Problem of Serum

Serum is not playable in C3 with their factory presets under pads and synths. I have gotten my computer to where is handles O2 with no problem in C3, but Serum overpowers my i74th gen CPU with 16gb RAM and 256GB SSD using the standard headphone audio on my Laptop (maybe my UR28M will give me different results and not get overpowered so easily). I believe this has been handled before, and I am embarrassed to say I tried to respond to posts about Serum speaking form ignorance. I hadn’t purchased it at the time. I have purchased it now, and it is VERY intuitive to program and get my target sounds. My patches use much less CPU. Any ideas are appreciated.

Hi John,

I use serum for some time now and to start with the bad news: it can really be a cpu hog. Nevertheless I’m able to handle several instances of serum in parallel (i7 4770k / i7 4702qm / 16gb if RAM each, lots of ssds) on my machines.

What I did was this:

  1. Find and kill processes inside windows that interrupt audio processing. Here brad’s “glitch free book” is mandatory (in my case the WLAN adapter made some trouble)

  2. Use a fast audio card (RME hammerfall dsp / RME babyface in my case)

  3. Set latencies of the driver not too low (in my case 256 samples)

  4. Run C3 in aggressive mode

  5. Implement a binding in each song that initiates a soft start of the engine when loading a song

Aspects 4 and 5 only refer to the use of more than one plugin of a kind at a time. In my case this decreases cpu round trip (the cpu meter in C3) by up 40%.

The only reason I don’t use serum in my live setup is the fact, that loadtimes for the samples are far too long (which is a joke as most of them are really short).

Hope this can help,

regards, humphrey

1 Like

Hey John,

I’d be instantly suspicious of the onboard audio chip of your laptop - if you want to use resource-hungry VST instruments, you’ll need the most efficient soundcard you can get. Onboard audio chips are usually more or less a compromise, so for any serious application, I’d go for a reasonable-quality USB or Thunderbolt audio interface . @humphrey gave you a great suggestion with the RME Babyface, one of the most efficient audio interfaces on the market, but it’s not cheap. But given the investment in your laptop, your audio interface shouldn’t be the weakest link in the chain…



I’m curious about #5 in your list (soft start of the engine when loading a song). I have a few songs in our set list that are VST-heavy (about 10-12 plugins), and have been considering different ways to make sure that I don’t have problems before, during, or after those songs.

Could you describe in a little more detail about this binding (or point me somewhere with more detail), like what specifically this does (and how are plugins that were preloaded as part of the set list affected? Also, does this soft start take very long?


Hi Roland,

#5 is the result of a longer story. I tended to use heavy load plugs like diva or serum and not only once but sometimes as layer (several instances of the same plug wirh different sounds in parallel). Agressive mode in c3 produces some advantage here.

But when doing some further investigation I found that cpu load in C3 was verying strongly. Some further investigation showed that the problem could be found in windows cpu core load balancing. As far as I understood this is not part of the daw and done by the OS.

I didn’t give up and did some further testing with other daws. Whereas Forte showed the same results as C3, Ableton Live and Cubase behaved smarter. For wich reason ever they are able to force the OS to do a better balancing.

What I found next was that a setup with a number of identical plugs with different sounds can also be forced to better balancing in c3 by loading it and then switching the engine inside c3 off and on again. So my first solution was a binding with a key I normally don’t use to engine status.

As this was cumbersome I asked brad for some support and he was so kind to implement 2 new binding targets for resetting the engine: one normal reset resetting everything and the quick reset only effecting some aspects of the engine - in my case exactly what is needed.

So, to finally answer your question: I meanwhile implemented this binding on top of the bindings in every song and there’s no noticable delay.

@Roland_Robertson: here’s a link on the corresponing thread:
Restarting Engine after Song Load

Kind regards, humphrey

1 Like

Thanks so much for the very informative and helpful background. I had seen that thread before, but for some reason didn’t pay close attention to it.

