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Tim Cook on Mac Desktop commitment Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 27th June 2017
  #961
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zephonic's Avatar
Well, some manufacturers have historically been Mac-centric, while others have been more Windows-centric. This may account for some of the performance variables of their products on different platforms.
Old 27th June 2017
  #962
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain caveman View Post
Efficiency is of course a combination of DAW, driver and OS. Unfortunately your closing statement effectively means that unless an application is written for OSX only, the reason of it being cross platform can always be used in cases where it underperforms on Mac. And it's not possible to compare when it's Mac only.

But I do agree that drivers are a very important part of the jigsaw. We can't look at just drivers and applications and not the OS though. They are not all created equally.

When I first moved to the Mac Pro using Cubase and the RME card, I actually ended up installing Windows 7 Professional on the Mac via Boot Camp and ran them on Windows. I did some comparisons and Cubase was in fact significantly better on Windows, both in track count and latency. Soon after, I bought an HD native Omni rig w/ PT10HD. I was also able to compare them directly in each OS. PT10HD performed equally. Once I switched to Logic, I bought the Symphony64 card, and later sold the Avid and RME hardware, but kept my PTHD license.

So my experience is that PTHD, running native hardware does in fact perform equally well on both platforms with the same hardware, but Cubase did not at the time (neither with HD Native or RME 96/52).

And just to go back to the discussion of Apple desktops, you can in fact run Windows on a Mac. Bootcamp includes all hardware drivers, and allows dual booting, file sharing, etc. So while OS X is certainly part of the discussion, this thread is primarily about Mac desktop hardware, and a Mac is no less a PC than a Windows machine, and can run Windows as efficiently as any PC. In fact, my work computer is a Mac Pro that I dual boot to Windows 10 so that I can connect to my work's server.
Old 27th June 2017
  #963
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto View Post
When I first moved to the Mac Pro using Cubase and the RME card, I actually ended up installing Windows 7 Professional on the Mac via Boot Camp and ran them on Windows. I did some comparisons and Cubase was in fact significantly better on Windows, both in track count and latency. Soon after, I bought an HD native Omni rig w/ PT10HD. I was also able to compare them directly in each OS. PT10HD performed equally. Once I switched to Logic, I bought the Symphony64 card, and later sold the Avid and RME hardware, but kept my PTHD license.

So my experience is that PTHD, running native hardware does in fact perform equally well on both platforms with the same hardware, but Cubase did not at the time (neither with HD Native or RME 96/52).

And just to go back to the discussion of Apple desktops, you can in fact run Windows on a Mac. Bootcamp includes all hardware drivers, and allows dual booting, file sharing, etc. So while OS X is certainly part of the discussion, this thread is primarily about Mac desktop hardware, and a Mac is no less a PC than a Windows machine, and can run Windows as efficiently as any PC. In fact, my work computer is a Mac Pro that I dual boot to Windows 10 so that I can connect to my work's server.
I agree with that - a Mac is an above-average PC which can run Windows very well. I do not agree that drivers are being ported. Software is, but for drivers that males absolutely no sense.
A few years ago Vin tested cross-platform DAWs on the same system with identical hardware which showed that all DAWs performed better on Windows 7 than on OSX, only Pro Tools being an exception for buffers higher than 256 samples. However, I am convinced that OSX has improved since then, based on shards of information here and there, now it being relatively close. There are no current figures for this though.
Old 27th June 2017
  #964
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lowkey's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post
I agree with that - a Mac is an above-average PC which can run Windows very well. I do not agree that drivers are being ported. Software is, but for drivers that males absolutely no sense.
A few years ago Vin tested cross-platform DAWs on the same system with identical hardware which showed that all DAWs performed better on Windows 7 than on OSX, only Pro Tools being an exception for buffers higher than 256 samples. However, I am convinced that OSX has improved since then, based on shards of information here and there, now it being relatively close. There are no current figures for this though.
Since Cubase 8 or 8.5 low latency monitoring on OSX had radically improved.
Old 27th June 2017
  #965
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UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post
I agree with that - a Mac is an above-average PC which can run Windows very well. I do not agree that drivers are being ported. Software is, but for drivers that males absolutely no sense.
A few years ago Vin tested cross-platform DAWs on the same system with identical hardware which showed that all DAWs performed better on Windows 7 than on OSX, only Pro Tools being an exception for buffers higher than 256 samples. However, I am convinced that OSX has improved since then, based on shards of information here and there, now it being relatively close. There are no current figures for this though.
For the low-latency numbers to be close, OSX would have had to become between three to five times as efficient as it was then. I highly doubt that.

