Top 8 Ways to Fix an ASIO Buffer Size Problem

Top 8 Ways to Fix an ASIO Buffer Size Problem

One of my readers sent me an email with a problem he was having with Virtual DJ.  His problem had to do with his ASIO buffer size.  He asked for help, so I wrote this how to article to show the top 8 ways to fix an ASIO buffer size problem, and any other problems you may run into with your DJ software.

Check the video below for more information on ASIO itself!

Here’s his question:

i have a problem with the asio buffer size…. when i play a song the sound crackles a lot… it happens when i use a effect load a song cue it etc… i have also increased the asio buffer size but nothing changes…

So here’s how to fix an ASIO buffer size problem:

A fast processor and a good amount of memory are important for a a computer, but do not necessarily guarantee that a computer will perform well when using audio/DJ applications – as they can be very demanding.

This post covers many changes and modifications that can be applied to your computer to improve performances, and hopefully provide a more satisfying experience when using your any of your DJ controller/equipment (and ensure you don’t have any ASIO buffer size problems)!

The following subjects will be covered:

  1. USB
  2. Power configuration
  3. Processor (CPU) settings
  4. Hard drives and partition
  5. Internet and Antivirus
  6. Programs and applications
  7. Graphic card performance improvements
  8. Windows performance improvements

Audio Stream Input/Output (ASIO)

Lets dive right in!

1.) USB

1) Select the best USB port

Some USB ports share power resources with other features (webcam, etc.) on your computer.  Make sure you know what USB shares the least amount of resources with other features and use that port for your equipment.  This can easily be done by either contacting your computer’s company, or trying different ports and seeing which one gives you the least problems.

2) Disable USB power managment

Disable the USB ports power management through Device Manager:

  • Under Universal Serial Bus Controllers, double-click on USB root hub.
  • In Power Management tab, uncheck Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power. Repeat for all USB root hubs.

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3) USB hubs – to use or not to use…

Your DJ controller should ideally be connected directly to the strongest USB port on your computer.  This will ensure that no power drops or audio failing happens while you’re playing for all of your screaming and excited fans!  However, if you must use a USB hub, then first ensure your DJ controller works when you plug it directly into your computer.  After you ensure it works, then test it out using the USB hub.

NOTE: It is also preferable NOT to use a USB hub while performing a Firmware update.  Just plug it directly into your computer for updating – we don’t want your DJ controller failing, now do we?

Another thing to keep in mind is that when connecting multiple devices to the same hub (such as external hard drives), they all have to share the USB port’s bandwidth. This means that it is more likely to run into problems when the bandwidth limit of the USB port is reached.  However, I have tested this before with my MacBook Pro and (when I tested) I plugged all of my USBs right into my USB port… I practiced DJing for an hour+ with no failure… however, I would only use it at a last resort if I was actually DJing a gig.  Just keep that in mind.

2.) Power Configuration

By design, laptops are configured to use as little power as possible in order to be operated on battery. This, however, is not desirable when it comes to audio applications.  So here are some solutions on how to fix an ASIO buffer size problem that is cause by power configuration

It is then preferable to use your computer’s power supply and to configure your laptop to run as a normal desktop computer:

From the Control Panel, open Power Options:

  • Under Select a power Plan, choose High Performance

Also, there could be specific features you can enable/disable in the BIOS to improve the power.  I’ve never had to do this step, however you may want to refer to it as a last resort.  If you want to look into this, check your computer’s documentation, company’s website, or contact them directly.

You may also want to disable the Windows functionality that monitors the battery’s status and charging process. This can improve playback and performance, even if your computer is not running on battery.

  • From the Device Manager, expand the Batteries category.
  • Right-click on Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery, and select Disable.

Your computer’s manufacturer may also have installed a custom power management application that should also be disabled.  Again, for this check the computer’s documentation, company’s website, or contact them directly.

3.) Processor (CPU) settings

Another approach on how to fix an ASIO buffer size problem is to check your processor (CPU) settings.  Recent laptops incorporate a feature that reduces the speed of the processor. This allows to save energy, but again, is not desirable for audio purposes, as it may induce pops, clicks and noise.

This feature, known as CPU Throttling, SpeedStep or SmartCPU, is usually turned OFF when the computer’s power scheme is set to ALWAYS ON/High Performance, but may also require changes in the BIOS.

Also, if your computer uses an Intel processor, it is recommended to disable HyperThreading from the computer’s BIOS.

Regarding these features and their possibilities, please check the computer’s documentation, company’s website, or contact them directly.

4.) Hard drive and partition

Ideally, you should use multiple hard drives when working with audio and video applications; one affected to the operating system and software, while other(s) used for the files being played or recorded, and storage/backup.  This can be hard with laptops, as most have only one hard drive… However, I have seen people take out their CD drive and install a hard drive in the place provided.  If you cannot do this, however, then consider following these next steps.

Creating multiple partitions on the same hard drive is the next suitable solution (essentially, you are taking your had drive and splitting it in two hard drives), which can provide similar results, preferably with fast drives (7200 rpm).

