CPU-Overload and glitches in L11 / Windows10 [hopefully solved]

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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elem89
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:01 am

CPU-Overload and glitches in L11 / Windows10 [hopefully solved]

Post by elem89 » Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:12 am

Running 11.0.2 on a Windows 10 machine and on a MAC Book Pro (High Sierra)
Both machines are 8 - 10 years old but very well equipped (SSD, 32GB RAM and a 3rd gen. Quad-Core i7 on the Windows machine; 16GB on the MAC).
On my Windows machine I have network shut down, no VirusScan active, shutdown almost anything that could distract the machine from working with ableton. That's how I was working in L10 for the last 9 months or so, without any performance issues.
Audio interface is a Behringer UMC404 setup to a buffer size of 256 (windows) / 128 (MAC).
Last week I started a simple project on my Windows machine with a very simple continuous beat and a simple organ sound, just to layout the arrangement of a new tune. Length of the track currently is ~4:30.
Played back the track and played some guitar licks to it, without recording. In the middle of the track CPU indicator went berzerk. CPU overload at some points reached 50-60%. over the headphone the sound crackles and glitches as if I had broken cables all over the place.
Stopped the playback, started Windows task manager to observe the CPU load, restarted the track. Again somewhere in the middle of the track CPU stared again to go nuts. Windows task manager also showed peaks, telling me that ableton was using most of the CPU percentage.

Again: this is an extremely simple track, just a single base note for each harmony, played on a simple organ + bassdrum, snare a hihat.

I exported both tracks to midi files, shut down L11, fired up L10 and imported the midi files so that I had exactly the same song length, tempo and content.
Played again and - no CPU spikes at all. The max CPU peak I got was 21%.

Exported my L11 track as a Live Pack, imported it into L11 on my MAC. As expected the MAC can handle the spikes much better, just the occasional crackle and glitch. But the spikes still they are there, also on my MAC, with the CPU load partially going up to 50%.

If I increase the Behringer's buffer size playback appears to be a bit smoother on the MAC, but not on the Windows machine.

Anyone else having similar problems with ageing hardware and L11?
Last edited by elem89 on Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

elem89
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:01 am

Re: CPU-Overload and glitches in L11 / Windows10

Post by elem89 » Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:58 am

Reply to myself or anyone else who might read this :wink: :

In my first post I didn't mention that the PC is heating up quite a bit, feels like you could fry an egg on the PC's bottom lid, and the fan is going berzerk as well. Already tried to clean up the fan and the air outlets from the outside but that didn't help much.
Yesterday I entirely disassembled the machine as far as possible and did a *thourough* cleanup of *everything*. Some but not too much of dust inside. Then after re-assembling and before starting the machine I made sure the machine wasn't lying plain on my desk hoping that would increase air vantilation. Then started my current project and worked on it for a couple of hours.
Result: although it had looked rather clean inside there were no more crackles / pops / glitches, the fan was spinning moderately, and the bottom lid stayed just *warm*.
Fingers crossed it stays like that for a while.

tom.luft
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Re: CPU-Overload and glitches in L11 / Windows10 [hopefully solved]

Post by tom.luft » Sat May 01, 2021 6:34 am

Dusty fans are an explanation for thermal throttling, but this does certainly NOT explain the huge CPU usage differences between L10 and L11.

Experiencing a massive drop in productivity here, since L11 now crackles all over the place in projects I never had problems with before (in L10).
Live 11.0.2
Windows 10
i7 6700k, 16GB
Scarlett 18i8

PabloRiv
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat May 01, 2021 4:04 pm

Re: CPU-Overload and glitches in L11 / Windows10 [hopefully solved]

Post by PabloRiv » Sat May 01, 2021 4:14 pm

I'm seeing the same issues with L11 (11.0.2) on Windows 10. I have a new laptop (i7, 32gigs RAM, SSD) with no CPU throttling.

Huge difference between Live 11 and Live 10. Live 11.0.0 did not have this issue. CPU spikes with the simplest live set. I have an open support ticket but not making much progress in solving the issue. Lots of reports of this on reddit.

bkg2018
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 6:06 am

Re: CPU-Overload and glitches in L11 / Windows10 [hopefully solved]

Post by bkg2018 » Fri May 14, 2021 7:49 pm

I've had difficulties with Live 11 on my brand new PC I assembled, which is a true monster featuring 64GB of 4000-MHz ram, an i9 10980XE with 18 cores which turboes up to 4.8 GHz, a 2TB M2 WD Black SSD, and an RTX 3090 - which is irrelevant to Live but I had to mention that display cannot be slowed by this card.

Even with an empty project, this beast had Live 11 showing a non neglectable CPU usage of about 5%, which jumped to 20% when playing a single drum track. Worse even, LatencyMon told my PC might be too slow for audio. What?

Then I realized my i9 was running at 1.2 GHz.

I had to optimize both Windows and the BIOS. First I had forgotten to set the max performance energy scheme in Windows, and then I had to go into the BIOS to disable most of Intel's energy saving parameters (spreading etc) to make sure the i9 was running at overclocked speed instead of droping to 1.2GHz when considering there's no need to run faster, which Live seems to let it believe, and making sure all cores would run at the same speed too. It made things much better over all other applications and Windows in fact, but of course I use more energy and the cooling has more work to do, which implies vents turning faster and making more noise. Still ok with the watercooling, no big deal.

