Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop - Solved (It was the SSD)

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop - Solved (It was the SSD)

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:51 am

How many more stories like this one are there?:

Setup in set
I close many apps including Finder in OS X 10.11 and boot up Live 9.7.1 to continue on a simple song I recently started with one drum plug-in, Heartbeat (played from 5 tracks) and 4 tracks with software synths; Oxbd (2) and U-he TyrellN6 (1) as well as Monark (not playing) and 2 instances of Waves VEQ-3, 1 Doubler and 1 native Glue.

On my both return tracks I have first Cleansweep V2, on the first followed by Eareverb and on my second followed by Grain Delay and another Glue. On my Main Buss I have Waves L1. On the Master I have Waves NX with head tracking off. The separate NX app isn't running.

Usual setup
Usually I have at least VEQ-3 on every track, at least a couple of more drum tracks with Tremor or Sampler and 2-3 more synth tracks, plus Waves NLS on every track more or less and MMultianalyzer active on most tracks as well, plus saturation and what not on some tracks and about 3 additional effects tracks, including usually MFL device Magnetic. and sometimes Convolution Reverb.

Hardware
So this set should be a piece of cake for my Quadcore MacBook Pro with 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD with 150 GB free.

With latest RME driver, buffer settings at 1024 (Usually I'm at 256 to 512), App Nap being inactivated on Live and the Push connected I start playback. Immediately I get crackles as the engine load goes up over 100%. What the …?

I do this in order:
  • Buffer settings to 2048. No change
  • buffer settings to 512. No change
  • I turn off internet completely. Nothing.
  • Freeze 4 drum tracks and 2 synth tracks. No change.
  • I investigate if there are any undue apps running including backup. No.
  • I start Activity monitor to see if there are any runaway processes, that Apple seem so fond of to start up when you least expect it, running and taking up all my CPU. Nope.
At this point I leave the CPU window open so I can see the CPU load per core, as I realize one of my cores could be overloaded. I start Live from Push.

Result? Crack, Sizzle and Pop. :roll:
CPU overload? No, the meter barely moves over 30% in each core.

Restart
What to do? I restart the machine. All my 11 background apps are running and network is active and Firefox with tens of tabs open in multiple windows, Path Finder, Total Mix, Fireface as well as Skim.

Problem gone
I start the song with frozen tracks. I get perfect playback and the engine load meter goes up to just below 30%. I unfreeze each and every frozen track and the meter moves between 30 and 38%. In other words Live behaves like expected.

Causes
So could my machine been overheated? I doubt it. The most likely hardware explanation is that power saving had kicked in, but that's not apparent. Could it be any of the free software synths? Yes, possible. AFAIK they're not known for acting up. It could be any number of things. Bottom line is: how is this a music machine? What is this system we accept to live with every day of music? Do I have to go all hardware as it's the early nighties? Now, in 2017?
I feel like asking Ableton if they are you going to build hardware that can actually run Live. But what if the problem is in Live and throwing hardware at the problem doesn't solve it?

I'm already not installing software that I don't use. Maybe I should do detailed testing of everything I use and throw out what isn't up to snuff? Or toss all but a few makers, that do known good software? Would Ableton pass or is my use of Live just a fairy tale best enjoyed with Ibogaine? Am I going crazy? Maybe that would be preferable? :mrgreen:



How many more stories like this one are there? I need to do something drastic that actually works. All I want to do is to make music.
Last edited by Stromkraft on Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:49 am, edited 3 times in total.
Make some music!

[jur]
Site Admin
Posts: 2332
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:04 pm
Location: Ableton

Re: Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop

Post by [jur] » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:15 pm

Power saving without noticing it?
Possible: I've faced this several times, pullout and plugin again every soundcard/controllers... re-booting the machine, closing every other apps...
then remembering my power adaptor is faulty since a long time ago, play a bit (I also have a mac laptop, with this -usually- useful magnet system) with it and BAM > problem solved.

