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  #121  
Old 10-10-2012, 03:57 PM
Marsdy Marsdy is offline
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Default Re: Waves Audio AAX DSP ??

Unfortunately it's not a rumour... I'm not able to mention who told me but I can say with confidence he REALLY knows what he is talking about!!!

Quote:
So imagine my surprise (and, yes, confusion), when it was pointed out to me that the DSP chips found on the HDX cards, while indeed able to execute 64-bit tasks, really are 32-bit processing engines. Meaning that two or more instructions are required to perform 64-bit calculations. Meaning that the available DSP found on the card will be cut in half when moving to 64-bits.
I don't know who told Andre this but I've been told the exact same thing. Look at the dates in that PDF you linked to. The design of those chips dates back to 2006. They're hardly state of the art.
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  #122  
Old 10-10-2012, 05:32 PM
necjamc necjamc is offline
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Although the DSP might be designed this way, how do we know that Avid didnt purposely program only half it's available throughput so that 64 bit will be that same. The chip supports 64 bit natively, so knowing that Avid have designed this system toward the future and as far as we all know, a 64 bit platform, it would make sense to me
  #123  
Old 10-10-2012, 06:37 PM
DaveTremblay DaveTremblay is offline
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Default Re: Waves Audio AAX DSP ??

Andre,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre Knecht View Post
The move to 64-bits will unlock a world of possibilities; it will also unleash the true power of HDX’s DSP. While I am not quoting anyone, the previous sentence sums up a ProTools “progress report,” as I currently understand things.
It's not really my job to make general statements, or maybe any statements in a public forum, but I'd like to help clear some things up.

There is always a lot of confusion surrounding 64 bit applications and what that means, especially in audio where it gets confused with signal fidelity. 64 bit Pro Tools, as seen in a marketing bullet point is really only a big deal because it enables larger sessions and heavy VI usage. Right now, it isn't terribly hard to hit the 32 bit addressable memory limit in professional audio applications. In a 32 bit app, you can only see 3-4 GB of RAM, no matter how much you have in your machine (most of us have significantly more these days). When you do hit that limit, strange things start to happen including crashes. This is true for nearly all 32 bit applications that can potentially use a lot of memory. So, for users, 64 bit Pro Tools means big sessions with lots of VIs. That's it. 64 bit code isn't necessarily faster or slower, it just addresses more memory.

But from Engineering's perspective Pro Tools is a little unique in its transition to 64 bit. Pro Tools is 25 years old and has an enormous amount of code to support all sorts things like AS/RTAS/TDM plug-ins, legacy hardware, etc. This code is over 20 years old and was written with older hooks into the operating systems, complexity from times before real Dlls, etc. Much of this code simply won't work in 64 bit for a variety of reasons. Well, as much as dropping some legacy support hurts, it also give us an opportunity to modernize the code, make it lighter weight, and heavily test the new individual pieces leading to a stronger/faster application. In short, move forward.

Now, this is the AAX forum, so let's talk specifically about why things like AAX and 64 bit are an interesting combination. (I'm talking AAX generally now, not just DSP) With AAX we designed a new plug-in spec, designed for high reliability and performance. We also designed in some special sauce that gives us more flexibility to alter the audio engine design in the future. Unfortunately, in PT10, we needed to retain support for AS/RTAS/TDM and since we can't have two completely different ways of running plug-ins, we needed to make AAX plug-ins look very much like RTAS/TDM plug-ins to the system. That's how we can support both. The design flexibility is there in AAX, but we can't fully utilize it. In 64 bit, we can't support RTAS/TDM for other reasons. So what that really means is that we have much more flexibility in how we tie plug-ins and the engine together once we dump that older code. I can't talk specifics, but its definitely a GOOD thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre Knecht View Post
So imagine my surprise (and, yes, confusion), when it was pointed out to me that the DSP chips found on the HDX cards, while indeed able to execute 64-bit tasks, really are 32-bit processing engines. Meaning that two or more instructions are required to perform 64-bit calculations. Meaning that the available DSP found on the card will be cut in half when moving to 64-bits.
That is a very interesting statement/question. We're going to have to dive down the rabbit hole a bit. The algorithm code for a Native plug-in runs on the Intel processor and is built with the same addressable memory settings as the rest of the plug-in and application. In the 64 bit world, all of that code is 64 bit and can access a large amount of memory. And this is important since the sum total of Pro Tools and all plug-ins can only access that 32 bit memory limit.

