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[SOLVED] Synchron Piano + 100% CPU = unplayable library
Last post Sat, May 15 2021 by Ben, 13 replies.
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Posted on Thu, May 13 2021 13:15
by MaxNicx
Joined on Fri, May 18 2012, Posts 7

Hi all, hope you are all well. 

I have a major issue with my Synchron piano (and sadly after hearing the sound I can't go back to my Vienna Imperial Bosendorfer).   As soon as I go "classical" on it, CPU hits 100% and it's bye bye ability to play. 

No doubt you'll be asking me about my computer spec, so here it is:

- Mac Pro 5.1

- Dual Xeon 5690X 24 cores at 3.47Ghz

- 128GB of RAM

- Windows 10 installed on an SSD

- Synchron Piano Library on a separate SSD

- Echo Layla 3G audio interface

I've increased the preload size to 16k and increased the latency to 265 (as well as testing other sizes).  I've also reduced the piano to just the "Room-Mix" microphone just to see if it would help.  But nothing does. 

I would be extremely grateful if someone could point me in the direction of a fix.  Is the SSD?  The CPU itself?  Any assistance is much appreciated. 

Posted on Thu, May 13 2021 17:04
by Ben
Joined on Sat, Mar 06 2021, Los Angeles, Posts 68

Hi Max,

I guess the 10 years old CPU, especially since it's a dual CPU setup (which is further hurting performance), is the main reason.
Disabling one of the CPUs might increase performance, but I'm not sure if this will be enough to enjoy the Synchron Pianos.

Best, Ben

Ben @VSL
Posted on Thu, May 13 2021 17:22
by MaxNicx
Joined on Fri, May 18 2012, Posts 7

Thanks Ben, I appreciate you comment. 

As much as they two CPUs may be getting old, they don't have any issues managing orchestral projects with over 300 tracks and more audio FX plugins than I care to count. 

Do you think that the age limitation is more of an architecture problem more than computing power?   Because surely even a 10th gen i7 ultimately has similar Ghz speed and smaller number of cores (but larger cache).

I suppose my dilemma is because my entire studio has no issues other than the Synchron piano.  All the Synchron orchestral libraries work like a dream.   

I love the new Synchron piano but buying a new machine and migrating 24 TBs of plugins just for that.....at least whilst everything else works like a dream....seems too much

Posted on Thu, May 13 2021 19:32
by Ben
Joined on Sat, Mar 06 2021, Los Angeles, Posts 68

While having similar, only slightly higher, clock speeds, the IPC (instructions per clock) since then has gone up big time (approx. doubling performance). Also, there were quite some architecture improvements which will further increase performance running modern software on modern hardware.
Dual CPU setups also introduce additional system latency, which also can hurt performance.

If all other libraries just run fine, and you can't even run one mic position without drop-outs, I'm afraid there is nothing I can recommend other then upgrading your system or adding a networked machine (via VEP).
If however you are able to run one mic position just fine, you might get away with loading one mic per separat player instance, spreading the laod to different cores (note: muting does not disable the channel; you have to click on the channel name to disable processing).

Ben @VSL
Posted on Thu, May 13 2021 21:35
by MaxNicx
Joined on Fri, May 18 2012, Posts 7

aaaa, that's the "bingo" moment. 

Thank you for explaining the improvements in the latest generation of CPUs.  Makes a lot of sense, plus it explains why over the last 10 years all the new CPUs didn't seem to offer a higher clock speed. 

Well, I have arranged a meeting with a friend of mine who has a much newer CPU (i9); although he doesn't have as much RAM I'm going to test the Synchron piano on his system and provided everything works, I guess I'll look into a new machine.  It's not as if I haven't got as much out of my current Mac Pro.

Thanks again

Posted on Fri, May 14 2021 04:29
by David B.
Joined on Tue, May 15 2018, Posts 70

I really don't know much about this topic, but just a reference, here are my computer specs. 

2018 Mac mini, 3GHz 6-Core Intel I5, 16 GB ram, 1 TB SSD 

Synchron Piano v1529, Latency 64, Preload 16384.

I can run 3 Mics easy and 4 (most of the time) depending on the music. If I open up Synchron Player in MainStage (as my DAW), I can run as many mics as I want as long as I split them up over several channels. 

Maybe this information helps. If not, sorry to waste your time.

God Bless,

David

Posted on Fri, May 14 2021 07:38
by MaxNicx
Joined on Fri, May 18 2012, Posts 7

Hi David, thank you for your comment; not a waste of time....AT ALL

If a Mac Mini can run it, it adds to my suspicion that there is something not quite right in my setup.  Maybe it's because I am running bootcamp (and therefore Windows) in my Mac Pro.  I know that there are some major drawbacks in doing that.  I may do another test where I install Synchron Piano on the Catalina partition just in case.

