Vista’s here, and with the launch date comes a pile of updated drivers and applications bringing full compatibility with the new OS.
Note that many drivers and applications are compatible with Vista without requiring an update; some may require that you temporarily disable User Account Control so you can get past Windows’ new security requirements, but that’s not a difficult process. (I’ll post a tutorial on that soon.) Of course, official support is still a good thing, and some of these updates bring Vista-specific enhancements.
I certainly would not make Vista my primary system at this point, but a dual-boot might be very feasible (and will probably remain the best option for some time). We’ll track compatibility here; I expect to have a permanent page up soon so you can track your stuff and upgrade when it’s ready.
Software Compatible Now
Cakewalk’s SONAR 6.2 is available now as a free update with full Vista compatibility and advanced support for features like the new WaveRT audio driver model and MMCSS scheduler, both of which promise enhanced audio performance. (See our interview with Cakewalk’s CTO for further details on why that’s important.)
Cakewalk’s Project5 v2.5, currently in beta, also supports Vista, though it won’t have the more advanced WaveRT/MMCSS support.
Propellerhead’s current product line (Reason 3.0.4, ReCycle 2.1, Reload 1.0.1) will work with Vista. You’ll need administrative privileges the first time you install and launch, but that’s because of badly-needed security enhancements. You’ll also need to reauthorize your application, so make sure you have the original CDs and serials handy.
ReWire and Rex (and any other applications that support them) are compatible with Vista, but you’ll need an updated installer from Propellerhead.
FL Studio 7, available for download later this week and for boxed purchase next month, will fully support Vista, Image-Line tells CDM.
MOTU has public betas of their virtual instruments available, including Ethno Instrument and Symphonic Instrument.
Multitrack Studio 4.2.1 is fully Vista compatible and now supports WaveRT drivers via a free update.
Hardware Compatible Now
Roland/Edirol/BOSS have listed a detailed list of compatible and incompatible hardware. Nearly all USB/USB2 devices are supported; as of the 1/31 list, FireWire is unconfirmed. Some synths, bundled software and editors, and older hardware is unsupported. See:
Roland/Edirol/BOSS Vista Compatibility Update
MOTU wins the prize: full Vista compatibility for the entire audio interface line, 32-bit and 64-bit drivers, from day one of the Vista launch. You can grab the new Vista drivers right now (you will need to update your drivers, naturally). MOTU says: “All current MOTU hardware products are supported, including FireWire and UltraFast USB2 audio/MIDI interfaces such as the UltraLite and 828mkII, PCI core systems such as the 2408mk3 and HD192, and all MOTU USB MIDI interfaces. ”
Also worthy of our admiration is RME, which has had full support for their FireFace 400/800 audio interfaces since the beginning of December.
Updated: Echo Audio full line support! Echo announced in February Vista drivers for their FireWire devices (AudioFire 2, AudioFire4, AudioFire 8 & AudioFire 12), Layla3G & Gina3G, the PC Cards (Indigo, Indigo io, Indigo dj), and Layla24, Mona, Gina24, Mia, MiaMIDI. See: Echo Audio’s New 2x, 4x FireWire Audio Interfaces; Echo Vista Driver Update
Updated: RME Hammerfall DSP cards were in beta as of February (may be final-release by the time you read this.) Check their support group for the latest builds.
Where’s everyone else? The Ableton forum has been tracking a couple of wikis with updated driver info, which might help you track down a few consumer cards. As for “pro” interfaces, we’ll keep watching here. Note that class-compliant, driver-free plug-and-play drivers should definitely work. We’ll have more testing soon.
Ableton has yet to release an official public statement, but generally the current version is not compatible with Vista. Live 6 runs in compatibility mode, disabling Aero graphics, and more importantly, many users have seen significant stability/performance issues. An update is expected.
Updated: We’ve seen an updated, official statement from Ableton support on their forums promising bug fixes in the short term and full support for native Vista technology later this year. See:
Ableton Live Users Should Wait to Upgrade to Vista; Incompatibility Details
Cycling ’74′s Max/MSP/Jitter is not yet officially compatible with Vista, but testers on the forums indicate it works. The sticking point for Max and many other programs is likely to be the final release of PACE anti-piracy drivers. PACE generally isn’t available on day one of an OS upgrade, but they’ve gotten better about keeping, erm, pace. I’ll report back on PACE availability as soon as I know something.
E-MU is readying drivers for their audio interfaces, with an unsupported beta due some time early this year. That beta release hasn’t happened yet, however, and even when it does XP will remain the supported OS (along with, now, OS X).
Did we miss anything? Drop us a line and let us know.