Circumventing CPU overload with physical audio interface

Hello all

I have been trying all day to get a stable connection between Rack and Ableton in order to record patches directly into Ableton. I have tried ASIO Pro Link, VB Cable and Virtual Cable. All these solutions do work, technically, but are useless for me since they overload my CPU and I just end up with a lot of crackles.

What I noticed, is that these virtual cables use a lot of CPU. Hence, my question: Would it be a solution to buy a physical audio interface to root the audio from Rack to Ableton? Taking into account that I’m planning on buying a hardware synth in the near future that will require an audio interface either way.

I currently own a NI controller that I use as output device for Rack. This setup works perfectly, CPU-wise.

To be clear: I am not looking for any synchronization, just an easy way to record. For now I’m using NYSTHI’s PolyRecorder to record to file. But workflowwise, I do not find this ideal.

My laptop:

  • Windows 10
  • Acer Aspire 3
  • IntelCore I7
  • 8GB RAM

Thanks for your time!


Does anyone have expertise or experience with such a setup?


Hi Steven, i don’t think anyone can answer this for you as in a guarantee.

Audio hiccups can be caused by so many factors, a very big one is usually being the graphics card and/or thermal cpu throttling. Not sure what model/year laptop that is, a quick search brings up: GeForce MX250

If it’s routing by means of a dedicated software routing matrix such as can be found with MOTU and RME. This built-in routing actually does the same as you are doing now with 3rd party virtual driver. It is not hardware routing, it is also software routing.

Basically comes down to this, if your laptop can not handle the 2 applications running along side each-other without crackles or hiccups, then the chance of an external audio interface being the solution to the problem is very very small.

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Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts!

Thoughts and opinions were definitely what I was looking for :slight_smile:

I notice my GPU is going pretty red too when running both application.

Software routing on dedicated hardware, if I’m correct?

That’s what I was thinking as well. Thanks for the information!

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I can not confirm that.

Either that or at driver level, it is not something that they clearly stated in all of these years. In the old days there was talk that RME was using built-in Dante technology. But that is just talk that was scattered over the internet. I have no idea what is done in reality.

This is RME’s little public piece on it:

Loopback Basics

Loopback is a special and very useful feature in TotalMix FX. 
With Loopback, you can take output of one software program, 
and send this back as an input signal for a different software program. 

Or you can create a mix of input signals, playback signals, or both, 
and send this back as a stereo input for recording. 
It works just like plugging a cable from an output channel to an input channel, 
except it all happens inside TotalMix and therefore works completely transparent.

Motu does the same.

Looks like this on the RME:

And like this on the MOTU UL mk4 (haven’t got this one anymore, replaced it with RME):

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Interesting stuff!

Do you mean it is possible the external audio interface is using laptop resources to rout the signals?