Audiophile optimization sacrifices system performance for better sound quality. Some applications might run slower or perhaps not at all. Extremist is for hardcore optimization that will stop/disable a number of non-audio related Windows services. Depending on machine configuration as discussed below, some applications and network functions might stop completely. While the designer recommends caution for newbies, I say no guts no glory. There's nothing to lose. It won't cause permanent damage to your system and is easily reversible. Just carefully read through the various optimization options and chose the one that best suits how you use your PC. You can restore disabled services by running Fidelizer Pro again, change optimization level to Workstation/Audiophile and click Fidelize. Services will be restored after system restart. Or you can uninstall Fidelizer Pro altogether. Furthermore, with Fidelizer Pro you can alter your computer configuration for various audio applications via five Machine Configuration settings: Music Server, Music Server with Network Support, Network Transport, Network Renderer and Media Center. Your optimum choice will depend on how you use your computer.

Music Server is for optimizing a computer playing music from internal or external hard drives minus any requirement for network support. Perhaps you use a standard PC or have a fully tricked-out custom machine with on-board storage so you don't require any networking functionality. You would be surprised by the achievable sound quality on a computer when all its networking features are disabled. Since I use Tidal and love my remote apps, this wasn't an option ideally suited for me. Music Server with Network Support is identical to the above but adds network support for a remote controller such as apps like JRemote or BubbleUPnP. Network Transport is for configurations such as DLNA/UPnP server or JPlay Control PC that stream audio to another machine for playback. Examples? Perhaps you use JPlay's recommended two PC setup; or a JRiver equipped PC as a DLNA/UPnP server to stream audio throughout your home to several JRiver ID NUC renderers. Network Render is aimed at optimizing networked audio such as JPlay Audio PC or DLNA/UPnP server. I generally use JPlay and/or Roon on a single dedicated PC with music stored on a NAS and also stream music from Tidal; therefore, I used the Network Render configuration.

Media Center is for optimizing a computer for audio/video playback. If you stream video and music on a HTPC with an application such as XMBC, Media Center would be the best choice. You can also create your own customizations by selecting/deselecting the various check boxes. For more details on optimization levels and machine configurations, click here. Once you have selected your options, press 'Fidelize' and reboot your PC. Depending on your computer, optimization and startup may take a few minutes.

Indeed, that's lots of options which admittedly may seem a little overwhelming at first. However, unlike performing your own Windows tweaking, you needn't worry about self-inflicted crashes or something more serious. Everything you do with Fidelizer Pro can be undone simply by uninstalling it. Your PC will be restored to its pre-Fidelized state. I have used this software for several months without issue, including no dreaded blue screen of death. It's one of the most stable bits of software I ever used. What complicated the review process was my recent purchase of Audiomat's Maestro 3 DAC. Whatever magic the Brothers Clarisse performed with the Maestro 3, I found myself re-evaluating many of my prior assumptions regarding USB playback. Perhaps it's the Maestro's tweaked Amanero USB board and Audiomat's usually careful attention to the power supply? For example, the blatantly obvious differences I had noted between various USB cables narrowed considerably. Music over USB cables such as Light Harmonic's LightSpeed, Sablon Audio's USB and JCAT's Reference USB now sound far more alike than different. Furthermore, I recently purchased Audioquest's Jitterbug and UpTone Audio's USB Regen which as a combo proceeded to blow my mind not only by further reducing differences between USB cables but also by enhancing sonic goodness and my own musical wellbeing. Even becoming acclimatized to my new setup, I still noted a notable and worthwhile improvement with Fidelizer Pro although that was mostly only true with the Extremist Audiophile settings.