Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

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lord_galathon
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Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by lord_galathon » Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:15 am

I've been having issues with Mixcraft and I'm not sure how they came about. I even updated my PC to Windows 10 hoping it would help but it made no difference (other than I had to reinstall Mixcraft and all of my VSTs.)

The same song I had mastered properly without issues in 2014 on this same PC, same specs (see below in my signature) , now will not play back correctly and starts cracking up a few seconds in with a CPU usage in the red as shown at the bottom right of the Mixcraft main window.

I've even tried to install Mixcraft on my i5 laptop which on paper is supposed to be superior to my AMD recording studio rig but I also get the same cracking at about the same time and I've not changed anything in the song itself.

The HDD isn't full, I have nothing else running and my studio rig isn't actively connected to Internet. I don't even run an anti-virus on it.

That brings me to a question that maybe the devs can answer: I used to apply FXs to each track individually but in the last few years I started grouping them in sub-mix tracks. For example I'll have a sub-mix track for my drums that contains all the drum tracks: Kick, Snares, Hats, Crashes, additional percussions.

Then I'll apply equalizers to each track to bring out the best sound possible and in the end apply an acoustic room effect to the sub-mix track so that all the individual tracks from the sub-mix have the same "feel" to them.

I tend to do the same for vocals, guitars and synthesizers. In fact pretty much the only instruments I will not sub-mix are Piano and Bass. Even then, recently when I was working on one song in particular I realized I was using two "bass" instruments so I gathered them up on the same sub-mix track.

So the question is, FROM A PERFORMANCE POINT-OF-VIEW: Is it better to work with sub-mix tracks or just leave individual tracks and apply effects to each one?

Of course that won't help this specific song from 2014 and will not explain why now it will not playback properly.
i7 6700K 4.0Ghz
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JonInc
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Re: Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by JonInc » Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:00 am

Unless you're running over a hundred tracks and can see the cpu meter going into the "danger" zone, the problem is not from anything you are doing. The submix grouping technique is a pretty standard approach, and if anything, should be saving cpu cycles (over FX on each track), not causing glitches.

The problem lies elsewhere on your system. First, make sure everything is up to date: the BIOS, hardware drivers, and software updates.

If you've done that, use this utility to check what might be running in the background and stealing cpu/memory resources:

http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon

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Mab098157
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Re: Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by Mab098157 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:20 pm

Have you tried freezing tracks?
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Re: Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by aj113 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:23 pm

Are you using 64 bit MC as opposed to 32 bit in 2014?

If so, it could well be your plugins. Most will be 32 bit I surmise and that takes a lot of cpu power when you're using 64 bit MC. I had this problem, it all went away when I changed to 32 bit MC

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Re: Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by Ianpb » Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:44 pm

aj113 wrote:Are you using 64 bit MC as opposed to 32 bit in 2014?

If so, it could well be your plugins. Most will be 32 bit I surmise and that takes a lot of cpu power when you're using 64 bit MC. I had this problem, it all went away when I changed to 32 bit MC
I use 64-bit Mixcraft with many 32-bit plugins, but have never had such problems.

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Re: Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by aj113 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:36 pm

Ianpb wrote:
aj113 wrote:Are you using 64 bit MC as opposed to 32 bit in 2014?

If so, it could well be your plugins. Most will be 32 bit I surmise and that takes a lot of cpu power when you're using 64 bit MC. I had this problem, it all went away when I changed to 32 bit MC
I use 64-bit Mixcraft with many 32-bit plugins, but have never had such problems.
You would if you used enough of them. It's a known issue.

lord_galathon
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Re: Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by lord_galathon » Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:58 am

Freezing tracks doesn't help: Makes little or no difference.

I used the same MC I'm using now, same PC, same installation until I changed to Win10 (which I'm currently working to reverse) and the issues just creeped into the system. I'm not sure what happened but I've purchased a 480Gb SSD and am currently installing a fresh Win7 copy and will report back.
i7 6700K 4.0Ghz
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Acoustica Greg
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Re: Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by Acoustica Greg » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:05 am

Hi,

We could look at your log file to see if there are any clues in there. The next time it happens, quit Mixcraft and grab the log file.

