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Freezing/Flatten, CPU question Audio Interfaces
Old 13th June 2018
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Freezing/Flatten, CPU question

If my CPU starts maxing out, I don't mind freezing and then flattening the tracks, but once I flatten them, I obviously can't go back to midi again with that track.

I tend to want to archive the midi with the song for good.

If I was to duplicate a track, say in session view, it has all the clips, same instruments, everything is exactly the same, but on one of them I freeze and flatten and the other one I do nothing to it, so I keep the midi, etc.

Then on the one I did nothing to, I turn the track off, by clicking the track number button.

Will that then save a lot of CPU load or will it still affect it because the plug ins are open still on that track even if the track isn't being used?

I ask this for future use as my projects get bigger. So far I have never over loaded the CPU. I record at 32 samples I/O as well, which is as far as the program will allow as far as latency and no cracks or pops or issues.

When I did the tone test when I simulated the CPU being used around 80% I started to hear some pops, but I put it on 64 and then I heard no pops, even if I max it out.

But I know as I keep going at some point with some of these tracks I'm gonna have to make them into audio but I don't want to loose the midi for archiving purposes.
Old 14th June 2018
  #2
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krushing's Avatar
Why not just freeze but not flatten? That's the whole point of freezing after all...
Old 14th June 2018
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by krushing View Post
Why not just freeze but not flatten? That's the whole point of freezing after all...
Well, I would just freeze and not flatten if that's all it takes, again I've never been in a situation where I had to do either but I'm simply learning Ableton and this subject came up to learn.

So, when I looked into it, I found a lot of people were flattening after freezing, I guess because even when it's froze, the plug ins are still on, just in a mode where they are doing what is programmed and not active to do anything else at the moment or am I wrong about that?

So, flattening, all you have is audio, no plug ins, so less CPU usage.

I don't know how big a project would have to be for my CPU to have that problem, I've created fairly large projects already. It's not as if I have the best spec'd out computer in the world, although it's a nice computer.

Of course the Saffire Pro 40 is the interface I'm using.

I am surprised that I am able to use Ableton at 32 I/O buffer with no pops or problems without having to have a decked out computer with some kind of Thunderbolt interface or something. This thing is just firewire.
Old 14th June 2018
  #4
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krushing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by saffirepro40 View Post
Well, I would just freeze and not flatten if that's all it takes, again I've never been in a situation where I had to do either but I'm simply learning Ableton and this subject came up to learn.

So, when I looked into it, I found a lot of people were flattening after freezing, I guess because even when it's froze, the plug ins are still on, just in a mode where they are doing what is programmed and not active to do anything else at the moment or am I wrong about that?
You're wrong Freezing creates an audio file that's used for playback, and the plugins are retained inactive in the background, not taking up CPU cycles. That's the whole idea of it.
Old 14th June 2018
  #5
Gear Nut
 

It sounds like you're just muting the tracks, which isn't gonna save you any CPU.

After duplicating, you should deactivate any instrument and/or fx on the track. You can also right click on the midi/audio clip and select "deactivate clip." If you ever need to go back and tweak you can reactivate the clip and all the plugins on the track.
Old 18th June 2018
  #6
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krushing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodybob View Post
It sounds like you're just muting the tracks, which isn't gonna save you any CPU.

After duplicating, you should deactivate any instrument and/or fx on the track. You can also right click on the midi/audio clip and select "deactivate clip." If you ever need to go back and tweak you can reactivate the clip and all the plugins on the track.
Deactivating clips doesn't deactivate the plugins, it just doesn't play the notes for that clip.
Old 19th June 2018
  #7
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Freezing is non destructive audio. You can even import a frozen file directly into Logic and it will convert it for you to audio.
Old 19th June 2018
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by krushing View Post
You're wrong Freezing creates an audio file that's used for playback, and the plugins are retained inactive in the background, not taking up CPU cycles. That's the whole idea of it.
Thanks for correcting me. That's interesting. So why do people flatten to save CPU instead of just freeze?

I know I can unfreeze but can I ALWAYS unfreeze? Like, the original midi will be stored and even if it's a month later and cache's are clear I can go into an old project and unfreeze?

So, it creates an audio track, with the plug ins applied, then turns the plug ins off?

What is the point in ever flattening if this does all of that?

