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  • MarkDub
    Posts: 33
    Joined: Apr 1st, 2009, 04:09
    System Overload messages worse since upgrading setup
    I have recently upgraded my system to S.L. (10.6.1) using the upgrade option rather than a clean install and added a second external firewire drive, a G-Tech G-Drive, for all my EXS samples. I did this to optimize my system because I understand it is best to have 2 external drives, one for audio and the other for samples. I have been working on a piece of music which has quite a lot going on in terms of tracks and effects and I was getting the occasional "Disk is too slow or System Overload (-10010)" error with the accompanying halting of playback. This was happening under Leopard as well. This prompted me to get the second drive as I thought it would improve performance. Not so. Now the track grinds to a halt about midway through every time I play it and will do the same multiple times while trying to work on the mix. Very frustrating. I've installed the latest drivers for my ULN-2 audio interface as well as Logic 9 (which produces the same error). I have the 2 drives daisy-chained via firewire, the audio (Seagate) one being first in the chain. They are connected to the computer via an adaptor which does not allow power to pass from the fw bus. As far as I know that is its only function and it allows the data to pass both directions in the same way as a normal cable would. The drives of course each have their own power supply. I moved all the samples from the EX Samples folder in Application Support onto the G-Tech and erased the originals. Now while the track is playing that drive (as well as the audio one) is active a lot of the time so Logic is drawing a significant number of samples from it directly as the track progresses (rather than placing them in RAM, it seems). I have narrowed the problem down to the fact that in this piece I am using a particular sampled drum kit from Analogue Drums. I have divided the midi track containing the drum performance into separate tracks per drum and there are 2 sets of these, a room set and a close set. Each drum track is routed to a separate aux channel by using the version of the EXS which allows for multiple outputs, with various effects on each drum, and then back into a single aux track for further processing as a whole. Standard practice I understand. With this arrangement the sample drive visibly and audibly gets very active during certain sections of the song which inevitably leads to the error. It seems to be working very hard at those times to keep up with the demands being placed on it. To test things I have stripped out this whole drum setup and replaced it with a simpler kit in the EXS on just one midi track and the error doesn't seem to happen through several passes. So I have to conclude that something in the drum setup or its group of samples is causing the overload, bottleneck or whatever. Or perhaps something in the way the data is being processed. I wonder if anyone could shed some light on what is going wrong here. Have I reached the limitations of my humble iMac by asking it to do too much re. this song/drum setup or is it more likely to be a problem in the way the computer is interfacing with the external drive(s)? Bear in mind that the error was happening before I installed the 'sample' drive and when I had all the samples in their default location on the internal drive. It wasn't nearly as bad then but this 'upgrade' has really highlighted where the problem seems to be. Finally, am I right in thinking that this 3-drive setup (OS, Logic etc. on internal drive, audio on external drive 1 and samples and Apple Loops on external drive 2) should be the optimal way to set things up? What I've tried so far: Changing the I/O buffer to 1024, resetting Logic's memory, plugging the firewire cable directly into the computer thus bypassing the adaptor, running the song without the ULN-2 (internal speakers only), trashing Logic's preferences and repairing permissions, switching all audio inputs off. All to no avail. I have some other things to try. System: Intel iMac 2.16 ghz Core 2 Duo with 3 gb ram, Metric Halo ULN-2, Seagate and G-Tech external drives, latest versions of Logic 8 and 9. I'd really appreciate any help with this. Mark
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  • MarkDub
    Posts: 33
    Joined: Apr 1st, 2009, 04:09
    Re: System Overload messages worse...
    A brief update: The song seems to be stopping mid-playback in pretty much the same place every time, with the 'sample' drive working hard and the CPU meter peaking into the red often in both the Disk I/O and Audio meters, the latter in the left core only. I have tried various other fixes, namely: plugging each drive into separate fw sockets on the computer rather than daisy-chaining, freezing all tracks, setting process buffer to large, re-formatting the audio drive, setting Re-Wire to Playback Mode, highlighting an audio rather than an audio instrument track during playback etc. Running out of options here. May need to scrap this 3-drive thing and put all the samples back on the internal as accessing the samples on the ext. drive does seem to be the problem somehow. A pity as I spent quite a lot on the best drive I could get specifically to improve performance and minimize these infuriating overload errors. Or migrate to another DAW without this apparent design flaw. Reluctant as I have been a Logic user ever since Notator on an Atari! However this situation is un-feasible.. :(
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  • Rounik Admin
    Posts: 8713
    Joined: Dec 16th, 2006, 08:13
    Re: System Overload messages worse...
    Hi Mark, How many tracks are you running? All audio or SI or mixed? If using Instruments, which ones and what about the number of insert plugins and which ones? Try setting the I/O Buffer Size to 512 as opposed Make any difference? I have tried running a similar setup to you in the past and noticed no perceivable difference from having a separate HD for Samples and a separate HD for recording. Remember the iMac has one FW bus only so you are sharing fw devices on one Bus. Have you done any disk maintenance procedures? [url]http://www.macprovideo.com/forum/general/general-general&id=13874[/url] A new fast external HD can help but it could be the case that your iMac can't handle the load you are placing on it. Every DAW and Mac will have a limit whereby it can't process all the information we throw at it - so changing DAW's may provide an interesting test situation. Also a good idea to make sure you have the latest drivers and updates for ALL your hardware and plugins. You do mention that a lot is going on in these tracks... can you provide more detail as to what that means. Thanks Rounik
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  • MarkDub
    Posts: 33
    Joined: Apr 1st, 2009, 04:09
    Re: System Overload messages worse...
