Learn how to make Windows-8 run faster and smoother

Tweaking Windows 8.1 For Audio and Music Production


Samsung 840 Series 2.5 inch 120GB SATA III internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-7TD120BW


Samsung 840 Series 2.5 inch 120GB SATA III internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-7TD120BW



The secret sauce of the audio PC builder, here are our tweaks for Windows 8.1 to get your system humming along nicely. To be honest Windows 8 doesn’t need mu…

Sound Blaster Z PCIe Gaming Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp and Beam Forming Microphone

51FUCINcQBL. SL160  Tweaking Windows 8.1 For Audio and Music Production
  • Includes an external high quality dual-microphone array standard with card
  • Features Sound Core3D Audio Processor for accelerating advanced audio and voice technologies
  • SBX Pro Studio sound technologies create unprecedented levels of audio realism including stunning 3D surround effects for your speakers and headsets
  • Delivers 116dB SNR, plus audiophile-grade capacitors and gold-plated I/O connectivity
  • Use the Sound Blaster Control Panel just toggle between you headphone and speakers system with a flip of a switch
Creative Sound Blaster Z SBX PCIE Gaming Sound Card with Beamforming Microphone
View larger Creative Sound Blaster Z SBX PCIE Gaming Sound Card with Beamforming Microphone This Sound Blaster Z is an ideal all-round solution for your PC gaming and entertainment needs. It comes complete with the Sound Blaster beamforming microphone for crystal clear voice communication. Our Sound Blaster product philosophy comes from a total system approach. We've designed the Z series cards to give the best experience for not only those wishing to experience content, but those wanting to create it as well. This includes optimizations for voice chat and recording in addition to all of the amazing SBX Studio Pro audio output enhancements. High-Quality Connections The Z card is equipped with gold plated connection points to ensure the card delivers the best possible audio signal. 3.5mm gold plated headphone jack driven by the 600 Ohm Maxim MAX97220 amp 3.5mm gold plated microphone jack

buynow big Tweaking Windows 8.1 For Audio and Music Production
List Price: $ 119.99 Price: $ 119.99

 Tweaking Windows 8.1 For Audio and Music Production
Customer Reviews

273 of 300 people found the following review helpful
stars 3 0. V192240710  Tweaking Windows 8.1 For Audio and Music Production VERY IMPORTANT if you are looking into buying this...Please Read, March 30, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There is a major flaw with the more expensive ZX model of this product. The Audio Control Module (ACM) that you are paying about $50 more, LOWERS the QUALITY of the audio signal versus plugging your headphones directly into the back of the sound card.

Seriously, how has no one else caught this? I checked online and found no one complaining about this. So, I thought my ACM was defective. Amazon kindly sent me a replacement. I got the replacement and plugged the new ACM into the back of the sound card and then plugged my headphones in the ACM. SAME ISSUE. (I tried both the 3.5mm and 1/4in plugs) I then changed out the sound card with the new replacement card and reinstalled the software and drivers just to be sure.....SAME ISSUE.

If you already own this.....and you love the ACM....you most likely did not compare it to the sound when your headphones are plugged directly into the back of the sound card.

I noticed this dramatically because I did not use the ACM for the first week or so. I did all my initial testing in music and gaming without it. As soon as I plugged it in I thought something was wrong with my headphones or the sound card went bad on me. I quickly discovered that it was solely the AMC.

PLUGGED INTO THE ACM
- The sound is significantly softer making me believe that the built in AMP is being weakened by the ACM. This is a bigger issue for those that have high impedance headphones

- Second it affects the balance and quality of sound. For example: While playing COD Black Ops 2 - I immediately noticed that the sound of my gun was muffled and recessed even at the same volume level. I then plugged my headphones directly into the back of the sound card...and it is so much better! Everything is louder, clearer, and precise. Don't believe me, try it out for yourself. I also immediately noticed that my music sounded worse playing through the ACM. The surround sound effect through the ACM sounds more tinny and echoy.

So bottom line....the ACM degrades the sound quality significantly (I tested this with two ACMs). It baffles me that both Sound Blaster and Consumers have not noticed this issue with the ACM. I did find a forum of audiophiles debating if the ACM would degrade the sound quality and amp....but there was no definite answer and the topic ended with the assumption that it did not since Sound Blaster said it is the superior model.

Please mark this review as helpful so others can see it before spending the extra money on this model...and if they do, hopefully they will do the sound test themselves and compare the sound difference. How knows, maybe I got two bad AMC in a row? I highly doubt it though.

