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Ableton Live CPU usage - compared to other DAWs
Old 28th January 2013
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Ableton Live CPU usage - compared to other DAWs

Hi Everyone,

i use Live for a long time as my only DAW. I also do my mixing in Live and I like it since I know the software very well and have good workflow. But when sessions get bigger I start to max out my system CPU-wise. I read in other threads that you can use much more plugins in other DAWs, so I really want to know: Did someone really tested the Plugin-Performance of Live compared to other DAWs? I would like to know, because it would be the only reason for me to change the software for mixing.
Please don't comment on other DAWs being superiour feature-wise, i'm just interested in a possible performance-boost with plugins, based on real comparisons.

Regards,
Fishmac

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Old 28th January 2013
  #2
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I'm sure that is true and even acknowledged by Ableton.
But i don't know of any conclusive tests being done.
I suggest you download Reaper and recreate a Live set in it and see for yourself.
Old 28th January 2013
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Yeah, thank you for the suggestion. I think it would be important to turn off all features of Life that suck CPU like warping. I can try to recreate a session in Reaper, I just hoped somebody already did that...
Isn't it strange that the same VST should tax more in one Software than another one?
Old 28th January 2013
  #4
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login's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
no it's not strange. Ableton states that because of the way Live is optimized for live performance it consumes more CPU. I think it has something to do with audio buffer and sample size. I am sure if you look around at the ableton forum you will find more information
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #5
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sleepwalker's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Live is built for Live performance. That means pretty much everything is running all the time. Other apps can turn some stuff off at the expense of some latency when turning it back on. Not an option for Live.
Old 28th January 2013
  #6
Gear Guru
 
SWAN808's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
not seen a real world test but Id be interested in one if anyone felt like it...

I was hoping tafkat might include Ableton in his DAW Bench tests with a cross platform variant for good measure...
Old 29th January 2013
  #7
Nev
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🎧 10 years
I use both Ableton and Cubase, and I have opened the same amount of plugins in both sequencers with the same audio project and noticed Ableton does indeed use a lot more processing power than Cubase when using the same amount of plugins, brand, & audio files.

Even more alarming is how the sound quality of Ableton's engine begins to degrade once you hit the 30+% mark.

I have a hate/love relationship with Ableton. I love its workflow. It truly is a musician's DAW. But at the same time I hate its limitations. I hate its limited midi editing tools, I hate how it eats up processing power when compared to other DAWs.
Old 29th January 2013
  #8
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🎧 10 years
I feel your pain. I LOVE Live's uncluttered clean spartan GUI! But no other DAW can offer that at the moment.

I only HOPE Bitwig will be the ticket out of the CPU limits of Live but in the meantime I am testing and learning Reaper + S1 for mixing/mastering.
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #9
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SWAN808's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nev ➑️
I use both Ableton and Cubase, and I have opened the same amount of plugins in both sequencers with the same audio project and noticed Ableton does indeed use a lot more processing power than Cubase when using the same amount of plugins, brand, & audio files.

Even more alarming is how the sound quality of Ableton's engine begins to degrade once you hit the 30+% mark.

I have a hate/love relationship with Ableton. I love its workflow. It truly is a musician's DAW. But at the same time I hate its limitations. I hate its limited midi editing tools, I hate how it eats up processing power when compared to other DAWs.
I agree - what platform are you on windows or OSX?

could you tell me more about your test?
Old 29th January 2013
  #10
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lestermagneto's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I love writing in live for some reason. It just clicks with me. I have always said it is like playing a video game. Everything for me in it just seems more malleable and musical and second nature to me after using it for a few years. I know such experiences are completely subjective, and i'm not saying it's best for everyone at all. And it took a little bit to get the hang of it. I have used most DAWs since Vision, DP, Logic etc (on the mac os), and I completely agree with the assessment that it is far far more cpu intensive then say, Logic. Completely. Even with turning the warp engine off on all tracks, I still cannot run nearly as many as I could in Logic (32 bit as well)...
I was really hoping they would redesign the audio engine for version 9, but I have not heard a thing about it. Lots of people complain about it's sound, but with proper warp management etc, I have not noticed it, or look past it perhaps with its flexibility.
Funny enough, I usually work in the arrange window, not the session view, so I do not need the "live" functions per se, ... It would make sense that it keeps audio objects more "active" then other DAWs, turning "off" an instance of Kontakt does not seem to free up any cpu resources, where as in Logic i believe it does. I haven't done any bench testing myself, but I use it every day, and have used it on many systems. Definitely keeping the CPU meter under 40% seems key to playback issues. Would love to hear more "facts" on the matter... I know audioconsult is definitely on the negative side of the daw, and has had many threads posted on (hijacked?), where he has more specific examples of it's drawbacks, and a lot of which seems to emanate from the fact that Ableton won't even acknowledge certain issues, then "fix" them in a new release, and half the problems "must be your system" until they fix it....
Old 4th February 2013 | Show parent
  #11
Nev
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 ➑️
I agree - what platform are you on windows or OSX?