Thanks to everyone on your input! I am going to look at the soft restart of the audio engine. I am familiar with the settings in Glitch Free and can do them by memory, now. I am using a Soundcraft UI24R as my audio interface when playing live. I will have to hook it up to see if it behaves differently. Thanks for the link @humphrey!

So I have made progress on the C3 Serum issue. I used various interfaces with the same result, drop outs immediately. I was using a Toshiba Satellite LT with a 4th gen i7 quad core cpu, SSD and 16gb ram. I decided to bring out my older, very heavy 17 inch HP Envy DV7t with a 3rd gen i7 that is hyperthreaded. I had installed an SSD in it, to make it faster. I used it for my masters degree program and Studio One for quick loop development ideas etc. It was fully configured as a back up in case the Toshiba failed at a gig (we rely heavily on Ableton). I never really used it. So, I installed C3 on it and Serum. No CPU overload, not even close! The difference? My theory is that Toshiba MB chipset and manufacturer is crap. I know Dell uses Foxconn which I despise. HP, however, uses ASUS for the MB, which is why historically, I only bought upper end HP laptops. When I see complaints about HP, it is usually the garage sale type people, or the $399 laptop cheapskates. Of course those LT’s won’t do well, the buyer should know that (including me!). I plan to investigate the MB maker of Toshibas. I hate Lenovos. I have repaired laptops since the late '90’s and majored in computer science at UC Irvine before falling in love and moving to UC Santa Barbara which ruined it all. (enough about me). That said, I am migrating all of my stuff back to my HP, and begin looking for a trustworthy, high end HP LT. Only reason I went to the toshiba was because I went in to purchase DVD’s at Officemax and the display LT that went for 800 bucks at the time was sold to me for 400. It was one dollar more than $399, so, technically I am not a cheapskate! (the guy at officemax said, “What price would make you want to take this home today?” I said. “400,” and he said, “done with full warranty. We have new LT’s coming in for the new school year.” Toshiba runs cooler, and is lighter. So I moved everything to it. It’s newer, right?

Moral of the story, just because it is a quad core i7 later gen. does not necessarily mean that it is better. MB, chipset, maybe hyperthread. Better to use an older beast than a newer house pet.

Hey John,

Couldn’t agree more, I obtained and use older HP Elite workstation LP’s with i7 Quad cores and they have been great!


1 Like

Out of curiosity, what don’t you like about Lenovo?
I’m using a Lenovo W520 i7 quad core with SSD drive and 8g ram. It’s a bit heavy but other than that it seems to be doing the job. Is it the quality of build or something else that you don’t like about them?

I service many laptops, and they are the most popular in the shop. The longevity is the main issue. Customer support is okay, but not as good as Dell and HP. To some of my customers I suggest using their warranty since the turn around is fast, and they set up all of the shipping. Lenovo, more likely, would send out a local such as myself, and I do not think that is a best practice. If it is under warranty, the factory should service it. Anyway, that’s the only issue. Same reason I don’t like Toshiba hard drives. On my toshiba, I cloned the hard drive and immediately threw away the toshiba drive, no questions. Lenovo uses IBM motherboards, which is better than Foxconn MB’s which are in Dells. ASUS is what is in HP, although they are straying from ASUS. Your CPU on that system is rockin’ good! I am not a fan of the separate GPU due to the heat issue. But your system looks great. So I am sure you are happy with your purchase. Lots of bang for your buck. Thanks for asking!


Thanks for sharing your knowledge on the subject of laptops. It’s not easy choosing a good candidate for the job at hand with all the choices out there. Much appreciated


FWIW. I was running windows 7 and my LT has hosted about 7 different audio interfaces since 2015 (there are reasons for that). So I backed up my drive, got windows 10, installed it, reloaded all my software, and configured according to Glitch Free, and the same computer that couldn’t handle Serum, is handling it with no problem at all. Not sure if it was Windows 10, no other audio drivers interfering with my Soundcraft UI24R drivers, or simply a clean install. It’s all good. Only problem is that we have one gig in December and nothing booked until March 2018. (I am sitting in on other bands. I tell my band that I am married to them, but I have a few mistresses).

1 Like