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Newest MacBook Pro (or other laptops) + Working at 96k
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Head
Newest MacBook Pro (or other laptops) + Working at 96k

Hey there partners!

I'm currently making music on a maxed-out Mid-2014 MacBook Pro. Despite being a very good machine that's still holding very well, it's feeling a lot of pain when trying to work at a 96k sample rate.

Unfortunately, higher sample rates do make a noticeable difference with some soft-synths and effects. I'd like to work at 96k generally, but I'd also like my computer not to choke while doing so.

For this reason, I'm looking into getting a new MacBook pro soon, either current generation or waiting a few more months for the next one (considering some of Apple's reportedly upcoming models, they seem to have learned their lessons about keyboards, so maybe, they've done the same with thermal dissipation?)

Does anyone here working on a laptop, including softsynths (biggest offenders by far), have any experience doing so successfully at 96k, especially on newer hardware?

If newer laptops and music-making at 96k still don't mix, that kinda kills the incentive for me to look into changing hardware. However, if it does work out for some people here, I'd like to hear it too! Either way, that's valuable information.

Thanks!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Nut
I use a 5 years old MBP with Logic at 96 when I am on the move. That's when I use virtual instruments the most.

I just print or sample, as I do with hardware synths.

Last edited by luka; 3 weeks ago at 07:16 PM.. Reason: s
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by luka View Post
I use a 5 years old MBP with Logic at 96 when I am on the move. That's when I use virtual instruments the most.

I just print or sample, as I do with hardware synths.
I hear ya. I work in Ableton and freeze tracks, which is a rough equivalent to printing.

I'm just finding it somewhat disruptive. Especially when working on layering, where I might want to make adjustments on several layers quickly one after the other. I can make it work, I just find it slow.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Nut
Sure, tweak layers (3, ...5?) live and then print, commit, move forward. Keep your CPU and your mind cool. Make decisions, forget undos, if something is wrong throw it away and redo.

Or check Geekbench to know the CPU power you will have with a new model and compare it with your curent one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gcsmusic View Post
I hear ya. I work in Ableton and freeze tracks, which is a rough equivalent to printing.

I'm just finding it somewhat disruptive. Especially when working on layering, where I might want to make adjustments on several layers quickly one after the other. I can make it work, I just find it slow.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcsmusic View Post
Hey there partners!

I'm currently making music on a maxed-out Mid-2014 MacBook Pro. Despite being a very good machine that's still holding very well, it's feeling a lot of pain when trying to work at a 96k sample rate.

Unfortunately, higher sample rates do make a noticeable difference with some soft-synths and effects. I'd like to work at 96k generally, but I'd also like my computer not to choke while doing so.

For this reason, I'm looking into getting a new MacBook pro soon, either current generation or waiting a few more months for the next one (considering some of Apple's reportedly upcoming models, they seem to have learned their lessons about keyboards, so maybe, they've done the same with thermal dissipation?)
You know, many synths can be run internally in 88.2/96 even as the project is at 44.1/48. Or they can render in higher sample rates. Of course it might be a PITA if you keep in final sample rate until you need to make recordings and you want these in double or better. I'm experimenting with switching to the higher recording sample rate at these recording phases as downsampling in real time when I've switched back again will take less CPU than running the synths in double or better. I'm using Ableton Live 10 so this might be different in another DAW.

Of course, if this is for performances only the first item applies.

What audio interface are you using?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikael B View Post
You know, many synths can be run internally in 88.2/96 even as the project is at 44.1/48. Or they can render in higher sample rates. Of course it might be a PITA if you keep in final sample rate until you need to make recordings and you want these in double or better. I'm experimenting with switching to the higher recording sample rate at these recording phases as downsampling in real time when I've switched back again will take less CPU than running the synths in double or better. I'm using Ableton Live 10 so this might be different in another DAW.

Of course, if this is for performances only the first item applies.

What audio interface are you using?
I'm on Ableton too and I'm using a Chord Mojo as DAC. Everything is ITB on my end so I have no need for inputs. I've also maxed out my audio buffer. No tracking = No worries about latency.

I know many synths can be oversampled individually. When you do however, you get a higher penalty in the end, since you have the extra CPU usage from the oversampled synth itself, but also from the downsampling that now has to occur on the output of the synth.

Sometimes you also have oddities such as with the DS Thorn, that does oversampling on the oscillators, but not on the effects. Bumping the session to 96k does wonders on some of patches with it for this very reason. Some synths such as phase plant don't seem to do oversampling at all. Running at 96k also helps with patch selection because of the quality difference. Some patches I would never select at 48k become interesting at 96.

I mentioned these two synths as they're the two that recently managed to overload my CPU with ONE patch and nothing else running. Each. Separately. Hence my layering remark from earlier. Layering with a complex patch with either of these two synths around at 96k could mean freezing and unfreezing each track constantly, just to work on one of the layers.

I already tend to switch to 48k when becomes way too cumbersome for me not to. There are always workarounds! I'd just like to evaluate whether newer hardware could help me skip them.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcsmusic View Post
Chord Mojo as DAC.
With 2x Headphone Outputs that one looks interesting for DJing. I already have the Babyface, that I love, but extremely portable it's not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gcsmusic View Post

I know many synths can be oversampled individually. When you do however, you get a higher penalty in the end, since you have the extra CPU usage from the oversampled synth itself, but also from the downsampling that now has to occur on the output of the synth.
I honestly never have been able to detect any performance issues when running oversampled audio, so I must assume this is negligible.

As for your main question, the more cores and CPU power per core, the more resource spread you have. As long as the software you use can utilize the comparable newer CPUs these should have some advantage in many cases. However, it's important to research the specific CPUs regarding real time multi-core work. Just some benchmarks is seldom sufficient to gain deeper knowledge. Good indicators for where to look though.

Your 2014 will see a significant speed bump in the new line of processors in the 2016 models and onwards. However, issues with the keyboards, throttling have only slowly gotten on track. I think the 2018 i7 models are OK, but I'm going for the current 8-core i9 myself. Current machines of course comes with a price tag thereafter.

Last edited by Mikael B; 3 weeks ago at 01:22 AM..
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