Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
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  • VSL Frustration - Clicks and Pops with only 7 instruments playing.....

    Having purchased the Orchestral Cube First Edition for PC several years ago, and recently being told by VSL that there was no way of me using it with my new MacBook Pro, I resigned myself to the fact that nearly £2000 was just to be written off (I don't use PCs any more).

    I decided, rather reluctantly, to buy the Special Edition and to purchase a large external firewire hard-drive (1TB) and upgrade my RAM to 4GB in order to run it on my MacBook pro. 

    Pleased to be using these high quality samples again I received the Special Edition and have started using it with Sibelius 5 (version 5.2.5).

    My mac is connected to a Digidesign MBox 2 Pro.

    I went through the set-up procedure for using Special edition with Sibelius and now I can only add 7 or so instruments to my score before I get clicks and pops......! Why?

    Please help. I so want to enjoy this purchase..!!

    Thank you.

  •  I can't help anymore (I'm on Windows) but are you on asio drivers ?

  • There are many reasons why you could be getting clicks and pops, but as a first port of call I would raise the buffer of the soundcard.


  •  Another thought. If the M-box is connected via Firewire, then running the samples from a Firewire drive is not a good idea.


  • Thanks for your replies and help.

    Have previously tried raising buffer size with only marginal improvements.

    M box is on USB.

  •  OK, have you tried disabling any network, particularly wireless network?


  • Hi grml,

    You can still access those Orchestral Cube samples on your Mac. I told you on your thread in the Giga forum that a program called G-Player will play those files natively without any conversion. Just google it.

    The dedicated Vienna Player is a much nicer interface though, so I'm sure you wont regret your investment.

    As regards the clicks and pops - are you loading presets or matrices?



  • Another thing worth mentioning.  Sibelius is an absolute CPU hog.  That application is terrible to run as a "one box does all" system.  Especially a laptop.  It is the least efficient application I own.  Hence I don't orchestrate on it anymore.

    I have been using Sibelius since version 2.  It has always been that way.  Even with gigastudio, if I ran it on the same box I needed higher latency settings and could never push an entire orchestra until I got a super machine.  I have wasted so much time on Sibelius over the years but finally dropped it for Logic.  There is no comparison now.  I can freeze tracks etc and free up resources.

    The only thing I would use Sibeilus for is to make a score to print for someone, nothing more.  It's awful as a DAW performance (and options) wise.

    Andi might be able to help you more though as he seems to be the absolute go to person about all "Notation" orchestrating with VSL (but he roams the other thread for notation software).

    To bad Sibelius doesn't let you freeze/bounce tracks to audio to save resources.  That would help a lot.  So add all the resources both VSL and Sibelius use, and then if you try to throw in some effects like reverb etc on that macbook pro, don't expect to get much performance. 

    Do you have a 7200rpm drive internally or is it the standard 5400?  The difference is enormous in terms of performance increase.  Also are you maxxed in RAM?

    I am able to run many more instances of anything other than VSL interfaces.  I can run 30-40 EXS at one time, just as many Kontakt players, but the second I load a VSL VI, I get no more than about 5-7 and it's pop click bang boom.  Always been that way and have done every change known to man (hard drives, RAM, seperating one drive on USB, one on Firewire, sound card on expresscard slot etc) just to make sure nothing conflicted.  The VI Player is beautiful and I love how powerful it is, but it is not anywhere near as resource friendly as other vendor interfaces (there could be many reasons for this, but it isn't a limitation of my machines, it's a matter of resource usage of the VI interface, possibly its samples and the process it uses to uncompress them on the fly).  It simply demands more power than all my other plugs.

    You may want to consider using a DAW so you can take advantage of "freezing" tracks etc.  You will be amazed how much more power that renders you.  I know, I am also a MacBook Pro user (2006 model).  After I switched to Logic and learned about freezing tracks, I have been able to do everything I need.  Never been an issue again.

    By the way, if you use G-Player, you could load all your old sample Cube into Logic and freeze the tracks.  You would get an incredibly powerful machine this way (I also use G-Player for many old giga libraries/non VSL).  If you manage to find the magic "fix all your problems and now it acts like an 8 core Mac Pro" please post your findings.


