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Maximum number of instances (w/Logic Pro X)?
Last post Wed, Sep 16 2020 by karmakarmakarma, 7 replies.
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Posted on Mon, Sep 14 2020 01:35
by Antony Gravett
Joined on Sun, Apr 17 2011, Posts 2

I have searched the product pages and forum for Ensemble Pro 7 and have not been able to find out the maximum number of instances I can create when working in a simple, one client/one server setup using Logic Pro X as the source DAW.

I am a creative tutor who helps composers set up their studio workstations. One of my clients will be using a Mac laptop for the DAW and (probably) a Mac Mini for the server. Because of Logic's own limitations when working in multi-port mode, I've decided for now to use the "one instance = one instrument" model, which means that I will need to know the upper limits of instances when Ensemble Pro is used this way.

My clients use VSL instruments, Spitfire's BBC Symphony Orchestra, and East-West's Hollywood Orchestra libraries. Some instances will contain more than one layer of samples, but I will avoid any multitimbral operation for now. 

Thanks in advance for confirming back what the maximum number is.

Posted on Mon, Sep 14 2020 04:57
by Cyril Blanc
Joined on Thu, Dec 19 2002, Paris France, Posts 2664

It is impossible to answer to your question, you use many libraries

it depends how much memory, CPU, disks, memory used by each instrument and at the end the tempo and the kind of note used i.e. if you do a tremolo with notes it will use more cpu than if you use a tremolo sample articulation

It also depends of the music of your client, if he will use articulation switching or one track per articulation

there are some musicians using 1 master and 10 servers with template of more than a 1000 instruments

If your client has the budget and is doing big score it is better to go for a single Macpro with a lot of memory and SSD disks

also you can find second hand MacPro 2010 for a good price.

when you go to the limit of your computer you can convert some track to audio to regain more tracks

I compose with a MacBook Pro on the road using Logic instruments and a very few VSL instrument, I transfer on my Macpro to finalise the song

MacPro 2010 12 core 2.93 ghz 64 GB Mac OS X 10.11 2722 Rocket Raid Sata III card with 8 x ssd
VSL lib on a Raid 0 of 4 x 256 GB ssd Sata III - Raid 0 of 4 x 64 GB for other libs
System on a 1 TB ssd
Audio Motu PCI system 84 ins / 64 outs
Kbd : P80 Yamaha, S88 and S25 Komplete Kontrol, DX7
I-Controls Pro, 2xMidi expression pedals
Synth : many....
---
Macbook pro Retina 2.7 ghz 16 GB
---
Mac Mini server 10.10 (server, Itunes, WEB, and Backup )
--
Logic X , Dorico, Band In A Box, ORB Composer
VSL : MIR PRO, Appassionata Strings I, Solo strings , Wind and Brass Complete, Dimension Brass, Big Band Orchestra series
Kontakt, Omnisphere, QLSO, QLSC, CS 80, Arturia V5, Maximo, Realivox Blue. CS 80 V3, The Orchestra 2, Art Conductor 5, Genesis Children Choir, Lunaris, Lacrimosa

Final Cut pro
Camera full HD
Posted on Tue, Sep 15 2020 10:36
by Andreas8420
Joined on Mon, Dec 02 2019, Vienna, Posts 15

Hello Antony,

VE Pro 7 allows you to create as many instances as you wish theoretically. However, your hardware will limit how many instances you can run. In your email, you mentioned 300 (!) instances and approaching a "1 instance per instrument" setup.

Just an example: The minimum thread-per-instance setting that you can set is "1" thread. With 300 instances that means that you would need a CPU with 150 cores / 300 threads to make such a project work properly if all those instruments are playing back. Generally, we advise to work with fewer instances and make use of VE Pro's exceptional multi-thread processing capabilities in combination with multi-ports.

Unfortunately, indeed, Logic Pro X is light years behind when it comes to multi-ports. We offer experimental AU3 templates in the MyVSL download area - but AU3 is still beta, and Apple has not moved it forward much since then.

https://www.vsl.co.at/MyDownloads/Tutorials_Templates

In conclusion: There is no upper limit (theoretically), but I am not surprised that your hardware can't run a template with 300 or 64+ instances in a stable manner. But since every situation is different (available hardware, settings, loaded libraries) one needs to do testing to find the optimal balance for his or her template.

Best regards from Vienna,
Andreas

Technical Support - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Tue, Sep 15 2020 18:37
by Ashermusic
Joined on Fri, Jan 02 2009, Posts 543

Personally, I feel no need for multi-port. I use one VE pro project per instrument and if I cannot get the work done with 16 articulations, it does not reflect well on my skills IMHO.

Composer, Logic Pro Certified Trainer, author of "Going Pro With Logic Pro 9" & "Scoring WIth Logic Pro"
www.jayasher.com

3.4 i7 Quad Core iMac, 32 GB RAM.,
OS X 10.15.2
Posted on Tue, Sep 15 2020 19:28
by Antony Gravett
Joined on Sun, Apr 17 2011, Posts 2

To clarify: in a mad, late night session, I ran out of energy after adding 300 (!) instances to Ensemble Pro, and hooking up the first 64 of them to a Logic template. None of them included any plug-ins, but I was just seeing if I reached a limit of any kind in Ensemble Pro (which I didn't!) 

