Vista’s here, and with the launch date comes a pile of updated drivers and applications bringing full compatibility with the new OS.

Note that many drivers and applications are compatible with Vista without requiring an update; some may require that you temporarily disable User Account Control so you can get past Windows’ new security requirements, but that’s not a difficult process. (I’ll post a tutorial on that soon.) Of course, official support is still a good thing, and some of these updates bring Vista-specific enhancements.

I certainly would not make Vista my primary system at this point, but a dual-boot might be very feasible (and will probably remain the best option for some time). We’ll track compatibility here; I expect to have a permanent page up soon so you can track your stuff and upgrade when it’s ready.

Software Compatible Now

Cakewalk’s SONAR 6.2 is available now as a free update with full Vista compatibility and advanced support for features like the new WaveRT audio driver model and MMCSS scheduler, both of which promise enhanced audio performance. (See our interview with Cakewalk’s CTO for further details on why that’s important.)

Cakewalk’s Project5 v2.5, currently in beta, also supports Vista, though it won’t have the more advanced WaveRT/MMCSS support.

Propellerhead’s current product line (Reason 3.0.4, ReCycle 2.1, Reload 1.0.1) will work with Vista. You’ll need administrative privileges the first time you install and launch, but that’s because of badly-needed security enhancements. You’ll also need to reauthorize your application, so make sure you have the original CDs and serials handy.

ReWire and Rex (and any other applications that support them) are compatible with Vista, but you’ll need an updated installer from Propellerhead.

FL Studio 7, available for download later this week and for boxed purchase next month, will fully support Vista, Image-Line tells CDM.

MOTU has public betas of their virtual instruments available, including Ethno Instrument and Symphonic Instrument.

Multitrack Studio 4.2.1 is fully Vista compatible and now supports WaveRT drivers via a free update.

Hardware Compatible Now

Roland/Edirol/BOSS have listed a detailed list of compatible and incompatible hardware. Nearly all USB/USB2 devices are supported; as of the 1/31 list, FireWire is unconfirmed. Some synths, bundled software and editors, and older hardware is unsupported. See:
Roland/Edirol/BOSS Vista Compatibility Update

MOTU wins the prize: full Vista compatibility for the entire audio interface line, 32-bit and 64-bit drivers, from day one of the Vista launch. You can grab the new Vista drivers right now (you will need to update your drivers, naturally). MOTU says: “All current MOTU hardware products are supported, including FireWire and UltraFast USB2 audio/MIDI interfaces such as the UltraLite and 828mkII, PCI core systems such as the 2408mk3 and HD192, and all MOTU USB MIDI interfaces. ”

Also worthy of our admiration is RME, which has had full support for their FireFace 400/800 audio interfaces since the beginning of December.

Updated: Echo Audio full line support! Echo announced in February Vista drivers for their FireWire devices (AudioFire 2, AudioFire4, AudioFire 8 & AudioFire 12), Layla3G & Gina3G, the PC Cards (Indigo, Indigo io, Indigo dj), and Layla24, Mona, Gina24, Mia, MiaMIDI. See: Echo Audio’s New 2x, 4x FireWire Audio Interfaces; Echo Vista Driver Update

Updated: RME Hammerfall DSP cards were in beta as of February (may be final-release by the time you read this.) Check their support group for the latest builds.

Where’s everyone else? The Ableton forum has been tracking a couple of wikis with updated driver info, which might help you track down a few consumer cards. As for “pro” interfaces, we’ll keep watching here. Note that class-compliant, driver-free plug-and-play drivers should definitely work. We’ll have more testing soon.

Watch List

Ableton has yet to release an official public statement, but generally the current version is not compatible with Vista. Live 6 runs in compatibility mode, disabling Aero graphics, and more importantly, many users have seen significant stability/performance issues. An update is expected.

Updated: We’ve seen an updated, official statement from Ableton support on their forums promising bug fixes in the short term and full support for native Vista technology later this year. See:
Ableton Live Users Should Wait to Upgrade to Vista; Incompatibility Details

Cycling ’74’s Max/MSP/Jitter is not yet officially compatible with Vista, but testers on the forums indicate it works. The sticking point for Max and many other programs is likely to be the final release of PACE anti-piracy drivers. PACE generally isn’t available on day one of an OS upgrade, but they’ve gotten better about keeping, erm, pace. I’ll report back on PACE availability as soon as I know something.

