How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

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elliott502
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How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

Post by elliott502 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:18 pm

Hi I'm just wondering what everyone on here who owns a 16 gb ram, i7 macbrook pro's experience is with how many plugins they can run at once. I have a track with about 15-20 instances of sylenth, fm8, reaktor, or kontakt and ~15 audio tracks and its starting to glitch out sometimes as high as 90% CPU. I also have a track that has about 60 tracks that are all bounced to audio and it's starting to glitch out around 60-70% CPU usage. Does these seem normal to anyone out there who knows specs and/or has the same specs as me? I wish i could run more tracks, or at least run the ones im using fine. All my VST'S and my ableton DAW are fully licensed and legally purchased.

I don't feel like i can really improve upon an i7 processor and 16 gb of ram, but it wont fucking run my projects without sounding like total garbage. It makes it impossible to keep working. Anyone have any input?

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Re: How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

Post by login » Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:25 pm

Increase latency (buffer size).

Given the VSt's you are using, the exception being reaktor, are not that CPU heavy, I certainly can run similar sized project on a 4790k (PC desktop).

Stromkraft
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Re: How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:58 pm

elliott502 wrote:Hi I'm just wondering what everyone on here who owns a 16 gb ram, i7 macbrook pro's experience is with how many plugins they can run at once.
That'd be heavily dependent on many factors like settings and event density. In my sets I run about 8 drum synth engines (Heartbeat and/or Tremor) on separate tracks, 2-5 of Reaktor synths in 88.2k high quality mode (Razor and Monark), FM8, Z3TA+ 2 and about 2-4 plug-ins per track and 2-5 return tracks with 1-3 plug-ins and/or effects and the same for the master. Occasionally there are also hardware recordings, from a few tracks up to ten or so, but if there are many usually that means there are less software synths in the set. I don't see more than 10 instrument tracks, drums not counted, improving the song. I rather just use what's needed and not more.

I can use a 64 samples buffer size when recording most of the time and during further developments I go up to a 128-256 samples.

I've accepted long ago that at some point my MIDI will become audio and save that as my project name + "audio". This frees up computing power I need for mixdowns.

Of course you can do better than a 4-core i7 if you get a desktop. I'm working on a 6-core Hackintosh myself. 16gb RAM isn't that different from 8 unless you use a lot of RAM intense samples. An SSD is very, very important, but I'd assume yours come with one. Big disks are usually faster. El Capitan is supposed to accept third party drives better than previous versions of OS X.
Last edited by Stromkraft on Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jlgrimes
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Re: How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

Post by jlgrimes » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:31 pm

elliott502 wrote:Hi I'm just wondering what everyone on here who owns a 16 gb ram, i7 macbrook pro's experience is with how many plugins they can run at once. I have a track with about 15-20 instances of sylenth, fm8, reaktor, or kontakt and ~15 audio tracks and its starting to glitch out sometimes as high as 90% CPU. I also have a track that has about 60 tracks that are all bounced to audio and it's starting to glitch out around 60-70% CPU usage. Does these seem normal to anyone out there who knows specs and/or has the same specs as me? I wish i could run more tracks, or at least run the ones im using fine. All my VST'S and my ableton DAW are fully licensed and legally purchased.

I don't feel like i can really improve upon an i7 processor and 16 gb of ram, but it wont fucking run my projects without sounding like total garbage. It makes it impossible to keep working. Anyone have any input?
Is your processor Dual or Quad core?

Also like other said buffer size makes a difference. This also depends on your sound card/audio interface type but I don't bother going below 128 samples for my buffer size.

Once you get below a certain point anyways you won't really notice a big difference (in terms of latency) but that doesn't mean that your computer doesn't know.

Also sample rates makes a difference. I wouldn't bother with rates other than 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz.

Also make sure the use multicore processing is turned on for your VSTS. if this is t turned on you really aren't benefiting from your CPU being multicore.

