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Optimizing PC for music recording

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Prominent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 779
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Hi guys

I found this site that has good information about about recording and how to optimize a PC for music recording and editing.

See below for the most important parts
/ Kalle

Use 2 hard drives for recording

DATA Corruption

Computers do make mistakes now and then. Have a look at the specs below and you'll see the ERROR RATE of a standard 7200 rpm drive. It has been found that recording audio or streaming large files on to the same hard drive that contains your swap file can cause corruption in your swap file and other important system files...For this reason NEVER record to the same partition as your swap file and windows files. If you only want a few audio tracks (less than 8) then 1 hard drive is all you need... If you want low latency or higher track counts then this is another issue and two disks is probably required.

Faster performance

By having one physical hard drive for your operating system (normally C: ) and another hard drive , internal or external (USB2,Firewire, SCSI), for your Audio files, you achieve many things. The first is faster performance. In the case your only using the one drive for both purposes it takes time for the read/write heads to move from the system area of the drive to where your audio files are kept. Refer to the example specs below to see a real SEEK time.... If the heads have to move from one side of the disk to the other, you have to wait 28 ms depending on the exact hard drive model. You may go "so what ? its only 28ms", well your audio card is probably set for 23ms latency by default unless you have changed the buffer even lower.

Lots of free area on the disks and/or defragmentated disks will also increase read/write time.

Windows XP (probably also Vista) optimized for background services

Why Background Services ?
ASIO and all DirectX, VSTi etc. are classified as background tasks.
With the computer optimized for background services, FX, virtual instruments and synths are given priority over graphics animations and other less important stuff. Changing this will without a doubt help lower latency and also greatly increase the amount of real-time processing of audio that your computer can handle.


Clean Out Your Startup Group

Loading programs in to RAM will force the computer to use the swap file for your important programs, see next topic below. I suggest using EndItAll to close all programs that you don´t need. Virus protection can be disabled since you can run it when it is needed. i.e.. When your downloading programs or checking e-mail.

Or use Windows START>RUN>"msconfig" to set up selective start startup ....

Tanglewood TW28STE (Shadow P7 EQ) acoustic
Yamaha RGX 320FZ electric guitar/Egnater Tweaker 15 amp.
Yamaha RBX 270 bass/Laney DB 150 amp.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
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Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840

Just to add to what Kalle has said, you will get slightly better throughput if you have not just two disks, but two disks on different channels. A channel, in this sense, could mean having one disk on IDE0 and the other on IDE1 (IDE allows a master and a slave on each channel) or, for example, one on IDE and the other on S-ATA.

"Lots of free area on the disks and/or defragmentated disks will also increase read/write time." I think he meant to say "decrease" the write time.

There is a freeware program that will control the running of background tasks. It is a utility that comes with Advanced SystemCare3 from, called "Gamer". You specify a list of services to control and use buttons to start/stop them. Advanced SystemCare3 is also free and extremely useful for cleaning garbage from your disks.

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