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Old 04-16-2019, 09:52 PM
KT Productions KT Productions is offline
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Default New to HDX....quite disappointed.

Since I am new to dsp powered pro tools (I'd call it HD or Ultimate, but who knows what it'll be called by the time you read this!), I figured I'd say hello, and also bounce my findings off of those of you with more HDX experience.

Frankly I'm a bit disgusted. I am a prog drummer with a large kit (28ish channels), recently I made a major console upgrade for my studio. I figured it was time to step up to hd as well. I prefer to work at the highest sample rates possible (not looking to have that arguement here, it's just relevant to my gripe).

Having just dropped $100k on the new board, I wanted to start out with 1 hdx for now. Had to buy a new computer,.... mine wasn't compatible (knew that might happen, but I rolled the dice....oh well). Through all my prepurchase research I was worried about running out of voices. I can't even get that far. I start building a template session....Qfs sample rate....24 tracks routed and Im out of dsp? Zero plugins in the session. Qfs, yes, but that seems pathetic. Is that seriously what I just dropped $10k for? A 24 channel DAW. Takes me back to my porta studio I had when I was 10!

Are there any other console users (or even summing mixer users I suppose) who can confirm that this is legit and not something wrong?
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:33 PM
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JCBigler JCBigler is offline
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Default Re: New to HDX....quite disappointed.

No one can answer your question without knowing what sample rate you were running, or what the routing of your session is. The console itself shouldn't matter, assuming you are talking about using an analog or digital outboard console that you use for preamps, AD conversion, and DA and monitoring outside of Protools.

Protools Ultimate has 256 voices at 48kHz, 128 at 96k and 64 at 192kHz.

Protools Ultimate is about to get a major voice count upgrade which will give it 50% more voices at each respective sample rate. Unfortunately, the HDX cards won't be getting that upgrade, maybe ever, because there is a hardware compatibility that causes Protools to crash with the new firmware.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:40 AM
KT Productions KT Productions is offline
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Default Re: New to HDX....quite disappointed.

Thank you for your reply. With all due respect, I'm not sure you fully read or understood the post though.

Quote:
No one can answer your question without knowing what sample rate you were running, or what the routing of your session is. The console itself shouldn't matter, assuming you are talking about using an analog or digital outboard console that you use for preamps, AD conversion, and DA and monitoring outside of Protools
.

QFS sample rate= either 176.4 or 192. I don't think either gets treated much differently. I mention that I am using the console because it implies that every track in PT is routed to a separate output (which is precisely why this seems to be breaking down on me), instead of the usual ITB case where most tracks are routed to a single pair of outputs assigned to the master fader.

Quote:
Protools Ultimate has 256 voices at 48kHz, 128 at 96k and 64 at 192kHz.
As I stated, I am not running out of voices (see img) I am running out of DSP, simply having routed 24 tracks, with zero plugis in the session (ie all dsp chips used up on the mixer). The image shows 25 voices being used but the 25th track is actually disabled due to insufficient DSP.

Quote:
Protools Ultimate is about to get a major voice count upgrade which will give it 50% more voices at each respective sample rate. Unfortunately, the HDX cards won't be getting that upgrade, maybe ever, because there is a hardware compatibility that causes Protools to crash with the new firmware.
I heard about this as well. This is the problem I have with Avid. They release HDX....AAX, then basically just turn their back on them when push comes to shove. If anything, the DSP powered interface should outperform native (on its worst day) and should be the primary focus of their support (with regards to the ultimate version of Pro Tools). How many people invested an obscene amount of money in this system, just to be left high and dry? I'm hesitant to spring for a 2nd HDX. 48 tracks isn't horrible, but presumably that would leave no DSP for a single plugin.

Doesn't seem right to me.
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  #4  
Old 04-17-2019, 11:35 PM
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JCBigler JCBigler is offline
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Default Re: New to HDX....quite disappointed.

So you are recording 24 channels into Protools at 192kHz. And routing all 24 of those channels back to your console so live mixing and monitoring? With no plugins?

What buffer setting are you using?