Alistair
Old 27th June 2017
  #966
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post
I agree with that - a Mac is an above-average PC which can run Windows very well. I do not agree that drivers are being ported. Software is, but for drivers that males absolutely no sense.
The only thing I said regarding ported drivers was specifically for the RME 96/52 at the time I was using it (around 2004?), which was advertised as having "ASIO built into hardware". I recall visiting their site at the time when troubleshooting, and seeing in the specs whith all mention of 0% CPU load and Zero latency monitoring, the disclaimer "when using ASIO".

Perhaps "ported" was not the correct word....but the Mac drivers were noticibly inferior at the time. I don't know enough about programming to understand if or how they accessed the ASIO specific coding on the DSP.

But again, that was many years ago, and RME could have addressed these things at the firmware level since then.
Old 27th June 2017
  #967
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto View Post
The only thing I said regarding ported drivers was specifically for the RME 96/52 at the time I was using it (around 2004?), which was advertised as having "ASIO built into hardware". I recall visiting their site at the time when troubleshooting, and seeing in the specs whith all mention of 0% CPU load and Zero latency monitoring, the disclaimer "when using ASIO".

Perhaps "ported" was not the correct word....but the Mac drivers were noticibly inferior at the time. I don't know enough about programming to understand if or how they accessed the ASIO specific coding on the DSP.

But again, that was many years ago, and RME could have addressed these things at the firmware level since then.
Back in 2004 CoreAudio was a new thing, ASIO was already established.
Old 27th June 2017
  #968
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Joe, RME uses a FPGA chip on their cards which is a programable CPU. That might be what they were refering to.

As for the other tangent on saving a couple hundred dollars building your own box, well that would be over buying the box from a standard seller (which you would still have to tweek for DAW usage - it's own can of worms), not a DAW box builder specific seller. Additionally you would likely be using much higher quality parts in the DIY box so you have to look at a real apples to apples comparision for a more accurate number. I haven't looked lately but the DIY box used to be about 50% - 60% of the DAW builder's equal box. Equal speced Hackintoshes came in well under half of the Mac Pros. Bottom line, there are real savings if you get your hands dirty and it's becoming a vital studio skill to know. Very few don't have tight studio budgets and extra cash saved means money could be spent on the audio front or rear end (not computer / DAW / plugs) were you will see the most noticable bang for the buck. Spending $2k on a mic pre might be a smart business decision for a studio where spending more on a computer might not be (you can get some very high end mic pres for $500 a channel though).
Old 27th June 2017
  #969
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zephonic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Jones Sr View Post
p.s. while we're talking about latency. it would be nice if the software engineers at Apple would also pay attention to the subjective latency of the actual OS user interface. Mac OS lags *always* and is distinctly more unresponsive than Windows. The mouse movements, on screen animations, everything is slow and lags behind your actions. This was less apparent with Snow Leopard but Lion started the rot where the ui performance became victim to other changes.
I can't say I have experienced this. I skipped Lion and Yosemite, but I have been on every other iteration of OSX/MacOS. My crusty MacPro 4,1 is running Sierra just fine. I also have Windows 7 on that machine, which runs just as fine, too.

FWIW, I did switch to SSD about two years ago, before I switched to Mavericks.
Old 27th June 2017
  #970
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zephonic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
For the low-latency numbers to be close, OSX would have had to become between three to five times as efficient as it was then. I highly doubt that.

Alistair
LOL, still with it, huh?
Old 27th June 2017
  #971
Tui
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Tui's Avatar
Oh, I didn't realise there is still some milage in the ol' Mac vs PC debate.

Basically, we're at the mercy of a duopoly, as they decide what we need and what is good for us.

Wouldn't it be nice if Unix/Linux would finally take off - like this is going to happen, ever.

BTW, RME has traditionally been very Windows-centric. You can even tell by the way they write the manuals.
Old 27th June 2017
  #972
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post

Wouldn't it be nice if Unix/Linux would finally take off - like this is going to happen, ever.
Have you ever tried Ardour on Linux? It's very good. Some studios are using Linux professionally. Linux also recognizes most audio interfaces, even older ones.

