BBCSO very slow load times when opening a Logic Pro project

I've been using BBCSO a very long time and for a few months now if I load a Logic Pro project that includes BBCSO voices it generally takes 3 to 5 minutes of loading before I can. do anything. It's sitting with an alert box showing a "Loading" progress bar, but is glacial in terms of speed. The more BBCSO voices, the worse, but even one voice can take 3 to 4 minute to load. This is not true for all Logic+BBCSO projects, just some. I just created a new project using one BBCSO voice and it loaded in about 20 seconds. But my older projects are really, really slow.

I store everything on 2TB internal SSD that is very fast, quad-core MacBook with 16GB RAM and not much else running. It's not a CPU issue (I can monitor that and it's not maxed out). When Logic is all loaded up and running it is using 3GB of RAM.

VSL and other Spitfire voices that I use are all fast. It is only when I include BBCSO voices that things get slow.

Once I've got a project open, there are no issues at all. It's just the initial loading.

Short of "Get a new computer" what should I be checking?

Best Answers

  • Angus
    Angus admin
    100 Answers 500 Comments 250 Likes Spitfire Employee
    Accepted Answer

    HI @jimsky7

    Some questions for you:

    • Is the library optimised? If not, the optimise button will appear under the library artwork in the App.
    • Are you storing the library on a dedicated sample drive, or is the 2TB SSD your system drive (e.g. DAW data is being pulled from the same location).
    • How many instances of the BBC SO Plugin are you trying to open here? If it is a full template, 5 minutes would be the typical load time.
  • jimsky7
    Accepted Answer

    You may have hit on something with the "Optimise" suggestion. Thanks!

    Case closed. Details below the separator.

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Details:

    Thank you @angus. There is no Optimise button per se, however under each section's gearwheel, there is an Optimise available. I just ran that on each section of the library (brass, core, discover, etc.). (It is actually hard to verify the absence of a button, as I am not sure I'm looking in the right spot.) Also the spitfire app uses dark grey text against a dark grey background, which is almost impossible to read on my monitor -- you should ask the UI team if they could make the text visually pop a bit more.

    The library is on the main SSD on my Macbook, and on an external SSD on my iMac. I switch back and forth in the course of a day or a project.

    Typically I have 12 to 15 stems in an album project (because it's a small ensemble thru the whole album) and of those half might be BBCSO. I consider that to be rather light weight as a project. I created a sample project yesterday that has a strings division composed of 5 instrument sections and it loads in seconds. New project, of course. An older film project with maybe 20 BBCSO tracks requires 5 minutes to load. I tend to score the full length of a film in one project, which means multiple instrument instances even for the same instrument sometimes -- I will see if I can minimize that to save time -- sounds like any time I add another track containing a BBCSO instrument it adds another instance, right?

    I will also note that on Mac OS Big Sur any Logic Pro project open requires a lot of time to enable Core Audio, which is different from earlier versions of Mac OS. This is very time-consuming compared to say a year ago.

    Results after optimisation:

    5 string sections >>> 30 seconds to load (this seems trivially short now!)

    40 Logic Pro "tracks" (BBCSO==10 tracks out of 40) >>> 3:00 minutes (this is greatly improved!)

    (In that project, I only count 15 seconds with the "Loading ... BBC" message visible, which is fast)

    (This is the project that used to require 5 minutes)

    So now the time there is a "Loading" message specifically for BBCSO, is quite minimal. I presume the (3) notation I see in the loading dialog is how many instances it loads? Meaning it is currently loading instance 3? (below) It is only spending about 15 seconds now loading BBCSO, so your suggestion may have worked.


  • jimsky7
    Accepted Answer

    Yes, I always use the "Power" button to inactivate tracks -- I agree it saves loading time (compared to clicking MUTE).

    Freeze is useful if I'm burning up the CPU and it can't keep up. But otherwise, freeze rapidly fills up HDD space with very large audio files. It's critical to have when it is needed, but generally I am space-challenged (even with a bookshelf full of 1TB and 2TB archive drives) so I only freeze a track when absolutely necessary.

Answers

  • Additional info: This is BBCSO "Pro" in my case and I do not restrict the articulations as I tend to use a broad range of them in any one piece of music (this is film scoring). Also if I add a track to an existing Logic Pro project and choose BBCSO as the instrument, it takes just about a minute to add 5 such tracks (rainbow pinwheel cursor appears) (default instrument is Violin I). This is similar to the time it takes to re-open that project when loading up Logic Pro. A minute for 5 instruments is not a big deal, but for an orchestral project this adds up.