I've recorded 64 channels into Protools with an HDX card and it hardly used any of the mixer DSP. But I was running at 48kHx and a buffer at 1024 samples. If you are trying to run a buffer at 64 or 32, so you can play drums along with it, then I think it's going to eat up a ton of DSP resources, especially at 192kHz.

What is your actual signal chain? And what are the computer specs that you're using?
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  #5  
Old 04-19-2019, 08:41 AM
KT Productions KT Productions is offline
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Default Re: New to HDX....quite disappointed.

Thank you again for your reply.

So what I need to do is record 28 channels, I'm just saying that it falls apart after 24. And the intention would definitely be to eventually use plugins (at least at mixdown) but again, the system is not allowing that as I am already out of dsp having only routed 24 channels to individual outputs (nothing else, what-so-ever taxing the dsp- no plugins, busing etc)

Also, so you know, hardware buffers of less than 256 samples are not even available for selection with HDX at 192 (keeping in mind that 256 samples at 192k is less latency in ms than 256 samples at lesser rates, it's all relative).

256 is how I had it set. I hadn't considered buffer size as a variable that affects dsp usage, but that is something I can try in light of your suggestion. Buffer size isn't much of a concern to me (within reason- I still need a click and to be able to punch in) as I would be monitoring without latency from the console.

I have an avid approved setup (maxed out HP Z420- 8 core 3.1 ghz, 64 GB RAM, separate system, audio and sample SSDs with all avid recommended os\bios optimizations). How would computer specs affect dsp usage? I thought that was the whole point of the DAW running on DSP.

Everything is coming into HDX via an HD I/o 16x16 digital (16 CH aes), and an SSL delta-link (32 CH vis 2X madi heads). All AD\DA is built into the console.

Of interesting note: I setup another template session a bit differently. Through the use of some busing I am actually able to do more (having now used 61 voices). If I bus the toms, cymbals and octabons to 3x stereo outputs, instead of 20x mono it makes all the difference (it seems HDX really doesn't like outputting). This is fine for tracking, but at mixdown I would prefer my busing (and more importantly, my panning) to be in the analog domain.

I guess it is what it is. Just a bit surprised how grimy avid is with their marketing. When you research HDX prior to purchasing, you read that:

"...there's a separate FPGA processor for your mix bus, so all of your HDX card's DSP power is dedicated to running plug-ins."

Is this simply a lie?
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  #6  
Old 04-19-2019, 12:31 PM
docric docric is offline
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Default Re: New to HDX....quite disappointed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KT Productions View Post
... Frankly I'm a bit disgusted. I start building a template session....Qfs sample rate....24 tracks routed and Im out of dsp? Zero plugins in the session. Qfs, yes, but that seems pathetic. Is that seriously what I just dropped $10k for? A 24 channel DAW. Takes me back to my porta studio I had when I was 10!

Are there any other console users (or even summing mixer users I suppose) who can confirm that this is legit and not something wrong?
Summer here ... yep, unfortunately that looks about right. Sad, huh?
I use a Burl Vancouver & ran into that harsh reality a year back... mostly use Native plugs when mixing. Fortunately, I use a lot of outboard & the few plugs I depend on are all native anyways.

For comparison, I've attached a screenshot of a 96K session I'm working on currently. I couldn't work like I do at 192 on HDX.

... I feel your pain...
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  #7  
Old 04-19-2019, 01:24 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: New to HDX....quite disappointed.

Uh sorry to hear you are having issues. The voice use in HDX is well described in the Reference Guide Chapter 2 and maybe elsewhere as well. What you are seeing shoudl agree withthe described limits there. Specifically:

Quote:
Typically, each audio channel for each track in your Pro Tools session uses a single voice. So, for a mono audio track, a single voice is used; for a ste- reo audio track, two voices are used. When using Punch Recording, two voices are needed for every single audio channel (one for playback and one for recording on punch in and out). In some situations, with Pro Tools | HDX systems, more than one voice may be necessary for a single channel (such as when using host processing on a DSP bus).
Remembering at 176/192 KHz a HDX1 has 64 voices.

