Vista Audio Drivers Slowly Improving

The teething problems of Windows Vista have been well documented, and many pro audio producers have been avoiding Microsoft’s latest operating system like the plague, preferring to stick with the more mature Windows XP, which provides driver support for a much wider range of audio hardware. But has Vista now been patched up enough to be a useful and stable music production platform?

The answer to this question remains less than definitive. The audio and video drivers provided with Vista earlier this year were buggy and glitchy, and basically unsuitable for multimedia production of any kind. However, with patches and updates being frantically produced on what seemed like a daily basis, things are starting to look a bit more solid for Vista.

Whether you should switch from XP to Vista depends on a number of factors – the most important of these being hardware compatibility. If you have an audio interface that has been tested on Vista, then there’s no reason not to go for the new platform. However, I wouldn’t switch just for the sake of it – if you are considering upgrading your computer, then check that your other hardware has solid Vista audio drivers first. If that passes, then go ahead and get a new Vista machine.

Peter Kirn at CDM notes that dodgy video drivers (for his NVIDIA card) caused great problems with his Vista audio. However, a video driver update fixed all this and everything now works swimmingly. He also links to a useful Vista blog post about audio glitching.

Many of the problems that cropped up with audio performance in Windows XP have similar causes and solutions to those that occur in Vista. As such, the XP Optimisation Guide is still worth keeping handy. As always, the first thing to do if you’re a new Vista user is to disable UAC, and this tweaker will help you do just that.


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