Computer Music – Unlikely Tips and Tricks – XP

If you had the misfortune to read my previous article/rant/memories on XP link you will know my previous liking for it as an operating system.

Unfortunately it is no longer viable as an operating system with the software and plugins that I have.

It does however still have a use in my studio.

Like I’ve stated in that previous blog, XP is pretty solid, even running on what would now be considered a rickety machine.

I fortunately or unfortunately, depending on which way you look at it, have become a dumping ground for friends and family’s tired and jaded PCs.

As a consequence I have lt’s of XP licences and lot’s of old PC components.

With this treasure trove(junk to some) I have built a fairly stable XP machine.

Now why would I?

The reasons are quite simple – old software.

Running 32bit software and plugins can be problematic at times on newer 64bit operating systems. Add to that old licenses for Photoshop and Dreamweaver and I have a need for XP.

I run XP without anti virus – I don’t download anything dodgy or go to any site that could cause any of my PCs harm.

I don’t install anything that is unnecessary.

Just what I need.

And guess what it is totally usable – it may not have the lighting reactions of the newer PCs but at 10years+ old it works unexpectedly well.

It only has a 1 core processor clocked at around 1.2 ghz and 3gb memory but it starts up reasonably quick.

Again why?

The main reason is to offload and use plugins that are unstable in modern environments.

Take Cakealks Rapture as an example.

It is 32bit, under Win 8.1 it will need to bridged, that is a wrapper will need to be employed to get it to work – this can work well sometimes but not always – I have found that combining it with Waves 64plugins for extra processing it becomes unstable – under Mavericks it will not install, you have to use a workaround to get it to install and that my friend is a pain in the arse.

So I installed it under XP and it runs – a great plugin synth that can be used without problem.

But how does this work.

Well, it does take a bit of work but once done it has it’s rewards and can then be applied to other ‘dead’ synths.

First you will need a DAW that can send MTC and another DAW that can receive MTC.

You send MTC(midi time code) from main DAW to XP DAW and sync.

You can then program/record XP DAW alongside your main DAW.

You can monitor what comes out of your XP by either routing it’s audio out to your mixing desk/audio device or via it’s own speakers.

Once your happy with your composition you can then render your XP audio track by track to then import into your main DAW.

So how does this work?

In my setup I have Reaper in my main PC.

Then via midi out I connect to my XP pc via midi in.

XP is also running Reaper.

I run XP reaper as slave to Main PC Reaper.

This is done via midi time code. Link to Tutorial

This works solidly for me – it means I can either program Rapture in XPs reaper using piano roll or I can set up a track on my Main PC to send midi out to the XP PC via it’s midi connection and record that way.

I’m confused.

So I am, let’s break it down to the different scenarios.

XP synced to MAIN pc both running Reaper as DAW.

You now have a few scenarios.

1st – Program via piano roll on XP – this will be in sync with main daw and gives you the extra bonus of being on another screen.

2nd – Record out from Main PC into XP – all midi sent will be recorded into XP reaper.

3rd – Program on Main PC and send midi out to XP – XP will then operate as a synth without any recorded info – that will be visible in your main PC

4th- Record into main PC and send out midi to XP – as above.

All this sounds mightily complicated but it isn’t, if you have an old machine and a few hours to spare it is really worth doing.

I have just scratched at the surface and it really does need a proper tutorial.

I promise that I will, soon.

Other uses we can find for this old XP box?

Audition – It is the best audio editing software that I have found – but it is 32bit well the version I bought is. It was expensive too and upgrading really isn’t an option. Soooo…

What else?

What do you have?

Any software that you’ve bought or freebies that you’ve found on the internet can be brought back from the dead and used alongside your new spanking super computer.

Also there are other aspects to an old XP machine.

Mine has a smart card reader – the type of cards used by the Korg ES-1

Transferring samples to the Korg ES-1 is not an easy task, it’s impossible intact without a smart card reader.

That alone makes this XP machine priceless – I can back up my banks ands create new ones.

And guess what, my old copy of Audition is there to help me do it.

Any other uses?

Well yes another synth that is ‘dead’ this brave new world.

The Proteus VX – a free download from EMU

Totally usable and some great patches.

Unfortunately only usable on XP.


I suppose I could go on but if you get what I’m saying you’re either with me or not.

An old XP machine will cost next to nothing, man I bet you’ve even got one in the attic skulking in a dark recess, pleading to be used again.

Oh wait…


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.