Well the the easy answer is don't record at 192 kHz.

Quality Avid resellers need be talking with folks about these voice limits and what they want to achieve, if you reseller did not I would consider asking for a refund/swap for a HD Native card (regardless of wether I think 192 kHz to ever be worth it... it's your choice and authorized sellers at a HDX level should be offering more service than just taking orders).

If you have a large analog console? Are you just recording those drums/~28 channels or so? Monitoring via the console? Are you really sure you need HDX at all?
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  #8  
Old 04-19-2019, 02:12 PM
KT Productions KT Productions is offline
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Default Re: New to HDX....quite disappointed.

Keep in mind I'm not running out of voices. I had a decent understanding of how voices worked before ordering (although I didn't know about how the punch modes affected it)

I did my homework, but I'm not gonna say I read the whole reference guide (maybe the cliffs notes?)

What bothers me is Avid's marketing. If the DSP chips are not at all involved with the mix bus, and solely for plugins, why am I out of DSP without a single plugin in the session?

They also love to claim that "When you’re faced with dozens of audio sources, hundreds of tracks, and thousands of clips, only one system can give you the power to deliver. Pro Tools | HDX."

These claims couldn't be further from the truth.

I probably don't need HDX. Avid stopped making HD Native PCIe, which surely means they will soon enough stop supporting it. I have no interest in a thunderbolt solution, so I was trying to play ball, so to speak. I thought I was getting the best money could buy.

I also wanted the lowest possible latency, for recording things that aren't going through the console (ie virtual instruments). Came to find out that's a joke. Does any one even know of a single AAX-DSP virtual instrument? I'll take the blame for not reading up on that, but at a quick glance they do make it look like everything in their bundle is going to run on your DSP, then you find out the virtual instruments do not (kick in the nuts #1), then you find out that the latency is going to be worse than it was in you old DAW since you're running a native instrument on a DSP based DAW. Wow.

All this after having to buy a new PC (when there was nothing wrong with my old one) just to get the thing running. So could I return HDX? Probably, but not Pro Tools Ultimate, and not really the new computer either.
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  #9  
Old 04-21-2019, 09:41 AM
Mixchump Mixchump is offline
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Default Re: New to HDX....quite disappointed.

First of all, let me say that I'm thrilled that you're making music at 192kHz, and for those of you that have just simply said 'work at 96kHz', you don't know what you're missing. If we could do 384kHz in ProTools, even better, but for now, 192k is great. Why? Because it's not about the top end. At all. It's about the detail in everything in the time domain. Room Mics especially sound awesome, and the grainy, sandy quality that crash cymbals have at lower sample rates (and especially the 'S's in vocals) are MUCH smoother. So let's dispense with that argument right away.

I track a lot of music at 192k, and on a practical level, here's my take on it. The DSP mixer on the HDX card(s) uses a LOT of DSP for the physical outputs because each output is essentially a summing point. If you look at the IO setup, you'll see that every output is an internal bus, connected to a physical output. I’m sure there are reasons why they don’t allow us to connect a single mono track to a single physical output, but the under-the-hood design of Avid’s HDX card means that a session with 28 physical outputs also has 28 summing busses using up DSP.

The gist of it is this. Unless and until some other DAW developer can go head-to-head with the ProTools application and it’s integration with DSP and hardware at near-zero latency, we’re stuck with it. In order for me to do a tracking session at 192kHz with a basic session (Drums, Elec Bass, Elec Gtr, Piano, guide vocal) I absolutely HAVE to have a minimum of two HDX cards. The combination of creating headphone mixes, and just a couple of basic reverbs is already a DSP-maxed situation.

I highly encourage you to borrow or rent a second HDX card and continue on with your plan. I also own an HD-Native PCIe card, and I can guarantee you that it will be even more frustrating (for different reasons), and the other options (UAD Apollo, Orion, Apogee, etc.) will all be equally (if not more) frustrating in Native world…

Once you get to mix world, your options will open up substantially.

