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Mac Studio M1 Max 64GB

Buying or building computers for Hauptwerk, recommendations, troubleshooting computer hardware issues.
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larason2

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Mac Studio M1 Max 64GB

PostSun Apr 03, 2022 11:28 pm

Well, I bought one of the new Mac Studios, I got the one with the M1 Max 64GB, and I got it with the 1 TB SSD. So far, I am very pleased with it! It is quite a bit bigger than the Mini's I have seen in the past, but the big heat sink on the top does a very good job of keeping it cool, even when running RAM pretty full on a big sample set. Setup and Hauptwerk installation was pretty straight forward except I had trouble getting my Steinberg audio interface to work. It turns out I had to hold the power button on startup, and enable third party programs to make kernel extensions so the interface driver would work. Once I did that, everything worked perfectly!

The most taxing sample set I have run on it is the PAB Gravissimo Wet. With PAB version 3 wet, I am running it at 20 bit, with multiple attacks/multiple sample loops disabled to fit in the 64 GB. It should in theory be able to fit with 24 bit with only first attacks/loops, but for some reason when I do that, the audio driver still crashes even though I have 8.6GB of RAM free. Not sure why that is happening, it works fine at 20 bit, and other sample sets also work fine. I haven’t done a full stress test, but at 20 bit I did try practically every stop on the Great with every stop on the pedal, and even playing big block chords in quick succession the computer has no problem. I’ll have to keep working on getting the 24 bit sorted though - maybe decreasing the HW7 quality options? Loading my other big sample sets like Salisbury or Kampen happens in about 1/4 of the time as on my previous computer, and on significantly higher quality settings. (my previous computer was an i3 with 16GB of RAM). As expected, for these sample sets everything can be run maxed no problem.

So, overall I’m pretty pleased. It’s definitely a big upgrade over previous computers I have used for Hauptwerk! I have a feeling though, based on my experiences with the PAB, that to run a big multi channel set like Nancy, you’ll still probably need the 128GB M1 Ultra, and even for the PAB, you would need a computer like that to run everything maxed.
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mdyde

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Re: Mac Studio M1 Max 64GB

PostMon Apr 04, 2022 5:27 am

Hello larason2,

Glad to hear the new purchase is performing well.

larason2 wrote:The most taxing sample set I have run on it is the PAB Gravissimo Wet. With PAB version 3 wet, I am running it at 20 bit, with multiple attacks/multiple sample loops disabled to fit in the 64 GB. It should in theory be able to fit with 24 bit with only first attacks/loops, but for some reason when I do that, the audio driver still crashes even though I have 8.6GB of RAM free. Not sure why that is happening, it works fine at 20 bit, and other sample sets also work fine.
...
I’ll have to keep working on getting the 24 bit sorted though - maybe decreasing the HW7 quality options?


Strangely, on macOS, audio drivers don't work properly (resulting in no audio) if macOS is short of free RAM.

Hauptwerk's 'free GB' figure is only a very crude estimate -- it can't know for certain how much other applications, and macOS itself, might be needing. macOS can sometimes need a surprising amount of the physical RAM to be kept 'free' -- sometimes even 30% or more and even if a lot physical RAM is installed. Also, Apple's Apple-CPU Macs use system RAM for graphics (rather than dedicated GPU memory), so Apple-CPU Macs might need a bit more RAM for themselves than Intel-based ones.

Hence even if Hauptwerk's 'free GB' shows 8.6 GB it could very easily be the case that there isn't actually enough unused RAM for macOS audio drivers to work, and evidently that is indeed the case on your system.

Changing audio engine quality options in Hauptwerk is unlikely to make enough of a difference to be significant -- I wouldn't bother with anything less than 'higher' for the audio engine processing quality organ preference. Rank memory options are what mainly affect how much memory a sample set needs.

