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Old 10-22-2019, 11:10 PM   #1
ericzang
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Default Looking for new live performance computer

I'm looking for what would be the most capable low latency/live performance system (non desktop). So far my deduction has come to the MSI GT76 Titan (and it IS relatively large and quite heavy) with a 9900k, due to (what I can deduce) the apparently superior cooling system (over the Alienware Area 51m or Clevo P750TM1, other 9900k desktop replacement class). The implication being that better cooling would allow higher sustained CPU speeds.

Another hypothetical is if I'm reconciled with the size and weight of the above, just a little more size allowance and instead I could perhaps build a slim size mini-itx 9900k. Comparing dimensions of the gt76, an example of a slim style mini-itx case is only 1 inch wider and about 3 inches thicker.
https://www.silverstonetek.com/raven...&area=en&top=C
15.04" (W) x 4.13" (H) x 14.33" (D)

On the other hand, to go for a smaller size, this i9 nuc looks interesting, coming next year supposedly, but the cooling looks comparatively basic. Would want to wait for some reports about its effectiveness. https://www.tomshardware.com/news/in...ost-canyon-nuc

For audio interface, so far I've come to the Presonus Quantum, due to wanting 8 pre amps in a single rack (I like RME, but they don't have a single rack with 8 pres, and Antelope's reports/reputation is quite discouraging (looked at the Discrete 8) ).

Thanks for any thoughts!
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Old 10-23-2019, 01:14 AM   #2
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what will the computer be doing exactly ? vst playing ?
multi backing tracks ? vst effect processing ?
all of the above?

For perspective I run a backing track system (at most 16 stems)on a atom z8350 cpu with 4gb ram. its a touch tv box type pc. all flash storage so it can handle massive vibration. reaper does quite well on such a mini system.
we are using either the soundcraft ui24r or behringer x32core with s16 box..
sending at most 8 backing tracks to foh or running the whole stage through these boxes for mixing.

IF i was going to use it for vst playing , id probably build a desktop system that doesnt use a laptop cpu, as they are managing power/electricity usage rather than just giving the most power per buck.
Laptops generally have quirky battery saving software specific to manufactures that mess with audio latency related tasks. I guess if your willing to spend a fortune on a top tier laptop you'll probably get away with what you want to do.

Not sure what presonus are like with driver efficiency but rme are really top notch in that regard. No soundcard i've used has the best response and stability that rme has when it comes to live vst instruments buffer settings on the same computer.

So my hypothetical vst playing rig would be a modest desktop cpu build with a rme interface.
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Old 10-23-2019, 02:00 AM   #3
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Thanks, yes the main use of the system would be for low latency mixing/monitoring of mics/instruments and use of many effects applied to that live audio. Some vsti use would also be a good option to have. Wouldn't be using any huge sample libraries though (figuring 32gb ram will be a good start), and likely could suffice with relatively lower cpu hit soft synths.

Right, I'm also thinking the "desktop replacement" oversize "laptops" using the 9900k desktop processor is the way to go. Though they are notably bigger and heavier, the computer and associated sensitive other gear hopefully could just work out under the limits of flight carry-on baggage.

I am using RME digiface + adat rack(s) for my current system (is from 2010). RME works great. Its possible I could use the digiface with a new laptop by using an ExpressCard to Thunderbolt adapter (does exist). Disadvantage there is two more small-medium units added to the system (adapter box + digiface) compared to a single rack. According to that gearslutz latency thread, the Quantum is ranked among the better ones (RME PCIe is first), and user reports generally are good from what I've seen so far.

Thanks for your reply!
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Old 10-23-2019, 05:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dazastah View Post
what will the computer be doing exactly ? vst playing ?
multi backing tracks ? vst effect processing ?
all of the above?

For perspective I run a backing track system (at most 16 stems)on a atom z8350 cpu with 4gb ram. its a touch tv box type pc. all flash storage so it can handle massive vibration. reaper does quite well on such a mini system.
we are using either the soundcraft ui24r or behringer x32core with s16 box..
sending at most 8 backing tracks to foh or running the whole stage through these boxes for mixing.
My 2012 MacBook will run 60 opened project tabs of 20+ tracks without a sweat. I never have more than 3 tabs online at the same time. But still. It’s pretty effective. I’m always amazed at how effective Reaper is...
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Old 10-23-2019, 05:44 AM   #5
ericzang
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Nice. For the host, I'm interested to use Reaper of course, but its apparent inability to be a clock/sync slave to an external source (not ideal for performing in sync with other computer based musicians) makes me have other hosts on the list to check out, such as Usine or Logelloop. I haven't explored them hardly at all yet except for reading/watching about them. Already have Ableton, would work overall, but been working with it for a while and tired of making work arounds (mostly via scripting in lemur).
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Old 10-27-2019, 01:03 AM   #6
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Agreed that desktops have fewer power saving mechanisms than notebooks, but notebooks are so much more mobile friendly, that I only use notebooks for live usage.
(Almost) all the performance killers in notebooks can be eliminated via configuration.
I use exclusively Reaper for live mixing 16 I/O channels via USB3 (Zoom UAC-8 + 8 channels from another ADAT Pre-amp: Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 with USB disconnected).

