Optimizing Windows 7 Audio

Discussion in 'Computer Audiophile: Software, Configs, Tools' started by Xeno, Dec 22, 2015.

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  1. Xeno

    Xeno Rando

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    Good day friends,

    Looking for some advice or guides on how to get the best audio from Windows 7.

    A little background. I am using a variety of different players and running it to a Gungnir Multibit via USB with Schiit's drivers. I was curious if there are any tips or tricks, whether Windows upsamples to the rate set in the device control panel, or if I am simply doing it wrong. :p

    The setup seems pretty simple which usually means I am missing something.
     
  2. meloman

    meloman Acquaintance

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    As long as your preferred music player is using ASIO or WASAPI output, don't worry about Windows upsampling. Foobar2000, MusicBee and JRiver are some good choices. The CMedia USB interface in Gungnir Multibit is a bit finicky, so find a stable USB port (preferably USB 2.0) that is not being shared with other devices. If you have a desktop machine, might as well get a dedicated PCI/e USB card just for your DAC. Also, checkout this resource.
     
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  3. borrego

    borrego Incessant Audio-GD #1 Fan Boy

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    1st thing to do: Set processor scheduling option to Optimized for "Background services" . If you use ASIO, you can listen to the improvement immediately after the change.

    2nd thing to do: Update all C++, Visual Studio, .NET runtime installed (you can see those in the installed applications list in Control Panel) to latest versions available from Microsoft download. For example, update the Visual Studio runtime from 2013 version to 2015 version.
     
  4. Judeus

    Judeus Facebook Friend

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    one tip I can give that solved basically all my problems with usb was ensure you go into power options in windows and then custom options and check put hard to sleep after: to never and USB suspend after: to never. Also make sure your processor minimum state is like 10-15%. Since we are using the USB protocol for streaming essentially this helps a lot with any glitching or pops I found. Havnt had any since.
     
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  5. firev1

    firev1 Friend

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  6. SSL

    SSL Friend

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    This guide seems to be aimed at studio applications - audio production and recording. Despite what many people seem to want to believe, playing music files and audio reproduction do not have the same hardware demands. Disabling exclusive mode seems counter productive, and messing with processor scheduling is probably a great way to degrade overall system performance without affecting audio playback at all.

    One thing that can make an actual difference is to make sure that unused hardware controllers are disabled in BIOS and their drivers removed - for example, extra SATA controllers or onboard audio. In some cases, I've seen bad drivers cause latency issues that have affected audio performance. I've also seen an out of date BIOS have a similar effect. Of course, the impact will be less if using an external DAC. But if people are looking for tweaks that have an impact in the real world, these are good things to consider.
     
  7. firev1

    firev1 Friend

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    In this case the only thing that seems counter productive would be the exclusive mode settings as you want the DAW and multiple playback/recording sources not to mess each other up. I don't really read the guide blindly.

    Processor scheduling makes a huge difference in my case as audio playback service like windows audio endpoint etc are highly reliant on processor. Another one that could possibly help is disabling hyperthreading to dedicate a full physical core (ime its always core 0) when you find your dpc latency to be high for whatever reason, some processing overhead can help with that.

    If you can afford it, use a ethernet instead of wireless network adapters as well, I find that in my case, uninstallingI(not disable) the wlan adapter results in a huge dip in dpc latency.

    For me its not about quality, its just about preventing skipping and other annoyances as EMU drivers are not terribly friendly with playback and recording with the untweaked PC. YMMV

    Note: for the uninitiated dpc latency is a measure of computer system to handle real-time data streams properly http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml
     
  8. SSL

    SSL Friend

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    I can appreciate all that. The context of the thread is audio playback, though, not recording or production.
     
  9. ulikmadik

    ulikmadik Rando

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    Also use as much RAM as you can buy. Only at 32GB the sound starts to get somewhat decent
     
  10. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

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    One of the best way to get good sound out of WIndows with Schiit Gear(or any dac with ASIO support):

    1) Don't use Itunes/Windows Media Player/VLC
    2) Use one of the below free* software:

    Option A. Music Bee with ASIO: http://getmusicbee.com/
    Option B. Foobar with ASIO: https://www.foobar2000.org/ and https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_out_asio

    ASIO will completely bypass all the crappy/messy windows mixer stuff.

