Knowledge Base/Digital Recording - Getting Started/Tuning and Optimizing Computers for Digital Audio

Optimizing Your Computer for Audio - Windows XP

Brandon Hays
posted this on February 25, 2010 04:11 PM

Why would I need to optimize Windows XP?

 

If your computer's audio has:

  • Pops
  • Clicks
  • Audio Dropouts
  • Distorted Audio
  • Noise

 

Optimizing Windows XP:

 

1. For the sake of troubleshooting, have ONLY the device connected.

 

2. Set CPU to LOW (FireBox, Inspire, and FirePod/FP10 only*) or set the operation mode to “Safe Mode 2” (All other products*).

a. This is another stage of firewire buffering between drivers and hardware.

  • This setting is not changing the overall behavior of the computer’s CPU. It is just telling the computer’s CPU to process our drivers and hardware faster with less buffers (HIGH) or slower with more buffers (LOW).

b. Right click on the recording device’s Control Panel icon in the system tray to access this setting for the FireBox, Inspire 1394, or FirePod/FP10, or open the device control panel to access this setting for any other PreSonus product.

 

3. Also in the device Control Panel, default the sample rate to 44.1, buffer size to “512.” Make sure Clock Source is Internal.

 

4. Open Windows’ Control Panel. Switch to “Classic View” and open “Network Connections”. Check 1394 Connection for 1 or more of them and if they are “connected” or “enabled”.

a. The 1394 connections are the computer’s firewire connection and they are in essence network connections.

b. If not “connected” or “enabled”, right click 1394 Connections and “enable”.

  • This could be the reason for installation issues.

 

5. In the Network Connections window, check for a Wireless Network Connection.

a. If a Wireless Network Connection is present, right click and “disable”.

b. We recommend disabling wireless hardware and services, as they can often be very resource intensive, taking the computer’s processing away from audio over firewire.

  • Symptoms are clicks, pops, dropouts, and or erratic audio performance.

 

6. Click the ‘Back’ button in the upper left corner. This returns to the first Windows Control Panel page. Open “System”.

 

7. In the System Properties window, General page, check if operating system is Windows XP Home, Professional, or Media Center and if Service Pack 1, 2 or 3. Check CPU speed and RAM, and verify that you are within the system requirements on product page for your interface at www.presonus.com.

a. We recommend Windows XP Home or Professional only at this time.

  • If you have XP Media Center, that it is not recommended and may have issues that we cannot support or resolve

b. If you have Windows XP 64, we do not have 64 bit drivers for some of our products, in which case it will not work or even install under Windows XP 64. You can check our website, at www.presonus.com to see which interfaces are 64-Bit compatible

c. Service Pack 1 or 2 is necessary for installation of our drivers.

  • Service Pack 2 is fine, but if you’re having installation or performance issues, you may need to download and install the Microsoft patch for Service Pack 2. It can be found here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/885222.

 

8. In the System Properties window, click the “Advanced” tab. Under Performance, click the “Settings” button. Click the “Advanced” tab in the Performance Options window. Set “Processor Scheduling” to “Background Services.”

a. Background Services is a very marginal setting. It basically tells the computer’s processor to put more processing priority on services such as drivers.

  • This setting is generally recommended for audio recording software.

 

9. Open the “Device Manager” window.

 

10. Check if there are any yellow ( ! )’s, ( ? )’s or red ( x )’s next to anything in the list.

  • a. Any yellow ( ! )’s or ( ? )’s would be hardware whose drivers are not installed or installed appropriately.
  • b. Any red ( x )’s would be hardware that has been disabled.

 

11. Extend Sound, Video and Game Controllers.

  • a. You should see “Presonus ‘device name’ WDM Audio” listed.
  • b. Seeing this is a good indication that the recording device has been installed.
  • c. If you do not see this or see this with a yellow ( ! ) next to it, try uninstalling and reinstalling your device drivers.

