150% CPU Load

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Encon
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Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:40 am

150% CPU Load

Post by Encon » Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:49 pm

I'll go ahead and start with my computer specs just so that's out of the way.

OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
CPU: Intel i7 3720QM (2.6GHz quad-core with turbo boost to 3.6GHZ and hyperthreading)
RAM: 32GB DDR3 1600MHz
HD: 480GB Intel 520 SSD
GPU: NVidia GeForce GTX 660M (I don't know if this matters but figured I'd include it just in case)


I have no sound card (using a laptop), so I'm using integrated sound with ASIO4All. I have the buffer size at 1024. But as soon as I start using a decent amount of plugins, I get massive distortion/crackling and the CPU Load goes over 100%, and it's pretty much impossible for me to mix a song in the later stages. I am using the 64-bit version of Live, so it's definitely not a RAM issue, and I can't imagine an SSD having a hard time running Live either. So I figured I'd check out the Windows CPU monitor real quick and...well, I'm only using ~30% of my CPU at any given time.

Here's a screen shot.

http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/1171/cpuusaget.png

I've tried some things that I found through Googling, such as disabling core parking, disabling SpeedStep in the BIOS (I couldn't find where to disable C-States), setting the power mode to high performance, setting the Windows 7 visuals to best performance (everything disabled), running Ableton in a higher CPU priority, disabling all my network drivers, anti-virus, etc. while running Ableton, and there were a few other tweaks but I can't remember what they were. Only a few of these made any kind of a difference, and it wasn't much of a difference.

Is this something that could be fixed by using an audio interface? If so, could I get some recommendations on audio interfaces below $1000? I have an M-Audio Fast Track Pro, but it's surprisingly a LOT worse than using ASIO4All. 1024 buffer size, and I can't even hear the song over all the distortion, even after disabling half the plugins in my project. I'm not sure if that's something with the FTP, or if my computer just hates USB audio interfaces, but yeah. I'd be willing to pay the money if it would fix the above problem.

Or, alternatively, is there a way to allow Live to access all my available CPU? Because it's a little depressing that I have another 60-70% CPU sitting there doing nothing, yet Live is apparently at 150% CPU load.

Thanks.

tintala
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Re: 150% CPU Load

Post by tintala » Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:42 pm

Native Instruments suggested I use Asio4all when Reaktor was crashing Live all the time, so I tried it, it bluescreened my computer everytime I initiated it. My default Audio interface is Focusrite dsp saffire pro 24.. I would say get a real sound card like the Saffire and run the buffer at 256 or lower given your amount of ddr.

Valiumdupeuple
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Re: 150% CPU Load

Post by Valiumdupeuple » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:04 pm

In this situation, a sound card sure won't do anything, don't "waste" your money. What in nowadays people's mind makes them think and spread the world with the idea that "if we have a problem it's because we don't have this or those, and we should buy it", for fuck sake! (sorry, it wasn't address to you, but I'm getting tired of seing always that kind of "advise" pointing their nose)
You have a serious problem here either with your Live installation or with your OS, or probably both combined. Live can run on 10 years old computers, yours is a beast and it should run it with fucking ease!
I suggest you to not buy anything (really IT is not the problem) and do a fresh install of Live. If it doesn't get better (I should say "normal") you'd probably have to reinstall your entire system, there might be craps floating around here.
Cheers.
J.

Encon
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Re: 150% CPU Load

Post by Encon » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:18 pm

I doubt it would be the OS or the Live installation, unless Live just doesn't get along well with 64-bit Win7, because I just finished re-installing the whole OS 4 or 5 days ago (damn automatically detected driver update totally destroyed my OS lol). That also means I just finished installing Live, as well as most of my plugins, a few days ago, so pretty much everything I have is a fresh installation at this point.

I ran some benchmarking tests out of curiosity, and all 4 cores went up to 80%+ usage when that was running, so I'm not sure why Live is stuck with only using 30% of my CPU here.

miekwave
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Re: 150% CPU Load

Post by miekwave » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:34 am

Encon wrote:I'll go ahead and start with my computer specs just so that's out of the way.

OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
CPU: Intel i7 3720QM (2.6GHz quad-core with turbo boost to 3.6GHZ and hyperthreading)
RAM: 32GB DDR3 1600MHz
HD: 480GB Intel 520 SSD
GPU: NVidia GeForce GTX 660M (I don't know if this matters but figured I'd include it just in case)


I have no sound card (using a laptop), so I'm using integrated sound with ASIO4All. I have the buffer size at 1024. But as soon as I start using a decent amount of plugins, I get massive distortion/crackling and the CPU Load goes over 100%, and it's pretty much impossible for me to mix a song in the later stages. I am using the 64-bit version of Live, so it's definitely not a RAM issue, and I can't imagine an SSD having a hard time running Live either. So I figured I'd check out the Windows CPU monitor real quick and...well, I'm only using ~30% of my CPU at any given time.