E-MU is readying drivers for their audio interfaces, with an unsupported beta due some time early this year. That beta release hasn’t happened yet, however, and even when it does XP will remain the supported OS (along with, now, OS X).

Did we miss anything? Drop us a line and let us know.

  • Thomas A.

    M-Audio MIDI drivers (Midisport / Oxygen / Radium series) and ASIO4ALL are working very well under Vista. At least on my Dell laptop.

  • Very good to know! Though I'll probably be waiting to switch to Vista. . .if I even use a PC on my next purchase.

  • djSketch

    Ableton 6.0.3 works great, traktor 3.2 works fine. no ASIO drivers for m-audio, but the directx/mme drivers are doing it for now, Audition 2 for really well, if not better than in xp. so far so good, even if its only been 13 hours 🙂

  • Thomas A.

    @dJSketch: I can't confirm that Live 6 works great under Vista. On my Dell notebook Lives disables Aqua, Live's GUI is very sluggish and audio is unusable because of big latencies.

  • That's weird, Thomas. Maybe an interaction between Ableton and your graphics driver, since Sketch seems to be having issues? Anyway, we'll hopefully have official information from Ableton in Berlin soon. I expect we may see an update, based on the variable experience here.

  • djSketch

    i suppose my only issue is no ASIO drivers from m-audio, other than that, i haven't had a problem, now the xsessionpro has a bit of a latency issue with the midi crossfader. i tried using asio4all, but i experience some weird issues trying to "emulate" asio for my little fastrack pro.

  • This story appeared locally about a tie-up with a music shop chain and Vista. Not really about the hardware, more the consumer, i.e. more DRM

    Vista's music pitch

  • White line, it looks like Australia is getting the kind of subscription services we've had in the US for a couple of years. (Except here they cost US$15/mo.) The DRM needed for subscriptions is entirely separate from anything in music creation, though; it lives in the player (Windows Media Player, Zune, Real, etc.), more along the lines of FairPlay in iTunes. There is a new protected environment for DRM, but again, the music you're creating is not included in that because it's not — and never would be — copy protected.

  • i can confirm that ableton 6 is awesome in vista with my echo mona pcmcia ASIO drivers. everything works and 5-10% lower cpu usage than xp, plus better performance at low latencies. i run 64 samples for 2ms in/out.

    the kernel in vista has improved ALOT. it will be interesting when waveRT, express card interfaces and official support from ableton becomes the norm. we can expect 32samples for 1.5ms latency and incredible performance.

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  • anon

    MOTU win no prize here…

    They will not, ever, support the parallel MDI interfaces under Vista, and seem to be under the illusion (delusion) that USB timing is equal to that of parallel.


    This means that there are NO networkable multiport (>8 port) midi interfaces supported in Vista unless tight timing is unimportant to you and you're OK with USB.

    Not that the MOTU XP drivers are much good either.

    I hope some manufacturer is listening, because big, serious, MIDI-based studios are stuck on XP until someone releases a new product.

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  • Big m

    I wish that some of these soundcard developers would of snapped out of there coma and relised that vista has been in development for around 5 years and that it went gold rtm press back in nov 06. I mean there are computer developer shows from ms on their new products and u cant tell me these companies are blind too see whats coming. If they want to be ahead of the game they should find a way to support there audio cards especially the current ones on the market under vista. I dont care that when i bought my card from m audio that it stated compatible with win xp and that should be it i paid good money for my 4/10 and they m-audio only offers a brief cheezy explanation of their driver ambitions

    "Q: I’m thinking of installing Windows Vista on my system. Does M-Audio currently offer any drivers that support Windows Vista?

    A: Currently, M-Audio does not offer any drivers (beta or otherwise) that support Windows Vista. As Vista drivers become available they will be posted to our drivers page. If a driver is offered during the beta (pre-release) phase of its development, you will need to click the “show beta drivers” option on the drivers page in order to view and download that particular driver."

    If u go to they explain everything in detail about the new windows sound arcitech

    and how vigiourus they are about getting drivers out. at least they give some hope along with problem and solutions. Im not pleased with m-audio especially after seeing motu compatible. no excuse :/

  • Apogee

    Apogee seem to be the same, last time I asked their response was. We're working on x64 drivers right now and then we will move on to Vista. Hardly any sense of urgency. Vista has been in Beta for 12 months and the hardware manufacturers are just dragging their heels.