The Sound Card itself is very good and I highly recommend the Sound Blaster Z (not ZX)purchase to anyone. Great PC sound and software for customizing your preference of sound. You can plug in your gaming console via Toslink/spdif cable and and use the software for superior virtual surround effect (compared to Astro Mixamp or DSS/2)and customize your console gaming sound as well. The only down side to that, is that you need your PC to be on while you play a console game. Again, I highly recommend the Sound Card. Save yourself $50 and get the Z model.

UPDATE - 4/20/13

So, I have brought this issue up with others on Head-Fi (audiophile website forums). Many others have tested this out for themselves and have reported back with the same problem. There have been many differnt headphones used and the problem exists with all of them (Superlux HS668b, Ultrasone Pro900, Sony V-6, Sennheiser 558...ect).

It is worth noting that while the ACM degrades audio quality, the built in microphone on the ACM is better than the microphone on the Z model. I have tested out both mics and compared them with my Zalman Zm-Mic1 ($8) and the Zx mic is on par with the Zalman - while the Z model mic is not as good.

Also, it seems the people with the ZxR model ($250) are not noticing a big difference in audio quality with the ACM. That does not mean it does not degrade the audio - but those I have conversed with on Head-fi stated that the audio was not significantly affected. So, MAYBE the ZxR model has a better ACM.

UPDATE: 6/6/13:
Here is a link to the Head-fi forum where I first started this conversation. The conversation goes on for several pages of the forum. My username on Head-fi is Povell42

Link: [...]

Here is a link to the same forum (pg 31) where others agree with me and the user phrozenspite confirms that the same issue happens with his ZXR Model.

Link: [...]
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
stars 5 0. V192240867  Tweaking Windows 8.1 For Audio and Music Production Huge step up from an X-FI Xtreme Music, November 30, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sound Blaster Z PCIe Gaming Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp and Beam Forming Microphone (Personal Computers)
Coming from an Xtreme Muisc this was a huge leap. The sound is clearer and the surround sound that replaces cmss-3d is better at creating directional audio. It's almost hard to explain jumping into a game you know and having it sound totally different and more detailed. This card is basically a X-FI with a core3d chip which is what the recon3d should have been. I am not sure how much of a difference it would be coming from a Titanium HD but if you have an older X-FI or a terrible recon3d this is worth a purchase
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
stars 5 0. V192240867  Tweaking Windows 8.1 For Audio and Music Production Great Sound Card for headphones, December 8, 2012
By 
Derrick (Brookings, SD) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sound Blaster Z PCIe Gaming Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp and Beam Forming Microphone (Personal Computers)
Does a great job adding bass to the Audio Technica ATH-AD700 cans I have using their control panel (SBX Pro Studio) and bass boost setting, which also lets you set the crossover frequency. I found the default settings, 80hz, and 50% on the slider, worked great... so there's room for even more bass than I find necessary. It can also be added via the equalizer which can do a somewhat better job, and the settings can be saved for each pair of headphones or genre.

Now I no longer need to buy the high impedance cans I was looking at, the cans I have currently get the job done (Sennheiser HD-558, Fischer FA-003, and ATH-AD700), so essentially this sound card has saved me a couple hundred bucks. I find the preset Equalizer settings such as 'rock' and 'classical' work very well and have tweaked the equalizer to my liking to give each pair of cans what I'm looking for in them.

Great for gaming too, the extra effects over the onboard sound are worth it. Great for people with home theater setups, with the optical out on the back. Easily best bang for the buck card out there, and eliminates the need for a headphone amp for all but the most picky audiophiles, since it includes a 600 ohm headphone amp built in. Mine came with the gold nicheon capacitors as well.

With the monster size of the heatsink on my sandy bridge setup, the card barely fit into the small PCI express slot on my motherboard though. I have about one of the largest aircooled heatsinks available so I can't imagine it not fitting unless you have the 120mm fans positioned bottom to top. Mine were positioned side to side so they covered up the RAM instead. Make sure you have clearance.

Installs on Windows 8 without issue using the installation disc provided.

Are there people I would recommend skip buying a sound card? If you don't game, and use low impedance headphones, especially if you are playing anything except 320K MP3 files or FLAC files, you may not need this card. Good headphones and sound cards pick up the flaws in compressed files. I found my onboard very good with music, even using FLAC files, if the headphones were low impedance. It just couldn't amplify the bass the way this card can. Testing included FLAC files of Metallica, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Heart, Ozzy, among others.

