The Most Out of Windows 7: Choosing and Optimizing Windows for Music

From our call for CDM reader studios, Eric Beam’s studio. In his setup: Windows 7 64-bit, Cakewalk’s SONAR 8.5 DAW (with native 64-bit support), and the excellent modular patching environment Plogue Bidule. Click through to Flickr for a closer look. Photo (CC-BY) Eric Beam. This week, while we poll readers to find out what platforms they really use and care about for music, we’re launching a new series to help you get the most out of whichever OS you choose. We’ve been covering the complexities of Windows for a while, from the bumpy Vista transition to the smoother advent of …

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More with Less:”Efficient” Renoise Music Tracks and Tips, Deadline Extended to 10/25

You don’t actually have to put foliage on your desktop to inspire you to conserve energy, unless it, you know, helps. A lovely Ubuntu screenshot by Akira Ohgaki. A challenge to efficiency brings some terrific results. We’ve got tracks for you to hear, a few quick tips on production with Renoise, a place to go talk about the tracks and how to optimize them for netbooks, and a new extended deadline. And if you’re curious what kinds of music can be made with trackers, now’s a perfect chance to give folks from this community a listen. You may be surprised …

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Details of SONAR 8.5, and the Dystopian Future in Which You Use It

What happens when you mix technical chatter on the Cakewalk forum, Samuel Beckett, and The Matrix? I’d wager you get something like the surreal video above. Prompted by the posting of technical details for a new update to Cakewalk’s SONAR production software for Windows, and empowered by a strange, new tool that generates eerie virtual reality from typed text, we get banter like this: The arpeggiator is now on every track, so you are supposed to use it. It is one of the new rules of recording. Yes, I came from the days of one-finger piano playing. This is a …

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Obsessive Windows 7 Under-the-Hood Guide for Music; Can You Finally Dump XP?

Windows 7 running on a laptop, as photographed by / (CC) Luke Roberts. Windows 7 makes far subtler changes than Vista did, which gives it an opportunity to refine features by the ship date. And it’s been tested unusually widely, by testers like Luke. Windows matters. It’s what roughly half of CDM readers use, and – for all the attention Apple gets – it’s a big part of the computer music world. Windows today also faces many of the same under-the-hood challenges that other operating systems do, so even if you’re a die-hard Linux or Mac user, you may want …

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Vista Tweak: Use the Audio Profile Cakewalk’s CTO Uses

Cakewalk didn’t really need to implement custom profile support for SONAR 8 under Vista. You don’t really need to make use of it. But when I found out Cakewalk’s CTO had a profile he liked, I had to share it with fellow tweakers. Adjustments under the hood: photo (CC) Stefan Sonntag. Earlier this fall, we got an inside look at the various Vista optimizations in Cakewalk’s SONAR 8. It was all fairly technical stuff, but odds are you may have been puzzled by a mention of support for custom “MMCSS task profiles.” Don’t worry – the correct response here is, …

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Optimizing for Vista: Inside the Mechanics of SONAR 8 with Cakewalk Engineering

Vista, launched in an ice house in Toronto. That’s where I want my project studio this winter, for sure. Photo (CC Sam Javanrouh. On a purely technical level, how does Windows Vista work with a leading pro audio application? A lot of that depends on just how much the developer does to tune their software, and to hook into some of the new audio technologies in the OS. I wanted to know more about how Cakewalk’s SONAR 8 DAW was specifically optimized for Windows Vista. SONAR 7 was already out in front with support for Vista’s audio plumbing, but SONAR …

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10 Free Non-Musical Windows Software Every Musician Should Use

  Process Explorer is the essential portal to seeing what’s going on with CPU and memory activity on Windows. It was good enough that Microsoft bought the tool. Any computer – Mac, Windows, and Linux – can experience degraded audio experience pretty fast if a background task starts stealing CPU or a driver is misbehaving. In contrast, a fully-tweaked Windows machine, equipped with a set of tools to diagnose potential problems, can be rock-solid for audio performance. That’s an especially big deal for those of us using computers for live music. I think a lot of people’s Windows experience is …

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How to Kill Windows Vista Bottlenecks: Pt. II, Stop the Disk Churning

Two common services are the biggest culprits for “disk churning” behavior in Vista, and they’ll be familiar from XP. Now, tame that disk access! A common complaint of users who have just installed Vista is that the disk starts churning endlessly. Any kind of frequent disk access on the same volume on which you have stored samples or audio content can cause major problems with recording and playback — even worse if you’re using disk-intensive software like samplers or Ableton Live. These problems aren’t entirely unique to Vista, but disk indexing seems expanded in Vista and both may be more …

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How to Kill Windows Vista Bottlenecks: Pt. I, Aero and Display Issues

Is the UI in Vista taking far too big a toll on your system? For now, under some circumstances, that seems to be the case. Here’s what I’ve seen, plus how to turn ths crud off. (It’s unscientific, so take it with a grain of salt, but this CPU graph actually did this just moving and resizing windows. Yipes!) I wouldn’t necessarily recommend upgrading to Vista at this time, because too many drivers are missing (hello, M-Audio), many applications still need updates, and, most importantly, graphics drivers seem still to be in flux, performing unreliably, slowly, or both (hello, NVIDIA …

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