When I say watered down the volume of the tracks drops and it sounds muffled like listening to it under water. Maybe there is a technical term for it I just don't know it. When I turn all of the plugins off the volume goes to normal levels and all you hear is the dry guitar signal. With the plugins off the CPU usage goes back down to around 20% which is normally what it's at while recording My midi drum track is not affected just the audio tracks. I've restarted my laptop and it doesn't look like any other program his using up the CPU.