Tag Archives: scan

AMD 3 Series – ASIOGuard and AMD, a Further Cubase & Reaper Comparison.

In light of recent testing on the new AMD platform, a number of questions arose and I’m going to spend some time working through those over a couple of follow up articles.

The first one to tackle is Cubase which I ended up pulling from the testing this time due to uncertainty on the results being returned. This was to be the first time using Cubase 10 in the benchmarks, a change I was keen to move up to in light of them making adjustments to the engine to resolve the MMCSS issues that crept in on the previous build due to low-level OS changes. We had been working with a tweaked registry workaround in C9.5, so we were rather keen to see what other gains were to be had in working with the latest iteration of the software.

Whilst I’m looking at this I also want to start off by tackling another question in the process, namely the one of ASIOGuard.

ASIOGuard is there to stop dropouts and overloading whilst recording, it’s essentially another buffer designed to keep you safe from digital gremlins. where It also means that your trading off some degree of performance overhead in order to achieve that extra stability.

Normally, we will test with ASIOGuard disabled essentially because we’re looking to test the hardware and not ASIOGuard itself. The first result I want to post is a Cubase 10 with ASIOGuard Off/Low/Normal/High and at various buffer setting.

Cubase ASIOGuard Testing On The 3900X – Click To Expand

Firstly you’ll note that ASIOGuard off is far better performing, although I’ll note this still isn’t quite as I would have expected.


So, as it shows above, ASIOGuard rather skews the performance for us in testing. You can note that with a CPU overload point of roughly 90% maximum the ASIOGuard off setting gave us both the highest total polyphony and succeeded in leveraging the most amount CPU in that test.

Now with ASIOGuard on this isn’t the whole story. At each buffer setting the total performance was still there above the points where I drew the line. However, I couldn’t cleanly push past the points that I’ve indicated.

What do I mean by this?

With DAWBench testing, the way we take the metric is to simply keep adding more and more instances of whichever plugin it might be until such point where the audio overloads and then we pull back slightly and take the measurement.

What I was seeing here was the audio breaking up and then not coming back until I reduced the active channels back to the point that I’ve recorded.

So, for example, the chart above shows ASIOGuard – Low overloading on the 512 buffer at 560 notes. If I keep adding more instances until the point it crackles and falls over, it’s more like 1100 poly with 95% CPU.

So, why are the results on paper looking so low?

Because whilst I can build up to 1100 instances I then can not start/stop cleanly without it replicating the audio cut out and recover issue I note above.

So, say I take it to 1000 note poly and the audio is playing away fine. If I stop the project at this point the audio will stop playing. If I then proceed to start Cubase playing again it will immediately lock up, refusing to start playing audio again until I reduce it back to the point that I’ve noted on the chart.

Essentially it’s behaving as if it’s overloading and choking, which doesn’t make for a smooth session when recording.

So, the next question that comes to mind, is this an inherent issue inside of the Cubase 10 engine?

Cubase 10 DAWBench Vi Test On Intel 9900K – Click To Expand

Above we see the same set of ASIOGuard On/Off tests running on a 9900K at 4,9GHz all core and running 2666MHz RAM.


The first thing to note is that the ASIOGuard “off” setting does look to offer us the sort of result curve that we would be expecting to see in this testing situation and with a minimum of 90% CPU being leveraged rising quickly to 100% it’s performing as we would hope to see.

The ASIOGuard itself is designed to sit as a safety buffer and at tighter settings you can see where it fails to keep up as the CPU overloads at lower buffer settings, but when working ideally it will tend to trade off performance for stability at lower ASIO buffers as well as allowing for potentially a little more overhead to be extracted at more relaxed settings.

But that aside, the results above should indicate why we prefer to run any testing in Cubase with ASIOGuard itself disabled due to more balanced results as we’re testing just the hardware and not the ASIOGuard itself.

What was also apparent was that I wasn’t seeing the “rubber banding” effect on the Intel system and that the point where it fell over, it did pretty much fall over at its audio load break-up point.

There was none of this being able to push it 200% past it’s highest start/stop result and on the Intel testing it would prove to be that the point where it started to crackle that was also the same point where it would fail the stop/start part of the test.

So, on the Intel setup, these were the respective results for Cubase and Reaper testing where the performance curves look to be as we’d expect in regards to the point of audio drop out in each instance.

