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  #1  
Old 12-25-2013, 06:45 PM
yeloop yeloop is offline
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Default Dual record / playback buffers - always on or do they need to be selected in preferen

Hi guys

I am running PT11 native on an iMac (late 2013) having moved from Logic.

I am struggling with some initial issues with crackling/ audio degradation for live tracks with a low (32 or 64 sample) buffer.

Obviously one of the most exciting performance enhancements of PT11 is the separate buffers for playback tracks and record- where the buffer selected in "audio engine" prefs is for record-enabled tracks.

I was under the impression that the dual buffer system needed to be selected somewhere in preferences - however I haven't even able to find the option anywhere.

Could anyone confirm whether this feature is "always on" and can not be manually enabled/ disabled, or if it can be, which preference I should be looking for?

Cheers guys!
Mike
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Mike Pooley (Sydney, Australia)

iMac i7 3.5GHz + RME UFX + Event Opal + Nord Stage 2 + Korg Kronos 73 + Kurzweil PC3-61 + Dave Smith Prophet 08 + Roland Juno 106 + Roland V-Drums TD12 + Yamaha U1 piano

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  #2  
Old 12-25-2013, 07:04 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Dual record / playback buffers - always on or do they need to be selected in ...

It's "always on".

If you are having problems start by describing your system in detail. See the "Help us Help You - READ THIS Before Posting!" link above. And describe clearly what you are doing, session sample rate, # tracks, what plugins are in use. etc.

What exact version of Pro Tools 11? What exact model/date code iMac? What exact CPU specs? How much memory?

What exact interface model and driver version are you using? A 32 sample Io buffer is pretty aggressive (even with Pro Tools HD Native, and I assume you are actually just using Pro Tools, not Pro Tools HD Native).

What are the make/model/rpm spec of each drive (HDD or SSD) in the systems and which one is used for boot/system, which one is the dedicated audio/session drive and where are any VI samples are stored.

Have you followed the install instructions and done every last systems optimization for OS X? e.g. Disable spotlight indexing, bluetooth, WiFi, no A/V software installed, etc. etc. (go and doublecheck again they are all properly done even if you have before).

Uncheck "ignore errors" in the playback engine and see what errors Pro Tools throws.

What third party plugins are installed in Pro Tools (even if not instantiated in a session)? Are they all up to date? Is your problem isolated to one session? What happens if you start with a new blank session? (not from template).
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  #3  
Old 12-26-2013, 02:49 AM
yeloop yeloop is offline
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Default Re: Dual record / playback buffers - always on or do they need to be selected in ...

Hi Darryl,

Thanks for your quick reply!

I've answered below... thanks for your help so far! I am fairly concerned as this doesn't seem to be delivering the performance I was expecting, especially as it is such a small test track which should not be putting huge realtime demands on the system.

Further details in relation to your questions are as follows:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
It's "always on".

If you are having problems start by describing your system in detail. See the "Help us Help You - READ THIS Before Posting!" link above. And describe clearly what you are doing, session sample rate, # tracks, what plugins are in use. etc.
Track is a new track, at 44.1, interleaved audio files (none recorded yet though) at this stage using a NI Battery 4 track, an Omnisphere track, and a BFD3 track. All are updated to current versions as of yesterday.

What exact version of Pro Tools 11? What exact model/date code iMac? What exact CPU specs? How much memory?
PT is up to date, running on an iMac (late 2013) 3.5GHz i7 quad-core, using 24GB total memory (combination of 2 x 4GB sticks and 2 x 8GB sticks... an unusual combo, but one which hasn't impacted my main DAW to this point, Logic Pro X, even when running the same instrument plug-ins as above). Running the most up to date version of Mavericks.

What exact interface model and driver version are you using? A 32 sample Io buffer is pretty aggressive (even with Pro Tools HD Native, and I assume you are actually just using Pro Tools, not Pro Tools HD Native).
I am using an RME UFX, recently updated both the firmware and the drivers to the latest version - RME are usually known for their quality drivers and low-latency delivery, and on this system I am able to operate at a 32 sample buffer without any audio glitching.
That said, I have also tried PT11 at a 64 sample buffer and am getting the same problems.


