2020 DAW shootout

Plug-in hosts and other software applications discussion
machinesworking
KVRAF
2331 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Post Thu Apr 02, 2020 10:56 pm

THE INTRANCER wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:22 pm
Both Ableton & Bitwig, being less CPU efficient in comparison to the other DAWs, is pretty well known by most people I would think... They are tweaked or balanced in a different direction to other larger DAWs... and that's probably to keep the cogs running the best they can.
I dunno, I think they sort of shoot themselves in the foot a bit, I own and use both Live and Bitwig, but if other DAWs can do the things they can, and still not suffer the CPU hit, it makes it seem rather pointless. Both are fantastic at working with a lot of MIDI controller information coming in without seeming to stutter, but even Reaper can do that not too shabbily. I'm not convinced anymore that the CPU hit has to be that high, all the other DAWs I use are fairly closely comparable CPU hit wise, but it's very substantial compared.

.jon
KVRAF
5552 posts since 9 Jul, 2002 from Helsinki

Re: 2020 DAW shootout

Post Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:04 pm

machinesworking wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:45 pm
your numbers don't make any sense. Do you have the same audio card settings for both Live and Reaper? In no test I've ever done does Live beat any DAW besides Bitwig, and that's a matter of version numbers who wins.

In Reaper the only way I could get anywhere near as bad of a result would be to turn audio processing threads to 2, and turn off Anticipative FX processing. In Fact I can get only 6 on a 12 core machine with Anticipative FX processing turned off, but 63 with it on.
I'm sorry but they do make much more sense than yours,there aren't huge differences in the amount of VSTs you can run between hosts. The plugins requires the CPU to make the same exact computations to produce the same sound, there is no magic available to host applications to reduce the CPU cycles these computations take.

Settings were the same for both (audio interface settings are locked from the DAWs and managed by the ESI control panel).

To me it looks like both Bitwig and Live fail to utilize your dual CPU setup properly. As you can see, the number of plugin instances in this test is directly proportional to the number of cores available- our CPUs (similar clock speed) run as many instances per core, you just have a lot more available which explains the numbers.

AnX
KVRAF
7078 posts since 17 Nov, 2015

Re: 2020 DAW shootout

Post Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:19 pm

it would seem your pc spec is more crucial than your host... pointless test really, too many variables to produce quantifiable data

machinesworking
KVRAF
2331 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Re: 2020 DAW shootout

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:49 am

.jon wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:04 pm
I'm sorry but they do make much more sense than yours,there aren't huge differences in the amount of VSTs you can run between hosts. The plugins requires the CPU to make the same exact computations to produce the same sound, there is no magic available to host applications to reduce the CPU cycles these computations take.

Settings were the same for both (audio interface settings are locked from the DAWs and managed by the ESI control panel).
This is just dead wrong.
There are basically two main tiers with DAWs.
Live, Bitwig etc. are in their own category, that use vastly more CPU. This is probably due to the way they treat tracks and interaction with tracks. In Bitwig and Live pretty much all tracks are treated as active, there's little extra buffering of unarmed tracks. Everything is treated as 'live'.

The second category is the more traditional DAW approach, DP, Logic, Reaper, Cubase etc.
These DAWs almost to a one use some sort of buffer, or pre rendering of tracks that are not currently armed for recording. This significantly increases track counts, and for years Logic was the king of the hill. Reaper currently is, and DP has caught up. Previous to version 9 of DP it was around 80% of what Logic or Reaper could do. Same with Cubase, for years Cubase had significant CPU hits at any buffer size besides 1076 on OS X, making it difficult to work in, a couple years ago they improved it and track counts increased.

You're just really misinformed here, this is all well known, it's not any mystery. What is a mystery is how you're getting such terrible results with Reaper? I'm not really a Reaper user, mostly DP and Bitwig, and Live since 2004, but I'm not unaware of its CPU consumption.


To me it looks like both Bitwig and Live fail to utilize your dual CPU setup properly. As you can see, the number of plugin instances in this test is directly proportional to the number of cores available- our CPUs (similar clock speed) run as many instances per core, you just have a lot more available which explains the numbers.
No that's not it. These tests are the same on a single quad core i7 here, Live VS Reaper, Reaper is always almost twice as many plug ins VS Live. With Live mostly clocking in around 60-70% of other DAWs.

Anticipative FX Processing, Under Preferences, Audio, Buffering> The default setting is on, and 200ms. If this is off it explains your poor numbers with Reaper. The other issue might be armed for recording tracks, Reaper does badly with armed tracks as Anticipative FX Processing doesn't work on those.

machinesworking
KVRAF
2331 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Re: 2020 DAW shootout

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:51 am

AnX wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:19 pm
it would seem your pc spec is more crucial than your host... pointless test really, too many variables to produce quantifiable data
See my reply above.

You can get just fine data, but I'm getting the impression the only way that it can really work is detailed explanations on how to run the test in each DAW.

jonljacobi
KVRian
1460 posts since 16 Jan, 2013 from USA

Re: 2020 DAW shootout

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:53 am

In addition to this, shouldn’t there be some discussion of what the audio engines are actually doing or are optimized for? For instance, Live’s in my experience never lags at start or stop, while Logic’s will. Last time I checked, Bitwig couldn’t start playback of mixed warped and non-warped audio in the middle of a clip, etc. There may be different design goals and considerations, or compromises made to accommodate various features.

machinesworking
KVRAF
2331 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Re: 2020 DAW shootout

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:06 am

jonljacobi wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:53 am
In addition to this, shouldn’t there be some discussion of what the audio engines are actually doing or are optimized for? For instance, Live’s in my experience never lags at start or stop, while Logic’s will. Last time I checked, Bitwig couldn’t start playback of mixed warped and non-warped audio in the middle of a clip, etc. There may be different design goals and considerations, or compromises made to accommodate various features.
I think almost everyone who uses Live or Bitwig is aware of the cost CPU wise VS the "real time" audio performance aspects. If your DAW can instantiate plug ins while multiple tracks are running without audio glitches, and run armed tracks without that much of a CPU hit, it's a different kind of CPU user than a DAW that pre buffers outside of your stated 64 128 256 buffer in audio settings.

