Audio Fundamentals
Audio Fundamentals Tutorial

Producer's Guide to Optimizing Your DAW & Computer

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29 Videos | Length: 1hr 12min 44sec
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  • Introduction 0:28


    Multiplier welcomes you and goes over what the series is all about.

  • Bouncing to Audio 2:10

    Bouncing to Audio

    This is the most important technique for avoiding CPU/DAW performance issues. Discover "freezing" and "flattening" in Ableton, a feature implemented for this exact purpose. I very briefly touch upon some alternative "bouncing" options too, such as "resampling" mode.

  • Buffer Size & Latency 5:08

    Buffer Size & Latency

    How does buffer size affect CPU performance? And how does all of this relate to latency? And what even is latency? (it's important). Learn some tips and tricks for dialing all this in, and finally, I explain what buffer size is, and why it affects CPU performance like it does.

  • Sample Rate 2:17

    Sample Rate

    How does sample rate affect DAW performance? Learn what sample rate is, and therefore, why it affects DAW performance like it does. Further, I explain which sample rates to choose, in which situations, and why.

  • Computer Cooling & Airflow 3:45

    Computer Cooling & Airflow

    Have you ever thought about the airflow around your computer? Most people haven't, yet it's the simplest and cheapest (free) way to gain a small increase in computer performance. I share three tips for optimizing this, regardless of if you have a laptop, or desktop machine.

  • Always Plug a Laptop Into Power 2:11

    Always Plug a Laptop Into Power

    Did you know that you should always plug in your laptop power cable if it's readily available? Most people don't realize this, but there are two reasons why. As I explain, one is computer/DAW performance, and the other is battery longevity.

  • Don't Update 4:30

    Don't Update

    This may sound a bit mad, but don't update anything (hardware, software, plugins, etc..) unless you absolutely need to. Professionals don't update. I explain why, as well as tell a few cautionary stories.

  • Second Displays 2:09

    Second Displays

    Second displays are fun! Third displays are even more fun. But, do you really need them? Additional displays impact computer and DAW performance much more than you might think. To illustrate how significant, I tell an interesting story.

  • Activity Monitor 1:41

    Activity Monitor

    Let me show you the Activity Monitor, the best tool for diagnosing any DAW performance issues. I share some stories about how I used it to fix some issues.

  • Use Different Projects 2:21

    Use Different Projects

    This is something most pros do, but most newer producers don't. To ease the CPU load, split sound design/songwriting/mixing/mastering into different projects.

  • Using Plug-Ins Unnecessarily 1:42

    Using Plug-Ins Unnecessarily

    This is one of the most common mistakes I see, using CPU intense plug-ins for tasks that simply don't need them. Four or five plug-in EQs aren't a big deal for DAW performance, but sixty or seventy are.

  • Shut Down Everything You Don't Need 2:38

    Shut Down Everything You Don't Need

    This is one of the most significant things that affects DAW performance. Most people kind of know to do this, but generally don't. Shut down any app or process that you don't need for music production. Quit apps, yes, but also turn off Wi-Fi, and disable any operating system features you don't need too.

  • CPU Meter 2:10

    CPU Meter

    Learn about the CPU meter in Ableton. It doesn't do what you might expect, but in fact, it tells you something much more useful (how easily your CPU is able to play the project). I also share some important nuances that you need to know too.

  • Ableton & Multicore CPUs 1:54

    Ableton & Multicore CPUs

    Computers have multiple CPU cores (dual-core, quad-core, etc..), but how does Ableton work with these? Learn how you should organize your projects to most effectively take advantage of multicore CPUs!

  • Reverb Effect Bus/Return Track 1:34

    Reverb Effect Bus/Return Track

    To improve DAW performance it's standard practice to use reverb on an effect bus/return track. In this video I explain why.

  • Unison 1:38


    Unison is the most standard synthesis technique for creating a thick sound, but, do you really need all those voices? Learn why (with DAW performance in mind) you might sometimes want to consider a smaller number.