    Just trying to get a handle on this for faster project switching in the future. RIght now it's a big "bog down" moment if I have to copy a bunch of parts from one project to another -- each project switch can require 5 minutes of waiting...

  • @jimsky7 great to hear, for further optimisation when loading your Logic project, you can freeze tracks or power off any plugins that aren't in user by adding the power button from the track dropdown (ctrl + click on the track)

  • Same problem still here. Using the BBC Pro on the Spitfire drive. Same template. And now very slow loading.

  • (for @alexanderdetig mostly) Although I did "Optimise" and load times improved, the load time is still pretty significant. I am considering this solved because I know that Core Audio is a big part of the problem. Also, some of my projects are way slower than others, regardless of how many tracks are using BBCSO -- (I took one project and re-built it as a new project and the load was much faster.) So to @alexanderdetig I do suggest that you "Optimise" as indicated and it might get somewhat better. Also when you say "Spitfire drive" if you mean one Spitfire sent you, those are mechanical drives and are slower than SSD -- I am entirely using SSD drives here.

  • @alexanderdetig the BBC SO Plugin can typically take around 5 minutes to load into a full template. This is because there are many samples to load within the plugin. You should look at disabling any tracks in your template you are not using in order to save on the overall template load time. This means you only spend time loading in the tracks you require.

  • Can someone post a screenshot with an arrow pointing to where this mythical 'optimise' button is please? I have no idea where to even look for it, and don't believe I have ever seen it.

    I am struggling with some instruments in the orchestra just giving up and not bothering to load at all. All the mic positions are greyed out, and I don't know what I can do to 'force' the samples to load.


    This is on a 64MB ram MacBookPro.


    Thanks for nay help with this.

  • Open the Spitfire Audio app. Select BBCSO from your products. It will show a list of the orchestra sections. Gearwheel appears at the right end of each line. Pop up the gearwheel. Select 'Optimise' (British spelling). If there's no Optimise entry, then you can't do it. But I just checked mine and there is a gearwheel on each line.

    Mine always eventually load, though it is often 5 minutes, and sometimes there is no movement on the progress bar for a considerable time.


  • You might be thinking it is in the plug-in. It's in the App.

  • Hi all of you,

    I'm new to the world of Spitfire Audio - purchased BBCSO Core a few days ago - and may have a related problem.

    I use BBCSO with Reaper, using four tracks only, so I think that should be very doable. After loading a file, I see the message about loading effects for a few seconds only, and everything seems to be fine. However, when trying to play back things get weird: voices are missing, and are coming back one by one. A "new" voice entering is usually wrong at first, e.g. using the wrong articulation. After a while, things get back to normal, and the music sounds as it sounded before saving the file.

    Could this be the same problem? I think it doesn't depend on Reaper, as I have similar problems in Finale 27. (I did find and click Optimise, but that doesn't seems to make a lot of difference for me.)

    Kind regards,

    Han.

  • The issue is really related to the new Logic version I think. It is also not unique to BBCSO. Just go to the Apple Logic community and see the number of posts of frustrated people.

    What your are describing sounds more like a partially loaded instrument sample set. You should open one of the BBCSO plugins in a track immediately after the loading message disappears. watch the little light at the top right. When it is still flickers red green or green, it is still loading the instrument.

  • Oops the light is at the top left😉

  • I agree with @Mario that might be the problem.

    However there's another possibility and you might want to post your problem as a separate thread. The possibility is that you have not selected the articulation before the first note is played. Even if you're a millisecond late, the instrument may play with the wrong (default) articulation, but once you've played thru and you go back to the start, the articulation will be correct the second time. So please check the timing of your articulation points.

    Also, some instruments require that you set an Expression value earlier than the first note the instrument plays. If you have not set a value for Expression, you could just be sure to do that -before- the instrument's first note. I have spent hours debugging this kind of thing -- very frustrating -- and now it is my practice to set Expression at the zero point on every track.

    My original report was related to the loading time, not to the sound of the instrument after it loads. And, yes, it is a continuing problem and a difficult problem in some cases. My personal workflow when scoring a film is to score the whole run of the film in a single Logic Pro project. This means in many cases I have to copy-paste from other LogicX projects into a new master film project. With two projects open at once, each copy from Project X to the new master project requires waiting for the instruments to load. If this is 5 minutes, then each copy-paste takes 10 minutes. I only do this once per film, and even if it takes an hour, it saves me many hours of compositional time, but it doesn't seem that it should be necessary.

  • Thanks for your response. I checked, and the light keeps flickering for a long time, so I think that slow loading is indeed the problem.

