Tweaking Windows for Audio

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This guide is based on Windows 7, but the same applies for Windows 10.

The first and last thing to do is to check your system with a “latency check tool”
This runs some tests on your computer to make sure that audio can flow uninterrupted from the audio card, through the hardware, to the software and back.

You can check your system with one of these 3rd-party tools:

http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml
This should indicate any spikes that could interrupt audio. Tracking down the source of them is another matter though.

There is also a tool called LatencyMon, that gives you slightly more information
http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon   (Direct download link)  (User guide)

In addition to reading/following the guide bellow, you can also follow this video that will do most of the same setup:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b_AdZYSmLg

Hardware

First of all you need a stable hardware platform that you know will play nice with your audio hardware. When you buy some random off the shelf PC there are no guarantees that it will play with your firewire audio device etc. Sorry I can’t be of more help here as there are new models every day, and so many combinations of components that keeping up would be an impossible task.
You can buy off-the-shelf audio computers from companies such as ADK Pro Audio or Carilon. They have experience in the field and can recommend you a system for running LiveProfessor (Or any other audio software)

How much CPU and RAM ?

How much you need depends on your processing needs. CPU is the most important part, and of course with multiple cores, minimum quad, so more processing can be done at the same time.
Memory, unless you use sample based vst-instruments, 4GB or more will be just fine.

32 or 64 bit Windows?

That is up to you, LiveProfessor will run fine on both. We would recommend going with 64bit Windows since that is the way things are moving. LiveProfessor can run as 32 bit or 64 bit (also as 32bit on 64bit OS). The benefit of 64 bit is access to more RAM on your system (Max 4GB in 32bit).
However you should note that you will need to have 64bit versions of all your plugins to use them in the 64bit version of LiveProfessor.
(Please also note that these “bits” have nothing to do with audio processing quality, all audio processing is in 32bit float in both versions)

See these articles for more on this topic:

Plugin folders, 32bit and 64bit
Loading 32bit plugins in a 64bit host

Windows 7 Settings Tweaks

These points create a system that is supposed to be offline and to do one task, process audio.
They are of course all optional. Some of these settings are only to avoid popup windows.

The basic concept of tweaking the OS for audio is to remove anything that’s running in the background. We want to give our audio software every single ounce of processing juice we can – and we want it instantly so that means we want the CPU running at top speed, all the time – no power saving or sleep modes for us – no no, always on, all the time.
This is all mostly done through the Windows Control Panel, so open it up, and set to “Small icons”

Update drivers

Make sure you have the latest BIOS and drivers for the graphics card and audio/midi devices.

 

Administrator

Make sure you user account is administrator on the machine.

 

Windows Update  

Update all, then turn it off

 

In the control panel > Action settings > Change action centre settings

Turn off all security settings
Problem reporting – never
Windows update – never

System > Device manager
Verify no missing drivers

 

Indexing
Turn off indexing (Background task that makes searches go faster)

Network
Disable wireless (some users have reported performance gains by doing this)

Performance Information & Tools > Adjust visual effects
Select adjust for best performance, then (if you want) turn on “Use visual styles on windows and buttons” and “Smooth edges on screen fonts”, to make windows not look too crap.

Control panel > sound > sounds
Select “No sounds”

 

Control panel > Power options

Click on “Show more plans”

Select High performance
Select Change plan settings

Put computer to sleep : never

 Turn off the display : >4 hours? (set a value here that makes sure it does not turn off during a show)

Click on Change advanced power settings
Hard drive > Turn of hard drive after > 4h (set a time here that makes sure it does not spin down during a show)
USB-settings > USB selective suspend settings: Disabled
PCI express > Link State Power Management : Off

Windows Defender > tools > uncheck:
Autoscan my…
Realtime Protectio..

Control panel > Date and Time
Click Internet Time and uncheck the synchronize box

Control panel > Flash Player (if installed)
Advanced and tick the “Never Check for Updates” box

Control panel > User accounts
“Change user account settings” – bring slider down to “Never notify”.

Msconfig – click on the start button and type “msconfig”, wait for it to appear at the top and press enter to open. Click the “Startup” tab and click “disable all”. This removes all applications that like to run on startup and sit around doing nothing but sap resources. There may be something you need like the audio interfaces control panel or virus protection panel but mostly disable the lot and your system with feel young again.

Sources:

http://www.pc-music.com/content/audio-tweaks-windows-7-revisited

Watchout tweaking list (video)

http://dataton.com/forum/topic/734-watchout-5-technical-notes/

Topic on cubase.net

http://www.cubase.net/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?p=958722&sid=b27f649952091e5b8aee908fa0dc2ab3

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