 

12. Extend IEEE 1394 Bus Host Controllers and check for the chipset.

  • This is the computer’s firewire connection.
  • Check this firewire card against the list of known compatible and incompatible hardware on our website, found here.
  • Combo cards are also not compatible

 

13. Extend IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers.

a. These are the computer’s hard drive controllers.

b. You will typically see Primary IDE channel and Secondary IDE channel.

  • Sometimes you may see 2 Primary IDE channels and or 2 Secondary IDE channels. Check each of them.

c. If you do not see this, hard drives may be SATA and or connected in a RAID array.

d. You may find PCI Express Controllers.

  • Double click to access the Primary and Secondary IDE channels.

 

14. Double click all Primary and Secondary IDE channels and click Advanced Settings to check for devices Current Transfer Modes.

a. Devices will either be a UDMA Mode, PIO or Not Applicable.

b. UDMA Mode or Multiword Mode 2 is usually appropriate modes for CD drives.

c. UDMA Mode 5 and 6 is usually appropriate modes for hard drives.

d. PIO mode is an older slower data transfer mode and can be the reason for audio performance issues. PIO modes need to be corrected accordingly.

  • Symptoms are very clicky, poppy and even distorted audio.

 

15. Extend Display Adaptors.

a. Check for the ATI RADEON 9000 or 9001, which has a known and irresolvable issue.

b. Refer to Hardware Compatibility List.

 

16. Extend Processors

a. Check for the INTEL 925 or 955 X.

  • These processor types and their motherboards may require downloading and installing the INTEL Storage Manger utility.

b. Refer to Hardware Compatibility List.

 

17. Close all windows but the Windows “Control Panel” window. Open “Sounds and Audio Devices”. Click the “Audio” tab. Set the “Sound Playback” default device to the recording devices 1/2 Output channels and click “APPLY”.

 

18. If the device’s channels are not available, this may lend suspect to hardware incompatibility or defect. To check this, refer to Hardware Compatibility List

 

19. Open Windows Media Player or iTunes or any windows audio program, and test audio CD and or MP3 playback.

a. This is a good first test of the performance and basic audio playback functionality of the device.

b. If this test performs well, so should other programs so long as they are compatible.

c. If this test does not perform well, the issue may lend suspect to hardware incompatibility or defect.

 

20. For the FirePod/FP10 or AudioBox, turn the “Mixer” knob all the way to the left to (inputs 1-8) and test input channel monitoring. For all other interfaces, open their “Mixer” applications. Test input channel monitoring and mixing.

a. The FirePod’s “input” mix will monitor only the 8 analog inputs and in MONO.

b. For the FireBox or FireStudio Mixer, default Headphones to Mix (or Mix 1) Mixer Output to “MAIN” button or Playback to “1/2”.

c. For the Inspire or FireBox Control Panel, click the “Mixer Bypass” button to disable. “Mixer Bypass” is enabled by default and will have red lettering when enabled.

 

21. Open Studio One or your recording software of choice. Test software’s recording and playback functionality with device. 

ake of troubleshooting, have ONLY the device connected.

2. Set CPU to LOW (FireBox, Inspire, and FirePod/FP10 only*) or set the operation mode to “Safe Mode 2” (All other products*).
    a. This is another stage of firewire buffering between drivers and hardware.
        • This setting is not changing the overall behavior of the computer’s CPU. It is just telling the computer’s CPU to process our drivers and hardware faster with less buffers (HIGH) or slower with more buffers (LOW).
    b. Right click on the recording device’s Control Panel icon in the system tray to access this setting for the FireBox, Inspire 1394, or FirePod/FP10, or open the device control panel to access this setting for any other PreSonus product.

3. Also in the device Control Panel, default the sample rate to 44.1, buffer size to “512.” Make sure Clock Source is Internal.

4. Open Windows’ Control Panel. Switch to “Classic View” and open “Network Connections”. Check 1394 Connection for 1 or more of them and if they are “connected” or “enabled”.
    a. The 1394 connections are the computer’s firewire connection and they are in essence network connections.
    b. If not “connected” or “enabled”, right click 1394 Connections and “enable”.
        • This could be the reason for installation issues.

