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  • Frustrated with VEPro, PT and Kontakt

    Well......actually I'm frustrated with Reaper and Logic, too. I've got an 8 core Mac with 8GB RAM. Just trying to use 1 instance of VEPro with 1 channel of Kontakt at a buffer setting that's actually playable (i.e. below 256) is impossible. I've tried every configuration of settings I can come up with including a slave computer (dual core Mac w/ 6GB RAM. All configurations load and work with ease in PT, Reaper and Logic. But I'm still getting clicks and pops below 256 on the main computer.

    So I assumed that it must be a computer or network issue. I've tried with and without the router, shorter ethernet cables and making the 2 core Mac the main computer with the 8 core the slave. Everything I do produces the exact same results.

    I think I must have misunderstood something about how this works. I bought VEPro to get around the instability of Kontakt and PT plus to get around the 32 bit RAM limit. I thought VEPro would work outside PT, even if it needed to be on a slave. I thought the slave would be doing all the work independent of PT and just receiving midi/sending back audio. But apparantly when I change my buffer setting in PT, it still puts a strain on the slave. With my PT buffer set to 512, VEPro RTAS plug set to 2 and slave having 1 instance and 1 channel of Kontakt with 10 instruments loaded, playback stopped........VEPro CPU will be about 20-30%. Change the PT buffer to 128 and VEPRo usage jumps to 70%. Is that normal? I mean seriously......where am I wrong? I thought VEPro on a slave was supposed to do the work.

    If it behaves like this, the slave concept is pointless. That's not any different than trying to use it in the main computer. Kontakts memory server does as well. I just trade the clicks and pops of VEPro for Kontakts' CPU spikes.

  • Oh........and BTW, I downloaded the most current versions from the website. I'm thinking I'll uninstall and go backwards, using the older version that came in the box. I noticed in reading the forum here that some users reported better results with previous releases. I really don't expect a difference. But i suppose I'm just desperate. As bad as Kontakt runs in PT, it works better even with it's sudden CPU spikes than VEPro is performing.

  • Have you tried hosting the VEP server on the same machine as PT? That will let you know if there's a network problem. Also, have you tried reducing the latency on the plugin to x1 or x0? That might reduce the latency enough for you to be able to play at the 256 buffer setting.

    Your situation does sound odd though. The VEP plugin puts CPU strain on the master machine when you but I'm using a 4 year old dual core as my master machine and Logic is coping just fine at 256 buffer and x2 latency on the plugin. You would think that an 8 core should be able to do it without breaking a sweat...

    Just out of interest, have you tried with another host?


  • Yes. I've tried it on the main machine with PT. Same results.

    Yes. I've tried reducing latency. It does change but I still can;t get past about 10 midi tracks driving 10 instruments in Kontakt before having to raise the buffer above 256.

    Yes. I have tried settings of none, 1 and 2.

    Yes. I agree about the CPU strain being odd. I too thought the strain would be on VE Pro. I was surprised to see the CPU load change even on the slave when I changed settings on the main computer. Yes. Same results in Reaper and Logic. Which made me think it was something else specific to my system. But the network isn't the issue since i get the same results with just using only the 8 core. And I'm not sure what else to look for. There's no airport in it, nothing even connected bluetooth. Nothing else running to siphon power away or least that I can think of. Activity monitor shows nothing going on out of the ordinary.

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    @Another User said:

    I mean seriously......where am I wrong? I thought VEPro on a slave was supposed to do the work. If it behaves like this, the slave concept is pointless. That's not any different than trying to use it in the main computer. Kontakts memory server does as well. I just trade the clicks and pops of VEPro for Kontakts' CPU spikes
    The slave should be doing the work of handling the instruments and fx plugs, yes; and you should really use the more robust computer accordingly.

    I use dozens of times more instruments than you describe and typically in 4 instances (x4 'threads per instance') on my MacPro octocore with Cubase on the master, a MacPro quad - and Cubase is ~4 times slower than Logic on a Mac - with samples/buffer at 128, or in a really loaded project 192, with no audio breakage. Sometimes a huge project (by my standards, not a symphonic scale kit) in a full mix scenario forces me to 256 but, with the current build of VE Pro I haven't had to exceed that to my recollection. This is using the x2 buffers in VE Pro, which, if it adds any latency it's negligible here, owing to the latency compensation of VE Pro.