Bottom line, your chain is only as strong as your weakest link. Pair this card with a good set of cans and some high quality music to get the most out of it. :)
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Samsung 840 Series 2.5 inch 120GB SATA III internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-7TD120BW




Samsung 840 Series 2.5 inch 120GB SATA III internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-7TD120BW

25 Comments

  • Tana BlackeyzBeatz
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 4:42 AM | Permalink

    my fl 11 keep freezing when i try to render in 8.1 :(

  • Image-Line
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 5:09 AM | Permalink

    Thorough tutorial thanks for sharing. 

  • Elnufo
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 5:18 AM | Permalink

    very good tut, thanks for sharing.

  • Starmast3r
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 5:31 AM | Permalink

    I’m sorry, if you guys really needed this tutorial, you had no right
    insulting Windows_8 in the first place. 18:30 is a good example of this; so
    many people diss the start menu. If you only put the things you need on it,
    it is actually usable. 

  • John LaFosse
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 6:26 AM | Permalink

    Good straight forward advice for Windows_8 . I thought about writing a blog
    about the same issue seeing most of what was touched upon in this Youtube
    vid is similar in Windows_7 the regedit info was invaluable. I use an i5
    with a LGA1156 motherboard and upgraded the drive to an SSHD. Really happy
    with the performance in Windows_8.1 . I’d like to add buying and after
    market cooling fan. It drops the cpu temperature down to a level where you
    will not get Not responding errors during the summer time in hotter
    climates. The other thing is to use the same type of memory. And if it
    fails memtest replace it!!!

  • Mario Mijatovic
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    the only problem i have is when i am running fl studio in ASIO 4 ALL sound
    mode and in the middle emiddle of production fl seems to shut down the
    sound setting and then restarts icann see it because the tiny logo goes
    gray the same color as when you tick auto close device and then you clikc
    on the desktop it has the same behaviour and i dont know how to fix this
    its rather going on my nerves now :/ any idea what could it be ?

  • Molten Music Technology
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    Tweaking Windows_8.1 for music production – we show how you do it –
    http://youtu.be/PhQVkv3NM3k

  • Jonathan Rodriguez-Torres
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 8:46 AM | Permalink

    Thorough tutorial thanks for sharing. 

  • GuitarRec Estudio
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    thanks for the tips! good work! 

  • Dider Kamal
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    can i do the cpu bios tweaks on my Levono y580 laptop? are there any tweaks
    i cant do on a laptop? 

  • ♪~ Still (Azure) ~♪
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    Honestly, I don’t think touching those BIOS settings are a good idea,
    you’re usually fine with the default settings, not to mention unlocked
    overclocked CPUs. By disabling those on a overclocked system would be
    potentially dangerous and unhealthy to the CPU regardless it’s overclocked
    or not.

  • 74hz
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    9:19 your product key is showing, you might want to blur that :D

  • Roberto Ramírez Mendoza
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    I had some problems in FL Studio using the ASIO4ALL interface. When I was
    making a song everything sounded good to me inside the DAW, but when I
    exported the song it just sounded weak and really ugly, I looked for help
    but I didn’t find anything about it, just one guy with the same problem
    that me, and after trying to fix this, he just turned off the ASIO4ALL and
    turned on the main card of his system, so do I and everything runs ok now,
    but I still want to understand what was the problem with that. Could you
    help me on this case?

  • rhoyt15
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

    Thanks, this is a great video, i’ve been looking for something like this
    for a while. Just wish you had explained in greater depth the reasons
    behind some of these tweaks for those of us less knowledgeable 

  • Practical Music Production
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

    Essential Windows_8 tips for music production ->

  • Alec Troniq
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    Thank you so much! I especially loved the part about the start menu =))

  • isaiah bernal
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    what kind of sound interface do you use? and hows your latency in protools?
    ps. great job on the video. i loved the one on the touch monitor. 

  • Final_Drft95
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    can this same settings apply to a laptop running Windows_8.1 ?

  • Bandolero Ferreira
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

    thank you someonoe with intelegance xD

  • Kevin Fortin
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

    Thank you! That was worthwhile.

  • Lemon8
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    there.. ;)

  • Sean Reardon
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for the tips! Very helpful. Shortcut you may enjoy – from the
    desktop hold windows_key + X – this brings up that menu in the lower
    left-hand corner, also, most of those menu items can be launched with a
    hotkey.

  • sangsaratrip
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

    I’m guessing that’s the Intel 4770k. It kicks ass. Maxing out all your
    CPU settings will lower the life of the CPU. At least that’s what they
    say. Not sure how true this statement is depending on how long before you
    upgrade your machine. 

  • Molten Music Technology
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 3:11 PM | Permalink
  • Artur Rebajn
    Posted August 20, 2013 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

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