  • I share your impatience, and I'm disappointed there aren't more day-one developers ready, but I'll defend them at the same time. Music developers tend to be fairly small, and their development pipeline / schedule is often inflexible as a result. A lot of them also had a wrench thrown in their existing schedules by the shift to Intel Macs.

    What I have heard is that there are a lot of developers working on this, and working diligently; many met with Microsoft over the summer and they have been working with the RTM build since November. Every indication is that more drivers should be out soon. The other thing I've learned is that there are varying degrees of "compatibility" — i.e., there's just making the installer work, and then there's the added work you can do to make drivers run better, reduce latency, support the new WaveRT format (on PCI, at least), and so on. So hopefully with this additional time they're getting things right.

    That said, I'm as eager as you are, and I would have liked for the devs to have found a way to have more stuff out at this point. I'm working on getting more details from them — both from the Microsoft end and third-party end.

    As many people have found, existing drivers often work, as well, albeit unsupported, so it's worth giving that a shot if you're already installing (i.e., new machine or dual-boot).

    Stay tuned and I'll see what more I can find.

  • Any news on Sibelius?


  • Good question, Tim … that's on my list, as well. I'll try to test it; the only sticking point may actually be copy protection. (Otherwise, it should work without issue.)

  • Yes… to any doubters: Flstudio rocks ! 😀

    Vista IS still quite slo on the driver front though at the mo'… my advice is : stick with xp until ALL drivers/soft have matured somewhat

  • and what of performance? Are there any audio benchmarks that test the new WAVE RT drivers? What annoys me is that companies say their software or hardware supports Vista when all they mean is that it runs error free in the Vista environment. What we really need is software and hardware that makes use of the new vista capabilities. So far it seems you are ok if you want to run Sonar 6.2 on your HD5.1 onboard soundchip. Basically their is no professional solution yet for a Vista Daw. All the software, i have tested on my 'Vista Supported' Fireface can't run at buffers below 256samples without dropouts occuring. That is bacuase their is hardly any software or hardware making use of the new thread prioritisation scheduler in Vista.

    Let's hope things move quickly in this area. I can't wait to use my Vista install as my new DAW.

  • responder

    @anon: As far as I know, parallel devices are not supported in Vista itself. So it shouldn't be a surprise that MOTU won't be developing drivers for devices that are now not supported by the current versions of both Windows and Mac OS X.

  • Robdrums

    I spoke with Ableton a while back and they have said they do not currently support Vista. Yes, the program opens but when I select the "Asio" driver, my MOTU starts making these crackling sounds and it doesn't do that in any of my other progs ie: Sonar 6.2 and Propellerhead Reason 3.0.

    I hope they update the drivers soon , to run properly in vista with the MOTU.

    Has this Ableton live update been annouced yet? You said you were meeting them for lunch on the 30th???? I'm waiting to hear, thanks


  • Live is working for some isolated users, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. They didn't have any definite compatibility information for me (development happens in Berlin, not NYC); I expect we'll hear something soon. For me, without Max or Live it's hard to go Vista!

  • Robdrums

    Yes, I see what your saying Peter. The gentlemen said they are a small company and are working as fast as they can to get something to help everyone. He suggested using XP for now until they come out with the new updates for Live.

    I can work with Reason 3.0 and SOnar 6.2 until they get an update, then I'll install live 6.0 at that point.

    Have a great day


  • Seemebreakthis

    Search extensively all over the net and found only person who actually tried the MOTU Vista drivers on his 828MKII (reporting success BTW).

    Anyone else? I am waiting for my 828MKII to arrive next week.. I may end up being the first here to talk about actual experience with thest MOTU Vista drivers. 🙂

  • Robdrums

    The vista drivers on my ultralite work MINT in Sonar 6.2 and Propeller Head Reason 3.0. I have had NO issues with it whatsoever.

    However; Ableton Live 6 (When you select the ASIO driver (vista version from Motu) there is a very loud crackling sound that makes me worried my Ultralite is about to get fried. So, I'm waiting for new update from Ableton that may fix this issue.

    Vista Drivers from Motu = Work mint !!! but not in Ablelton Live 6. I have to switch to direct audio driver instead. Can't use ASIO driver.


