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Limitations in CPU vs Audio Interface
Old 11th January 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 
Limitations in CPU vs Audio Interface

Hi All,

I have recently super-upgraded my setup from an 8 Core AMD FX processor to an Intel i9 9980xe 18 Core chip.

Playing with the same synths like U-HE Diva and Repro-5, it seems to be bottlenecking like the AMD and showing very similar performance issues...

Kinda making me feel like ive wasted £2k on the new cpu

Is there a possibility it is my audio interface as well? Im running an SPL Crimson, but thinking of upgrading to the prism titan if that helps the issues..

I use Ableton Live 10 as my DAW.

Any input and wisdom would be much appreciated!

Old 11th January 2019
  #2
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
You would get more replies if you put some info in your posts; what are these performance issues?

You know how live handles cpu? The setup of your sets can make a big difference in how much it can handle.

How many threads are used per Live track?

Live uses one thread to process a signal path. A signal path is a single chain of audio flow. In tracks where instrument or effect racks are used, with multiple chains in parallel, Live may use one thread per chain depending on how CPU-intensive each chain may be. If two tracks are "chained" by routings, for instance by a side-chain routing, a track being fed to a return track or any tracks being fed into each-other, they are considered dependent tracks and count as one signal path. Any dependant set of tracks will use one thread each.

Why do I have high CPU load in a set with just one track?

Because Live uses one thread per signal path, a set with just one track could potentially result in high CPU load if the track contains, for instance, a CPU-intensive instrument followed by a large chain of CPU-intensive effects.


Multi-core CPU handling FAQ – Ableton
Old 14th January 2019
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
So, you've dropped 2 grand on a new CPU (plus new MB to support it) and are considering spending a further 3k on an interface as a way to troubleshoot issues regarding plugins that can easily work problem-free on CPUs that are the best part of 8-10 years old? Seems legit.
Old 14th January 2019
  #4
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thedberg's Avatar
I think the following are the main things to consider (if you haven't already done that):

* There could be stuff like drivers competing for CPU time. Can be checked with LatencyMon.
* Processing on one track can only be done on a single core. So if you have tracks or buses with demanding series of VSTs or VSTis it doesn't matter how many cores you have. Each track still has to be handled by a single core and single core processing hasn't improved that much over the latest years. If possible: spread the load over parallell tracks.
* Audio interface drivers make a big difference, can be checked in this legendary thread
* And, obviously, buffer size

Good luck
Old 15th January 2019
  #5
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jupiter8's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Try turning on multicore processing on DIVA and Repro-5 and see if that doesn't help.
Old 16th January 2019 | Show parent
  #6
Here for the gear
 
First off thanks for your reply, my reponse as below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by sensing ➡️
You would get more replies if you put some info in your posts; what are these performance issues?

So the main issues are that when running multiple instances of complex algo plugins like Waves Vinyl, on different tracks at the same time, i get that horrible digital distortion sound. Its not destructive in terms of recording but certainly forces me to print tracks.

You know how live handles cpu? The setup of your sets can make a big difference in how much it can handle.

I read into this and it can support 32 cores on Windows - 18 Cores running at 3ghz per core shuold in theory be sufficient to handle multiple signal paths with high plugin counts. Perhaps an overclock?

How many threads are used per Live track?

Live uses one thread to process a signal path. A signal path is a single chain of audio flow. In tracks where instrument or effect racks are used, with multiple chains in parallel, Live may use one thread per chain depending on how CPU-intensive each chain may be. If two tracks are "chained" by routings, for instance by a side-chain routing, a track being fed to a return track or any tracks being fed into each-other, they are considered dependent tracks and count as one signal path. Any dependant set of tracks will use one thread each.

Why do I have high CPU load in a set with just one track?

Because Live uses one thread per signal path, a set with just one track could potentially result in high CPU load if the track contains, for instance, a CPU-intensive instrument followed by a large chain of CPU-intensive effects.


