» » » » MonkeY ComPatibilitY CheCk.

By: Hugo Luis Alberto Repetto Posted date: April 07, 2009 Comments: 2

Monkey is the free updating software utility that is installed on your Windows® XP® or Vista® computer automatically when you install GearBox, and works with all Line 6 TonePort®, POD®xt and POD® X3 devices. But checking for updates isn’t the only trick Monkey knows! You can launch Line

Monkey and go to the Compatibility tab to let it sniff out the details of your system and provide you with a report. You can actually download and install Line 6 Monkey for free, even if you do not yet own any Line 6 hardware, and run the compatibility test to see if your computer meets the minimum requirements for GearBox.

To run the compatibility test, launch Line 6 Monkey, go to the Compatibility tab and click the Run button. A scan of your system will run and a list of components and their status will be displayed:

Line 6 Monkey’s Compatibility tab - Results of a successful compatibility test

MonkeY ComPatibilitY CheCk.

Upon completion of the compatibility test, the list of components shows whether each meets or fails to meet the minimum and recommended requirements for GearBox. Click on one of the components in the list and reference the details in the lower pane.

This also provides you with a nice utility to see all those geeky details about your computer, such as the speed and type of your CPU, how much RAM you have, or (yawn) the chipset type of your USB Controller. You’ll of course want to look into any components that do not meet the minimum, and upgrade them if necessary to successfully use GearBox. Meeting these requirements is also likely necessary to get he most out of any recording software on your system with your Line 6 hardware.

WindoWs® XP® oPtimizations.

To follow is a number of settings changes that have been proven to optimize Windows® XP® specifically for better performance of audio software. It is worth mentioning once again... it is a really good idea to do a complete backup of your system and data before making any of these system changes so that you can restore your system to its previous state if any problems are encountered!

Making System Tweaks in Windows XP.

First a bit of information about accessing system settings in Windows...

Switch to the Classic Start Menu Mode

Within this document, instructions are provided assuming you have Windows XP set to use the Classic

Start Menu mode, which remains the preference of most computer geeks everywhere. To switch to this mode, right-click on the Windows Start button and choose Properties > Start Menu tab > Classic

Start Menu option. While you are here, click on the Customize button, and then check the box for Expand Control Panel. Click OK to close both dialogs.

The Windows Control Panel.

Many of the following settings are accessed in the Windows Control Panel, which you intelligently just chose in the previous step to display as “Expanded” as a convenient sub-menu. Click on the Start button and choose Settings to get to the expanded Control Panel sub-menu as needed:

Accessing the Windows Control Panel Menu.

Disable Your Onboard or Add-in Sound Card.
When using Line 6 TonePort, PODxt or POD X3 hardware as your sound card device for recording and playback in audio applications, you may not need to have any other sound card enabled.

In some cases you may even encounter a hardware conflict with some “onboard” and/or add-in sound cards such as SoundBlaster Live! or OEM cards. The best solution is to simply disable any unnecessary, additional sound card within Windows Device Manager.

Go to Control Panel > System > Hardware tab > Device Manager button. Click the + symbol to the left of Sound, video and game controllers to expand it. Now right-click on your onboard sound card device, SoundBlaster Live!, or other sound card device that is not in use, and choose Disable.

 Click Yes when it prompts you if you really want to disable the device. The device will then appear in the list with a red “X” to show it is disabled. You can come back to Device Manager any time, right click on the disabled device and choose Enable to enable it again.

Windows Device Manager - OEM Sound Card (a SoundMax device) has been disabled
Note that if you disable another sound card, Windows will often then automatically assign your connected

Line 6 USB device as the Windows “default device” for all sound playback. This means that many audio applications such as Windows Media Player and iTunes, or games will route their sound to your Line 6 device, which may or may not be what you want for playing CDs, DVDs or games. The audio capabilities of TonePort, PODxt and POD X3 are likely much higher quality than your on-board or add-on sound card, but Line 6 devices do not support some features such as MIDI playback, 5.1 surround output, or accelerated 3D audio for games. If you need these features, then it is best to set a sound card that does for the Windows default playback device, or specifically for the applications with these requirements.

You can, however, avoid Windows system sounds playing through your Line 6 device independently of the Windows default playback device assignment – see the next section.

Turn Off Windows System Sounds.

These little dings and beeps can be handy alerts, but not very pleasant to hear blaring at high volume, especially if they are assigned to play through your TonePort as the default Windows playback device.

To turn them off, go to Control Panel > Sounds and Audio Devices > Sounds tab. Choose No Sounds as the Sound Scheme. Click OK to exit the dialog. You can always come back here and turn the sounds back on if you really miss them.

The Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog - setting the No Sound scheme.

Disable Error Reporting.

Eliminate those pesky pop-up warnings by disabling this error reporting feature. Go to Control Panel > System > Advanced Tab > Error Reporting and then click the Disable Error Reporting button.

Keep the checkbox checked for the But notify me if critical errors occur option.

Disable the Remote Assistance Option.

Some technical support systems may ask you to keep this service active, but if this is not the case for you, then you can disable it. Go to Control Panel > System > Remote Tab and uncheck the option for Allow Remote Assistance invitations to be sent from this computer.


Turn Automatic Updates Off.

Windows updates are actually highly recommended by Microsoft, and indeed many are for security enhancements and offer critical fixes. But you may prefer to set the Automatic Updates feature off and check manually at the Windows Update web site for your updates to avoid this service kicking in while you are tending to audio processes. Go to Control Panel > System > Automatic Updates tab, and select Turn Off Automatic Updates. If you do choose to turn this option off, then be sure to check manually on the Microsoft Windows Update site for critical updates on a regular basis.

Processor Scheduling.

Some audio applications recommend setting the Processor Scheduling setting to “Background Services” rather than the XP default of “Programs”. Others claim it can be detrimental to processing, so evaluate its advantages on your system. Go to Control Panel > System > Advanced Tab > Performance Settings > Advanced Tab, and set the Processor Scheduling to Background Services.
MonkeY ComPatibilitY CheCk..Twitta

Set Virtual Memory to a Fixed Size.

Windows uses a section of your hard drive as a “paging file” for storing and retrieving immediate data when your RAM is filled. It can help to make this file a fixed size rather than let Windows dynamically resize it. Note that you’ll need to restart your computer after changing these settings. To make this change, go to Control Panel > System > Advanced tab > Performance Settings button. Select the Advanced tab and then click the Change button within the Virtual Memory section. Choose the Custom size option and you can then type in new minimum and maximum values.

It is typically recommended to use a value that is 1.5 to 2 times the amount of your PC’s total RAM and enter this same value in to BOTH fields so that it maintains a fixed file size. Click the Set button, and then OK to close the dialog. Click OK for the alert and restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

The Virtual Memory dialog - Custom paging file created on the C drive.

Enable DMA Mode for All IDE Hard Disk Drives.

Note - This tip is only for IDE type hard disks. The latest PCs often now come with Serial ATA (SATA) interface controllers and hard disks for which this Device Manager setting change is not applicable.

Check to make sure the transfer mode for your IDE hard disk drive(s) is set to the DMA mode, otherwise the disk access speed will be poor. Note that the Line 6 Monkey utility will check for this and warn you within the Compatibility tab window if any hard disk is not set to DMA mode (see the previous Line 6 Monkey Compatibility Test chapter for details).

Go to Control Panel > System > Hardware tab > Device Manager button. Expand the entry labeled

IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. Right click on the Primary IDE Channel item and select Properties
and go to the Advanced Settings tab. Check that the Transfer Mode options are set to DMA if available for all channels. Repeat this for all IDE channel items beneath IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers

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