What is a realistic track count?

Recently … somewhat out of the blue … I’ve started getting ‘disk performance’ spiking in C5. It might be because I’ve increased my track count a bit. But I didn’t expect to have any difficulty with 20 to 24 audio tracks.

There is a pretty good CPU/ ASIO Meter load at around 50% … but that stays pretty constant and normally runs glitch free. In other words, increasing track count doesn’t seem to have any effect on the CPU load.

It also seems that if I cut and paste a section somewhere else … as in vertically and horizontally through the whole project … I get disk performance spikes when I hit that section.

While I’m in the process of upgrading to Win 7 64 and increasing my RAM … I have a fairly decent PC at the moment with dual dualcore Xeon 3.00 Ghz processors and 4 GB RAM with the 3GB switch. My audio tracks are on a separate WD Raptor 10000 RPM drive. I should also note, I don’t seem to have the track count disk performance problem in a couple other audio programs I use … but then I tend to run without any plug-ins while I’m arranging stems to mix down to transfer to C5 for mixing.

Anyway, I’d appreciate any general comments on track count and any trouble shoots to improve performance … or a link to the old archives!


This isn’t a bump … just forgot to subscribe!


Hmmmmm! something not right there mate!
I regularly go over 24 tracks in most projects i work with, many of which are at 96KHz. What DMA settings do you have on your HDs? Do you have antivirus or anything like that running in the background?
The ONLY time i ever see ANY disk usage on my system is if i freeze a track, stop a track or scroll back through a track quickly with my Alphatrack.

TY Mat … yeah, doesn’t seem right. My PC is a server and I’ve never had any issues with DMA, etc. Maybe my Raptor is getting ready to die?

And no, nothing cluttering in the background like antivirus.

Again, any trouble shooting advice would be welcome.


Have you tried the WD disk tools at all? i seem to remember them being available for free download off their site some time ago. I switched over to seagate barracudas a few years back after i lost THREE WD caviars in quick succession… must have been a bad batch i guess… i would try the disk tools mate if they’re still available.

I’ve had these glitches in the past at section changes… My first thought is that it’s not the track count but the number of (small?) audio parts you have cut up. My second thought is whether you have antares autotune on any of your tracks.

With the former I’ve often noticed problems when I’ve say edited a bass track and it has a lot of cuts in it. I guess each clip takes some resources and there’s a lot of clips. I get random spikes and sometimes graphics problems. I usually bounce down when I’ve done the edits and keep a saved copy of the original project. At a section change the issue is exacerbated perhaps.

With the latter I’ve noticed that coming into say chorus sections where there’s lots of vocals and I’m using autotune on a few tracks then it can glitch. This hasn’t happened to me for a while now though, and I wouldn’t say I’ve tied it down to autotune at all, it’s just that it seems always to be there when the problem occurs. As an aside I generally only use autotune to get a quick fix on tuning before mixing and then I go through the vocal manually word by word to correct pitch problems either with autotune or melodyne and finally create a bounced version.


Now i’m half way through my 2nd coffee of the day :wink: he he… have you defragged lately out of interest?

^ ! … woke up in the night thinking about that! Got up, off loaded about 10 GB of old material to get well under the 15% free and defragged when the ‘analysis’ said I needed to.

I was so hoping to come back today and write an “Oh, gee, guys … brain fart … sorry,” but alas, not to be. No improvement.

There definitely are pronounced ‘disk performance’ glitches at the borders of cut sections.

Anyone know whether or not if you ‘glue’ them that is functionally the same as rendering a track as a new stem?


I found this … http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul06/articles/pcmusician_0706.htm. It does suggest the ‘cut’ tracks do functionally increase the drive demands similarly to track count.

Apparently my drives through the Serial Attached SCSI don’t use DMA or PIO protocols. I followed the advice in the above article to find that the only thing showing ‘channel’ was my IDE attached optical disk drive.


Hi Guys been reading with interest wanted to chime in with a question please

I recently tried to mixdown about 60 tracks to a new project (using the function that is available).

The disk overload thwarted me, it exported fine, but the new project wouldnt play at all. I was confused by this as I regularly see Youtube videos and read producers interviews, where they bounce things down so the computer can cope once more?

And the project in question played back fine in its original VST instruments/effects form, just wanted to try mixing audio to see if I liked the way of working -

Question is - how many tracks should my computer reasonably cope with (2.6 quad, 6 gig ram) or is it more about the disk than the computer on this subject.?

Ah! if i get this right you have an optical drive on the same channel as your audio hard drive?
When channel sharing the speed will default to the speed of the SLOWEST device on that channel… i got caught out by that when i first built this machine!

@matjones … nope … that’s not it. The optical drive is the only IDE attached device. My system has ‘Serial Attached SCSI’ or SAS. All the hard drives are controlled through a Serial ATA Controller … which has no ‘channels’ … or at least none visible from Device Manager.


Is it ALL audio, or are some tracks utilizing samples?

I put all my samples on a couple separate drives from my audio files drive, so there won’t be any problems. My track counts are not normally that high, but I am usually running numerous sample libraries alongside the audio: BFD2, Omnisphere, Kontact loaded with samples, etc.

Yes … it’s all audio.

BTW, your process of keeping samples (presumably like Kontakt or romplers) on separate drives from your audio is something I’m curious about. Is this your own ‘invention,’ or is it based upon some technical standard?

I also use sample based VSTis … but if you are streaming from several of them at the same time, aren’t you back in the same boat even if they are on different drives from your audio?

Or were you referring more to recording audio?

I read from a fairly knowledgeable person on another forum that, in his opinion, it made no difference where you place audio or samples as long as you had a separate O/S drive.

So many things to learn and not enough lifetimes to implement them!