asked Oct 30 at 11:58 by Ethnographer (31)

What VSTi plugins do you enjoy which have a low impact on the DSP/CPU, when you run them in BWS3?

I’m using a mid-2012 MacBook Pro with a PreSonus AudioBox iTwo or a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (First Gen). (I also have a 2015 Lenovo Flex 2 which has similar performance on Windows 10 and Ubuntu 18.04. I mostly use the MacBook Pro.)

Overall, my MacBook Pro runs more smoothly than you might expect, but I do get glitches when running softsynth plugins with a sample rate of 96kHz and a block size of 256 bit.

Been going through my plugins and checking the DSP graph, using a little MIDI loop of four-note chords. (While I’m a researcher, my checks have been very casual. Nothing scientific about it.) Not that many huge surprises, but still instructive to me. Several commercial plugins are pretty much unusable in such a setup (including Waves Flow Motion or Codex, ROLI Equator, and FXpansion Cypher2 or Strobe2). Some work well enough with a few patches but require a bit of caution (Serum, Massive, Hybrid, SynthMaster, Reaktor…).

Most Bitwig softsynths are quite efficient but it’s pretty easy to overwhelm the DSP in Poly Grid.

There are several third-party softsynths which don’t run the DSP too hard. Including some free ones. Surge is becoming one of my favourite plugins and it’s rather efficient, but it does require a bit of caution. Full Bucket Music plugins are kind to the CPU but they’re not really my cup of tea. Synth1 is pretty efficient but I need to find patches I really like. The free u-he Zebralette is also in the low-DSP category.

ROMplers are usually pretty efficient but they usually take a while to load.

One set of plugins I was positively surprised by is the Korg Gadget series. I was expecting the Wavestation one (Milpitas) to be heavier on the DSP than it actually is, yet the ARP Odyssey one (Lexington) is more demanding. Some AIR soft synths are also quite low in DSP usage.

Interestingly enough (to me), effects plugins don’t tend to have too big an impact on DSP. This includes convolution reverbs which are reputedly demanding on DSP.

So I’m curious if others have noticed plugins which remain pretty efficient on low-end CPUs.

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Asked: Oct 30 at 11:58

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Last updated: Oct 30 at 11:58