Or maybe it's because the Mac Pro (being old) has only SATA 2 connections, so despite having SSDs inside they can't run as fast as they should.  Last night I've found a forum that talks about some models of PCIe cards that add much faster SATA ports or even NVME slots that could help.  Would be much cheaper than getting a whole new computer. 

But again, thank you for your comment about your experience in your setup, everything helps.

Posted on Fri, May 14 2021 08:16
by alexandr
Joined on Sat, Jun 22 2019, Posts 20

24 cores at 3.47Ghz 💪

Crazy CPU power! My dream! 😃 The CPU is the latest thing I would be worrying in your case. However I am not 100% sure.

I use external USB SSD for now. Blackmagic Speed Meter shows reading speed 384 Mb/s and writting 280Mb/s. And Syncron Library speed I've mentioned earlier is showing 120-155Mb/s. 3 mics are working well even for fast music just on 6 years old Mac Book Pro.

I hope it helped. Fortunately it's not so expensive novadays to buy an external SSDs with speed about 1500Mb/s. So I guess it could be one of solutions.

Not sure if it helps with CPU problem. Hope you'll find solution.

Cheers! 🎹

Posted on Fri, May 14 2021 09:44
by MaxNicx
Joined on Fri, May 18 2012, Posts 7

Thanks Alexandr,  especially for sharing your reported SSD read speeds.

My Synchron interface reports a read speed from the internal SSD as 689Mbs.  So if I read your post right, you get 120-155MB/s and can run 3 mics position?   Then that definitely suggest that something else is at play on my system.  Looks like instead of composing this week (and probably next) I'll be running some tests hehehehe

About your suggestion of an external SSD, I do like it, but I suspect that the speed of the drive itself would still be compromised by the speed of the ports.  I have a PCIe USB3 card (because USB 2 would be pointless).  But I'd imagine the good old thunderbolt port could also come into play there.  Hmmmm

Well, once again, thank you for taking the time to reply to my post and I shall report back what I find

Posted on Fri, May 14 2021 12:38
by MaxNicx
Joined on Fri, May 18 2012, Posts 7

OK, so, (for anyone interested). 

I have done some SSD read tests on the Mac machine and the actual real read speed is only 120 MB/s (I don't know why the Synchron interface reports higher). 

So I have transferred some components to another PC I have in the house which runs an i7 3930K and only 64Gb of RAM.  But more importantly has SATA 3 ports. 

I literally moved my sound card and the SSD with the Synchron libraries over.  Booted up, installed the player and loaded all 10 mic channels (yes, all 10).  Everything worked perfectly.   This was with a preload size of 16k and 512 latency. 

I then went to take a look at the reported hard drive speed and it was greatly higher than the Mac Pro.  Went up to around 500 MB/s. 

I've now just ordered as a final test before eventually sorting a new machine, an NVME PCIe adapter for the beloved Mac together with a 1TB NVME SSD.  Theoretically the adapter model I have chosen, even though the MAC PCIe lane is only 2.0 and x4, should deliver around 1500 MB/s.  But even if it should come out short and deliver half (750 MB/s) I figure it's still higher than the SATA 3 SSD so should solve the issue. 

Posted on Sat, May 15 2021 06:27
by alexandr
Joined on Sat, Jun 22 2019, Posts 20

I am glad to hear that you figured out what's going wrong and are able to work. 👍

Yes, you are right. 120-150 Mb/s is speed in Syncron Interface I had and 3 mics are working well. Official speed of SSD (by manufacturer 550 Mb/s) and Speed Meter shown 280-380 Mb/s or something like that.

Now I am thinking about upgrade. Probably to Mac Mini M1 because I don't have a big ensemble and the performance/size/efficiency is looking great on CPU tests. I hope it will be compatible with VEP software.

 

Best regards!

Alexander

Posted on Sat, May 15 2021 19:30
by MaxNicx
Joined on Fri, May 18 2012, Posts 7

Hey guys, 
sometimes stories DO have a happy ending. 

I've spent £14.99 on a PCIe to NVME adapter.  Obviously bought an NVME SSD too. 

No drivers required, no setup issues, just format the drive and put Synchron libraries in it.   As a test, I've been able to load ALL the piano mics. and the 24 cores purr at around 40%. 

So despite having a motherboard with PCIe 2.0 at x4....the old faithful still lives.

I attach a screenshot for anyone who's interested with the CrystalDiskMark numbers.  On the left you have the SSD via SATA 2 connection.  On the right the NVME drive via the PCIe adapter.

Happy days and many thanks to all you contributed

MaxNicx attached the following image(s):
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Posted on Sat, May 15 2021 19:42
by Ben
Joined on Sat, Mar 06 2021, Los Angeles, Posts 68

Hi Max,

Glad to hear! Enjoy these pianos!

Best, Ben

Ben @VSL
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