Other than that some VSTs are just heavy. Reaktor can be pretty intense.

Stromkraft
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Re: How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:36 pm

jlgrimes wrote:
elliott502 wrote:
Is your processor Dual or Quad core?
All 15" display Macbook Pros are quadcore, the 13" display MBPs are usually duocore, but few are i7 I think.
jlgrimes wrote:sample rates makes a difference. I wouldn't bother with rates other than 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz.
For sets, that's OK. But for synths like Reaktor and others 88.2 and 96kHz often sounds noticeably better. One trick is to record MIDI at lower sample rates and do full quality on freeze/flatten, re-sampling or recording (to 44.1 or 48 kHz).

I do the same for effects treatment and use oversampling only when I need it, like on mixdowns.
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wascal
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Re: How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

Post by wascal » Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:56 pm

elliott502 wrote:Hi I'm just wondering what everyone on here who owns a 16 gb ram, i7 macbrook pro's experience is with how many plugins they can run at once. I have a track with about 15-20 instances of sylenth, fm8, reaktor, or kontakt and ~15 audio tracks and its starting to glitch out sometimes as high as 90% CPU. I also have a track that has about 60 tracks that are all bounced to audio and it's starting to glitch out around 60-70% CPU usage. Does these seem normal to anyone out there who knows specs and/or has the same specs as me? I wish i could run more tracks, or at least run the ones im using fine. All my VST'S and my ableton DAW are fully licensed and legally purchased.

I don't feel like i can really improve upon an i7 processor and 16 gb of ram, but it wont fucking run my projects without sounding like total garbage. It makes it impossible to keep working. Anyone have any input?
I can usually run around the same amount of VSTs without issues on my late 2012 i7 / 16gb 15" MBP, if things start getting a bit crackly I just start bouncing tracks or knock the buffer size down to 256.

What annoys me is that I spent an entire weekend and made a beast of a drum rack, like 8 different pads each with a selector to select from 128 different kicks, hats etc, mappings for each - and trying to load one single instance of it will completely bring things to a standstill for about a minute until it decides to load.

Its so frustrating when running 5+ instances of Diva on super high quality is apparently a walk in the park, but playing back 8 basic sampler patches is cause for an Ableton brain haemorrhage. If anyone has found a way to avoid this I'm definitely interested as a 16gb quadcore i7 should be able to handle that in its sleep.
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Stromkraft
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Re: How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

Post by Stromkraft » Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:29 pm

wascal wrote:trying to load one single instance of it will completely bring things to a standstill for about a minute until it decides to load.
The only way I can think of until Ableton optimizes loading is a faster SSD, faster RAM and faster CPU. There's still no guarantee any load speed difference will be worth the effort and the expense.

Verifying that the SSD is optimized is a good place to start.

I just realized another way is to abandon drum samples and use only synthesis for drums. That might not work for everyone though.
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alpertt
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Re: How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

Post by alpertt » Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:20 pm

Stromkraft wrote: Verifying that the SSD is optimized is a good place to start.
How do you do that? First aid with disk utility or something else?

Stromkraft
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Re: How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

Post by Stromkraft » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:12 pm

alpertt wrote:
Stromkraft wrote: Verifying that the SSD is optimized is a good place to start.
How do you do that? First aid with disk utility or something else?
Check out the speed you ought to have by reading tests of your drive model and its specs, running speed tests and if a third party drive in a Mac make sure that trim is active.

Activating trim in a Mac with a third party SSD is a somewhat lengthy subject for details, but in general OS X 10.11 El Capitan allows trim also on third party drives to be activated and/or you can use tools like Chameleon.

Some drive makers say they have Trim built-in and implicate their drives don't need OS support for it, but I have never had reason to verify this.

Other steps of course include making sure 20% of free space at minimum and not having too fragmented data. You could also put libraries or other disk intensive data on a second SSD, internal or external provided you have fast enough second bus.
And if you find a new drive would be faster that might change speed drastically sometimes and not at all other times.

