Any New tips or tricks to make sure Maschine/PC/Audio Interface interact well?

August Alchemy
August Alchemy Member Posts: 21 Member
edited May 2022 in Maschine

I've been a user since 2011, so I know all of the NI optimization techniques and audio techniques but we all know that even with doing those things sometimes you have problems.

SO anyway, I've built a new pc.

i9 12900k / 64gb ram / 2Tb m.2 hardrive / 1Tb m.2 hardrive / Windows 10 pro / Onboard graphics with MSI MAG z690 - Presonus Studiolive Ar12c interface.

I've disabled any drivers that may conflict, didn't install anything extra, just music Software.

I'm pretty sure you know where this is heading. With a computer that powerful I'm still getting cpu spikes in Maschine on extremely simple tracks . I don't get the spikes in Studio One and not In Soundforge or Abelton Lite, but I do get them in Maschine.

If I'm working consistently on a track for a week or so it will work itself out but if I take a day or two break, meaning the PC is either asleep or turned off. The pops and cracks come back with CPU spikes. All auto hibernation and sleep modes are turned off and I'm using Ultimate performance power plan.

I've done the latencymon, task manger thing and the pc is not even showing 5 % utilization, with no driver issues or anything. It's basically telling me that I'm barely using the PC's resources but yet Maschine has random spikes.

I have wifi disabled, I do have ethernet connected but I never use the internet while producing. No virus protection, etc. etc.

I haven't done any overclocking or anything like that. I shouldn't have to.

So I'm thinking it's the driver and Maschine together. Any feedback on those two combinations? Also is there an interface with rock solid drivers that work with windows and Maschine. I'm willing to go that route also. I can use the Presonus for something else even though I just bought it.

I just need this to be stable for once or I'm afraid after 11 years I'll have to start using something else exclusively.



  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,788 Expert

    I do not have Intel CPU for reason, I have AMD.... So, no practical experience. But what comes to my mind is "efficiency" cores of 12th gen. Intels... Have you tried to switch them off? There is pretty high memory latency if the thread moves between performance and efficiency cores.... It could make "CPU" spikes.

  • Sequencesounds
    Sequencesounds Member Posts: 62 Helper
    edited May 2022

    Just bumping this thread as I would also like to discuss Maschine CPU usage - same old issue that has been discussed for years.

    I am using approx. 20-25% of my CPU according to Process Lasso and yet Maschine is basically unusable with breakups at even 1048 buffer size

    Making a version of the same project in Reaper - same plugins etc shows 20-25% CPU in Reaper CPU window - no issues at all!

    Why is Maschine so CPU inefficient?

    I am now thinking of totally changing to another DAW because it is so bad - which will be a massive job to move my entire live set

    Thinking of upgrading my laptop - but terrifying to read that even the OP's massively powerful set up - 'i9 12900k / 64gb ram / 2Tb m.2 hardrive / 1Tb m.2 hardrive / Windows 10 pro / Onboard graphics with MSI MAG z690 - Presonus Studiolive Ar12c interface.' is still having issues!

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,788 Expert

    Maschine uses only 50% CPU power (if core has hyperthreading). Hard to say why... That is for sure.

    And maybe is not sufficiently optimized to distribute computation load to individual cores so that they are loaded evenly and not some overloaded and some not so much....

    i9 12900K is strong CPU, but introduces big.little concept to x86 platform. And programs are not developed and optimized for such a change. OS may aid applications to some extent, but the difference between big and little cores is rather big. It may cause and causes problems to some of applications that are not prepared for such a case...

    I use AMD Zen3 APU Ryzen7 5700G (8C/16T cca. 4 GHz in full load), 64 GB RAM (overkill for my use, 32 GB would do), 2 x 1TB M.2 SSD, Win10 Pro. I will add 2 x 2 TB HDD...

    And no problem with Maschine. And I make relatively big and CPU hungry projects. 5700G CPU is concerning CPU power in between M1 and M1Pro. And even better Zen3+ for notebooks is already available and Zen4 should come in half year, or so.

  • Sequencesounds
    Sequencesounds Member Posts: 62 Helper
    edited May 2022

    @Kubrak If you have a second, could you explain 'big.little concept' for Intels?

    I have heard people talk about this, but dont understand the difference it makes for Intel vs AMD or Mac M1

    This article

    suggest that big.little is a good thing on 'both single-threaded and most multithreaded benchmarks'

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,788 Expert
    edited May 2022

    12th (last) gen of Intels uses two kinds of cores. Big and powerfull ones (generally the ´normal´ ones) and efficient ones (generally much slower ones). The concept has been introduced in tablets/mobiles/wearables where power efficiency is very important.

    Also Apple M1 has it.

    It may be good or bad thing. Depends on HW implementation and also SW. Intel´s implementation does not seem to me be very good. The cores (big and little) do not have the same instruction set (abilities), they do not share the same cache and difference between big and little is too big.

    And so, x86 software may need to be aware of CPU ´quirkiness´ in some cases to run effectively...

