First and foremost, ensure that you have an original, licensed Windows 10 software installed in your PC. Else none of these tweaks will work.
Basic PC maintenance:
- Close any unnecessary programs while using your DAW.
- Disable non-essential third-party start-up services such as Skype, SpotifyWebHelper, OneDrive, and iTunes.
- Regularly empty your Recycle Bin and uninstall any unnecessary programs to save disk space.
- Perform an antivirus and malware scan regularly to ensure the computer isn’t infected.
- Consider using Microsoft’s built-in antivirus software Windows Defender and uninstalling third-party antivirus software. These tie up a lot of resources, can cause installation issues, and cause software not to run correctly.
- Remove programs which are pre-installed with pre-configured computers, which is known as bloatware. These are unnecessary programs which take up a lot of hard drive space and can use a lot of memory.
- Make sure that Windows and any recording software you have are always up to date.
- Use dedicated hard drives for DAW projects, sound libraries, and plug-ins. The less additional software which is on the hard drive Windows is on will guarantee better performance.
- Don’t move files and folders between locations constantly, especially with virtual instrument libraries. If you move these, you may get errors saying that cannot be located. It can also put unnecessary stress on your hard drives, too.
- Connect USB 3.0 devices to USB 3.0 ports, and USB 2.0 devices to USB 2.0 ports if possible. While you can connect a USB 3.0 device to a 2.0 port and vice versa, you may not get good connectivity.
- Also make sure you are inserting a cable into the USB port correctly. Don’t push it in harder if it doesn’t insert. Check the cable and port first again.
- If you have a limited amount of USB ports on your computer, use a powered USB hub. While passive hubs may work, they draw power from your computer which causes more strain.
- Use the included cables that come with the hardware. Some third-party cables, particularly generic brand, may not provide the proper connections required for that device.
- If your hardware includes a power supply, use that instead of relying on USB bus power, especially if you are using a laptop. If external devices draw more power than your machine or hub can provide, you may experience loss in connectivity and performance.
Updating audio hardware drivers & firmware:
If you’re experiencing playback and recording issues, installing the latest firmware and drivers for your interface can fix that. You can find your interface’s available downloads from our driver index page below. We recommend disconnecting the hardware before installing the driver. Sometimes, especially if you restart your computer, a generic driver will be installed in its place which can cause hardware issues.
Follow these steps to install the drivers correctly:
- Uninstall the current driver then disconnect the audio interface.
- Download and install the latest driver and firmware (if applicable) from the vendor’s website. Be sure to follow the on-screen instructions during installation.
- Restart the computer then reconnect the interface.
Adjusting Power Options:
- Open Control Panel and click Power Options.
- Select High Performance and choose Change plan setting.
- Set the computer’s sleep time to Never.
- Click on Change advanced power settings.
- Click on the + next to USB settings, then 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 and type 100 in the text field (%).
- Click Apply, then OK, and finally Save Changes.
Disable USB power management:
- Open Control Panel and click on Device Manager.
- Double-click on Universal Serial Bus Controllers as well as the first USB Root Hub item.
- Click on the Power Management tab and uncheck the box that says “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” and click OK. Repeat this for all USB Controllers.
Hard disk optimizations:
A 7200 rpm hard drive is always recommended. For bootup drives, opt for a SSD.
- Right-click on the Windows Logo, choose File Explorer, then click This PC in the left Column.
- Right-click on the drive on which you will store your audio and select Properties.
- Make sure “Compress this drive to save disk space” and “Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed” are unchecked.
- Click Apply, then OK. Repeat this process for any drive where you’ll be storing audio.
Inputs from: experience, Google, SweetCare
These are suggested tweaks for Mac OS 10.15. But most are also applicable to 10.12 or higher versions.
macOS System Preferences optimizations:
Producing music on a Mac typically means connecting external Audio or MIDI devices and then synchronizing them with your DAW software. Macs are built to handle audio production but require some additional configuration to maintain system performance. While every setup is a little bit different, the optimizations below will prevent common performance issues and keep your system synchronized. Continue below to configure your macOS System Preferences for working with audio or music.
There aren’t many General preferences that affect your devices or DAW software, but you may want to disable Handoff to prevent unintended connections with your other Apple devices.
Desktop & Screen Saver:
The Desktop and Screen Saver preferences do not negatively affect performance bandwidth, but you may choose to use a simple background and no screensaver for optimization.
The Gatekeeper feature on macOS keeps your Mac safe from installing software from third-party developers. When installing trusted drivers or DAW software/updates, allow them access to macOS. You can also allow access after installation by going to the General menu within Security & Privacy. Learn more from Apple about how to safely open apps on your Mac.
