clicks in audio stream when manipulating gui elements

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Bunky Freaks
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clicks in audio stream when manipulating gui elements

Post by Bunky Freaks » Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:28 pm

the title kinda says it all: when manipulating elements of the gui (eg minimizing the live window, moving faders or opening/closing the browser) hick ups and sometimes even stutters contaminate the audio stream. This is happening more frequently with higher CPU load and lower latency buffer settings, nonetheless it also happens with low load/higher latency.

Note that it doesnt matter if using the mouse or the keyboard, for examples clicks appear when switching through the channels with the cursor keys.

Live 6 seems to be less prone to this, in the latest Live 7 beta (6) its annoying to the point to completely kill the workflow when working with low latency (<=265 samples audio buffer). Also tested latest non-beta 7.0.1.

To hear the clicks I put a lowpass filter around 100 Hz in the master channel, since a lot of high frequency content often masks them.

To exclude driver/hardware component issues i recreated the same set in Reaper which happily plays along with 32 samples (!) buffer settings even when pushing the cpu load to ~90%. No pops and clicks when minimizing windows or manipulating gui elements just smooth and clean audio playback. This is so far from what Live 7 is able to handle without choking.

I could imagine that there are several issues connected here, since besides the gui crackling the live 7 engine appears to me as less performant/responsive as 6 or 5. I can hardly push it to use more than 50% when using buffer sizes like 128 or even 64 samples without it scratching and spitting at me. Graphical operations just seem to enforce this problem of the engine.

Anyways, does someone have an idea what could help to remedy this situation?

my system: Intel E4300, Asus P5k Wifi/AP, Nvidia 8600GT, 2 Gb Ram, RME HDSP PCIe, Multiface II, Win XP Pro SP2, latest drivers, fully optimized for audio work, no network, no office, no shit.

Plugin Buffer Size is set to "as audio buffer" in live 6.0.10, 7.0.1 & the latest 7.0.2b6.

Timur
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Post by Timur » Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:39 pm

Set your Plugin Buffers to 256 (for best CPU/latency efficiency) or 128 (for less VST jitter). Anything below 128 will increase CPU load dramatically, anything above 256 will result in audible jitter (actually even 256 will do that, but less audible).

At least in Live 6.10 the Plugin Buffer setting is broken, it will always use the size of the Audio Buffers that was used when starting Live/opening a set. Any change of Plugin Buffers wont be recognized by Live 6.10 unless you load a new set/restart Live.

Also make sure that Windows' energy-managment is set to "Desktop" or "Always On" when working with Live, else your CPUs Speedstep will cause troubles.

Live 7's Midi engine seems to be buggy as hell and leads to lots of drop-outs, general performance issues and even crashes. Try to avoid sending many concurrent Midi events to external Midi interfaces.

Live's GUI causes lots of trouble under Vista when using the Basic/Classic Desktop, but works better with Aero. Still it can force your graphic-card into performance modus there. I did not experience these problems with Windows XP, but maybe your 8600GT has some troubles that do not show on my 7800GT.

If you are using a Control Surface (especially Remote SL) then try to turn that off. There are issues with Live 7 and Control Surfaces when changes via mouse/keyboard are send to the Control Surface.

Word to Ableton: Publish that "Known Issues" List, please!!!! :!: :!: :!: :?

Bunky Freaks
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Post by Bunky Freaks » Wed Feb 06, 2008 10:48 pm

hi timur,

thanks for your extensive response!
Timur wrote:Set your Plugin Buffers to 256 (for best CPU/latency efficiency) or 128 (for less VST jitter). Anything below 128 will increase CPU load dramatically, anything above 256 will result in audible jitter (actually even 256 will do that, but less audible).

At least in Live 6.10 the Plugin Buffer setting is broken, it will always use the size of the Audio Buffers that was used when starting Live/opening a set. Any change of Plugin Buffers wont be recognized by Live 6.10 unless you load a new set/restart Live.
That didnt change anything, tried 128 aswell as 256. decoupling increases distortions through clicks and glitches here
Timur wrote: Also make sure that Windows' energy-managment is set to "Desktop" or "Always On" when working with Live, else your CPUs Speedstep will cause troubles.
Speedstep is disabled in the bios and energymanagement is set to desktop.
Timur wrote: Live 7's Midi engine seems to be buggy as hell and leads to lots of drop-outs, general performance issues and even crashes. Try to avoid sending many concurrent Midi events to external Midi interfaces.

no midi used, just audio. everything midi i/o disabled.

