Contribute
Register

DAW Tips & Tricks: Optimizing Your CustoMac Audio Workstation

Joined
Jan 17, 2018
Messages
1
Hey Boomr,
thanks for you tips, great to have it bundled together.
Now I am running Automap 4.8, to communicate between my DAW (Ableton Live 9.1.2), AU-Plugins and my Controller (Novation Remote ZeRO SL MKII). Automap has two Modes, one Controlling my Plugins, and one bypassing itself sending the MIDI data straight to my DAW. now after every reboot, i have to repair permissions on my HDD inorder for both modes to work. Otherwise just one would work, and not the other (whichever i used first).
*gravediggin*

novations automap was far ahead of time, but bad updating/bugfix policy made a performance killer out of this good map. solution.
 
Joined
Jun 6, 2018
Messages
32
Motherboard
Z370-A
CPU
i7 Intel 8th Gen 8700k
Graphics
M2000 Nvidia Quadro
I recently built my first system in hopes of to experiencing much better CPU performance when using Maschine and Pro Tools, but even though I have everything running perfectly on paper, I'm not seeing much difference in performance from my MacBook Pro. Any suggestions?
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
Messages
8
Motherboard
Z370 Aorus Gaming 7
CPU
i7-7800K
Graphics
GTX 1080 Ti Extreme
Mac
iMac, Mac mini
Hi all, I’ve got my speakers connected to my Focusrite audio interface and have been routing my system audio out the analog outputs of the Z370 motherboard and back into the audio interface analog inputs which is in turn going to the outputs/speakers - this way I can still control volume with my keyboard for system audio, YouTube etc. However, workin in the studio, I can hear the interference on that analog output, clearly changing it’s texture as I move between apps (one can even hear the mouse move :)). It’s low level, but if you’re in a studio, it’s enough to hear it. I’ve been reading about some windows users fixing that with some drivers - have any of you had this issues and did anyone find a fix for it?
 

BoomR

Moderator
Joined
Dec 18, 2011
Messages
1,226
Motherboard
Gigabyte AORUS Z370 Ultra Gaming
CPU
i7-8700K
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac mini, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Apple, Performa, Power Mac, Quadra
Mobile Phone
Android
Hi all, I’ve got my speakers connected to my Focusrite audio interface and have been routing my system audio out the analog outputs of the Z370 motherboard and back into the audio interface analog inputs which is in turn going to the outputs/speakers - this way I can still control volume with my keyboard for system audio, YouTube etc. However, workin in the studio, I can hear the interference on that analog output, clearly changing it’s texture as I move between apps (one can even hear the mouse move :)). It’s low level, but if you’re in a studio, it’s enough to hear it. I’ve been reading about some windows users fixing that with some drivers - have any of you had this issues and did anyone find a fix for it?
Is there some reason you're not routing system audio (using System Preferences > Audio) to the Focusrite? Way easier, and that signal chain you describe above is going to be fraught with latency and extra noise. The speaker output of the mobo's sound card is hobbyist quality at best.

If you still feel you need/want to manage 2 separate audio out sources, most studio guys I know (including me) go for something like this:
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BigKnobPass--mackie-big-knob-passive-2x2-studio-monitor-controller

Focusrite Audio Out > Input A
Mobo Audio Out > Input B
Big Knob Audio Out > monitor speakers

Now, instead of using volume buttons on your keyboard, you've got a big knob in front of you & an easy A/B switch.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
Messages
8
Motherboard
Z370 Aorus Gaming 7
CPU
i7-7800K
Graphics
GTX 1080 Ti Extreme
Mac
iMac, Mac mini
Is there some reason you're not routing system audio (using System Preferences > Audio) to the Focusrite? Way easier, and that signal chain you describe above is going to be fraught with latency and extra noise. The speaker output of the mobo's sound card is hobbyist quality at best.

If you still feel you need/want to manage 2 separate audio out sources, most studio guys I know (including me) go for something like this:
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BigKnobPass--mackie-big-knob-passive-2x2-studio-monitor-controller

Focusrite Audio Out > Input A
Mobo Audio Out > Input B
Big Knob Audio Out > monitor speakers

Now, instead of using volume buttons on your keyboard, you've got a big knob in front of you & an easy A/B switch.
Unfortunately I'm working in 5.1 so I'd need to get one of those uber expensive 5.1 monitoring units with a remote controller since my entire PT rig is in another room. I'm running PT and everything else work related through the audio interface directly, but for low level things like system audio I needed a separate signal path so I don't blast myself into space with those crazy loud commercials on YT etc. Getting a 5.1 monitoring piece of gear would in a way double what I already have in my Focusrite app on the ipad on my desk and would be an overkill for what it's goal is. So the analog out on the MOBO works okay, was just wondering about the minimal interference if that was ever noticed/addressed by anyone. Thanks!
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
8
Mac
iMac, MacBook Pro
Classic Mac
iMac, PowerBook
Mobile Phone
iOS
Old Dog/New Tricks: Using HD4000 for Your Pro Audio/DAW Builds

I don't know of any MIDI interfaces that use FW800 - most every dedicated MIDI interface these days (to my knowledge) is always USB. BUT, many audio interfaces also have built-in MIDI capabilities. For example, MOTU's 828 mk3 hybrid FW/USB interface also includes MIDI In & Out:
View attachment 46253

Then again, I can only think of 1 audio interface currently on the market that has a FW800 port on it (the new UAD Apollo), but it doesn't have built-in MIDI in/out ports on the back. Of course almost all of the latest gen MOTU interfaces are now "hybrid" and offer both USB and Firewire ports. Note that even though MOTU uses what apperas to be a 1394B FW port ("type B") connection, it operates at 1394A speeds.

