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Tommy Zai 12-17-2011 11:58 PM

N3 CPU Usage and More: What is the most efficient way to work?
With N3 we have a few options in terms of integration with the DAW for tracking and finalizing a song . . .

1. As a plugin with DAW . . . assume AU or VST is an option.
2. Standalone with ReWire
3. Standalone and then transfer the midi and audio data to DAW tracks.

Am I missing any?

These options are combined with further options of whether or not to effect the tracks/stacks in N3 or do it later in the DAW.

With these options (and any other I have not listed) in mind . . . which option is the most efficient way to work in terms of CPU usage, convenience, quality, etc.?

Thanks in advance,
Tommy Zai

nil 12-18-2011 04:41 AM

When it comes to workflow, N3 standalone is the most efficient, easy and fun to use. The only downside is the way N3 deals with CPU resources (but I know Jim is working on that !), depending on you computer I guess though.

Rewire, depending on how your master DAW deals with multi-core tasks, is the most efficient on CPU, without any loss in N3 features. You can also stream MIDI and audio between both apps, and make the most of both. But you may have some random crashes depending on you host/set-up. FWIW, I found that Reaper 4 handles multi-thread CPU tasks ways more efficiently than Logic 9 and Live 8. Unfortunately, I have some random crashes when N3 is rewired to R4.

You can use N3 as a standalone MIDI controller linked to another DAW hosting VIs and samplers, if you noticed that your DAW is more CPU friendly than Numerology. It works great, you can still use most N3 features but have to find some workarounds here and there to make the most of N3. i.e Param Mod alas becomes less powerful in that kind of set-up.

I've made few tests on those different set-ups and sent to Jim example files/sessions/screenshots etc... and Jim is working on that (thanks again ! ;))

As far as I'm concerned, I'd prefer to use either N3 standalone when it will be more multi-core CPU friendly or N3 rewired to Reaper when it's stable/reliable.

nil 12-18-2011 04:42 AM

Oh and I've also tested N3's AU/VST inside another DAW, and then I miss lots of N3 standalone's features/flexibility/routings/modules.

jonmoore 12-18-2011 05:17 AM

I think it all depends on your personal workflow. I prefer to use Numerology as a VST within Ableton and find that the CPU hit is minimal. The ideal situation is to think of them as a single product and drive certain automation features from your DAW and others from Numerology. At first I thought it was a hindrance that Numerology doesn't host your instruments directly when used as a plugin but there are certain things you can achieve that are unique to having a hybrid workflow.

It's all down to personal taste though, and whichever of the routes you decide to go down, CPU efficiency needn't be a deciding factor.


nil 12-18-2011 05:28 AM


Originally Posted by jonmoore (Post 8319)
CPU efficiency needn't be a deciding factor.

Unfortunately it is a deciding factor. Depending on the way you decide to use Numerology, with or without another DAW, there can be some significant CPU usage differences for the same Numerology Session.

Tommy Zai 12-18-2011 10:43 AM

What if a user is using N3 for almost all sequences and only using the DAW for a few live tracks?

Where would be the most efficient place to add the FX? I mean in N3 or DAW?

I also wonder if and when it's best to dump (for lack of a better term) all the midi info and audio info from N3.

jonmoore 12-18-2011 11:54 AM


Originally Posted by nil (Post 8320)
Unfortunately it is a deciding factor. Depending on the way you decide to use Numerology, with or without another DAW, there can be some significant CPU usage differences for the same Numerology Session.

What I meant by my statement was that the difference in CPU load between Standalone, Rewire or Plugin is negligible. Call me old fashioned but to my mind Numerology excels as a step sequencing environment but pales in comparison to most quality DAW's when it comes to the final mixdown. I'd personally rather use the best tool for each specific task.

I understand that some people are using Numerology as a DAW replacement but this isn't how I personally see it.

Each to their own though. :)


nil 12-18-2011 12:37 PM

Hey Jon, never meant to dismiss your opinion. English isn't my native language, sorry !

I did some tests regarding CPU usage depending on the way to use Numerology (standalone, sync'd to another DAW or rewired) because I've noticed that I could use much more instances of the same AUi in Reaper (my main DAW) than in Numerology in standalone mode.

I've emailed Jim about it, and he answered that "the change in CPU load is due to Reaper using multiple threads to render AUs, vs. Numerology which only runs a single render thread". Depending on the way you work, and on the tools you use inside/along Numerology, it can be a non-issue to you (you're lucky then ;)).

Anyway, I'm also trying to figure out which way to use Numerology.

I can totally see myself composing and sequencing everything in Numerology then mixing down individual stems in Reaper if, in an upcoming update, Numerology can deal with the same amount of AUi instances.
I'd feel as much comfortable using Numerology rewired to Reaper if the random crashes stop. I'm used to Reason rewired to another DAW. FWIW, Reaper seems to divide rewire's CPU load across muli-core CPU much more efficiently than Logic and Live, which seems to load all the rewire task on a single core.
Using N3 as a sync'd MIDI controller to another seems to be a good compromise, but I miss much of the flexibility you have into a Numerology stack. On the other hand, this way you can directly stream the MIDI datas, record them in your DAW and edit them much more easily.

jonmoore 12-18-2011 01:27 PM

No insult taken Nil. As I said everybody has their own personal preferences.

Multicore support in Ableton Live has come on in leaps and bounds - it's one of the reasons I prefer to host multiple instances of Numerology as VST's whilst hosting the instruments and effects they're driving on separate tracks again. It really helps when with the final mixdown too as I don't have to render to stems to mix, whilst still being able to adapt all the wonderful modulation capabilities Numerology provides.

If Jim ever decides to allow plugin hosting in the plugin version this could be the ultimate option as Live's multi-core support works on a single instance (for example a single instance of Kontakt can be made to balance it's load across multiple cores). In saying that, having watched the development of U-He's DIVA, I'm not sure quite how efficient this will turn out to be in the long run.


nil 12-18-2011 01:33 PM

(already bought my DIVA license ;))

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