[MK3] Crackling and popping using just one group (Intel i5-8250U)

japas
japas Member Posts: 4 Sine
edited April 7 in Maschine

Hi everyone,

I purchased a Maschine MK3 in January and I love it... when it's usable. Usually sessions do not take long before sound starts popping and crackling due to high CPU usage. I've tried messing around with Sample rate and Buffer size to no avail. My laptops specs are the following:

Lenovo Thinkpad T480 - Windows 10 Pro 64 bits

Intel Core i5-8250U @ 1.60GHz

20 GB Ram

So it's not an old computer by any means. Right now I'm working on a project and I loaded one group (from a Maschine Expansion), made a basic loop and it's popping and crackling on playback. It's just three piano chords. I have literally closed every piece of sowftware on the computer, it's just the Maschine software that's open, and it still shows the cpu spiking. I have no idea what to do. I'm not using any effects or VSTs. What could be happening? For comparison, I'm showing the CPU usage shown in the windows task manager versus the one in Maschine software (it doesn't really show that well in the picture, but it's spiking). I'm at a loss here. Very thankful in advance for your help and advice.

Answers

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 678 Saw

    Your computer is not very strong. At the picture of Task Manager it runs under base clock speed. So I guess the cooling of CPU is one of the problems. Either by poor design of notebook or by aging.

    You may get it checked in service and also use cooling pad below the notebook.

    But generally, your notebook is very weak for music production, anyway.....

  • japas
    japas Member Posts: 4 Sine

    I'm kind of dissapointed by your response. I just fully produced an EP on Live with no problems, loading several tracks, plugins and virtual instruments. I purchased Maschine as a way to improve my workflow for my future musical production. I understand these are two different pieces of software and that they won't behave the same, but I'm baffled that I was able to produce 8 different tracks with no issues whatsoever and that the Maschine software is struggling with a basic loop using just one instrument. Could something else be the issue? I truly don't think an 8th gen i5 is just too weak to handle this, because a lot more people would be having problems, right?

  • ShelLuser
    ShelLuser NetherlandsMember Posts: 133 Tri

    Well, the i5 isn't exactly the strongest CPU so there's that, but there's a bit more context required here...

    How exactly are you using Maschine? Stand alone or within another DAW? Also.. what audio interface are you using? Do I assume right that you're now using the Maschine controller for this? But if so: are you also using the provided ASIO drivers?

    And in addition to that: have you tried to grab the latest drivers from the NI website yet?

    Seems they're having problems right now, but... yah.

  • japas
    japas Member Posts: 4 Sine

    Thank you very much for your response. I am not using maschine as a standalone (as I don't own the Maschine+), but I am using the Maschine 2 Software, without any other DAW. I am using a Scarlett Focusrite 2i2 interface with the ASIO Drivers, altough the problem persists if I use the Maschine controller. Both the firmware and drivers are up to date.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 678 Saw
    edited April 7

    @japas

    Well, you wrote that it is without dropouts for some time. And than dropouts start.... And your CPU is 1,6GHz. But it runs 1.32 GHz on the screenshot....

    So, most probably cooling of CPU has problems. As 1.6 is base frequency and CPU is able run faster. But it runs 300 MHz slower than base...

    i5 (4C/8T) running at 1.3 GHz is weak CPU. I cannot help. Difference between Maschine and Ableton is that Maschine is able to use only 50% of CPU (if it has hyperthreading...).

    Beside defficient cooling of CPU and rather weak CPU, there might be other reasons. Heavy effects used in Maschine, old drivers, not using ASIO driver, .....

    If you want, upload your Maschine project, so that is more clear how heavy it is. Also look at individual cores load and not to overall load. There might be overload of just one CPU core....

  • D-One
    D-One PortugalModerator Posts: 415 mod
    edited April 7

    1- Start by checking your power saving options in Windows, it often helps a LOT, turn it all off and see if it gets a bit better. You can also just delete the extra stuff on those kits you're not using, Massive is loaded on Pad 16 for example, that will help a bit.

    Buying laptops advertised as "Business" models for Music is generally a very bad idea, what that really means is the laptop is mainly designed to do office work, spreadsheets, emails, etc... basic non CPU intensive stuff.

    Any lower-end or old Intel CPU followed by a "U" should be avoided, it means Ultra Low Power; "Y" is even worst, what this means in practical terms is the focus of the CPU is to save power, not performance (which makes sense for light office work + portability.)