  • Robdrums

    I look forward to hearing if you hear that crackling sound when you select the vista motu drivers, if you don't. Then I'm taking my Ultralite back and getting it replaced. hehe

    Please let me know once you test it with your 828MKII, thanks Seemebreakthis ….

  • Slow down, folks. The crackling issue in Live 6 is most likely due to Ableton. Don't blame MOTU. Live 6 does not yet claim support for Vista.

    I have an 828 (not mkII); I'll be sure to test it with Live once there's an update for Vista. (Should perform identically to the mkII…. same drivers.)

  • Robdrums

    Hi Peter,

    Sorry, I might have worded that incorrectly, but wanted to stress that I realize the Motu drivers for vista are BY FAR "MINT" excellent !!. I have no problem with them in Sonar 6 and reason 3.0.

    The crackling sound only appears in Live 6 when ACCESSING THOSE MINT MOTU DRIVERS.. ehheheh

    This is clearly an update that is needed for Live 6 before it will perform well with the motu driver ASIO code.

    Thanks for keeping me in line though 🙂 Appreciate it..hehehh

    Kind regards to all my fellow DAW friends. Lets hope Ableton comes up with an announcement for us all, very soon.


    Rob D.. (Ontario Canada)

  • Robdrums

    Received this letter from Ableton, thought you guys might like to read it.

    Regarding LIVE AND VISTA….


    Subject: Re: Windows Vista Ableton Live Update question

    Hello Rob,

    Windows Vista compatibility is currently being tested and Live will

    support Vista in the future – but there's no date announced yet.

    In general we don't suggest to update your DAW with a completely new OS

    in its very first version without waiting for the basic bugs ironed out.


    Dom Wilms

    ableton ag

  • Interesting. I don't think it's quite fair to say Vista is a "first version" in that it's unlikely Microsoft will have any significant update to audio portions of the OS until SP1, which is a ways off (and will, in turn, require its own testing for compatibility). But for the record, Ableton isn't the only company behind on support — most are, including some very big players like NVIDIA. That's certainly par for big OS updates, it's true. I would NOT advise Vista for Live for now, definitely; if I do hear a date from Ableton I'll pass it along. I'm certainly happy to wait for an update to be fully optimized & tested, though, as I'm sure everyone is.

  • Robdrums

    I agree Peter, Vista is a glorified version of XP for crying out loud. The update shouldn't be that much of a change, should it?

    we'll have to wait and see what happens. I'm really surprised that these larger companies ie: Nvidia, were not thinking ahead on this?

    There must have been more important, or should I say , Lucrative things going on instead that were more important to them.

    Money talks – ## walks.




    p.s. I will keep you all posted if I find something as well.

  • Actually, there is *quite* a lot going on under the hood in Vista, so that's not what I meant … in NVIDIA's defense, they have to support three different APIs here and make them all run well, i.e., DirectX 9, DirectX 10, and OpenGL 2 (and all sorts of variants thereof), an entirely new UI on top of it, and a new driver model on top of that — plus all of this additional DRM stuff to implement. My problem isn't that they're late, it's that the PR machine went forward any way and they didn't communicate what was going on.

    As for small developers like Ableton, that's another story. At least the music devs I think have communicated honestly where they are. ANY music developer (big or small) will have their hands full just dealing with their own development pipelines, and then on top of that they get Apple switching to Intel and Microsoft switching to Vista.

    In other words, there's just no way to keep all of this in sync. The good news is, there is often a payoff for us. With Intel-native Mac software, it's been better platform parity and wildly improved performance / cost / energy / mobility ratios. In Vista, it's clearly improved performance and stability for the audio system. Whatever hype is around those two things, and whatever headaches they've caused, I can't complain about the upgrades.

  • ableton just updated peter

  • anon

    @ responder: Thanks for actually replying mate 🙂 The lack of response from the general public is exactly why we are having these issues.

    It's just ridiculous. How the heck are we supposed to get decent MIDI timing now? We CAN'T!!

    It's only so long before this has a knock on effect to the hardware world and mobos are made without the port at all. Then we're all really screwed because the choice of OS will be irrelevant.

    All the ITB guys clearly couldn't care less but maybe they should consider that technological changes which initially seem dubious, like USB always did, and like DRM these days (to name but one example), should be voted against with the mighty dollar.