Multi-core CPU handling FAQ – Ableton


My main concern is that changing buffer size will inadvertantly affect the timing of any new recorded tracks, so wanted to avoid that. Would the Titan be able to bring anything positive in terms of performance to the current setup?
Old 16th January 2019 | Show parent
  #7
Here for the gear
 
Not sure why you bother, my dude.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpicyPonyHead ➡️
So, you've dropped 2 grand on a new CPU (plus new MB to support it) and are considering spending a further 3k on an interface as a way to troubleshoot issues regarding plugins that can easily work problem-free on CPUs that are the best part of 8-10 years old? Seems legit.
Old 16th January 2019 | Show parent
  #8
Here for the gear
 
I generally have this on and it definitely helps. The problems come when using modeling plugins. One would assume top spec intel would be able handle most things you throw at it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jupiter8 ➡️
Try turning on multicore processing on DIVA and Repro-5 and see if that doesn't help.
Old 16th January 2019 | Show parent
  #9
Here for the gear
 
Thank you, this is v useful.

In terms of single core performance, the 9980xe seems to be the best on the market hence why i got it, but still there are issues.

I have the latest drivers for my SPL Crimson (ASIO), would it make any difference at all going with a more high end interface, or will that just be a distraction? Thanks for linking that thread.

I ran the LatencyMon program and below is a screenshot of the results. Im gonna try update my BIOS but if theres anything else you would suggest then that would be much welcome.



Quote:
Originally Posted by thedberg ➡️
I think the following are the main things to consider (if you haven't already done that):

* There could be stuff like drivers competing for CPU time. Can be checked with LatencyMon.
* Processing on one track can only be done on a single core. So if you have tracks or buses with demanding series of VSTs or VSTis it doesn't matter how many cores you have. Each track still has to be handled by a single core and single core processing hasn't improved that much over the latest years. If possible: spread the load over parallell tracks.
* Audio interface drivers make a big difference, can be checked in this legendary thread
* And, obviously, buffer size

Good luck
Attached Thumbnails
Limitations in CPU vs Audio Interface-latencymonresults.jpg  
Old 16th January 2019 | Show parent
  #10
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jupiter8's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaz_Pez ➡️
One would assume top spec intel would be able handle most things you throw at it!
Yeah one would. However there's a few problems with that. It can only do what it's told to do ie it can't choose to split the calculations on multiple cores on it's own. The plugins must be programmed that way.

And it still has to abide by the laws of physics. In a serial chain (say a synth going into a reverb) it can't process the reverb until the synth is done.

Then in my own experience the excitement of a new CPU makes you turn on all sorts of crap (up the voices, the quality etc.) which can make a huge difference in CPU consumption with not that much difference in sound. So you're left with the feeling that things didn't change much although you told the CPU to do tons more. You may not notice but it could easily do twice as much without you really realizing. That's what i noticed myself doing at least.
Old 16th January 2019 | Show parent
  #11
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jupiter8's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaz_Pez ➡️
My main concern is that changing buffer size will inadvertantly affect the timing of any new recorded tracks, so wanted to avoid that.
I have heard complaints about Live not syncing correctly in the past however i do not know for sure. But a DAW should compensate for that automatically. That should not be an issue what so ever.
Old 16th January 2019
  #12
Gear Nut
 
evo6's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Since you're using a PC and want the best performance I'll make it simple... RME
Old 16th January 2019
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
I also have a Crimson along with an RME 9632. The drivers on the RME are significantly better regarding latency, clicking and popping etc.
Old 16th January 2019 | Show parent
  #14
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thedberg's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaz_Pez ➡️


My main concern is that changing buffer size will inadvertantly affect the timing of any new recorded tracks, so wanted to avoid that. Would the Titan be able to bring anything positive in terms of performance to the current setup?
I don’t record in Ableton, only use it for gigs. But I find it highly unlikely that it would have any problems with switching buffers.

As a reference, my typical workflow in Cubase
1. Set lowest buffer size
2. Start recording
3. End up with a large amount of tracks (80+) or - a more common culprit - some tracks with heavy processing (like the master out)
4. Increase buffer size
5. If more overdubs are needed: temporarily freeze tracks or disable plugins and decrease buffer size

Step 4 and 5 are however much rarer since I started using a RME PCIe card.

All on a 4790K processor (lightly overclocked).