Here's the thing though, I'm still getting significantly better performance with Diva in Bitwig. It's pretty nuts, 24 instances in Bitwig VS 11 in DP etc. Conversely the posted 60 instances in DP of Reaktor Blocks Vs
32 with Bitwig. This is without Divas multicore on, and it's not the same in Live. There's definitely some way to optimize plug ins for DAWs like Bitwig that's happening here.

Passing Bye
KVRAF
1504 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Re: 2020 DAW shootout

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:12 am

machinesworking wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:06 am
Here's the thing though, I'm still getting significantly better performance with Diva in Bitwig.
Is that one your Mac Pro? If yes, did you tried same thing on your Macbook and what are the findings?

machinesworking
KVRAF
2331 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Re: 2020 DAW shootout

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:37 pm

Passing Bye wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:12 am
machinesworking wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:06 am
Here's the thing though, I'm still getting significantly better performance with Diva in Bitwig.
Is that one your Mac Pro? If yes, did you tried same thing on your Macbook and what are the findings?
Downloading DP update so versions are the same, but so far, Bitwig does pretty good with Reaktor on the i7 four core.

Passing Bye
KVRAF
1504 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Re: 2020 DAW shootout

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:40 pm

Great to hear that, thanks for doing this and keep us updating about the results.

User avatar
aMUSEd
KVRAF
31375 posts since 14 Sep, 2002 from In teh net

Re: 2020 DAW shootout

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:10 pm

antic604 wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:18 pm
machinesworking wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 6:12 pm
...it's not any mystery that Bitwig and U-He have a great relationship, U-he plug in presets show up in Bitwig's native preset browser...
That's a weird statement. U-He's presets show up in Bitwig's browser simply because they use industry-standard .fxp and .fxb file-format for their presets.
Nope - Bitwig can read the u-he specific h2p as well. Almost all my patches are in that format and they all show and load via Bitwig's popup browser (only ones in fxp are old ZRev ones) Down to collaborative work between the two companies.

machinesworking
KVRAF
2331 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Re: 2020 DAW shootout

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 5:28 pm

Slightly faster note run, just to stress the system a bit.
120bpm 32 8th notes four bar run.

Macbook Pro
Results

Diva

Bitwig - 16
DP 10 - 13
Reaper - 19
Live - 10

Reaktor
Bitwig - 19
DP10 - 13
Reaper- 26
Live 9



Mac Pro

Diva

Bitwig 24
DP 11
Reaper 12 (not responsive, crackles if you do anything)
Logic 8 (I feel like I should get better than this in Logic)
Live 9

Reaktor

Bitwig 32
DP 62
Reaper 64
Logic 56
Live 8


Basically, the older DAWs drop the ball with diva, mostly only able to run one or more instance per core, but the opposite is true for Reaktor with them easily running 55+ instances of Blocks, DP running 5 instances per core as an example. Conversely Bitwig can run 4 instances of Diva on the macbook pro compared to the others.

I'm getting the distinct impression DAWs and plug ins can both run various instruction sets on chips to gain performance, and depending on the DAW and plug in, you're going to get wildly different results. What's interesting to me is I chose these two for availability and CPU use, because it really doesn't matter than much if there's a CPU hit slightly more on some plug in like Hive that has low CPU use in the first place. I did not choose them expecting wildly different results depending on the DAW and computer, but they obviously are using different things in different DAWs and different Chips.

One thing is clear, Ableton aren't doing anything, and are severely underperforming on multicore setups compared. Squeezing by on i7 chips, but badly suffering on Xeons. The Reaktor on Xeon tests are really pretty sad, no wonder I haven't enjoyed using it for a while now! :?

Passing Bye
KVRAF
1504 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Re: 2020 DAW shootout

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 5:38 pm

Great job, thank you! :clap:

Does something changes drastically if you play the chords instead?

machinesworking
KVRAF
2331 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Re: 2020 DAW shootout

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 5:49 pm

Passing Bye wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 5:38 pm
Great job, thank you! :clap:

Does something changes drastically if you play the chords instead?
I've done those tests before, notes on modern set ups don't change too much. You get better performance using less plug ins and more notes of course. Most of us I notice, and it makes sense, write with only a few instruments doing chords so it just makes more sense to me to try to tax the system with instances and single note runs.

I'm interested in trying this with samplers next. I've got Falcon, EW Play, Sample Tank and Kontakt so I could do that no issue. Cinesamples in kontakt is a good stresser for CPU for sure.

Reaper wins the game with everything but Diva on older Xeon chips, odd.
It's also weird seeing Logic get slightly bested by DP, that's a new twist, for years it was the other way around.

Passing Bye
KVRAF
1504 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Re: 2020 DAW shootout

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 5:54 pm

Makes sense, interested to hear those results too, thank you once again for taking the time to do this!

Return to “Hosts & Applications (Sequencers, DAWs, Audio Editors, etc.)”