Old 07-17-2011, 07:58 PM   #1
Phytopep
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Default Note Drops in Kontakt, Vienna Instruments

Hey, Reaper fans. I need help with a very frustrating problem.

Kontakt and Vienna Instruments are dropping notes on me in Reaper. A note will start playing, and then suddenly stop when it's supposed to sustain.

It happens most severely in a full-speed offline render, but can also happen when I'm just playing a song at normal speed, or trying out a tune with my MIDI keyboard with record monitoring on.

I'm not doing anything taxing, just playing one or two notes at a time with only one VST loaded.

It happens less if the samples have played before, presumably because of disk caching (if I render the same sequence over and over it happens less and less). If I reboot, the problem comes back.

I've tried two different audio interfaces, one Firewire, one USB 2.0. I've tried changing the ASIO buffer size. Not that it should matter, because offline rendering shouldn't be affected by any of that.

I first checked the forums for each piece of software, and they asked me what DAW I was using. Since I hadn't tried changing that variable yet, I checked out Ableton Live.

Ableton Live's full speed render did NOT drop any notes! I tried it several times with each DAW to make sure it wasn't a coincidence.

Then I went back to Reaper and looked around in Preferences. I found that "Inform plug-ins of offline rendering state" was turned off. (Is this really the default?)

When I turned "Inform plug-ins of offline rendering state" on, it seemed to fix the problem in Kontakt, but not in Vienna Instruments. Vienna Instruments is still dropping 25% or more of its notes.

Here's my setup, just so you know I'm not trying this on a 486 or something:

Reaper 3.76 (tried 32 and 64 bit)
Kontakt 4.2.3.4914 (32 and 64 bit)
Vienna Instruments 4.1.8008 (32 and 64 bit)
Windows 7 64-bit
Core i5-2500 3.3 GHz
16 GB RAM
SSD for operating system and programs
7200 RPM SATA hard drive for samples
Focusrite Scarlett 8i6
Windows power settings on "High Performance"
No unnecessary programs running

So my question is: what Reaper preferences should I change to try to fix this? I've poked around in the buffering options, but I'm not sure which settings to focus on. Having to reboot to clear the disk cache each time is getting tiring, so I'd appreciate any ideas.

Thanks,
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:49 AM   #2
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I figured out the source of all my Reaper note dropping problems in Kontakt and Vienna Instruments. I assume other sampler VSTs would be affected the same way.

One was Reaper's "Inform plugins of offline rendering state" setting. Turning it on allows me to render at high speed with no dropped notes.

Another was a bug in Reaper that I discovered by mistake. Reaper's 64-to-32-bit bridge ignores the "Inform plugins of offline rendering state" setting. Using a 64-bit instance of a VST in 64-bit Reaper works just fine. If you have any old 32-bit plugins, it's good to be aware of this bug, however.

The last has nothing to do with Reaper, but was the most frustrating to track down. In a nutshell: modern Western Digital hard drives, even fast drives like Caviar Blacks, go to sleep after only eight seconds of inactivity. It takes them about 500 milliseconds to wake back up, but the VST samplers I tested have buffers around 400 milliseconds long.

So in "online" mode, when the sampler VSTs were operating at real-time speeds, I got dropped notes. In "offline" mode, with "Inform plugins of offline rendering state" enabled, things where fine because the VSTs were able to wait for the hard drive to spin back up.

Here's more detail about how to identify and solve the problem. If you have a Western Digital hard drive, I hope this saves you some grief:

Does Your Western Digital Hard Drive Drop Notes?
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:44 AM   #3
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Good find Phytopep. There's another thread with people talking about dropped midi notes. (I have to link this thread to it).

PS - As for "Inform plug-ins of offline rendering state" default to OFF actually makes sense to me. While working on a track and it sounds OK, then in theory rendering should be OK too. (Plug-ins don't change state). However, informing plug-ins of offline rendering sometimes enables different settings within some plug-ins. I think Aether is an example and it can turn on / change a number of setting like 4x Over sampling etc. While these extra setting should improve the render they also may cause issues with it too.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:34 PM   #4
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n0rd,

I see what you're saying, but it still seems a little counter-intuitive to be provided the choice between "online" and "offline" in the rendering dialog, only to have your choice ignored by default. Ignored by exception, I can completely understand. But by default?

For me and VSTs like Kontakt, it caused lots of confusion, and I can imagine other people running into the same problem. The first comparison I tried was to render in Ableton Live, and after Kontakt worked perfectly at full speed in offline mode, I initially assumed Reaper was deficient somehow.

But if the option set to "off" is helpful to more people, and I know now how to enable it for my own setup, I'm more than satisfied with that.
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:28 PM   #5
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Cool... Good to hear all issues solved.
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