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Optimizing your Music & Audio PC (Part 1)
Written by Scott R. Garrigus - © 2005, Scott R. Garrigus. All Rights Reserved.
Just because you buy a computer with the latest specs, doesn’t mean you’ll get the best performing PC, especially when it comes to audio. There are certain configurations and settings that can make your PC optimal for audio work.

PLEASE NOTE: The following tips are only suggestions that I have tried on my PC. They are not requirements. Just because they work for me, doesn’t automatically mean they will work for you. I will not be held responsible for any damage they may cause, and I can not provide technical support if something goes wrong. Try these suggestions at your own risk.

The first thing I did to boost my PC’s performance was to add a second hard drive just for audio data. So now my C drive contains Windows and all my software, and my D drive contains only the audio data from my projects. This allows my audio software to access the audio data much more quickly.

Of course I also had to ‘tell’ my software where to find the data. In Cakewalk’s Sonar, this meant moving my WaveData folder to the second hard drive. And then in Sonar, choosing Options > Audio > Advanced, and entering the new folder location in the Data Directory parameter. For Steinberg’s Cubase, you would need to move your Audio Files Folder. To find out the name of the current folder, in Cubase choose Options > Audio Setup > Audio Files Folder. Take note of the folder, and then move it to the new drive using Windows Explorer. In Cubase, choose Options > Audio Setup > Audio Files Folder again, and this time select the new folder location.

Windows likes to scan the CD drive continuously to see if a CD has been inserted, allowing programs to run automatically. This can possibly cause disruptions in audio recording and playback. I disabled it as follows:

1) Right-click on My Computer and choose Properties.
2) Click the Device Manager tab.
3) Double-click on the CDROM listing.
4) Double-click on your CD-ROM drive shown in the list under CDROM.
5) Click the Settings tab.
6) Deactivate the Auto Insert Notification option and click OK.
7) Repeat for all CD drives you have in your system.

For WinXP users, the procedure is different:

1) Choose Start > My Computer.
2) Right-click on your CD-ROM drive and choose Properties.
3) Click on the AutoPlay tab.
4) Choose a file type from the drop-down list.
5) Activate the Select An Action To Perform option.
6) Choose Take No Action.
7) Repeat steps 4 through 6 for each file type in the drop-down list.

For more information: Optimizing your Music & Audio PC (Part 2)

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