Killer Home Recording series.

11 responses to Is Windows Vista Still Not Ready For Recording Computers?

  1. I remember the day when I upgraded to Windows Vista and discovered that the sound quality was so much improved — and then discovered that my entire sound studio no longer had any functionality. Since I was using a Creative Audigy 4 Pro sound card, I called Creative and asked them what happened. They told me that Microsoft had removed the Hardward Abstraction Layer from Vista, which simply killed all the advanced abilities of all direct sound cards. Even the simple mixer and the graphic equalizer were gone. Neither Microsoft nor Creative told me anything about this before I upgraded, and I am still struggling with the results of it. I find I can’t go back to Windows XP because the overall sound quality and resonance seem so lifeless in XP compared with the rich sound quality in Vista. So I limp along in Vista, using various workarounds like sticking to Cubase for recordings, because at least it has a graphic equalizer and some effects inserts, but the bare bones mixer and volume level controls that come with Vista are pathetically inadequate and highly unstable, leading to episodes of rage and cussing, and sometimes high blood pressure. However, I have to admit, I get studio quality recordings out of Vista, much better in quality than XP could ever do, but the price is high — hours of fiddling around trying to get the kludged Audigy drivers to cooperate with the Vista inadequacies and bugs. When the HELL is Microsoft going to come out of hiding and give some reassurance that something will be done about this mess? And in fact, when WILL they do something about it. Finally, when will some sound card manufacturer come out with a new card that doesn’t have direct sound hardware acceleration, which is now tabooed by Vista and probably won’t be supported again? The fact is, there is no sound card on the market that is guaranteed to play nice with Vista, and no manufacturer who even mentions developing such a card. After a year of Vista, you would think somebody would be sticking their neck out at least a little with some hopeful promises — but there is nothing. Go ahead and call sound card tech support or Microsoft tech support and try to ask about these things. They will sidestep you on every question and give you such an attitude that you will finally give up and say goodbye. I have 200 dollars, or 400 dollars, or 500 dollars to invest in a new sound card that will work with Vista and give me full functionality and good software control of my sound studio, and I’m looking all the time to find some new sound card and I/O box that will do just that, but there is NOTHING. And Microsoft? When will they fix the outrageous hole they made in Vista when they dumped the HAL and marooned every sound studio in the land? Dead silence from Microsoft.

  2. I’m sure your are just one of zillions of people who are ticked at Microsoft Vista for being so unstable.

    I do want to point out that there is no direct sound quality difference between Microsoft Vista or Microsoft XP. It simply does not work that way. However, it is possible that your consumer grade Creative Audigy 4 Pro could have some kind of sound quality reducing processes that are reducing sound quality. Of course, I don’t know anyone who is serious about recording that doesn’t use an audio interface intended for recording.

    I’m confident that if you switched back to XP you’d either find the sound quality differences were caused by some other factor, caused by placebo, or were the direct cause of your choice of soundcards.

    I’d bet money that switching to a real audio interface and XP would save you a lot of blood pressure.


  3. I upgraded computers a few months back to have the ability to use pci express with my new motu hd 192, and the computer i purchased came with vista, there were a few kinks that i had to work out but it took me about two hours to have my whole studio up and running with vista. I am actually very happy with Vista, and I record using Vista daily with no problems.

    Hope that makes you feel a little better?

  4. I have recently upgraded my computers, home and recording. But not to Vista. In fact, not to anything Microsoft. I made the jump to Apple. The only annoyance was in finding out that I have to purchase the new copy of Mackie Traction if I wish to continue using the Mackie products. But before I do that I’ll give GarageBand a whirl. For free kicks.

    I simply refuse to invest in Microsoft anymore. A PC running a MS OS is a money pit. Their days are numbered. I recommend to everyone that they make the switch to Mac.

  5. I have Vista on a Toshiba laptop. I use N-Track multitrack software from FASOFT. It works fine- has built in effects.

    I also use M-Audio Duo external sound card.

  6. I have had a very painful year with Vista. I am happy to say that since I have purchased an M-AUDIO (Fast track Pro) audio insterface, my days of frustration have ended. I can now use my Line 6 PODs, Reason 3.0, Ableton Live w/Rewire with out wanting to throw my PC out the window. LINE 6 was the worst when it came to compatibility. They still do not have vista drivers for their BASS pod series. The Guitar POD XT USB worked sometimes, then didn’t. I was using ASIO4ALL and plugging my POD’s in via the delivered PC input but the sound sucked. Now that I have the M-Audio interface I can plug in to that, record via mic’s, use reason with my ableton everything is working nicley. Finally. I can write again.