    I have an old laptop with a CPU with similar performance and it sucks for Maschine, I tried loading both those Kits from your screenshot and it's also unusable below a buffer of 224. My DAW does a lot better than Maschine does, 🤷‍♂️ I won't get into why that is tho but I recently bought a better laptop, if you try the solutions above and still get ***** performance you might have no options other upgrading, consider AMD, at least the models from a couple of years ago are cheaper than intel's.... up to you.


    @ShelLuser said:

    Well, the i5 isn't exactly the strongest CPU so there's that

    Yeah, in a simplified view only... The more you go back in the past the more that is true but for recent years not so much... the range of i5's is huge. Sometimes it feels like the tech giants complicate things on purpose to confuse consumers. What used to separate i5 from i7 was hyperthreading support, usually core-count, higher cache, etc... but nowadays you can have all that in I5's, and many have very very good performance, there are 6-core i5's now and those can crush older i7's.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 678 Saw

    @japas

    I have loaded those two kits and played few notes. It loads my CPU to 6% (or so). I have AMD Ryzen 7 5700G (8C/16T) that runs this project at 4.1 GHz). It is not top CPU by any means, it may be considered as one of top CPUs for notebook, at most... Still, it has roughly six, seven times more (2x cores, 3x clock and probably higher IPC) CPU power than your setup...

    6 x 6% makes 36%, Maschine 2 is able to use up to 50%. In your case at least one core would be overloaded and so dropouts happen even if Maschine is not hitting 50%.

    I am not sure what Ableton does with sheduling load of Maschine, maybe if you run Maschine as pugin in Ableton it will work better. I do not know, if it has any chance to help, I do not use Ableton or other DAW, just Maschine 2 standalone.

  • japas
    japas Member Posts: 4 Sine

    Thank you all for your thoughtful responses.

    I had no idea about the "U" models. Sadly I got the laptop before I got into music production. I now understand that this processor is far less powerful than I thought. Apologies for that @Kubrak. I've since tweaked all the windows settings I can, including the CPU cap in the BIOS, and it has gotten a little bit better (altough not that much). Since I don't have the money to upgrade my setup for a while, I'm learning about some workarounds so I can still use my MK3 in a creative manner. In case anyone has a similar problem, this has been incredibly helpful: https://youtu.be/7AHidpGsZzg

    Granted, it lacks the flexbility of working with MIDI and editing on the go, but is far less taxing on the CPU. If your ideas change over time, you can always sample the instrument again. I haven't used Maschine as a plugin inside Ableton yet, but I'll hopefully give it a go in the weekend and report back.

    Thank you all for your support and advice, it's been very helpful.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 678 Saw

    @japas

    I got the laptop before I got into music production. I now understand that this processor is far less powerful than I thought. Apologies for that @Kubrak.

    I had similar problem many years ago, when I started. I bought just for music i7 notebook to find fast that it is rather weak for bigger projects than small ones. (While it was i7 it had only 2 cores, but running double speed than yours, so it had computing power similar like yours notebook.)

    Some plugins may be pretty CPU hungry, others RAM hungry. Depending on what one does, requirements may be similar like for gaming computer, except for GPU. There is not need for strong GPU.

    What you can do is to increase audio buffer. But it increases latency. One must find a compromise between crackles and latency....

  • maha79
    maha79 Member Posts: 1 Noise

    I'm using a Lenovo ThinkPad E470 but with a Intel Core i7-7500U running at 2.9 GHz. With default power-settings running on battery it's almost impossible to do anything i Maschine 2. But when i plug in the charger and it starts to run at full speed I can do A LOT before I hit the roof. I tried to look up some comparision to your processor and it seems they are comparable? Are you running it plugged in when testing?

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 678 Saw

    Japas' CPU runs at 1.32 GHz, less than half the speed of your CPU.

    But you may be right that he runs it from battery and not plugged in. His CPU clock is way low.

  • D-One
    D-One PortugalModerator Posts: 415 mod

    @maha79 You got half the cores but at double the base Clock... On paper, the performance should be around the same ballpark, actually, the OP's i5 should be a tiny bit better depending on application, that's why I recommended checking the power saving options and configuring the laptop for performance.

    https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i7-7500U-vs-Intel-Core-i5-8250U/m171274vsm338266

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 678 Saw

    I guess, two strong Cores may be way better than four much weaker. If one of the threads needs more CPU power, than weak CPU is able to deliver....

    I agree with you that CPU runs at suspiciously low frequency, so maybe power management is not set correctly.

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