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Different Magma, Different Plug-in Count!

Arys Chien

Active Member
I was shocked to find out about that.

(By the way, I'm all PCI now, not PCIe. Therefore I don't know if it's the same with PCIe magma chassis.)

------

Recently I replaced both DAWs to dual core. The MoBos are about the same, only that one of them has two Gigabit LAN ports.

I also ask my friend to buy two magma chassises from ebay. Originally he bought me two Avid PCI Extenders, but one came without the cable, the seller saying that he didn't have it, so my friend returned it and searched for a new one.

It suddenly came to him that UA had a chart of comparison among different magma chassises, so he went to read that chart again and found me an SBS.

------

I got 4 UAD-1 cards with all plug-ins licensed and installed in the magma for both DAWs, so it's 8 cards in total.

I opened a new project in Nuendo (on both DAWs) and inserted 10 stereo audio tracks. Then I started to insert the same plug-in in the same slot of the same number of tracks.

[1081SE @ slot 1 track 1]
SBS - 7.5, 0, 0, 0
Avid - 8.7, 0, 0, 0

There was already more power consumed on the Avid side.

[+1073SE @ slot 1 track 2]
SBS - 7.7, 7.4, 0, 0
Avid - 10.1, 9.8, 0,0

With the second plug-in launched, there was a slight increase in DSP consumption on the SBS (from 7.5 to 7.7), but an obvious increase on the Avid (8.7 to 10.1). The newly launched plug-in also consumed more power on the Avid than SBS.

[+1176LN @ slot 1 track 3]
SBS - 7.7, 7.5, 14.2, 0
Avid - 10.8, 10.5, 16.4, 0

[+Fairchild @ slot 1 track 4]
SBS - 7.7, 7.6, 14.3, 16.2
Avid - 11.4, 11.1, 17, 18.7

[+LA2A @ slot 1 track 5]
SBS - 7.7, 13.4, 14.5, 16.3
Avid - 10.8, 18.6, 17.6, 19.8

By the time it was 305 on the SBS, the Avid already went up as high as 340. That's a 35% DSP consumption difference we're talking about, meaning one third of a card just \"disappeared\" in the Avid magma.

The worst of all is that I couldn't go any further on the Avid magma from 340 on. One of the cards already went 97.8%, and launching any plug-in (even EX-1) on the other three cards simply made this card went over 100%.

There was no plug-in I could add on this DAW with Avid magma, while the UAD-1 meter told me I still got 60% of all the 400% UAD power.

And that 340% only cost 305% on the SBS magma.

I went on and see how many plug-ins I could use on the DAW with SBS. The result was: 1081 full version x1, 1073 full version x1, 1081SE x4 and Cambridge x1. Around 385% out of the total 400%.

------

385% - 305% = 80%. 80% of one UAD-1 cards power simply \"disappears\" on the Avid magma.

I'm still trying to work with this Avid magma and see if things will be better in my real working projects. If it's still that bad, I'd sell this one and buy another SBS.
 

Arys Chien

Active Member
My guess, yes.

I've noticed that, since I started using the Avid magma, the same project did not always consume the same amount of UAD-1's DSP power. I tried disabling some plug-in and then enabling it again, and sometimes this simple action could \"free up\" additional DSP power. Yet sometimes it's the opposite.

And it IS quite ramdon. I could not find a \"rule\" so far. If you ask me, I'd say that the Avid magma is far less \"efficient\" than the SBS magma, which almost always performs the same in DSP consumption.

I strongly suggest everyone that uses a magma test your unit out, be it Avid or SBS or other brands. If we have more information than just mine, we might find out a rule for future magma buyers. (I know that we have a thread about it, but that was about \"working or not\", not \"efficient or not\".)
 

Dan Duskin

Established Member
Anyone notice this kind of thing on the SBS units? I'm about to move to outboard PCI expansion... and because my studio is comercial, and in-use about 20 hours a day (sometimes 24 hours) this kind of reliability is EXTREMELY important!
 

Arys Chien

Active Member
Hi Dan, not sure if you're read my post thoroughly. I did say that my SBS performs very well comparing to the Avid.

Yet if it's about the load balancing problem, it's actually a UA thing. The SBS is efficient (ie you lose very little DSP power \"on the way\"), but not smart enough to tell which plug-in should be loaded to which DSP.
 

bulls hit

Active Member
Arys Chien said:
I've noticed that, since I started using the Avid magma, the same project did not always consume the same amount of UAD-1's DSP power. I tried disabling some plug-in and then enabling it again, and sometimes this simple action could "free up" additional DSP power. Yet sometimes it's the opposite.

And it IS quite ramdon. I could not find a "rule" so far.
I've encountered the same phenomenon on a single uad-1 card.

New project, load up a bunch of 1176SE, Pultec Pro, CS-1 and LA2As. Everything's running great. Save the project. Come back next day & open it. Get the 'Unable to load - plugins have been disable' error message.

What's changed? Why it work on Sunday but not Monday? (And no it's not because it don't like Mondays)
 

Paul Woodlock

Established Member
Dan Duskin said:
Anyone notice this kind of thing on the SBS units? I'm about to move to outboard PCI expansion... and because my studio is comercial, and in-use about 20 hours a day (sometimes 24 hours) this kind of reliability is EXTREMELY important!
greetings Dan :)

I'm now using an SBS Chassis. It contains 4 UAD-1 cards and my RME9652. It works very reliablity. PLugin DSP usage is exactly the same as it is when the card's are in the mobo.
 

Arys Chien

Active Member
Thanks Paul. I thought that all the PCI(e) expansion chassis are called \"magma\".... :eek:
 

Akis

Sadly, left this world before his time.
Moderator
Arys, I just tested my setup with my Avid (Magma) 7-slot chassis (flat cable) and my numbers are on par with your SBS, not your Avid, so something must be wrong with your setup. If you want to see details on mine, just click the link in my signature.

In total, I could reach ~380% without trouble with my Magma and got slight CPU cpikes @ 385%, but that was because 1 card was reaching 101% at times.
 

Arys Chien

Active Member
Thanks, Akis. I'll try tweaking the DAW with Avid Extender.

Your reply really came in time! I was about to sell the Avid and buy another SBS....
 
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