  7. I switched back to XP. Nothing is compatible with Vista unless you upgrade and Vista takes up tooooo much Ram to run. My computer crawled even with a dual processor and 2 gigs of ram….when Vista was on it…..once I switched back to XP Media Center everything worked again AND my computer runs faster/smoother. I like MACS too, but they cost too much….and my computer runs my recording software just as smooth and efficient as the G5 that my friend has at his studio…difference is he spent over $2000…and I spent $700. Please note that I am not against Macs….I just cannot afford them.

  8. OK! I wish I could invent a driver for Vista using CUBASE 4.
    I believe I wouldn’t be bothering to push my songs other than sheer hobbie and make money off the confused / frustrated consumer. The wierd issue I’m dealing with is I have a Steinberg MI4 interface ( friggin 5 yrs old ) Cubase sold me the upgrade and USB key ( a finnicky bugger / gets a brain freeze from time to time ) and so the upgrade installed fine and I was recording trax and noticed some clicks and pops in the project file and so things been exporting to waves & Mpegs fine / burning is OK but the pops are still there. So I asked Steinberg what’s the scoop and the dude from YAMMAHA ( kish or I think they should stick to makin motorcycles) said abruptly ( like go away ) use this download ASIO4ALL ( useless bugger ) then I called again and they directed me to another driver because tech support said who told ya to use that download? Dah! use this! which never worked ( forgot the driver name? ) so the old MI4 driver is workin fine ” go figure? ” and so maybe I should just give up recording digital and purchase a TASCAM and do things the old school way…send my files to someone to stamp out some Vinal LP’s and things will be solved. I still have a Kenwood turntable and an old 70′d ONKYO amp and I don’t mind the pops on that. I could just say I recorded next to the fireplace and it is what it is; cuz I’m broke and stuck with what I got. I’m taking back the M-AUDIO Fastrack Pro to Guitar Center cuz they had useless advise too. Maybe I can export these files quick and ask Cubase for my $200- back cuz thier clueless. They claim their support office got flooded with water ( go figure ? ) I think these dudes are just wandering around with cell phones. WHO HAS INFO ON A DRIVER COMPATABLE W/ VISTA USING CUBASE 4. Version 5 why bother?

  9. I bought a new pc w/vista and nothing worked. I waited and eventually got the right drivers when they became available or replaced my HW in some cases. Then it worked. I was back in business.

    Then after an MS update or two everything broke. Then It was fixed. Then it broke. Then it crashed. Then it worked. Then it broke …

    … I’m on XP now. Now it works.

    Vista, RIP.

  10. OK! SOULTION! First off I send apologies to what I mentioned above! It’s a givin I’m inexperienced with computers and engineering! I’m recording on WINDOWS VISTA / Acer 5100 2gig of RAM 1.6 X 2 processors ( how many gig HD? who cares? it really isn’t important ) using CUBASE 4 ( upgraded from SL2 ) I bugged and bugged the hell out of Steinberg Tech Support after trying a Presonus Firebox and took that back cuz it made no difference than what I had ” Still using a 5 year old Steinberg MI4 interface. So I was still back to the same issue with faint pops / clicks after burning to CD. OK! I was ready to smoke a joint and hit a 5th of JD and just play live! No I didn’t relaps here! I asked a friend? Suggested cuz I live in an 18th centry building to check for a grounding problem! Daaah! and so low and behold I unplugged the AC adaptor and ran this sucker on the battery alone. AND IT’S BEEN HEALD & BY THE GRACE OF GOD HES STILL A FRIEND / WHICH TECH SUPPORT WAS CLUELESS! The dude my friend is really smart with computers and knows alot about avalanches in UT too. So I mentioned what I been doing as advised by the techs. Getting the latest download of the MI4 Driver ” FOR VISTA” “YEAH THAT’s RIGHT VISTA” and downloading the upgrade for this USB lisense key. After that! the internet has not been an interferance. So my friend mentioned if that’s the case? ( a bad ground ) you need to rerecord everything from scratch! SIMPLE THINGS CAUSE ALOT OF INSANITY! TROUBLE SHOOT AND NARROW THE PROBLEM DOWN AS YA GO CUZ THEY SAY INSANITY IS DOING THE SAME THING AND EXPECTING A DIFFERENT RESULT. Please have a listen to my latest clean recording on ( The song (“Graffiti Wall”) and if ya wanna hear the snap crackles and pops ( which sadly I need to rerecord ) on! Oh by the way I believe Acer with Vista 32 bit is made by APPLE if I’m not mistaken!!!?? When your on the internet there will always be interfearance w/ a wireless WIFI.You need a clean signal while recording cuz what ya hear is what ya input. Good luck and let the force B w/ ya! in peace Brothas’ and Sistas’.


  11. Mackenzie Ward May 9, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Windows Vista is good but it can hog your CPU and Memory.-:~