What are the make/model/rpm spec of each drive (HDD or SSD) in the systems and which one is used for boot/system, which one is the dedicated audio/session drive and where are any VI samples are stored.
Currently I am running all plug-ins and audio from the main hard drive in the iMac, which is a PCIe SSD drive - I would expect incredibly fast performance from this drive, and definitely no impact on latency.

Have you followed the install instructions and done every last systems optimization for OS X? e.g. Disable spotlight indexing, bluetooth, WiFi, no A/V software installed, etc. etc. (go and doublecheck again they are all properly done even if you have before).
I have not disabled spotlight, but have run PT with Wi-Fi off. BT is on due to the iMac using a BT mouse.

Uncheck "ignore errors" in the playback engine and see what errors Pro Tools throws.
I have tried both with and without this option checked, but the audio glitches remain.

What third party plugins are installed in Pro Tools (even if not instantiated in a session)? Are they all up to date? Is your problem isolated to one session? What happens if you start with a new blank session? (not from template).
Currently installed are: Omnisphere, NI Komplete 9, BFD3, iZotope Alloy 2, iZotope Ozone 5. All have been checked in the last week to ensure they are the latest versions.

In a nutshell, I am pretty confident that I have done everything that needs to be done to reliably use PT11 with a smallish (and in fact I would expect largish) project running 6 or so software instruments, and a couple of plug-in effects at a buffer of either 64 or 32 samples.
The reviews I have read from end users, some of them very scientifically derived, have all indicated that PT11 can be expected to perform marginally better than Logic Pro in terms of total track count at low latencies. The current results I am getting are with very very small projects, compared to huge ones I have successfully run on the same system - so I am sure that somewhere there's something wrong with the way I have things set up.

On the other hand, I am an experienced user with Logic, and have usually had success in the past diagnosing these sort of performance problems - so based on some of the feedback I have heard, I don't think there is much else I can try to improve the low-latency experience I am getting from PT11.

Thanks in advance for any help you or others are able to offer, by way of suggestions as to what to try next!

Cheers,
Mike
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Mike Pooley (Sydney, Australia)

iMac i7 3.5GHz + RME UFX + Event Opal + Nord Stage 2 + Korg Kronos 73 + Kurzweil PC3-61 + Dave Smith Prophet 08 + Roland Juno 106 + Roland V-Drums TD12 + Yamaha U1 piano

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  #4  
Old 12-26-2013, 07:53 AM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: Dual record / playback buffers - always on or do they need to be selected in pref

There are a couple of very basic steps you have not done. One is that for Protools, you need to be recording your audio to a separate hard drive. This is recommended in the basic information for Protools. You might get away with a small number of tracks, but performance will be compromised, and that may be one of the reasons for the instability you're already experiencing, especially at low buffers.

The second thing, also pertaining to hard drives, is that when you run sample based instruments, especially demanding ones like Omnisphere or BFD, those sample libraries also need to be on a separate drive, separate from the audio drive and separate from the main system drive. The actual programs are still installed on the system drive but the samples themselves are on a separate drive. This is the recommended way but virtually all of the virtual instrument manufacturers.

The fact that your system drive is SSD does not change this fact at all.

Also, these separate drives need to not be any kind of "green" or environmentally friendly drives, and if they're spinning drives they need to be 7200 rpm or higher. They can also be SSD's.

This is very basic requirements and you will likely continue to have problems until you do this.

Note that none this affects latency directly, but it messes with the computer's ability to handle low latency tracking.


I also see that you are in Australia, and I'm not familiar with what hard drive brands are available there. As for the type, you have a few choices between USB 3, Thunderbolt, or Firewire (using Apple's Thunderbolt to firewire adapter).
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  #5  
Old 12-26-2013, 11:03 AM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Dual record / playback buffers - always on or do they need to be selected in ...

Look your system is far from setup properly. You need to stop telling us and yourself how well it should work and realize it is not working well and will be having these problems because of things you have not got configured properly. I hope you really have an SSD and not a fusion drive. And exact specs would always help, like the hardware info that System Profiler shows, the exact driver version number you are running not "the latest" etc.