The difference in an HDX system is that the plug-in algorithm code runs on the DSP, not the Intel. It doesn't share the same "memory-space" as the application or most other plug-ins. It only shares the memory with plug-in algorithms that are running on the same exact DSP. Remember that we have 18 different DSPs on an HDX card, all with their own memory space. It would be impossible for a particular DSP chip to run into the addressable memory limit even staying at 32 bit. Each DSP has 16MB of RAM, easily addressable by that 32 bit limit of the chips were using. So, 32 bit code running on the DSPs is totally appropriate. There would be no benefit to having a 64 bit DSP chip or 64 bit algorithm code. (remember, just talking about addressable memory here, not precision. That's another topic)

Next, one might ask, well doesn't all of the code have to be 64 bit? And the answer is NO. In the 64 bit HDX world, we have 64 bit Pro Tools with native 64 bit plug-ins, and DSP accelerated plug-ins that are built as 32 bit. This is possible because those DSP processors are running their own little 32 bit operating system with their own memory.

Back out of the rabbit hole... Here are some of the great things about a DSP accelerated system like HDX.

1) They are very reliable. Getting an email or unplugging your mouse won't affect them in the least. They would likely just keep on their merry way even if you crashed OSX or Windows.

2) They are very predictable. We know, with absolute certainty, before you even instantiate a plug-in, that the algorithm is going to fit on a particular chip and not glitch the audio. There are basically no interactions with other plug-ins, Pro Tools, or other things running on your system like iTunes that are going to make them miss their processing deadline. DSP systems are super predictable.

3) They are super low latency. Native systems are getting pretty good with 32 sample buffers and such, but going that low can cause glitches in the audio well before you max out your CPU. On the HDX card, we can run those individual chips at close to 100% with 4 sample buffers or even single sample buffers. Try that on a native system. It might be important to say that the reason they are low latency is really a combination of 1 and 2, combined with us controlling every bit of code on that chip. No Windows or OSX to trip us up.

No one would argue that the DSP chips we use are as modern as a Intel Westmere, but they are pretty solid for audio processing, and there are definitely downsides to modern processor architectures when it comes to reliability, predictability, and latency.

And in case anyone is wondering. I work for Avid. I'm a DSP Engineer and the architect of AAX.

Dave Tremblay
  #124  
Old 10-10-2012, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: Waves Audio AAX DSP ??

///

Dave Tremblay was posting at the same time as me won't delete my post, but just wanted to point out that his has a very good explanation of how they are working.




////
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsdy View Post
Unfortunately it's not a rumour... I'm not able to mention who told me but I can say with confidence he REALLY knows what he is talking about!!!



I don't know who told Andre this but I've been told the exact same thing. Look at the dates in that PDF you linked to. The design of those chips dates back to 2006. They're hardly state of the art.
what I know is this as these are the chips on it, and reading this from the brochure

Quote:

Second page

1.2 Description

....

Enhanced C67x+ CPU. The C67x+ CPU is an enhanced version of the C67x CPU used on the C671x DSPs. It is compatible with the C67x CPU but offers significant improvements in speed, code density, andfloating-point performance per clock cycle. At 350 MHz, the CPU is capable of a maximum performance of 2800 MIPS/2100 MFLOPS by executing up to eight instructions (six of which are floating-point
instructions) in parallel each cycle
. The CPU natively supports 32-bit fixed-point, 32-bit single-precision floating-point, and 64-bit double-precision floating-point arithmetic.
So just to be sure we all get this, the chip is able to natively support 64 bit double precision floating point and is able to run in parallel 8 instructions ( 6 x 64 bit double precisions floating point instruction) at the same time in the same cycle.

That's extremely powerful even more so if you consider there's 18 of those chips per card.

At this time the card is locked in a 32 bit float point, except for the summing mixer. But if this is right, then at this time it's able to run 6 x 32 bit instructions in parallel, and when the plugins will be 64 bit, the cards will be able to run 6 x 64 bit instructions in parallel. So if I'm reading this right, not only will the card be able to run 64 bit plugins, it "should" be extremely more powerful when it goes into full 64 bit mode.

So it might be true, that they will run two instructions for the plugins, but my understanding of what you are saying compare to what the chip is actually capable of doing is not matching up. running 2 instructions at the same time will be a breeze for the chips since they are designed to be able to run 6 double precisions floating points instructions at once.

So unless that person makes himself public, and it is corroborated by some one at avid, let's say Dave Tremblay for example, it's only speculations when you compare it to what the chip actually is built to do.

And yes the chips might have been made in 2006, but that doesn't mean anything as being state of the art or not. Fact is, it's very common for a company to use well tested, proven and also less expensive chips (even if they are 4 years old at the time of R&D) than newer chip that might not have the same ruggeness, and real time testing placed into them, and will surely cost more because they are newer.