    As I don't use Logic Pro, and experience this problem with both Finale and Reaper, I'm now pretty sure it's a BBCSO issue. (No such issues with other VSTi's.) Maybe the difference is that, unlike Logic, my software simply starts playing even when not everything is loaded.

    I'll try and reduce the problem by loading fewer articulations then, and by developing some patience. :-)

  • jimsky7
    edited January 10

    I had also suspected it was systemic and not Logic Pro, but had not tested. Vienna Symphonic Library does not experience this same lag. So it is some interaction between BBCSO and something new going on in the Mac OS. I have CPU and disk activity indicators running (separate process) on my Mac, and when a voice is in this slow loading status both the CPU and the disk activity are LOW. So the explanation that there are a lot of samples to load seems unlikely to me. I was loading just as many samples back when Logic Pro used to be fast. Same projects, same voices. I am also on a very high speed internal SSD, and it used to take perhaps 10 to 15 seconds to load a full project that now takes 5 minutes or more. The only things that have changed are OS upgrades and Logic Pro upgrades.

    The chatter on the Apple discussion board seems to be focused on the Logic Pro version, with some people saying they've downgraded Logic Pro and the older versions work. (I am on Logic Pro 10.7.2 now.) Here is one thread I found that is rather recent - - https://discussions.apple.com/thread/253280737

    You know, the problem with saying we can get used to it by "...developing some patience..." <haha> is that it used to work. What's frustrating us is that we know it can be WAY better, and something has changed that has wiped out years of really good performance. We've gotten used to things working well. With sympathy for developers, of course (I was one), who have so many "moving parts" to keep running...nevertheless this is a really serious problem that is causing many thousands of lost hours for thousands of composers and other musicians.

  • As a new user to BBCSO Core on Windows, I also experienced a load time of several minutes. During this time the loading light is flashing throughout, I must admit I did not yet trim down my list of articulations as I'm still learning - so I could probably reduce my load times by doing that. It's loading around 6GB at the moment. During playback sometimes Reaper stops for maybe half a second and then carries on. I'm not sure what's causing this, but then as I said this is the first library I'm using so have nothing to compare it against.

  • @cbx33 how are you storing the library? Ideally, you should have the library on an external SSD formatted to your OS. Further reasons for slow load times:

    • You are using a USB2 port for a USB3 external HD
    • You are using an external HDD which will be too slow to use with Sample Libraries in most cases.
    • You are using an external SSD which has a transfer speed less than 500mb/s
    • You have stored the library on your internal SSD, where you are also running other programmes and applications, causing a data bottleneck and thus, slow loading times.

    More info on hard drive formatting can be found here: https://spitfireaudio.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360005061413-What-format-should-my-drive-be-And-how-do-I-change-the-format-

  • @Angus I am actually running it on my internal SSD - I don't have any option right now - I'm not too upset about the load time, I could certainly try it from a USB SSD HDD - Can it work from a fast USB Stick also? I work from a laptop so it's a pain to have to hook up a USB HDD.

  • Hi @cbx33

    No, the sample libraries cannot work from a flash drive or SD card. HDDs can work but will be slow, and the mechanical nature of the drive means they do not last as long as SSDs.

    I personally recommend Samsung T7s as the best and most affordable option, but any SSD with a speed of more than 500mb/s will work well, provided it is formatted correctly to your OS.

  • Sorry to ask @Angus Are you saying 500MB/s or 500Mb/s, it seems some USB sticks can now perform that fast.

  • @cbx33 500 mega bytes per second. USB Flash drives are not powerful enough to run sample libraries, you should look to purchase an SSD

  • I agree that USB sticks are too slow. An SSD is a very valuable investment for anybody who is going to use these libraries. If you're serious, you need SSD speeds. As far back as 2016 I did a test where I compared loading speeds from an internal hard drive (HDD) and an external solid state device (SSD) and found the loading times were 4x faster for SSD. Loads that had been taking minutes instead began taking 10 to 15 seconds. And that was with old SSDs. My advice is don't fiddle around trying to satisfice by using old devices, and instead just get a big SSD and go for it.

    On my big studio computer I have a 2TB external SSD on USB 3.0 that holds my Spitfire and other libraries. This SSD goes directly into one of the 4 USB3 ports on the iMac -- NOT thru a hub. I have various HDDs on a hub containing data and video, but the instrument libraries are on their own port and SSD.

    On my MacBook, where I have a mirrored version (via iCloud) of all my composition work, the internal SSD is 2TB and similarly holds all of my instrument libraries. They both work great except for the initial loading time that is the subject of this thread.