Most of the money I spend on my music hobby goes into buying virtual instruments and sound libraries while I am currently getting towards a point where I should really invest in a better system first. My 2009 MacBook is having a pretty hard time to keep up with all the stuff that is relatively heavy on the CPU. So for me, every CPU cycle I can save is more than welcome.Before getting into the details of my latest tip, I’ll sum up some of the basic things I already did to squeeze the most out of my old MacBook, maybe there’s some tricks in there for you too…
- Installed the max possible RAM, in my case; 8 GB.
- Replaced the hard disk with a 256 GB SSD.
- Replaced the optical drive with a 1 TB HD using a “drive caddy”.
- Use a dedicated installation of OS X with no extra processes running, no internet connection, no “spaces” or “spotlight”, basically stripping everything from OS X that isn’t needed to run Logic Pro X.
Inside Logic itself, I try to save resources by…
- Routing all instruments that use the same reverb, delay or other effect through a bus and only apply the effect to that bus. This can include things like an equalizer to cut down the lower frequencies.
- “Freeze” tracks that are ready. The SSD can handle a pretty big amount of parallel audio-streams, often more than the CPU can handle processing all the tracks in real-time.
- Use large buffers.
So, here’s my latest “trick” to save some resources, which is especially useful if you tend to use multiple instances of Kontakt inside the same project. Instead of having a dedicated instance of Kontakt running for every single instrument, you can combine multiple instruments into on instance of Kontakt, while still being able to route all the outputs to separate faders on the mixing desk and thus still being able to apply different effects and automation to these instruments inside the same Kontakt instance. Here’s how it is done…
Add a new virtual instrument (Kontakt) and select the “Multi Output 16 Stereo” option rather than the regular “2 Channel Stereo” one.
Load all the instruments that you want to use inside this instance of Kontakt.
Click the “Output” option in Kontakt and go to Batch Functions and select “Create An Individual Channel for Each Loaded Instrument”. This will create separate channels for every instrument loaded and match the outputs of the instruments to the individual channel.
Kontakt is now setup to use all the instruments in this instance one individual channels. Now all that is left to do is setup the mixer in Logic so we can actually access and modify these separate channels…
Open the Logic Pro X Mixer (Press X). You’ll see a “+” sign alongside the fader of the Kontakt instance we just set up. If you have, for instance, 3 instruments setup in this instance, press the “+” two times, so you’ll end up with three faders for this Kontakt instance.
To make life easier for yourself, you should rename the faders to match the instruments you setup in Kontakt. Now hold shift and select all the faders that apply to this Kontakt instance, then right-click inside of the selection and choose “Create Track”.
And now you’ll have three tracks in your main view in which each one will only play (and affect automation and such) for the individual instruments inside your Kontakt instance.
This will behave exactly like three totally separate Kontakt instances, but only using one instance instead, this saving yourself some CPU cycles.
Of course this is only useful if you desperately need every bit of processing power you can squeeze out of your system. If you have a 16 core, 24 GB system with SSD’s in a RAID configuration, you might not want to go through all the hassle to save just a few CPU cycles.