Here's a screen shot.

http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/1171/cpuusaget.png

I've tried some things that I found through Googling, such as disabling core parking, disabling SpeedStep in the BIOS (I couldn't find where to disable C-States), setting the power mode to high performance, setting the Windows 7 visuals to best performance (everything disabled), running Ableton in a higher CPU priority, disabling all my network drivers, anti-virus, etc. while running Ableton, and there were a few other tweaks but I can't remember what they were. Only a few of these made any kind of a difference, and it wasn't much of a difference.

Is this something that could be fixed by using an audio interface? If so, could I get some recommendations on audio interfaces below $1000? I have an M-Audio Fast Track Pro, but it's surprisingly a LOT worse than using ASIO4All. 1024 buffer size, and I can't even hear the song over all the distortion, even after disabling half the plugins in my project. I'm not sure if that's something with the FTP, or if my computer just hates USB audio interfaces, but yeah. I'd be willing to pay the money if it would fix the above problem.

Or, alternatively, is there a way to allow Live to access all my available CPU? Because it's a little depressing that I have another 60-70% CPU sitting there doing nothing, yet Live is apparently at 150% CPU load.

Thanks.
Just curious if you tried these things

1) Does 32-Bit version of Live go up to 150% CPU?
2) Have you tried doubling your buffer size?
3) Have you tried another driver besides ASIO4ALL etc
4) Have you tried a dedicated USB interface
5) Have you tried disabling/enabling Multicore support in Live 9 options menu?
6) Have you run a full benchmark test against your CPU/OS/RAM/DRIVES/VIDEO (possibly diagnose a fault in any of those devices?)
7) Have you tried disabling "time based" effects (Reverbs/Delays) and Mixing Effects (EQ/Compression) against your CPU meter 150%
8) Have you tried switching samples out for LE or LITE versions of samples (if you are using a Full On Version)
9) Have you tried moving your Ableton Live Packs/Samples/VSTs/Ableton Temp Audio Folder/ Ableton Cache Folder to different drives?

Each of those things (an any combination therof) might be the root cause of your 150 Load.

Personally, I would recommend using a dedicated soundcard or usb/firewire interface, as I have experienced better performence using a USB audio interface (MBox and Alesis IO and Tascam USB)

Edit: Yes I'm using a Laptop as well, and plugging in Alesis IO4 a the main interface really made a difference in performance vs using stock soundcard
Check out some of my soundtracks. Also Ableton Live Performance video.

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pencilrocket
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Re: 150% CPU Load

Post by pencilrocket » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:14 am

If you couldn't reduce CPU usage with ASIO4ALL buying new audio interface won't help, I think.
Image

Encon
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Re: 150% CPU Load

Post by Encon » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:43 am

miekwave wrote:Just curious if you tried these things

1) Does 32-Bit version of Live go up to 150% CPU?
2) Have you tried doubling your buffer size?
3) Have you tried another driver besides ASIO4ALL etc
4) Have you tried a dedicated USB interface
5) Have you tried disabling/enabling Multicore support in Live 9 options menu?
6) Have you run a full benchmark test against your CPU/OS/RAM/DRIVES/VIDEO (possibly diagnose a fault in any of those devices?)
7) Have you tried disabling "time based" effects (Reverbs/Delays) and Mixing Effects (EQ/Compression) against your CPU meter 150%
8 ) Have you tried switching samples out for LE or LITE versions of samples (if you are using a Full On Version)
9) Have you tried moving your Ableton Live Packs/Samples/VSTs/Ableton Temp Audio Folder/ Ableton Cache Folder to different drives?
1) Yeah, it's doing the exact same thing.

2) Yeah, I originally had it at 512, then 1024, then 2048. It does it slightly less with the higher settings, but barely (2048 is still at ~140% CPU load).

3) The only other one I have is MME/DirectX, and that's even worse.

4) The Fast Track Pro is the only one available to me, and it worked terribly. I think it might be the FTP drivers though, since I've heard they suck for 64-bit Win7. I would buy another interface, but I don't know what to look for, honestly.

5) Yep. Turning it off just makes the entire song sound like a person throwing a large amount of garbage cans. It's actually quite terrifying to listen to.

