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Advice for a new Slave Machine


I have been upgrading my composing rig & I've also decided to switch from Logic to Cubase... and man am I loving Cubase so far! My current computer set-up is:

-[Sequencer] 12-Core Mac Pro 2012 / 32GB RAM (Cubase/Logic)
-[Video/PT Machine] 4-Core Mac Pro 2009 /16GB RAM (PT10|HD3)
-[String Slave] 4-Core i7 Mac Mini 2012 /16GB RAM(2x SSDs/VEP)

I'm looking to add another Slave machine to my setup, hopefully to host the rest of the orchestra - Winds, Brass, Perc, Choir, maybe a few synths/misc. Kontakt patches... As much as I can get away with.

I've been reading around here trying to clarify the limitations of a machine....voice-count, etc. I'm amazed w/ JunkeXL's setup, all of that on only 2 slaves... Trevor Morris has a similar setup I've heard, only 2 slaves...

I am between buying a used 12-core 3.33GHz Mac Pro tower (5,1), or building a PC. Either will have 64GB of Ram. SSD for Samples.

What CPU in a PC build would be equivalent to the 12-core mac? Is the 12-core mac overkill? I'm down for 1-2 PCs vs. getting a 12-core mac. I've also seen a few refurb PC workstations for under $1k (6/8-core / 32-64GB RAM)... but I'm not sure if those components are optimal for realtime sample processing.

I'd also love to know how to gauge the "max voice count" a machine will have, what limits it, what helps it, etc.

At this time, I will only be using VSL Winds & Harp, the rest of the samples will be Kontakt based.

Thanks in advance for your advice!


Senior Member
I'd also love to know how to gauge the "max voice count" a machine will have, what limits it, what helps it, etc.

Yes, that is a tough one, since most of the speed measurements out there are not aimed at us. Richard G Ames (rgames), one of the members here, performed some tests targeted at those issues and they are still on the forum. Also, there are numerous recent threads about PC slaves. I follow advice from a lot of people here. Another member, chimuelo, puts together high-performance PCs for live performing in Las Vegas. Very low latency. Personally, I'd look for his posts, but also read the others.

Good luck!


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Thanks John! I have been reading around, saw a LOT of posts from Richard Ames, Chimuelo, and yourself. I've watched about all the videos on Richard's YouTube page haha... I love the community here, I have been a long time lurker.
I'm a Mac user, but I have built quite a few windows machines (mostly gaming rigs for friends) as well as around 10 Mac Mini slave machines for different clients (similar to my string machine).

I think I'll start experimenting. I'll piece together a few builds and get some opinions.
I'll probably sell a few of my rack-mount PC Slaves to cover some costs... They're a little too noisey/bulky for my current confined setup.
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