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  #21  
Old 12-13-2013, 10:01 PM
garnoil garnoil is offline
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Default Re: Best AAX DSP reverb available?

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Hi guys,
There's an interesting situation that arises on PT11 when you mix native plugins with HDX--you get fewer plugins than you would on a fully-native system! This is because of the way ProTools sets up their dual-domain delay stuff. There are elaborate user workarounds to keep the plugins from going into the short latency queue, but they're a PITA. Theoretically it's possible to keep a plugin out of that queue and I've asked AVID for such hooks. But they haven't committed. It might be helpful if they heard from some users.

I believe that any native plugin is affected by this, but mine perhaps more so because of the larger memory requirements for a reverb. Oddly enough, it seems to have more to do with the simple fact of placing the plugin in the short delay domain, rather than the latency of the plugin itself (at 48K, my reverbs only have a 32-sample latency). I've experimented with buffer size in PT10, and the reverbs are hardly affected by that factor. There's just some odd business going on in PT11. I think that overall the dual-domain stuff is a big plus, but this is one of those places where it could be improved.

Michael

Perhaps this is what I am seeing in my system. I can only run very few native plugs and I get "remove plugins CPU errors". I am now only running 2 or 3 native verbs (1 instance of Revolver, 1 instance of Waves 360, 1 instatnce of IRL on efficient mode, 1 instance of PSP delay, 12 DNS, 6 Equality, and a couple of other plugs like Futz). I have 200 tracks with Avid channel strip DSP, 12 DSP D-verbs (which I hate the sound).

One of the immediate problems of running out of CPU is that I can not buy any more Native plugs (even if I want to use them), because I don't have the power in my CPU to run them. Under my old TDM, every single plugin was Native, and I had very few 'remove plugins Native errors". My HDX card has about 35% free space (so I want to load DSP verbs on them), and remove the Native verbs to relieve my crashing CPU.

I am planning to buy the trash can because I need the CPU power, but today I 'have' to buy Revibe DSP, because I can not run any more Native plugs.
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  #22  
Old 12-14-2013, 12:41 AM
Craig F Craig F is offline
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Default Re: Best AAX DSP reverb available?

go for the free trial, you sound a little unsure
http://www.avid.com/US/products/revibe
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  #23  
Old 12-14-2013, 05:28 AM
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Exponential Audio Exponential Audio is offline
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Default Re: Best AAX DSP reverb available?

One of the things I really like about PT11 is the fact that the CPU load window now shows all processor cores. The single meter in PT10 is never very helpful, and I often bring up the Apple Activity Monitor to see how core allocation is working out. I'm sure this is old news to a lot of people here, but it never hurts to mention it again. PT--any version--gets nailed by the most heavily-loaded core. It's not hard to set up a mix where most of the load lies in one or two cores while the others are idle. You'll get "Out of CPU" messages when there's actually lots of power still available. Simply moving stuff around, things like track order, number of aux strips, etc, often makes a huge difference in how much you get out of your CPU.

And while PT11 does a very good job on hyperthreaded cores (any Mac Pro from 2009 onward as well as any I7), PT10 doesn't. The rule of thumb given to me by Gil Gowing at Avid is "Number of physical cores minus one". So on an 8-core 2009 Mac Pro (what I have), that number would be 7. The reality is more nuanced. I took that question to the technical manager of a large and well-known facility. Their settings (assuming an 8-core hyperthreaded machine) went from 1/16 to 14/16, depending on the mix of plugins. You'll know you have the problem if your load meter looks OK, but the audio is full of pops, buzzes and birdies.

I suspect that's why so many of you spend endless hours setting up templates. So many of this plug, so many of that, set up on tracks laid out like so. Once you get a layout that works for a given application (both technically and artistically), why waste any more time?

I'm sorry if I've wandered a little too far off topic, but I've been surprised at the number of users that contact me who are unaware of all this. Whether you're running fully native or have an HDX/Native mix, I offer the comments as possibly useful hints for improving performance.
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  #24  
Old 12-15-2013, 03:16 AM
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Default Re: Best AAX DSP reverb available?

