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Old 08-07-2018, 03:30 PM
Dudiester Dudiester is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 22
Default Macbook Pro 2018 w/ UAD Apollo 8p and PT 2018.7 Performance Issues

Hey all,

I apologize for the small novel I am about to write but we are currently troubleshooting worrisome performance on the new 15” Macbook Pro 2018 i9 with 32gb of ram. When comparing directly to our MBP 2013 performance is far less stable within pro tools, to the point it is almost unusable. To give a bit of background we are using Pro Tools as a live mixer with a professional gigging band that plays mostly corporate events and weddings. We use two UAD Apollo 8ps connected to each other via Thunderbolt 2 and to our new MBP through Apple’s TB3 converter.

Our current specs are:

15” MBP 2018 i9 with 32gb of ram, and AMD graphics
OSX High Sierra 10.13.6
Pro Tools 2018.7
UAD Apollo 8p Black (TB2)
UAD Apollo 8p Silver (TB2)

Before we get the obvious replies I would like to mention that we are using the latest drivers and console application for the UADs, and have already installed the hotfix to correct thermal issues on the new MBP. We also have a third party fan control program that is kicking in the fans sooner, and letting them run at full potential as noise isn’t an issue for us. I have also batch removed plug-ins from the folder to ensure we do not have any compatibility issues.

Our current goal is to run the live session at 64 samples. Our MBP 2013 could handle 128 samples easily and was super close to running 64 samples, but there was occasional drop outs which we cannot have in a live environment. Given the power bump of the i9 processor this task should be easily doable. Since I have not come to any meaningful conclusions from our testing I will simply list some observations below and hopefully somebody may have some ideas of possible fixes or improvements to our current situation.

- Our main and most easily noticeable problem is that PT is not using all of our cores once input monitoring is enabled. PT will not use cores 1, 11 or 12 whatsoever (see image below). We believe this to be the core of all our issues but cannot think of any way to engage these cores. At 128 samples, cores 1 and 12 seem to be used slightly more, but still do not fully engage, although this curve seems to be much more normal and less worrisome (see second image).

PT Sys Usage 64.jpg PT Sys Usage 128.jpg

- We used Intel Power Gadget to get a better idea of what was going on and during our CPU spikes the processor speed jumped down by about 1ghz for no reason. There was no heat bump before this moment and no difference in pro tools, or other programs that would warrant the cpu to drop. (See images below with circled areas). In one isolated instance the CPU did jump to 100 degrees which would of course initiate throttling (See second pic).

PT CPU 1.jpg PT CPU 2 Heat.jpg PT CPU 3.jpg

- We have used a program called tinker tools to activate a setting that keeps all the cores fully powered up at all times. Testing this setting directly against not using this setting showed that the setting gave a fairly big performance bump. With or without this setting, we were still not using cores 1, 11 and 12. With or without this setting, 64 samples was still unusable due to unpredictable CPU dips.

- Comparing CPU usage to a similar session in Logic produced similar results (although logic is currently only using 6 of our 12 available threads.. but that’s another issue all together). Using Reaper we could actually obtain 48+ tracks of input monitored audio and still maintain very stable CPU usages.

- Using the “Macbook Pro Microphone” as an audio interface within Pro Tools and assigning all of the inputs in our tracks in the same testing session to the microphone produced
extremely stable results. This session at 64 samples ran much better then the UAD driven session at 128.

A couple questions that we have but do not have answers for to date are:

- Does the model of thunderbolt 2 to thunderbolt 3 converter have an impact on performance?

- Although everything we are using is listed as compatible on their own websites with High Sierra, is there some sort of bug or incompatibility in one of the programs/drivers that’s driving down performance?

- Does the Macbook Pro 2018 still have some issues with its CPU that weren’t fixed in the hotfix? (We are not witnessing high temperatures of the CPU resulting in throttling but maybe the band-aid patch introduced some sort of latency?)

- Are there any other tweaks people have made in third party programs such as tinker tools or deeper that have shown unquestionably positive results that may help?

Thanks in advance for any feedback on these issues! For a brand new $4000+ machine, sporting an impressively powerful CPU with the i9, we are getting very disappointing results in days of testing now.
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:19 PM
jafbox jafbox is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: los angeles, ca
Posts: 39
Default Re: Macbook Pro 2018 w/ UAD Apollo 8p and PT 2018.7 Performance Issues

your os (10.13.6) could be the issue. its not officially supported and theres been numerous reports of people having troubles with low buffers etc on high sierra and PT 2018.

unfortunately according to apple, you can't downgrade to sierra on the 2018 MBP. what you may want to try though is downgrading to 10.13.3 which is officially supported by avid.
2014 12 core Mac Pro 64gb RAM
HD I/O 16x16 Analog
PT 11.1.3
OS 10.9.2

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Old 08-09-2018, 08:26 PM
supersonic1000 supersonic1000 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Gdańsk/Poland
Posts: 9
Default Re: Macbook Pro 2018 w/ UAD Apollo 8p and PT 2018.7 Performance Issues

I suppose you don’t want to use Apollo’s console for monitoring?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
MBP 17", PT 10 CPTK, DP8, Apollo, Traveller, Ultralite, UAD-Quad, most of the UAD plug-ins, Waves Gold, Virtual Instruments, Nord Piano, Korg CX-3, Mics - Telefunken, Beesneez, AKG, Sennheiser, Shure, EV, Sontronics, Pres - Imbir, UA, Sebatron, Analog Addicts UK, 4-710. Monitors - APS Trinity, Aeon, Coax, Sub 15
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:07 PM
bobo mark bobo mark is offline
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: hongkong
Posts: 228
Default Re: Macbook Pro 2018 w/ UAD Apollo 8p and PT 2018.7 Performance Issues

That is exactly I want to ask.. if you used 8P as live mixer? You don’t Pro Tools at all.. UAD console can do the job done.. no need to pass thru PT at all.