Intel 9900K Test

9900K TestCubase
(AG Off)
CPU Over
load Point
Reaper CPU Over
load Point

AMD 3900X Test

3900X TestCubase
(AG Off)
CPU Over
load Point
Reaper CPU Over
load Point

So, the reason I ultimately dropped Cubase from this round was the above. I just wasn’t sure at the time what or why the results were skewed in the fashion that they were and wanted to go with a test that I considered to be less aggressive with trying to optimize its own handling.

To note, I did a similar shoot off on Ryzen 1 & 2 setups but wasn’t able to close the gap in any meaningful way although I was using an older build of the sequencer engine at the time it should be noted that I’m seeing the memory hole tighten up slightly with faster RAM than the 3200MHz which was recommended on the last generation, but is now being eschewed in AMD recommendations in place of the newer 3733MHz packs which they’ve now noted is the optimum clocking speed for working with Ryzen.

I can’t help but wonder if this was always the case and it was simply the prohibitory high price of 3600MHz+ RAM two years ago (3800MHz is still rather high cost at the time of writing), is this a case of Infinity Fabric making it to market a number of years before the supporting hardware was widely available to the general public?

At the moment the Vi test is being updated, so I’ll look to do a pure VI test in the coming days and will republish with updated results as well as delving further into the memory handling side. I’ll note that the performance curve that I saw in testing this time mirrored my first run with the hybrid test build, but I’m also keen to see how it plays out doing a full retest with it across the board.

To draw this article to a close, Cubase 10 on the Intel side appears to be behaving as expected but the AMD handling has proven erratic enough for me to question it in regards to giving the hardware being examined a fairer test. For Cubase users and importantly for those of you working with large sample libraries, this raises questions on the suitability of AMD for handling your workload.

For the rest of us, it raises the question on whether or not its Cubase or Reaper that is the exception to the rule here and right now I’m not well placed to answer it. I understand there are further builds in the pipeline, so more testing will be carried out there as and when it’s ported.

Ryzen 3000 Series CPU Testing

All 3XS Computer Systems At Scan

Bluguitar AMP1 Nanotube 100 Guitar Amp

Bluguitar AMP1 Nanotube 100 Guitar Amp

Ok, I have to confess a bias here before I start.

Thomas Blug is a German guitarist, who has for the last couple of decades, built a reputation for having one of the best Guitar tones in the business.

He’s also been a mate of mine for a long long time.

We met first at trade shows in the early ‘90’s when I was demonstrating Takamine and Parker guitars, and he was demonstrating for Hughes & Kettner amps (for whom he was hugely important in the development of their sound)

Later, the company I worked for, took over the distribution of Hughes & Kettner, and Tom and I worked together on sales and demo’s for the UK.

So I know him as an old friend.

I also know that he has 2 of the best ears in the business.

This guy really does know about guitar tones.

So when he announced he was coming to market with what appeared to be a pedal, I was intrigued.

But I needn’t have been, you see,

It’s still an amp.

In fact it’s all amp.

In fact it’s a fully functioning 100 watt amp head, that you can attach straight to a 4 X 12 cabinet and make a proper racket with.

Light, Portable and efficient, yet capable of generating a full 100 Watts of blistering tone, this amp is at home either on stage or in the studio.

The first time I heard it in the studio, I immediately removed all the other Amps, Amp sims, modelling units etc, because this, is the best I have ever used.

Bar none.

Because it’s real.

Don’t get me wrong, I love using my UA plug-ins for mixing down, but when it comes to tracking, there is nothing to beat a real amp.

And remember, it’s not just for the studio, it sounds unbelievable live too.

The Amp One features 4 configurable channels. Clean, Vintage Classic and Modern.

Each of these is switchable and has adjustable Boost and Reverb controls.

The amp also features a Killer speaker simulation output for use in the studio as well as a headphone out.

This tiny package, that can fit easily into Hand luggage or a gig bag, delivers a round, fat bass with crisp, non ‘tinny’ trebles and an overall tone that you’ll recognise immediately as that of a true modern, boutique amp.

Why not give us a ring and arrange to come and demo one in our new ‘Blue Room’ demonstration suite.

