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Windows Optimization Guide for Serato Studio

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.

It's strongly recommended to carry out the optimizations below, whether you have a very powerful Windows computer, or an older model.

Please check the Serato Studio system requirements for supported operating systems, and to ensure your computer meets or exceeds the recommended computer specifications that are stipulated.

Make sure you are also the latest Windows updates installed.

In order to complete many of the optimizations below, you will need to access Control Panel:

  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard, or click on the Start button
  2. Type "Control Panel"
  3. Press Enter on your keyboard, or click on the Control Panel app

Power adapter

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.

Restart your computer

You'd be surprised at how many random issues can occur because a computer has not been restarted in days, weeks, or even months in some cases. Audio drop-outs, distortion, hangs, freezes, and crashes can all be mitigated or avoided simply by regularly restarting your computer. We strongly advise you restart your computer before any session.

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.

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: Some computers do not allow the user to choose 'High Performance' as a plan (as per step 3 below) and some critical optimization options may be hidden under 'Change advanced power settings'. Microsoft Surface and Dell computers have been known to come with these options hidden - but there may be other Windows OEM computers that fall into this category. If you find yourself in this situation, please check out our Where is the High Performance power plan option on my Windows 10 or 11 computer article.

You can optimize your power options using these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel
  2. Click on Hardware and Sound:
  3. Click on Power Options:
  4. Click on Create a Power Plan:
  5. Set Turn off the display and Put the computer to sleep dropdown's to Never, under Plugged in:
  6. Click on Change advanced power settings
  7. Click the + next to Hard Disk, then click the + next to Turn off hard disk after
  8. In the text field, type Never:
  9. Click on the + next to USB settings, the click the + next to USB selective suspend settings
  10. Click where it says Enabled next to Plugged in, then change this to Disabled:
  11. Click on the + next to Processor power management, then click the + next to Minimum processor state
  12. Type 100 in the text field next to Plugged in (%):
  13. Click Apply, then OK
  14. Click Save Changes

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:

  1. Open Control Panel
  2. Click on System & Security 
  3. Select Advanced System Settings
  4. Click the Advanced tab
  5. Under Performance, click the Settings button
  6. When the Performance Options window pops up, click the Advanced tab
  7. Under Processor Scheduling, select Programs

  8. Click Apply, then OK
  9. Click OK to close System Properties
  10. 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:

  1. In the Windows search bar or Start menu, type in "Screensaver"
  2. Click on Change screen saver
  3. In the Screen Saver Settings window, Select None, then click OK

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 :

  1. Right-click on the Windows Start menu button
  2. Click on Task Manager
  3. Click the Startup tab
  4. Disable any unnecessary programs, eg. messenger apps, idle programs
    NOTE: If you are unsure of what a program is, do not disable it. Some computer manufacturers install vital utilities that may break critical functionality when disabled. Consult your computer manufacturer for more information.

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:

  1. Open the Control Panel
  2. Click on Device Manager
  3. Click the triangle next to Display Adapters
  4. Your graphics card model will appear directly below
  5. Right-click on the item and choose Properties
  6. 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
  7. 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:

  1. Open the Control Panel
  2. Click on Device Manager
  3. Select the Network Adapters category
  4. Find the manufacturer for your wireless network adapter, by right-clicking on the relevant item and choosing Properties, then using the General and Driver tabs.
    Often there will be more than one network adapter in Device Manager. Try updating them all to ensure proper performance
  5. 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.

  1. Open File Explorer (Windows Key + E on your keyboard) and select This PC
  2. Right click on the hard drive on which you will store your audio and choose Properties
  3. Make sure Compress this drive to save disk space is unchecked
  4. Click Apply, then OK
  5. Repeat this for any drive where you’ll be storing audio

Update Device Drivers

Make sure you keep the drivers for your controller or Serato Studio compatible hardware, up to date. This will ensure compatibility with Serato software. You can find driver updates at the controller manufacturer’s website.

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.

Misc. Optimizations

The following is a list of recommendations to get better performance out of your system.

  • Avoid connecting audio interfaces or controllers to USB hubs or adapters where possible. You will experience an overall better experience when you plug directly into your computer.
  • Make sure all unnecessary programs are closed. They can tie up useful resources.
  • Turn off any software utilities that run in the background, such as Windows Messenger, calendars, anti-virus, firewalls, and disk maintenance programs.
    NOTEWe do not endorse disabling anti-virus or firewall software on a permanent basis. Only try disabling these utilities temporarily as part of a process of elimination, to see if they are causing performance based issues, then re-enable them, find another solution, or contact the software developer for more tips on trying to reduce their performance overhead on your computer.
    If you are unsure about following this step, please consult an IT professional before proceeding.
  • Disconnect any unused USB devices from your computer.