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-   -   Help with Playback Engine Settings (https://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=326391)

Bezo 08-06-2012 12:14 PM

Help with Playback Engine Settings
 
Based on the set up in my signature, can anyone help me get the best performance from my CPU?

H/W Buffer Size
Host Processors
CPU Usage
Plug In Stream Buffer
Cache

Currently I'm trying:
Buffer - 512
Processors - Tried both 1 & 2
CPU Usage - 90-99 w/1 processor - 50-85 w/2 processors
Plug In Buffer - Level 2
Cache - Large?

I run BFD for drums, a very CPU hungry drum VI if you're not familiar. I'm getting loud static burst that I believe is happening because of inferior speed/memory. I know I don't have the latest, fastest CPU, but I'm having more trouble now than I did with my G4 with half the RAM. I'd get an occasional buffer error on the G4. Not nearly the frequency I'm having now.

Any help would be appreciated.

Darryl Ramm 08-06-2012 01:21 PM

Re: Help with Playback Engine Settings
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bezo (Post 1954763)
Based on the set up in my signature, can anyone help me get the best performance from my CPU?

H/W Buffer Size
Host Processors
CPU Usage
Plug In Stream Buffer
Cache

Currently I'm trying:
Buffer - 512
Processors - Tried both 1 & 2
CPU Usage - 90-99 w/1 processor - 50-85 w/2 processors
Plug In Buffer - Level 2
Cache - Large?

I run BFD for drums, a very CPU hungry drum VI if you're not familiar. I'm getting loud static burst that I believe is happening because of inferior speed/memory. I know I don't have the latest, fastest CPU, but I'm having more trouble now than I did with my G4 with half the RAM. I'd get an occasional buffer error on the G4. Not nearly the frequency I'm having now.

Any help would be appreciated.

I would start at 1 CPU 99% and see how things go. its normal practice to leave 1 CPU for Pro Tools and then leave the rest for RTAS processing. But there is no magic answer, its workloads dependent. You have ignore errors checked? -- Which may be why you are getting these noise bursts and not an error.

You may be underpowered for what you want to do so need to be willing to disable unused tracks, print VI heavy tracks to audio tracks etc., etc.

A significant factor here will be your disk drives. What drives make/model/specs are your systems drive, and your audio/session drive and where are your sample libraries for BFD stored? For external drives how are they connected to the Mac and for all devices on any Firewire bus what is their chaining sequence. Have you tried other chaining sequences?

Which of the standard recommended systems optimizations of the Mac have you done? These can make a huge difference. Please list exactly which ones you have done.

Darryl

nst7 08-06-2012 02:02 PM

Re: Help with Playback Engine Settings
 
I have run a less powered Core 2 Duo than your, and BFD2 as well.

You must record your audio to a separate hard drive and you absolutely MUST have your BFD2 samples streaming from another drive (separate from the audio drive and the system drive).

Set both processors to 85%. The thing about using 1 less processor doesn't really work for Core 2 Duo's.

You should be able to daisy-chain the hard drives off the firewire 800 port.


And as soon as you have your drum parts worked out, print your BFD drums to audio tracks and deactivate the BFD track.

Bezo 08-06-2012 04:31 PM

Re: Help with Playback Engine Settings
 
I should've include all the details...

I have 2 external drives, both 160GB Seagate Barracuda 7200 IDE. I record Pro Tools sessions to 1 and stream BFD samples from the other.

The drives are daisy chained. CPU->FW800/FW400->PT Session drive->FW400->BFD drive->002 Rack. I have not tried any other sequence. Would you all recommend a different order?

I do go back & forth, programming drums & other MIDI parts, but mostly external instruments. I just upgraded to PT 8 with the included VIs. The only VI in my older sessions is BFD.

Ignore errors is unchecked. I did get 1 or 2 buffer errors days apart. The static burst are way more frequent, almost every session with more than a few tracks, MIDI & audio. And I get (-38) errors when trying to close/save sessions sometimes.

And I've gone through all of the optimization steps I'm aware of with the exception of disabling blue tooth. I still only have the stock wireless keyboard & mouse. I also have not uninstalled & reinstalled PT. And now that I'm looking at the list, I need to check plug in compatibility/updates. Some of my session give me a "plug in disabled" message when I open them.

-Both external drives are journaled
-External drives are 7200 rpm. Not sure about the seek time. How would I check that?
-Energy Saver set to never for CPU & display
-Put hard disk to sleep when possible is unchecked
-I don't always turn airport off. Need to be mindful of that.
-Never found the Network Port Configurations to uncheck Built-in Firewire. Is this available on my CPU/OS?
-I've deleted PT preferences
-I've repaired permissions
-I've deleted databases & volumes
-I've not tested my RAM. I have 4GBs to install & will do this as soon as I find a screw driver that fits these shallow screws.
-Nothing in login items and only the 3 Digi files in start up items
-File Vault is off
-Both my PT & BFD drives are on the privacy list for Spotlight.

I know there are issues with Dashboard. I remember doing something but I don't see it on the trouble shooting list. Can someone refresh my memory?

And thanks for the responses!

Darryl Ramm 08-06-2012 07:45 PM

Re: Help with Playback Engine Settings
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bezo (Post 1954806)
I should've include all the details...

I have 2 external drives, both 160GB Seagate Barracuda 7200 IDE. I record Pro Tools sessions to 1 and stream BFD samples from the other.

