Windows 11 and Live work

I was recently asked about Windows 11 and working and streaming live by someone. They wanted to know about OBS etc. This is a great question and whilst I’d love to say yeah upgrade, it’s not quite that simple. Windows 11 is better, it has better audio support for example, though for many that makes little different to their work live. Why? Because the better audio support only really shows up if you are running multiple programs at once and that’s usually not the main focus of a live setup.
The next thing is that Win 11 will generally take a bit more cpu power and ram to work, so you *could* run into performance issues. If you couple that with say an upgrade to Ableton Live 12 for example you WILL see the difference. However I’d also say that Win 11 runs a bit smoother and quicker if your hardware is up to it – so a bit of swings and roundabouts there. If you have a laptop that’s a few years old though, be warned they often won’t run 11 well – my “work” laptop which is rarely used could not run Win 11 nicely, though 10 is fine. A laptop that was a couple of years older was totally unusable though it runs 10 nicely enough.

The biggest issue I see though along with all of this is the last couple of years has seen programs and Windows get pretty bloated resulting in that lovely process of upgrading needed to run your programs adequately! With regards to live streaming and OBS for example, the latest version 30.1 needs more ram and a better gpu/graphics system to run at the same level as say V29. Coupled with the higher cpu and ram levels needed for Win 11 could mean that a perfectly usable system becomes sluggish and a poor performer. You can also run into the fact that drivers and other systems don’t run as well on 11. Firewire support is 11 is virtually gone for example, so that old firewire audio interface is unlikely to run at all, unlike Win 10 (at least early versions) where you could after some tinkering get some to work, albeit not at their best. Thankfully I have found very few bugs in Windows itself, and unlike Macs recently, plugins and music software all seems to play nicely with very few problems, all of which I know having been sorted.

So to sum up – if you have a recent system I do recommend upgrading to Win 11, with the little caveat of it might result in a poorer performing system if the hardware specs are not that great. Obviously if you decide to go all in and buy a new system, then those worries disappear! I like Win 11, the main used systems here all run it now except for my old “work” laptop, but that is rarely called into action. So it is NOT a necessary update/upgrade right now, but I would say go for it unless you can’t for some reason.

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