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Optimising your PC for Audio on Windows 10

Optimising your PC for audio on Windows 10

Windows is designed to suit many different users and, as such, has features that are best applied to some situations but not to others.

All of the tuning tips below are designed to promote better performance with regards to audio devices at the expense of some of the other functions in Windows. If you are experiencing pops/clicks when recording or playing back audio please try following as many of the instructions below as you're able to on your system.

*Please note that some of the steps below assume that you have the view in Control Panel set to 'Small/Large Icons' rather than 'Categories'.*

General optimisation:

1. Set your computer's power for high performance
If your computer is set to conserve energy, the CPU may not be running at full speed all of the time. This can have a detrimental effect on your computer's audio performance. To set your computer's power for high performance:
- Go to: Control Panel>Power Options
- Choose "High Performance"
- Then click the "Change plan settings" button. Make sure both power options are set to "Never".

2. Disable system sounds
System sounds can interrupt audio applications. Ensure that they are disabled by doing the following:
- Go to control panel and select "Sound"
- Go to the sounds tab
- Under sounds scheme, select "No sounds"
- Click "Apply" then, "OK"

3. Set processor scheduling to "Background services"
This will improve the performance of your audio drivers on your computer. To do this:
- In control panel select "system"
- Go to "Advanced system settings" and then the "Advanced" tab
- Click on "Settings.." under Performance to bring up the "Performance Options" window.
- Go to the "Advanced" tab and set processor scheduling as "Background Services"
- Click "Apply" then "OK"

4. Disable 'Windows Background Apps'
Windows 10, by default, runs a number of Apps in the background, regardless of whether you are using them.

Select 'Settings' from the Windows Start menu, select 'Privacy', then select 'Background Apps'. From here switch 'Off' the apps that you do not believe you are using, or that you do not wish to run in the background when you are not using the program.

5. Disable 'Windows updates from more than one place'
Navigate to 'Settings' in the Windows Start Menu.
Then select:

Update & Security -> Advanced Options -> Choose how updates are delivered -> Turn the slider from 'ON' to 'OFF'.

USB optimisation:

If you're using a USB interface then we'd also recommend checking the following settings:

1) In the device manager (Right-click the Windows icon > Device Manager), in the Universal Serial Bus controllers section, right click each USB Root Hub, choose Properties > Power Management and untick the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power option.

2) Next, right-click the Windows Icon > Power Options. Set both "Screen" and "Sleep" options here to 'Never'.
Set the Power Scheme to High Performance (if this setting is not available, click on "Additional Power Settings" on the right side of the screen).

Then click on Change plan settings. On the next page set both "Turn off the display" and "Put the computer to sleep" to "Never".

3) Then click Change advanced power settings. In the window that opens make sure you have the following settings: Hard disc > Turn off hard disk after > Setting (Minutes) = Never
Sleep > Sleep after > Setting (Minutes) = Never
USB settings > USB selective suspend setting > Setting = Disabled
Display > Turn off display after > Setting (Minutes) = Never
Processor power management > Minimum processor state > Setting = 100%
Processor power management > Maximum processor state > Setting = 100%

Please note, not all options are available on all machines.

Advanced optimisation:

If you wish to optimise your system further, or you are using a system that is particularly lacking in resources you can follow the tips below for advanced optimisation. 

Disable Sleep/Hibernate mode

Sleep and Hibernate mode can cause problems on some systems. There are various sleep/hibernate states that different computers use and some system/device drivers may not work well when the computer comes out of these modes. If at all possible, it's worth disabling these modes to see if that improves your system's performance

Sleep mode can be disabled by following steps 2 and 3 in the 'USB Optimisation' section above. This will prevent your computer automatically going to sleep (you should then avoid deliberately selecting 'Sleep' or 'Hibernate' from the Power Options menu).

Disable Windows Firewall, anti-virus and spyware software
If you're able to run your system without connecting to the internet then these should all be disabled to ensure that no interferences occur during audio recording or playback and to ensure that maximum resources are available. To remain secure while your firewall and antivirus disabled, it is advisable to disconnect from any internet connections when working with audio. This will also make sure that no network adapters are conflicting with any audio drivers.

Disable Visual effects
The visual features in Windows 10 can use resources that could otherwise help to improve audio performance. As a start, it is good idea to disable some of the visual features by doing the following:
- Bring back up the "Performance Options" window by following step 3 above and clicking on the "Visual Effects" tab and selecting "custom".
- Untick: "Animate windows when minimising and maximising" to help prevent glitches when minimising and maximising. You can also experiment with disabling other visual effects in the custom list to see how they improve audio performance. 
- Once finished, press "OK"

If you wish to optimise your Windows 10 graphics for the best performance use the "Adjust for best performance" option.

Disable Network cards
Sometimes, network card drivers can cause problems with audio. A good troubleshooting step is to try disabling your network adapters in Device Manager, and then test local audio (like an .mp3) and see if you continue to have issues. This is also a good optimisation step in general. Disabled adapters can easily be re-enabled at any point.

Disable Windows services
One way in which you can make more resources available to improve audio performance, is to disable unnecessary Windows 10 services as these use valuable resources. The following site has a comprehensive guide to the services running on Windows 10 and helps locate the services that are safe to disable: Windows 10 Service Configurations by Black Viper

Please note that we would recommend that disabling Windows services should be done only by advanced users.

If you are still experiencing audio performance problems after optimising your computer for audio, please Contact Technical Support

Disable Fast Boot

Some users may experience an issue where audio becomes slowed down after booting the computer. This is fixed by disabling fast boot. For instructions on this and further information please see this article.

Check for DPC Latency

DPC Latency can cause audio issues on some systems, please see this article.

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