The reason I ask is because in most of the tutorials I see, I see people freeze and then flatten and I'm not sure why. But if even the freeze audio track will open up in logic as audio, why flatten to transfer to audio?
Old 20th June 2018
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saffirepro40 View Post
T

What is the point in ever flattening if this does all of that?
Depends on your workflow with audio.

I like sometimes to create a bassline from a single MIDI note and pitch and stretch the audio accordingly. Will not sound the same in both DAWs.
Old 22nd June 2018
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krushing View Post
Deactivating clips doesn't deactivate the plugins, it just doesn't play the notes for that clip.
Which is sometimes sufficient for reducing CPU use. However, if one is not using the track there are few reasons, if any, to keep any devices or plug-ins active. Inactivate and keep in mind any added latency will still be there, if you use anything with more than 0 samples of latency.

I can add that one variation is to group the original track and move processing likely to be changed, like EQ and compression for example, to the group track, then duplicate and inactivate the MIDI track before freezing and flattening the original. Any new automation you make can preferably be added to the group track.

I choose this option when I need the processing available and do not feel ready to move out the MIDI yet. If I need to make changes I simply remove the audio track, re-activate the instruments and any effects, make my changes before duplicating and freezing/flattening again. Of course, if have added any new automation to the audio clips or that audio track, this will be lost.

Yet another variation is to make a MIDI clips folder inside the project folder or in a folder inside your User Library and in the Live browser drag the MIDI track to this before freezing and flattening. This makes the grouping step unnecessary, unless you already did that, but to retain effects I need available I simply select and cut them before flattening and paste them back afterwards. This retains automation as well.
Old 24th June 2018
  #11
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Mortal Engines's Avatar
 

I was just watching a video on this where the guy was duplicating the track, and then turning off all the plugins, and then moving it down to the bottom of the Arrangement before freezing and flattening the original. Deactivated plugs don't use any CPU, nor does midi...at least not enough to make a difference. That way, if you need to go back and make changes you can grab the original track, reactivate, make changes, and so on

Last edited by Mortal Engines; 26th June 2018 at 02:35 AM..
Old 1st July 2018
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saffirepro40 View Post
So why do people flatten to save CPU instead of just freeze?

I know I can unfreeze but can I ALWAYS unfreeze? Like, the original midi will be stored and even if it's a month later and cache's are clear I can go into an old project and unfreeze?
Likely people have different reasons. One of these could simply be in order to commit. If you want to retain effects you can cut them, freeze, flatten and paste back (See previous post), which is simpler to do with just one track. You keep track count low and the mixer is less cluttered. There can be many reasons.

Whenever you unfreeze everything should be there. There are length limitations with freezing that Live will inform you about, so watch out for those.
Old 2nd July 2018
  #13
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lestermagneto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mortal Engines View Post
Deactivated plugs don't use any CPU,
Is this true? If i have a Kontakt instance, and I turn it off, it's not using cpu? (ram presumably) but.... well I am still using v9...
Old 2nd July 2018
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
Mortal Engines's Avatar
 

Yes just turn it off. If the plugin active indicator is greyed out, then it's not using any CPU in Ableton
Old 2nd July 2018
  #15
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Originally Posted by lestermagneto View Post
Is this true? If i have a Kontakt instance, and I turn it off, it's not using cpu? (ram presumably) but.... well I am still using v9...
Nothing truly measurable anyway. When MIDI clips are inactivated very little CPU is also used, but the instrument need to be ready for an incoming trigger. I'm not sure which version started to give less resources to plug-ins "out of the loop", but I believe this is present in the current version. I'm not sure where the line is drawn though.

Latency is retained, which is important to keep in mind.
Old 3rd July 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikael B View Post

Latency is retained, which is important to keep in mind.
By this, you mean that say something with a look ahead function (like a limiter or whatnot), when the plugin is turned "off", the system will still be taking its pdc into consideration (as live is always "ready" to turn these things on etc...), correct?
Old 3rd July 2018
  #17
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Originally Posted by lestermagneto View Post
By this, you mean that say something with a look ahead function (like a limiter or whatnot), when the plugin is turned "off", the system will still be taking its pdc into consideration (as live is always "ready" to turn these things on etc...), correct?
I mean anything with latency will keep adding this latency also when inactive. The only way to avoid this would be to remove the plug-in.
Old 3rd July 2018
  #18
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lestermagneto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikael B View Post
I mean anything with latency will keep adding this latency also when inactive. The only way to avoid this would be to remove the plug-in.
gotcha, that's what I thought and corresponds with my experience, thank you!
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