5. In the Network Connections window, check for a Wireless Network Connection.
    a. If a Wireless Network Connection is present, right click and “disable”.
    b. We recommend disabling wireless hardware and services, as they can often be very resource intensive, taking the computer’s processing away from audio over firewire.
        • Symptoms are clicks, pops, dropouts, and or erratic audio performance.

6. Click the ‘Back’ button in the upper left corner. This returns to the first Windows Control Panel page. Open “System”.

7. In the System Properties window, General page, check if operating system is Windows XP Home, Professional, or Media Center and if Service Pack 1, 2 or 3. Check CPU speed and RAM, and verify that you are within the system requirements on product page for your interface at www.presonus.com.
    a. We recommend Windows XP Home or Professional only at this time.
        • If you have XP Media Center, that it is not recommended and may have issues that we cannot support or resolve
    b. If you have Windows XP 64, we do not have 64 bit drivers for some of our products, in which case it will not work or even install under Windows XP 64. You can check our website, at www.presonus.com to see which interfaces are 64-Bit compatible
    c. Service Pack 1 or 2 is necessary for installation of our drivers.
        • Service Pack 2 is fine, but if you’re having installation or performance issues, you may need to download and install the Microsoft patch for Service Pack 2. It can be found here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/885222.

8. In the System Properties window, click the “Advanced” tab. Under Performance, click the “Settings” button. Click the “Advanced” tab in the Performance Options window. Set “Processor Scheduling” to “Background Services.”
    a. Background Services is a very marginal setting. It basically tells the computer’s processor to put more processing priority on services such as drivers.
        • This setting is generally recommended for audio recording software.

9. Open the “Device Manager” window.

10. Check if there are any yellow ( ! )’s, ( ? )’s or red ( x )’s next to anything in the list.
    a. Any yellow ( ! )’s or ( ? )’s would be hardware whose drivers are not installed or installed appropriately.
    b. Any red ( x )’s would be hardware that has been disabled.

11. Extend Sound, Video and Game Controllers.
    a. You should see “Presonus ‘device name’ WDM Audio” listed.
    b. Seeing this is a good indication that the recording device has been installed.
    c. If you do not see this or see this with a yellow ( ! ) next to it, try uninstalling and reinstalling your device drivers.

12. Extend IEEE 1394 Bus Host Controllers and check for the chipset.
    a. This is the computer’s firewire connection.
    b. Check this firewire card against the list of known compatible and incompatible hardware on our website, found here:
http://www.presonus.com/media/pdf/hardware_compatibility.pdf
    c. Combo cards are also not compatible

13. Extend IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers.
    a. These are the computer’s hard drive controllers.
    b. You will typically see Primary IDE channel and Secondary IDE channel.
        • Sometimes you may see 2 Primary IDE channels and or 2 Secondary IDE channels. Check each of them.
    c. If you do not see this, hard drives may be SATA and or connected in a RAID array.
    d. You may find PCI Express Controllers.
        • Double click to access the Primary and Secondary IDE channels.

14. Double click all Primary and Secondary IDE channels and click Advanced Settings to check for devices Current Transfer Modes.
    a. Devices will either be a UDMA Mode, PIO or Not Applicable.
    b. UDMA Mode or Multiword Mode 2 is usually appropriate modes for CD drives.
    c. UDMA Mode 5 and 6 is usually appropriate modes for hard drives.
    d. PIO mode is an older slower data transfer mode and can be the reason for audio performance issues. PIO modes need to be corrected accordingly.
        • Symptoms are very clicky, poppy and even distorted audio.

15. Extend Display Adaptors.
    a. Check for the ATI RADEON 9000 or 9001, which has a known and irresolvable issue.
    b. Refer to Hardware Compatibility List.

16. Extend Processors
    a. Check for the INTEL 925 or 955 X.
        • These processor types and their motherboards may require downloading and installing the INTEL Storage Manger utility.
    b. Refer to Hardware Compatibility List.