6) I ran a CPU benchmark, which seemed to be fine, and my RAM was tested thoroughly when I purchased it a couple months ago. The Intel 520 SSD was purchased less than 6 months ago, and Intel is one of the few good SATA-3 brands, so the SSD should be fine. I don't know how to benchmark a video card though.

7) If I disable half of the plugins in the song then it stops doing it, yeah. But that's a bit inconvenient...I don't think I should have to write songs with no effects just to be able to work with Live. And I'm 90% sure professional music artists have far more tracks/effects plugins than I do right now.

8 ) The only samples I use are drum/percussion samples, and most of them are Vengeance samples. I also occasionally use vocals, which are in MP3 format, and typically they're chopped up in IL Slicex since I find that easier to work with than Live's native chopping.

9) Well, I only have 2 drives. The first is my boot drive (128GB Crucial M4 mSATA SSD), and the second is my main drive (480GB Intel 520 SATA-3 SSD). All of the samples are on my Intel 520, which is one of the fastest and most reliable SSDs out there (as far as I'm aware of), and it's the same drive that I installed Live onto. So it shouldn't be that. And regardless, I don't really want to fill up my boot drive with all my drum samples.

miekwave
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Re: 150% CPU Load

Post by miekwave » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:30 am

Encon wrote: 8 ) The only samples I use are drum/percussion samples, and most of them are Vengeance samples. I also occasionally use vocals, which are in MP3 format, and typically they're chopped up in IL Slicex since I find that easier to work with than Live's native chopping.
If possible, consolidate your MP3 samples into WAV format. It will take less strain from cpu since its not decoding your MP3 files. Also, you may consider running live in SAFE MODE to help you diagnose the problem. Most of the time, CPU load comes from using too many cpu hungry plug ins (such as reverb), too many voices streaming at once (such as Kontakt or Sampler), too many vstis playing notes (such as Virus TDM), etc.

Also, you'd be amazed how many "Professional" artist only use 8 tracks and minimal plug ins.

You should run "DXDIAG" just to make sure everything looks normal.

also when looking at your TASK MANAGER keep an eye out for APPLICATIONS TAB and "RESOURCE MANAGER" under the Performance Tab

Also, consider creating a new WINDOWS USER PROFILE and run Ableton Live from it. A new User profile is basically a clean OS slate.

I also suspect that a VSTi application might be responsible for you CPU overload. For example, when I use some DSK plug ins, I still get some CPU related drop outs on my Sandy Bridge Intel i7/8GB laptop. I stopped using said VSTis and found other solutions.

Also, "FREE" plug ins can be cpu hogs because the programming has not been optimized for CPU. (I remember writing a Max MSP patch that crashed the computer when I was in college), its very easy to program somthing that inadvertly kills CPU resources. So double check the PLUG INs you are using if they are third party.
Check out some of my soundtracks. Also Ableton Live Performance video.

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Encon
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Re: 150% CPU Load

Post by Encon » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:11 am

Wow, I always thought MP3 would be easier on the CPU since it's a smaller file. Thanks for that tip.

I do use a lot of third party EQ and compression, so it could be that. When I'm mixing a single track, how big is the difference quality-wise between Live's native EQ and, say, FabFilter Pro-Q (which is what I use) or a Waves Audio EQ plugin? Is it normal to mix using the native EQ instead of higher quality third party plugins?

Same with reverb, actually - would using something like iZotope Ozone's reverb plugin be noticeably better quality when it's just on one track, or is Live's native reverb plugin usually good enough for basic single-track mixing?

Those are the two things I use most that I would imagine use a lot of CPU, especially the EQ since that's on almost every track. If it's not that big of a difference in quality then I'll start mixing with Live's native plugins instead, which I'm sure would make a pretty big difference. Or maybe I should just stop being so lazy and export all my tracks before I do the mixing...


DxDiag didn't detect any problems, and everything looked normal to me. I'll try out the secondary user profile as well later tonight.


I'll try dropping NI Massive to high quality instead of ultra as well, since that's the primary synth I use at the moment. I'm still a bit new to music production, and always just assumed I would have enough CPU power on this laptop, so I've always picked the highest quality on everything I use without really thinking about it lol.


Thanks for all the help, by the way.

miekwave
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Re: 150% CPU Load

Post by miekwave » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:36 pm

Encon wrote:Wow, I always thought MP3 would be easier on the CPU since it's a smaller file. Thanks for that tip.

I do use a lot of third party EQ and compression, so it could be that. When I'm mixing a single track, how big is the difference quality-wise between Live's native EQ and, say, FabFilter Pro-Q (which is what I use) or a Waves Audio EQ plugin? Is it normal to mix using the native EQ instead of higher quality third party plugins?