In the Privacy menu, remove all listed drives so your apps can access them with Spotlight features. Select the drives and click the – icon.
macOS notifications are useful automatic reminders. While they do not severely impact your Mac’s performance they can play sounds and be a distraction. For optimum performance and without distractions, disable all unnecessary notifications and select “None” for each Calendar alert style.
Use the optimal resolution for your monitor display. You can choose Default for display, which is automatic, or Scaled to select all of the available resolution configurations. Using the maximum available resolution will give you the most screen real estate. If you find the display too small, try using a smaller resolution.
- Uncheck “Automatic graphics switching”.
- Move the slider to Never for “Turn display off after:”
- Check “Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off”.
- Uncheck “Put hard disks to sleep when possible”.
- Uncheck “Wake for network access”.
- Uncheck “Start up automatically after a power failure”.
- Uncheck “Enable Power Nap”.
Keyboard and Shortcuts:
macOS has built-in shortcuts that make using your Mac easier, like [⌘] + [Space] for Spotlight search or [⇧] + [⌘] +  to create a screenshot. Some software may use a hotkey that conflicts with the default shortcuts, so to enable it you will need to disable the macOS shortcut. Modifying shortcuts is not required but can be useful. Check out your software’s shortcut/hotkey list for more information.
- In the Keyboard menu, check “Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys” to disable the default macOS features. Hold the [fn] key while pressing the function keys to use their special feature again.
- Using the FN keys as standard function keys disengages keyboard control for volume. Uncheck his when not using an audio interface so you can regain control.
Printers & Scanners:
Printers and scanners use drivers to connect to your Mac. Some connect with USB cables with others connect wirelessly via AirPrint or a third-party app included with the device. If you do not need to use a printer with your Mac while using your audio and MIDI devices, either power it off or physically disconnect it. If a printer has a job queued, or your Mac thinks a printer is still connected, you can disconnect the printer from the Printers & Scanners list.
The Sound preferences are for selecting the default audio device for the audio output and input. Your Mac’s built-in speakers and microphone are selected by default. Select your audio interface here to use it as the default audio device for your Mac. Apps that have unique software settings, like DAWs and Skype, have additional settings for their audio input and output device(s).
iCloud is the native cloud storage for macOS. It’s able to synchronize apps like Calendar, Contacts, and Notes, and also has file backup features. Since this is a networked-based app it can take up performance bandwidth and should be turned off. Learn more from Apple about how to back up your Mac.
- Sign out of iCloud to prevent syncing and backup interruptions.
- iCloud can automatically backup the Documents folder, which will interfere with many DAW folders in that directory. Studio One uses the Documents folder as the default folder for saving your recordings.
The App Store preferences are useful for configuring automatic updates for macOS and Apple software. Once a music production is set up, automatic updates should be turned off. Future updates and upgrades require reviewing compatibility before installation.
- Uncheck “Automatically keep my Mac up to date”.
- Click Advanced… and uncheck each of the following:
- “Download new updates when available”
- “Install macOS updates”
- “Install app updates from the App Store”
- “Install system data files and security updates”
The networking features on your Mac can take up processing bandwidth and interrupt some features. While many systems can watch YouTube, check email, and run a Pro Tools or Live session at the same time, that can cause produce performance loss and even require a restart or reconfiguration if software/hardware starts performing incorrectly.
- Unless required for a device or feature (e.g., iLok Cloud, EuCon controller, Ableton Link, etc.), turn Wi-Fi Off and disconnect from the Ethernet port.
- If Wi-Fi is required, uncheck “Ask to join new networks”.
- Turn off and remove the Thunderbolt/Firewire networking when not using their port for a network connection.
- Use the Ethernet connection instead of the built-in Wi-Fi for internet access.
- If internet access is required and you’re using network devices like Eucon Controllers, choose an Ethernet/Thunderbolt connection for the devices and Wi-Fi for internet access.
- When using the built-in Wi-Fi for Remote Control, then choose the Ethernet/Thunderbolt network connections for internet access.
- Prioritize the Wi-Fi or Ethernet by changing their order in the Set Service Order… prompt (cog drop-down menu).
Bluetooth is used by many apps and features but typically isn’t required to operate a DAW. Unless you need Bluetooth in your system, turn it off.
- Unless using a Bluetooth device like Apple’s wireless keyboard and mouse, turn Bluetooth off.
- Use a wired or wireless USB keyboard to prevent using the built-in Bluetooth.
Users & Groups:
In the Login Items menu, remove all Login Items not required upon launch.
Disable Siri to optimize performance bandwidth.
Date & Time:
By default, the date and time are configured by the location services. To minimize unnecessary processing, choose to manually configure the timezone.
- Uncheck “Set Time zone automatically using current location” and set the time zone manually.
Backing up your Mac with Time Machine is a great idea, but should be done manually for music production computers. When automatic Time Machine backups are enabled, the backup can occur when you record and cause problems.