Offending 3rd party plugins?
Probably yes! I'd highly recommend you to start using Live's native (and M4L, yes!) devices instead of external plugins when possible. They're very reliable and most of them are very versatile and of good quality even though they're ugly. Actually I don't use more than 3 external plugins.
I've been doing it for years and :
- Live runs way better since then (I use a 6 years old quad i7 laptop that's still perfectly fine)
- almost zero update/compatibility headaches
- it's way more easy to investigate when there's an issue
Ableton Forum Moderator

scheffkoch
Posts: 526
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:37 pm

Re: Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop

Post by scheffkoch » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:46 pm

...i encountered similar problems when my old mbp's battery was nearly empty (although the computer was connected to the power bar)...no problems when the battery was over 80/90%...
macbook pro late 2018, osx 10.14.6, rme multiface via sonnet thunderbolt expresscard adapter + thunderbolt to usb-c adapter, ableton live 10.1.7, push 2, komplete 9, maschine 2.9.2, touchable

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:43 pm

[jur] wrote:Power saving without noticing it?
I mean Intel speedstep and later similar techniques. It's the bane of music production and not that uncommon.
[jur] wrote: my power adaptor is faulty since a long time ago, play a bit (I also have a mac laptop, with this -usually- useful magnet system) with it and BAM > problem solved.

That's not an issue for me.

[jur] wrote: Offending 3rd party plugins?
Probably yes! I'd highly recommend you to start using Live's native (and M4L, yes!) devices instead of external plugins when possible. They're very reliable and most of them are very versatile and of good quality even though they're ugly. Actually I don't use more than 3 external plugins.
I use Sampler, Simpler, Electric and a few times now Collision, plus a handful of native audio effects that are good enough. Unfortunately all Live synths suck IMHO, except those mentioned, so not using third party is not an option. Third party plug-ins are really needed in current music production and if Live can't handle them, they shouldn't run without warnings. Of course I'd like to identify culprits and get rid of them or at lease update them. Sometimes Live informs me when a specific plug-in is acting up, most of the time not.

Also, if one of the plug-ins actually was acting up the freezing should have fixed it. And why would it happen only this time and not later even in this set? Unfortunately, I was way too tired to make it into a find-the-culprit session, so just resorted to a restart.

Again, this is not a common problem for me. It's just unexplained.
Make some music!

nowtime
Posts: 1564
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:24 pm
Location: Homefree

Re: Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop

Post by nowtime » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:08 pm

Was just about to post about 2015 MBP problems and saw this.

Brand new maxed out computer running Sierra and it cannot do the most simple tasks in Live 9. My 2011 MBP 2.2 on Yosemite (and my 2015 iMac on El Capitan) runs my set perfectly at 64 samples(except for whining fans) which consists of this:

1 instance Omnisphere
1 instance Komplete Kontrol running Komplete
a couple audio playback tracks
maybe a couple EQ8's

this alone causes dropouts and pops. Using RME Babyface Pro running at 64 samples 48khz. All software and OS updated to the latest. Activity Monitor shows Live using 60%-85%-115% and 30% at idle with Live's internal meter showing around 25%. I have tested it to the hilt with no luck (tried my UFX and different RME drivers as well). Ableton Tech support has dropped email communication since Thursday morning! and won't answer their phone.

Cant seem to find a way to get El Capitan from Apple for testing. Return window for the MBP is up on Thursday.

Is it Live 9.7.1 ? Sierra???? A lemon of a computer?

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:41 pm

nowtime wrote:Was just about to post about 2015 MBP problems and saw this.

Brand new maxed out computer running Sierra and it cannot do the most simple tasks in Live 9. My 2011 MBP 2.2 on Yosemite (and my 2015 iMac on El Capitan) runs my set perfectly at 64 samples(except for whining fans) which consists of this:

1 instance Omnisphere
1 instance Komplete Kontrol running Komplete
a couple audio playback tracks
maybe a couple EQ8's

this alone causes dropouts and pops. Using RME Babyface Pro running at 64 samples 48khz. All software and OS updated to the latest. Activity Monitor shows Live using 60%-85%-115% and 30% at idle with Live's internal meter showing around 25%. I have tested it to the hilt with no luck (tried my UFX and different RME drivers as well). Ableton Tech support has dropped email communication since Thursday morning! and won't answer their phone.

Cant seem to find a way to get El Capitan from Apple for testing. Return window for the MBP is up on Thursday.