    I guess Maschine is not aware of big.little or not very much. Definitely, I doubt it would be optimized to run seamlessly on big little. NI is focused to make their SW run on M1, so if they addressed 12th gen Intels at all, it would be just some kind of patch so that it somehow runs, I guess.

    The thing is, that Intel has been lagging behind AMD and needed to do something. Big.little let them have high singlecore on few cores (they are big, but also sort of factory overclocked - so powerhungry) and many cores that are rather weak (small ones, that run on low clock and so not power hungry). It may be OK for many applications, but not so good for music if SW does not know anything about big.little and assumes all cores are aproximately the same... And there is also the peciluarity of cache that SW needs to take in account. It should not schedule threads from big to little and vice versa. It introduces unwanted latencies as cache data have to be coppied as big and little do not share the same cache. (Similar problem with cache had AMD Zen1 CPUs that introduced chiplets and each chiplet had its own cache...)

    Big.little is not bad thing, AMD will adapt it in Zen5 architecture (coming 2023/24), but all cores will have the same instruction set and little will be weaker, but not rather weak. It will be comparable to Intel´s 12th gen big... And it is expectable that all cores (big-little) will share the same cache (AMD has learned from Zen1 split cache problems/inefficiencies).

    So, in short, I do not have evidence, but I am pretty sure that musical (time critical) SW must be tailored for Intel´s 12th gen CPU. Otherwise it may face problems. NI has/had multithreading problems with Traktor on M1. I do not know, but I guess it was due to big.little.


    Concerning that article, you linked. The thing is that i9 eats 50% more than Zen9 to gain 2% computing power more... It is because ´performance´ cores are in fact running on the edge of technological limits and are heavily factory overclocked (running way off reasonable CPU clock values). Hi CPU power consumption is the inevitable result.... If one would overclock Ryzen9, it would beat i9 multithreaded...

  • Sequencesounds
    Sequencesounds Member Posts: 62 Helper

    Thanks to @Kubrak for the detailed explainer!

    Much appreciated!

    Returning back to the OP's point - why is he experiencing problems?

    And what kind of computer do we actually need to run Machine without issues?

    He has a computer that is immensely powerful

    He can run Ableton and Studio One without issue (add my own experience of Reaper to the list)

    So why can't this super-pc run Maschine?

    I myself have a 11th Gen i5 - accepted it is not the most powerful laptop out there.

    But as I said, I can run a version of the same project in Reaper - same plugins etc with 20-25% CPU in Reaper CPU window - no issues at all!

    I almost feel that whatever I buy, I will have an issue with Maschine CPU use - if @August Alchemy gets it with his build, then there does not seem to be much hope!

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,788 Expert

    I do not know, what is OP´s problem. It may be related to big.little, or not. He has to test it.... The other source of problems may be insufficient cooling of CPU (clock speed has to drop down for a while to cool down the core under the load). Generally, it should run Maschine well, if there is not problem with big.little and/or cooling.

    Maschine is able to use only 50% of CPU power, Ableton, Studio One, Reaper probably 100%.

    If you need notebook, have a look at new Zen3+ notebooks (Ryzen 6000 family), or wait for Zen4 notebooks (7000 family) that may come in half a year to year.

    As I wrote, I have AMD Zen3 APU Ryzen7 5700G and no problems. I use ASRock MiniPC. It is small format (15x15x8 cm) and silent.

  • August Alchemy
    August Alchemy Member Posts: 21 Member
    edited May 2022

    Thanks @Kubrak for the suggestion. I admit I'm not a computer guy but I did what I could in The bios to turn off the E-cores. I couldn't find where I could switch off all of them but I could activate just 1. So I ran a 8 (P-Core) + 1 (E+Core) with everything the same.

    There were good news and bad news, The performance at least in Maschine was better. Maschine's CPU meter was down to nothing for most of the time. Actual CPU utilization went up to about 9 to 12 percent. But then boom, the driver dropped out completely. PC was fine, but the driver for the Studiolive stopped working. I opened Ableton and it couldn't find the driver either anymore. So I restarted the interface, everything came back but because I had Ableton opened, I just decided to test it and it performed poorly now. Pops and cracks, etc. etc. Opened machine,,,good for awhile then once again the driver dropped.

    SO I went back to default setting to just retest everything and Ableton was good again, but Maschine sucked.

    Your 50% statement got me thinking. Maschine sucks at distributing computation load. I noticed in task manager that it used 1 core to death. 80% or so. You mentioned hyperthreading. Would turning that off help? That maybe my next test. How about Speed stepping. Should that be turned off also?

    The problem I have with all of this is that I have no problem with ableton. So if any of those steps help with Maschine but then hurt my performance there ( like the e-core test) then I'm back to ground zero.

    I'm going to test one simple thing first before I try to disable hyperthreading and I'll post my results. Thanks for your help. wish I had gone with AMD now,.lol.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,788 Expert

    Yes, it looks to me like that Maschine has problems with big.little. Does not expect one or more core might be substantially different.

    I do not know, how to switch off them all. I guess, Intel has provided some kind of utility to do it. Little core caused problems with many games and all of little cores had to be switched off for games to run.