After heavy treatment on windows 10 it is capable to run 32-Sample buffer at 44.1 kHz stable, but for live mixing I use 64 Samples, and if recording is enabled I use 96 Samples, just for safety.

The necessary treatments for no clicks in audio stream at low latencies:
In Device manager search ACPI battery: right-click disable it (yes it really interferes)
Set the power plan to high performance and check in details, if USB power saving is properly disabled.

The following steps are only for the fearless!

Use Windows 10 1607 with no updates (from pre-Meltdown-and-Spectre era)

Put these lines in a file like audiooptimization.cmd and run it as administrator before each live performance (some settings get reverted after reboot, only some remain):
__________________________________________________ ____
rem NVIDIA Tray Service
net stop NVDisplay.ContainerLocalSystem

bcdedit /set disabledynamictick yes
rem bcdedit /set disabledynamictick no

taskkill /f /im OneDrive.exe
taskkill /f /im RuntimeBroker.exe

net stop TimeBrokerSvc
sc config TimeBrokerSvc start=disabled
net stop TimeBroker
sc config TimeBroker start=disabled
net stop WpnService
sc config WpnService start=disabled
net stop WpnUserService_27e14
sc config WpnUserService_27e14 start=disabled

net stop wuauserv
sc config wuauserv start=demand

taskkill /f /im TiWorker.exe
net stop TrustedInstaller
sc config TrustedInstaller start=demand

net stop WSearch
sc config WSearch start=disabled
net stop SysMain
sc config SysMain start=disabled
net stop OneSyncSvc_27e14
sc config OneSyncSvc_27e14 start=disabled
net stop SCardSvr
sc config SCardSvr start=disabled
net stop SNMPTRAP
sc config SNMPTRAP start=disabled
net stop wscsvc
sc config wscsvc start=disabled
net stop DcpSvc
sc config DcpSvc start=disabled
__________________________________________________ ____

From rehearsal to concert and after-show party you will run Reaper as live mixer with 64 Samples for 12 hours without any glitch or interruption or restarting any software. I wouldn't see the need for a desktop computer for this kind of setup.

For heavy VSTi-usage I would use a separate computer.
If you use other software than Reaper for syncing reasons, the Windows 10 treatments will be useful in the same way. MAC-users may be happy anyway (but not for too long: meldaproduction Email from Apple about Catalina)
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Old 10-27-2019, 01:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rain View Post
Almost) all the performance killers in notebooks can be eliminated via configuration.
One common saving feature with Laptops is shared Main and Graphics RAM.

"Gaming" laptops usually have dedicated graphics RAM and hence avoiding cluttering the main memory and bus with accesses to provide screen display.

-Michael
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Old 12-05-2019, 11:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rain View Post
Agreed that desktops have fewer power saving mechanisms than notebooks, but notebooks are so much more mobile friendly, that I only use notebooks for live usage.

The following steps are only for the fearless!

Use Windows 10 1607 with no updates (from pre-Meltdown-and-Spectre era)
would any of these steps be recommended for desktop live use? I'm just configuring a new build for live use. I believe my current live build is still at 1607, so maybe I could just clone that OS to the new machine. Can I get it to work just using driver updates then, without needing to update windows? I will need (as the old system did) to get online several times a year to update and authorize VSTs.... rarely enough to avoid windows trying to update itself

The new system is an 8700k, if that matters....
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Old 11-07-2019, 10:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericzang View Post
Nice. For the host, I'm interested to use Reaper of course, but its apparent inability to be a clock/sync slave to an external source
So I'm not super experienced with using Reaper, and don't have an external source to sync to, but the manual definitely states that it can sync to an external source. See page 449.

https://dlz.reaper.fm/userguide/Reap...Guide5984c.pdf
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Old 11-07-2019, 10:51 PM   #10
ericzang
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Thanks for getting me to revisit that. I had come to that conclusion a while ago based on my experience of not being able to have Reaper recognize the Midi Clock sent out of Mobius looper (via internal midi loopback device). Indeed Reaper does not have an option to sync to "Midi Clock", but the other options such as SPP, ASIO Positioning Protocol (interesting, never heard of that one before!), etc will prompt me to re examine Reaper's syncability in the context of the specific external program (such as another DAW or DJ software) and see if it has a sync format that could be compatible with Reaper.

BTW, about my computer search, looks like I will be going for the big Clevo P870 with the special cooling treatments from the reseller HIDevolution.
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