    Hi Rounik This project has: 23 audio tracks, 6 of which are muted throughout. 19 Software instruments, 2 of which are muted, 1 of which contains the MIO Console for my ULN-2 interface. 25 Aux tracks, 10 for each instance of 2 EXS multi-out's. Instruments: 9 EXS24's, 2 of which are muted and 2 of which are the multi-out versions for the room and close drum kits. 1 Strings 1 Sculpture 6 ES2's 1 EVB3 Plugins (all native Logic): 19 Compressors 37 Channel EQ's 7 Platinum verbs, 1 on a bus 4 Space Designers 9 Direction Mixers 3 Stereo Delays 1 Sample Delay 1 Chorus, 1 Ensemble 1 Clip Distortion 1 High Cut 3 Guitar Amp Pro's 1 Gain 1 Exciter on a bus Several others bypassed on various tracks. Am I pushing my system here do you think? Although it perhaps reads like a lot I'm still well over the stated system requirements. I have tried 512 and lower buffer size. I have the latest drivers for everything afaik. I have repaired permissions and verified all disks. There are other measures at the end of that thread you linked to that I could also try. I wasn't aware the machine has only 1 FW bus, despite having 2 sockets. I presume that could well limit things resource-wise. Since posting I have brought all the samples back onto the internal drive and have been experiencing the same error, though perhaps not quite as badly; it's close however. So the problem doesn't seem to be to do with the 3-drive setup, though it may have aggravated it due perhaps to the single FW bus issue. I'm not in a position to test another DAW, or of course a more powerful machine with the same project. I've read of people experiencing these pesky System Overloads with 4 and even 8-core dream-machines, sometimes with relatively little happening track/plugin-wise. So although I would definitely consider a computer upgrade if that did indeed seem to be the problem I'd hate to shell out a fortune only to find the same issues cropping up. I do wonder if upgrading to Snow Leopard might be a part of the problem, although I do have the latest version. What do you think? I think that's all the detail I have for now(!) Many thanks Rounik. Mark
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  • MarkDub
    Posts: 33
    Joined: Apr 1st, 2009, 04:09
    Re: System Overload messages worse...
    One other thing. I also have a Macbook around the same vintage with 2 gb ram. Would it help if I use it as a Node? I haven't done that before but could that lighten the load on the iMac in a significant way? Thanks.
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  • Rounik Admin
    Posts: 8713
    Joined: Dec 16th, 2006, 08:13
    Re: System Overload messages worse...
    Hi Mark, Thanks for the extra info! Have you ever run a project that large/intensive before on the iMac? 2 things: 1. The Core Overload Error often is an indication that the machine is not powerful enough to cope with the project. 2. The Core Overload error can occasionally glitch out for no apparent reason. The good and bad news... I think your system is struggling and with that number of plugins I'm not too surprised. Can I suggest the following: - freeze some of the more intensive tracks. or - bounce them all to individual audio tracks and open them in a new project. The CPU meter should show more headroom. - Copy your project onto DVD & take it down to a local Apple store and ask if you can test it on a current iMac with Logic Pro. (The current models are quite powerful now). - Consider running One space designer on a bus instead of 4. - Open the EXS24 and ES2 etc and reduce the voices to one above the number of MIDI notes being triggered. - Run a repair permissions: [url]http://www.macprovideo.com/forum/general/general-general&id=13874[/url] - Definitely try out the Node with your Macbook! You need to have the same version of the Node software on both machines. It should be able to run some of the space designers at least! I know the iMac you are using very well. I had the same model. But although it is above the system spec. requirements, Apple don't (and can't) promise that it will necessarily run very well on all machines. Also take into consideration that your iMac is an older style Core2Duo which can hold a max of 3GB of ram. The newer ones have a different chip architecture which amongst other improvements allow them to hold 8 or even 16GB! When using a lot of SI's I'd recommend at least 4GB of ram. Lastly, how much free disk space do you have on your system drive? Oh, and I almost forgot, how are you muting tracks/instruments? Muted in the Mixer or Arrange (Mixer mute is more cpu efficient). And are the plugins are bypassed? Hope that helps Rounik
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  • MarkDub
    Posts: 33
    Joined: Apr 1st, 2009, 04:09
    Re: System Overload messages worse...
