Knowledgebase: Audio Networking > Dante
Dante multitrack recording: maximizing performance
Posted by Nicola Beretta, Last modified by on 04 May 2012 08:39 AM

Audinate Dante Virtual Soundcard doesn’t turn ANY computer into a pro multi-track recorder.

We recommend that you check your system’s specs and optimize your setup in advance.
Top-spec desktop workstations are often the way to go for professional, reliable, high channel count audio recording and playback.
The following best practices should help to improve your overall I/O capability, get better audio performance
and make sure that your computer is capable of streaming audio data to and from the network adapter.


The Dante Virtual Soundcard can be set for different buffer sizes or latency values.
Lower settings require greater resources from the host computer, and so should be used only with machines that
exceed the minimum requirements. Please refer to their respective user guides for further information.


Poor audio performance is mainly caused by the configuration of the computer, by what other applications are running at the time,
and lastly by the worst-case DPC latency. Please note that this is not the latency of the audio data transfer:
the DPC latency is the timing delay imposed on certain instructions used by your computer to process data.
Because the Dante Virtual Soundcard is a kernel-based driver, some device drivers, including wireless adapters,
video adapters and FireWire interfaces, can hold the CPU for a long time, with spikes of several milliseconds,
causing dropouts on playback and recording.


Free tools such as DPC Latency Checker from Thesycon can monitor your Deferred Procedure Call (DPC).
These provide a way to check your computer system’s capability for streaming audio data to and from the network adapter.
They won’t tell you exactly what the causes are but allow comparisons to be made when changes or improvements are made to the system.
(also available http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon)
 

When spikes of several milliseconds occur with low buffer size settings, then audio dropout could almost definitely happen
resulting in clicks at the very least, and interruptions in the audio software application.

If you experience such an issue, make sure that you have installed the latest version of each driver.
You can try disabling one device at a time in Device Manager and see if one in particular is causing the issue.

Certain nVidia drivers have been found to cause intermittent DPC latency spikes.
If this applies to you try updating, disabling or uninstalling the video adapter driver.
Your Windows standard VGA driver might be capable to work at your desired resolution if you don't need 3D acceleration.


To prevent installed protocols and services interfering with the streaming, disable all non-essential options
for your Network Interface from device properties in Windows Device Manager (e.g. Client for Microsoft Networks, Virtual Machine Services).
Disable any unused Network Interface.



As further advice:

- Disable the advanced visual effects in Windows.

- Disable Windows Firewall and any installed antivirus or firewall software.
  Some of these applications need complete removal from the system in order for the Dante Virtual Soundcard to work at its best.

- Disable your screensaver and any power management settings.

- Quit any unnecessary applications or services you may have running.
  It is always advisable either to run as few simultaneous applications as possible,
  or to have a completely separate dedicated machine for recording.

- When possible, direct recording data to a non-system, separate, fast hard drive, either internal or external.
  Multiple drives are recommended for recording more than 32 channels.


Please note that with both the Dante Virtual Soundcard has known issues with Windows XP SP3
where playback and recording are restricted to a limited number of channels.
This is due to a bug in the operating system and Windows 7 has proven to be much more reliable.


We hope this helps.

 

 

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