No hint of timing problems (apart from my sloppy playing ).
Old 17th January 2019
  #15
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chrischoir's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaz_Pez ➡️
Hi All,

I have recently super-upgraded my setup from an 8 Core AMD FX processor to an Intel i9 9980xe 18 Core chip.

Playing with the same synths like U-HE Diva and Repro-5, it seems to be bottlenecking like the AMD and showing very similar performance issues...

Kinda making me feel like ive wasted £2k on the new cpu

Is there a possibility it is my audio interface as well? Im running an SPL Crimson, but thinking of upgrading to the prism titan if that helps the issues..

I use Ableton Live 10 as my DAW.

Any input and wisdom would be much appreciated!

what do you use for a soundcard? is it usb?
if so that could be the problem
Old 17th January 2019
  #16
XI-MACHINES
 
DAW PLUS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaz_Pez ➡️
Hi All,

I have recently super-upgraded my setup from an 8 Core AMD FX processor to an Intel i9 9980xe 18 Core chip.

Playing with the same synths like U-HE Diva and Repro-5, it seems to be bottlenecking like the AMD and showing very similar performance issues...

Kinda making me feel like ive wasted £2k on the new cpu

Is there a possibility it is my audio interface as well? Im running an SPL Crimson, but thinking of upgrading to the prism titan if that helps the issues..

I use Ableton Live 10 as my DAW.

Any input and wisdom would be much appreciated!

-The Crimson is not the best interface regarding drivers. There are many better ones, like RME for example.
-The Prism, despite its stunning quality conversion, also has poor drivers, in the same ballpark as the Crimson. If performance is your issue, this is not a solution.
-You may have various plugins stacked on top of each other in a single track or worse, the master. Disable/bypass the tracks with the heaviest & most plugins one by one and watch the performance meter. At some point it may drop, then you have your bandit. Waves Hybrid Reverb is such a candidate, also many mastering plugins on the master will choke a single core, causing dropouts while the other cores may idle.
-It also could be your system is not configured properly. Check sites like Focusrite, AVID and NI for BIOS and Windows settings, in most cases that should be sufficient for realtime audio. Did you set the power scheme to "High performance", btw?
Old 17th January 2019
  #17
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Pictus's Avatar
 
Old 17th January 2019
  #18
Ableton Live is not the best multi core efficient DAW out there (Reaper being the clear winner to take advantage of your cpu). I use Cubase which has got a lot better for multi core cpu but Ableton, you probably won’t notice much improvement with your upgrade.
Old 18th January 2019 | Show parent
  #19
Here for the gear
 
The latency issues are more about tracking - when theres a short delay, it changes the way you stick to the beat sometimes, especially with bass gtr i find. On the flipside, it can sound kinda cool and lazy

I had a look at that RME PCI card - looks like the daddy.. I guess that means spending a bit more on preamps though.


Quote:
Originally Posted by thedberg ➡️
I don’t record in Ableton, only use it for gigs. But I find it highly unlikely that it would have any problems with switching buffers.

As a reference, my typical workflow in Cubase
1. Set lowest buffer size
2. Start recording
3. End up with a large amount of tracks (80+) or - a more common culprit - some tracks with heavy processing (like the master out)
4. Increase buffer size
5. If more overdubs are needed: temporarily freeze tracks or disable plugins and decrease buffer size

Step 4 and 5 are however much rarer since I started using a RME PCIe card.

All on a 4790K processor (lightly overclocked).

No hint of timing problems (apart from my sloppy playing ).
Old 18th January 2019 | Show parent
  #20
Here for the gear
 
SPL Crimson USB..

The resounding tune seems to be the RME PCIe card as the best performance option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir ➡️
what do you use for a soundcard? is it usb?
if so that could be the problem
Old 18th January 2019 | Show parent
  #21
Here for the gear
 
Thanks for your reply.

I am looking into the BIOS to get the settings optimised for audio.

I do believe an upgrade of interface is due so I think the RME PCIe is the ticket, considering the I/O and drivers, the only downside being no pre's and no Headphone amp.

