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 the 3rd-party tool LatencyMon
http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon   (Direct download link)  (User guide)

In addition to reading/following the guide below, 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 nicely with your audio hardware. It is hard to recommend a specific set of components 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 Carillon. 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. There is no point in going for a lot of CPU cores, as they are not ideal for low-latency processing. Fewer cores with higher clock speeds are better. RAM does not really affect performance all that much unless you are using sample-based instruments.

Windows  Settings Tweaks

The goal is to create a system that is offline and set 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 your user account is an 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 the 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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