17. Close all windows but the Windows “Control Panel” window. Open “Sounds and Audio Devices”. Click the “Audio” tab. Set the “Sound Playback” default device to the recording devices 1/2 Output channels and click “APPLY”.

18. If the device’s channels are not available, this may lend suspect to hardware incompatibility or defect. To check this, refer to Hardware Compatibility List

19. Open Windows Media Player or iTunes or any windows audio program, and test audio CD and or MP3 playback.
    a. This is a good first test of the performance and basic audio playback functionality of the device.
    b. If this test performs well, so should other programs so long as they are compatible.
    c. If this test does not perform well, the issue may lend suspect to hardware incompatibility or defect.

20. For the FirePod/FP10 or AudioBox, turn the “Mixer” knob all the way to the left to (inputs 1-8) and test input channel monitoring. For all other interfaces, open their “Mixer” applications. Test input channel monitoring and mixing.
    a. The FirePod’s “input” mix will monitor only the 8 analog inputs and in MONO.
    b. For the FireBox or FireStudio Mixer, default Headphones to Mix (or Mix 1) Mixer Output to “MAIN” button or Playback to “1/2”.
    c. For the Inspire or FireBox Control Panel, click the “Mixer Bypass” button to disable. “Mixer Bypass” is enabled by default and will have red lettering when enabled.

21. Open Cubase LE or your recording software of choice. Test software’s recording and playback functionality with device.
    a. Refer to procedure for troubleshooting Software and Hardware

How can I resolve pops, clicks, and audio drop outs in Windows XP?

 

1. For the sake of troubleshooting, have ONLY the device connected.

 

2. Set CPU to LOW (FireBox, Inspire, and FirePod/FP10 only*) or set the operation mode to “Safe Mode 2” (All other products*).

a. This is another stage of firewire buffering between drivers and hardware.

• This setting is not changing the overall behavior of the computer’s CPU. It is just telling the computer’s CPU to process our drivers and hardware faster with less buffers (HIGH) or slower with more buffers (LOW).

b. Right click on the recording device’s Control Panel icon in the system tray to access this setting for the FireBox, Inspire 1394, or FirePod/FP10, or open the device control panel to access this setting for any other PreSonus product.

 

3. Also in the device Control Panel, default the sample rate to 44.1, buffer size to “512.” Make sure Clock Source is Internal.

 

4. Open Windows’ Control Panel. Switch to “Classic View” and open “Network Connections”. Check 1394 Connection for 1 or more of them and if they are “connected” or “enabled”.

a. The 1394 connections are the computer’s firewire connection and they are in essence network connections.

b. If not “connected” or “enabled”, right click 1394 Connections and “enable”.

• This could be the reason for installation issues.

 

5. In the Network Connections window, check for a Wireless Network Connection.

a. If a Wireless Network Connection is present, right click and “disable”.

b. We recommend disabling wireless hardware and services, as they can often be very resource intensive, taking the computer’s processing away from audio over firewire.

• Symptoms are clicks, pops, dropouts, and or erratic audio performance.

 

6. Click the ‘Back’ button in the upper left corner. This returns to the first Windows Control Panel page. Open “System”.

 

7. In the System Properties window, General page, check if operating system is Windows XP Home, Professional, or Media Center and if Service Pack 1, 2 or 3. Check CPU speed and RAM, and verify that you are within the system requirements on product page for your interface at www.presonus.com.

a. We recommend Windows XP Home or Professional only at this time.

• If you have XP Media Center, that it is not recommended and may have issues that we cannot support or resolve

b. If you have Windows XP 64, we do not have 64 bit drivers for some of our products, in which case it will not work or even install under Windows XP 64. You can check our website, at www.presonus.com to see which interfaces are 64-Bit compatible

c. Service Pack 1 or 2 is necessary for installation of our drivers.

• Service Pack 2 is fine, but if you’re having installation or performance issues, you may need to download and install the Microsoft patch for Service Pack 2. It can be found here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/885222.

