Extremely CPU efficient Plugins? (synth/samplers/processing)
In your experience, what VST/native/etc. plugins/softsynths have you found to have an extremely high CPU efficiency accompanied by exceptional utility/sonics?
I'm working on getting the most out of my computer (plan to build a new one soon) in my hybrid hard/soft live performance setup, and really need to zone in on the most CPU efficient plugins possible that also introduce little or no latency. (no lookahead on compressors, and as small a window as possible on any limiters) - I'm using ableton so mainly working with its internal effects, but I'm sure there are number of plugins designed with CPU efficiency as the main priority of which I am unaware. I discovered a freeware brickwall limiter that has an extremely low latency, but at this point I'm not sure how much use I will find it
Since I'm using a desktop/rack machine for this I am also considering some UAD-2 cards but that is a whole other ball of wax and I'm not sure that's entirely the type of sound I'm looking for.
one notably CPU-efficient plugin I've encountered, considering how much it does is uTonic (but that is probably not a surprise to most here) - what other VSTs and plugins are out there that are notably CPU efficient?
for highest stability particularly in a live situation with lot of analog inputs and there is poor ventilation on stage CPU load should ideally be kept under 50%
my testbed project with no fancy processing, 18 simultaneous analog inputs, many compressors and some limiters, and a softsynth or two easily gets over 25% CPU
and this is really just basic gain staging, no max4live, performance routing setups, etc. - even assuming I get 10x faster CPU I'll still use every drop of it (I do not skimp on my machines) I might as well start purposefully collecting highly efficient plugins
A lot of synths use up a lot of CPU power when you do certain things with it, but not otherwise. Read your VSTs manual to see how you can get the best performance with it. For example, NI Massive is made to be most CPU efficient at voices with a multiple of 4; 1, 4, 8, 16, etc. Reverb adds some definite processing, with most synths. Ableton's native stuff is extremely CPU friendly.
with this setup I do not use many soft synths (often, none), but yes, their usage needs to be carefully managed
mainly I find I am spending my time scrimping and saving CPU on utility processing like compression so I can have more left over for my reverbs, delays, freq shifts, perhaps some max4live step sequencers or some of the very fun but processing-intensive ableton machines I have built
Synth1 (not Sylenth 1) is the most efficient virtual analog vsti I have ever used. It also sounds remarkably good for a free software instrument which you can use tens of times inside a project, even with an older CPU and big polyphonic patches. It's not going to give you a very special tone, but it can be easily the bread and butter everyday synth you might be looking for. Especially in a live performance, it can easily replace a big everyday workhorse synth like Virus for simple VA sounds.