To find the mixcraft-log file, highlight the following line and press Ctrl+C to copy it:

%appdata%\Acoustica\Mixcraft\

Press the Windows Key+R to pop up the Run box in Windows. Click in the Run box and press Ctrl+V to paste in the line from above. Finally, click OK to go to the location of the mixcraft-log.txt file. Submit an Acoustica Support Request and attach the log file along with a brief description of the problem.

Greg
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Re: Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by Ianpb » Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:10 pm

JonInc wrote: If you've done that, use this utility to check what might be running in the background and stealing cpu/memory resources:

http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon
That utility was useful, because it drew attention to something not right in the BIOS. I had been constantly receiving pop-ups notifying me that my CPU was getting hot when using Mixcraft, and causing severe choppiness whilst browsing newspaper websites that are full of Flash content, which was really irritating. I found that the BIOS was set to 'Power Saving', and after changing it to 'Performance', those issues have disappeared, with Core Temp indicating a maximum temperature of only 63 degrees Centigrade - that's 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Re: Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by Ianpb » Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:00 pm

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Last edited by Ianpb on Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by Ianpb » Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:05 pm

JonInc wrote:If you've done that, use this utility to check what might be running in the background and stealing cpu/memory resources:

http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon
That utility was useful, because it drew attention to something not right in the BIOS. I had been constantly receiving pop-ups notifying me that my CPU was getting hot when using Mixcraft, as well as experiencing severe choppiness whilst browsing newspaper websites that are full of Flash content, which was really irritating. I found that the BIOS was set to 'Power Saving', and after changing it to 'Performance', those issues have disappeared, with Core Temp indicating a maximum temperature of only 63 degrees Centigrade - that's 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Last edited by Ianpb on Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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aquataur
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Re: Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by aquataur » Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:36 am

Power saving is useless for DAW work. The CPU should always run at a predictable (full) speed.
In those crazy modes the BIOS takes over at the most inappropriate moments and decides to do things.

I have written a small batch file wrapper for Mixcraft that switches to full speed upon start and then back to energy saving mode upon exit.

I had those tools installed upon setup of the machine (I always install all motherboard related drivers) and when I noticed their futility I had a hard time removing them.

You may have to go deep into the startup routines or even registry to throw out those tools. OSAM autorun manager finally got them out.

The problem is that those new processors are so powerful that even the biggest heat sink cannot instantly drop core temperature. This is (according to the heat sink manufactureres) totally ok, a CPU can rise up to nearly 100 deg for milliseconds...
If the system is in power saving mode, meaning the BIOS has throttled down relevant voltages and frequencies, a momentary power demand will produce a bottleneck and it may take several hundred milliseconds to recover - way too much for a DAW.
Also, dependent on your core voltage settings and (alleged) overclocking, this may bring the CPU momentarily into the danger zone. It can go as far as thermal runaway. You thus best also remove any overclocking settings. They destabilize your system and IMHO only yield homeopathic performance gains.

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Re: Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by johnrico2000 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:19 am

I recently had the same experience as the initiator of this thread. Organizing everything into submix tracks was a lot more performance intense than using separate tracks and applying effects on them separately. I could hardly work on my song anymore using submixes due to performance breakdowns. After seperating the tracks everything was fine again.
I was using several Kontakt 5 instruments. I just wanted to let you know about this.
I'm using the 64bit version of Mixcraft, so maybe it really is due to the 32bit plugin bridge in conjunction with submix tracks. Hard to tell.

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Re: Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by johnrico2000 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:34 am

Ok, I just had a look into the manual again that points out when to use a submix and when to use a send track.
Looks like if you would like to apply an effect chain with more than one effect you should use a send track and not a submix track. Probably that was what I did wrong. Submixes are the way more easy and intuitive approach though, so I can understand that people tend to use that at first and then start to experience performance issues sadly.
It just feels so good to organize the instruments with submix tracks and use that for effect chains, too, though you lose the ability to adjust how intense you would like to apply the effects (as you can with a send track).
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Mark Bliss
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Re: Sub-Mix tracks vs individual tracks from a performance point of view

Post by Mark Bliss » Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:08 am

I don't think it would make any substantial difference as far as performance, to use sub-mixes or sends. Either should provide improved performance due to using fewer instances of plug ins.
Are you using 32 bit plug ins in 64 bit Mixcraft by chance?

But yes, if you want to use varying settings of one plug in on multiple tracks, you would want to use a send, as opposed to say a drum bus compressor on a sub-mix.
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