MaxMSP, mac, cpu spikes firewire class compliant audio interfaces

Nov 14, 2006 at 4:25am

MaxMSP, mac, cpu spikes firewire class compliant audio interfaces

Hello,

I am considering purchase of a Presonus Firebox

I am aware that as a coreaudio class complaint device this will be subject to cpu spikes.

Links and refernces to this issue:

http://www.bigbluelounge.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=33187

I run a dual 2.0 G5 with 2 gig of ram. I also plan to purchase a laptop at some point, probably one of the current models or similar.

My max project (in development) incorporates FFT, buffers and other cpu hungry stuff. Currently nearly finished one channel of the patch, hope to replicate this to 3 others and its already using 20% CPU. Well this may be my bad architecture but i get the impresson that MSP aint to efficient in this regard anyhow.

My question: have people experienced the CPU spike issue with Max/MSP? What cards and setups? Would you see this as a cumulative issue in conjunction with a CPU heavy patcher? How does max respond to issues such as CPU spikes, and to heavy CPU loads generally?

And do people have any experiences to share on the PreSonus Firebox in particular? I have searched and found some useful information here to date on interfaces, if anyone has anything useful to add re this device and CPU drain would be great…

And it seems just nuts that mac coreaudio would create so many issues! Totally unimpressed.

If it seems unavoidable and signifcant as an issue with any coreaudio device I may just go to the motu ultralite, which is much more expensive than id like

#28689
Nov 14, 2006 at 6:23pm

Hi

I have used the Firebox extensively with a 1.67 GHz G4 PB and it has
been 100% reliable – there is some spiking observable, but it hasn’t
caused problems for me so far…….

I like the FB very much, and it has proved very useful for those
times when I can work with a smaller number of inputs and outputs and/
or without ADAT optical. It’s small size and no need for power supply
make it handy for those long haul flights. Other wise I use a
Hammerfall Digiface or a Fireface 800.

Best

L

On 14 Nov 2006, at 04:25, Eliot Palmer wrote:

> And do people have any experiences to share on the PreSonus Firebox
> in particular? I have searched and found some useful information
> here to date on interfaces, if anyone has anything useful to add re
> this device and CPU drain would be great…

Lawrence Casserley – lawrence@lcasserley.co.uk
Lawrence Electronic Operations – http://www.lcasserley.co.uk
Colourscape Music Festivals – http://www.colourscape.org.uk

#88395
Nov 15, 2006 at 2:55am

thanks lawrence,

what version of max/msp and osx are you using?

i have heard from people to avoid the brand like the plague, so i wonder if other models had issues which have tarnished its reputation

#88396
Nov 15, 2006 at 9:52am

On 15 Nov 2006, at 02:55, Eliot Palmer wrote:

> thanks lawrence,
>
> what version of max/msp and osx are you using?

That machine is on 10.3.9 and Max 4.5.7 – haven’t upgraded because it
has been in use all the time – maybe after Friday’s Evan Parker
Electroacoustic Ensemble gig in London – I have a bit of a gap then
until the New Year.
>
> i have heard from people to avoid the brand like the plague, so i
> wonder if other models had issues which have tarnished its reputation

Interesting – I have only heard good reports of them before this.

Best

L

Lawrence Casserley – lawrence@lcasserley.co.uk
Lawrence Electronic Operations – http://www.lcasserley.co.uk
Colourscape Music Festivals – http://www.colourscape.org.uk

#88397
Nov 15, 2006 at 2:06pm

The Firebox is a great little device. I’ve heard just good comments about it. If people told you to stay away from Presonus, it’s probably because their first audio interface (Firestation) used the first generation mLan which was -and still is- a total failout. Since Presonus is using CoreAudio drivers, everything’s fine. Only drawback with the Firebox is it can’t be bus-powered with the latest MacbookPro laptops. There’s a couple of thread about that on the web, especially at Apple Discussions. This problem affects also other FW interfaces like TC Electronic Konnekt but doesn’t affect MOTU Traveler and probably MOTU UltraLite altough I didn’t test it.

#88398
Nov 15, 2006 at 10:19pm

Thanks Meriol,

Good to know re the earlier model, the firestation must have been the point of contention, rather than the brand as a whole (i hope). It was specifically mentioned…

I am aware of the bus power issue, i guess its something i might have to take the risk on, hoping that it will be resolved by the time i buy a laptop.

i have seen a workaround which involved a battery pack (remote dc source) to be plugged in during boot up. once booted, the power source can be removed.

Re coreaudio, the crux of this for me is the reports that all coreaudio devices suffer from this cpu spiking issue… see the thread linked, lots of discussion on the topic in the embedded links…

Lawrence, its reassuring to know that you computer could manage such activity, its hard to know if its a storm in a teacup about the issue… how heavy a cpu drain is your project?

would be interesting to know if the ultralite can be bus powered on the 17″ MBP… anyone done this?

thanks!

#88399
Nov 16, 2006 at 12:49am

Like I said, I didn’t try the Ultralite personnally but there’s someone in a thread at the Ableton forum that confirm it works with a Macbook Pro Core2Duo. I can confirm however the Traveler can be bus-powered and therefore, I expect the Ultralite to work the same.

#88400
Nov 16, 2006 at 11:40am

I find one of the problems with this spiking thing is it’s harder to
tell, because the figures vary so much – my computer’s packed for
tomorrow’s gig now, so I can’t check – I recall it varying between
about 30% and 70%. When I first used OSX I was very alarmed by this
(generally true with various interfaces) until I realised it didn’t
seem to do any harm unless I pushed it very hard. On OS9 I could run
up to 80% and it would just sit there without problems. OTOH I am
using much faster processors now, so I don’t need to push them so hard.

Best

L

On 15 Nov 2006, at 22:19, Eliot Palmer wrote:

> Lawrence, its reassuring to know that you computer could manage
> such activity, its hard to know if its a storm in a teacup about
> the issue… how heavy a cpu drain is your project?

Lawrence Casserley – lawrence@lcasserley.co.uk
Lawrence Electronic Operations – http://www.lcasserley.co.uk
Colourscape Music Festivals – http://www.colourscape.org.uk

#88401
Nov 18, 2006 at 6:35am

Eliot Palmer wrote:
> And it seems just nuts that mac coreaudio would create so many
> issues! Totally unimpressed.
>
> If it seems unavoidable and signifcant as an issue with any coreaudio
> device I may just go to the motu ultralite, which is much more
> expensive than id like

I am using a Quatafire 610, which is the same size and prize as the
Presonus. I had no issues with it till now. Its plug and play in the
best sense, never needed to install anything, just works right out of
the box (on OS X). It has two! Midiports which is a big argument for
fader junkies like me. Only drawback: All connections exept for the two
Mic inputs are non symetrical (RCA & stereo plugs). Its so small, just
amazing, loveit…

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com

#88402
Nov 18, 2006 at 9:03pm

thanks again Lawrence…

an stefan, nice to get some more positiv feedback on the MOTU…

Thanks to all!

#88403

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