OK that all sounds much better than I was assuming. Don't worry about seek time, that will basically fall out OK from the RPM. But more importantly what drive enclosures/Firewire chipsets do these have in those external drives and I assume they are FW 400 (or are they 800 interfaces?) so you don't have the option of connecting them at FW800 speeds to the Mac then stepping down?

There are no hard and fast rules about chaining orders, sometimes you just need to play.

Ditto with the RTAS CPU settings, as you see different reccomendations here. You need to play as this is session/workload dependent.

Darryl

Bezo 08-07-2012 05:38 AM

Re: Help with Playback Engine Settings
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm (Post 1954852)
But more importantly what drive enclosures/Firewire chipsets do these have in those external drives and I assume they are FW 400 (or are they 800 interfaces?) so you don't have the option of connecting them at FW800 speeds to the Mac then stepping down?

I have 2 - Macally PHR-100AC FireWire/USB 2.0 3.5-Inch ATA Hard Drive Enclosures.

I'm having trouble finding info on the chipsets. Is that something I can get off the drive itselft?

And yes, FW400. I figured since the 002 Rack has a FW400 output that I'd stick with that. From the CPU to the 1st drive, I use a cable with FW800 on one end, FW400 on the other.

Would FW800 enclosures improve things? That way the only FW400 connection would be from the last drive to the 002 Rack.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm (Post 1954852)
There are no hard and fast rules about chaining orders, sometimes you just need to play.

Ditto with the RTAS CPU settings, as you see different reccomendations here. You need to play as this is session/workload dependent.

Darryl

I'll start experimenting. Thanks!

There has to be something. I can't believe a G4 would out perform this iMac. 2 nights ago, I started a session with only BFD and a parallel compression set up. 2 Digi gate plugins, 2 Digi EQ plugins, 2 Massey compressors, 1 Massey tape saturation plugin & 1 Massey distortion plugin. Everything worked fine. I open it last night, add an instrument track triggering a hardware synth, static to the point I couldn't work on the session.

nst7 08-07-2012 06:50 AM

Re: Help with Playback Engine Settings
 
Perhaps recheck all your plugins to make sure everything is compatible and up to date. I agree you should definitely be getting more performance out of that computer.

Darryl Ramm 08-07-2012 10:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bezo (Post 1954928)
I have 2 - Macally PHR-100AC FireWire/USB 2.0 3.5-Inch ATA Hard Drive Enclosures.

I'm having trouble finding info on the chipsets. Is that something I can get off the drive itselft?

When looking for drives or enclosures the good manufacturers/retailers will tend to say when they use Oxford chipsets because they know it's important. And the cheaper enclosures like these are least likely to use Oxford chipsets.

Yes you can look and see what the Mac thinks in in these but a quick Google for these enclosures makes it look like they use an Initio chip. Ah that sucks, not what you want or what Avid/Digi have ever spec'ed for use with Pro Tools. And there certainly seems increased issues with Intel based Macs with non -spec FireWire drives vs. using them on Power Macs. It is impossible to say if this is causing your issue, but you likely have no other obvious things to try here. I would go buy two proper spec external drives (e.g. Look at products from OWC, Glyph or G-Tech) and repeat your tests with those.

Darryl

Bezo 08-07-2012 12:59 PM

Re: Help with Playback Engine Settings
 
Thanks folks. I'll check the plugins 1st, then the enclosures/drives if that doesn't do it.

Almost good to here it might be a drive/enclosure issue. At least I'm getting somewhere.

Regarding the drives, I found FireWire Drive Requirements for Mac.

I could use some help interpreting though regarding the mix of FW400 coming out of my 002 Rack and FW800 on my iMac. They say don't mix FW 400 & 800 drives. Does that exclude drives with both connections, like Glyph Technologies GT-050Q?

Would it be better to get FW400 only or FW800 only drives and use the combo cord at one end or the other?

They also say, "If you are using a FW 400 LE device we recommend running the drives on a separate FW400 bus for maximum track counts and disk performance." What do they mean by "separate FW400 bus"?

Basically, I need a solution for the mismatched FW ports on my 002 Rack & iMac.

Thanks again!

Darryl Ramm 08-07-2012 01:21 PM

Re: Help with Playback Engine Settings
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bezo (Post 1955012)
Thanks folks. I'll check the plugins 1st, then the enclosures/drives if that doesn't do it.

Almost good to here it might be a drive/enclosure issue. At least I'm getting somewhere.

Regarding the drives, I found FireWire Drive Requirements for Mac.

I could use some help interpreting though regarding the mix of FW400 coming out of my 002 Rack and FW800 on my iMac. They say don't mix FW 400 & 800 drives. Does that exclude drives with both connections, like Glyph Technologies GT-050Q?

Would it be better to get FW400 only or FW800 only drives and use the combo cord at one end or the other?

They also say, "If you are using a FW 400 LE device we recommend running the drives on a separate FW400 bus for maximum track counts and disk performance." What do they mean by "separate FW400 bus"?

Basically, I need a solution for the mismatched FW ports on my 002 Rack & iMac.

Thanks again!

The nicest option is to find a drive with 400 and 800 connections. I would start with your new drives chained exactly as things are now and look for a difference and only play with chaining order if needed. Always change as few things as absolutely possible at one time.

I would not buy any FW400 only drives today if for no other reason they are slow and you won't have the option of using them at FW800 speeds in future.

Darryl


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