will I gain a lot by getter a faster mac?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Stromkraft
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Re: will I gain a lot by getter a faster mac?

Post by Stromkraft » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:02 pm

ejlif wrote:As an update if anyone cares. I got the top very best I could get iMac with 32RAM. 1TB SSD drive, graphics, everything. Long story short it's rules. Everything I was having problems with in the macbook is gone. A better faster computer does make things work a lot better.
I'm amazed you never said a word about your audio interface. That alone renders the whole discussion pointless and a waste of time for everyone involved.
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jlgrimes
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Re: will I gain a lot by getter a faster mac?

Post by jlgrimes » Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:23 pm

Yes/No

It depends on what you are doing. A Mac Pro is generally overkill for Audio. A high end IMac would be more reasonable. I think it has like a 3.5 ghz quad i7.

It would help mainly from high end VSTs like DIVA, Serum etc.

But still you can use these on lower end processors it just comes down to freezing more.

I'd say a decent i7 quad with a lot of ram, a decent size SSD, a big external drive would do you well for audio.

pencilrocket
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Re: will I gain a lot by getter a faster mac?

Post by pencilrocket » Sat Oct 24, 2015 3:25 am

as long as your software can use multiple CPU efficiently. Yes.
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kitekrazy
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Re: will I gain a lot by getter a faster mac?

Post by kitekrazy » Sat Oct 24, 2015 4:48 am

login wrote:Seriously, who cares about latency when you are mixing? you are mixing, not recording! latency doesn't matter anymore. using low buffer setting while mixing is a total waste of resources.

yes a Mac pro provides more power than a MBP, the question is: Is your system underperforming? why? glitches at 50% CPU use is not normal.

Do you have an audio interface? If so, which? The audio interface is very important for the best use fo the computer resources, if you have a cheap one go for an RME or a Steinberg which have better drivers.

It is also wise to separate mixing from composition, using first all the resources needed for instruments. When you finish the arrengement bounce, increase the buffer and use all resources for mixing.
Great post.

Stromkraft
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Re: will I gain a lot by getter a faster mac?

Post by Stromkraft » Sat Oct 24, 2015 7:52 am

jlgrimes wrote: A Mac Pro is generally overkill for Audio.
There's virtually no or very little overkill for software instruments. Go install 16 tracks of Serum, some complex audio effects and I think you'll probably see what I mean.

That said, the approach to get only the gear that you currently need is far from wrong, nor is working with what you have. The problem is that what you think you need and what you actually need are both likely to change rather quickly with your musical development. Slow hardware can really hold you back even if some limitations typically are good for creativity.

I'm not advocating everyone should get a 12-core Mac Pro, just trying to emphasize that software instruments and other great plug-ins do indeed need CPU power as well as a good audio interface.
Make some music!

Khazul
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Re: will I gain a lot by getter a faster mac?

Post by Khazul » Mon Oct 26, 2015 9:53 pm

If you are hitting glitchiness at 50% cpu use, then it would seem there is something else wrong with the software/hardware on you computer, or even the computer itself (ie an actual fault).

I run my old 2011 MBP-17 to around 75-80% (on Live's indicator) - that's with a USB 2 connected RME UFX audio interface.

The only time I over started to hit glitchiness at around 60% was due to having installed some flakey hardware drivers (modems and other craps while on travels). As I couldn't be bothered to clean them out and I needed to do a major disc space re-org anyway, I re-installed OSX and all was good. In general OSX seems pretty good at not degrading badly over time, but it is possible (compare with my typical windows experience which usually needs a reformat every 6-12 months).

AFAIK Lives CPU indicator is based upon how long its buffer cycle calculation takes as a proportion of the time it has available (dictated by your audio interface settings) to perform the calculations.

If you were asking why a set was unexpectedly using a huge amount of CPU, then I may have a very different answer for you - Ive known Live and/or some plugins to become an utter CPU hog for no good reason. Add one more plugin and the CPU use just jumps off the chart at a certain point in a track and it never recovers for eg until you exit and reload.