    Do remember to configure Schiit's Cmedia ASIO control panel: 16bit / 24bit / 32bit (depending on your playback material)

    *you can also use other commercial software like jriver, but that's up to you.
     
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  11. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    I don't think there is any benefit to using asio over wasapi. They're both direct to dac. Schiit supports wasapi without the need for the extra asio package.
     
  12. Gravity

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    Is VLC also bad for watching movies then? I mean from an audio perspective. What would you recommend?

    Hope it's not too off-topic :oops:
     
  13. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

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    If you trust what Microsoft tells you then yes, WASAPI should be the same as ASIO.

    But from my own listening experience, I find that ASIO sounds better over WASAPI in terms of soundstaging and holographicness.

    No harm done in experimenting both ASIO and WASAPI interfaces, since it's risk-free. Pick the one that sounds best to your ears.

    I have tried all sorts of players from Bug Head Emperor player, Windows Media Player, Potplayer, VLC, Jplayer, Jriver, Media Player Classic(HC), ulilith, XXHighend, Songbird, Itunes and etc.

    VLC isn't the worst but it's not the best sounding either. Some of the players listed above have horrendously bad UI that is almost unusable so I would rather recommend the top two best sounding and free software that is also easily usable as well.

    here's another link on the topic:
    http://archimago.blogspot.sg/2013/06/measurements-part-i-bit-perfect.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
  14. Xeno

    Xeno Rando

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    I've been using Foobar and have been experimenting with JRiver. I assume that, if using ASIO or WASAPI that I need to run them in exclusive mode or is that not needed?

    I have noticed a significant audio improvement with watching movies in JRiver. Better soundstage and just.. more theatrical. Seems to do a much better job downmixing Dobly PCM.
     
  15. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    Yes, they require exclusive mode.
     
  16. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Probably the best thing I've done for my gear is get a motherboard with a DAC USB port.

    My Gigabyte Z97X Gaming GT has two USB DAC-UP ports. I thought they just provided stable power, but I discovered while in the BIOS that you can completely disable the power in those two ports.

    That's only useful if your DAC doesn't need power from the USB, but it's awesome.

    Apart from that, pretty much everything has been mentioned.

    You can also give high priority to the music program and/or driver process, disable all unnecessary programs and services and ignore the comment about needing 32+ GB of ram because that's hogwash.
     
  17. SSL

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    Bit-perfect playback is not possible in shared mode.

    It certainly seems reasonable...:rolleyes:

    If there is any difference between AISO and WASAPI (which I doubt), I would guess that it is due to the device and/or it's driver rather than any difference in the interfaces across the board.
     
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  18. mtoc

    mtoc SBAF's Resident Shit-Stirrer

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    no UAC, no stupid so-called antivirus (never use them).

    the most important part (besides the ASIO mentioned previous) is using the mmcss (should turn it on in the Services). and in the setting of foobar 2000 - advanced somewhere you can select the mmcss.

    the 2nd is set the process priority of the player to "realtime".

    PS, Wins 8 sounds better than 7. Same way as above.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
  19. mtoc

    mtoc SBAF's Resident Shit-Stirrer

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    sounds any difference after cut down the 5v power?
     
  20. lashto

    lashto Rando

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    http://thewelltemperedcomputer.com/SW/Windows/Win7/Win7Audio.htm
    That's all you need to know.

    Alternately, if you are lazy and/or hate configuring computers, you may use something like xxhighend .. as a player it sukz but it comes with a single-click, minimizeOS feature that does everything for you. That is, if you believe that such software 'optimizations' can improve the sound .. personally I do not but that's a different discussion .. and at least xxhighend does a good job at disabling a lot of stuff that is useless for a mediaPC and it's fully reversible
     

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