- Uncheck “Back Up Automatically” to turn off automatic backups.
- In the Time Machine “Options…” menu, only use drives that need to be backed up; for instance, the internal Macintosh HD.
Once your Mac is optimized, the next thing to do is configure your external devices and music production software. Audio and MIDI devices often require driver installation and hardware configuration. DAWs typically need to be set up and synchronized with the audio and MIDI devices.
If your hardware or software is not supported on macOS 10.15 Catalina their performance cannot be guaranteed. That means they could work just fine or not at all. Losing functionality of a DAW or audio interface can be a real damper, and you may have to reinstall another version of macOS to get back up and running. Before upgrading to macOS 10.15 Catalina or purchasing a new Mac or device, check to see that it is supported by the manufacturer.
Audio and MIDI device settings
Compatibility and system requirements:
Audio and MIDI devices each have requirements for connecting with your Mac and synchronizing with your software. First of all, the device must be compatible with your version of macOS. The next most important step is to install the device’s driver. If it does not have a driver, then it will use the built-in macOS driver to connect and is considered class-compliant.
Connections and connectivity:
Depending on how they’re made, there may be a few ways to connect and configure your audio and MIDI devices. External devices prefer to be connected directly to your Mac. This is especially true for bus-powered devices that do not have a power supply adapter and draw power from their USB connection. Some devices can be daisy-chained, like Thunderbolt or Firewire connections.
- If a USB hub is required, make sure to use one with its own power supply adapter. These hubs don’t take power from the computer and are better able to distribute power to connected devices.
- Remove unused MIDI devices in the AMS window or create a new default configuration.
DAW software settings
Compatibility and system requirements
Your Mac must meet the DAW’s minimum system requirements to run successfully. That means your macOS version, RAM (memory), and processor must be compatible with your DAW version, otherwise, the software may not run correctly or in some cases not even launch. Check with the software manufacturer’s product page or support area for up-to-date system requirements information.
Audio playback settings
Most DAW or virtual instrument software uses your audio device’s settings to record audio. The audio device must first be selected in the audio software. To make sure your DAW and audio device are configured properly, they both must use the sample rate. If the settings don’t match you may hear pops, clicks, distorted audio, or even silence. You must also make sure the audio is correctly routed between the software and hardware. That means audio leaving the software needs to go to the correct audio device outputs, and input signals must be routed to the correct input channel and track.
Once a DAW and audio device are configured for each other, they will retain their settings until configured differently. Most DAW’s and newer audio interfaces have saveable and recallable routing or input/output settings. Consider saving these settings to a dedicated studio folder for easy recall and as a backup.
MIDI devices and Audio MIDI Setup configuration
MIDI devices connect like audio devices but use MIDI data instead of audio. The best way to optimize them is to refresh your MIDI device list and retitle any unspecified MIDI ports you’re using. For example, if you connect something via MIDI cable to your MIDI or audio interface’s MIDI port, it will show up as the MIDI port instead of the actual device’s name. Use the Audio MIDI Setup app to refresh your MIDI device list and create a new configuration.
Inputs from: Google, SweetCare
Here are some troubleshooting tips you can try before hitting the panic button 🙂
Reconnect the eLicenser key
When your licenses are stored onto a USB eLicenser key, the first thing to do is try and reconnect it. While eLicenser keys can work perfectly fine on USB hubs, they sometimes may not appear if the hub isn’t supplying enough power; particularly with passive hubs. If you do need to use a USB hub, choose one with a dedicated power supply. This will ensure each connected device receives enough power from the hub.
If the USB dongle still isn’t showing up, connect it directly to your computer and try different ports. If the eLicenser key still isn’t showing up, the next step is to run maintenance tasks.
Run the Maintenance tasks
Performing the maintenance tasks on a regular basis can help fix issues with both soft and hardware eLicenser keys. It’s a six-step process which includes recovering soft e-licenses, cleaning the eLCC memory, and updating the database. To perform the maintenance tasks, all you need to do is click the Gear icon in the top of the main eLCC window. We recommend checking the box which allows the Maintenance tasks to be performed every time you launch the eLCC app.
If you are still receiving errors, the next step is to reinstall the latest version of eLicenser Control Center.
PC users: Be sure to launch the eLicenser installer and eLCC as Administrator. Do this by right-clicking the installer then selecting Run as Administrator.
Run eLC Helper application (Soft-eLicensers only)
Some products like Cubase Elements do not ship with an eLicenser key. They can work on soft-eLicensers also. However, you may buy the eLicenser USB key separately and transfer the soft-license onto the physical USB key.
IMPORTANT: Only run the eLC Helper app if you receive Soft-eLicenser errors. Running the app will delete any existing Soft e-Licensers.
