Under The Microscope

The 10 Second Guide To Performance Tuning Nicecast

Although Nicecast isn’t as CPU intensive as some applications, if you have it running all day, you don’t want it slowing your real work down. And while there are many aspects to Nicecast performance tuning, there are a couple simple changes that can prove effective.

1. Reduce Broadcast Quality
– In the Quality drawer, click on “Custom…”, pick your normal bitrate, but put the “CPU Usage/Audio Quality” slider all the way to the left.
– The Encoding Quality is the biggest factor when it comes to CPU usage in Nicecast. Although you can achieve some amazing feats of audio compression with it up high, down low things will still sound ok, and your CPU won’t melt.

2. Reduce Broadcast Bitrate
– Pick any bitrate lower then the one you are using now
– After Encoding Quality, Encoding Bitrate is the second biggest CPU factor. Lower bitrates are always easier, and thus faster, to encode.

3. Turn the Dock Icon preferences off
– Although it looks neat, updating the Dock icon once a second comes with a small performance penalty.

4. Don’t leave stray Effects on
– If you aren’t using an Effect, remove it from the patch, or atleast Bypass it. Any un-bypassed Effect in the patch will have audio piped through it, and even if the Effect doesn’t actually do anything (like an EQ set to flat), it still taking up cycles.

5. Perfomance Tune iTunes
– iTunes has never been known for being lightweight, but with a bit of chopping you can get running decently. First, if you haven’t already, turn the Sound “Enhancer” off. Same for the inline-visualizer at the top of the main window. If you have any 3rd party plugins, you can try turning them off too. Finally, switch iTunes to mini-mode, by clicking the Zoom button.

As with any performance tuning work, you should spend time to measure the effect of your changes. That is, using Activity Monitor or top to watch Nicecast’s performance both before and after changing a setting.

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