Timur wrote: Live's GUI causes lots of trouble under Vista when using the Basic/Classic Desktop, but works better with Aero. Still it can force your graphic-card into performance modus there. I did not experience these problems with Windows XP, but maybe your 8600GT has some troubles that do not show on my 7800GT.

If you are using a Control Surface (especially Remote SL) then try to turn that off. There are issues with Live 7 and Control Surfaces when changes via mouse/keyboard are send to the Control Surface.

Word to Ableton: Publish that "Known Issues" List, please!!!! :!: :!: :!: :?
i use win xp pro, tried different graphics driver versions to no avail.

But here is a really wierd finding regarding this issue: When the taskmanager is opened and made to stay in foreground (to show cpu load) all graphic operations (besides minimizing the Live window) work without glitches? How is that possible? Before i could not change the track without some hefty clicking on 64 samples buffer. With the taskmanager window in front of Live almost no clicks occure. This is 100% reproducable, dunno what to think about this?

slirak
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Post by slirak » Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:26 am

Bunky Freaks wrote: Speedstep is disabled in the bios and energymanagement is set to desktop.
Glitches, crackles and pops have been spoiling my Live experience for a couple of months now. A lot of it was MIDI and controller (the Novation SL) related and the steps Timur mentioned made quite a difference. Unfortunately, I've still had lots of glitches as soon as my CPU usage climbed over 25 % or so. I've also experienced huge CPU usage swings, all the time.

15 minutes ago, I solved the whole issue goddammit! :o

What I did was I disabled Speedstep.

Already did that you say?? I thought I had too... Turns out I hadn't.

Now I don't have an option to turn it off in BIOS and I noticed you do. But I've read numerous accounts from people who've turned it off in BIOS but still apparently have Speedstep doin' its dirty deeds, so it may be worth a try.

What I tried first was the obvious: I set my power settings to Always on. My laptop came with this nifty little app called "Battery Mizer" that allows more fine grained control than Windows' standard settings, so when Always on didn't do the trick, I fiddled a bit with it and things did get better, but still glitches and some sysinfo apps would still indicate that Speedstep was alive and kicking.

What I tried next was a couple of utils that supposedly would disable Speedstep, like SpeedswitchXP. No go.

I then uninstalled Battery Mizer and set Windows' standard power settings to Always on. No difference. So I gave up that route and have since tried basically every tweaking tips there is and then some!

A few minutes ago, out of sheer desperation, I decided to try SpeedswitchXP again. I downloaded and installed it and simply tried the default "Max performance" setting. THE GLITCHES ARE NOW GONE! :D

The only thing I can think of is that when Battery Mizer was installed, it prevented SpeedswitchXP and similar apps from disabling Speedstep.

So do try SpeedswitchXP if you haven't already (and uninstall any proprietary power management apps first):
http://www.diefer.de/speedswitchxp/

/Jonas

Bunky Freaks
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Post by Bunky Freaks » Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:10 am

hi slirak, thanks for responding!

Yes, i know speedstep can be a major contributor to all kinds of performance problems. I definitly made sure that it is disabled. I even ran SpeedswitchXP on this workstation (had Speedswitch running on my laptop for years). But that didnt change anything. The bios setting does what it should do.

What really bugs me is that other audio applications actually CAN HANDLE ultra low latency audio on the EXACT SAME SYSTEM. Like i wrote above I made some simple and identical sets for Reaper and Live 7: 12 audiochannels, i put variverb pros on them to activate them until clicks occure. Reaper plays this set at 32 samples buffer (thats 0,7ms latency) with out any problems until a cpu usage of ~80%! At that latency Live actually plays back the set with only some hick ups but it gets really nasty when clicking certain gui elements. Even with all fx disabled i get lots of crackles! And thats with a set that simply plays back audiofiles in arrange.

Now I know that Live is quite a different application than a "standard multitrack daw". Correct me if i am wrong but the whole idea of Live was based around playing live on a computer. For that i need low latency and a stable audio stream when interacting with the program. And this at the current state of affairs is an absolute disaster.

I would really like to know what is wrong. And I dont want to run around buying different graphics adapters, cpus, mainboards or whatever, just because Live has a problem with my computer that other software has not and without knowing what really is the remedy!? On paper Lives evolution kicks ass. But something under the hood seems to be heavily screwed. Right now I can say that I am heavily disappointed with the current situation.