    Hi Rounik No, this is definitely the largest project I've worked on on the iMac. I have tried freezing all the tracks except the one I'm currently working on to no avail. As I understand it that suggests disk I/O rather than CPU problems? I'll try the bounce idea. I presume you mean to bounce each S.I. track to an audio one so they run as audio without all the instrument and effect plugins? Sounds like a good idea. Yes I've been looking at the current iMacs. They look like powerful machines alright, especially the quad-core ones. Good idea re. the test DVD. The problem with Space Designer is all 4 instances have different settings. However, they're on Instruments so if I bounce those tracks as you suggest maybe that won't be an issue anymore. Have repaired permissions a few times in this process. Will try out the other suggestions re. voices, Node etc. Yes, I have the machine maxed out at 3 gig ram. Sounds like that just isn't enough. I have 125 gigs free on the sys. drive and about 90 used at present, with the samples back on the int. drive. About 30 gigs more are freed up with the samples moved to the ext. drive. Can't remember how the tracks were originally muted but I'll make sure they're all mixer-muted. Some plugins bypassed within the effect GUI and others by alt-clicking in the arrange/mixer. Is there a difference? Of course all the tracks I listed are not playing simultaneously. Their use is distributed through the song as a whole, as I presume their respective CPU demand is. Unless they draw on resources even if they're not actually playing? Many thanks again Rounik. Hugely helpful as always. It makes such a difference being able to talk this stuff through with someone so knowledgeable. Mark
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  • Rounik Admin
    Posts: 8713
    Joined: Dec 16th, 2006, 08:13
    Re: System Overload messages worse...
    Hi Mark, I'll try and reply to all your points inline: [quote:]No, this is definitely the largest project I've worked on on the iMac. I have tried freezing all the tracks except the one I'm currently working on to no avail. As I understand it that suggests disk I/O rather than CPU problems?[/quote] You can experiment by freezing a few tracks - not necessarily all of them. But, basically it's so much less taxing on your Mac to playback stereo audio tracks than SI tracks with multiple effects etc. It's often to good practice to keep the original project, but bounce down or freeze completed / semi-completed parts. Freezing gives you the option to return to it easily and edit it when needed. [quote:]Yes I've been looking at the current iMacs. They look like powerful machines alright, especially the quad-core ones. Good idea re. the test DVD.[/quote] Yes, they look like beasts! Quad-core! Fantastic. I can't wait until MBP's become Quad-core in the future. We'll have to wait until they are available to see tests in real world Logic use... [quote:]The problem with Space Designer is all 4 instances have different settings. However, they're on Instruments so if I bounce those tracks as you suggest maybe that won't be an issue anymore.[/quote] I thought this might be the case. [quote:]Have repaired permissions a few times in this process. Will try out the other suggestions re. voices, Node etc. Yes, I have the machine maxed out at 3 gig ram. Sounds like that just isn't enough. I have 125 gigs free on the sys. drive and about 90 used at present, with the samples back on the int. drive. About 30 gigs more are freed up with the samples moved to the ext. drive.[/quote] Sounds like you have plenty of space free. I was thinking if you have less than 15-20GB free then to clear space! About RAM: There's a common theory that ram works much better in pairs... matched pairs. So 2 x 1GB pieces will apparently be more efficient than one 2GB and one 1GB. I never upgrade my iMac to 3GB but left it with two 1GB pieces as a result of this knowledge. [quote:]Can't remember how the tracks were originally muted but I'll make sure they're all mixer-muted. Some plugins bypassed within the effect GUI and others by alt-clicking in the arrange/mixer. Is there a difference?[/quote] No that's all good. The Two ways to bypass (alt-click and within GUI) have the same result. [quote:]Of course all the tracks I listed are not playing simultaneously. Their use is distributed through the song as a whole, as I presume their respective CPU demand is. Unless they draw on resources even if they're not actually playing?[/quote] They shouldn't do - but sometimes there will be a buffer that Logic needs to apply in order to have the plugin effect the sound after it's been triggered. It's complicated stuff and to do with the under the hood stuff in Logic. [quote:]Many thanks again Rounik. Hugely helpful as always. It makes such a difference being able to talk this stuff through with someone so knowledgeable. Mark [/quote] Your most welcome Mark! I hope you find some of the tips will give your iMac a new lease of life. btw, if you pop to your local Apple store they will try to convince you to buy a Mac Pro... ;-)
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  • MarkDub
    Posts: 33
    Joined: Apr 1st, 2009, 04:09
    Re: System Overload messages worse...
    Hi Rounik Oh, I wish I could afford a Mac Pro! No doubt that's the real solution. However the new iMacs do seem like a very good compromise. But I'm going to see what I can do to maximize what I've got first before I go down that road. I'm especially going to try using my Macbook as a Node, as well as all the other strategies you've suggested. About the Ram: I was running for a long time with a 2 GB and one of the original 512 sticks (it came with two = 1GB) so I decided to replace the latter with a 1 GB. So hopefully it should be a bit more efficient than before. Wish I'd known about the matched pairs before I did the first upgrade, which cost a fortune at the time. So by this logic, perhaps it would be better to have 2 x 2 GB sticks instead, even if the machine can't use the 4th GB? I'll look into that option. I get what you're saying about bouncing and freezing etc. Yes, all in all your tips have been hugely helpful in trying to resolve this annoying and time-consuming problem. I want to get back to actually working on my music! Thanks again Rounik. Mark
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