    If you are using KMS in x64 kernel, DON'T, there is no call for it. I can't say it's the source of your trouble by any means, but that exists to expand 32-bit operation.  If you're getting this poor of performance and Activity Monitor is looking less than stressed, it looks like a network problem to me.

    Is your IP fixed or dynamic? I had a lot of trouble until someone hipped me to this, do not use a dynamic IP for this purpose. When that was put to me, I had no idea what it meant... but my performance troubles began to vanish once I'd fixed an IP address for the master and for the slave.

  • Thanks for the assistance.

    I'm sure my network is set to dynamic as that's how it's been set for my ISP. So I'll check in to that. I can see how this would effect a slave computer setup. But would this effect performance for just a single computer setup? Because I get the same poor performance using just the 8 core, and like you said of your performance......I know it should be capable of a good amount of usage just on it's own. I certainly have no performance issues in any other respect. Many times I forget to move the buffer back higher after using some virtual instruments and still do a huge mix with no problem.

    If by "KMS" you mean Kontakt Memory Server, it's turned off in the preferences. Also, the 8 core is one of the early models and will not boot into 64 bit. So everything is 32 bit. One more reason I wanted to do VEP.

    I'll try changing network settings and report back.

  • I don't know if it would affect local host mode, not fixing the IP - the IP changing is the IP changing tho...

    I've used VE Pro on the single machine as 'local host' only to reconfigure stuff such as Kontakt from regular plugins into VE Pro frames and I had not real good performance on my octocore [which is the nehalem chip, with 24 GB RAM], so I can tell you that with Cubase, VE Pro on a slave made a difference I couldn't even estimate. But, per that poor performance, if dynamic IP affects local host, that would explain a lot, as I didn't know anything about it when I reconfigured those projects.

  • I tried changing the address to fixed. It made no difference in any situation.......either single machine or slave. I'm completely baffled. I guess at least to my knowledge it seems like if there were performance issues that would cause this, they would cause problems elsewhere. But I can run huge sessions with very intense plugins that don't cause the 8 core to break a sweat, even at a low buffer. And other people with similar setups can apparently do better with multiple instances of VEP than I cam with just 1 and 1 track of Kontakt.. I'm just completely lost as to what the difference is with my setup.

  • I was just thinking - you said you were having problems (CPU spikes) with Kontakt even when it was hosted directly in the sequencer so with that in mind, I'd suggest you try hosting a different plugin in VEP and see how that goes. It could be Kontakt that's causing the problem.

    Also I suggest you do all this on a local server, not a networked one, just so we can discount network problems.

  • Thanks Martin,

    I had actually came to somewhat that idea myself. I guess I've just sort of had the attitude that, since the libraries I already own are for Kontakt, that using anything else is pointless. However, I suppose at this point I'd just like to narrow down the trouble no matter what the culprit is.

    I really thought I had stumbled onto something awhile ago, even though I wasn't sure how it would apply to just using a local host. I realized that not only did I need to use a fixed address, I had to go deeper into the advanced settings and change the 100Tbase setting to 1000Tbase. When this did not work I realized my cables were old Cat 5. I got a Cat 6 cable and viola!......Gigabit connection established........directly between computers; no router. I even turned the other ethernet connection on the 8 core offjust so there was no internet or confusion. Just the Macs networked direct.

    However, launching everything once again brought me no joy. It seems to have changed nothing. I suppose I'll try someting other than Kontakt next. The only other AU or VST software that I have of any consequence is the Epic Orchestra. I've not used it yet since it came with my recent VEP purchase. So it's a bit daunting trying to find my way around a new program while troubleshooting.

