Live 7 OS X High CPU usage when using plug-ins?

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taoyoyo
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Live 7 OS X High CPU usage when using plug-ins?

Post by taoyoyo » Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:31 pm

Hi all,

My first post here (though I've been lurking for the past week or two). I'm a long-term Logic user who's had Live (upgraded from Lite 5) for quite some time but has never really 'got it' until now.

Though I'm still a long way from really getting it I've made a conscious effort to get to grips with Live in the past couple of weeks.


I'm on a 2008 2 x Quad 2.8ghz Mac Pro (with 8gb RAM), latest version of Live, latest version of OS X. Audio Latency Buffer is set at 512, CPU Plug-in Buffer Size also 512.

My main concern is the amount of CPU consumed using softsynths inside Live. I recorded one clip using an admittedly CPU heavy patch from Loomer's Aspect (4 notes, long release, maximum unison), Live's CPU meter reads 30%-40%.

I played the same line in Logic (with the latency buffer equivalent set at 128 samples) and showed up as 3/4 of a processor (about 10%).

This is a vast difference between the two applications! 8O

I had a couple of questions regarding this, I guess the first one is is this normal? (I did the Live 7 test with the 8 tracks of congas and scored 20%, which is pretty good).

Is Live's CPU usage display anywhere near accurate? (I had Activity Monitor open and there's nowhere near 40% of all processors being used at the same time... I have Multi-Core support enabled in the Prefs btw).

My last question is to do with the Buffer/Latency settings in Live, which aren't fully explained in the manual. I set up with the tutorial (set it to 14 samples, CPU usage simulator to 80%, play the test tone, increase until the tone is non-crackly) and reached a safe 172 samples. But when I then played the Aspect line afterwards it crackled and distorted like crazy and I had to increase the figure to 512.

There seem to be two settings in preferences: In Audio: Latency Buffer Size but also in CPU: Plug-In Buffer Size... could anyone explain them a little better?

... in Logic there is only one setting, which directly links with how much latency there is between playing a note and hearing it (smaller values put more strain on the CPU than larger ones).

Thanks for bearing with me!

Alan
http://taoyoyo.com

Late 2011 15" Macbook Pro | 10.8.4 | RME Babyface

madhattared
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Re: Live 7 OS X High CPU usage when using plug-ins?

Post by madhattared » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:52 pm

taoyoyo wrote:Hi all,

Is Live's CPU usage display anywhere near accurate? (I had Activity Monitor open and there's nowhere near 40% of all processors being used at the same time... I have Multi-Core support enabled in the Prefs btw).
It is not accurate at all. Activity Monitor is a much better guide of proccessing consumption. I have activity monitor in the 60 - 70% constantly. Above 70 dropouts start showing up so it is always a freezing battle as tracks get more complicated.
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taoyoyo
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Post by taoyoyo » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:51 am

Interesting... thanks for the tip Madhattared.
http://taoyoyo.com

Late 2011 15" Macbook Pro | 10.8.4 | RME Babyface

steko
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Re: Live 7 OS X High CPU usage when using plug-ins?

Post by steko » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:09 pm

taoyoyo wrote:
I had a couple of questions regarding this, I guess the first one is is this normal? (I did the Live 7 test with the 8 tracks of congas and scored 20%, which is pretty good).

My last question is to do with the Buffer/Latency settings in Live, which aren't fully explained in the manual. I set up with the tutorial (set it to 14 samples, CPU usage simulator to 80%, play the test tone, increase until the tone is non-crackly) and reached a safe 172 samples. But when I then played the Aspect line afterwards it crackled and distorted like crazy and I had to increase the figure to 512.
Same MacPro: Live 7 test with the 8 tracks of congas scored 19%.
Tutorial Buffer Test: reached a safe 80 samples.
Working with 128 samples, both audio & Plug-In Buffer Size, no problems.

Seems you are using MacPro onboard-audio. With using an external interface you get significant better latency/less CPU usage!
I really can recommend motu 828mk3 external firewire interface. Never had any issues & better sounding & features...

On your mighty MacPro I would also recommend using 3 internal harddrives, one for system & apps, one for libraries (easy with live bit more tricky with logic) and one for recording audio.

On audio tracks always keep "Audio From" at "No Input" if not wanting to record guitar or something. This makes a big difference in CPU consumption. Make the test on a new project with 3 audio tracks in activity monitor...