  • Thank you so much for your very helpful replies, particularly Maestro2be - I really appreciate it!

    I do own Logic as well so maybe that's the way to go - as a classically trained musician I just find more 'comfortable' working in notation. Perhaps Logic's score editor is an option.

    Maestro2be - you have been so helpful already with your comprehensive reply. Thank you. Would you mind explaining the 'freeze tracks' concept and how to do it?

    Incidentally, I have found that using the internal output rather than using the MBox 2 Pro allowed to run more matrices without pops and clicks.


  • You know, I actually struggled VERY hard for a long time (mentally) changing from Sibelius to Logic.  Want to know why?  Same excuse as you.  I am a musician!  Not a dam engineer!  (well I am much more seriously both now a days but back then I had no DAW experience and no engineering sound experience!).  It was total HELL getting over that curve!  To let go of my beloved "sheet of music" and looking at blobs of crap on the screen with dots, and lines and hashes and all these confusing pluggy thingies and all these knobbie thingies all over the place.  What the hell was all of this crap!  :)

    Now that I pushed myself through the curve (it wasn't easy) I would NEVER go back.  EVER!  What I can do today in a few hours will DESTROY anything I could have done in Sibelius in a week.  Sounds to me like it's time for you to do the same.  Start sooner than later.  There are so many reasons why a DAW is better to work in than Sibelius but a die hard Sibelius fan might try to argue against it.  One MAJOR simple fact, Sibelius is TERRIBLE at "real-time" inputing.  No matter what they say, it is HORRIBLE and it's as buggy as can possibly be.  I have written countless posts on Sibelius forums, written/spoke to Sibelius support about it's serious lacking in its ability to record your performance in live, without making a mistake.  It was simply impossible!  In 3 years, they NEVER were able to record me playing in a live chopin etude etc (every new version of Sibelius brought back hope that it would work!  Nope still don't work on version 6!).  Their response was, we're sorry, your piano skills are to good for this to handle, you should try a DAW.  WHAT!  I freaked out, I was terrified of all this bullcrap DAW stuff.  I just wanted to "perform" music and go on with my day.  And just like you, all I wanted was to SEE it as I am comfortable seeing music.  On bars and staffs!!

    Those days are gone.  It's time to move on and get up here with us big boys now!  :) so let's begin.

    What is "Freezing Tracks" even mean?  It is a term that is used in LOGIC.  Cubase and others have the same ability but they call it another name.  Notation software like Sibelius, Finale etc do not come with this feature.  Here is exactly what it does.

    Let's say you load a new project, load up a solo violin and press record.  Now you play in a live playback of it and all goes well.  Great.  Now you load up a second track and a solo viola.  You hit record and record another passage in.  Can you see how if you keep going, this will quickly chew up your resources on your computer?  The reason it is so "System Resource" hungry is because it is reading all of your project data, applying reverb and other channel plugs you have going (compression, EQ etc).  It is also "streaming" the samples from a hard drive and uncompressing them as it goes.  It is either upsampling or downsampling depending on the settings you have defined for the project (that's why in Logic, I recently learned to set ALL my templates to 24-bit/44,100khz because now it doesn't have to do any additional processing to the VSL Samples which improved performance on my machine 10 fold).  All of this translates to serious amounts of CPU demand.  It has to keep up with all of those processes in realtime while all the while you're twitching the xfade modwheel and expression pedal.  Before you know it, you're getting pops and clicks because the system simply cannot process that much in "realtime".

    So Freeze comes to the rescue!  Let's say now you finished your violin part earlier.  You can tell LOGIC to "freeze" that track and it will bounce just that one instrument to an audio file.  (the only difference you will see is the green "Freeze" icon).  Now that this track is nothing but an audio file (like a song in itunes) the computer doesn't even have to work hardly at all to play it.  There fore, a track that took 20% of your CPU before, isn't even takin 1% anymore!  After you do this to your viola, cellos and basses you can play a whole dam ensemble (chamber) and not use more than 20% CPU if that.  It's because it no longer has to process plug-ins for that channel, stream the samples from an external drive, render all midi commands like xfade, expression, keyswitches etc.  Your computer will love you for this!