    As for CPU spikes in Kontakt, this seems to be a widely documented problem especially with Pro Tools. However, I get no further with Logic or Reaper. Maybe the problem IS Kontakt. But I read where other users are doing fine with it and my problems start long before I reach the size usage they claim to get on setups similar or identical to mine. I just can't accept that an 8 core Mac isn't powerful enought to run a modest instance of Kontakt with 16 orchestral instruments loaded and only 4-6 midi channels playing out of those 16 at any given time. I CAN accept that there's an issue somewhere that I need to work out. I'm just completely baffled where else to look for that issue. And I've got work coming up soon. I'm going to need to sort this out.......

  • I tried Epic Orchestra and I definately get further with it than I do Kontakt. While I still wasn't getting what it seems like I should be getting based on many other users reported usage, I've had to look at the differences in what I may be using compared to others. While I'm only trying to run a modest 16 Kontakt instruments, they're all large sections of orchestra and brass. I feel like many of the users who are getting large instances and usage are using things that are a lot more interrmitten as far as polyphony and notes. For example, drum kits rarely if ever hit more 3-4 notes (drums) simultaneously. Pianos are anywhere from 1-6 note chords, mostly. Loops, grooves and such are get the idea. Orchestrations however get pretty heavy as far as polyphony. Especially when done to realistic standards where there are tracks per instrument or section.

    I realized that 2 of the string and brass sounds I had been using had convolution reverb settings enabled in Kontakt. Turning those reverbs off gave me a HUGE gain in power. This also seems to relieve some of the CPU spiking problems when using Kontakt directly in PT. In fact, I really see no benefit to using VEP in local machine mode if Kontakt continues to behave on it's own in PT. However, this has me excited again at the prospect of putting a 4 core PC into use that's been sitting idle for a year. That coupled with some experimentation as far as how intensive the sounds that I use are may finally get me the orchestra I've been dreaming of.........where I can just import tracks from a template that are set to use the sounds I like and use frequently and go to work!

    I'm hesitant to say my problem has been solved. I'm going to see how much further I get and post back here later.

  • I would advise you to distribute the load to the cores better than stacking 16 sections in one kontakt multi. Think of VE Pro as that multi, it's better suited for the job. I use the convolutions in kontakt, and fx in there, all the time, btw.

    Your assumptions about polyphony with a drum library or a piano aren't really right I think. Polyphony builds up with either, sus pedaling, cymbals ringing... polyphony a definite issue for BFD2 users that don't have enough muscle... I've had to max the polyphony in VI Pro using a piano owing to the frequent sus pedal down in the part... I don't know if assuming the people getting good performance as lighter users is going to help you conceptualize here. I use some real monsters.

    I kinda doubt polyphony is per se the culprit anyway, but how you are managing it is something you might look at (IE: using one instance of Kontakt, vs distributing the load) You present the kontakt usage as "modest", but 16 sections in one multi isn't particularly what I'd guess from that term. In any case, I bet if you made 8 separate kontakt instantiations per VE Pro instance, using 2 instances - in VE Pro preferences assign 4 or 8 'threads' (8 assuming hyperthreading = 16 logical cores) per instance - you'll find more joy.

  •  Three big advantages in using VEP in local mode, rather than just loading in PT:

    1. PT is 32bit, so you have a very low memory limit for loading samples.
    2. RTAS is the most inefficient format on the planet when it comes to using samples. VEP will allow you to use a much bigger template.
    3. When you start using big templates, you can keep them loaded when changing projects. If you have to re-load each time, it is very frustrating.


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    @stereotype said:

    I realized that 2 of the string and brass sounds I had been using had convolution reverb settings enabled in Kontakt. Turning those reverbs off gave me a HUGE gain in power. This also seems to relieve some of the CPU spiking problems when using Kontakt directly in PT.

    Glad to hear that things are at least going in the right direction! Let us know how things go as you test further.


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    @stereotype said:

    I've tried every configuration of settings I can come up with including a slave computer (dual core Mac w/ 6GB RAM/where am I wrong? I thought VEPro on a slave was supposed to do the work.

    I can't know about your performance on the same master machine, local host, as I've never been concerned with performance in that configuration. But the idea of using a seriously less robust machine as slave isn't the way to proceed, I wouldn't  look for improvement, but the opposite, using a dual core as slave. The capacity of the slave to do the heavy lifting is predicated on the strength of the slave.

