Audio optimization tips


#1

Hello all,

I’m going to use the Surface Pro 4 (SP4) for gigging, and is looking for some optimization tips. I also uses the SP4 for personal activities such as surfing the internet, remote desktop, etc… but VERY LIMITED.

There are quite a few articles on the internet, but most of them assume that the machine is fully dedicated for audio production, no internet, etc… and most of them are for desktop machines, so I have a hard time knowing which services I should be turning off, etc… Anyone with the same sort of usage? Are there services/background schedules that we can absolutely turn off without side affects?

Thanks,
Kenny.


#2

Hi, prosuming you’re using one of the newer OS (Win 7, 8, 10) there are few things I’d do:

  1. Windows energy settings: set it to maximim power
  2. During music opertion deactivate (do not uninstall!!) network adapters (LAN & WLAN) in device manager as they often make trouble and normally are not needed for music.
  3. If possible switch off virus scanners etc., they don’t make trouble necessearily but can be a source of problems. As network is offline there is no danger for infection.
  4. Set ASIO buffer sice one step higher (normally means x2) than obviously possible at minimum concerning cracles/cpu overload. This gives you some extra cpu-time for unexpected load bursts.

This is mormally all I do on my machines having next to no trouble here and it’s the same as in your case: I occasionally use the machines for surfing, little office tasks,…

Of course there are lots of additional possibilities but I’d recommend to not start too complicated and having an eye on things followed by dedicated action if necessary.

Regards, humphrey


#3

I’d also recommend disabling Bluetooth during music operation.


#4

Humphrey’s suggestions mostly cover it.

Point 1 about maximum power is critical - or at the very least make sure you check Power Options -> Advanced -> Processor Power Management and set minimum and maximum processor state to 100%.

Other tips:

  • Turn off any sort of sleep or power down options. (displays, hard drive etc…)
  • Definitely turn off network and bluetooth if you can
  • Run LatencyMon and check for other badly behaved drivers.
  • If LatencyMon reports ACPI.sys as problematic, don’t disable ACPI.sys. Rather, disable the “ACPI compliant battery” or “Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery” device. You’ll lose you battery icon and some power management settings though.
  • Make sure hard drive compression and hard drive indexing are turned off (they usually are)
  • Screen saver off
  • Check your Scheduled Tasks in Control Panel - make sure there’s nothing scheduled for during the gig.
  • Other apps to close before performance: skype, virtual machines, web browsers, music players (spotify, itunes, WMP etc…). Also check other running tray icons.
  • Disable system sounds.
  • Disable drivers for any sound cards you’re not using
  • If you’re using large sample libraries, you might want to experiment with Cantabile Options -> Audio Engine -> Prevent Memory Paging
  • Run Task Manager and check for any processes using excessive amounts of memory and consider killing them.

#5

I use the Surface Pro 3 (i7 with 8GB RAM) for live shows, and while I agree with all of the optimization tips here, I will say that I haven’t needed to worry about anything like that as long as I use an ASIO driver set to a decent latency setting (256 samples, about 5ms).

The only performance issue I have come across is when I tried to load an entire show’s plugins into a single massive session (in Cantabile 2), exceeding my 8GB RAM limit. C3’s ability to load plugins faster and apparently more efficiently allows me to only load one set’s worth of songs at a time (about 20-30 plugin instances, well under 8GB Working Set).

Cantabile 3 running on a Surface Pro (with the right drivers and enough RAM) is fantastic for live music performance.


#6

Thank you all for the comments and suggestions. For now I’ll just keep my SP4 as it for the most part, and will see how it perform before going crazy with optimizations.

Kenny.


#7

Hi Brad, quick question on Prevent Memory Paging option. I do use large sample libraries (Kontakt libs), should I enable or disable this option? What are the differences?

Thanks,
Kenny.


#8

#9

I’ve pinned this topic and adjusted it’s title slightly because I think it might serve as a handy reference for anyone looking to perf. tune their machine.


#10

Allrighty let me add some to this topic and create some overview:
Maybe it would be intresting to have a def list of best practises?

I must say these settings are not without any risks and it disables basic w10 functions. Or at least because I’m not expert enough to know what services can be safely disabled or not. I have most functions working ok, only there’s a problem with system restore not working. And I’d love to get that back of course :wink:


Windows 10 USB probs Grrrrrrrrrrr
#11

#12

Don’t forget that Cantabile can now automatically switch power plans. See about half way through this post


#13

Someone just turned me on to @brad 's glitch free audio manual. Wow, very impressive. I’m trying to squeeze what I can out of my laptop, W7, i5 and 8G, I am now having problems playing RealStrat w/Amplitube.

So just a few questions? What about services? Is this worthwhile? http://www.blackviper.com/service-configurations/black-vipers-windows-7-service-pack-1-service-configurations/

I wasn’t really able to figure out or understand what initial size for page filing shouod be and maybe don’t really understand maximum beyond 1 1/2 times RAM.


#14

Services is a tricky one which I’m reluctant to push too hard… I’ve completely broken a Windows installation by disabling something I shouldn’t have, so be careful. (though that was a long time ago, WinXP I think).

Basically I’d just keep an eye on it… if you see a service that seems to be using too many resources, then research that specific service and see if it’s safe to shut it down.

Brad