How Do I Make the Correct Sound Card Settings on a Windows PC?

If you are experiencing issues with the audio output from your audio software such as distorted sound, drop-outs or popping and clicking sounds, you first need to make sure that you have configured your audio interface settings properly.

Choosing the ASIO Driver

Only ASIO drivers will offer best performance on Windows computers. To make sure you are using the ASIO driver for your audio interface, please open the audio settings panel of your audio software. Here are some examples of where you can find the audio settings in the stand-alone versions of our software:

  • TRAKTOR: Traktor > Preferences… > Audio Setup
  • MASCHINE: File > Audio and MIDI Settings... > Audio
  • GUITAR RIG: File > Audio and MIDI Settings… > Audio
  • KONTAKT: File > Options… > Audio
  • REAKTOR: File > Audio and MIDI Settings … > Audio

Within the audio settings panel, click the Driver drop-down menu and choose ASIO. Do not choose WASAPI, DirectSound or MME, this will not work well with most devices. Afterwards select your audio interface under Device.

Note: Check the respective manuals to find the audio settings of other NI products as well as third-party programs, for example sequencers.

Adjusting the Buffersize / Latency values

If you are still having audio problems after selecting the ASIO driver of your device, you also need to check the latency settings.

Note: For an explanation of what latency is and how it affects computer audio, please read the Chapter Latency Setting in our Windows Tuning Tips articles. You can find them under Related Articles below.

Audio interfaces with an ASIO driver usually provide a panel where you can change the latency settings. You can open it from the audio settings of your audio application by selecting Settings or ASIO Setup (or similar). Additionally, you can access the Control Panel for your Native Instruments audio interface via the icon in the system tray or the Windows Start Menu:

Start > All Programs > Native Instruments > *audio interface name* > *audio interface name* Control Panel

A Process Buffer of 512 samples will offer reasonable performance for standard application even on older or less powerful systems. If it`s running fine with this setting, you can also test lower values to get a more responsive audio performance. Revert to higher values when the sound issues start to kick in again.

A USB Buffer of 4ms will prevent issues caused by problematic hardware drivers on the system. If it's running fine with this setting, try lower values as well. Again, revert to higher values when the sound issues start to kick in again.

Note: Find information on how to test and improve the realtime performance of your system in our Windows Tuning Tips articles. You can find them under Related Articles below.

Built-in PC audio interfaces

The majority of PC computers come with built-in audio interfaces inside. Most of these don't have ASIO drivers, but use the WASAPI, MME or DirectSound protocols instead. Please note that these cards are primarily designed for entertainment purposes such as video games, watching DVDs and general system sounds and alerts.

In most cases, these card/driver combinations will not work well with Native Instruments software or any other professional-grade audio software. Thus we recommend that you consider using an audio interface that has been designed for professional audio applications.

Most popular professional audio interfaces will also provide an ASIO driver, which is essential for low-latency operation and clear sound.

Related Articles:

Product Group:
Product Operation Installation Hardware Setup
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