  • Hi all,

    I had to get away from this for awhile and do other things. But now it's time to try and sort this mess out again. To the best of my noob ability, I've tried to follow the suggestions already given. I now have a Quad core PC running Windows XP that can be put into use. However, as someone previously suggested, I should try and get better performance using VEP locally on the 8 core Mac and therefore rule out networking issues.

    For clarity sake, bare with me as I go back over where I currently am. I'm desperatly confused here. So have patience with me. And yes, I've studied the manual and have the most current versions downloaded and installed.

    Mac 8 Core - 8GB RAM - Kontakt 4.2.2  - Pro Tools 9.03 (native) - 002r I/O - Yamaha S90 (used as a usb midi comtroller to the Mac)

    Basically, my big problem is I can not stop the CPU glitches using Kontakt at anything under a 512 buffer setting, which is completely unplayable, especially for drum sounds. I realize I'm having trouble grasping the usage of VEP. As suggested, I tried installing multiple instances of Kontakt on multiple channels of 1 instance of VEP......rather than my previous method of 1 Kontakt with all the various sounds running within that. I really see no difference. Also, I'm sure I'm confused about the preference settings in the server as they apply to "threads". But in the manual, it suggests that a setting of 1 would be nice for an 8 Core setup. But I've tried it all. No matter what I do, the CPU runs at over 50% at under a 512 buffer for just 3 channels with Kontakt installed; 1 sound in each Kontakt.This is with the mutlicore settings in Kontakt off. Although there isn't any difference with it on. I also get this terrible performance using the Vienna Epic Strings. And I also get the same terrible performance using the same things respectively in the quad core PC.

    So could someone be so kind as to suggest, based on my setup, how they would use this? I've just never had this level of confusion and frustration before. Being the same on both computers, I feel I'm doing something wrong and not having hardware issues. But at this point I'm desperate and open to all suggestions.

  • I had the same issue. Buffer at 512, it plays ok but at 256 it's unplayable.

    What I did, go to 'Playback Engine' put the buffer below 512 and set the 'Host Processors' to anything but 8. 

    That should solve it. It worked for me but I haven't done a heavy loaded session to test what number is best. At least not 8 processors.

    Hope this helps.

  • You should set the Pro Tools processors setting to at most one less than the actual cores available.

  • Stereotype, What is your hard drive situation like? From what I understand, disk streaming issues may also cause clicks. IF this is true, then you might have to increase latency to improve drive performance, esp if you are using a slow drive, firewire, usb etc. Also, rather than looking (exclusively) at the cpu usage in VEP try looking at activity monitor on your Mac. I am using a Mac Pro 4-core as my master and an 8-core as my slave, with VEP running exclusively on the slave. I have two external drives connected esata on my slave and use my master for Cubase, effects, and sometimes VST instruments, but I mostly the use Mac 8-core slave for instruments, including Kontakt 4. With this config I use very few resources. What is interesting, however, is that activity monitor reads much lower cpu levels than the VEP monitor. You should also look at drive speed in the activity monitor. It is worth stating that I typically use a 512 buffer on my interface with a 2x setting on VEP. I don't have much of a problem playing at this setting, but I suppose this is subjective. Anything higher is rough though. I would at least find the best compromise and work from there, i.e. find the lowest latency setting that doesn't give you clicks (even if it's unplayable to you) and then start to tweak things. Perhaps you can find a good config that will let you get down to 256. I would keep VEP at 2x, otherwise it will tax your CPU. Convo verbs are CPU killers. Add those 1 by 1 until it becomes too much, though like I said above, I use my master for most efx, so you might want to split up the load that way. I hope this helps (and that my info re disk streaming are accurate. Feel free to correct me if I'm off.) Best, Mike

  • Yes. PT always runs best when set to 1 less processor than the number of CPU. I've tried all settings though just for the heck of it. Everything from 1-8. No difference.

    As for drives, they're streaming from an internal SATA. 7200RPM dedicated to only the samples. System on it's own internal drive and any other audio on it's own dedicated drive. There's a fourth drive internally setup as a BootCamp drive (runs Windows on the Mac). I tried taking that out just out of curiosity. No difference.