onboard soundcard?

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iconoclast

onboard soundcard?

Postby iconoclast » Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:13 am

I'm experimenting w/ Forte and (softsynths in general) on my laptop (meets minimum req't for Forte) using an M-audio UNO MIDI interface, the onboard soundcard (w/ ASIO4ALL) and some freeb VST's off the Internet. The sounds are very nice but the latency is barely tolerable and the dropouts are really annoying. I've played around w/ the ASIO buffer size and changed the Control Panel to prioritize background services but nothing seems to help. Would it be better to be using a legit (USB) Audio interface instead of the mobo soundcard? Are there other Windows settings I should be using to speed it up/make it more reliable? I'd like to get a dedicated PC for playing VST's live but currently the playability is not musical enough to even consider it........

Volker Grosch
Posts: 195
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 11:29 am
Location: Germany

Re: onboard soundcard?

Postby Volker Grosch » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:15 pm

Hi,

I think your question cannot be answered clearly as you don`t give any description of your system (cpu, ram, used plugs, latencies,...). But I try to figure out how my systems behave - maybe this can help to get an impression what you could expect from your system:

I have and had available 4 systems I ran forte on:

1) EEEpc with the first generation of atom prozessors on it, 512 MByte RAM (as far as I remember). I tried to run this combination with ASIO4ALL driver without success: neither forte with even one simple plug nor the NI B4II (which really isn`t a cpu eater) could be driven without cracles (even with large latencies like 20 or 30ms). I purchased a USB card then (M-auido audiophile) in hope of better behaviour but no way it was the same situation as before. OS was Windows P Home Premium. My general experience: USB soundcards can be critical depending on many things like drivers, chipset,... PCI, PCI Express, Express Card Interfaces often show much better performances.

2) Athlon with 3GHz CPU, 2 GBytes of RAM, Soundcards: Creamware Luna / RME Hammerfall DSP with Multiface: here the situation was completely different: with Luna I was able to drive about 8-10ms (don`t remember exactly) and a bunch of plugs (FM7, B4II, P8, Halion 1, Minimoog V). When using the RME I got managed latencied of 3 or 6 ms depending on the number of plugs. It was fast enough to use it for live purpose with the Luna and some plugs activated. OS was XP 32 Home Premium.

3) Laptop HP6720s with Core2Duo 2x1,4GHz, 4GBytes of RAM, OS: Win7 64Bit Home Premium, this combination is running flawless with my integrated soundcard & ASIO4ALL drivers down to 6ms. I also have available an Express Card Soundcard (Echo Indigo DJx). The funny thing is, that the latencies are not lower. I think this doesn`t mean I have a bad soundcard but a lucky situation with my onboard card. To be fair: the DJx sounds a lot better, has more power on it`s output and has available 2 stereo outs in parallel (f.e. for click tracks). Here even more plugs can be run flawlessly. F.e. I`m able to run some instances of Kontakt and Omnisphere at the same time.

4) Desktop Q6600, 8 Gbytes of RAM, OS: Win Vista 64Bit Home Premium, soundcard RME Hammerfall. This is my strongest machine and I`m really able to run down to 3ms latency with lots of Omnis, Kontakts, Sylenths, OP-Xs, enough performance to only have this PC and 3 or 4 masterkeyboards on stage.

So, what could cause the problems in your setup:

- first you should have a look on processor power setup: are there any switches set to "energy saving"? This could mean that the cpu clock is degraded by the bios until there is really need for it. In this case the speed up of the cpu is much to slow which often leads to strong cracles.

- in XP systems it was strongly recommanded in former times to set processor scheduling to background services. Could be worth a try if you use XP.

- on my laptop i found out that my wireless adapter has much influence on the audio streaming. This also can lead to cracles.

- maybe the machine really isn`t able to do proper realtime audio (hope not but as you see this also can happen).

Last not least a hint for a freeware tool that can tell you how well your laptop performs concerning realtime audio: dcplat =>

http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml

This tools can tell you, if there are interrupts or the like that desturb your audio streaming. It does not show the reason for it but can be a good tool to get things analyzed.

Only my 2 cents,

good luck and kind regards, Volker
hosts: Forte 4, AuxBusFaders, Cubase 8, Cantabile 2, Live9, jBridge
VSTis: u-he, Spectrasonics, NI, GSi, Synthogy, East West, TAL, Adam Szabo, Steinberg...
VSTs: u-he, Voxengo, Fabfilter, Lexicon, TB, PSP, NI, UVI, Waves,...

iconoclast

Re: onboard soundcard?

Postby iconoclast » Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:37 am

Thanks Volker;
My laptop is a 1.87Ghz Pentium w/ 2GB RAM so per your information I'm now thinking it is marginally capable of hosting almost any VST much less multiples. As I'd like to be able to run multiple VST's live, I think I should probably continue my testing on a suitable desktop w/ a PCI/PCIe card.

thanks again for your input;

Dave Robertson

Volker Grosch
Posts: 195
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 11:29 am
Location: Germany

Re: onboard soundcard?

Postby Volker Grosch » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:30 pm

Hi Dave,

well, the cpu isn`t the fastest but to my mind this is not a proper explanation for what you observe (I remember times, when I had my very first PCs and there we talk about cpus with 450 and 800 MHz. It was not possible to handle many plugs but 3 or 4 simple ones were possible with acceptable latencies). So I think it should be possible run your machine with some plugs without problems. The core of your problems must be something different (driver or the like)...

kind regards, Volker
hosts: Forte 4, AuxBusFaders, Cubase 8, Cantabile 2, Live9, jBridge
VSTis: u-he, Spectrasonics, NI, GSi, Synthogy, East West, TAL, Adam Szabo, Steinberg...
VSTs: u-he, Voxengo, Fabfilter, Lexicon, TB, PSP, NI, UVI, Waves,...


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