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Optimization Guide for Serato Studio (macOS)

Generally, you will need to make a few adjustments to your computer to ensure optimal performance for use with Serato Studio, or any Digital Audio Workstation for that matter.

The following optimizations are recommended when using Serato Studio on macOS.

Audio settings

The Audio Buffer Size for Serato Studio can be adjusted in the Setup window. This setting determines how much time is available to the computer to complete all calculations for continuous audio playback, otherwise known as latency.

In computer based audio systems a certain amount of latency (known as buffering) is necessary to ensure that playback, recording and processing results in an error-free audio stream without dropouts or glitches.

The audio buffer size, measured in samples, refers to the 'slice' of audio that is processed by your sound card at any one point. At a setting of 256 samples, a chunk of audio 256 samples long is processed and sent through the sound card outputs, finally heard as an audio stream through speakers. The sound card will then fetch the next batch of 256 samples, and repeat the process, during continuous playback. Because this cycle is continuous, the processing 'workload' on the sound card will be greater when the buffer size is smaller. A larger buffer size on the other hand, will minimize this workload, but will also increase the amount of delay in time, or latency, while the audio signal is processing.

A recommended approach is to find a suitable setting by beginning at 128 samples, and doubling the value until you find a happy medium.

A higher sampling rate also reduces the amount of latency. As an example, imagine using a buffer size of 44 samples: with a sample rate of 44.1Khz (samples per second), the latency would then amount to 1 millisecond. If the sample rate is doubled, 44 samples will now correspond to half a millisecond latency, since there are twice as many samples per second. Please note that a higher sample rate will also exert more stress on the CPU.

Optimize Energy Saver

This optimization will free up system resources as well as prevent the computer from going to sleep or standby mode which can cause audio dropouts with Serato Studio software.

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Navigate to “Energy Saver”

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3. Under BOTH the "Battery" and "Power Adapter" tab:

  • If present, set the "Computer sleep" slider to "Never"
  • Otherwise, check the box that says "Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off"
  • (If available) Uncheck the box for "Put hard disks to sleep when possible"
  • (If available) Uncheck the box for "Slightly dim display while on battery power"
  • (If available) Uncheck the box "Enable Power Nap while on battery power"

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Turn Off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

If your computer is equipped with Bluetooth wireless and/or a Wi-Fi (AirPort) card, these may need to be disabled for Serato Studio to work efficiently. In addition to freeing up system resources, disabling these can help resolve errors.

You can turn off Wi-Fi using these steps:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Navigate to “Network”

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3. On the left hand sidebar, click on Wi-Fi
4. Click on the button that says Turn Wi-Fi Off

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You can turn off Bluetooth using these steps:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Navigate to "Bluetooth"

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3. Click on the button that says "Turn Bluetooth Off"

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Disable Automatic Updates

Some updates to your Mac software could cause conflicts with Serato Studio. Therefore it is suggested to disable the automatic update functionality within the operating system.

You can disable Automatic Updates using these steps:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click “Software Update”

    Screen_Shot_2019-06-19_at_1.20.04_PM.png
  3. Make sure the preference labeled “Automatically keep my Mac up-to-date” is unchecked.

    Screen_Shot_2019-06-19_at_1.20.16_PM.png

NOTE: If there is an update that you need, you can manually update your Mac software by clicking on the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen and selected Software Update. 

Disable Sudden Motion Sensor (laptops only, not available on all models)

If you’re recording in a loud environment, this optimization will prevent the Sudden Motion Sensor from kicking in which temporarily stops the hard drive from spinning to prevent damage if your computer is suddenly moved.

You can disable Sudden Motion Sensor using these steps:

  1. Double-click on the Macintosh HD icon on your desktop (this would be your system drive if you have renamed it to something else)
  2. Go to the Applications folder
  3. Go to the Utilities folder
  4. Double-click on Terminal

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  5. Type sudo pmset -a sms 0 and press Return (typing in ’0′ disables it)
  6. Enter your administrator when prompted
  7. Type sudo pmset -g to verify that this has been applied

You can enable Sudden Motion Sensor again using these steps:

  1. Go back to Terminal following the above steps
  2. Type sudo pmset -a sms 1 and press Return (typing in ’1′ re-enables it)
  3. Enter your administrator when prompted
  4. Type sudo pmset -g to verify that this has been applied

Disable Spotlight Indexing

Have you ever seen the Spotlight magnifying glass icon with a pulsating dot in the middle? Did you notice your Mac running super sluggish while this was occurring? This is Spotlight creating a virtual index of all the files and folders in your system (i.e., indexing), allowing Spotlight to quickly search your drives. For everyday use, this is fine and not too much of a nuisance, but when using resource intensive audio applications, having Spotlight suddenly start indexing in the middle of your set can be disastrous.  

If your MacBook is overheating or the fan just won't stop buzzing, it's time to check the Activity Monitor. Because the systemstats process might be unnecessarily eating up your CPU processes.

The easiest way to prevent indexing is to adjust your Spotlight Privacy settings. The only hitch, Spotlight will no longer be able to search the drives you make ‘private.’ If you’re a Spoltight addict, don’t worry, you can easily remove your drives from the Privacy list to restore search-ability after your gig is over.

You can disable Spotlight Indexing using these steps:

  1. Open System Preferences by clicking the System Preferences icon on your dock
  2. Click on Spotlight

    Screen_Shot_2019-06-19_at_1.28.39_PM.png

  3. Click on Privacy
  4. Click the + sign in the bottom left corner, click on the drive you want to make ‘private,’ and then click Choose. Repeat the above process for each drive you wish to add to the Privacy list

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  5. To remove the drive, click on the drive icon listed and use the – key

Disable Automatic Brightness

Disabling automatic brightness (if your Mac has an ambient light sensor), can improve waveform display related performance on some Mac's.

You can disable Automatic Brightness using these steps:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Choose 'Displays'

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  3. Select your built-in display if you have multiple displays connected
  4. Make sure the box labeled 'Automatically adjust brightness' is unchecked

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