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Tips to improve performance of CakeTalking and SONAR

Q. SONAR with CakeTalking is quite slow even though my PC has ample RAM and processing speed. What can I do to improve performance?

A. There are a number of settings you can check to ensure that they are set optimally for best performance.

1. Make sure Windows theme and display settings are set as recommended for your version of Windows.

To check your appearance and operating system settings, open the Start Menu, select Programs, select CakeTalking, and finally select CheckWindowSettings.

In versions of CakeTalking older than 8.8, a few appearance and operating system settings couldn't be checked with the CheckWindowSettings tool. If you're uncertain about your display settings, please use the setup guide for your version of Windows.

CakeTalking includes separate setup guides for each version of Windows where it can be installed. Each guide contains an overview of all appearance and operating system settings that are required for CakeTalking to work with a particular version of Windows, as well as step-by-step directions for making the required adjustments. To open a setup guide, open your Start Menu, select Programs, select CakeTalking, and, finally, select Setup.

2. Set System Performance to "adjust for best performance",

Note: I checked the CT setup docs, and David suggests this setting for Windows 7 and Vista, but he doesn't for XP. Technically, the customer checking this setting should probably be part of what they check in the last step, though, from experience, people miss this setting a lot, so it might be worth continuing to list it separately.

Windows may be causing your computer to spend unnecessary time with animation and other visual effects. For the best CakeTalking performance, you should disable these visual effects.

To disable visual effects on Windows 7 and Windows Vista, you should open the Visual Effects page of the Performance Options dialog. To open this dialog, open the Start menu and type "Visual Effects" into the search box. In the list of links that pop up, ARROW to the link named, "Adjust the appearance and performance of windows" and press ENTER.

In the Performance options dialog, select the Adjust for Performance radio button, and in the list of check boxes, uncheck every item in the list.

To disable visual effects on Windows XP:
A. Open the Start menu and select Control Panel. If you are using the classic Start menu, you will need to select Settings before you can select Control Panel.
B. In the Control Panel, select System. C. When the System Control Panel opens, repeatedly press Control+tab until the Advanced tab is displayed.
D. Tab to, and press the "Performance Settings" button.
E. In the Performance options dialog, select the Adjust for Performance radio button, and in the list of check boxes, uncheck every item in the list.


3. Make sure that the SONAR toolbars are set to recommended values for CakeTalking.

If you are using CakeTalking 8.8 or newer, then you can reset the toolbars by simply opening your Start menu, selecting Programs, selecting CakeTalking, and, finally, selecting ResetSONARToolbars.

If you are using a version of CakeTalking older than 8.8, you can reset your SONAR toolbars to the correct positions by re-running the CakeTalking installer. It isn't necessary to first uninstall CakeTalking before re-running the CakeTalking installer to correct the SONAR toolbars.

4. For Windows Vista and Windows7, disable User Account Control (UAC).

Before disabling User Account Control, be sure that you have downloaded and installed the free Microsoft Security Essentials, or that some kind of antivirus utility is installed and working on your system.

To disable User Account Control:

A. Open your Start menu.
B. Type "uac" into the search box.
C. In the list of links that appears, arrow to "Change User Account Control settings", and press enter.
C. Tab to the Notification Level slider, and set it to 0 percent.
D. Tab to and select the OK button. Allow your computer to reboot when it asks to do so.


5. Run SONAR with antivirus and other background services turned off.

Antivirus programs can dramatically affect SONAR performance for the worse, but a computer without antivirus software isn't safe online. If you choose to run your computer without antivirus software, be sure to disconnect from the internet first and do not attach any external drives that have not been scanned first for viruses.

6. Always set SONAR to use a dedicated audio interface for recording and playing back audio. In other words, do not use your PCs internal soundcard for recording and playing back the audio in SONAR.

See http://www.dancingdots.com/prodesc/soundcards.htm for recommended audio interfaces which Dancing Dots sells and supports.

To select an audio interface (sound card/device), open Sonar's Options menu and select Audio. The Audio Options dialog will open.

A. On the Advanced tab, you can use the "Driver Mode" combo box to select the driver mode that Sonar will use when communicating with audio interfaces. Generally, it is a good idea to try SONAR in ASIO mode first, as ASIO mode can produce great results without much effort or configuration. WDM mode can produce good results, but may require other settings to properly be set before it will work properly.

If you use SONAR in the ASIO driver mode:

A1. The Advanced tab of SONAR's Audio Options dialog will also include a Device combo box. Use this combo box to set the device (audio interface( that SONAR should use in ASIO mode. If you do not see your device in this list, then it does not have drivers installed that support ASIO, or else it may not be connected.

A2. On the General tab of Audio Options, you should set both the Playback Timing Master and the Record Timing Master combo boxes to the name of your audio interface's first input or output ports.

If you use SONAR in the WDM driver mode:

B1. On the Drivers tab of Audio Options, be certain that all of the input and output ports of your audio interface are checked (enabled), and that ports that belong to other devices/sound cards/audio interfaces (particularly built-in sound devices) are unchecked.

B2. On the General tab of Audio Options, you should set both the Playback Timing Master and the Record Timing Master combo boxes to the name of your audio interface's first input or output ports.

B3. Set the slider to about 5%.

B4. Press the Wave Profiler button. You'll be asked if it it is alright for SONAR to profile your audio hardware. Answer yes, wait in the results window for the profiling to complete, and, if there are no errors, press Close.


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