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Craig Reeves

Is Cakewalks audio engine slower than other DAWs?

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I have a very, very fast computer. So when I open heavy loaded sessions, my computer doesn't have any issues.

However, I still get pops, cracks and late buffers not because my computer is slow (I have a Ryzen 9 3950X CPU with 128 GB of RAM on an SSD), but rather, the Audio Engine Load is around 30%-50% in many cases while the Audio Processing Load is less than 4% and Disk load is about 2%. 

Is the problem that Cakewalk hasn't modernized their software audio engine to take advantage of faster PC's like mine? And have other DAWS done so?

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Computers are a house of cards - when one card goes, the whole computer falls over. So many times, the "problem" with a DAW relates to something that has little, if anything, to do with the DAW itself.

For example, for several weeks I tried to figure out why Windows was suddenly taking so much longer to boot. Turns out there was a blank CD in an optical drive, and removing it solved the problem. I guess Windows was trying to boot off the CD, which of course must have been a highly unsatisfying experience for the operating system :)  

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On 9/28/2020 at 5:24 PM, Craig Anderton said:

Computers are a house of cards - when one card goes, the whole computer falls over. So many times, the "problem" with a DAW relates to something that has little, if anything, to do with the DAW itself.

For example, for several weeks I tried to figure out why Windows was suddenly taking so much longer to boot. Turns out there was a blank CD in an optical drive, and removing it solved the problem. I guess Windows was trying to boot off the CD, which of course must have been a highly unsatisfying experience for the operating system :)  

Yeah. It turns out the offending software was Streamlabs OBS. It slowed Ableton Live 10 down even WORSE. I just have to turn my latency up when that program is open it seems.

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Just a couple of comments:

Video capture software puts substantial load on a machine.

Working with HD/4k Video is much heavier load than a typical audio project.

Running both a DAW project and video capture simultaneously will push some machines to their limit.

Increasing the ASIO buffer size allows your machine to better mitigate high CPU load.

 

Using an extreme example:

  • Audio interface set to 64-sample ASIO buffer size
  • Sample-rate 44.1k

When running DAW software, your machine has 1.5ms to process the next audio buffer and get it cued for playback.

If anything interrupts this process, you'll hear a glitch or (worse) experience a drop-out.

The lower the latency, the less efficient the load can be spread across multiple cores.

Thus, when working at lowest latency settings, CPU clock-speed is the single most important factor.

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