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USB DI and Windows 8

Modern computer systems are designed to use as little energy as possible. This well-meaning principle can often be at the cost of the computer’s overall performance, making it more likely to experience audio dropouts.

This means that anything the computer thinks is not being used will be put to sleep after a certain period of time, including the USB ports. As luck would have it, this usually occurs just before the start of a show, or halfway through a recording!

For audio use, we want everything on and ready all the time, so the following fixes should be undertaken to eradicate such energy-saving related performance problems.

Windows 8 is very new, and has been much maligned for its completely different user interface, so finding the appropriate options to change can be tricky. We tested this thoroughly on a brand new Windows 8 laptop, with nothing else loaded.

The laptop was switched on, and then an ARX USB-DI was plugged into one of the USB connectors. The laptop found the USB-DI and installed it as the default audio device in approximately 2 seconds, making it the fastest operating system for finding USB devices that we have tested!

We intend to keep it that way, so first of all, let's look at keeping the USB ports in Windows 8 turned on all the time 

DISABLE the POWER SAVING OPTION of the USB PORTS

Open the Device Manager by moving the mouse pointer to the bottom left hand corner of the screen. You'll see a miniature version of the desktop screen appear. Right click on it and the menu below will pop up. Click on Device Manager

You'll see the following page:

In the Universal Serial Bus controllers section, right click each USB Root Hub

Choose Properties then the Power Management tab on the far Right, and untick the box next to Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power option.

Do this for each USB Root Hub, Generic USB Hub and any other Hubs listed in this section. Not all computers will have exactly the same USB listing; some will have more and some less. 


ADJUST the AUDIO LEVEL of the USB DI

The Windows default volume setting for USB Audio Devices is 50% of maximum. For our purposes this will be too low, inducing noise and hum as excessive gain may need to be applied to deliver the level required.

We recommend increasing this volume setting to 100%

Open the Control Panel by moving the mouse pointer to the bottom left hand corner of the screen. You'll see a miniature version of the desktop screen appear. Right click on it and in the pop up menu click on Control Panel

Click on the Hardware and Sound section, and in the Sound section click on Manage Audio Devices

Click on ARX USB Device, then the Properties tab. Click on the Levels tab, and move the slider all the way to the right

Change This

To This

Click on OK, then shut down the previous screens, and you're all done.This will give you the optimum playback signal to noise ratio.

PLEASE NOTE: This still needs to be done even if you are using the USB DI-VC model. The volume control only affects the analog outputs, and you'll need to increase the digital volume first.

On the plus side, however, from our testing Windows 8 looks like it will remember this setting each time you connect the same USB DI to the computer! 

 


GENERAL POWER FIXES FOR WIN 8

Open the Device Manager by moving the mouse pointer to the bottom left hand corner of the screen. You'll see a miniature version of the desktop screen appear. Right click on it and the menu below will pop up. Click on Power Options.

The two Power Plan options are Balanced and High Performance

Set the Power Plan to High Performance
This will keep the computer and the screen on all the time. If you are using a laptop running on batteries, change each option to Never as well, by clicking on the drop down menu arrows in the On Battery section above,

Remember, playback will stop when the batteries go flat! Keep the charger handy


Click Here for the ARX USB Knowledge Base

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