BTW - you don't say which audio interface you are using - perhaps that has issues? You can get vastly differing behaviour across different audio interfaces and drivers - they are certainly not all created equal.
Nothing to see here - move along!

ejlif
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Re: will I gain a lot by getter a faster mac?

Post by ejlif » Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:25 pm

Khazul wrote:If you are hitting glitchiness at 50% cpu use, then it would seem there is something else wrong with the software/hardware on you computer, or even the computer itself (ie an actual fault).

I run my old 2011 MBP-17 to around 75-80% (on Live's indicator) - that's with a USB 2 connected RME UFX audio interface.

The only time I over started to hit glitchiness at around 60% was due to having installed some flakey hardware drivers (modems and other craps while on travels). As I couldn't be bothered to clean them out and I needed to do a major disc space re-org anyway, I re-installed OSX and all was good. In general OSX seems pretty good at not degrading badly over time, but it is possible (compare with my typical windows experience which usually needs a reformat every 6-12 months).

AFAIK Lives CPU indicator is based upon how long its buffer cycle calculation takes as a proportion of the time it has available (dictated by your audio interface settings) to perform the calculations.

If you were asking why a set was unexpectedly using a huge amount of CPU, then I may have a very different answer for you - Ive known Live and/or some plugins to become an utter CPU hog for no good reason. Add one more plugin and the CPU use just jumps off the chart at a certain point in a track and it never recovers for eg until you exit and reload.

BTW - you don't say which audio interface you are using - perhaps that has issues? You can get vastly differing behaviour across different audio interfaces and drivers - they are certainly not all created equal.
Was not trying to ruffle feathers here but anyway it's been a while but for the sake of others who might search this. I am using the Metric Halo LIO 8 interface. It's a firewire connection via a thunderbolt to FW 800 adapter. I have two computers in two different studios. My other computer is an iMac late 2012 2.9 i5. It is using a Grace 905 as the interface. Compared to the new top line iMac I can't do nearly as much at once. It will do the same thing though give me occasional dropouts or glitchy sound at 60% CPU on the meter. As I mentioned I was having issues with latency as well as glitchy sound with CPU getting up there. As the other guy who bought the mac pro mentioned this all stopped and those problems sorted themselves with the faster computer.

H20nly
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Re: will I gain a lot by getter a faster mac?

Post by H20nly » Mon Dec 28, 2015 7:39 am

ejlif wrote:I am confused by all this stuff, how much RAM can be used on a 32 bit system etc...
this could have been the key. if you were using a 32 bit version of Live, you may have noticed a performance gap.

Stromkraft
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Re: will I gain a lot by getter a faster mac?

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:17 pm

H20nly wrote:
ejlif wrote:I am confused by all this stuff, how much RAM can be used on a 32 bit system etc...
this could have been the key. if you were using a 32 bit version of Live, you may have noticed a performance gap.
Indeed and while I think Ableton has denied it to be the case for Live itself, plug-ins may benefit from a 64bit environment and the fact that due to larger memory registers inside the CPU, that only 64bit code can address, more code can execute in the same processor cycle.
If this aspect of 64bit computing extends to the music software we use every day I can't say, but it would be far from unlikely to never be a factor.

I ran 4 tracks of Native Instrument Reaktor synths — Razor, Monark and Prism — in oversampling mode today on my Core2Duo. Wow, what a difference that made! While these used far less CPU that I had expected oversampling and 88,2 and 96 Khz projects do use a little more CPU.
You always can make use of a faster CPU. That's one aspect of the reality in the digital studio, just as disks can't get too big. 2 years ago I had 230GB internally and found that to be just about too little, today I have 1TB and feel I'd like 1.5 at least. Offline I have 5TB of data and I just recently lost all program installers due to a silly problem on one disk. So when reinstalling I had to re-download hundreds of gigabytes of installers again. Some zipped one I managed to salvage. I think from now on all my apps will be zipped in backup.
Last edited by Stromkraft on Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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beats me
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Re: will I gain a lot by getter a faster mac?

Post by beats me » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:25 pm

My iMac has a 3TB Fusion drive. A few weeks ago I just crossed the threshold of 1TB of used storage space and that bothered me, as if less than 2TB of free space on the drive is going to cause performance issues. :)

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