Dual Processors and Ntrack

Any special settings we need to know ?

Heya Guys:

I am in the process of getting my new recording rig together and trying to optimize my settings for playback and mastering.

The new server is as follows:
Win XP pro
Dual P3 550
704 Mb Ram
SCSI hotswappable drives
Cheetah 10000rpm 5.1 m/s access time 4 Mb cache

any help would be greatly appreciated,


As far as I know n-track is coded thread safe - so there should be no problems running on a multi processor machine - I’m running on a hyper-threading P4 3.4 without any problems - it does seem to take advantage of both processors - I see about the same proc utilization across both CPU’s.

I don’t know of any special settings. Mine worked splendidly “out of the box”.


You two have got to be ckose to being in the n-Track elete… with your set-ups…


Hmmm additional info:

Got playback to work on some songs, but on others (the ones with alot of effects in use) there is a horrible lag issue.

Last night we noticed that it seems like the vst plugins are only running on the 1st (0 CPU) processor, as utilization seems to directly corilate with how many effects are active. Is there a way to set the affinity for VST plugins? My guess is that if we could push some of the effects to the 2nd processor (1 CPU) our lag issues would be resolved.

Thanks for the feedback so far,


I don’t think so, effects are different code, so they may or may not be thread safe. I would imagine that older VST effects would be more prone to cpu loading because the machine is forced to run them on one cpu. I don’t know enough about the VST interface to make an educated guess here. I do know that there are some issues running the linux based VST server on multi-processor machines because of a lack of threads compliance in the .dll files.

DirectX would probably have a lot of advantages here, being that it was coded with the NT kernel in mind.

The affinity should be controlled by the NT HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) to present a consistant API to third party software, but things coded with a single execution thread will still be forced to execute on a single cpu.

There may also be fundimental differences in the HALs for true multiprocessor machines as opposed to Hyper-threading systems. I dunno.

I would experiment with replacing the VST based effects with DirectX and see if you see the CPU load balancing out better and performance increasing.

Sorry I didn’t have a more constructive answer for you.


Heh, I’m just a simple guitar player, so I have no idea what you just said!!! (LOL)

I’ll have to have Chris get back to you guys and see what this means to him.

Perhaps Flavio or one of the other guys have more insight into this?




Those links seem pretty slick no doubt - but I’m lost once I get to them. What have you got in mind, Phoo?

Go through those sites and look for optimizations that do what you asked. You’ve got a Dual P3 550, but a 550 mhz machine is still a slower machine, even if it’s multi-proc. It will be a little faster than a single-proc but not across the board. You need stuff that will speed it up some.

Probably you should read through those site and use them to learn what many of those tweaks do, then you’ll start seeing which ones will help your specific machine, and if you don’t understand some ask specifics on this forum. It’s hard to say what you need until you isolate the bottlenecks once the machine is up and running.

That said, at first glance, the motherboard and CPU is probably the slow parts of the machine you are putting together. My guess is CPU speed will be your biggest bottleneck in the long run. That will limit the number of plug-ins you can use and the number of tracks you can play at once.

The hard drive is good and fast, but it does have a 4Mb cache - an 8 Mb cache drive (standard these days) would be better for constant throughput.

I’m not the one to ask about optimizations. There are other folks here that are really good at it. Let’s see what your machine can do first. Work with what you have - it may do just fine for what you do.

Heya Phoo

Thanks for the input. So far what we have seen is that the machine seems plenty fast, its an affinity issue with the vst plug ins…we’re pretty confident that the ones we are using are only accessing the first processor, and when we look at system usage in the task manager this seems to hold true. When we are in playback on a song that doesn’t have any effects on it, the processors are equally taxed and everything runs perfectly; as soon as we begin to add effects the processor usage on CPU-0 begins to increase until usage spikes and then the badness begins. The other processor is chugging along just fine at this point.

To be more specific:
1. Does anyone know of multi-thread capable vst plug ins?
we need:
Verb, Chorus, Flange, Delay, Compression, Limiting

2. Should we be using DirectX plug ins instead? Would someone recommend some?



directx plugings would probably help, but like phoo said, what would help even more would be a p4 based machine. sounds like you have a top of the line hard drive there, why not get a top of the line computer to put it in, then you’ll really be flying.

i personally have a SATA western digital raptor 10,000 rpm drive and it is insanely fast, but im using a hyperthreading p4 single core cpu at 2.4 ghz with an 800 mhz fsb. i also have 512mb ddr 400 in there at some super low memory timings.

the only lag i ever notice in my setup is asio driver related, and its few and far between. id say if you are serious about making a sick rig for recording, and you have the money, get the computer upgraded.

otherwise fool around with plugins that you know are multi-threaded


To be more specific:
1. Does anyone know of multi-thread capable vst plug ins?
we need:
Verb, Chorus, Flange, Delay, Compression, Limiting

2. Should we be using DirectX plug ins instead? Would someone recommend some?

1. It would be difficult to know whether VST plugs are thread-safe unless you can examine the source code. Unfortunately this is an issue that would require experimentation.

2. I’m very partial to the Wave Renniesannce(sp??) effects packages, although they are spendy. Digilogue blueline are freeware although they can be a bit dodgey.

Flavio’s effects are good - they are bundled with 4.X version of ntrack - and I’d bet that they are threadsafe. Other than that try googling for directx plugins and see what you find.