Originally Posted by supersonic1000 View Post
I suppose you don’t want to use Apollo’s console for monitoring?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Last edited by bobo mark; 08-09-2018 at 11:48 PM.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:23 AM
Dudiester Dudiester is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 22
Default Re: Macbook Pro 2018 w/ UAD Apollo 8p and PT 2018.7 Performance Issues

Hi guys it’s true that with 2X 8P quad Apollos you can do a lot with them as a stand alone live mixer with just Console and we do this on occasion for simpler mixes but the limitations are:

-No plugins can be placed on the master outputs such as corrective room EQing, master compressors, limiters, multibands, etc. We also run 5 stereo headphone mixes and 4 wedges with plugs on their assigned master outs.
-No 3rd party non-UAD plugins can be run on the Apollos. UAD plugs are awesome but we need use of several other manufacturers as well. Would be great if we could run Console with a Waves server inside Console. We sometimes run Vienna Enemble pro for audio networking which Console doesn’t support.
-Console doesn’t host Virtual Instruments, we could try to run them in stand alone mode but some don’t fully support this very well.
-By the time we use our favourite preamps with Unison on 16 channels and a few more favourite UAD plugs, our 8 DSP chips are maxed out, way too soon! I’ve been waiting for them to come out with 8 DSP chip versions of the Apollos for years.
-We require multitrack recordings for archiving and playback mixing.
-There are more lengthy reasons to go into such as what we find to be the most efficient for our setup and such but I’ll spare them.

However to get back on track, our Late 2013 MacBook Pro 15” w 16GBs @ 2.3Ghz i7 w Yosemite is running circles around our new MacBook Pro 15” i9 2.9Ghz, 32GB with regards to CPU stability, not overheating, not throttling and not getting any dropouts and or buffer under runs. I’ll also note I ran a Core2 Quad w 4GB, 3.2GHz PC for 6 years that ran much more reliably live than my new i9 MBP. We are currently now trying PTs 12.5.1 on the 2018 MBP with somewhat better results as 2018 7 is not useable. Also our 2013 is also on PTs 12.5.1 as we find its rocksolid.

I have spent months of my life optimizing PC and Macs to get then to run reliably for live tracking and live mixing. There’s a long laundry list of optimizations and sorting through best sounding, most reliable native plugs to run at low buffer sizes. Really disappointed in this new i9 Mac thus far and I really don’t feel confident that other OS or Pro Tools patches are going to help it significantly. High Sierra just doesn’t seem to be good OS for doing higher track counts for low latency live inputs. We’re keeping a long log of things we’ve optimized and such which I can share with you all.

We’ve also tried Logic, Studio One and Reaper with lots of different settings and all Reaper, Logic, Studio One and Pro Tools are showing the same random CPU spikes, the “best” results are with Pro Tools and Logic so far. We will soon be posting a video showing the performance differences between different MacBook Pros and DAWs!

Last edited by Dudiester; 08-10-2018 at 03:23 PM. Reason: Spelling errors
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Old 08-12-2018, 08:33 AM
TNM TNM is offline
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 1,523
Default Re: Macbook Pro 2018 w/ UAD Apollo 8p and PT 2018.7 Performance Issues

it is a known issue that 10.13.4/5/6 can not run reliably in Pro Tools under 128 buffer at 44/48K or 256 buffer at 88/96K

it's literally in the avid support pages. Avid are working on it now and have listed the issue as critical and hope to fix it by year's end.

Cubase and Propellerheads Reason also broke with 10.13.4

This one is on apple.

I wish you had gotten the 8750H, you'd have more consistent turbo clocks and better thermal performance. The mac book pro simply can not deal with the heat of the i9.

Another thing you could try is to disable turbo boost, so the i9 just sits at 2.9ghz permanently.. Give turbo boost switcher a try, it's free. This helped me greatly with a 2015 macbook pro with 2.8ghz quad core i7.

Next, latency on apollo is extremely low when you disable input monitoring and set it to 32 or 64 buffer. At 128 buffer it's lower than many USB interfaces at 64 buffer. The key is not to worry about what the buffer SIZE is, but what the real round trip latency is.. and i think at 64 it's just too low for a macbook pro to handle, and is compounded with the documented problem that 10.13.4 broke pro tools low latency performance.

Unfortunately, you can't format and install 10.13.3 on your macbook pro, it requires 10.13.6 and for the throttle fix too. So you are out of luck till Avid and apple can fix the issue.
-iMac Pro 3.2ghz 8 Core, 64GB Ram, Vega 56, OS 10.14.6/Win10 Pro, TB3 Dock & 4xSSD, UA Apollo x3 + Octopre x3, Microlite x2, Midi Synths galore, PT 2020.3
-Aorus X5 V8, 6 core Intel 8850H, 32GB ram, GTX 1070, Win 10 Pro, PT 2020.3/Nuendo 10, Apollo Twin TBolt
-Whenever I launch Pro Tools, I get wet.(™)
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