But it didn't help to hide that Live 11 is much slower than Live 10.

I've used the "what's new" Live Set from Live 10 Suite to measure the displayed CPU usage starting with the basic 16 tracks, then duplicating them until the sound starts to bug. The buffer is 512 Samples and sampling is at 44KHz. I have Live 10 and 11 suite on the PC so I did the test with exactly the same project and conditions and measured the peak cpu usage I could see.

From what I know Live 11 now displays an instant cpu usage instead of a mean value but I watched the full playing to make sure I had the highest peak anyway. I forgot to measure the cpu when not playing on the 512 tracks project and was too lazy to do it again but that's not the main point anyway.

Code: Select all

             LIVE 10            LIVE 11
             at rest / playing   at rest / playing

16 Tracks    1%        21%       1%        20%
128 tracks   4%        23%       4%        32%
256 tracks   6%        40%       11%       50%
384 tracks   8%        53%       11%       70%
512 tracks             71%                125% cracks and pops
The most obvious result is that Live 11 cease to work correctly largely before Live 10. In 512 tracks Live uses about 20GB of RAM so most people won't be able to test but Live 10 seems to be able to go even further, although I have not succeeded in loading back the projects bigger than 256 tracks (so I had to duplicate 128 tracks again). Maybe it was just horribly long, but after 5 minutes (on a highend M2 SSD!) I decided to load the 128 tracks project and duplicate, which worked fine.

There's no real point in using 256 tracks in fact, as the interface starts to be a little sluggish anyway even on this monster of a PC.

But it shows that Live 11 definitely has a performance issue compared to Live 10. It also shows how important it is to optimize BIOS parameters with modern CPUs which tend to reduce their speed when no big power is required and try to use less cores when they believe they can. Disabling all those settings allow the CPU to actually run at full speed all time.

Most probably, things are better on macOS as it has a very efficient multi-threading dispatching core: I will try to update this table with my i7 macbookpro to see what gives but I felt tired for today.

bkg2018
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 6:06 am

Re: CPU-Overload and glitches in L11 / Windows10 [hopefully solved]

Post by bkg2018 » Sat May 15, 2021 11:23 am

I made the same tests on a 2017 MacbookPro equipped with a 4-cores i7 at 2.8GHz, 16GB of RAM at 2133 MHz and an SSD 1TB drive. It's a very capable machine which I use daily for my work.

The song is the 'what's new' live set from Live 10 which has 16 tracks. By duplicating them I build 128 tracks, 256 etc versions and check the cpu usage. No grouping and no freezing, each track eats CPU.

It was not easy to plug my focusrite interface so I used the internal audio chipset, which is probably much slower but uses 512 bytes buffer and 44KHz sampling rate as on the PC test.

Contrary to what I believed, Live on my MBP is much more limited than on my PC, but I think this is largely due to the internal audio driver which is not ASIO, the lower CPU speed and the 16GB RAM size.

At 128 tracks already, I hear cracklings and pops in sound and CPU usage occasionally goes above 80%. With 256 tracks, the sound is crakling right from start and Live is clearly unuseable.

However, I don't think there is any significant difference between Live 10 and Live 11 on macOS.

Code: Select all

             LIVE 10            LIVE 11
             at rest / playing   at rest / playing

16 Tracks    3%        32%       1%        31%
128 tracks   2%        87%       3%        89%  both versions go to 89% at some point and make cracks in sound
256 tracks   horrible on both versions, CPU above 100%

AdmiralRed
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2021 11:34 am

Re: CPU-Overload and glitches in L11 / Windows10 [hopefully solved]

Post by AdmiralRed » Thu Jun 24, 2021 2:47 pm

Very interesting and detailed analysis, thanks a lot for that. I was wondering, it seems that this series of tests was done on the first released version of L11: did you get an opportunity to do something similar on later versions?
In other words, is it still as bad now as it was at the beginning or have things been patched/fixed along the way?
Thanks!

jlgrimes
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:55 am
Location: Atlanta, Ga

Re: CPU-Overload and glitches in L11 / Windows10 [hopefully solved]

Post by jlgrimes » Fri Jun 25, 2021 12:58 pm

AdmiralRed wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 2:47 pm
Very interesting and detailed analysis, thanks a lot for that. I was wondering, it seems that this series of tests was done on the first released version of L11: did you get an opportunity to do something similar on later versions?
In other words, is it still as bad now as it was at the beginning or have things been patched/fixed along the way?
Thanks!
V11 seems a bit hoggier on my system but it is still workable for me. That said I have a pretty nice system (although not the best by any means).

Biggest issue is a CPU overload indicator to lights up alot. That said probably 70-80% of time it does so, it doesn't produce any audible artifacts so it becomes more of a nuisance alarm, but it also causes mild anxiety (Is version 11 using more resources than 10 or is it telling me that my system is subpar).


I'm guessing though they probably still need to make some optimizations though but they probably also need to rethink the CPU use overload indicator LED. At some-point they probably need a detailed CPU report that shows what every plug-in is contributing to load. The meters are nice for each track but if your track has 15 devices (with many of them racks), it still could take some time to find out the biggest offending plugins.

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