I would expect the actual number of instances that I and my students use for a scoring project to be only in the range of 24-48, and many less if a whole violin or cello section can be successfully layered into a single instance. Such an instance might use two or more plug-in instances with layers from the same or different sample libraries/plug-ins (VSL, Spitfire, East-West, etc.) We are also using the excellent Babylon Art Conductor 6 for Logic Articulation Sets, which allow for multiple articulations in a single track, which also helps reduce the number of tracks and instances.

Andreas: I was a little confused by your statement that my theoretical 300 instances would require a CPU with 150 cores / 300 threads. This implies that Ensemble Pro works best only with the number of instances being double the quantity of processor cores available to it (e.g., matching up with the maximum number of available processor threads). But I understood that Ensemble Pro is doing some very clever "thread management" behind the scenes. Can you explain? Treating an 4-core, eight-thread Mac Mini as only being able to comfortably handle eight total instances in Ensemble Pro would quite a limitation!

Thanks, as always for your kindness and support.

Posted on Wed, Sep 16 2020 02:11
by Cyril Blanc
Joined on Thu, Dec 19 2002, Paris France, Posts 2664

Can. you give the exact configuration of your setup including disks and how you have organise your disk(s).

(where is the system, the libs....)

Include audio parameter in Logic and in Ve-pro

Also can you give what is running on your master and on your slave

As you use many libraries you must test them to see how greedy they are

One trick in Logic to better use the different processor is to use VIs instead of VE-PRO

If you use SSD or Raid 0 of SSD you can reduce the preload buffer size.

Another is to have VSL on VE-pro and other libs  in Logic that you root to MIR via an audio track

At last can you give memory and disk meter in Activity monitor when you get hick ups 

I had very bad surprise on a Choir libs eating all the memory !

I have very bad souvenir when I was using QLSO, it was so greedy, this is why I move to VSL

Another trick is to use Dry instruments and to add reverb on busses !

As I told you before if you are in trouble with too many track you convert the most heavy track to Audio track as an audio track use less CPU

5.1 o 7.1 recording are also much more greedy

The best trick on a computer is to spread the tasks and avoid to add layer to a task

VSL has work very hard to optimise the VI libs, this is not the case of other manufacturer of libs

You can write quatuor  with instruments using "a lot of note at high tempo" and let it play by you different libs and see what is the library that is the most greedy !

You must also be careful if you have big tutti 

Writing orchestral music on a computer demands either a lot of money to have a big  setup with one master and many slaves or to be able to monitor what is happening the you run into clicks, pops ...

MacPro 2010 12 core 2.93 ghz 64 GB Mac OS X 10.11 2722 Rocket Raid Sata III card with 8 x ssd
VSL lib on a Raid 0 of 4 x 256 GB ssd Sata III - Raid 0 of 4 x 64 GB for other libs
System on a 1 TB ssd
Audio Motu PCI system 84 ins / 64 outs
Kbd : P80 Yamaha, S88 and S25 Komplete Kontrol, DX7
I-Controls Pro, 2xMidi expression pedals
Synth : many....
---
Macbook pro Retina 2.7 ghz 16 GB
---
Mac Mini server 10.10 (server, Itunes, WEB, and Backup )
--
Logic X , Dorico, Band In A Box, ORB Composer
VSL : MIR PRO, Appassionata Strings I, Solo strings , Wind and Brass Complete, Dimension Brass, Big Band Orchestra series
Kontakt, Omnisphere, QLSO, QLSC, CS 80, Arturia V5, Maximo, Realivox Blue. CS 80 V3, The Orchestra 2, Art Conductor 5, Genesis Children Choir, Lunaris, Lacrimosa

Final Cut pro
Camera full HD
Posted on Wed, Sep 16 2020 12:52
by karmakarmakarma
Joined on Wed, Oct 10 2018, Posts 6

I am by no means an expert, but hopefully, I can add some benefit here as I am running a very similar config (DAW on 2019 iMac and 2013 Trashcan MacPro for VEP server).   I have roughly 250 instances on the VEP server (1 instrument per instance) and all 250+ instances connected to a Logic template.  

I went this way so that I could have all of my various similar libraries easily on hand as I compose.  So if I want a solo violin line, I can try it on one instrument and if I'm not 100% happy with it, I can quickly copy the midi to another solo violin and try it.  I usually can have around 40 instances playing back in a typical composition (more or less). 

I also use Babylon Waves for articulation switching or just build my own maps if BW does not have them.

The three most important things to making this work for me are;

  • Lots of memory on the server.  I have 128GB on the server, and VEP uses around 80GB of that.  I could get that down a lot with tighter management of which samples are loaded, etc. but I have the RAM and it's never been an issue. 
  • I have the VEP plugin in Logic turned "off" (using Logic's power on/off on the plugin) on all tracks in my template until I want to use an instrument.  That way there's no CPU use on the DAW or Server until it's turned on. 
  • I set Logic Pro to "Only Load Plugins Needed For Playback".  That makes loading the templates quick in my experience. 

FWIW, I've also tried decoupling instances, etc., but I find I get the best results if I do not decouple the instances and I have VEP set to "Always Load" project data.  This way, if I make tweaks to a plugin on VEP through CC or whatever, I always come back to the same state when I reload a composition.  This slows down saving and loading a little, but the predictability is well worth it IMO.  FWIW, I have the two computers connected on 1gb ethernet with static IP's and a dedicated switch. 

So, this is what is working well for me.  Maybe a comment here will help. 

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