I’m not one to post every single minor software update, but with the latest handful of free upgrades for Native Instruments software, I think it’s safe to say the 64-bit age has come to the Mac musician. Windows developer Cakewalk heralded just this sort of advance for years on the PC side, with largely little company (even beyond the music world), but today, the technology is finally a reality for average users.
64-bit computing means a marginal performance boost on capable machines and more flexible memory usage. The 32-bit Mac has had an edge over a 32-bit PC – each application can access up to 4 GB, provided available physical memory. But with Snow Leopard and a 64-bit Mac, you can finally, say, take advantage of all of the 8GB or more you might have on your machine. And Windows users, likewise, can load up their machines and fly past the crushing limit – slightly below 4GB – that impacted their entire system. (Linux users can run 64-bit, too, or a PAE kernel that nets the same result as that 32-bit Mac.)
Back to the updates: both Mac and Windows users should benefit from bug fixes to FM8, Massive, Guitar Rig, and Absynth. You’ll find the free update on NI’s Service Center utility, or heading to the updater on the website.
But the 64-bit aspect is the biggest news here. Since standalone mode is supported, you don’t even need a 64-bit capable host like Logic or Cubase (cough, 32-bit-only Ableton). That brings the current roster of NI products with 64-bit products to the latest versions of:
Battery, Guitar Rig, Kontakt, Maschine, Massive, FM8, Absynth
…and drivers for all the Audio DJ line and Traktor Kontrol hardware. Unfortunately, that does leave a lot of 32-bit only stuff, especially if you haven’t upgraded lately, but you still have a significant number of choices.
Now, the collective wisdom of the readership of this site is far greater than my own. Any particular software you wish was 64-bit that isn’t? Has 64-bit software meant any real-world improvements in music production for you? Let us know.