Is it Live 9.7.1 ? Sierra???? A lemon of a computer?
It would appear this potentially is a somewhat different problem as this was a once, so maybe a good idea to start a new discussion. I just did a session with the same song I had issues with yesterday, all tracks unfrozen, wifi active, 2 browsers in the background, Mail app and downloading a torrent file at 1.5Mbit/s and Live never went above 40%. All tracks and clips are from the same originals. No automation yet.

I don't know what could be the cause in your case, but intel speedstep or what later tech your CPU has could quite possibly be central in these situations. Have you turned off app nap in the Finder for Live? That alone solved some serious issues with Max For Live on my older 2009 duocore MBP on 10.11.

I usually can go up to 80% engine load without any dropouts on my 2011 Quadcore. Talk more in your new thread, OK? I don't mean to say our issues couldn't be related, just that the intermittent aspect is striking in my case.
Make some music!

jestermgee
Posts: 3980
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:38 am
Contact:

Re: Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop

Post by jestermgee » Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:08 pm

And here I am on PC and I have none of these issues.

I get the occasional single pop from my audio interface (Roland Octatrack) but this occurs maybe once in 20 minutes and irrespective of my buffer being 256 or 2048. It's more of an interface issue than a Live issue.

I heavily use Lives own EQ8, Glue, Compressor but I also use in almost every project Soundtoys, Ultraverb, Ozone and some Waves plugins. I operate almost 100% with VST plugins such as Omnisphere, Komplete, Trilian, Korg Legacy, Sylenth, ToonTracks. Almost no issues outside of the typical program crash here and there. I don't use Max at all and I don't use any custom scripts, hacks or mods to Live apart from a simple custom script for my launchpad that just changes the LED colours due to my colour blindness.

HOWEVER

I have worked with windows computers since Windows 3.1 and I take certain steps in my case to make things work as best I can muster. I do get the occasional crash but have learned to accept this as part of software having worked with DAW/Sequencers since DOS days. I have some dedicated PCIx USB cards for my sound card just to help split the overall loads of my dozens of USB devices.

I launch Live with a special startup script custom designed by me that starts my required software in sequence (Audio interface mixer, Bomes, Live, Touchable server etc) and also closes things that don't need to be open or running when I launch Live (Dropbox, Chrome, Other processes). When I close Live the required services are started again.

I keep all my source files, VST and Live library's stored as neat as possible and in just single locations located on 2 SSD cards.

Lastly having grown up first using the .MOD file format which was limited to 4 tracks of sequencing I focus very much on keeping my overall tracks as few as possible and actual plugin count as low as possible.

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:59 am

jestermgee, what have you done to counter power saving or overheating coping strategies in your CPU? Like Intel Speedstep and similar. What CPU does your machine have?

I also use a MBP from 2014 with different audio interfaces and so far haven't encountered a hiccup, so please don't make this a platform thing. I can count you to a number of members with heavy issues on Live in Windows, most certainly those having issues with Max For Live.

Yeah, MFL could be the culprit in many cases, but in this case, the set that made me post don't even have one device. And sounds beautiful now. I need to take further control over any Speedstepping or similar, if I can.
Make some music!

jestermgee
Posts: 3980
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:38 am
Contact:

Re: Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop

Post by jestermgee » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:42 am

Not denying there aren't issues, just saying that being a user of computer systems for close to 30 years and maintaining my own system in a specific way, I don't seem to see the same issues other users have.

I run an i7 4770K CPU with closed loop water cooler andI monitor all temps in my system with a program called "open hardware monitor" which never shows any core of the CPU above 55c under full load. I also use a very high end Corsair 750w power supply, Kingston ram, Samsung SSDs... All brand named, top shelf stuff and I always custom build everything to make sure I have the hardware that will best suit my needs. In Windows I disable CPU throttling and make sure that BIOS settings are set to always offer maximum power to my CPU, disable any sleep features for USB, HDD etc. I also bench stress my system when I build and every year when I do a complete reformat and update of everything. My system also serves as a video editor and gaming system (due for an upgrade to a GTX 1080 shortly)

From my past experience with crashes in various DAWs i've normally been able to track it down to either a dodgy plugin or some kind of dodgy template I have used and upgraded over years.

