Different host programs allow different amounts of tracks/pluggins, why?

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by kmetal, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    i recently installed adobe audition 3, for free, (thanks hueseph), i intended on revisiting some of my old 1.2 sessions for fun.

    so after realizing that 3.0 was able to run some newly purchased plug-insof mine i decided to try to approach an ongoing problem of mine w/ my home setup.

    Pro tools m-powered has always been unreliable to me not matter how i try, it's performance varies like the weather changes, i have accepted this, and don't wann bash, anything. each has their own downsides to me.

    So as an experiment, i imported 14 tracks into both pro tools, and audition. they happened to be multi tracked drums. w/ the sample rates the same in both programs, and the buffers maxed in pt, audition played back the tracks smoothly, which pt exhibited the familiar error message about increasing buffer sizes, or a fragged hard drive. (i disk cleaned/defragged before doing this). i was seemingly able to run many more instances of plug-insin audition as well. does this have to do w/ vst vs rtas format? their seemed to be no audible difference in the subjective quality processing. the weird thing is when task manager was open, both programs seemed to be using similar amounts of cpu, yet one wouldn't even play back 14 audio tracks (a full drum kit).

    they both use 32bit floating point internal processing, and at the same settings as far as sample rate/buffering on my interface, why is there such a discrepancy? even w/ no plug-insinstantiated? this is really more for my curiosity, than practical 'need' as my home setup is just for quick ideas. i used to use reaper for practicing my band material, and i didn't experience playback problems w/ about 8 stereo tracks.

    w/ xp optimized for audio, i wonder what is it in the software(s) that could cause this. or perhaps it's a hardware issue? my initial guess would be that the older audition just isn't taxing my cpu as much, but my question, comes in when, different software is called upon to play back the same material, w/ no other processing, why such a stark difference?

    thanks for any insight, just looking to expand my understanding, more than solve a specific issue.
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Is your computer on the Avid supported hardware list? Pro Tools is a serious resource hog. Graphics cards shouldn't be an issue. Neither should your system drive but, they are. Do not seek logic. It is not there. Here's the recommended GPU list.
  3. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    Need more details, hard to help with your problem if we don't know the specifics of your hardware and installed software????
  4. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    A SiSoft Sandra report is a standard at the DUC.
  5. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    i'm sorry, my question was more asking about whether or not different daws make a difference, and why. especially when running the same plugins.

    but fwiw my home cpu is a toshiba satellite 1.6 ghz core 2 duo. windows xp (media center). (optimized according to sweetwater guide) 4 gigs ram, fw800 drive w/ oxford bridging chip, m-audio fw1814 interface, protools m-powered 7.3. TI iee 1394. i also bypassed any of the 'media center' related things in 'msconfig'.

    my computer is pretty old, and it was just bad timing on my part, that i bought the first generation of dual core processor. at the time protools did not support dual core processors. the graphics card is not supported it's just an intel 945 express chipset (gma 950), i think i checked it correctly using "dxdiag" in the run menu.

    from what i've gatherd over the years, un-supported doesn't always mean it won't work, it just means they won't give ya help on it/haven't tested it. for example e-sata, which i have used ok w/ pt. but is unsupported.

    i'm aware that there is quite a bit of unsupported stuff here. so i don't really expect an increase in performance/reliability, but i'm more interested in what is causing this, and why? also what makes pt a 'hog'? like what is it doing that others aren't? i'm more just curious, more than looking to make my cpu work, it just is what it is, and it works reliably on other programs when i just need to sketch some ideas.

    again not trying to be negative on a certain program. my cousin has a creation station from sweetwater, which is approved for pro tools, and it old, like a dual 2.6, but i notice that he is able to have far less plugins, and audio tracks, that i can (on a lesser computer) but w/ a different program. i'd have to do a quick test on his computer, to get a better idea of the differences. but i'm very curious about what makes these programs different, and why they demand different things on a computer.

    thanks for bearing w/ my curiousity, and for any advice. it's helping me be more well-rounded, in my path.
  6. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Same plugins?
    I generally find that I can weigh down my cpu pretty good during mixdown without too much trouble in Sonar, Acid or Samplitude. Not so true in Pro Tools. Things have gotten a lot better since I went with an SSD and GT 550. It may have been the card drivers. It may have been the old hard drive being too slow. So hard to say.

    Certainly, some DAWs are more CPU efficient than others. ACID is lightning fast but it's butt ugly and a bit convoluted to use. They focused on functionality for sure.

    Samplitude is a bit more hungry. Even more so than Sonar, but the tools are pretty skookum. The object based editing is really nice to have. You can really tailor your tracks clip by clip.

    Pro Tools is actually on par or just under par with Sonar now. We'll see how long that lasts as I've heard stories of it going belly up for no apparent reason.

    Sonar is my go to DAW now though. Strange, because I used to aim my guffaws at Sonar. "what kind of DAW actually supports WDM drivers and on board sound cards" I used to think. Well, my how things have changed. It's certainly not perfect. It can be buggy but so far it is the most robust of what I have and it can sound very warm. It would still be nice to have a decent analog desk to mix on but until that's a reality.

    My skills, now there is another thing all together. That's where I need the most improvement right now.
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Yes, some DAW's will limit the number of tracks and/or the number of instances of VST's. M-Powered limits more than "regular" PT but LE still limits things as opposed to HD or newer. Audition 3 is a bloated pig compared to CS5.5 or CS6 but I found Audition suited me very well when I left the Corps and no longer had a full hardware based PT rig. Since I upgraded to CS6 I don't even bother to tweak computers much anymore since neither CS6 nor Reaper require much.
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    In my own experience, I don't find PT to be any more - or less - of a hog than Sonar is... I've actually found them to be about the same. I have little to no experience with Reaper or Adobe, so I can't comment.

    Of course, it depends on how weighed down each track is processor-wise, and of course it depends on what computer engine processor you are using.

    I don't know if this is still the case, but there was a time when certain DAW platforms had a list of computer processors that it would either support - or not support - and it even went beyond recommendation.

    If I recall correctly, there was a version of PT for the PC that had a list of processors that were either a must use, or a must not use, because Digi didn't support certain processors, or maybe it was the other way around and the processors didn't support Digi, but either way, at that time, you were left with just a few processors that would work with Digi.

    I'm currently using Windows XP 32, my PC has a dual core athlon 2.86; I'm running Sonar PE 6.2, which is being fed by Asio drivers for my Tascam I/O, and very rarely do I run into any problems.

    I can record around 20 tracks, give or take, with an average of around 4 processors per track, and again, on average, I can use about 4 soft synths within the project, before I start to see a noticeable slow down, or face any hiccups or drop outs.

    Could I do better? Sure. Always. LOL. If I upgraded my processor to a quad core and added more ram, I'd probably see even more room and power available.
  9. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You are doing very well if you have got the Media Center edition to work at all running a DAW with audio I/O, bypasses or no bypasses.

Share This Page