  • Polyphony 3:35


    What is polyphony, and how does it affect CPU/DAW performance? Importantly, it matters most when there's a long amplitude release. I explain/demonstrate.

  • Plug-In 1:53

    Plug-In "Quality" Settings

    There's more to plug-in "quality" settings than just ticking the "highest" option. Sometimes that doesn't give the best sound, and sometimes plug-ins have interesting "offline quality" options. Find out more in this video.

  • Complex Warp Mode 2:18

    Complex Warp Mode

    The complex and complex pro warp modes take a surprising amount of CPU to process. I explain exactly how much, why, and how to work around this.

  • Hard Drive Performance 5:47

    Hard Drive Performance

    In this video, I explain the fundamental concepts and technologies that affect hard drive performance. Where should you store your samples and sample-based instruments? And on what kind of drive? Using what kind of cable?

  • How Much Free Space on Hard Drive? 2:39

    How Much Free Space on Hard Drive?

    Quite simply, how much space should you leave free on a hard drive? You may have heard that you should leave some space, but, how much?

  • Hard Drive Overload Indicator 3:48

    Hard Drive Overload Indicator

    Find out about the "Hard Drive Overload Indicator" in Ableton (that "D" in the top right corner). Learn when it might indicate an issue, and what you can do to avoid such issues. I share a few solutions too, including "RAM Mode".

  • Beta Software 1:23

    Beta Software

    Beta software is always more CPU intense than the main release versions. Learn why, and also, how you might want to think twice before jumping into a beta build. That new feature looks great, but is it worth the risk?

  • Should It Be Using That Much CPU? 2:38

    Should It Be Using That Much CPU?

    See how to learn which tasks/processes use a disproportionate amount of CPU, and even which plug-ins as a whole by design, use a disproportionate amount of CPU.

  • Turn Off OS Visuals 1:56

    Turn Off OS Visuals

    Explore an interesting idea of turning off any operating system visuals (transparent toolbars, etc..) you don't need.

  • Turn Off Unnecessary DAW Features 1:09

    Turn Off Unnecessary DAW Features

    If you get a bit stuck (and have some time to hand), turn off any DAW features you don't need. Start by deleting unused scenes, and work your way through the project.

  • 2:26

    "Places" Indexing Issue

    Don't put an entire hard drive (especially an HDD) as a "Place" in Ableton. It may look tempting, but if you do, you might run into performance issues.. Let me explain.

  • 64 Bit vs 32 Bit (& RAM) 2:01

    64 Bit vs 32 Bit (& RAM)

    Learn about the difference between 64 and 32 bit apps/plug-ins, and therefore why (with DAW performance in mind) you should always choose the 64 bit version if possible. Also see how to check if an app is 64 bit or not - and finally, what uses RAM.

  • VST3 2:55


    You may have seen VST3 appear as option, but, with DAW performance in mind, should you use it?

Product Overview

Adam Pollard aka Multiplier delivers an in-depth video series all about getting the most out of your computer and DAW, when recording and producing music! Shot in Ableton Live on Mac OS and applicable to any OS and DAW, see how to squeeze every drop of power out of your rig and avoid time wasting snafus.

Adam welcomes you and then covers one of the most effective ways to free up CPU power, bouncing to audio. See how and other similar techniques that will give your CPU a sigh of relief. Buffer Size, Latency and Sample Rate are then all explained and explored so you can optimize your sessions for better performance.

Throughout the rest of the series Adam covers some basic and not so obvious solutions for getting the most out of your recording system, such as computer cooling and airflow, using multiple displays, utilizing Multicore CPUs, storage types and common issues, 64bit vs 32bit, proper workflow practices, plug-in quality settings and what they mean, and much, much more.

See the individual tutorial descriptions for more info. If you use a computer for making music, this series can be a real eye-opener. It's great for beginners or experienced users alike, and will hep you get the most out of your recording rig... Watch "Producer's Guide to Optimizing Your DAW & Computer" today.

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