Same with reverb, actually - would using something like iZotope Ozone's reverb plugin be noticeably better quality when it's just on one track, or is Live's native reverb plugin usually good enough for basic single-track mixing?

Those are the two things I use most that I would imagine use a lot of CPU, especially the EQ since that's on almost every track. If it's not that big of a difference in quality then I'll start mixing with Live's native plugins instead, which I'm sure would make a pretty big difference. Or maybe I should just stop being so lazy and export all my tracks before I do the mixing...


DxDiag didn't detect any problems, and everything looked normal to me. I'll try out the secondary user profile as well later tonight.


I'll try dropping NI Massive to high quality instead of ultra as well, since that's the primary synth I use at the moment. I'm still a bit new to music production, and always just assumed I would have enough CPU power on this laptop, so I've always picked the highest quality on everything I use without really thinking about it lol.


Thanks for all the help, by the way.

Reverbs - No more than 2 per session. User your SENDS into yur reverb track instead of creating reverbs on each track. If a preset loads a reverb, turn it off.

Since you are new to production do not use IZOTOPE, try to stuck with Ableton stock Plug Ins until you get a better understanding of those devices. IZotope can be a cpu hog if you are overdoing it. Also Abletons EQ and COMPRESSION should be used instead of third party EQ/COMPRESSOR since those are CPU optimized plug ins (Ableton Developed those)

Consider this - less is more. Try not to use effects if possible, stick with your composition and arrangement. Effects should be done for mixing after you have your arrangement.
Check out some of my soundtracks. Also Ableton Live Performance video.

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Valiumdupeuple
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Re: 150% CPU Load

Post by Valiumdupeuple » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:38 pm

which I'm sure would make a pretty big difference
What makes you think that? Pretty vintage GUI?
Have you ever tried? And notice a difference?

Encon
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Re: 150% CPU Load

Post by Encon » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:55 pm

2 reverbs per session...that could quite possibly be my mistake then since I use reverb a lot. =P Guess it's time to start being a bit more conservative with my effects then. Thanks again for the help.
Valiumdupeuple wrote:What makes you think that? Pretty vintage GUI?
Have you ever tried? And notice a difference?
I just naturally assumed a native plugin would use less CPU than third party, since the native plugins are actually built into Live (I think?). I don't know much about programming for DAWs though since I've never done that kind, so maybe I'm wrong.

markos
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Re: 150% CPU Load

Post by markos » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:57 pm

Perhaps its the 4 instances of Ozone you have running, along with the 4 instances of fab filter you have.

Why you would need 4 instances of Ozone running on the master channel is beyond me. It is a fairly heavy vst to be running in the first place and your system should have no issue's running it. But 4??? i see no point in this.

Encon
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Re: 150% CPU Load

Post by Encon » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:36 pm

Oh, the 4 instances of Ozone was me splitting the master suite into its individual plugins (reverb, compression, exciter, imager). That wasn't 4 instances of the full mastering suite lol. Would it be less CPU intensive to just use the mastering suite? I wasn't sure which would be better on the CPU, just using the 4 I need as separate plugins, or using the full suite and disabling the parts I don't need.

The 4 instances of FabFilter is because it's an older project and I was an idiot at the time. I just opened a random project on my desktop for the 150% CPU example.


The screenshot was more to show that Live is incapable of using 70% of my CPU, when it's clearly there available for it to use. Other programs can push my CPU past 30% usage, so why isn't Live able to use the extra resources when it needs it? Seems weird to me that I have to be more conservative with my plugins when Live could just be less conservative with my CPU usage. But like I said, I don't know enough about the programming of a DAW, so maybe there's something else behind that.

markos
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Re: 150% CPU Load

Post by markos » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:50 pm

multiple instances of any effect will increase CPU load and take up more RAM. Your PC seems powerful enough to be able to handle these loads, but I would suggest keeping things a bit more simple with your projects and routing effects properly.

Parrallel effects (Reverb, Chorus, Delays) should all be placed in Return tracks where you would feed the processed signal with yoru auxillery knobs in live. Any dynamics effects (called insert effects) should be placed either on each individual track, or on the master channel for mastering. For your master I would stick to EQ, Multiband Compressor, and limiter. Use just one instance of Ozone since it houses all of the effects in one and see if it cuts down the CPU usage. The way you have things running could be the reason why your CPU is overloading.

Also, if you are running a lot of midi tracks and ableton instruments and devices, make sure you are rendering your audio out. Midi also tends to eat up A LOT of CPU and RAM if you are using it very heavily (for ex: using multiple instances of operator to design your drum sounds and leaving them to run on midi).

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