My band all got sick and died at once (or; woes of moving to Windows 10)

OK, that’s a pretty misleading headline so let me come clean first. For many reasons you can read about elsewhere I do almost all my composing and producing myself using computers. Therefore it’s really important to me that the system be working and all the software be playing nice together.

In 2007 I bought a custom built computer in a 4U rack from a company that still exists (silentpc.com). It has served me well, from its original configuration as a Windows XP machine through Windows 7. After 12 years of faithful service it finally failed, and I realized I was going to have to replace it.

The problem is that current motherboards don’t support Windows 7, and Microsoft is only supporting it in legacy mode (probably because so many corporations around the world have hundreds of thousands of licenses and are running critical applications on it.)

On top of that, many companies that make the software I rely on have notified their customers that there won’t be any support for Windows 7 for new software. All my crucial software (Ableton Live, NI Guitar Rig, Fxpansion BFD, Omnisphere, etc.) still supports Windows 7 but not for updates or new versions.

Finally, and one of the most screamingly frustrating of all my problems, is the “64 bit vs 32 bit” problem which I’ll talk about in a minute.

In other words, I had little choice but to order my new computer with Windows 10 installed. This is a native 64 bit OS, there is no option to install it as a 32 bit OS. That’s OK, since a 32 bit application will run on Windows 10.

The problem is that music production almost always relies on a collection of software working together: generally a host of some kind (Ableton Live, Reaper, Apple Logic) using a host of plug-in effects and instrument modules.

So then I spent the next month trying to find a combination of software that would allow me to keep working, since I have many files that go back 2 – 5 years that I need to work on. (I work real slowly since I don’t have any serious deadlines.)

So here is a typical issue I faced. I have a song that uses Reason 4 ReWired into Ableton Live, a BFD3 drum track, and the Perfect Space convolution reverb that used to come with Cakewalk Sonar.

Well, since Reason 4 only works in 32 bit mode, I have to use Ableton Live version 9.7 running in 32 bit mode, as must be the BFD3 plugin. Well, the last version of BFD3 that supports 32 bit is 3.2.3.3, so I’ve installed that. If you install 3.3.0.4 (the most recent version) it only supports 64 bit mode.

Prefect Space is only 32 bit mode. So now I have to decide whether I can spend to money to buy a reverb that supports convolution mode.

The song also uses the Arturia Analog Factory plugin which — guess what — is also only a 32 bit plug in.

Now another song I have uses Spectrasonics Omnisphere. This plugin like BFD is only supported on Windows 7 up to a certain point; if you want to upgrade it to get new features and performance options, you have to be running Windows 10.