    I am working on a project right now that has 8 instruments in it.  A ton of piano notes, and tons of strings along with an electronic sound mimicing the piano.  If I try to play this I get pops and clicks.  I just froze two tracks, piano and violins and already I am at 60% CPU, down from 100% before.  See how powerful this is?  After I finish editing my other tracks and freeze them I will be able to play this entire orchestration with less than 5% CPU.

    So for me I simply record in a part (you can manually enter notes here if you want, it still works the same), fix wrong notes & timing issues, apply key switches to the patches I want, then record my expression level and xfade level.  At this point, I should be fairly done with this track.  FREEZE.  Done.  Move on to the next track, viola.  Record (and repeat above steps).  FREEZE.  At this point I have 2 perfected tracks that are taking no more than a few % of my CPU.  When you start to get into huge orchestrations, you will be able to copy and paste the same passages for the instruments that play in the same range (brass, Winds etc).

    You will probably get frustrated, feel like you've stepped back 10 steps and have no idea where to go when you move to a DAW from Sibelius.  But in the end your music will have a sound you simply cannot get in Sibelius without tremendous amounts of effort (and one hell of a computer if you're doing it all "in the box") since you can't "freeze" tracks and make your projects CPU friendly.

    P.S. Logic's score editor is not really an option for me.  I stick to Sibelius for scores, it is superior in that.  At first the way you do it in Logic will seem extremely "unmusical" in its approach.  But the results will blow away what you're doing now once you master it.  In the years I have struggled with Sibelius not recording my parts as I truly played them, on the flip side Logic has NEVER failed me to record what I really played.  Ever.


  • Thank you again for a really comprehensive reply!!

    I'm pretty converted to the notion of using Logic and have downloaded the G Player demo (will purchase).

    As I am completely new to using Logic with both my Special Edition and my Giga samples with G Player, could you give me an idea as to how to get started?

    Can I set up a template with the orchestra in sections? Do I use multi-timbral instrument tracks for Vienna Ensemble and G Player or just multiple instances of Vienna Instruments and G Solo? Do I need to do the latter in order to freeze tracks. How do you have your Logic template set up?

    Many thanks again,


  • last edited
    last edited

    Hey guys,

    I'm not sure if you are aware, but have you checked out NOTION SLE for VSL yet? This might be something you both may be interested in. Basically what it is is a notation/playback "engine" for VSL which is designed to utilize the power of the library through the language of musicians - notation.

    It also has sequencer features - such as sequencer overlay and sequencer staffs for recording and editing controllers, etc. But what what is most impressive are the bundled presets that actually are preprogrammed to respond to all articulations marks. Presets are available for all Special Edition instruments and they cover almost the entire range of articulations per instrument. It works with VE and VE PRO.

    The thread about SLE is here.

    Let me just say, this is not Sibelius. Sibelius is a wonderful, powerful program but it is mainly intended for engraving and publishing purposes. NOTION SLE is meant for playback and compostion and feels more liek a sequencer or audio app that is driven through notation.

    Just thought it may interest you.

    Lubo Astinov

  • " using Special edition with Sibelius and now I can only add 7 or so instruments to my score before I get clicks and pops......! Why?"

    I would move over to Logic or Cubase-Does Sibelius allow you to use your installed sound card ASIO driver or does it force you to go through a generic driver?  I'm on the PC platform but I would defintiely not rest until I had this question answered as the software settings can be changed by simple thing like a software update in a totally different program.

    Also, I'm not sure Sibelius is capable of handling the complexities of the Vienna Instruments technology. Cubase and Logic give you a lot more for your money in terms of control.


    Just thought of something else, having two hard drives is a must! The operating system is overloaded traveling back and forth between the hard drive if it has to search on the same hard drive for both its stuff and the sound stuff; moving all of the VSL files to another hard drive would probably resolve the issue.

  • Did you check your disk speed ?

    Use Xbench (free) to check your FW disk and post the results 

    Also you can instal Menumeters (free) to check how busy is your system



    MacBook Pro M3 MAX 128 GB 8TB - 2 x 48" - 1 x 27" screen --- Logic Pro --- Mir Pro 3D Dolby Atmos --- Most of the VI libs, a few Synch... libs --- Quite a few Kontakt libs --- CS80 fanatic