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  • How much power do I need in new Mac to run VSL?

    Hey everyone, I'm kind of in the dark a little bit about what kind of Mac I should buy to run the VSL special edition instruments. BTW, the project I will be using the samples for is a classical film score for an independent movie...and already have some of the music written in Sibelius...and I'm thinking I would probably need around 25 voices to pull it off (since I can do all the articulations for each instument in its own 1 voice in VSL). I was initially thinking of just getting a used G5 dual core 2.0Ghz or something along those lines for under $1000 so I can have more money for buying the samples and a copy of Digital Performer 6 as my sequencer. However, I don't know if this system would be powerful enough to get that many voices at once. Would I really need the new Intel Xeon processors to run VSL on DP6? It seems the RAM is more important for running more if I got 8GB of RAM on that machine would it be fine? I will also be running Final Cut for the editing and will probably be putting the film in Digital Performer so I can sync the music up to don't know how much more processing power I will need for may not take much but not sure. Any advice on this matter would be GREATLY appreciated. Right now I have about $1500 to spend and the new Mac is my first priority, but I'd like to not have to buy more than I need as far as computer power goes. Thanks much, David

  •  A few questions spring to mind:

    1. What computer are you using for Sibelius?
    2. Are you intending to use this computer in the new set-up?
    3. Are you intending to run your samples from the same computer as the sequencer?


  • 1.) My computer is an old Mac G4 466Mhz (bought in 2000 I think)... 2.) and no, I wasn't intending to use it in the new set-up although I might consider it. 3.) I figured I would probably put the samples on an external hard drive like most people on this forum are saying to do. And one more thing, the music is on Sibelius 3 which is older....and my intent wasn't to trigger the music from Sibelius...but to just resequence it in Digital Performer 6 and have the VSL samples play from there.

  • Hi David. Here's some info, and I hope it's not too scary. There is a lot to consider here.

    I do understand you're trying to get started on a small budget. It's hard, and you'll hit some real ceilings really quick...

    One, if you are going to try to simply use the library inside a host such as DP (versus a solution like networking standalone instances with the host), you need to look at just how much RAM VSL can see per instance. 8GB seems like a whole lot right now if one is used to the fact of a 2.5 to 3 GB limit on what the host sees (VSL sees RAM as an external process, so sees more than...); but, with the sort of articulations you might want in a 'classical film score', it doesn't seem like *so* much anymore.

    >The more articulations, the more samples you're loading, the more RAM you'll need. The special editions I think have less articulations generally. The thing is, how future-ready do you think you will want/need to be? A dual core is puny these days. For professional film work, it's not done.

    >Eventually, you may want many, many more times the RAM than the machine you buy now will hold. Libraries are headed towards hosts and operating systems at 64-bit kernels, and this one is using 64-bit resolution in the audio processing. The 64-bit kernel will see exponentially more RAM. The audio resolution might use more CPU, etc... Film composers in the big time have always used whole farms of servers to get an orchestration up and running. That situation is a tiny bit mediated by some advances very recently, but is still the fact of life. DP seems like a good bet for film work. How well does DP deal with multiprocessors? If you hear that it does well, it might be wise to buy a machine that will have the capacity for more CPUS than the 2.

    >My advice is to think of the computer as *totally top priority* and not invest in libraries that are just too fat for the machine, and that's from experience. Per your latter question, >there is no such thing as more computer than you'll need for virtual instrument use.

    >DP 6, that's the new one, you may find that the system you're looking at is at, about the minimum requirement to even run it. Every single aspect is going to upgrade, and you are already talking about an olde machine. The new processors are more efficient compared to older ones than the given clock speed will make you think, off the bat. The new libraries, and hosts, and vstis are going to be optimal for the new chips. (I'm doing mostly a rock, and chamber sized thing; I just spent 9k on a machine, and I'm seriously considering a second like machine right now. If I were loading strings and 'classical orchestras', absolutely I'd feel the need for two 8-core Mac Pros. Or three. Or... I hate to tell you. I'm kicking myself hard over choosing 16GB and not 32. If I go for the extra machine, absolutely 32GB in it.)

    >With this level of machine you're going to be using the absolute maximum buffer size on your sound interface, and the latency resulting will mean you can't play any of the instruments, for a concrete example. And even then, you're going to hear a lot of drop outs and ugly noises, all the time. This game is a lot of greedy beasts, yum yum eat 'em up, all the time. In sum: >>if you are absolutely limited to the 1500$ machine, get your DP or other host of a few years back, DP 3 or 4, Logic 5 maybe, Cubase SX2 or 3, like that. Good luck!

  • Hey thanks for the advice...I'm thinking that if it's just not worth it to buy a $1500 machine then I will probably save up another grand and get an 8-core 2.66Mhz Mac Pro or something along those lines where I can have 32MB of RAM as an option...I don't think I'm going to need a whole lot of articulations for this score actually, but yes, I'd like to have a machine that would be powerful enough so that I don't have to worry about it. Thanks, David

  • It might be wise to see what apple comes up with this year, things appear to be in flux a bit. (They limit the quad MacPro to 8GB now, which indicates a marketing ploy, splitting 2x  quad and quad into pro and prosumer basically.) I had to have a machine, I was backed up bad with a slow, obsolete machine. If you do get to where you might put the 32 gigs in, shop around. I'm shopping for RAM right now, I can get a 32 gig kit for less than 1500. To get that much in from the apple store costs 6100 extra, over the stock 6GB. (The reason for the 6 and not say 8 is that DDR3 is 3-channel. I may get 24GB right now, it may be, I've been looking at this this afternoon, that 32 isn't much of a gain over 24.) But, 6GB is a goodly amount of memory, you'll be fine.

    With Vienna Ensemble, it appears we can have a 64-bit set up and actually use this RAM. I am porting it into Cubase with no problems, yet. The Vienna Instrument has been quite snappy here like this, so far! With VE Pro, it could be really a good time. I decided to use my MacBook Pro to run Cubase and this MacPro, two quad 2.93 and I'll get the extra RAM in, as a slave via VE. The base price for the MacPro is 2500, but you get into more RAM and a monitor, it's real money. I dropped 9 large on mine, I'm toast.

    Be sure to get an extra drive, at least one dedicated to run vstis.