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In search for a ultra low latency, heavy vst using, scoring PC (without dropouts!)
Old 3rd March 2016
  #1
Gear Nut
 
Jørgenstil's Avatar
 

In search for a ultra low latency, heavy vst using, scoring PC (without dropouts!)

Hello people! Here's message from a desperate and a tad frustrated musician whose time has been going to anything but music the last couple of days. I will try to explain my story as briefly as I can and hope I can get some PC advice from you all.

I've been using a Thinkpad T530 (i7-3610QM 2.30ghz | 8GB Ram | Nvidia NVS 5400M | Windows 8.1) for a long time and it works amazing. I'm running on a 48 buffer size because I do a lot of hand-played percussion and piano stuff. Till now everything worked great, low DPC, no crackles or glitches, but I've recently started doing some scoring jobs and well.. I was using all hardware synths and just using Ableton for looping and sequencing, but since I'm now also using Omnisphere, Kontakt (Abbey Road Drummers, Imperfect Samples) and play video to score to, my Thinkpad is struggling to do this on 48 samples. When I turn the buffer size to 128 it works pretty nicely.. but I can really feel the difference in the buffer size, so 48 samples is recommended.

So I thought it was time to upgrade my old and trusty Lenovo. Since I do a lot of gigs too I figured it had to be a laptop again. I finally decided on buying a brand new Lenovo P50 (i7 Skylake 6700HQ | 16GB DDR4 | Nvidia Quadro m1000m | SSD Pcie's | Windows 10).

Well.. I've tested the new system thoroughly and there is no raise in performance AT ALL. Same crackles and troubles when doing the video projects using heavy Kontakt libraries etc on 48 samples. I really thought that this would do the job. I've updated everything, tweaked the system, used latencymon to find some DPC inducing services etc etc.. No results.

I'm about to send back the Lenovo P50 and I'm thinking: well, I guess I should just buy a Desktop PC for my film/scoring work and keep my old Lenovo (the T530) for my live performances (which it does great). So before I'm going to get all excited in thinking that buying a super deluxe crazy beefy PC.. I want to ask you all: are my wishes even possible? Is it possible to work on a video project in Ableton, using heavy VSTs with ultra-low-latency? I have about €2200 to spend (=2400 dollars).

I watched a video of a person clearly demonstrating how a epic new PC can have worse results in crackle free music making than an older simple one.. just because the drivers might be better in the older one.

I am really looking forward to getting a stable BEAST again, but especially one that let's me play music latency free while looking at the video for scoring using heavy libraries. Is this even possible in the real world?

Well.. I tried to keep it as briefly and short as possible, but to be honest: it isn't my strongest point. Hopefully you all can help me out a little bit.

Thanks a lot in advance!
Jørgen
Old 3rd March 2016
  #2
Gear Head
 

Retina iMac with a Thunderbolt interface?
Old 3rd March 2016
  #3
Lives for gear
 
norbury brook's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HudsonRiver View Post
Retina iMac with a Thunderbolt interface?
Kontakt runs like a dog under OSX so a big NO.


I'd say stay away from laptops all together if you're running video and scoring to picture.

I always keep my video files on a different hard drive as well when scoring to picture. that's fast internal drives on a desktop by the way.

Also when tracking you need low latency but if you're recording midi performances then crackles and pops don't matter so much.

then when you've got your midi performances how you like them, up the buffers for a clean mix down.



MC
Old 3rd March 2016
  #4
Gear Head
 

I run maybe 12 simultaneous instances of Kontakt concurrently with zero issues on an average project.

What hardware/OS/DAW combination do you have experience with and where is the perf bottleneck?
Old 3rd March 2016
  #5
Gear Nut
 
Jørgenstil's Avatar
 

Hello, thanks for all the replies.

RE: iMac.. I'm really a Windows guy and deep into it too, so I'm gonna try to stick with that (unless al the other options fail). Thanks though

RE: Norbury Brook: Thanks for the tips, yeah seperating the files is something I do already and it helps some, but not to a perfect point (on a laptop). For me, the audio-crackles when recording a midi-performance actually do matter.. I really like to get into the zone and really enjoy the music and nail some perfect takes. The crackles totally get me out of the zone and induce hate feelings . Plus I'm thinking: we are in 2016 now, so there should be a way to omit these crackles. Thanks for your tips though, for now till I figured out what PC I'm getting etc I have to work this way (the show must go on!)

RE: Hudson River: Great! I've just send a friend a project of mine to test on his 6 years old PC and it works without the crackles with 48 samples (5.9 ms latency).