could you tell me more about your test?
At the time I was running a Windows 7 64bit & Mac OSX Snow Leopard
Focusrite Saffire 24 pro

Track:


DAWs:
Ableton Live 8.3
Cubase 6.5

Project: 23 tracks - 24bit 48 khz
Audio Tracks: 18
Track started with a few Ableton default instruments so they were bounced to audio for the Cubase import.


Instrument VSTs:
Battery 3
Kontact 4
Absynth 5 x2
FM 8

Effect VSTs:
Fab Filter Pro-Q x 20
Fab Filter Pro-C x 13
Fab Filter Pro-L
IR-1 Reverb x2
Flux Bitter Sweet x4
Slate VCC x8
Ozone 5
API-550B Stereo x4

I no longer use Cubase so I cannot load up the project and view the cpu usage right now but it was somewhere around 30ish%, but in Ableton the project peaked at 58% once the oversampling on limiters were set to 4x. All VCC instances were set at 8x oversampling non-real time rendering.
Old 4th February 2013
  #12
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ohmicide's Avatar
this seems to mostly be a Mac thing, I've put Logic 9 against Live 8 and 9 and both seem to perform around the same

then there's Cubase, very 6.5 and below did not perform nearly as well on Mac than on Windows and with all the improvements they've made to Cubase 7, it only still performs around the same as Logic 9 according to users

it's said that most cross platform DAWs run better on Windows, except for Live which runs around the same on both

Cubase 7 is one of the best performing DAWs on Windows, but it runs about the same as Logic and Live on Mac

so if you're on a Mac, you're not gonna get much better than Live, if you're on a PC then you have a lot to choose from
Old 4th February 2013 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Guru
 
SWAN808's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohmicide ➑️

it's said that most cross platform DAWs run better on Windows, except for Live which runs around the same on both

Cubase 7 is one of the best performing DAWs on Windows, but it runs about the same as Logic and Live on Mac
Mmm I noticed a bit better performance in Live on my Windows partition...maybe 10-15%...it seems more snappy and less liable to glitch under high load.

Im curious if the large performance disparity still exists between Cubase on OSX and W7 with version 7....because it certainly used to be large. I think because Steinberg designed ASIO which is Windows specific.

How did you find out about Cubase 7 PC running similar to Logic/Live on OSX?
Old 4th February 2013 | Show parent
  #14
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ohmicide's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 ➑️
How did you find out about Cubase 7 PC running similar to Logic/Live on OSX?
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/cubas...ml#post8579939

I've also heard that it's not quite as good still... who knows
Old 4th February 2013 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Guru
 
SWAN808's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohmicide ➑️
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/cubas...ml#post8579939

I've also heard that it's not quite as good still... who knows
mmm thats interesting. I know Im being particular here but 'not noticing the difference' maybe doesnt tell the full story...prob would need to be tested...

anyways as things stand Im considering running my audio production on a W7 partition...to my dismay...but still using OSX also for browsing and some audio tasks...
Old 4th February 2013 | Show parent
  #16
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ohmicide's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 ➑️
mmm thats interesting. I know Im being particular here but 'not noticing the difference' maybe doesnt tell the full story...prob would need to be tested...

anyways as things stand Im considering running my audio production on a W7 partition...to my dismay...but still using OSX also for browsing and some audio tasks...
I'm gonna be patient and wait for Bitwig and Logic 10 to come out first, should be sometime around the summer

it'll be interesting to see how Bitwig performs with all plug-ins loaded as separate processes
Old 4th February 2013
  #17
Nev
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🎧 10 years
Cubase's performance on Mac has always suffered. I briefly tried my Cubase on my macbook pro and quickly uninstalled before going back to w7.

I've since then sold my 2010 macbook pro and moved on to a Alienware laptop. Solid DAW performance, midi timing not as rock solid as my Mac when compared, using a saffire pro 24 .

I'm going to wait a while to see if the Bitwig hype dies off a bit and get my hands on the software myself before making a decision, once it's released. But one thing is for sure, my Ableton days are numbered.
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