In rare cases that you receive an error stating your Soft-eLicenser is missing, this means the license failed to be created during installation. When this happens, you cannot request the activation code needed for permanent activation of the program nor can you download licenses. Running the eLC Helper app will automatically reinstall eLicenser Control Center and force the system to create the unique Soft-eLicenser key necessary to activate your software.
- Close all programs and download eLC Installation Helper for your OS version from here >>
- MAC: Navigate to your Downloads folder, double-click the .dmg file, and run eLC Installation Helper.app
PC: Navigate to your Downloads folder, right-click the installer, and click Run as Administrator.
- Launch eLicenser Control Center.
Contact vendor support
If your USB eLicenser dongle still isn’t being recognized, there may be an issue with the key itself. If the USB dongle is broken, lost, or stolen, you will need to purchase a new eLicenser key and contact vendor support to resolve the issue. If you have bought it from SudeepAudio.com, contact us here >>
Read about eLicenser and also iLok protection plans here >>
Inputs: experience, Steinberg, SweetCare
What do I need to install to use my iLok?
Your iLok holds licenses that authorize the associated iLok-protected software to run.
To manage your iLok with the iLok License Manager application: install the iLok License Manager application from the Download page.
To use your iLok: The License Support software and your iLok-protected software must be installed. Most protected software automatically installs the driver along with the software, but the latest iLok driver is included in the iLok License Manager installer and can always be downloaded from the Download page.
iLok not recognized by system or software
If your iLok is not being recognized, the problem could be with the iLok, the iLok software, or the protected software.
Rule out iLok Software:
If the iLok lights up, but does not appear as connected in the iLok License Manager application, download and install the latest version of the iLok License Manager. Be sure to uninstall prior to doing a clean install. If your iLok appears as connected in the list, it should now work to authorize your iLok-protected software. If it does not, open the iLok Details and click on the Synchronize link.
Rule out network/internet connection:
If the steps above do not resolve this issue, please try your iLok on a different computer on a different internet connection
Rule out hardware:
Plug in the iLok. Does the iLok light up when plugged into a known working USB port? If not, or if the iLok is physically damaged, this indicates a problem with the iLok, and it should be submitted for License Recovery and Replacement through the Submit RMA process.
|LICENSES & CODES authorising, transferring, etc. explained here >>|
My iLok has a damaged connector, or the light on the iLok does not light up when I plug it in.
Your iLok needs to be replaced through the RMA License Recovery & Replacement process.
Once we (PACE Anti-Piracy Inc., USA) receive your broken iLok, we will recover your licenses from it and deposit your replacement licenses in your iLok.com account.
You can immediately get temporary licenses to use during the RMA processing time if your iLok is covered by Zero Downtime™ coverage. This coverage is available for purchase during the RMA order process if your registered iLok is not already covered.
How do I get my replacement licenses?
If your iLok is broken, lost or stolen, the first step in getting replacement licenses is to place a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) report for the iLok. If you need access to your licenses immediately, Zero Downtime™ (ZDT) coverage allows you to receive temporary licenses in your iLok.com account as part of the RMA process.
While Zero Downtime™ works the same in both a Broken iLok RMA and a Lost/Stolen iLok RMA, the actual license replacement works differently. In either type of RMA, if the iLok is covered by ZDT, 2-week temporary licenses are immediately deposited in your account for all eligible licenses last seen on the iLok by the iLok servers.
For a broken iLok RMA, we are authorized by the software publishers to provide permanent replacement licenses for those that we recover from your broken iLok. Once we receive your broken iLok, we recover the licenses from it and deposit permanent replacement licenses in your account.
For a Lost/Stolen iLok RMA, if your iLok has Theft & Loss Coverage enabled, we replace your licenses. If the Lost/Stolen iLok did not have Theft & Loss Coverage, we are not authorized by the software companies to do the permanent license replacements. You would need to contact the software companies directly regarding getting replacements for the lost licenses.
If you have already placed your RMA report and have a question about it, please reply to the RMA confirmation email you received.
My iLok was Lost or Stolen. What do I do?
First, be ABSOLUTELY certain that you have no hope of finding your iLok. Reporting an iLok as Lost or Stolen is irreversible.
If your iLok did not have Theft & Loss Coverage enabled:
You will need to seek replacement licenses from the individual software publishers directly. Once the RMA report is completed, the software companies whose licenses were last seen on the iLok will be automatically notified. You can then contact them to ask about replacement licenses.
If your iLok did have Theft & Loss Coverage enabled:
Good news! We are able to provide replacement licenses for the licenses last seen on the iLok by our server. Once the Lost/Stolen iLok License Replacement RMA order is placed, our RMA technicians will be able to process your order and deposit replacement licenses in your account.
Please note this is a manual process – although the turnaround time is generally very quick, please allow up to 2-3 business days.
If you are certain you cannot find your iLok, please use the Submit RMA button to proceed to the RMA submission page.