I have experience with Windows 8.1 and just recently Windows 10 (this is on my recently acquired Lenovo P50 which disappointed me). I use Ableton for music production. I use RME Fireface 400 UC.
Old 3rd March 2016
  #6
i built a custom machine.. myself..

So far nothing seems to bring it down.
Fireface UFX here.

https://pcpartpicker.com/user/cjadam...d/#view=BtPqqs
Old 3rd March 2016
  #7
Gear Head
 

Whats with the Quad-SLI 980Ti's? Trying to run Battlefield 4 on three 4k monitors at 60fps?
Old 3rd March 2016
  #8
Granted that part won't help you. No Im also doing real time 3d rendering with iRay and octane of high poly Zbrush stuff.
So its a dual use machine.
Old 3rd March 2016
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
Quasar's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjadams View Post
i built a custom machine.. myself..

So far nothing seems to bring it down.
Fireface UFX here.

https://pcpartpicker.com/user/cjadam...d/#view=BtPqqs
Wow, 14 cores? LOL.

Fortunately, I don't have enough money to stew over whether or not to build something like that. But I very much 2nd the idea of building a workstation desktop for heavy VST/scoring work. My little i7 2600 build is chugging along fine, and if I were doing it today, I'd probably be looking at something like the 5930k, something in the sweet spot between ultra-new and uber-expensive vs. high performance.

If you don't absolutely need the portability, desktops beat their laptop equivalents for workstation performance on so many levels...
Old 3rd March 2016
  #10
Gear Nut
 
Jørgenstil's Avatar
 

YES! I've contacted a company here in Amsterdam that are specialized in building custom PC's. They were pretty honest and told me that my wishes and use are very specific (DAW, VST, Audio interface etc etc etc) so they will prepare a desktop and let me test it out and from there work till it works the way I want it to work

You guys really let me believe I wasn't making some fairy tale up of low latency, heavy vst, filmscoring (without spending 10.000 dollars). So thanks for that! Really excited how this process of trying out is going to work
Old 3rd March 2016
  #11
That RME was a good start! That takes the round trip latency out of the equation at least until you really start pushing things. NOTE a ton of people using large orchestral vst templates but we often use multiple machines running vienna ensemble pro and let the aux machines do the heavy lifting instead of our main daw machine.
Old 3rd March 2016
  #12
That RME was a good start! That takes the round trip latency out of the equation at least until you really start pushing things. NOTE a ton of people using large orchestral vst templates but we often use multiple machines running vienna ensemble pro and let the aux machines do the heavy lifting instead of our main daw machine.
Old 3rd March 2016
  #13
That RME was a good start! That takes the round trip latency out of the equation at least until you really start pushing things. NOTE a ton of people using large orchestral vst templates but we often use multiple machines running vienna ensemble pro and let the aux machines do the heavy lifting instead of our main daw machine.
Old 3rd March 2016
  #14
Most people using huge templates especially lots of VSTi's will use multiple machines and something like Vienna Ensemble pro. As a plugin host to use external machines to do the heavy lifting.. leaving your Daw machine fairly free.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quasar View Post
Wow, 14 cores? LOL.

Fortunately, I don't have enough money to stew over whether or not to build something like that. But I very much 2nd the idea of building a workstation desktop for heavy VST/scoring work. My little i7 2600 build is chugging along fine, and if I were doing it today, I'd probably be looking at something like the 5930k, something in the sweet spot between ultra-new and uber-expensive vs. high performance.

If you don't absolutely need the portability, desktops beat their laptop equivalents for workstation performance on so many levels...
Old 3rd March 2016
  #15
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jørgenstil View Post
YES! I've contacted a company here in Amsterdam that are specialized in building custom PC's.
Can I ask who that is?

Cheers,

Alistair
Old 3rd March 2016
  #16
Gear Nut
 
Jørgenstil's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
Can I ask who that is?

Cheers,

Alistair
Sure: www.ikbenstil.nl
Old 3rd March 2016
  #17
Looks like an industrial PC builder. Do they also build audio PCs? If you are in Netherland, DAW PLUS-Leon should be able to provide device?
Old 3rd March 2016
  #18
Gear Nut
 
Jørgenstil's Avatar
 

Someone I know worked a lot with them in the past and is positive about their expertise. Plus they offer these workstations:
- https://www.ikbenstil.nl/workstation...studio-pc.html
- https://www.ikbenstil.nl/workstation...rkstation.html

So they have experience/thought about it. BUT you know it's just a tip I got from a guy so yeah, I'm definitely open for DAW PLUS' business
Old 3rd March 2016
  #19
Lives for gear
 
login's Avatar
Why you need low latency?

