High-Res Audio with new USB Protocol

One of the features in the new Windows 10 update (dubbed the “creator’s update”) is the implementation of USB Audio Class 2 drivers. Macs and Linux users have been enjoying the protocol for a while. basically, it allows the use of up to eight tracks of 32-bit, 384kHz audio without going into exclusive mode (though more people will use it for 24-bit, 96k).

Game Mode

Another new bit of functionality in the update is Game Mode. This allows a user to dedicate certain resources for a specific program. Since it mostly has to do with dedicating CPU cores and most DAWs use all the cores they can access early testers have found performance to lessen with Game Mode enabled. As the name implies, the feature is most useful for gaming, where each program only accesses up to four cores (usually only two).

Surface Dial and Pen

It’s been almost a year since Microsoft unveiled their 28″ Surface Studio touch-screen computer—specifically designed for creative professionals. With it is the Surface Dial and a new pen that add additional functionality. Pro Sound News recently published an article about how the recent Creator’s Update for Windows 10 brings us a little closer to using the dial for audio production.

The first music production app to integrate the dial fully is the notation program StaffPad. The dial interacts with the Surface Studio’s screen or can connect to any desktop computer via Bluetooth 4.0. On the Studio, the dial can copy and paste, select different dynamics (that can then be drawn in with the pen, and various other functions.

The obvious application of the dial is to control radial parameters like a hardware potentiometer (for example, in an EQ plug-in). Craig Anderson in the SoundBusiness article notes that the dial could select MIDI parameters, while the pen pressure could set values; pressing the pen could also switch between tools or do an enable/disable tool function.

You can read more about the Surface Dial and its possible audio applications at Sound on Sound here.