 

8. In the System Properties window, click the “Advanced” tab. Under Performance, click the “Settings” button. Click the “Advanced” tab in the Performance Options window. Set “Processor Scheduling” to “Background Services.”

a. Background Services is a very marginal setting. It basically tells the computer’s processor to put more processing priority on services such as drivers.

• This setting is generally recommended for audio recording software.

 

9. Open the “Device Manager” window.

 

10. Check if there are any yellow ( ! )’s, ( ? )’s or red ( x )’s next to anything in the list.

a. Any yellow ( ! )’s or ( ? )’s would be hardware whose drivers are not installed or installed appropriately.

b. Any red ( x )’s would be hardware that has been disabled.

 

11. Extend Sound, Video and Game Controllers.

a. You should see “Presonus ‘device name’ WDM Audio” listed.

b. Seeing this is a good indication that the recording device has been installed.

c. If you do not see this or see this with a yellow ( ! ) next to it, try uninstalling and reinstalling your device drivers.

 

12. Extend IEEE 1394 Bus Host Controllers and check for the chipset.

a. This is the computer’s firewire connection.

b. Check this firewire card against the list of known compatible and incompatible hardware on our website, found here:

http://www.presonus.com/media/pdf/hardware_compatibility.pdf

c. Combo cards are also not compatible

 

13. Extend IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers.

a. These are the computer’s hard drive controllers.

b. You will typically see Primary IDE channel and Secondary IDE channel.

• Sometimes you may see 2 Primary IDE channels and or 2 Secondary IDE channels. Check each of them.

c. If you do not see this, hard drives may be SATA and or connected in a RAID array.

d. You may find PCI Express Controllers.

• Double click to access the Primary and Secondary IDE channels.

 

14. Double click all Primary and Secondary IDE channels and click Advanced Settings to check for devices Current Transfer Modes.

a. Devices will either be a UDMA Mode, PIO or Not Applicable.

b. UDMA Mode or Multiword Mode 2 is usually appropriate modes for CD drives.

c. UDMA Mode 5 and 6 is usually appropriate modes for hard drives.

d. PIO mode is an older slower data transfer mode and can be the reason for audio performance issues. PIO modes need to be corrected accordingly.

• Symptoms are very clicky, poppy and even distorted audio.

 

15. Extend Display Adaptors.

a. Check for the ATI RADEON 9000 or 9001, which has a known and irresolvable issue.

b. Refer to Hardware Compatibility List.

 

16. Extend Processors

a. Check for the INTEL 925 or 955 X.

• These processor types and their motherboards may require downloading and installing the INTEL Storage Manger utility.

b. Refer to Hardware Compatibility List.

 

17. Close all windows but the Windows “Control Panel” window. Open “Sounds and Audio Devices”. Click the “Audio” tab. Set the “Sound Playback” default device to the recording devices 1/2 Output channels and click “APPLY”.

 

18. If the device’s channels are not available, this may lend suspect to hardware incompatibility or defect. To check this, refer to Hardware Compatibility List

 

19. Open Windows Media Player or iTunes or any windows audio program, and test audio CD and or MP3 playback.

a. This is a good first test of the performance and basic audio playback functionality of the device.

b. If this test performs well, so should other programs so long as they are compatible.

c. If this test does not perform well, the issue may lend suspect to hardware incompatibility or defect.

 

20. For the FirePod/FP10 or AudioBox, turn the “Mixer” knob all the way to the left to (inputs 1-8) and test input channel monitoring. For all other interfaces, open their “Mixer” applications. Test input channel monitoring and mixing.

a. The FirePod’s “input” mix will monitor only the 8 analog inputs and in MONO.

b. For the FireBox or FireStudio Mixer, default Headphones to Mix (or Mix 1) Mixer Output to “MAIN” button or Playback to “1/2”.

c. For the Inspire or FireBox Control Panel, click the “Mixer Bypass” button to disable. “Mixer Bypass” is enabled by default and will have red lettering when enabled.

 

21. Open Cubase LE or your recording software of choice. Test software’s recording and playback functionality with device.

a. Refer to procedure for troubleshooting Software and Hardware Setup.

Setup.
 
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