    It's clear that manufacturers and developers alike will not listen to the words of professionals unless the words are accompanied by actions.

    Boycott Vista now, or you'll just regret it later, 5 years from now you'll remember this post and wonder why you didn't have the guts or sense to realise that this is the tip of a nasty iceberg.

    I've been saying since it was announced that USB was a POS and watching the gradual decline to this point.. I feel powerless. I am powerless. And so are you. Just as with so many other things in life these days, the things we want to do with our technology no longer mean anything because the powers that be are deciding for us.

    They only speak one language, dollars, and if we don't learn that language and use it wisely we'll all be enslaved.

    Those of you who think I sound like a crackpot… That's fine, I do understand. Just remember this post.

    Those who are wise enough to extrapolate the patterns forming to the result in the next few years/decades… Be brave and speak out, or be regretful.

  • Hi All. Blame the media for creating the Myth that no one in there right mind would want to buy a new Vista PC. All my friends are relatives are buying them, if they can fine them. People like the Aero Glass and the other new features they are buying Vista PCs as fast as they hit the stores. I expect all my favorite midi software to work fine. I use DAWs for Audio so not worried about Vista and Audio. I am sure Creative and Emu will do full Vista Drivers, even if no one else does. Happy Sounds MidiVox

  • Um, newsflash MidiVox: the originally Mac-only developer MOTU got drivers working for Vista *before* traditionally PC-only vendor E-MU. (In fact, E-MU currently has Universal Binary Mac drivers and not Vista drivers.)

    We are seeing drivers coming in, which is great. But blaming the media, which have been dutifully reprinting screenshots approved for them by Microsoft? Come on. I think being cautious about getting a new operating system is a GOOD idea, whether the OS is Mac, Windows, or Linux. No need to be afraid: just cautious about making sure what you need to run will work.

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  • anon

    Yeh, let's not blame the media for their lazy, gullible, uninformed viewers. Oh wait the media are supposed to be there to educate them, right?

    I think both parties are as bad as one another. One is full of BS and the other accepts it as truth.

    And being told what they can legally show or not is no excuse, in fact, that's a news story in itself.

  • Robdrums

    Hey Guys,

    Well, to catch you all up to speed on me testing Ableton Live 6 with the latest update for Live and my uptodate Motu Drivers (Ultra lite), here goes. (Installed into Vista Ultimate Edition)

    I installed the new patch and UGGGHHHHHH… BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH AGAINnnnnn…. as soon as I selected the Motu driver it makes that crackling sound and then I get a MOTU.SWF Blue screen of death. What is happening here Peter? heheh

    Is there some issue with the Ableton live drivers and the Motu drivers working together? It must be, because I don't have any issues until I load up Ableton Live and start running the Motu driver.

    I was really hoping that this was going to function properly this time. But, I guess , I'll have to wait for the New Beta update to try LOL

    Well, tae care talk soon…

    UNINSTALLING ABLETON LIVE now… One moment please.. 🙂

    I hope I can get this fixed soon.


  • Bigm

    I have cracking with fl studio 7 and m-audio firewire 4/10 with the win xp driver under windows vista ultimate os. Fl 6 has no crackiling that ive noticed with the same driver and device. Ive still seen nuthin from m-audio and i dont think they'll release just any crappy drivers to satisfy its customers until they get it nailed down. I wouldnt mind a beta driver for now to at least get the input and outputs assosiated properly with my card under vista. WoW I shouldnt of upgraded yet. It will be a pain in the rear too reformat reinstall and redo all my software and serial keys. 🙁


    M-Audio mobilepre usb interface. NOT WORKING!! on Vista…NUENDO 2 or 3, NOT WORKING!!!.

    Any ideas or ways that I can update at least the usb drivers for M-Audio?




  • Anon

    bit random but i run ableton live 6 although everytime i change my driver to asio4all my laptop shuts down!

    is asio4all not compatible with ableton live 6, and if so is there another asio driver that is which will help launch samples quickly?

    many thanks


  • speegemeister

    Is there any decent studio software that is fully compatable for vista at this juncture, without having to run around trying to find drivers?

  • Scott Lockett

    Cakewalk Sonar 7 is coded for Vista 32x and 64x

  • fifi allferno

    is behringer u-control umx49 instrument package gonna get a vista driver