Although in some circumstances the difference between loading ranks in 16-bit and 20-bit might be audible (e.g. in wet sample sets' long release tails, depending on the audio level at which the samples where recorded), the difference between 20-bit and 24-bit is highly unlikely to be noticeable. Personally, I would just stick to 20-bit/compressed. (The only real benefit to using 24-bit/uncompressed is that the sample set might load faster.)
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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larason2

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Re: Mac Studio M1 Max 64GB

PostMon Apr 04, 2022 6:37 am

Thanks Martin! That’s very helpful. I was just surprised that so much RAM appeared to be free, but the driver still crashed. What you say makes sense. I’ll try loading it at 20 bit again as you suggest. It sounded fine to me, but there seemed to be enough free RAM that in my mind I thought the 24 bit might work! I think you’re right that the difference between 20 bit and 24 bit is probably mostly in my head!
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mdyde

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Re: Mac Studio M1 Max 64GB

PostMon Apr 04, 2022 6:44 am

Thanks. You're very welcome.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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Romanos

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Re: Mac Studio M1 Max 64GB

PostTue Apr 05, 2022 12:27 pm

you were lucky to get yours so soon. I checked at one point two weeks ago and they are not shipping now until the end of June.

I also ran up against the audio driver / ram limitation recently on a mac mini that I purchased with 64gb ram; I ended up going back to the drawing board and getting one of the most recent 5k imacs (intel, obviously) and bumping up to 96gb ram. That permitted me the extra headroom that I needed to run a few of my sets maxed out and I'm glad for it. I really wanted a studio, but between the shipping times and the fact that I couldn't afford one with 128gb ram, I decided against it. Hopefully when I upgrade again in 6-7 years...
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larason2

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Re: Mac Studio M1 Max 64GB

PostThu Apr 28, 2022 1:30 pm

Just an update:

https://www.macrumors.com/2022/04/28/ma ... hed-noise/

It seems to be affecting macs that are the same as mine. No high pitched whining from mine though! Mine has been running cool as a cucumber regardless of what I throw at it. I’ve never even felt it warm. I’ve never heard the fan, but we have a fish tank in the room, and it’s hard to hear anything over the filter we have. Still, caveat emptor I guess. Other than the potential for that, it has been a great machine so far, and I can basically run almost any sample set at max with no problems whatsoever.
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larason2

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Re: Mac Studio M1 Max 64GB

PostThu Apr 28, 2022 2:38 pm

A small update: It turns out my mac is affected! Sort of. If I put my ear very close to the fan while it is running, I can perceive a distinct high pitched noise. It is however, very very quiet. It's also a different pitch on mine compared to the "affected" videos I have seen online. I used a decibelometer app on my phone, and the ambient noise is about 35 db, and even putting my phone right up to the Mac studio, I don't get more than 40 dB. By comparison, the filter on our fish tank I consider noisy, is exactly 40 db as well! The pitch on mine is pretty distinctly a "G," and I think it is the second highest G on an 8 foot stop, 61 key organ manual, whereas the whine on the videos is much closer to a "C," and it sounds to me like the C an octave down from the top of an 8 foot stop, 61 key manual. Not sure how loud it is on the "affected" macs, but unless I put my ear right by the cooling fan outlets, it's pretty much inaudible.

I thought I would try to max out the computer to try to get the CPU to speed up and the fan to run faster, in case that was the culprit. On PAB gravissimo, I engaged every stop and coupler, and on the great and pedal, I played fast alternations of 4 note chords, along with octaves in the pedals, then finally, played my arms on the manuals so every possible key was playing and slurring multiple pedal keys with my feet at the same time. In all this, the CPU meter in Hauptwerk never lit more than 3/4 bars, and only for a second! Then it would dip back down to 2/4. At no point did the fan ever run faster. So I don't know what would be needed to overwhelm this CPU, but I doubt it is Hauptwerk. The real test would be to try this on Nancy, but I don't have access to that set.

Of note is that mine is the 24 core CPU, whereas the affected macs appear to have the 32 core CPU. Probably unnecessary to spend the extra for Hauptwerk though.
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RaymondList

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Re: Mac Studio M1 Max 64GB

PostThu Apr 28, 2022 6:45 pm

May I suggest you mean a 24 core Gpu? I believe the Pro and Max chips are all 10 core Cpu and the Ultra is 20 core Cpu.

Best regards,
Ray
Ray
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larason2

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Re: Mac Studio M1 Max 64GB

PostThu Apr 28, 2022 10:14 pm

Yes, you are right. 10 core CPU, 24 core GPU.

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