Shutting Down Windows Services During Music Playback

The very best windows based audio systems I’ve heard all shut down unnecessary windows services during playback. Any chance such a feature could be added to AS for the windows platform? I haven’t found any program for shutting down windows services that is compatible with AS, including Audiophile Optimizer. I’m not very computer literate so maybe I’m wrong about that?

What very best Windows based audio systems do you mean that all shut down unnecessary services?
I thought I knew most of them. The top ‘very best’ players for Windows are:

  • Foobar
  • JRiver
  • Roon
  • Audirvana

None of them optimize Windows or shut down Windows services. If you know of Windows audio players that do, please let me know. (Edit: I realize you can mean complete music systems… like hardware/windows/software combined?).
Most music players (software) don’t do that for a reason: Because it is too risky. Every user is different. Depending on your use case some services are necessary and others not. It all depends on what the user wants.

There are some separate programs capable of the optimizations you mean (including Audiophile Optimizer). Audiophile Optimizer can be used with Audirvana as far as I know (someone correct me if I am wrong).

There is another well known program called ‘Fidelizer’. There is a free version (with some limitations) and there is a paid version. I have tried the free version in Windows and it works fine with Audirvana Studio. In my opinion it is also much easier to configure than Audiophile Optimizer (less ‘nerdy’). It simply shows a screen in Windows with some options you can choose.
Fidelizer and Audiophile Optimizer are the only Windows programs I know for that purpose. Both are not cheap (cost more than a year subscription for Audirvana).

Be warned though, programs shutting down Windows services are quite risky to use. I’d rather keep them separate from my audio player programs. The reason I do not use them (Audiophile Optimizer and Fidelizer) is because they are not transparent in what they do. They don’t tell you which services are shut down and what other optimizations in Windows they make. You get some global choices, but no details. Fidelizer crashed my computer more than once. Optimizing Windows by hand is also a possibility (and only a one time job) and does basically the same.You don’t have to be a computer expert for that. Most of it is some Windows settings. I have put some links for you at the end of this post.

I certainly hope that Audirvana will NOT build this in, because that will open the floodgates for all kinds of unexpected Windows problems/crashes etc. With every new Windows update there is a serious risk that suddenly some services are changed or will not work anymore as expected.
Also if Audirvana would build this in, the support desk will probably be overflown by lots of people with Windows problems (why is Windows defender not working anymore?, Windows stopped updating automatically. My screensaver does not work anymore. Why are my screen animations not working? etc. etc.). Let Audirvana stick to what it does best: music reproduction.

As said, it is relatively easy to optimize your Windows system manually for playing music. Programs like Fidelizer and Audiophile optimizer do about the same. Doing it by hand gives you also more control.

Here are some links with tips (and Google will give you more):

https://bandzoogle.com/blog/20-ways-to-optimize-your-windows-10-pc-for-music-production

Optimizing Your Computer for Audio - Windows 10 – Knowledge Base | PreSonus

7 Tips for Optimizing Your Windows 10 Computer for Audio | B&H Explora (bhphotovideo.com)

Most of the tips above are also meant for Audio production, but they are just as good for Audio playing. They also work with Windows 11. I did most of them on my Windows 11 PC (a dedicated NUC only for music playing) by hand and they work fine.

Hope this helps.

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Dearest Windows Gods may I please hear my music ?

“But I am the administrator “

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“Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do”

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Andy, thanks so much for you thoughtful reply to my request. It has been a long time and I meant to respond sooner but you know how good intentions can be…

So your first question was what windows players shut down Windows services for music playback. There are two that I am aware of: XXHighend and JPLAY. From around 2007 to 2019 I was an avid XXHighend user. It is quite simply the very best playback software I ever heard. Vocals are stunning, almost like you have a seat in the microphone form which they were recorded. Unfortunately, the software never really got beyond a beta stage so it is clunky and inconvenient to operate. For example one uses keyboard commands to change volume. From the time such a command is entered it can take up to 6 or 7 seconds for the volume to actually change. I believe the reason for the delay is because the keyboard command triggers the service to be turned on so the volume can change. As it developed it became increasingly complicated to operate as it incorporated streaming TIDAL through the software. Also the inventor developed hardware, a W10 server and a DAC, specifically designed for the software. I had the original version of both. However the cost of keeping up with hardware changes became too much for me. JPLAY is another such player that shuts down many services. It sounds similar to XXHighend as it uses the same sound engine which was developed by the inventor of XXHighend.

Today, for me, the sound of AS is closer to the sound of XXHighend than ever before, and because of some hardware changes in my listening room, together with changes from tinkering with W10 OS, my sound is once again quite good.

I applied all of the changes in the articles you linked to in your reply here and I really want to thank you specifically for providing those to me. Cumulatively they gave me a nice bump in SQ. Since then I found 15 services that I can disable that, once disabled, have again gotten me close to the best sound in my aural memory (which at this point may be a fiction - ha!)

So, obviously, using playback software that shuts down services only applies to Windows PC’s that are being solely used, either temporarily or permanently, as a music server. Mine is in the latter category,

My request to Damien for a means of turning off services via AS, doesn’t mean that, if implemented, one must shut down services to use AS. It can be made an option for Windows users. Isn’t there something like that on Macs already? As I said above, in addition to the OS changes contained in the links you provided, Andy, I now turn off 15 services for improved SQ. Unfortunately most of those fifteen services automatically turn on again after a reboot. It would be great if a batch file could be developed to shut down those services upon start up as well as implement the changes in the links you provided. I’m not computer or software literate enough to do such a thing.

To me, what distinguishes AS is its sound quality and providing ways to increase SQ via the AS software will only help ensure AS’s long term prospects, I would think.

Brian

Hi Brian, if you stop a certain service and you go to properties of the service you can also define the startup type. ‘Automatically’ for instance means that the service always will start again when needed. If you change the startup type of a service to ‘disabled’ it will not start anymore after reboot. Of course (after Windows updates) it is always possible that Windows decides to activate them again anyway ;). Microsoft tends to do that with important services like Defender and updater, to mention a few. Therefore it is always practical to have a batch file (see below).

You already know which services you want to turn off, so you can easily make a batch file yourself to turn off the (15 or more) services you mention.
See the link below:

How Stop And Start Windows Services From A Batch File (watchingthenet.com)

You can run this batch file every time you start Windows, or you can place it in the startup directory and it will run automatically when you start Windows.

As I said before I have a program called ‘Fidelizer’ which basically does the same and I have to start Fidelizer always manually after starting Windows. (I believe it also optimises the Windows timer precision as well).Fidelizer is not cheap and it basically does what can be done manually.

You mentioned JPLAY, but I did not mention that in my previous post, because I don’t regard JPLAY as a music player app. I own JPLAY and It basically functions as a Windows sound driver (ASIO, WASAP) and can be selected as a soundcard from Audirvana, Foobar etc… It also (just as Fidelizer) optimises some Windows settings at startup.

As already mentioned, my problem with programs such as Fidelizer and JPLAY is that they are not transparent and kind of ‘secretive’ in what they do. There is nothing ‘magical’ about them (but they all pretend they do some ‘magical’ things in Windows nobody knows about). In reality they do nothing more than what can be achieved manually.

Andy

Thanks Andy. I use Fidelizer too in Purist/Streamer mode. It also has been an important piece in the SQ puzzle but it is only a piece. Will definitely check out the batch file link. Quite a task teaching old dogs new tricks. Very much appreciate. Let me know if you want a list of the services I am turning off.

Brian

Thanks Brian; would appreciate if you could list those services you are turning off in win11 as even am trying to optimise my PC too.

Thanks Andy for the helpful links too!