I chose to go with Merging’s HORUS interface and I use HDX-2 for tracking with a DigiLink connection, and then for mix, I switch to the Ravenna/AES67 playback engine (all native CPU with Ethernet Audio IO) so that I can access the horsepower of my Intel CPUs and I don’t get hammered by losses of voices every time I drop a Native plugin on an Aux Channel or Master Fader…. And the Native mix engine sounds MUCH better than HDX does.

Anyhow, I feel your pain, but you’re one HDX card away from being extremely happy with your setup…

Cheers, eh?
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Old 04-21-2019, 02:38 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: New to HDX....quite disappointed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KT Productions View Post
Keep in mind I'm not running out of voices. I had a decent understanding of how voices worked before ordering (although I didn't know about how the punch modes affected it)

I did my homework, but I'm not gonna say I read the whole reference guide (maybe the cliffs notes?)

What bothers me is Avid's marketing. If the DSP chips are not at all involved with the mix bus, and solely for plugins, why am I out of DSP without a single plugin in the session?
Mmm sorry I had misread that as you were running out of voices... and when I did a quick think about it in my head I that seemed quite plausible. If you are running out of DSP what does the system usage monitor show that is going on? (can you post a screenshot). And you may want to do a pencil and paper voice budget calculation anyhow, correctly accounting for stereo tracks (including any stereo tracks holding VIs), native plugin use (again VIs), punch ins, running HEAT pre-insert with native plugins, etc.

I'm not sure what marketing you are talking about. Not saying it is not there, I've just not noticed that implication that DSPs are not used on the mix bus? Are you confusing that with the the claims about the zero latency mixer on HD Native? DSPs sure do the mixing on HDX. That is what makes a "track" actually work. The internal architecture the tracks interface to even looks like a DSP plugin, and you see them show up in the DSP performance monitor as 'mixer'.

Quote:
They also love to claim that "When you’re faced with dozens of audio sources, hundreds of tracks, and thousands of clips, only one system can give you the power to deliver. Pro Tools | HDX."

These claims couldn't be further from the truth.
Marketing sigh, with enough caveats that one may be true. I think most of us know that a large native systems can do a damn lot, it's the low-latency tracking with monitoring though plugins that really is the domain of HDX, very large IO counts and overcoming some of the marketing crippling on Pro Tools Extreme on HD Native.

Quote:
I probably don't need HDX. Avid stopped making HD Native PCIe, which surely means they will soon enough stop supporting it. I have no interest in a thunderbolt solution, so I was trying to play ball, so to speak. I thought I was getting the best money could buy.
Yes the PCIe card going away is pretty stupid, I would have looked hard for a used one.

Quote:
I also wanted the lowest possible latency, for recording things that aren't going through the console (ie virtual instruments). Came to find out that's a joke. Does any one even know of a single AAX-DSP virtual instrument?
There are no sample based VIs, for good reason, the DSP processors don't have the easy access to main memory and storage, and are just the wrong place to do sample based stuff. This has come up a lot on the DUC before. Obviously if you mean latency while tracking MIDI and monitoring though a VI that's one thing, but if you are having latency playing back through the VI while recording other stuff like your drums then something else is likely wrong. You can also freeze/commit VI tracks to save voices (if they become the issue).

Quote:
I'll take the blame for not reading up on that, but at a quick glance they do make it look like everything in their bundle is going to run on your DSP, then you find out the virtual instruments do not (kick in the nuts #1), then you find out that the latency is going to be worse than it was in you old DAW since you're running a native instrument on a DSP based DAW. Wow.

All this after having to buy a new PC (when there was nothing wrong with my old one) just to get the thing running. So could I return HDX? Probably, but not Pro Tools Ultimate, and not really the new computer either.
Unfortunately you may have saved some pain by asking here before purchasing stuff, I still expect your dealer should have helped more, and as suggested by the other recent post here HDX2 may be enough to solve your issues. Or if HDX is not the thing, you can always find that used HDN card and return or sell the HDX card... put the new shiny PC to good use.

These SOS articles may help as well.
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniq...unts-pro-tools
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/avid-hdx

Last edited by Darryl Ramm; 04-21-2019 at 04:15 PM.
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