Since computers became the go-to tool for recording, musicians have had a long love-hate relationship with technology. 1 hour after you leave the store with your brand new top of the line computer it is obsolete. Your investment continues to sink in value from that point on. And worse than the money you dropped down the drain on the gear is the terrifying thought of UPGRADING.
Things you can upgrade with to much cause for concern:
Adding memory/ram to your system.
Adding additional hard drive space to your system externally. (possibly internally if you have open hard drive bays)
External MIDI controller (Not including mixing control surface)
Speakers/Referencing monitors (I would not suggest do this though cause you need time to learn your speakers)
LCD monitors/ Displays
Things can upgrade but you should proceed with caution:
Audio in/out (interfaces)
MIDI Mixing control surface (Mackie HUI Compatible devices)
Itunes. Itunes, Itunes
Things you might want to seriously consider NOT upgrading at all and ESPECIALLY not in the middle of a project.
Your DAW, Your DAW, Your DAW
Your Operating System
Your Audio I/O (aka your audio interface, sound card, audio in/out)
What qualifies as “Not In The Middle Of A Project? ”
Before you decide to do an upgrade ask yourself what would happen if it took me two weeks to get everything working again? Would you be okay with that? Then go for it download the new operating system or the latest DAW upgrade. If the thought of not being able to your rig for two weeks makes you break out into a cold sweat, here is what you do… Leave it alone. Resist the temptation of the latest GUI changes and wait it out. Your two best options are to wait until you put together a new rig and to all your major upgrades or at a very minimum wait a few months till after the upgrade has been released so you can research potential compatibility issues. Operating systems updates are DAW updates are the cause of the biggest headaches because they must interact with the audio drivers from your audio i/o’s manufacturer. For example, Apple might release a new operating system, but Avid might not release audio drivers for your audio i/o for another 6 months if at all. This might seem a bit like a doomsday scenario for your studio but this to people all the time. Before you know it you are scrambling to restore from a time machine or do a clean install.
Here are the major things you should researching before taking the plunge?
Is my audio i/o compatible with this upgrade (the DAW, Operating system, or both)
Are the most commonly used plugins compatible with the upgrade?
Are there any licensing issues with the upgrade? This could be cloud issues? Installation of plugins, compatibility issues with Ilok?
And just for fun google what you are about to upgrade and the word bugs. Here is an example:
“Logic 10.3” bugs or “Protools 12” macOS Sierra
Forums like Gearslutz.om and facebook groups for your DAW are your best friend.
This statement from the Presonus website sums it up best.
” As a rule of thumb, especially when working in a recording studio environment or while in the middle of a digital audio recording project, it is never advised to make major changes to the recording environment. These changes include such things as updating your drivers, updating software versions, and especially updating your operating systems. One should never make such major changes to their recording environment until you have completed said projects. Once you have a gotten to a safe point, it would then be advisable to take the time to backup and/or make an image of your computer as a precautionary safeguard should anything bad occur during the update/upgrade process. Once this step is completed, it is a good time to do some intel gathering. Please take a moment and check in with us via http://support.presonus.com/forums/20979760-Announcements to see if there are known issues, issues currently being addressed and look for a comprehensive compatibility statement article released to inform everyone about how Yosemite interacts with our products. Once you have checked and double-checked that you are free and clear of known compatibility issues or bugs, it is fair to assess that you can update and upgrade your system. “-taken from the PreSonus support website.
This is the most important advice any music professional that works with technology can take to heart.
Short story… If you getting woking right LEAVE it the HELL alone. No really. Put a tin foil hat on and don’t even turn your computer off.