But start by getting an external audio-spec drive, thunderbolt or USB3 preferred. . Lots of discussion here on those choices in other threads. Lacie make some nice external SSD drives. You should be able to leave samples on the boot drive if it is really an SSD (not a Fusion drive). Then properly optimize your Mac, do every last thing no matter how inconvenient or silly seeming. E.g. get a corded mouse, turn off Bluetooth. Disable spotlight indexing on every drive to start with (not just the audio/session drive). You may be undo some of these in future when everything is stable. Follow the written optimization steps exactly.

Leave ignore errors unchecked while you do other testing, and report any errors thrown here.

Delete prefs and databases frequently while trying things.

Does this happen with a new empty session and no plugins or VIs instantiated?

Your next test after doing all that will be to remove all third party plugins from their folder(s) and start up Pro Tools and try both existing and new clean sessions again.
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  #6  
Old 12-26-2013, 04:09 PM
yeloop yeloop is offline
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Default Re: Dual record / playback buffers - always on or do they need to be selected in pref

Hi guys

Thanks for your thoughts.

My previous computer was a Mac Pro, which had separate drives for: boot drive, software instruments, audio, and backup. The drives were all 7200 spinning drives, with the exception of the instruments drive which was a Samsung SSD drive. The iMac I have moved over to is running a 1TB SSD (non-fusion) drive.

Darryl, your thoughts that I should stop telling myself to expect astounding performance from the system are a bit extreme, given that I have run into these issues with just a basic five-track test project! On my current setup I am comfortably able to run large projects in Logic Pro at low latency (64 samples), and while I understand that PT may have different system requirements to perform well, in principle I would have expected my system to deliver similar performance.

I will work through the additional steps you have suggested, especially focussing on plug-ins that could be causing the issue.

Thanks guys, will update you soon.

Cheers
Mike
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Mike Pooley (Sydney, Australia)

iMac i7 3.5GHz + RME UFX + Event Opal + Nord Stage 2 + Korg Kronos 73 + Kurzweil PC3-61 + Dave Smith Prophet 08 + Roland Juno 106 + Roland V-Drums TD12 + Yamaha U1 piano

www.thepeopledownstairs.com
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  #7  
Old 12-26-2013, 04:23 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: Dual record / playback buffers - always on or do they need to be selected in pref

Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloop View Post
Darryl, your thoughts that I should stop telling myself to expect astounding performance from the system are a bit extreme, given that I have run into these issues with just a basic five-track test project!....
That is not what I said at all. What I said was your system is basically poorly setup. And that is just based on a few questions--given that I also expect more things to be wrong. Pro Tools is much more fussy to setup issues than Logic Pro, so not an uncommon thing for Logic Pro users to struggle with. And knowing what Logic Pro delivers on the same system is helpful but insufficient. It just mostly highlights the issue as improper setup/optimization for Pro Tools.

You have a lot to do to pick through all this and get your system set up correctly. You seemed to be using the belief that you have a fast system to glibly skip over several misconfiguration issues (things you have setup up contrary to recommendations/instructions). You need start by getting *everything* set up 100% correctly.

Come back here and tell us what happened when you have the system fully optimized, and have sessions running off an external audio-spec HDD or SSD. if you are then still having problems, you'll need to do some basic plugin troubleshooting.

Last edited by Darryl Ramm; 12-26-2013 at 07:48 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-28-2013, 01:52 AM
yeloop yeloop is offline
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Default Re: Dual record / playback buffers - always on or do they need to be selected in pref

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
That is not what I said at all. What I said was your system is basically poorly setup. And that is just based on a few questions--given that I also expect more things to be wrong. Pro Tools is much more fussy to setup issues than Logic Pro, so not an uncommon thing for Logic Pro users to struggle with. And knowing what Logic Pro delivers on the same system is helpful but insufficient. It just mostly highlights the issue as improper setup/optimization for Pro Tools.

You have a lot to do to pick through all this and get your system set up correctly. You seemed to be using the belief that you have a fast system to glibly skip over several misconfiguration issues (things you have setup up contrary to recommendations/instructions). You need start by getting *everything* set up 100% correctly.