    Maybe to switch off hyperthreading might also help. It is also new concept that some cores have hyperthreading and some do not. It may confuse Maschine SW in some way. Maybe....

    I am affraid, there is not good solution for you, now. I guess NI will adress it and Maschine will run OK on 12th gen Intels. The fix might come with M1 native port for Apple. NI has to address big.little there, so might also address it for x86. I guess.

    Try contact NI Support. You cannot be the only to face problems. There might have some kind of solution/advice ready. Or the problem is something different.

  • runagate
    runagate Member Posts: 5 Member

    The DAC/DSP of your sound card are what matters for purposes of lowering latency without the audio breaking apart, along with the sample rate and bit depth you've chosen. There are other factors, such as whether you've disabled exclusive mode (almost always a good idea) for the audio driver, but with what you describe able the CPU/RAM/SSD specs are far in excess of anything you have to worry about, no matter the manufacturer. You can rule your PC specs out as a factor. Each sound card will have a minimum buffer size below which (at a given sample rate/bit depth) it's not going to perform well below, and the more audio things you have going on (whether that be simultaneous tracks or fx chains and such) the higher that buffer will need to be.

    Given that it's presonus and thus probably pretty damned good, I am going to guess that you're somehow not using the ASIO driver for it (never use Windows audio) or exclusive mode is turned on. It's certainly not something unique to that audio interface, each seems to have it's own quirks you need to tune and it's always a pain to do so. I myself use a Zoom UAC due to the fact it uses an XMOS chip for DAC/DSP and thus gets way lower latency than most things under 5x the cost.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,788 Expert

    It may be also audiointerface problem, but the thing is, that OP has problems just in Maschine, not other SW...

  • Sequencesounds
    Sequencesounds Member Posts: 62 Helper
    edited May 2022

    I'll spin this off to another topic if I need to, but a fairly basic question is:

    If Maschine is believed to 'only use 50% of CPU'

    Why does Maschine register close to 100% CPU when using 25% in Task Manager, 80% when system is 20% etc

    Surely it should use 50% before it gets to 100% in Maschine

    Seems like Maschine is actually only using 25% of CPU, which is crazy

    In the screenshot below, you can see around 80% of CPU is being used in Macshine - while Process Lasoo reports that its only using 20% system CPU

    Is this normal behaviour?

    PS, my spec is MK3 on Win 10 / 11th gen i5 / 16gb RAM using Maschine as standalone program. Internet off, antivirus off, all steps in NI guide to optimization gone through. Latmon displays no issues. Buffer set to 1048ms

  • Sequencesounds
    Sequencesounds Member Posts: 62 Helper
    edited May 2022

    @August Alchemy

    The program 'Process Lassoo' has the ability to specify which cores a individual program runs on

    It also, apparently can disable hyperthreading

    I do not know if that will be of any help to you

  • August Alchemy
    August Alchemy Member Posts: 21 Member
    edited May 2022

    Ok,,,, everyone thanks for all the advice. The conversations alone brought up so many things that I was able to test and do further research on. I MAY,,,,and I say MAY have found the problem with my set up. I can't say this will work for everyone.

    Anyways, I noticed in Task manager that Maschine used the 8th cpu core and maybe the tenth and that's it. Everything else was PARKED. Sometimes even the core it was using would say parked briefly and then go to 80 percent usage. Now the total cpu usage was still just 3% but the individual core graphs just didn't look right to me. Plus I had no idea what Parked meant.

    The parked core is Intels way of saving power by not using cores until needed. With Ableton or Studio One this isn't a problem , I don't know why. But with Maschine it is. So I went into Bios and disabled SpeedStepping and C-state. These two features were doing two things. Keeping my base speed to 3.2 GHZ until it absolutely needed and parked cores of which (my speculation) Maschine doesn't like.

    When I disabled Speedsteping alone, I saw a big difference. I was able to open up 24 to 30 random kits on as many scenes, have them all playing,, muting, changing fx's,doing random manual automation, etc. etc with absolutely no change in Maschine's cpu meter and more importantly no pops, crackles or drop outs from the Presonus. I was running everything at 44.1 and 512 buffer size. What was also a big change was that in task manager I can see Maschine spread out over all 24 logical processors evenly.

    Now I do have a couple of negative things that hopefully won't be a problem. My processors base seems to be 4.35ghz or so now even when it's idling. I have some serious air cooling going on with a noctua nh-d15 and four other case fans. During that wild testing session my pc still didn't get above 50c and it idles at 35c. So hopefully I won't run into any heating problems. Everything looks good temperature wise so far.

    I'm going to test this in real life scenarios for a week and keep everyone informed.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,788 Expert
    edited May 2022

    @August Alchemy

    Parked means, it sleeps, core is off.

    One important thing came to my mind.... You should use Win11!!!! Win10 CPU scheduler does not handle 12th gen Intels right. Unless it has been changed quite recently.... But I guess not, as MS wants to push users to W11...

    From what you describe, Maschine has problems understanding 12th gen Intels on your system. Using Win10 may be one of the causes....

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