No matter how powerfull is a PC it's unrealistic to want to use a lot of VST's and heavy ones at low latency. At some point in the project you have to give up something: eother increase latency or bounce to audio. Of course it depends on what kind of instruments you use, if they are sample based the limit is higher if you have a big ammount of RAM. CPU intensive VSt's would hit the limit earlier.

If anything I would first change DAW, I use Ableton Live too but it is far from the best in CPU use, in that Reaper is king.
Old 3rd March 2016
  #20
Lives for gear
 
norbury brook's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HudsonRiver View Post
I run maybe 12 simultaneous instances of Kontakt concurrently with zero issues on an average project.

What hardware/OS/DAW combination do you have experience with and where is the perf bottleneck?
Check the DAW bench test. Test 2 used Kontakt and windows VST slaughtered OSX for core audio and the then Pro tools format.



MC
Old 3rd March 2016
  #21
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jørgenstil View Post
I suspected it might be them. Thanks.

Alistair
Old 3rd March 2016
  #22
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masaaki View Post
Looks like an industrial PC builder. Do they also build audio PCs? If you are in Netherland, DAW PLUS-Leon should be able to provide device?
They make and sell quiet computers and parts. Not necessarily industrial but indeed they are not specialised in DAWs. Or at least last time I asked a question there which I admit has been a while.

I'd +1 checking a specialised DAW maker first and see how the prices compare.

Alistair
Old 3rd March 2016
  #23
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by norbury brook View Post
Check the DAW bench test. Test 2 used Kontakt and windows VST slaughtered OSX for core audio and the then Pro tools format
Windows performing better than OSX in a benchmark is quite different from the suggestion that if you are using Kontakt you shouldn't use OSX because it 'runs like a dog'.

Here's a screenshot of me running 60 instances of Kontakt on my iMac (i7 4ghz) still with 70% of my cpu free.



Edit: are you referring to this (2011) report using Kontakt 4, Windows 7 and OSX 10.6.2?

http://www.dawbench.com/win7-v-osx-6.htm

Are there any more up to date benchmarks?
Old 3rd March 2016
  #24
Gear Nut
 
Jørgenstil's Avatar
 

On what latency/buffer size do you work in this project? I can also get pretty wild projects with a big buffer size on my old laptop, but whenever I turn down the buffer to a live playable point it is getting pretty nasty. Also: (in Ableton that is) the crackles van start even with 50% CPU left. It's very relatieve.. Or something.

Last edited by Jørgenstil; 3rd March 2016 at 09:17 PM..
Old 3rd March 2016
  #25
Gear Nut
 
Jørgenstil's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by login View Post
Why you need low latency?

No matter how powerfull is a PC it's unrealistic to want to use a lot of VST's and heavy ones at low latency. At some point in the project you have to give up something: eother increase latency or bounce to audio. Of course it depends on what kind of instruments you use, if they are sample based the limit is higher if you have a big ammount of RAM. CPU intensive VSt's would hit the limit earlier.

If anything I would first change DAW, I use Ableton Live too but it is far from the best in CPU use, in that Reaper is king.
I need low latency because with high latency I can't play stuff in live. I'm very used to acoustic piano and guitar and drums so I really need latency around <5ms to give me 'the feels'. I can't switch much around with the buffer size because I have to change the sync delays everytime for my analog drumcomputers to be in time. So basically a stable and permanent low latency is needed.

I use Ableton because I do a lot of improvised live sets and even for scoring I love to add the improvisation options Ableton's grid offers.

So yeah, low latency, permanent, in Ableton is what I need.
Old 3rd March 2016
  #26
Gear Head
 

Media buffer size on this Reaper project is 200ms. When I want to play stuff in live at lower latency, I generally turn of VSTs or render them down to stems for the recording process.

For live (I'm a guitarist), this machine will run Bias FX standalone perfectly with 0.3ms latency.
Old 3rd March 2016
  #27
Gear Head
 

Just changed my latency in Reaper to 5ms and here I am running 104 instances of Kontakt 5 at 53% CPU and with no audio issues at all.

Old 3rd March 2016
  #28
Gear Head
 

Increased the polyphony as some of those tracks were drums. So with 105 instances of a Kontakt 5 pad at 5ms I get 95% CPU but no audio issues at all.
Old 3rd March 2016
  #29
Gear Nut
 
Jørgenstil's Avatar
 

Oh my, that's like.. The real deal! Really nice. I'm wondering how the same situation would be in Ableton.

Is scoring possible in Reaper?
Old 3rd March 2016
  #30
Gear Head
 

I'm a rock'n'roller so no experience of scoring or working with video, but a quick google search picks up some people who are using it. Remember you can use all the major DAWs under OSX too!
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