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DAW / Slave - 2 Mac setup with VEP and Cubase / Help needed
Old 15th July 2016
Here for the gear

DAW / Slave - 2 Mac setup with VEP and Cubase / Help needed

I'm again in the process of tweaking my current DAW setup and would love to hear your opinions on the existing one.

The performance of my system has been considerably degrading... I would love to hear opinions from others what might be the reason.

Currently the setup is as follows:

DAW running Cubase 8.5
Macbook Pro (late 2012)
4-Core i7 2.4 GHz
500GB Samsung Evo 840 SSD
RME Babyface
OSX 10.10

Slave running nothing but VEP
Custom Mac
4-Core i7-4770K 3.5 GHz
2x 500GB Samsung Evo 840 SSD, 3rd on its way
No graphics card
Only on-board sound
OSX 10.11

Both are linked through a gigabit switch.

On the Slave I have built 5 VEP groups for the different sections with individual Kontakt 5 instances as follows (as you will see quite a massive setup)...

Strings (located on SSD 1)
Cinestrings (3 Kontakt instances)
1st Violin + 2nd Violin (full + harm + pizz)
Viola + Cello (full + harm + pizz)
Bass (full + harm + pizz)
Solo instruments (1 Kontakt)
Spitfire Sacconi Strings Violin (playable + individual)
Spitfire Sacconi Strings Cello (playable + individual)
Brass (located on SSD 2)
Cinebrass Core (1 Kontakt)
Cinebrass Pro (1 Kontakt)
Sample Modelling Brass (5 Kontakt + 1 C2Audio B2 reverb)
Trumpets (1-3)
Horns I (1-2)
Horns 2 (3-4)
Trombone I (1-3)
TB + Tuba
Woodwinds (located on SSD 2)
Berlin Woodwinds (4 Kontakt)
Flutes (1-3 + Ens)
Oboe (1-2)
Clarinet (1-2 + Ens)
Bassoon (1-2)
Percussion (located on SSD 2)
CinePerc Core (2 Kontakt)
CinePerc Pro (2 Kontakt)
Keys + Other (located on SSD 1)
Mixed instruments (2 Kontakt)
Spitfire Harp
Spitfire Felt Piano
Spitfire Union Chapel Organ
VOXOS 2 (1 Kontakt)
All libraries are typically loaded with a single mic position (with rare exceptions e.g. for the Spitfire Sacconi Strings) and all on-board effects off (Cinesamples has reverb units on each patch which I have disabled).

With the single B2 instance on the Sample Modelling group and a total of 5 VEP groups and their 22 Kontakt instances my Slave is typically running at ~50% CPU idle (isn't that already a bit high?)... Disabling B2 will get the idle rate down to ~35% CPU load.

Kontakt sample pre-load buffer is set to the lowest possible value (has worked best in the past...).

Multi-core support in Kontakt is enabled and set to 2 threads. I have tried various settings... this seems do work best...

When I play I experience quite a lot of CPU spiking with the Disk indicators barely flashing at all.

What is strange though is that even the Slave is not indicating a full CPU load when you take a look at the Activity Monitor... it usually reaches 70% but then the clicks and pops are already there and VEP is registering a CPU load in excess of 90%+... Is this normal behavior?

In the DAW I recently had to lower the buffer setting to 700+ to be able to properly play without any clicks and pops... even with only a moderate set of instruments in action.

The Mac Book Pro has only one instance of B2 reverb on a Send bus. Almost no other effects. I also have one instance of Kontakt with the HZ Piano loaded (single mic position). Thats it...

ASIO metering (even the real-time one) is hovering around 50% even under full load.

AISO guard in Cubase is activated and set to Medium.

So far it all seems to be coming down to the Slave not being able to cope with the load... yet there seems to be considerable headroom available if you look at the monitoring graphs...

Any ideas or suggestions for a possible improvement or better utilization of the available resources?

It has been a very frustrating experience so far... I would love to finally stop bothering about the IT side and get to work with the music!

Any help would is greatly appreciated!!
Old 15th July 2016
I thought that VEP didn't like asio guard? Maybe try it it off to see?
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