Keep on cosmic jogging!

steko
Rahad Jackson wrote:My Awesome Mix Tape #6

taoyoyo
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Post by taoyoyo » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:14 am

Hey Steko,

Thanks for the reply.

With the tutorial buffer test did you have the CPU Usage Simulator set to 80%? Just asking because I tried the test again and forgot to move it up from 50 to 80%... I reached 80 samples at that point. I redid the test at 80% and 160 samples was my safe number.

I'm using an Apogee Duet as my audio interface (though for the purpose of the 'conga test' I switched to internal audio) so this shouldn't have any bearing on my results?

Will try the 128/128 CPU prefs and see how I fare.

:) I also have the 2 hard drive combination (System, Audio, Sample Libraries) you suggested... there's about 30% free on the system drive.

Thanks for the tip for Audio Tracks... will definitely try that out immediately.

I think we're all cosmic joggers for life! ;)

Take care,

Alan
http://taoyoyo.com

Late 2011 15" Macbook Pro | 10.8.4 | RME Babyface

taoyoyo
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Post by taoyoyo » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:14 am

Ooops... double-post. Might as well make use of it! ;)

So I tried the 128/128 CPU prefs... the same Aspect patch (as originally mentioned). When it reaches the more intense part (with 4 unison voices) the audio starts crapping out on me. This is with the Live CPU meter beginning at 30% and peaking at 50%.

With Activity Monitor open, I can see that none of the 8 processors reach above a quarter.

I have minimal extra applications running (it doesn't seem to matter if Airport is running or not). On the controller side I have an M-Audio keyboard, Novation Remote SL Zero and a Frontier Alphatrack connected. Oh, and I use a Wacom tablet. That's it... I am confuzzled!
http://taoyoyo.com

Late 2011 15" Macbook Pro | 10.8.4 | RME Babyface

steko
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Post by steko » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:32 am

Hi Alan!


The CPU Usage Simulator was set to 80% with a safe 80 samples.

Different audio-interfaces can make a big difference on latency / CPU-usage!


I try to keep 60GB (or so...) free on my 320GB systemdrive (virtual memory/swap). Video-stuff on the audio drive. At least 10% is usually recomended. Keep an eye on it because mac osx warns you far too late (about 5GB) which can lead to really big troubles.


Airport was always a big NO with making music (CPU spikes); maybe that changed with 10.5.6. I am wired anyway...


:D Saw you on KVR because of the BIG topic (Audio & Midi Recorded offset - Send delay problem) right now (never been there before). Another forum - more procrastination -less making music, but in future no more confusing offset audio & midi!!!


Do you as a graphic designer know TYCHO (I really like his music & artwork)? http://blog.iso50.com/ http://www.myspace.com/tycho



Cosmic greetings

steko
Rahad Jackson wrote:My Awesome Mix Tape #6

taoyoyo
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Post by taoyoyo » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:55 pm

Hey Steko,

Interesting... I would have thought the Duet would have been as good as any (at least up to the $1000 mark) with CPU/Latency!

I guess I was hoping to be better off for CPU use/Latency with plug-ins. I knew from past experience on my G5 and Live 5 that I wasn't going to get as good a performance as Logic but had hoped with a better machine I would get more... I'm also factoring in that the patch I'm using in Aspect (which is beautiful) is probably as CPU-intensive as it gets (Unison is on 5, which means there's effectively 20 plus notes playing at once).

I'm just looking to get as far into learning Live as possible and see where it takes me. I'm interested in the session-view workflow as that is the way I have worked in the past. Any linear arrangements of tracks have always felt a little lifeless compared to the 'live' ones (even if the live ones were too long!).

The KVR thread has been an eye-opener... i was hoping to stick to one DAW but I'm not sure if that's practical/possible. Maybe it's not so bad to swap between the two. I've always worked with midi up until the last possible moment (I'm a sound tweaker!) whereas Live seems to be geared towards the playing of audio in new and groovy ways.

Yes, I have heard of Tycho... my former musical sparring-partner in the UK had him added on his MySpace and I was curious... I was listening to his album (the original version) at the same time as Tom Middleton's 'Lifeforms'... was hugely impressed with the former, hugely disappointed with the latter (and I'm a huge Reload/Global Communications fan).

I like his designs too... miles apart stylistically from the sort of stuff I do (I mainly work in magazines, though I've done a couple of album covers).

Alan
http://taoyoyo.com

Late 2011 15" Macbook Pro | 10.8.4 | RME Babyface

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