Pharlight unusable performance?

basehead617 Member Posts: 126 Advisor
edited November 2023 in Kontakt

I'm on a 16-core Mac Pro 7,1 w/96 gb ram + a UA Apollo Thunderbolt.

I wanted to try out the Pharlight Kontakt instrument (in Kontakt 7) but it's basically unusable. Even at 256 and 512 sample latency, it overloads the CPU with a single 5-note chord voicing, nothing else in the (48khz) session..

I've tried PT + AAX, Logic + AU, Maschine + VST3. Same performance throughout. Tried various Kontakt and DAW settings.

A single note shows the plugin as using 60-70 voices, which may relate to the issue, but has anyone been able to use this thing at all?


  • basehead617
    basehead617 Member Posts: 126 Advisor

    I see there's various threads in the internet last year about the *light plugins being CPU hogs, even people with the high end AMD cpus complaining about not being able to really use them, or using them for single note lines mainly.

    A shame as they sound quite nice but unfortunately are completely unusable in practice.

  • Kymeia
    Kymeia Member Posts: 3,489 Expert

    It's definitely one of the heavier ones I have but if it's any consolation it is usable on something like an M1 Max - I get around 25% of one core for 5-6 note chords (also at 48 and 128 buffer size), and of course if I add tracks in Logic they each get assigned to different cores so I can get several instances before things start to get completely unusable. The developers must have been pushing their computers to the limits though as I think the first of these came out before M1 was widely available.

  • Jojo123
    Jojo123 Member Posts: 220 Advisor

    Yep, Ive seen a number of comments from people on reasonably beefy systems with this. My computer (Intel iMac 8 core w 40GB RAM is the same. On the heavier presets its 1 note and thats it or the core hits the top. Other presets are not so bad and can get 4 or 5 notes. Definitely pays to watch the Performace Meter when you load up a Light preset.

  • Mr Mahogany
    Mr Mahogany Member Posts: 3 Member

    I got Fairlight before I got a new computer and on my 6 core Intel it was impossible. A few months back I got a i7-13700K  3.40 GHz 16 core and it runs most patches but with wild consumption. Mentally I gave up on it .Somewhere I saw an interesting point that a lot of these instruments are programmed with tons of FX built into the patches so they'll always be hogs. You can load an instance , go into a patch and turn off all fx you can; thats worked for me.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,761 Expert

    Light Series is CPU intensive because of intensive FX using. Lots of reverb use....

    But still, I can use two instances of Pharlight on rather weak passively cooled MS Surface 7 Pro. It has 4C/8T clocked only 2+ GHz. And using AMD APU 8C/16T at 4+ GHz I may run up to 8 maybe even 10 instances of Pharlight....

    So, it is CPU hungry, but it is usable on decent computer.

    My guess is that your problems are probably caused by big.little architecture of Apple Silicon chips and last few generations of Intel chips.....

    OS probably allocates Light thread on e-cores that do not have enought computing power.... PC users on Intel may try to switch e-cores off or use application like Lasso that allows user to set core afinities per application.

    On Mac I do not know, but it seems to me that there is no thirdparty app to do those things. Also I have read that it is impossible for programmer to set affinity to threads or choose what cores will application use and everything has to be left on Apple.....

    So, Apple has to do its homework....

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