As for Unix, that's what Macs run on!
Old 27th June 2017
  #973
Tui
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Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh View Post
Have you ever tried Ardour on Linux?
I've used Mixbus on Mac. Let's just say I felt like trying to paint the Sistine Chapel through a keyhole.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh View Post
As for Unix, that's what Macs run on!
I know, I know. Even more reason to fairly easily break away from Apple, no?
Old 27th June 2017
  #974
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
I've used Mixbus on Mac. Let's just say I felt like trying to paint the Sistine Chapel through a keyhole.
Mixbus is nothing like Ardour. The Ardour interface is pretty similar to Logic in some ways, although I'd say it's closer to Cakewalk Sonar (or maybe Cakewalk Sonar is closer to Ardour).

I've done some recording with Ardour and was pretty impressed.
Old 27th June 2017
  #975
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Jones Sr View Post
Linux for our DAW workstations is never going to come to fruition. The simple reason is that, apart from the vendors not wishing to invest in porting to that platform, for every 1 guy who is working hard to tidy up and enable professional audio to work on at least the most popular distributions, there's another 5 guys deliberately keeping Linux geeky and 'need to know', in order to protect their status as 'those who know'. On top of that there's another 5 guys making changes to Linux without actually giving a sh*t whether their changes break audio or your apps.
I used to think this too, until I started actually using Linux. I converted an old Windows laptop to Linux Mint earlier this year and the process itself was remarkably un-geeky (after 6 months of use I have still never used the terminal), and Linux Mint is basically like Windows 7 but better. You download a stable release that is supported for a specified number of years. Updates, even updates to the Linux core, haven't broken anything yet on my machine -- all the apps and drivers continue to work.

I swear I saw a website recently for a professional recording studio that had switched over to Linux but now I can't find it...maybe it didn't work out.
Old 27th June 2017
  #976
Tui
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Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh View Post
I swear I saw a website recently for a professional recording studio that had switched over to Linux but now I can't find it...maybe it didn't work out.
There have always been people who say they use Linux for audio professionally - whatever "professional" means these days, mind you.

There just doesn't seem to be any software, except for Ardour. No plugins, certainly not the big names. I came across this:

https://community.ardour.org/node/4941

You mentioned certain interfaces are compatible. Which ones? RME?
Old 27th June 2017
  #977
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post

You mentioned certain interfaces are compatible. Which ones? RME?
I plugged in a Mackie Onyx Blackbird and it was recognized immediately, plug and play; same for a Presonus AR8. Neither of those are "professional" interfaces of course, but I took it as a good sign that Linux comes with drivers for them and assumed it must have drivers for other interfaces as well. The Blackbird doesn't work well with Windows 10 although it's still recognized by my Mac.
Old 27th June 2017
  #978
Tui
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Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Jones Sr View Post
It needs a dedicated project, something that audio companies get behind like the Reaper guys, Bitwig etc
Yeah, on the face of it, such a project would seem easy enough to initiate, considering it's open source. I wonder what's stoping them... Too small a market, herd mentality, pressure from the "big guys"?
Old 27th June 2017
  #979
Tui
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Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh View Post
I plugged in a Mackie Onyx Blackbird and it was recognized immediately, plug and play; same for a Presonus AR8. Neither of those are "professional" interfaces of course, but I took it as a good sign that Linux comes with drivers for them and assumed it must have drivers for other interfaces as well. The Blackbird doesn't work well with Windows 10 although it's still recognized by my Mac.
Ah, so you are saying the drivers are developed not by the hardware makers, but some third party?
Old 27th June 2017
  #980
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
Ah, so you are saying the drivers are developed not by the hardware makers, but some third party?
I have no idea! All I know is that these devices work. It would be interesting to see a list of all the ones that are recognized.

I'm not super optimistic about Linux as a serious pro solution, but for home studios I think it's already a viable option for people (like me) whose needs are simple.
Old 27th June 2017
  #981
Tui
Gear Guru
 
Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh View Post
I have no idea! All I know is that these devices work. It would be interesting to see a list of all the ones that are recognized.

I'm not super optimistic about Linux as a serious pro solution, but for home studios I think it's already a viable option for people (like me) whose needs are simple.
I understand.

