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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Monitoring the Processor with the Playhead

Did you know that the playhead changes color to indicate the level of demand on your computer’s processor? The playhead turns from white to yellow to orange to red to indicate how processor-intensive the song is. White indicates the lowest processor load, red the highest.

When the playhead turns dark orange to red, you are pushing the maximum load on the computer processor, and you could be overloading it. When the processor overloads, playback will be interrupted by a dialog warning that you are using too many tracks, effects, and notes.

Software Instrument tracks and regions are more demanding on the processor than Real Instrument regions, especially if they contain a lot of notes played simultaneously.

To see how the playhead helps you gauge the load on your processor, let’s play the project 3-1 Edit Recording in the Timeline.

  1. Press the Home key to move the playhead to the beginning of the project, if it is not there already.

    Notice that only the upper Grand Piano track is active. The track has been soloed; in other words, the Solo button in the track header is on.

    Soloing a track means that the sound of that track will be isolated, and all of the other unsoloed tracks will be mute.

  2. Play the first half of the project.
  3. Watch the playhead change colors when you get to a part of the song with more notes played simultaneously.

    The number of Software Instrument notes that are played simultaneously include notes within the same region, and notes in other Software Instrument regions on different tracks that play at the same time.

    You will likely see the playhead change color several times as the project plays, depending on the speed of your computer processor and available RAM. If you don’t see any color change at all, smile because you are working with a really fast computer.

Now you know how to identify changes in the processor load by the color of the playhead.

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