The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Worst CPU Hog Plug-ins? DAW Software
Old 30th December 2016
  #1
Here for the gear
 
gervish's Avatar
Worst CPU Hog Plug-ins?

Dearest Slutz,

I'm a long-time Pro Tools-only addict (I use the term "addict" because I know that other DAWs might be better for my health, but can't seem to quit). Anyway, I have a long and storied history of fighting the CPU Hogs. I do all the smart things one should do to avoid them (I think); I run PT11 on a 32GB RAM Mac Pro, with a separate hard disc for my sessions, yadiyada... Sure, my system is more stable now than it has been at other times in the past, but the ever-present threat of the beach ball of death looms nonetheless.

3 related, but slightly different questions:

1. Which Plug-ins tend to be the worst (ie notorious CPU Hogs)? I tend to notice the CLA Signatures do a lot of damage. As does Sans Amp.

2. Is there a transparent way to accurately monitor the exact percentages that specific plug-ins are draining your CPU in a given session?
a. In Pro Tools?
b. In some other, more forward-thinking DAW that I should consider switching to?

note: I'm aware of Pro Tools' "System Usage" meter-window that tells you how much general CPU is being used in a given session. (Believe me, I have it open permanently). Useful to a point, but not really that helpful in terms of narrowing down which EXACT plugs might be most culpable for the latest crash.

It's like I'm constantly playing detective to figure it out. Seems like it would be easy for this to be visually presented. Perhaps there's a 3rd party program that does this? How could this not be a thing?

3.Last question is the most straight forward: Are there any general "best practices" that I simply don't know about in terms of optimizing one's computer to get the most out of a Native system's CPU?

As I'm sure we can all attest, it's indescribably awful to be in the creative zone and suddenly your workflow is just obliterated by a sluggish CPU. Perhaps it's a Pro Tools thing at the end of the day... It was designed in the 90s after all...

Thanks in advance! -G
Old 31st December 2016
  #2
Here are some of the things I do.

For reference I run a dual-core Mac mini with 4 gigs of ram. Not a particularly "hearty" rig but I almost never run into CPU problems.

1.) When you're finished tracking, crank your buffer. Yeah it'll add a ton of latency but who cares, you're done tracking anyway! Amirite? This will free up a significant amount of CPU for processing.

2. Try recording at a lower sample rate. I neeeeever track above 96khz and, if I'm being honest, I usually don't go above 44.1. If you've already started a project at a higher sample rate, this may not be a viable option.

3. If you come to a point where you're pretty sure you're finished processing a particular channel, freeze it. Yes freezing is a PITA but sometimes you gotta do whatcha gotta do.

4. Based only on my utterly subjective experience, it seems that the real CPU hogs are: reverbs (Lexicon verbs ughhh), pitch correction, and basically anything made by waves (the prettier it looks, the sadder it makes your CPU)

5. Don't over-process. I know, easier said than done but definitely try to consolidate where you can. Bussing multiple guitars (for example) and processing them all on one buss as opposed to placing redundant plugins on each track is a great way to cut down on plugin count.

On another note, I'm a logic user myself but I'd say pro tools is probably the more stable DAW. No need to change that.
Old 31st December 2016
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by gervish View Post
Dearest Slutz,

I'm a long-time Pro Tools-only addict (I use the term "addict" because I know that other DAWs might be better for my health, but can't seem to quit). Anyway, I have a long and storied history of fighting the CPU Hogs. I do all the smart things one should do to avoid them (I think); I run PT11 on a 32GB RAM Mac Pro, with a separate hard disc for my sessions, yadiyada... Sure, my system is more stable now than it has been at other times in the past, but the ever-present threat of the beach ball of death looms nonetheless.

3 related, but slightly different questions:

1. Which Plug-ins tend to be the worst (ie notorious CPU Hogs)? I tend to notice the CLA Signatures do a lot of damage. As does Sans Amp.

2. Is there a transparent way to accurately monitor the exact percentages that specific plug-ins are draining your CPU in a given session?
a. In Pro Tools?
b. In some other, more forward-thinking DAW that I should consider switching to?

note: I'm aware of Pro Tools' "System Usage" meter-window that tells you how much general CPU is being used in a given session. (Believe me, I have it open permanently). Useful to a point, but not really that helpful in terms of narrowing down which EXACT plugs might be most culpable for the latest crash.

It's like I'm constantly playing detective to figure it out. Seems like it would be easy for this to be visually presented. Perhaps there's a 3rd party program that does this? How could this not be a thing?

3.Last question is the most straight forward: Are there any general "best practices" that I simply don't know about in terms of optimizing one's computer to get the most out of a Native system's CPU?

As I'm sure we can all attest, it's indescribably awful to be in the creative zone and suddenly your workflow is just obliterated by a sluggish CPU. Perhaps it's a Pro Tools thing at the end of the day... It was designed in the 90s after all...

Thanks in advance! -G
any "mastering" plugins, or eq's that do linear phase. Most "mixing" plugins are usually optmized ok to be good on your cpu. also reverbs can use a lot of cpu as well. cla shouldnt be that cpu intensive. if your having problems with plugins like that you should look into upgrading your computer. 32 gigs of ram is more than enough for mixing, 16 is fine honestly. As you can see you'll max your cpu way before that.
Old 1st January 2017
  #4
Gear Guru
 

you could create a blank session and then start loading up multiple instances of the plug you suspect is a hog.

Keep loading them in and watch your meters. I think you can quickly get an idea of how fast they are adding up. How many instances of such and such a reverb can you add before your CPU says 100%? etc.

as mattjackson314 said pitch correction software is usually a killer - I would always audiosuite those kinds of things. Virtual instruments are also often quite greedy. You could print those as well.

also consider that it is possible there is something else slowing your system. On paper, your system sounds much more powerful than most people need.

Are you running insane amounts of tracks? Are these tracks necessary? For example, I know rappers who will make a new set of vocal tracks for each verse of the song. I don't know why, or why that's a "rap" thing, but I see it all the time. Are things split out that could be recombined?

are there sends for every aux on every track even when those sends are not being used? Are unused tracks deactivated and greyed out?

sometimes conflicts between certain plugs can have that effect. Sometimes non-Pro Tools background systems on your computer can affect your session. I had a running problem with Software Updater kicking in at the wrong time. You might want to open Activity Monitor and keep an eye on your machine as a whole.
Top Mentioned Products
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump