The recently announced all new and shiny Surface Pro 8 should be here by the end of October. What will it mean for our desire to do Surface-based music production? Will it cope with low latency audio and intensive projects filled with virtual instruments and plugins right out of the box? These are the questions I hope to answer.
With the SP8 we’re getting new Intel CPU technology, new Thunderbolt ports, new pen and Windows 11 so there are all sorts of things that go wrong with this in terms of using it as a platform for making music. But don’t despair! I’ve been dedicated to using the Surface Pro as a convenient and creative music-making machine since the Surface Pro 3 and for every problem, I’ve found a tweak or workaround that has made this gorgeous (but not designed for heavy CPU tasks like making music) device a decent platform for creativity. It’ll work!….. it’ll work.
So what’s the plan?
As with all the Surface Pros that came before I’ve bought a mid-range one – no, Microsoft do not give these to me for free. For the first time, I’ve moved from the i5/8GB spec because that’s now the entry-level one, and opted for the i5/16GB version. Sticking with i5 because I believe it makes for a more stable processor that’s less likely to be plagued with cooling and clocking issues.
Once I have it here I will put together a number of videos. They’ll be a first impressions video, I’ll install some music software and see if it can work without any tweaking. Then I’ll put the time into testing the thing to see if it can handle low latency audio without glitching. Obviously, Windows 11 is a major factor here. I’m assuming that it’s mainly a cosmetic move from Windows 10 and they haven’t broken everything else – but we will see! I’m not interested in theorising about an OS, all that matters is what happens when you use it for the purposes of making music. Once my testing is done I’ll share my findings, recommended tweaks and ways forward. Hopefully, other musicians intrigued by the Surface Pro line of products will find this helpful.
Where have I been?
You might be wondering why SurfaceProAudio.com isn’t as active as it used to be? Well, my job and interests have changed. I no longer make computers for music production for a living and so my everyday focus is not on Windows and getting audio things to work. I now write about music technology for various publications and news sites with a specific focus on synthesizers and modular. My YouTube channel has evolved from focusing on computer music, audio interfaces and MIDI controllers to taking in Eurorack modular, hardware synthesizers and DIY projects. You may not find as many specific Surface-based videos in the channel as there used to be but my current Surface Pro is always there whenever software or DAW-related content comes along.
So, don’t worry. I will do all the testing and performance videos you need on the Surface Pro 8 and it will become my main music-making companion alongside the hardware I’ve grown to enjoy. And please remember that I do all this for free. Microsoft don’t pay me anything and I get a few pennies from advertising. I do have a Patreon where fabulous people can sign up to support my work on both the Surface and other activities. If you have specific Surface Pro needs then I would recommend signing up on Patreon to have direct access to my time. Otherwise please sign up to my main Twitter – @moltenmusictech or Instagram – @robinv00 to stay connected.