Personally, I'd like to have a lean, mean Linux machine. Ultra-low latency, no constant update this, update that BS. Just music without interference.

One can dream.
Old 27th June 2017
  #982
Tui
Gear Guru
 
Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Jones Sr View Post
I have a machine set up as a Mint desktop just to tinker...
Do you use an audio/midi interface?
Old 28th June 2017
  #983
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto View Post
The only thing I said regarding ported drivers was specifically for the RME 96/52 at the time I was using it (around 2004?), which was advertised as having "ASIO built into hardware". I recall visiting their site at the time when troubleshooting, and seeing in the specs whith all mention of 0% CPU load and Zero latency monitoring, the disclaimer "when using ASIO".

Perhaps "ported" was not the correct word....but the Mac drivers were noticibly inferior at the time. I don't know enough about programming to understand if or how they accessed the ASIO specific coding on the DSP.

But again, that was many years ago, and RME could have addressed these things at the firmware level since then.
That's slightly false advertising though. ASIO is still buffer dependent, the low latency depends on the hardware mixer in the interface not the software (and thus should be software independent) and at any rate, it's "near zero" not "zero". I would treat that as marketing and not tech facts. It most likely was a "new idea" in 2004 thus subject to hyperbole. I remember having an 8i/8o interface from a company called "Gadgetlabs" and it let you do "through" monitoring - routing input directly to corresponding output - so you could use an external mixer to let you do low latency monitoring. I seem to remember the Hammerfall cards having an internal mixer with DSP around the same time.
Old 28th June 2017
  #984
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Joe Porto's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
That's slightly false advertising though. ASIO is still buffer dependent, the low latency depends on the hardware mixer in the interface not the software (and thus should be software independent) and at any rate, it's "near zero" not "zero". I would treat that as marketing and not tech facts. It most likely was a "new idea" in 2004 thus subject to hyperbole. I remember having an 8i/8o interface from a company called "Gadgetlabs" and it let you do "through" monitoring - routing input directly to corresponding output - so you could use an external mixer to let you do low latency monitoring. I seem to remember the Hammerfall cards having an internal mixer with DSP around the same time.
I got my years wrong. 2004 was when I got the 96/52, but it was 2008 when I got my Mac....so Core Audio was probably established by then.

And you are correct re:monitoring. But on Windows, Cubase could access the DM controls of the 96/52. There was a Direct Monitoring check box in Cubase and when enabled, Cubase handled making the direct connection when the track was record enabled, so you didn't have to bother with the 96/52 mixer GUI. That was not the case on OS X. You had to have the 96/52 mixer open to facilitate activating of DM on OS X.

I do believe interfaces such as the RME DSP series, HD Native, Symphony, etc. do handle recording tasks on their own DSP though, which is what they call "0% DSP load". For example, HD Native did not have the processing power to run plugins, like HD/HDX, but did have some processing to handle the recording. My assumption was that since the RME was optimized for ASIO, there may have been limitations for Core Audio in that respect. That didn't seem the case performance wise with HD Native, and obviously, the Symphony64 would have optimized it's DSP for Core Audio. But again, I am no expert, that was just my assumption at the time.
Old 28th June 2017
  #985
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
Ah, so you are saying the drivers are developed not by the hardware makers, but some third party?
Not aimed at me, but yes. Also the RME Linux drivers are not developed by RME. The mixer app which is integrated in Ubuntu Studio is a very old version and does not run reliable when I tested it last year, although both MADI cards in the system ran fine.
To me it felt like an early beta, which is unfortunate as Linux by itself is promising. Yet it stays the same construction yard since forever for audio IMO. It would cerzainly help if more vendors would become active on Linux with dedicated programming, but I cannot judge how much of a minefield it is. Distributions like Mint are very solid and user friendly, but it requires more dedication to become a usable audio platform for professionals IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
That's slightly false advertising though. ASIO is still buffer dependent, the low latency depends on the hardware mixer in the interface not the software (and thus should be software independent) and at any rate, it's "near zero" not "zero". I would treat that as marketing and not tech facts. It most likely was a "new idea" in 2004 thus subject to hyperbole. I remember having an 8i/8o interface from a company called "Gadgetlabs" and it let you do "through" monitoring - routing input directly to corresponding output - so you could use an external mixer to let you do low latency monitoring. I seem to remember the Hammerfall cards having an internal mixer with DSP around the same time.
When Direct Monitoring was introduced in ASIO in 2000, it allowed direct routing of monitoring signals on the onboard DSP of the audio interface from within the DAW - basically what HDX does. As the DSP mixer of RME and some other vendors only require a few samples for processing, it was close to zero, as the signal never went through the OS or DAW software itself (despite the levels being shown).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto View Post
I got my years wrong. 2004 was when I got the 96/52, but it was 2008 when I got my Mac....so Core Audio was probably established by then.

