Optimizing Your Computer for Audio and Video Production

Learn how to squeeze every last drop of performance from your audio or video production computer in this essential guide by Matt Vanacoro.  

Matt Vanacoro is one of New York’s premier musicans. Matt has collaborated as a keyboardist in studio and on stage with artists such as Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Mark Wood (Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Mark Rivera (Billy Joel Band), Aaron Carter, Amy Regan, Jay Azzolina, Marcus Ratzenboeck (Tantric), KeKe Palmer, C-Note, Jordan Kn... Read More


This is pretty spot on, and is something a lot of production folks I work with do not consider, while wasting inordinate time fiddling with re-routing signal flow that will never resolve these kinds of issues.

It would have been nice if your article covered more than Mac based studios, not to say what you have outlined isn't relevant.

I would add that these same principles apply for the PC equivalent studio setup running on Google, Windows or Linux platforms. Although similar concepts apply, the functionality of usb , memory, storage, and networking can be quite different. PCs barely support Thunderbolt technology without requiring adapters or hardware that at best offsets any added value, at least in terms of offloading dedicated processes and system memory to external storage or devices.

As you pointed out, dedicating drives and devices to balance load and processing power is crucial. This has to be configured differently for PCs. Configuring devices for ASAIO, WASAPI, any LINUX based distro, and MIDI is a totally different proposition. This is not nearly so straightforward in PC studios as Apple's Core Audio, supporting both Thunderbolt and UAD devices presently unavailable for PC as prescribed in your article.

Thank you for pointing attention to this vital and often overlooked topic.

Regardless of the platform, understanding this concept should be a general requirement for anyone trying to be more than a hobbyist at digital recording and production!
If Im following this correctly my understanding is: if I have 1TB HD on my I mac and a 1TB external HD, using
the external HD for just audio will speed up my computer? So its best to run the DAW software internally and the audio externally. What important issues should we keep an eye out for in this scenario?
In that scenario ID watch out for making sure to save file path on external drive before recording anything, and make sure to bounce either file stems or export 3rd party files and apps so you dont lose anything. Personally I have portable and fixed external hard drives. Some for location work. The other couple act as VPN or cloud servers over
my wifi router so I can use it as FTP server while broadcasting wifi and Bluetooth enabled device, and can access media assets with any network connection.
It is always best to read (run your daw) and write (record your session) to different drives, especially for more than 32 analog instruments trackd or using multiple devices, which will tax the single USB buss most interfaces use.
If that's not an option, partition remaining HDD space after OS for programs, and a third partition for storage and or USB storage or boost drive to help balance load and delegate processing power away from internal storage and ram., if that makes sense.
Whatever you do, it's just like everything electronic, your input cannot be greater than the output, unless there's something to buffer or offload, otherwise you will get distortion, sibilance, or blowing chips,
fuses, preamps, and the like.....
BTW it's not so much that it speeds your computer up as it is you don't make work as hard (e.g try taking a test on a book youve only read half of).
Im starting to get this but Im still a little way off I think. Maybe if i explained my set up someone may advise my options based on the info in this article...

MY IMAC = 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor + 8GB (two 4GB) memory + 1TB hard drive1 + AMD Radeon R9 M380 with 2GB video memory + Retina 5K 5120x2880 P3 display

MY INTERFACE = Focusrite Clarett 2Pre


MY DAW = Cubase 8.5

MY IOS = El Capitan
Let me know if I need to provide more info. X

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