Wow! 16 GB not enough RAM?

Questions and discussion about building and using Max for Live devices
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doublestop
Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:04 am

Wow! 16 GB not enough RAM?

Post by doublestop » Sun Jan 31, 2016 4:38 am

I have a question regarding Max for live and performance.

I just downloaded a free Max for Live Pack "Max 7 Pitch and Time Machines". I was just playing around and found one particularly intriguing simpler patch from it called "More Simpler". When you play enough with the controls you get something that really resembles a nice big 4 piston engine, (Like a big Harley!) you can get it to "rev up" and slow down just by tweaking start and end of the sample loop and it will do all sorts of wild things like purr or even backfire!! by playing with the time stretching controls.

Ok, (god forbid! I was having a lot of fun!!! ) 8O But my question is this:

At some point I looked up from my Push2 and noticed the Performance was REALLY high and often would sometimes go up to 147% Yes! That's not a typo! 147%!!!. I've never seen it that high! Is that even possible?
This is one darn Max for Live plugin.. Nothing else is loaded! One Instrument clip loaded on one track!

Does it really take that out of my CPU? I have a nice big very fast AMD 8 core CPU and 16GB of ram ... so I'm a little incredulous! But Live is very new for me, so I'm guessing there is something I don't quite understand about how that performance scale is derived in Live (9.5).

Is it an issue with Ableton live? or Max 4 live?

Can anyone explain this? What exactly does that performance number mean?

jonbenderr
Posts: 123
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:20 pm

Re: Wow! 16 GB not enough RAM?

Post by jonbenderr » Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:29 am

Timestretching was brand new functionality that was introduced with the release of Max 7.

From my experience, it's pretty CPU heavy. (I5 4670K). Ram really isn't the issue. I think in the device you are using there is a quality setting which you can lower to decrease the CPU usage. The more manipulative you get though, the more resources it's going to eat up.

I've found the quality at the best setting isn't even the greatest. Especially as you move further from the loop/audio samples original speed and pitch.

Hopefully in time Cycling 74 will tame this functionality.

It's pretty awesome that it's available now though and can be a lot of fun to play with.

One other thing to note is that Ableton's CPU usage isn't the most accurate representation of what's really going on.

doublestop
Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:04 am

Re: Wow! 16 GB not enough RAM?

Post by doublestop » Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:24 pm

jonbenderr wrote:
From my experience, it's pretty CPU heavy. (I5 4670K). Ram really isn't the issue. I think in the device you are using there is a quality setting which you can lower to decrease the CPU usage. The more manipulative you get though, the more resources it's going to eat up.

One other thing to note is that Ableton's CPU usage isn't the most accurate representation of what's really going on.

Yes, The odd thing was that even though the Performance was somewhere around 147% , I did not notice any degradation in Audio quality! Which I thought was odd. First of all, I didn't know that it was even possible to go over 100%! and second of all, I would have thought when it gets that high you would hear pops and clicks out lots of cutouts or glitches. That wasn't the case at all!

jonbenderr
Posts: 123
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:20 pm

Re: Wow! 16 GB not enough RAM?

Post by jonbenderr » Mon Feb 01, 2016 2:50 pm

There are some interesting threads around here about Live's performance meter that might be worth looking up.

dsu
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Re: Wow! 16 GB not enough RAM?

Post by dsu » Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:43 pm

I'm going to have to download the instrument and play with it, sounds like a ton of fun.

To be a little bit nit picky, the amount of RAM in your system is not directly related to the power of your CPU. Both OSX (Activity Monitor) and Windows (Task Manager) have programs that let you monitor the performance of you computer. You can have very high CPU use with hardly any RAM use and visa versa. Using one of these tools is a really good way to answer the question, do I need more RAM.

I can see how a time stretching program would gobble up a ton of CPU but not really use up very much memory. One thing that happens is that developers will optimized the programs to make more efficient use of memory and cpu resources. Optimization of code takes a lot of skill and time and also choices about how the code will be implemented. The really tight code is used to be written in assembler but it is hard to do and increasingly violates modern operating systems security configurations. This makes the code less portable which in turn makes it more expensive.

If you like the sounds but are running out of resources, one solution is to Freeze and Flatten the track. This leaves you with an audio file that can be played back with either Sampler or Simpler with far less demands on the system.

theophilus
Posts: 520
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:54 pm

Re: Wow! 16 GB not enough RAM?

Post by theophilus » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:18 pm

doublestop wrote: Yes, The odd thing was that even though the Performance was somewhere around 147% , I did not notice any degradation in Audio quality! Which I thought was odd. First of all, I didn't know that it was even possible to go over 100%! and second of all, I would have thought when it gets that high you would hear pops and clicks out lots of cutouts or glitches. That wasn't the case at all!
as i understand it, the way it works is that it knows how much time it takes to fill an audio buffer (e.g. making numbers up to make the math easier, at 50Khz and 1000 sample buffer, it takes 20 ms to play it back). So if your VSTs aren't very CPU-bound, you may be able to fill that buffer in 2 ms - then you have 10% CPU use.

If it creates the buffer, and it found it took 32ms to fill the buffer, then it took longer to create the data than to play it back, and you have a CPU pop (12 ms where it's not playing anything, or playing something wrong), and it would report 32/20 = 160%. that's how you get over 100%.

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