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Originally Posted by Exponential Audio View Post
One of the things I really like about PT11 is the fact that the CPU load window now shows all processor cores. The single meter in PT10 is never very helpful, and I often bring up the Apple Activity Monitor to see how core allocation is working out. I'm sure this is old news to a lot of people here, but it never hurts to mention it again. PT--any version--gets nailed by the most heavily-loaded core. It's not hard to set up a mix where most of the load lies in one or two cores while the others are idle. You'll get "Out of CPU" messages when there's actually lots of power still available. Simply moving stuff around, things like track order, number of aux strips, etc, often makes a huge difference in how much you get out of your CPU.

And while PT11 does a very good job on hyperthreaded cores (any Mac Pro from 2009 onward as well as any I7), PT10 doesn't. The rule of thumb given to me by Gil Gowing at Avid is "Number of physical cores minus one". So on an 8-core 2009 Mac Pro (what I have), that number would be 7. The reality is more nuanced. I took that question to the technical manager of a large and well-known facility. Their settings (assuming an 8-core hyperthreaded machine) went from 1/16 to 14/16, depending on the mix of plugins. You'll know you have the problem if your load meter looks OK, but the audio is full of pops, buzzes and birdies.

I suspect that's why so many of you spend endless hours setting up templates. So many of this plug, so many of that, set up on tracks laid out like so. Once you get a layout that works for a given application (both technically and artistically), why waste any more time?

I'm sorry if I've wandered a little too far off topic, but I've been surprised at the number of users that contact me who are unaware of all this. Whether you're running fully native or have an HDX/Native mix, I offer the comments as possibly useful hints for improving performance.
I spent those endless hours setting up templates, but in my case, being a commercial film mixing facility often working with external sound editors, sometimes from various countries, I find myself in a situation where it isn't possible to apply all those perfect templates to every project. Otoh, I really learned how to work in a limited resources environment, and I've been learning, applying and mastering all those techniques for getting the most out of your computer.
The conclusion I got from all the above is a simple one: if you have dedicated DSP, you can rely on that performance and know exactly how your project will behave. That includes not only the crucial question: "will it play?" and "will there be some clicks and pops?", but also other important stuff, like "if I increase my buffer size, how it will reflect to the picture sync delay? and "why do I hear some pre delay on my small room reverb, even if it's set to 0?"
That's why I (and many others) sometimes ask if there will be a DSP version of your plug-in.
You also mentioned this great idea of wiring another CPU via thunderbolt - will that solve all the above problems and give us the reliability we're looking for?
Sorry for insisting, I really like your reverbs and they're not problematic at all, because of that very low latency they have. You're getting these questions from me because you're probably the only one that is giving us some answers.
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  #25  
Old 12-15-2013, 06:45 AM
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Default Re: Best AAX DSP reverb available?

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Originally Posted by Branko View Post
if you have dedicated DSP, you can rely on that performance and know exactly how your project will behave.
Yes, but...

As I've indicated earlier, if you dedicated an entire HDX card to nothing but my surround reverbs at 48K, you might be able to get half a dozen copies (optimistically). Rock-solid. Dependable. Predictable. If you restrict yourself to that same number of reverbs in a native system, you'll have the same rock-solid dependability with scads of CPU left over for other stuff--like another dozen reverbs (if you're on a pure native system, make that another 3 or 4 dozen).

At this point I realize this answer could go on a while. Grab a cup of coffee if you're still interested...

There are a lot of reasons why I'm not going to do DSP reverbs, but I'm not going to. First and foremost, there's just me. It would easily take me a year to do. I've been in this business 35 years. If anything, I've lowballed the estimate. At the end of that year, I've done nothing else except for a few bug fixes. No new plugins. No big improvements on current ones. That's an opportunity cost that's simply too high. And I'd now have two codebases to maintain. And who's to say how long the current HDX lasts? But you're not really interested in that, so let me get to the technical stuff.