Possibly I am just one of the lucky ones, maybe my projects are much more simple than others. I also have 3 other windows systems and a laptop in the same room that I use for other tasks so I tend to keep things lean on my main machine having only what is needed (which works out to be a hell of a lot as is anyway).

Can only hope that Live continues to improve with stability but I haven't been on a forum yet where a collective of users weren't having issues of some sort.

miyaru
Posts: 949
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:08 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop

Post by miyaru » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:36 am

I'm a win7/64bit user. My PC is for music only, and not even connected to the internet. It's old but carefully optimized for music stuff. It's an old i7-920 intel quadcore and it's almost 8 years old, but recently upgraded to 24Gb of ram.

It seems that Apple is running from the music bussiness the last years, and altough I really like their OS and the way things work, they are further from music than ever.

It would be nice if DAW makers like Ableton, Steinberg etc. would come together and work on a Linux-like OS for music. I tried Linux stuff for music like Ardour, but did not like it. Linux should be stripped to a bare minimum to save resources for music.

A bit of topic, but my two cents on a music OS......

Good luck, and hope you find a solution!
Greetings from Miyaru.

Prodaw i7-7700, 16Gb Ram, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 3rd gen, Live Suit 10, Push2, Reason Suite 11, Presonus Eris E8, Lexicon MPX1,
Korg N1, Korg R3, NI Massive, Rob Papen's Predator 2, Sonarworks Reference 4 and Scaler.

Schmidi
Posts: 321
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2003 2:07 am
Location: Seattle

Re: Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop

Post by Schmidi » Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:44 pm

I realize you are all talking Mac here, but perhaps the concepts and tweaks are similar.

I had also had inconsistent performance on all of my computers, including crashes out of nowhere (like just hitting play on a clip).

I ran the system latency checker that is built into NI's Komplete Audio 6 software control panel. (You can freely download this and check your system, even if you have a different card). My computer was not well...

I then followed steps on this post from Focusrite: https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb/ ... Windows-10

(I know this is Windows based, but again, I would imagine many of the concepts carry over to OSX)\

Both my laptop and desktop have seen a tenfold reduction in system latency, and are now stable at 64 samples audio buffer. BIG improvement!

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:03 pm

Schmidi wrote:I realize you are all talking Mac here, but perhaps the concepts and tweaks are similar.

I had also had inconsistent performance on all of my computers, including crashes out of nowhere (like just hitting play on a clip).

I ran the system latency checker that is built into NI's Komplete Audio 6 software control panel. (You can freely download this and check your system, even if you have a different card). My computer was not well...

I then followed steps on this post from Focusrite: https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb/ ... Windows-10

(I know this is Windows based, but again, I would imagine many of the concepts carry over to OSX)\

Both my laptop and desktop have seen a tenfold reduction in system latency, and are now stable at 64 samples audio buffer. BIG improvement!
Yes, the lack of DPC latency checking in macOS is a main problem. Or even to turn off CPU throttling. Coolbook is the last app I know that could do this. Doesn't support i3, i5 and i7.
Make some music!

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:17 pm

Stromkraft wrote:Coolbook is the last app I know that could do this. Doesn't support i3, i5 and i7.
I also found ACPI CPU Throttling driver for MacOS X, but sadly also this doesn't work with newer OS X versions.
Make some music!

TomKern
Posts: 358
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:08 pm

Re: Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop

Post by TomKern » Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:17 pm

I don't have much to add, but this:
Stromkraft wrote: I do this in order:
  • Buffer settings to 2048. No change
  • buffer settings to 512. No change
Is really odd. If it had anything to do with CPU usage this should have made a huge difference.

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Stories of Crack, Sizzle and Pop

Post by Stromkraft » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:28 pm

TomKern wrote:I don't have much to add, but this:
Stromkraft wrote: I do this in order:
  • Buffer settings to 2048. No change
  • buffer settings to 512. No change
Is really odd. If it had anything to do with CPU usage this should have made a huge difference.
Not if CPU throttling was active. I'd say all bets are off if it is.

It's clear to me the cores weren't overloaded, at least not according to Activity Monitor, and no other apps or processes were slow or anything. After restart, everything was as snappy as expected also in Live.

This is vexing.
Make some music!

Post Reply