And you are correct re:monitoring. But on Windows, Cubase could access the DM controls of the 96/52. There was a Direct Monitoring check box in Cubase and when enabled, Cubase handled making the direct connection when the track was record enabled, so you didn't have to bother with the 96/52 mixer GUI. That was not the case on OS X. You had to have the 96/52 mixer open to facilitate activating of DM on OS X.

I do believe interfaces such as the RME DSP series, HD Native, Symphony, etc. do handle recording tasks on their own DSP though, which is what they call "0% DSP load". For example, HD Native did not have the processing power to run plugins, like HD/HDX, but did have some processing to handle the recording. My assumption was that since the RME was optimized for ASIO, there may have been limitations for Core Audio in that respect. That didn't seem the case performance wise with HD Native, and obviously, the Symphony64 would have optimized it's DSP for Core Audio. But again, I am no expert, that was just my assumption at the time.
The processing on audio interfaces typically means a digital router/mixer. Some of them, especially the last few years, also have dedicated plugins for the monitoring chain.
There is no optimizing for ASIO as opposed to other specifications, it depends on the programmer and the hardware design/firmware and the OS/driver API/SDK whether implementation of drivers are easy to do or not on a given platform. I know some vendors prefer OSX, others prefer Windows or ASIO. Some hate both.
Old 28th June 2017
  #986
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post
Distributions like Mint are very solid and user friendly, but it requires more dedication to become a usable audio platform for professionals IMO.
And the elephant in the room is that there needs to be some source of revenue for developers; we can't rely on volunteers forever. Ardour uses some tricks to encourage users to donate money (when you want to export your files, for example, you're asked to make a donation or take out a subscription), and some of the higher-end plugins for Ardour cost money, but in general everything's still free.

I like the app store model that's currently being used by Elementary OS, a very Mac-like distribution of Linux (it feels like an early, simpler version of Mac OSX), in which developers can charge for their apps. This, in my opinion, is the way Linux needs to go for it to be taken seriously by a larger user base. Distributions like Mint and Elementary have done away with the geekiness; using Linux is really no different from using Windows or Mac OS (although you do get the sense that you're going back in time, as everything feels a little more primitive), but to become competitive with MacOS and Windows it's going to need more polish and stronger apps.

The "free" in Linux always referred to its freedom from proprietary restrictions, rather than "free" as in "you don't have to pay for it." If developers begin to see Linux as a financially viable market, things could get much more interesting, much faster.
Old 28th June 2017
  #987
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
Equal speced Hackintoshes came in well under half of the Mac Pros.
What Mac Pros? If you're talking about in 2013 I think you're mistaken. It wasn't possible to build your own Hackintosh with a price tag significantly lower than what Apple asked for their models back then, when I made some calculations in december 2013.
Old 28th June 2017
  #988
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh View Post
If developers begin to see Linux as a financially viable market, things could get much more interesting, much faster.
Developers already see Linux as financially viable, just not for studio software. Think servers and you're in big, big business.
Old 28th June 2017
  #989
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Jones Sr View Post
p.s. while we're talking about latency. it would be nice if the software engineers at Apple would also pay attention to the subjective latency of the actual OS user interface. Mac OS lags *always* and is distinctly more unresponsive than Windows. The mouse movements, on screen animations, everything is slow and lags behind your actions. This was less apparent with Snow Leopard but Lion started the rot where the ui performance became victim to other changes.
I don't recognize this at all from the Macbook Pros. So not always at all. What are you talking about? Machine? Spec? Software?

I do recognize Windows being snappy sometimes also on not new hardware, but not generally.
Old 28th June 2017
  #990
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikael B View Post
Developers already see Linux as financially viable, just not for studio software. Think servers and you're in big, big business.
Well yeah, and then there's Android (and the Chrome OS), which both run on Linux. But I was talking specifically about studio software.
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