I've made a career bet, and that bet is that we're near the end of high-end dedicated DSP chips. Once upon a time they were critically important: garden-variety CPUs just weren't up to it. But economies of scale and the needs of personal computer users have changed that. The desire to encode music and movies, to create and play videos on YouTube, those needs have had an enormous impact on the processors that go into your computer. For most people (and I include professionals), there's simply no need for dedicated DSPs. Those chips are expensive to design and build, and they take up manufacturing capacity that's more profitable elsewhere. There's still a good market for DSP chips, but it's in cars and television sets. That's a different kind of chip--high system integration, on-chip codecs and so on. It's not an ideal chip for pure audio applications. I think this trend will continue and I don't think it will reverse. Case in point: when I developed the PCM96 algorithms I used a very high-end processor called a TigerSHARC. Great for a reverb. I could get two Lex stereo algorithms onto that chip. But I could get 10 or 15 into a single Mac core, vintage 2008! I will admit that came as a surprise to me, especially since I'd recently made an industrial video declaring the superiority of DSP chips Oops. And let's combine that with the fact that more and more of the graphics processing is moving to video cards (about the only market segment where bespoke processing still makes sense) and that means you have even more of the available power of the host CPU.

Now I will quickly admit that there are issues with host-based processing, and it's largely up to you and your colleagues to keep us developers honest. That issue can probably be wrapped into that simple phrase CPU spikes. A great many plugins exhibit regular behavior most of the time. But then a parameter change, a rollback, something causes a momentary surge of processing that brings your mix pass to a halt. I understand the cause of the swearing that just erupted in the studio. My old Lex plugins are probably some of the ones you're swearing at. They have some serious peaks. Had I stayed there, I'd have undoubtedly sorted that out. Good luck to whoever's responsible for that now. It's a developer's responsibility to address that--to learn to smooth out those periods of high CPU usage. It's a constant object of my attention and I can say that the current generation of my plugs is substantially improved over the versions I first shipped nearly a year ago. And for the end-user, maybe it's not a bad idea to stop at 90% usage: you've still got what took a Series-10 and three racks full of gear just a few years ago.

Now about my remarks concerning a Thunderbolt-connected slave Mac. Let's leave out the pure Thunderbolt issues: I don't know T-bolt at the physical and protocol level. But I believe the concept is sound. A ProTools back-end (no GUI--basically a low-latency framework for running plugins) is quite possible. I'm saying possible. I'm not saying easy. Running OSX and supporting AAX native simplifies updating and development. While I'd certainly have to make some modifications to my own code base, I'd be spared the expense of two concurrent development domains. And when a more powerful Mac came along, you'd simply swap--no waiting for developers to learn a whole new chip. This would be more than lovely if you could bolt on more than one external Mac. I think such an approach is much more future-embracing. What would Avid think about such an approach? Beats me. But they've got a bright group of people there.

Hope this lays out my position reasonably well. In the short run I'd love to see a hook in AAX that would let us control which latency domain our plugs live in. That would help HDX users protect their own substantial investments (and would keep my own inbox a little tidier). Of course the wisest words are from Yogi: It's hard to make predictions--especially about the future.
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  #26  
Old 12-15-2013, 08:42 AM
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Bob Olhsson Bob Olhsson is offline
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Default Re: Best AAX DSP reverb available?

I'm really happy to see you lay all of this out in one brilliantly concise statement! (Yes I really did say concise but it's pretty complex to understand.) Bits and pieces of this have been scattered all over but the point you make is that we're really in a whole new ballgame from the DAWs of a decade ago which seems to be many people's reference point and source of confusion.

I know people who really needed HDX to replace running multiple HD4 systems that were locked together but, as you say, most of us probably don't and native performance hasn't hit its peak yet.
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  #27  
Old 12-15-2013, 10:30 AM
tom_lowe tom_lowe is offline
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Default Re: Best AAX DSP reverb available?

I think Logic had a system where you could attach multiple Macs over ethernet and share processing, never used it and Nuendo sort of does with it's VST system link.

Apple's Compressor could also do this if you installed the correct utility, can't remember the name of the top of my head. It is also possible with After Effects, but you need an After Effects license on each machine you're using and all the relevant plug-ins, but the idea of using multiple machines as slaves is certainly possible and being done, to some extent.

