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64 vs. 32 bit computer system for DAW?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by gentlevoice, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. gentlevoice

    gentlevoice Active Member

    Hi All,

    Just a quick question (I hope :rolleyes:): For a DAW is it then preferred to use a 32 or a 64 bit system? I'm considering samplitude as a recording software (but not only this software), will use win7, and need a quite fast machine that is also future proof (to the extent possible) ...

    Thanks for any insights you may have :redface:

  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I'm not a Samplitude user, but I have several friends whom I trust and respect as engineers who do use it, and more than a few prefer it over both Sonar and PT.

    As to whether to go with a 64 or 32 bit system, I might be wrong, but isn't Windows 7 a 64 bit OS?

    Also, keep in mind that your "front end" will play a big part in your overall sound - the "front end" would be the type of mic pre you use, the quality of the converters in the audio I/O, etc.

  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    If you are making any attempt at "future-proofing", then Win7/64 Pro is the way to go. It doesn't stop you loading Win7/32 to start with if the DAW you want to run does not yet have 64-bit drivers, and then upgrading to the 64-bit version later, but you will have to buy the OS a second time to do that. Don't forget that however much memory you install, a 32-bit OS can only address 4GB.
  4. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    If you buy the retail box, it comes with both 32 and 64 bit versions. Most interfaces are 64 bit "ready" now. That is, they will run but not as 64 bit. I run Samplitude in 64 bit Windows 8 without a hitch.

    If you plan on running a lot of samplers and soft synths, 64 bit is absolutely the way to go. Particularly if you are using orchestral libraries. The more memory, the better.
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Getting the retail box would indeed be the thing to do, but the point about having to pay for the OS a second time is that off-the-shelf computer systems already include an OS licence in their cost.

    You can run the majority of 32-bit programs on 64-bit Windows7, but if the program performs I/O to non-generic devices, you will need drivers that will run in a 64-bit OS, and, crucially, are signed. There is also an XP-mode available as a download for running those programs that did not progress beyond Windows XP, but, in my experience, the I/O is not guaranteed to function 100% correctly.
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I didn't know that. That's some pretty awesome information, Bos. ;)
  7. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    64bit OS will access the system hard drive less for virtual memory.

    The biggest advantage is when you run large sample instruments, some instruments like Kontakt, can access RAM beyond 4GB in 32bit mode.

    64bit can also help during the mixing process, as you add more plugs.
  8. gentlevoice

    gentlevoice Active Member

    Hi again,

    & thank you all for replying to my question.


    This is quite key I guess - if I understand you correctly it means that unless the driver from the company has been signed (=tested & paid for?) with Microsoft then it may not work on a 64 bit machine? I followed your link and on microsoft's webpages it says that:

    Being a software layman & also using devices that from time to time come from companies that may not have the economy (I'm assuming here) to have their device drivers signed with microsoft I'm thinking it may be sensible to start out with a 32 bit version and then possibly upgrade later on. Does this make sense?

    Thanks for reading and maybe replying ;-)

  9. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    It's not generally something that a user has to worry too much about at the detail level. It should be as simple as the user having to check that the software he/she wants to buy is specified to run with the OS version and wordlength that is installed on his/her computer. This will vary wildly (all the way from "no" to "yes") between software manufacturers. However, it may not work out quite as simple as that in practice...
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    in 2008, I bought a new lap top, running Windows 7 / 64 bit, to act as a mobile studio in addition to my desktop studio PC, which was running XP 32 bit. The DAW program itself - Sonar PE 6.2 (32 bit) - had no trouble at all running on the newer 64 bit OS platform.

    The issues I did run into trouble with were with the various 32 bit plugs and plug libraries that I was also trying to import over to the newer OS.

    Sonar had a patch available, called "bit bridge" I think...and it worked well with about half of the plugs I had previously purchased for my XP operating system. In the end, some worked, and some didn't. My Waves library worked fine, as well as Sonar's built-in Sonitus stuff.. but I had some Blue Tubes plugs I had purchased for my 32 bit XP OS that simply wouldn't work under the new 64 bit system.

    As far as VST's, BFD gave me the most trouble... the version I had, which was the original release of BFD, would not work well under that 64 bit architecture.. it would lock up, drop out, stutter.... I finally contacted FXpansion customer support and they informed me that my version of BFD would be "hit or miss" running on a 64 bit system. Of course, their immediate answer to resolve the issue was for me to purchase an upgrade to BFD 2.. LOL... it's always about the upgrade, isn't it? God forbid they'd take 10 minutes and have one of their bad-ass code writers come up with a patch.

    Anyway, FWIW.

  11. gentlevoice

    gentlevoice Active Member

    Hi both,

    Once again, I appreciate your replies and insights thumb

    For me, right now being at the early learning curve of this I need things to work and be stable - so I'll go for the 32 bit version for now & then keep the 64 bits option open for later on if the need arise for accessing more RAM ...

    It's such a help with a forum like this and helpful people like you :wink:



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