3 Ways To Optimize Your Computer For Recording And Mixing


These 3 important tips should help you with the optimization of your work. Do not forget to check the status of your hardware: view S.M.A.R.T data, check the temperature of the processor, and the voltage of the power supply, at least sometimes. With the timely detection and elimination of problems, your faithful computer will thank you with the possibility of a long and productive work.As a rule, ready-made computers and laptops of low and medium price categories (up to $ 500) are designed for quiet, measured work in office applications. Such applications are not as demanding on computer resources as, for example, visual design tools, sound editors, or DAW. It is worth noting that these demanding applications can also work with comfort, however, with an increase in the volume of processed information and/or requirements for processing speed, such programs begin to “slow down”. In most cases, in addition to work tasks, users start browsing with several tabs open, turn on audio players, maybe watch videos, etc. (we all do it). In order to optimize your computer for recording and mixing, we’ve come up with these few important tips.

1. Switch to a solid-state drive (SSD)

Hard drives have been around for quite some time and have established themselves well as permanent repositories for all kinds of documents. Now progress has reached the point that more than 3 terabytes of information can fit on one hard drive (this is approximately 750 medium-sized music projects). The read and write speeds are also quite high for them, but there is one BUT: hard drives quickly write and read sequentially. The problem is that when the disk is almost empty, the OS writes information to the first place that turned up by the arm (under the rocker). When the place ends, the OS has to look for free places to write the next file, and it begins to split or fragment data, writing one part of the file to one place on the disk, another part to another place, etc. This requires a relatively long time both to write the file and to read it.

Another problem with the hard disk is the time it takes to complete the operation. The more operations (read/write) a hard disk can perform, the faster both the OS and application software work. To turn to an arbitrary area, you need to scroll the “pancake” of the hard disk to the right place and turn the rocker so that the head hits exactly a certain sector. Actually, even if you have a super-cool and ultra-fast processor installed, but everything is stored on the hard drive, the speed will rest exactly on the speed of the hard drive, the processor, in turn, will simply give a read/write command and will wait until it finishes the necessary operation.

Solid-State Drives (SSDs) are becoming increasingly popular. They are significantly different from hard drives: they do not have moving parts, they are much smaller in size, they are not afraid of mechanical influences (a hard drive, especially an old one, can become unusable even from an accidental push during operation) and most importantly, they are an order of magnitude faster than hard drives. In some cases, even a relatively weak computer can be revived using only SSDs as an optimizing factor.

2. Install more RAM

As mentioned earlier, RAM is temporary working memory. These programs and the data processed at a particular moment are loaded. If you are a happy owner of small RAM, then as a rule, when working with a large number of programs (or one, but heavy), you might notice that as soon as the amount of occupied memory in the task manager approaches 80-90%, the computer continues to work, but much slower. Modern OSs with a lack of RAM begins to “dump” part of the information loaded there into the so-called swap or to a swap partition (file). A swap partition (file) is such a place on a system or other drive where data from the RAM is placed for some time. Of course, this is quite a difficult topic if you are not a confident user of computer programs, so if you have to write an essay on this topic, it is better to turn to a assignment writing service uk for help. But let’s still try to explain to you about memory optimization in simple words.

As soon as during the work, the program needed the data that was downloaded – the OS unloads something else in a swap, and from there, it gets what it needs at the moment. This takes a long time, so the best solution is to increase the amount of RAM so that the OS does not have to resort to such tricks.

Now the cost of RAM is quite low, that is, you can increase the performance of the computer a little without special costs by setting an additional bracket or replacing the existing one with a larger one.

3. Determine the best sound delay options for you.

Sound delay is the lag that occurs between performing an action (pressing a button, scratching the time code of a vinyl record) and when you unload the result (the time that takes away the effect to act after you press the button on your controller). Depending on how powerful your computer is, you can get close to an absolute zero latency, from about 2-5 milliseconds (which a person cannot distinguish) to 50-80 (which you can hear distinctly).

It is true that the less the delay is set, the more loaded the computer is. You will need to find the appropriate buffer size that will work with your computer. The “Traktor” has a “Delay” item in the audio settings, where you can increase or decrease the size of the buffer. Try first 512 milliseconds, then 128, 256. If you do not see the item “Buffer size”, you may have an old version of “Traktor”. In this case, just increase and decrease the delay until everything works without audio dips. When your computer reaches the correct audio delay value, the processor usage scale will decrease and there will be no more failures in the audio.

This article originally appeared in Growing Bolder Magazine. For more great stories like this, subscribe to the digital or print editions of Growing Bolder Magazine. All past issues of GB Magazine, including the one that features this article, are also available for our members. Find out how to become a member!