 Bluguitar AMP1 Nanotube 100 Guitar Amp



Back To Black – Antelope Bring Out A New Addition To The ORION Family, The ORION32 HD

Bulgaria seems to be a bit of a busy place for Pro Audio at the moment with Antelope pushing out some absolutely fantastic gear and progressing on the software side of things at a staggering pace. The Balkan Mountains truly are alive with the sound of music…courtesy of Antelope’s pristine AD/DA conversion and supreme clocking!

Truth be told, it’s a pain (in a good way) keeping the content updated for their products, the guys and girls over at Antelope are like a machine, churning out updates to their FPGA based ecosystem of interfaces – giving their customers extra functionality and making additions to the free FPGA FX packages.

Enter the new addition to the family – the stunning looking ORION32 HD was announced at NAMM and I imagine Pro Tools HD users are pretty happy. It’s compatible with any DAW on the market via a HDX port or USB 3.0. This means no matter what you choose to use in the studio you can benefit from 64 channel 192kHz audio I/O, Zero Latency Monitoring, industry-leading AFC clocking and as you’d expect, flawless conversion. Throw in the usual plethora of connectivity such as ADAT, MADI, S/PDIF, Wordclock and mastering-grade Monitor outs and you have a beast of an interface. Now if you have a Pro Tools HD setup and a customer comes in with a laptop project made on Cubase, Logic or Presonus etc then you can simply use the USB port to integrate their project directly into your existing setup – no extra interfaces needed!

Coming back to the free FPGA FX package, if you’re not aware of it – Antelope have integrated a fine selection of free hardware-based vintage FX. The ever growing library includes hardware-based vintage EQ’s, compressors and Auraverb. The exquisite collections of Vintage EQ’s include authentic models of Lang PEQ-1, BAE 1073, 1084, 1023, UK-69 and many other classic British and German vintage units. If vintage compressors are more to your favour, how about a life-like model of the FET76 aka the legendary UREI 1176LN?

One more thing to note is the impressive software control. The routing matrix is pretty neat and even that has had some little tweaks over the last few software revisions to make it even easier to use. The control panel can be run on any machine on the network allowing for remote access to all the important stuff and as a side bonus, the control panel can be resized at will – its the little things that can make a huge difference in the right circumstances!

The ORION32 HD is available for pre-order at Scan Pro Audio, go take a look!

Musical Geisha nights: Coming to Manchester

Scan Pro Audio is proud to announce that the Musical Geisha nights that originated in London are coming to Manchester.

Rowena Morgan is known as the Musical Geisha. (A Geisha was a Japanese Hostess in olden times…)

RM Glam

For the last couple of years she has run the Musical Geisha evenings at Metropolis Studios in London, and Scan Pro Audio has been the sponsor for these events supplying drinks for the first few rounds of the evenings and bringing special guests who can talk to people about kit and arrange special discounts.

Rowena has a very special little black book which includes contacts for some of the biggest and best names in the Music Industry (she is friends with legends like Tony Visconti, Paul McCartney and Hugh Padgham)

By hosting these evenings, she is able to introduce Singers to Songwriters, Songwriters to Producers, Producers to Musicians etc. and many chart topping collaborations have come about because of her introductions.

Starting this month, she is bringing the concept to the North to Manchesters own Blueprint Studios (latterly home to Elbow and who’s clients include R.E.M., Justin Timberlake amongst others…)

Entrance is by Invitation only, but if you are interested in coming along you can write to her at


let her know what you do in the industry, and see if she can swing you an invite.

It’s gonna be the place to be….ro and TV

Ro and Sir Paul

Drumbeat 2014!!!









We’ve mentioned before that Scan does a lot of good work for charity, supporting different peoples endeavours and especially where it comes to musical efforts, so it’s great to be able to tell you that we are working with Drumbeat UK to try and achieve a phenomenal world record.
It’s happening at Event city on Friday the 21st of November, and we are going to be webcasting the whole event LIVE!!!!!!REGISTRATION Poster_FINAL_SMALL

Drummers!!! Come on down and be part of something very cool and worthwhile!!!

drumBEAT Logo 4 Colour - EC


So, it would seem a little strange us Audio boyz blogging about the recent Scan/Nvidia Lock in Night featuring the launch of the new NVIDIA Shield, if it weren’t for the fact that the whole evening was supported by a riot of musical entertainment.18
Whenever we do this sort of thing, we never do it by halves, and last Friday evening/Saturday was no exception.12
From the Pro Audio side of things we had a blast featuring DJ sets from in-house Scan employee Penrar, our very own Tom Autobot and the Godfather of House, all the way from Chicago via Manchester, Mr Marshall Jefferson as well as a set from the Winners of our Velcocity 2014 competition rock section “Day Old Hate”.