Will be fun choosing pre's etc though



Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS ➡️
-The Crimson is not the best interface regarding drivers. There are many better ones, like RME for example.
-The Prism, despite its stunning quality conversion, also has poor drivers, in the same ballpark as the Crimson. If performance is your issue, this is not a solution.
-You may have various plugins stacked on top of each other in a single track or worse, the master. Disable/bypass the tracks with the heaviest & most plugins one by one and watch the performance meter. At some point it may drop, then you have your bandit. Waves Hybrid Reverb is such a candidate, also many mastering plugins on the master will choke a single core, causing dropouts while the other cores may idle.
-It also could be your system is not configured properly. Check sites like Focusrite, AVID and NI for BIOS and Windows settings, in most cases that should be sufficient for realtime audio. Did you set the power scheme to "High performance", btw?
Old 19th January 2019
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
I'm in a similar boat setup-wise. Just upgraded from an AMD FX 9590 to an i9 9700x, also on Ableton. The reason I went with the 7900x instead of 7980xe is that the single core performance is actually a bit better on the 7900 and outweighed the core count.

Diva is a CPU hog for sure. and I haven't noticed much of a change when multicore is enabled. I'll set to normal quality with the offline set to best. I think at this stage, bottle-necking is coming down to any single core with too heavy of a load and the old FX chips have pretty darn good single core performance. Unfortunately Ableton doesn't seem to distribute CPU loads very evenly.

I thought my exports would be faster with the i9 chip and they definitely are, but not as much as I had hoped, and it's entirely due to Ableton. Open up the task manager and watch all those juicy cores chill at 10% load while you export.

As far as interface. There is a significant difference as to how my Apollo and RME UFX handle low buffer settings, RME is a clear winner here, again to my dismay since I wanted to go with a full UAD rig and sell this RME, but I digress...
Old 19th January 2019
  #23
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clivvy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
to chaz get yourself a mac pro 12 core 3.46 KHz 2010 2012 i just got one running protools ultimate what a cpu difference i can now run heavy virtual instruments and plugins i had a mac pro 2008 8 core did not realize how slow the cpu was would bottle neck or meter out quite often and navida graphics cards also make a difference also i am using the geforce gtx 780 3gigs flashed for mac you can pick one up on eBay for not a lot of money macs are the way to go i paid 1300 for my mac 2012 mint condition just put in my drives and graphics card and it started to eat plugins for breakfast Lol!
Old 21st January 2019 | Show parent
  #24
XI-MACHINES
 
DAW PLUS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by clivvy ➡️
to chaz get yourself a mac pro 12 core 3.46 KHz 2010 2012 i just got one running protools ultimate what a cpu difference i can now run heavy virtual instruments and plugins i had a mac pro 2008 8 core did not realize how slow the cpu was would bottle neck or meter out quite often and navida graphics cards also make a difference also i am using the geforce gtx 780 3gigs flashed for mac you can pick one up on eBay for not a lot of money macs are the way to go i paid 1300 for my mac 2012 mint condition just put in my drives and graphics card and it started to eat plugins for breakfast Lol!
It is 2019...just saying.
Old 21st January 2019
  #25
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Old 21st January 2019 | Show parent
  #26
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MatsNo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS ➡️
It is 2019...just saying.
haha made my day
Old 22nd January 2019
  #27
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
-You may have various plugins stacked on top of each other in a single track or worse, the master. Disable/bypass the tracks with the heaviest & most plugins one by one and watch the performance meter. At some point it may drop, then you have your bandit. Waves Hybrid Reverb is such a candidate, also many mastering plugins on the master will choke a single core, causing dropouts while the other cores may idle.

Hybrid reverb is the only plug-in i have used that can bog Ableton down to a point where it outputs a steady digital noise. Your cpu problems are not just related to this plugin i guess?

If you could upload a set which is giving problems on your computer i would be willing to see how it fares on my L10 & Motu 828 ES pc and report back.
Old 23rd January 2019
  #28
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
A friend of mine had fewer spikes on a dual core on W7 than on a quad on W10 on default settings. Drivers don´t seem to be really up to date. On the other hand, you don´t get the Crimson for playing VST instruments. If you track external signals through the Crimson your buffer settings don´t really matter.
Old 24th January 2019
  #29
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🎧 10 years
never had problems with crackle and pops !
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