Come back here and tell us what happened when you have the system fully optimized, and have sessions running off an external audio-spec HDD or SSD. if you are then still having problems, you'll need to do some basic plugin troubleshooting.

Hi Darryl (and others who are helping out too),

Apologies if I seem to be saying that I expect PT11 to run perfectly on my iMac with no issues or need for correct configuration, just because the iMac is new and well-specced. I can assure you that I have seen enough of "those" type of posts where people expect everything but are willing to put in nothing, and I am not one of those people! By way of context, I have used Logic Pro for the last 20 years (from version 1.5-ish in the mid 90s), and during that time have worked my way through plenty of configuration problems and system faults, so I'm aware these things take time and process to resolve properly.

Let me run through the things I have tried since your post above (unfortunately the issues are persisting, but at least a number of causes can potentially be eliminated).

Here's the list:

- Wi-Fi disabled

- Bluetooth disabled

- Insuring my iMac is not set to "spin down" (for want of a better term for an SSD drive!!) hard drives when they are not in use

- Moving my project to an external drive (WD black drive, 7200 RPM, Mac formatted, journaled etc, over USB3)

- Moving the virtual instrument sample files to an external drive (Samsung SSD over USB3)

- Insuring all drives are connected to the iMac directly, not via USB hub

- Started from scratch with a new project

- Turned off "ignore errors" option in audio engine settings

- Turned off delay compensation by unticking the drop-down menu

- Set up a higher buffer size (128 samples) - note this did marginally reduce the frequency and severity of audio breakups for record-enabled tracks (BFD3, etc), which is suggesting to me that the current configuration of my system is struggling to deliver low latency under 128 samples...

I have also checked to ensure my versions are up to date, as follows:

Instruments:
- Omnisphere 1.5.8d
- BFD3 3.0.1 build 1
- Battery 4.1.1
- Melodyne 2.1.2
- iZotope Alloy 2.0.2
- iZotope Ozone 5.0.4
- Kontakt 5.3.0

Other:
RME UFX Totalmix 0.996 MAC OS X (1)
Mac OSX 10.9.1
PT 11.1
iMac 3.5GHz i7 quad core, late 2013, 24GB RAM, 1TB SSD boot drive

Darryl, just going back to my question about "expected" performance from my system... would you expect that I could realistically achieve record-enabled tracks running through PT11 at a sample buffer of 32 or 64 samples, for reasonably heavy plug-ins like BFD3, if my system were configured correctly?

I'm not asking whether the fact that I have a fast, well-specced system should automatically deliver this sort of performance without any need to optimise it, but from your experience with PT11 I would be interested to hear what I might reasonably expect once everything has been thoroughly reviewed.

Cheers and thanks again for your support!
Mike
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Mike Pooley (Sydney, Australia)

iMac i7 3.5GHz + RME UFX + Event Opal + Nord Stage 2 + Korg Kronos 73 + Kurzweil PC3-61 + Dave Smith Prophet 08 + Roland Juno 106 + Roland V-Drums TD12 + Yamaha U1 piano

www.thepeopledownstairs.com

Last edited by yeloop; 12-29-2013 at 04:19 AM. Reason: Corrected errors
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  #9  
Old 12-28-2013, 04:31 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
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Default Re: Dual record / playback buffers - always on or do they need to be selected in pref

There are some patches in Omnisphere that make it run like a cpu hog and make it eat power; not all but some and enough that it will choke PT. For me the denser pad patches give my setup heartburn. That's in a session with only 6-7 tracks 3 of which are Omnisphere on the system in my sig file.

That being said I do remember reading here but don't have a link to the thread where the separate buffers deal was brought up and someone mentioned that even though the playback buffer was automatically set by PT with no direct user input that somehow it still looks at the record buffer even though you're not recording. I've noticed that after I have all my MIDI recorded but I don't yet have it rendered to audio and it's playing back through the vi's I'm using on Instrument tracks that if I drop the buffer to 64 I get one set of cpu numbers and if I raise it to 1024 (my max) I get a lower set of cpu numbers. The drop seems to be about half the usage at 1024 as at 64. No change in cpu usage if I have everything rendered to audio.
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