21 17
On the Saturday we had our old buddy, the freshly crowned UK DMC Champion Turntablist DJ Rasp with us, and in all, the whole weekend had a very cool and vibey feel to it.

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Sunday Post!!

Sunday Deliveries!!!!!

dpd sunday
One of the things scan prides itself on, is its excellent service record.
Not a day goes by when we don’t get Emails, letters, texts complimenting us on our service, and no matter how good that is, we never stop trying to improve.
So imagine how pleased we were to hear the news that our delivery partners DPD are to start a Sunday delivery service with same one –hour delivery window sent to you at the start of the day!

No excuses not to get that little bit of kit you’ve been promising yourself……

Xmas Shopping Tips…..


So, with limited shopping days until Christmas, I want to put to paper, my thoughts on a little argument I was having with a friend the other day.

My friend was bemoaning the loss of ‘Christmas Spirit’ when shopping on-line, as opposed to the ‘human contact’ of traditional shopping which apparently embues one with the “Joys of the Season”.

Well, recalling my own experience these last few years, which has mainly involved, wet feet, freezing cold hands, queuing up (Which I HATE), shop assistants that have plainly ‘ had enough’, and finally that awful bit of trying to remember when your extortionate car park ticket runs out… may I suggest the following steps this Yuletide….

Set aside an hour one evening soon, in a nice warm and slightly darkened room….

Make sure you’re not disturbed, by telling others they will ‘ruin the surprise’ if they come in.

Take a glass of something festive, sherry or port, and a couple of mince pies, open your browser and find this page http://christmassongsradio.com/   tune in, and get ready to browse.

Make sure you have a pad and pencil with you, (or open up wordpad or its equivalent) and start your shopping. You don’t have to buy straight away, just take notes of what might do for who, and spend the next hour just happily clicking and sipping and nibbling with the gentle songs of Christmas spilling forth from your speakers. (Oh by the way, start here…  www.scan.co.uk   🙂  )

I promise you’ll get ‘Christmassy’ a lot faster this way…..

On behalf of everyone here at Scan, we wish you a Happy and Peaceful Christmas, and a prosperous New Year.


FOCAL Spirit Professional Headphones…..



Any Regular readers of this blog will know that every now and then, a product comes along that causes me to shout very loudly….  OK, here goes…

THESE ARE UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!index 4

I’ll calm down for a minute and explain something….

In the same way that certain monitor speakers can ‘colour’ the sound of your mix, i.e. they can accentuate certain frequencies to boost or cut the highs and lows, the same is true of headphones.

In the world of Hi-Fi, this sort of thing is not only common practice, but it is considered one of the prime reasons for buying a certain brand of headphone over another, i.e. you ‘like the sound of them’.

In the world of the recording studio however, exactly the reverse is true. Or should be…..

The goal in recording studios is to monitor exactly what is being output from the desk/computer in order to mix it precisely for your needs. That’s why top studio’s pay literally 10’s of 1000’s of pounds for monitor speakers which accurately reflect your m8ix, warts and all. After all, the last thing you want is a mix that sounds good on your speakers, but sounds dreadful everywhere else (and believe me this is very possible).

The same is true for studio monitor headphones. index 2

In a studio, you can probably get away with lesser quality headphones when it comes to tracking instruments, and to a lesser extent Vocals, but when it comes to Mixing, (and there are times when you’re forced to mix on headphones, either because of noise constraints in home studios at night, or mixing on a laptop whilst travelling..) there is no way you can afford to compromise.

Here at Scan we take our listening skills very seriously.

We have industry professionals at the heart of our team, and we are merciless when it comes to quality. (Our very own Tom recently paid $2000.00 for his current studio phones..)

Every one of our team was so impressed with these Focal Pro’s that we each bought a pair.

That’s how good they are.


The first thing I discovered when I got them home wasn’t just the detail within the sound, but the stereo imaging was absolutely bang on. You can stand in front of your studio monitors, and match the volume between phones and monitors, then remove them and put them back to your hearts content, the imaging is exactly the same, and that is a very, very good thing.

LN 54126

index 3