64 bits of head wreck

One would imagine having 64 bit computing as a physical possibility for the past 6 years would have meant that software makers would be on top of this opportunity but, remarkably, in the power-needs world of music production nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ve recently started work on a new film project and felt that now might be the time to consider moving to a 64 bit version of Windows in order to take advantage of a system with 12Gb of RAM – something that could greatly benefit the use of the Vienna Symphonic Library – however I couldn’t have anticipated just how complicated such a move could be.


It’s remarkable how unprepared some of the software makers are. I’ve been testing on a spare machine and so far I’ve found:

  • Propellerheads Reason will not work with Cubase 5 64-bit, but will work when Cubase is running in 32-bit mode;
  • Apple Quicktime will also not work with Cubase 5 64-bit;
  • It appears that the Waves plug-ins won’t work if the OS is 64-bit.

I haven’t even gotten round to testing a few other crucial items. What amazes me though has been some of the responses from software vendors, including one who point blank didn’t know whether their software would work when Cubase was running in the 32 bit emulation environment on a Windows x64 OS. I tested it for them and reported back – um, is there a reason we shell out hundreds and hundreds of Euro for your software?

It appears that I’d be foolish to even contemplate switching to a 64-bit OS for the foreseeable future. I really do want to embrace this as the way forward but there’s just too many potential pitfalls that it seems like a bad idea. This means that I’ll have to drop this fresh install of Windows 7 RC from the laptop and then I have to try and work out whether I’m going to go with Vista32 or XP. It also means that there’s crap all point in me purchasing more than 4Gb of RAM for my new machine (and of course I’d still only have about 3Gb of addressable RAM because my graphics cards will take up some of that addressable space). Arse and feck anyway.

Of course, as everything barring Waves will run in the 32 bit emulation mode, perhaps it still would be worthwhile..

Perhaps I’m just wrecking my own head – but I keep going round in circles on this.

Fair play to the guys at VSL though for pushing forward on the 64 bit end of things, including their new plugin bundle, the Vienna Suite.