As this is some work it's usually a good idea to make speed tests first to see if you really need to do something. I'm lazy so I haven't activated trim, but I have a quite big drive at 1TB so takes longer. I should really look into that.

All of this may still not affect Live load speeds enough to warrant the job you need to put in, but overall you should end up with faster machine. Drive speed actually affects everything including graphics (data wait states) though not always noticeably so.
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alpertt
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Re: How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

Post by alpertt » Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:34 am

@Stromkraft thanks for the detailed info.

When i upgraded to El Cap (from ML) couple mounths ago, i've assumed trim was enabled by default.. I was using 3rd party Trim enabler on ML, and i didnt install it on new OS

Turned out i should have activated trim via terminal! >

Code: Select all

sudo trimforce enable
Ableton boots up faster now. Or its placebo effect im not sure :lol:

wascal
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Re: How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

Post by wascal » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:41 am

Stromkraft wrote:
wascal wrote:trying to load one single instance of it will completely bring things to a standstill for about a minute until it decides to load.
The only way I can think of until Ableton optimizes loading is a faster SSD, faster RAM and faster CPU. There's still no guarantee any load speed difference will be worth the effort and the expense.

Verifying that the SSD is optimized is a good place to start.

I just realized another way is to abandon drum samples and use only synthesis for drums. That might not work for everyone though.
Interesting, I'll give that a shot. Already a big fan of drum synthesis but nice to have a full palette of options for a rainy day ;)
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miekwave
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Re: How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

Post by miekwave » Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:31 am

elliott502 wrote:Hi I'm just wondering what everyone on here who owns a 16 gb ram, i7 macbrook pro's experience is with how many plugins they can run at once. I have a track with about 15-20 instances of sylenth, fm8, reaktor, or kontakt and ~15 audio tracks and its starting to glitch out sometimes as high as 90% CPU. I also have a track that has about 60 tracks that are all bounced to audio and it's starting to glitch out around 60-70% CPU usage. Does these seem normal to anyone out there who knows specs and/or has the same specs as me? I wish i could run more tracks, or at least run the ones im using fine. All my VST'S and my ableton DAW are fully licensed and legally purchased.

I don't feel like i can really improve upon an i7 processor and 16 gb of ram, but it wont fucking run my projects without sounding like total garbage. It makes it impossible to keep working. Anyone have any input?
You have a bottleneck with
A. HDD/SSD throughput is too low, other programs are reading/writing to the same disk as your projects (or samples) drive - Keep OS drive, Projects Drive, Samples Drive, and Temp-File / VST files drive seperate
B. Audio Interface Throttled at low buffer setting (processor or hardware limitation), make sure you have highest quality audio interface cables, shorter lengh cables helps with lower buffer settings
C. MultiCore/Multithread is disabled
D. Ram is at >80% usage causing page-swap interruption
E. Driver error or driver throttle, make sure all your IO devices (video, audio, keyboard, controllers) connected to your system are updated), examine your processor and disk monitor to see IO activity to determine which devices are throttling your system
F. Other programs accessing ram, disk, cpu resources - check your programs resource monitor to determine what programs are taking up ram/cpu/disk resources while rnning your project
G. PEBKAC Error - Use YouTube to trobleshoot
H. Faulty cpu, ram, disk, mobo, connector, cable hardware component - too much trobleshooting
I. Network Card causing issues - disable wifi when using DAW
J. Security Software is scanning your DAW assets - is your virus or firewall scanning your project and audio files? Block your Project and samples directories from your security scan.
K. False Ram - wipe out unused assets taking up ram resources
L. Your BUFFER size is too small - try doubling buffer size to help lower CPU throttling
M. Your CPU core is very hot (over 101 degrees) and approaching tjunc temperature - when you hit tjunc temperature your cpu clock will throttle until your cpu coolss down below 70 degrees (usually)

