Optimising your PC for Audio on Windows Vista

The tuning tips below should be implemented if you want to achieve high speed, low latency audio recording and playback without glitches with your Firewire audio interface.

• Tuning Tips for Windows Vista

(Steps 1 to 5 can all be done from the Control panel)


1/. The first thing to do is to change the Processor Scheduling to 'Background Services'. This will improve the performance of ASIO drivers on the PC.

Go to System > Advanced system settings > Performance settings > Set Processor Scheduling to Background Services

2/. Next thing is to configure is the Power Management on your PC. If the power plan is set to conserve energy, the CPU may not be running at full speed all of the time, which may be the cause of problems with audio performance.

Go to Power Options > Select the 'High Performance' power plan

3/. Then you should disable all system sounds. The windows alert sounds popping up during a recording session may interrupt the audio stream.

Go to Sounds > Click the 'Sounds' tab > Change the sound scheme to 'No Sounds'

4/. Enable DMA on each IDE channel.

Open device manager, expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers category then double click on each one of the IDE channels, under the 'Advanced settings' tab, make sure the 'Enable DMA' box is ticked in device properties.

5/. Disable Windows Firewall.

This should be set to ‘off’ and all network/internet connections, anti-virus and spyware detection software should be disabled during recording to avoid any interference.

• Windows Task List.

Once you have been through all of the above stages in the Windows control panel, you should then take a look at all the Processes running on your computer in the windows Task manager.

Open task manager by holding down CTL + ALT + DEL Then select the Processes Tab (It's recommended to do this after booting up, and before you've opened any programs manually.)

Sort the processes by User name (Click on the heading for this column) and check through the processes labeled with your user name. If you then go to and go to the task list page, you can then check the processes running on your computer against their task list info to see what they actually are and disable any tasks that you feel are unnecessary.

• PCI Latency.

If you have been through all of the above and you are still having trouble with clicks and pops in your audio stream, something in your system may be hogging the PCI bus and you should check the PCI latency timer values of the devices on your computers PCI bus.

NOTE : Before Vista will allow you to change the PCI latency timer settings, you will need to turn User Account Control off.

Control Panel > User Accounts > Click 'Turn User Account Control on or off'

• Vista Bottlenecks

It may also be worth looking at the Vista tuning articles below regarding disabling Windows Search and setting desktop appearance as traditional:

Vista Bottlenecks Part 1

Vista Bottlenecks Part 2

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