NOTE: MAKE SURE ALL OF YOUR DATA IS BACKED UP BEFORE YOU CREATE MULTIPLE PARTITIONS, OTHERWISE YOU WILL LOSE ALL OF YOUR DATA WHEN YOU PARTITION THE DRIVE.  Visit your computer’s documentation, company website, or contact the company directly for more information on how to split the partition of your hard drive.

  • When using a USB external drives, please refer to the USB recommendations previously mentioned above.
  • The performance of your audio drive can also be optimized by disabling Indexing (Please note that this process may take some time depending on the size of the drive):
  • Open Computer
    • Right-click on the drive(s) you intend to use for audio playback/recording, then select Properties.
  • From the General tab, uncheck Compress this drive to save disk space and Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed.
    • Click Apply and then OK

5.) Networks and security

Ideally, you computer should be dedicated for DJ performance, and as such, wouldn’t need to connect to the Internet (unless you like to download music on the go). Under these circumstances, antivirus, firewall and similar protection software should not be installed, as they can create problems during audio playback by constantly scanning the hard drives.

However, if you also use your computer for Internet and obviously require protection software to be present (like me), you can take the following steps to reduce the risks of disturbances for your next DJ gig:

  • Disable any Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or network connections
  • Disable all protections programs ( Antivirus, Firewall, etc)
  • Close all communications software ( Messenger, Skype, etc)
  • Close all download applications (Torrents, etc)

6.) Programs and applications

It is always best to perform a clean installation of any operating system, but as it is often the case with many manufacturer, your computer probably came with a pre-installed version of Windows, and you were provided with a way to restore you system in case of problem.

A downside with this method is that the manufacturer also installs many programs and applications that you may never use, but might utilize precious memory and processor resources even if they are not running.

  • Use Programs and Features from Windows Control Panel to uninstall any applications and programs that you don’t need or use.
  • In the Notification Area (near the clock), right-click on each icon present. Some programs may give you access to a preference menu from which you could prevent some taskbar applications from running or launching at startup.

7.) Graphics card performance improvements

Looking at the graphics card performance is a good approach when figuring out how to fix an ASIO buffer size problem.  Graphics card drivers have been known to be the cause of several audio issues. Although it is always advisable to use the latest firmware version of your graphics card available.  Going back to a previous version might help correct problems.

  • It is not necessary to install all additional components related to the graphic card. Manufacturers often provide elaborate configuration software or game oriented devices like PhysX which will use precious resources.
  • Modern graphic card and computers now often included a HDMI port for connecting screens and multimedia devices. Unless it is being used, it is advisable to disable them, or at least the audio components, which can be the cause of conflicts with you DJ software and devices. This can easily be done from Device Manager.

8.) Windows performance improvements

Lastly, check these windows performance improvements when trying to fix an ASIO buffer size problem.  Following are simple modifications that can be made to Windows to improve the performance of the operations system, and consequently, how you DJ programs will perform.

Most modifications will be done from Windows Control Panel.

1) System

  • In Remote, uncheck Allow Remote Assistance to connect to this computer.
    • For System Protection, uncheck all available disks.
    • In Advanced, open the Performance settings.
  • In the VISUAL EFFECTS tab, select Adjust for Best Performance and click APPLY.
  • In the Advanced tab, set Processor scheduling to Background Services

2) Sound

  • In the Sound tab, select No Sound in the Sound Scheme menu.

3) Personalization

  • For Themes, select Windows Classic.
  • For Desktop Background, select Solid Color
  • For Screen Saver, select None

4) Disable User Account Control

  • Launch the Run command, and type msconfig
  • Under Tools, scroll down till you find Disable UAC.
  • Click on the line, and then press the Launch button.
  • Once the operation is completed, close msconfig and reboot the computer for the changes to apply.

Check out this video for more:

 

So there you have it!  The top 8 fixes for an ASIO buffer size problem.  Let me know if you’re still having problems and if so shoot me an email – you can find it on my contact page.  I hope that helps!

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DJ Whrr
DJ Whrr
Starting at the ripe age of 15, I (DJ Whrr) started my DJ career. After buying up high quality equipment and teaching myself how to mix, I soon hit the DJ scene. From DJing graduations and weddings, to clubs and house parties, I tried it all! I have performed at many venues including the Filmore in Detroit, MI the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, MI and 5th Quarter in Ann Arbor, MI (if you want me to connect you with any of these venues, I’ll do my best – just shoot me an email in the lower right-hand corner). Finally, I also taught DJing at the University of Michigan for a little while. All these things inspired me to create How to DJ Quickly for DJs to learn online. However, aside from DJing, I am passionate about teaching others. This is why I created How to DJ Quickly. Starting out DJing can be tough (trust me, I know). Whether you are confused about DJ Equipment, How To Mix, How To Mix Like A DJ, Getting DJ gigs, or just need General DJ News, Tips, and Tricks and information about the DJ Lifestyle, I will help you! I know what it is like to be a each skill level and I want to help all! This is why beginners, novices, and experts can use How to DJ Quickly to learn more about DJing! Like I said, I am here to help, so if you have any questions, please email me using my email which you can find on my: "Questions? Contact Me." page. Check out How to DJ Quickly for more!
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