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 a Windows PC.
NOTE: The following screenshots are taken on a computer running Windows 10. Processes and screenshots may differ if you are running an earlier version of Windows.
Ensure your computer's power adapter is connected. Using Serato Studio (or any CPU-intensive application) with battery power can result in CPU throttling which could cause performance issues, particularly when the battery capacity is nearly empty.
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.
Adjust Power Options & Disable Power Throttling
It is strongly recommended to adjust the power options so that your computer does not enter sleep mode, put the hard disks to sleep, suspend USB devices, or reduce processor activity. These features extend the battery charge when using a laptop that is not connected to its power supply. Unfortunately this can limit the resources available to Serato Studio and result in performance issues such as audio distortion and / or dropouts.
NOTE: We recommend connecting your computer to its power adapter when using Serato Studio as applications are throttled when your computer is running on battery.
You can optimise your power options using these steps:
- Open Control Panel
- Click on Hardware and Sound
- Click on Power Options
- Click on "Create a Power Plan"
- Set the display’s sleep time as well as the computer’s sleep time to Never
- Click on Change advanced power settings
- Click the + next to Hard Disk, then click the + next to Turn Off Hard Disk After
- In the text field, type Never
- Click on the + next to USB settings, the click the + next to USB selective suspend settings
- Double-click where it says Enabled, then click Disabled
- Click on the + next to Processor power management, then click the + next to Minimum processor state
- Type 100 in the text field (%)
- Click Apply, then OK
- Click Save Changes
Disable C-State Transition and Turbo Boost (BIOS)
Note that not all computers have these settings. If yours does, it is recommended that you disable them if possible. These two settings can cause the processor to change speeds depending on the computer’s activity. This can cause errors or slow performance with Serato DJ.
You should consult the manufacturer of your computer or your motherboard to see if these settings are available and learn how to disable them.
Disable USB Power Management
This allows the computer to power off USB devices to save power. This can be handy when on a laptop, however in most audio applications this is not ideal. To disable this, do the following:
Windows 7 & 8.1
- Navigate to Control Panel → System and Security → System → Device Manager
- In the Universal Serial Bus controllers:
- Right Click each USB Root Hub
- Choose Properties → Power Management
- Make sure "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power " is unticked.
- Open Power Options (e.g. by typing "Power Options" in the search bar of the Control Panel)
- Click on "Change power plan settings" on the power plan that is being used (has a bullet ticked)
- Click change ‘Advanced power settings
- In popup box, double click on USB settings and on USB selective suspend
- Then click on ‘Enabled’ and change to ‘Disabled.
Update Graphics Driver
Outdated graphics drivers often times will not use the GPU efficiently. This can put strain on your system’s processor, which in turn steals resources from Serato software. As as result, you may notice a decrease in performance. A simple solution to this is to make sure you keep your graphics drivers updated.
You can find the make and model of your graphics controller and update the driver for it using these steps:
- Open the Control Panel
- Click on Device Manager
- Click the triangle next to Display Adapters
- Your graphics card model will appear directly below
- Double-click to view its properties
- In the General tab you can find the model and the manufacturer. In the Driver tab you can find the driver version and the date
- Go to your manufacturer’s website to find the latest driver for your graphics controller
Update Network Adapter Driver
If your network adapter drivers are out of date, the ethernet controllers could end up using more resources than they needs, which would ultimately affect the performance of Serato software.
You can update your network adapter driver using these steps:
- Access the Device Manager from the Control Panel
- Select the Network Adapters category
- Find the manufacturer and your network adapter model. Often times, there will be more than one network adapter in Device Manager. Try updating them all to ensure proper performance
- Go to your manufacturer’s website to find the latest drivers for your network adapter.
Hard Disk Optimizations
These optimizations will improve disk performance when recording and playing back audio files.
- Open File Explorer (Windows Key + E) and select 'This PC'
- Right click on the hard drive on which you will store your audio and choose Properties
- Make sure “Compress this drive to save disk space” is unchecked
- Click Apply, then OK
- Repeat this for any drive where you’ll be storing audio
Update Device Drivers
Make sure you keep the drivers for your controller up to date. This will ensure compatibility with Serato software. You can find driver updates at the controller manufacturer’s website.
Adjust Processor Scheduling
Adjusting the processor scheduling will allow your computer to run Serato software more efficiently.
You can adjust processor scheduling using these steps:
- Open the Control Panel
- Click on System & Security
- Select Advanced System Settings
- Click the Advanced Tab
- Under Performance, click the Settings button
- When the Performance Options window pops up, click the Advanced tab
- Under Processor Scheduling, select Background Services
- Click Apply, then OK
- Click OK to close System Properties
- Restart your computer for the changes to take effect
Disable Screen Saver
Your screen saver may cause issues if it starts while Serato Studio is running.
You can turn off the screen saver using these steps:
- In the Windows search bar, type in 'Screensaver'
- Click on Change screen saver
- In the Screen Saver Settings window, Select None, then click OK
Disable User Account Control
User Account Control can cause issues with volume read/write permissions. To turn it off, follow these steps:
- Open Control Panel
- Click User Accounts
- Click Change User Account Control Settings
- Set to Never Notify
- Click OK
- Restart your computer
Minimize CPU use from other programs
Many brand computers come with pre-installed programs or utilities which run in the background. For best performance, we recommend using Live on a freshly installed operating system to minimize the amount of unwanted programs running. It is possible to uninstall such programs from the Control Panel, in the Program subsection.
Disabling the amount of programs that run automatically when Windows starts, will help to reduce CPU usage by unnecessary programs.
To view the startup programs :
- Right-click on the Windows Icon
- Click on Task Manager
- Click the 'Startup Tab'
- Disable any unnecessary programs, eg. messenger apps, idle programs