The New PC

Two weeks ago my MusicXPC laptop, which has been my main studio computer for the past year, started showing signs of instability. So for Christmas I bought myself a new Windows 7 tower machine (from Hewlett-Packard).

Migrating to a new computer, especially when the OS has only been released for a month or two, is bound to entail a certain number of headaches. You just have to keep on truckin’.

I’ve been able to get new authorizations for most of my music software, although the Native Instruments Service Center was choking a little. Cubase 4.5 won’t install in Win7, but I’ve been drifting in the direction of FL Studio for a while now. FL 9 has reached the stage where it’s fully usable for the kind of music I do. Plus, it’s more fun than Cubase!

Haven’t yet tried installing Reason; I’ll get to that this week. Sibelius 5 seems to be working, but there may be some issues lurking there.

On the hardware side, the M-Audio Fast Track Pro works in Win7, for both audio and MIDI. The M-Audio Axiom 61 keyboard doesn’t have a Win7 driver, but it works with the system driver … more or less. Every once in a while it goes dead for a few seconds, which is rather awkward, what with the stuck notes and all.

On the whole, the experience has been positive and relatively painless. More like having the dentist fill a cavity than like having your knee replaced. (Not that I’ve ever had a knee replaced.)

My software synth rack, for those who are curious, currently looks like this: u-he Zebra 2.5; Spectrasonics Omnisphere, Stylus RMX, and Trilian; Native Instruments FM8, Reaktor 5, Battery 3, and Massive; Camel Audio Alchemy; and the built-in synths in FL Studio, of which the most important are Sytrus and Slicex. Slicex works especially nicely with REX files, and I have a stupidly deep pile of them thanks to the Zero-G Total REX package.

There are still a few items I’d like to add, but mainly because I’m a total synthesizer hound. I already have enough music-making power on my hard drive to last for about 10,000 years.

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