Optimising your PC for audio on Windows 8

Applies to: All audio interfaces

Optimising your PC for audio on Windows 8

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

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"
- Click the "Change plan settings" button.
- Make sure both power options are set to "Never"

2. Ensure that Windows 8 is fully up to date 
Microsoft often issues important updates for Windows that may fix issues relating to any audio problems you might be having. Problems arise here if a Windows system has auto-updates turned off, and so your system may be missing many updates. It is fine to leave auto-update off, however we would recommend ensuring that you check for Windows updates regularly.

3. Disable system sounds
System sounds can interrupt audio. 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"

4. 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"

5. Disable Windows Firewall, anti-virus and spyware software
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 temporarily disconnect from any internet connections when working with audio. This will also make sure that no network adapters are conflicting with any audio. 

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 Visual effects
The visual features in Windows 8 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 8 graphics for the best performance use the "Adjust for best performance". Although improving computer performance, this will make your Windows 8 appear a lot less aesthetically pleasing. 

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 adpaters 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 8 services as these use valuable resources. The following site has a comprehensive guide to the services running on Windows 8 and helps locate the services that are safe to disable:
Windows 8 Service Configurations by Black Viper 

If you are still experiencing audio performance problems after optimising your computer for audio, please contact the support team here

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