Hopefully Thunderbolt will make this easier. I'd certainly rather buy a new PC or Mac every 3-4 years as you know the CPUs will be a significant improvement, instead of being stuck with HDX cards which probably won't be updated for 10 years, if the HD Accell cards are anything to go by.
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  #28  
Old 12-15-2013, 10:44 AM
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Exponential Audio Exponential Audio is offline
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Default Re: Best AAX DSP reverb available?

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I think Logic had a system... never used it
Neither did anybody else. Apple introduced it and then backed away almost immediately. They only supported their own plugs and never had any provisions for dongles, UIs for the remote plugs, or anything else. At the time there was only Gigabit ethernet--possibly fast enough for some operations, but not wildly predictable. Thunderbolt IS PCI-e, so turnaround latency should be manageable and known.

Quote:
Apple's Compressor could also do this if you installed the correct utility
Yeah, there's a lot of support in there for FCP/x -- rendering and encoding. Again it's only using Ethernet (although that could possibly change after the new Mac Pros are around for a while), so I don't think it would suffice for our nefarious purposes.

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Hopefully Thunderbolt will make this easier. I'd certainly rather buy a new PC or Mac every 3-4 years
I probably make Avid nervous when I go off the ranch like this, but the door will slowly close on the DSPs no matter what. I think most of us would happily pay for whatever sort of master interconnect device they might invent to support such a capability. To me, much of this shows the potential beauty of the new Mac Pro. How would you like to show a row of those little suckers to clients touring the place?
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  #29  
Old 12-15-2013, 12:42 PM
tom_lowe tom_lowe is offline
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Default Re: Best AAX DSP reverb available?

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Originally Posted by Exponential Audio View Post
Neither did anybody else. Apple introduced it and then backed away almost immediately. They only supported their own plugs and never had any provisions for dongles, UIs for the remote plugs, or anything else. At the time there was only Gigabit ethernet--possibly fast enough for some operations, but not wildly predictable. Thunderbolt IS PCI-e, so turnaround latency should be manageable and known.


Yeah, there's a lot of support in there for FCP/x -- rendering and encoding. Again it's only using Ethernet (although that could possibly change after the new Mac Pros are around for a while), so I don't think it would suffice for our nefarious purposes.


I probably make Avid nervous when I go off the ranch like this, but the door will slowly close on the DSPs no matter what. I think most of us would happily pay for whatever sort of master interconnect device they might invent to support such a capability. To me, much of this shows the potential beauty of the new Mac Pro. How would you like to show a row of those little suckers to clients touring the place?
Thanks for taking the time to reply. I'm certainly going to be buying your plug-ins and it's nice to see someone who knows what they're talking about and pro-Native - very reassured I've made the right choice not going HDX. Same reason I'd never go for a UAD based-system. It's a shame Avid are the only company who deliberately cripple the native systems in terms of track count and voices. I know Pyramix have DSP systems, but their native system isn't crippled (from what I recall, I may be wrong) in quite the same way. The only other company making a DAW which relies on DSP that comes to mind is Fairlight.

Now if only Avid would realise DSP is dead and un-cripple their native systems. Of course, they would have a huge backlash on their hands if they admitted they'd just ripped off everyone who bought a DSP-based system. I suspect it may be down to them trying to save face.

If Avid do ever face a financial situation which means they have to sell Pro Tools, I hope someone like you takes over development!
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  #30  
Old 12-15-2013, 01:06 PM
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Default Re: Best AAX DSP reverb available?

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Now if only Avid would realise DSP is dead and un-cripple their native systems. Of course, they would have a huge backlash on their hands if they admitted they'd just ripped off everyone who bought a DSP-based system. I suspect it may be down to them trying to save face.
I'm actually quite sympathetic to Avid--especially over the last year or so as they've regained their focus. It's really tough figuring out how to price your stuff and determining whether a premium should be paid for certain capabilities. I really want them to prosper: I'm just saying that I believe that technology will force the path to change.

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If Avid do ever face a financial situation which means they have to sell Pro Tools, I hope someone like you takes over development!
Oh jeez man. I'm stuck in this studio enough hours as it is! I appreciate the thought, though.
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