Now, this is the number part that we found through the pic of an HDX card that was placed over the net only a few days they came out, and it was a demo card. It might not be the actual chip that is used, but from the part number and also the chip speed, memory imbedded etc, this is what was found to be the chip from Texas instrument that could fit the one on the cards. So I'm saying this in all reserve, it may or may not be the right chip.
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  #125  
Old 10-10-2012, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: Waves Audio AAX DSP ??

Thanks for the clarification Dave. When you talk about the DSP chip only addressing 32 bits I assume this is memory and not a limit to 32 bit float precision. Re-reading what you wrote this seems to be right but I wanted to double-check.
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  #126  
Old 10-10-2012, 07:19 PM
DaveTremblay DaveTremblay is offline
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Default Re: Waves Audio AAX DSP ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsdy View Post
I have also been told the same thing.... Just to be clear, we're not talking about 64 bit memory addressing but 64 bit audio processing on the DSP card?
So in addition to my last post about memory addressing, let's talk about precision... And really try to keep these concerns independent.

The "move to 64 bit" is an addressable memory change. All of our effects as well as many from third party plug-in companies are already running double precision float (64 bit) where it's important. Any DSP engineer will tell you that there are important places to retain ultra precision and places that are less important. The right combination of precision and performance is what we all design for, and this is true on Native as well as DSP plug-ins.

I wouldn't suspect we'd see a decrease in performance in any plug-ins in 64 bit Pro Tools as these decisions have already been made on a plug-in by plug-in basis. And the Pro Tools mixer is already double precision as well.

AAX DSP algorithms are built as 32 bit binaries (addressable memory) with varying choices about precision throughout (32 bit or 64 bit).

And can we call this single precision vs. double precision from now on, to steer clear of confusion with 32 and 64 bit apps?

Dave
  #127  
Old 10-10-2012, 07:21 PM
DaveTremblay DaveTremblay is offline
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Default Re: Waves Audio AAX DSP ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Thanks for the clarification Dave. When you talk about the DSP chip only addressing 32 bits I assume this is memory and not a limit to 32 bit float precision. Re-reading what you wrote this seems to be right but I wanted to double-check.
Correct. Many of our plug-ins already use double precision floating point internally. (64 bits of precision) As do many third party plug-ins. For instance, McDSP's recent AAX release.

Dave
  #128  
Old 10-10-2012, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Waves Audio AAX DSP ??

So to maybe sum this up about 64 bit Pro Tools:

1. Many calculations are and will remain double precision both native and on the DSP chips

2. Pro Tools and AAX native plug-ins will have 64 bit memory addressing

3. AAX DSP plug-ins will only address dedicated memory so their 32 bit limit is not relevant

4. Moving away from RTAS and TDM compatibility will permit greater native and DSP performance.
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  #129  
Old 10-10-2012, 07:52 PM
DaveTremblay DaveTremblay is offline
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Default Re: Waves Audio AAX DSP ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
So to maybe sum this up about 64 bit Pro Tools:

1. Many calculations are and will remain double precision both native and on the DSP chips

2. Pro Tools and AAX native plug-ins will have 64 bit memory addressing

3. AAX DSP plug-ins will only address dedicated memory so their 32 bit limit is not relevant

4. Moving away from RTAS and TDM compatibility will permit greater native and DSP performance.
Nearly Perfect. One minor modification to number 4. DSP performance (meaning instance counts per card) won't likely increase, but this might depend on definition of performance.

Thanks for the summary Bob. Some times I get... um... wordy. :)

Dave
  #130  
Old 10-10-2012, 08:02 PM
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Default Re: Waves Audio AAX DSP ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by StewartFang View Post
That is how it seems to be working in general for everyone else...ONE new card is better than 3 olde ones, but some plugs are just hogs.



What a condescending post. You are not an HDX user, but somehow have narrowed the scope of ALL HDX users down to two ridiculous assumptions.


To answer your question though, Waves is not speaking to anyone about this. In case you missed the memo, they are not porting to AAX.



That's some great stuff right there Bob. I'm sure everyone wants to believe that DSP and Native versions perform the same, but they don't usually.
Actually it's not condescending at all, I'm listing the situations that users here say demand AAX-DSP Waves and I'm suggeting a solution for some.
Maybe you should try actually helping some people instead of going off on your know it all rants where you state you opinions as facts.

And no you didn't answer my question because you didn't even understand what I was asking.
There's a memo for ya!
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