(Just for the record, Live 6 does things better at higher latencies, its far from being ultra perfomant, but at least no crackle galore.)

mdk
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Post by mdk » Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:39 pm

unfortunately i have no help, but i had exactly this same issue, BUT only with vista.

I stripped my system to the bare essentials, soundcard driver, gfx driver (ive got an nvidia 8500gt), ableton live. nothing else and the problem just wouldnt go away.

any kind of UI activity caused severe crackles, particularly using the arrange view scrolly / zoomy thing (to give it a technical name)

i see youre on xp, so obviously its more than just the OS that is at fault.

i scrapped vista and re-installed xp (im running SP3) and now its ok, except i've got a paid for copy of vista sitting right next to me doing nothing.
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Timur
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Post by Timur » Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:55 pm

You need to use Aero with Vista in order for Live to be useable (at least). That will solve most GUI/CPU related problems.

Bunky Freaks
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Post by Bunky Freaks » Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:11 pm

Just tried the the new offical 7.0.2 but that didn't fix it (not that i expected it to).

What's really killing me is that 7 has so many great enhancements and runs ultra stable, but I can not make use of it because of the aforementioned problem.

Here is one example of where this issue makes 7 useless in production. The new "external effect" is the perfect link to use outboard gear, but every record take likely has clicks and crackles in it, since audio (including the crackles) leaves the pc and gets rerecorded. Now how do i get a 100% crackle free recording when bouncing? With Live 7 I simply can't be sure, i would have to listen closely to EVERY SINGLE take i make. That is not how its supposed to work. :cry:

If the performance issues are ironed out, it will be a great version to use! So please ableton look into this! I will gladly sacrifice some more time to do further testing for you, if you tell me what to do or where to look at. I have no other ideas left how to make it work...

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Post by sporkles » Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:44 pm

Timur wrote: If you are using a Control Surface (especially Remote SL) then try to turn that off. There are issues with Live 7 and Control Surfaces when changes via mouse/keyboard are send to the Control Surface.
Ah! I just made a new post about this - it's at least of some consolation that
I'm not alone...

http://www.ableton.com/forum/viewtopic. ... highlight=

Bunky Freaks
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Post by Bunky Freaks » Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:07 pm

hello ableton support, I would like to hear an official response to my problems with live (which I thoroughly described here in this thread). It's still driving me up the walls, especially when working with external effects.

Are there any further tips you can give me to enhance the performance of Live in low latency scenarios? I tried every performance enhancing tweak I know of, but maybe I missed something obvious? Or at least an acknowledgment that this issue is known and taken care of. thanks a lot!

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Post by rhythminmind » Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:02 am

I just got a new system..I now have this problem as well.. I an running 7.02, Vista (tried SP1 no difference i uninstalled until i have the final in march), Remote Zero SL with the 2.0 beta.
I have every potential problem.
But get this it is something with Live for sure When i open up REAPER nothing! works great. No pop, glitches from gui or remote control. This is a really big deal. I can't use Live..
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rhythminmind
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Post by rhythminmind » Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:30 am

I've tried ever system/3d video card setting tweak i could think of.. Nothing.. Live work fairly well if i don't bring up and plug in guis. I think i will just have to map as much as i can to my Remote SL. Speaking of remote SL it's doesnt seem to be causing any problems on my system. It has no effect if i disable it.
What is so annoying is that I know my system can handle it.. It's works great in REAPER. But reaper is my Mixing app it's not Live..
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I HAVE A FIX/WORKAROUND!

Post by rhythminmind » Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:06 am

I will start off saying this the the perfect solution for myself but i know others wont like this..
The solution is ReaRoute & Midi Yoke with REAPER. ReaRoute is a ASIO Driver that Routes the Audio into Reaper.
Much better then rewire. You can still use 100% of live functions. REAPER handles low latencies much better. PLUS doesn't have the gui glitch problem.

Any 3rd party vsts that are causing problems with Live open them in REAPER and route the midi from live into the plugin in reaper. works great. Nevermind the functions that REAPER brings to the table. Checkout the tutorial
http://www.cockos.com/forum/showthread. ... post157344

ALSO don't be put off by reapers default gui there are many great skins. check the downloads.
Last edited by rhythminmind on Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rhythminmind
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Post by rhythminmind » Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:38 am

This is great i'm running with buffer at 64 samples 4.35 total latency. I've never been able to do this with Live alone..
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Timur
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Post by Timur » Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:24 pm

I will try your solution. Sound a bit unnecessary complex, but promising.

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