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Pro Tools 9 (HD Native) Performance Test February 16, 2011

Posted by ConnorSmith in : Avid, Pro Tools, Studio Setup , trackback

Let’s keep it going with the Pro Tools 9 theme.

Today I’d like to explore the benchmark performance of Pro Tools 9 (specifically Native HD – although since it’s still all native, it should be a fairly valid test of non-Native HD systems as well).  For me, the performance has been excellent and robust with few exceptions.

For the record, this is the computer I am using to test:

I chose to use a project file that was fairly processor-intensive when I was still on Pro Tools 8.  This is an 88.2/24 session, with 56 tracks.  One thing to note is that in Pro Tool’s Setup>Playback Engine menu, I do recommend selecting one less processing core than you have available (so in this test, since I have an 8-core, I choose “7 processors”).  This frees up one processor for OS and other processing and makes things run much better.  There is a lot of automation of volume faders, sends, and plug-in parameters. 

Plug-ins are running natively, on the UAD2, and on the Duende – here are the specific counts:

While I’ve seen/used sessions that are larger with more plug-ins, I feel confident that this is fairly close to a universally “large mix” for most home and project studio owners.  I also did have the (Short) Delay Compensation Engine running.

I set the buffer to 64 samples (which on the Avid hardware means unbelievably low latency for a Native system) and started playback – the whole song was OK.  From there, I started adding plug-in instances during playback to “jog” the system.  I had 1 or 2 momentary hiccups here, but nothing serious (no crashes etc. – I’ll talk about problems later on).  I also made new audio tracks and recorded 4 at a time in (more than I’d usually do simultaneously for post-mix overdubs) with no problems.

Below is a screenshot (of as much of the mixer as I could fit on a screen!) of a very intense part of the song with lots of automation going and the most tracks playing back simultaneously.  As you can see, we are just above 60% on CPU usage.

Pro Tools HD Native performance @ 64 Sample Buffer

 To be honest, I would rarely ever go to 64 samples during a mix – and with Low Latency Mode available for recording tracks, I could stay at a higher buffer regardless.  The purpose of this test was simple to push things to the extreme to see how they would fall.  Overall, I can’t ask much more out of this Native DAW – it performs extremely well.

Things that make HD Native have errors (as you’ll notice, they are all when playback is engaged):

In summary – just stop playback before making major changes, and everything will remain happy.  Pro Tools 9 seems more efficient than Pro Tools 8 in terms of handling computer resources.  It has been very stable with few errors and crashes.

Having problems with your system’s Pro Tools 9 performance?  Let me know about your system here and we’ll make it work!


The Studio Files


1. The Studio Files » Review: Avid Pro Tools HD Native 9 - February 16, 2011

[…] EDIT: Head over to the new review post HERE where I do a more controlled benchmarking test of Pro T…Right here, I was sold on the power and features of HD Native, especially since I was at one of the lowest buffer settings for a huge mix.  While it probably wouldn’t work at a or post house or studio requiring bigger counts (as those situations could require far more computer resources, much larger I/O, ability to track larger numbers during mixdown, etc.), from a small to mid-sized music studio’s perspective, this is the holy grail. […]

2. Shaun - August 12, 2011

Hello im running pro tools 9 on a new Mac book pro 15 inch quad core 2.2. With 8gigs of ram. What would be the best engine playback setting.

3. Avid Pro Tools HD Native: Confused? | Santisound, Inc - December 5, 2011

[…] more references check out these reviews, Sound on Sound, Audio Fanzine, and Mix Blog. The Studio Files blog has a very in depth performance review, check it out. In March, Kevin Becka at Mix had an […]

4. flauzio82 - March 27, 2012

hello all

in August last year I purchased the Pro Tools HD Native 9.05. So far everything went well. The only thing I lament is the fact that it can not record with 32 and 64 samples buffersize. both during recording and playback have several peaks, and it is practically impossible Work it. If the port invecie buffersize to 128 or more, the system does not crash but I have the latency problem. Someone happened?

p.s. I’m using a mac pro quad-core intel xeon 2.66Ghz & 3GB Ram memory mac os 10.6.4.

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