So I guess what I'm getting at is: I'd need to know more about your friend's hardware components and his configuration. Is he is using a FW audio interface with on-board MIDI in/out ports that he's using to trigger some sort of piano sound module or synth? My educated guess would be that he would not have any issues with MIDI performance, based on the little experience I had with a FW interface that I used to have which also had on-board MIDI in & out.

As to the settings in Logic, the buffer settings are more important when you're recording a live audio source. They don't really affect MIDI timing. Typical rule of thumb is: lower buffer settings (128, 64) if you want near-zero latency while monitoring the audio through Logic. Then higher buffer settings for better performance during playback as your project grows in track size. This is why the workflow for many audio professionals is to try & do all your tracking early on in the project (and with a lower buffer setting), then set your buffer higher once you start into the "mix" phase of the project.

As for the core settings, in an earlier version of Logic (9.1.0 or one of the lower point-releases), there was a "bug" with the multi-threading support when you used the "Automatic" option. The work-around was to set it for the max number of threads your processor supports vs. the Automatic setting. I believe that bug has long been fixed. It certainly won't hurt anything if you set it to max # of threads vs. Automatic. If you're doing any sort of audio work in Logic, it really should be the only thing running for max performance. So "turning off threads" in Logic so they can be used for other background tasks is typically not recommended.

And last, yes - if you study the build components list & my descriptions, you'll note that my studio computer actually has 4 drives: 1) SSD for OS X and applications only, 2) RAID-class drive or AV-rated drive (designed for heavier read/write workloads) for my "Work" files - Logic project files including all the recorded audio files, 3) RAID-class drive to store all my VST/sample libraries + all the Apple Loops from Logic, and 4) standard SATA drive that I use for backups/Time Machine.

It's pretty common practice (as well as recommended by DAW manufacturers) to not record audio to your boot/start-up drive - for many reasons which I won't go into here.

Hope this helps!
--B
:headbang:
Hi BoomR, thank you for your very interesting post. I will create my own Hackintosh soon and I was wondering how you manage your 4 difference Hard drives. I was thinking using only SSD drives (except for the backup storage in SATA drives). You mention the Raid class drive : are they as fast as SSD ? do you have a model that you can advice ? how do you configure on your computer, I mean, how to use it in Raid configuration (sorry I never use such drive) ?

Thank you for your help.

best regards

Vivian
 

BoomR

Moderator
Joined
Dec 18, 2011
Messages
1,226
Motherboard
Gigabyte AORUS Z370 Ultra Gaming
CPU
i7-8700K
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac mini, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Apple, Performa, Power Mac, Quadra
Mobile Phone
Android
Hi BoomR, thank you for your very interesting post. I will create my own Hackintosh soon and I was wondering how you manage your 4 difference Hard drives. I was thinking using only SSD drives (except for the backup storage in SATA drives). You mention the Raid class drive : are they as fast as SSD ? do you have a model that you can advice ? how do you configure on your computer, I mean, how to use it in Raid configuration (sorry I never use such drive) ?

Thank you for your help.

best regards

Vivian
It's been a while since I posted that, and I've made some upgrades long the way. I'm actually now only using 3 drives: #1 = Boot drive & all apps (500 GB Samsung 970EVO m.2), #2 = Projects drive (now Samsung 850PRO SSD-500GB), and #3 = WD Red 3T NAS Hard Drive for all VST and sample libraries. Until we have an economical multi-T solution in SSD, this NAS/RAID/AV-rated drive situation is the next best thing IMHO for either your project files (ProTools, Logic, Cubase, etc), or your sample & VST libraries. BTW, the 4th drive is no longer internally-installed; just USB3.0 & attached as-needed.

RAID-class drives are similar in nature to NAS drives, and are the more traditional mechanical drives (spinning platter). They are designed for always-on and the demands of multiple users reading/writing to them simultaneously. I'm not using any sort of disk array/RAID, just the types of drives that one would see in a RAID in a corporate/enterprise network.

I would not use something like the WD "Green" class drives for any work that is audio or video related. Those drives are more designed for long-term storage and infrequent use (slower read/write rates, slower RPM, etc in order to be more energy efficient). Hope this helps!

BTW, if you're looking for ideas on a pretty powerful build for your music rig, check out my 360VR Production Build "Power Up" in the Golden Builds section - a CustoMac like this one should give you a LOT of bang for the $$. Best wishes on your build!
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2017
Messages
332
Motherboard
ASUS Rog Maximus IX Hero
CPU
i7-7700K
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Not claiming to be an expert, but hard drives are kind of my domain. I've had several fail on me in the late 90's, so I learned to do low level recovery over the years. WD Reds are a great choice, however, they are not much faster than the WD Greens. They are, however designed to be used to be "always on" type of a server environment. Before I ventured into hackintoshing, I build a 48TB Freenas box with a RAIDZ2 (RAID 6) configuration set up. When working with large sample libraries, you want speed. If you don't want to spend $1000 on a 2tb Samsung 960 PRO, get yourself about 5-8 500GB SSD's and throw them in RAID5 or RAID6 using this baby right here:
It may be tempting to go a little overboard on drive size, but hold yourself back. In a RAID6 config you loose 2 drives, so plan accordingly. Make sure you do a stress test for each drive before you let your data sit on it.

If you're looking to have a solid backup routine going, look into Synology, Qnap or better yet, do what I did and build you a nice Freenas box, it's dirt cheap but very very effective.
 
Last edited:

BoomR

Moderator
Joined
Dec 18, 2011
Messages
1,226
Motherboard
Gigabyte AORUS Z370 Ultra Gaming
CPU
i7-8700K
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac mini, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Apple, Performa, Power Mac, Quadra
Mobile Phone
Android
@luckyal - Thanks so much for sharing that expertise & the suggestion on the RAID controller! I may actually check into that!
 
Top