Suggestions:
1. Use CUDA core plug ins if possible (your Mac PC must be CUDA compatible). This will greatly reduce CPU strain by allocating DSP resources to your graphics card.
2. Freeze or write to audio to preserve CPU
3. Configure plug ins as "lo" quality setting when editing, change plug ins to "hi" quality when rendering to disk
4. Get a Slave VEP PC to distribute your DSP resources between two computers (can get a Gen 2 i5 3.5gHz OC with 16GB 1866 ram slave PC with synergy local network for under $400 and effectively double your DSP throughput)
5. Get 5 DISK for Optimal Drive Allocation minimal bottlenecking (suggestions)
a. OS+Programs drive - SSD / Flash
b. Sample library drive - SSD
c. Temp/Cache & VST files drive - SSD / Flash
d. Projects Drive - 7200 RPM
e. Backup Media Drive 5600 RPM
6. Your OS should have multiple profile instances - create a seperate "ABLETON ONLY" user profile, this will clean up your desktop and you can prioritize program open closes
7. Keep your RAM use under 80% - when your RAM goes above 80% you will more likely trigger page swapping activity during playback,
8. Keep your CPU use under 85% during playback - if you are getting >85% cpu you need to freeze tracks
9. During Recording enable only the "need to know" tracks disabling all other tracks so you can track at 32 buffer
10. During editing increase your BUFFER to reduce CPU throttling - lower buffer causes more CPU strain
11. A "cool" CPU operates better than a "hot" CPU, make sure you have proper cooling ventilation
12. Copy Sample / AUdio Stems to stream from RAM - if you have lots of spare ram, copy your Audio Sample and Stem assets to stream from RAM, not disc - ram is closer to CPU than disk, so streaming from ram takes less CPU than streaming from disk


Is your apple i7 still Gen-4?
6700k is the new standard top laptop processor on the market now
6950x is the top enthusiast processor
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tintala
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Re: How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

Post by tintala » Mon Jun 20, 2016 4:01 pm

Im on a 4790 K, i7 core, with 32 gb and 500 gb ssd, Live CPU still jumps to 90% and audio drops out, on 256 buffer , but with my new build Live defaults to 48mhz instead of 44, I have a very strong MB and processor, yet Live CPU still goes off the charts...I am running about 35-40 tracks.. I really thought my new system would handle a descent load, but Live cant take it.
Last edited by tintala on Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

contortrix
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Re: How many VST's can you guys run with an i7 16 GB Macbook Pro

Post by contortrix » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:25 am

elliott502 wrote:I have a track with about 15-20 instances of sylenth, fm8, reaktor, or kontakt and ~15 audio tracks and its starting to glitch out sometimes as high as 90% CPU. I also have a track that has about 60 tracks that are all bounced to audio and it's starting to glitch out around 60-70% CPU usage.
That's a lot of VSTs. More VSTs will eat more CPU cycles, and some VSTs are very demanding. I'd print some of those MIDI tracks to audio

Not sure on the 60-track audio project issue. If you don't have an SSD, you could run into an issue streaming all those audio tracks from slow storage.

Even an older and/or dual-core i7 has plenty of power for typical Live usage, and 16GB RAM is overkill. OS X is highly optimized for the MBP hardware, too. I'm thinking either you have a normal HDD as the bottleneck, or you're running too many VSTs.

Also, you could just have your audio buffer set too low.
wascal wrote: What annoys me is that I spent an entire weekend and made a beast of a drum rack, like 8 different pads each with a selector to select from 128 different kicks, hats etc, mappings for each - and trying to load one single instance of it will completely bring things to a standstill for about a minute until it decides to load.
That's very bizarre. I just tested, and loading an 8x128 rack took me about three seconds. Loading a multi-level (drum racks inside a drum rack) 4x128 took about one second.

SSD optimization shouldn't matter in this case. Even an older SSD that was 80% full should deal with loading a thousand small samples with ease.
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