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How can u play more VSTi's in Cubase SX without system

Discussion in 'Cubase' started by DJ Simonz, Jun 10, 2003.

  1. DJ Simonz

    DJ Simonz Guest

    Hi there people,
    I'm a newbie here and experiencing some problems with virtual instruments...
    basically I need to know how to be able to maximise my system to enable the playing of many vsti instruments and/or many instruments on different tracks of the same vsti on my PC system without the sound experiencing sound breakups problems due to system overload.

    Im using a fast spec pc with over 1gb of ram and sound blaster Audigy EX card (low budget)...

    Is it the sound card that depicts the level of quality and the amount of load I can use when it comes to using many vsti's at any one time??

    Can anyone suggest a remedy? coz I just hate to mixdown certain tracks of my project in order to give power for further vsti's to be used in new tracks.

    I plan to get a new soundcard if the problem is due to my soundcard's capabilities

  2. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    This topic belongs in the Computing section...I hardly visit here as I am the moderator for the Digital Cafe and the Computing forums....

    First of all using a Sound Blaster(Or quite well known as the crack users delight!) will not allow you to get good performance with vast amounts of VST's or plug ins.

    There's a limitation on those cards due to it's buffering scheme and the ability to maintain proper synch with lots of data. It's meant for Video games and simple audio applications.

    Yes, there are ASIO drivers and it's a cheap solution in the long run but you are better off spending a couple of hundred bucks or so on a decent sound card that can work with SX or anything of the sorts.

    Opus :roll:
  3. DJ Simonz

    DJ Simonz Guest

    Hi there,
    sorry about posting in the wrong section, can u divert this thread to the computing section?

    I've been looking at the market for a new soundcard and I'm confused as some audio interfaces have many I/O and dsp features but do not explain if it powers any vsti loads instead of on the pc's cpu when using software,
    there are dedicated dsp effect cards out there and some soundcards that are use zero cpu cycles....im just confused..

    I need something that can power my software synths whilst working in a live preview environment on my PC...
    an exspensive alternative wud be to use 2 pc's, 1 for the vsti's and the other for sequencing and link them together using midi sync...

    Anyone have any ideas out there? i'm a newbie to music production...so my terminlogy maybe confusing too, sorry...


  4. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    Well, lock and load....

    The problem with the VST spec is that it is open. Anyone can write code for it. It does not force compatability. It requires host based CPU processing. The more VST instances in a system, the less fidelity that you will have, because DSP is then allocated to ops functions. It is a give and take thing that cannot be overlooked. You can only ask so much of your computer's processor.

    If you are using Nuendo, get another computer and connect it to your present computer via the digital I/O of the soundcard. You will be able to assign DSP to functions. That will help. I don't know what your system is, but you may need to increase RAM, CPU speeds, do some overclocking, etc.

    Call whoever you bought the stuff from and tell them that you need support and/or your system dialed in.

    This is the adavntage of a TDM system. We don't have any of the software/hardware conflicts, CPU resource draining or management requirements that a host based system has.
  5. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

  6. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member


    C'mon now. Having done tech support for several years now you can not say there are NO CONFLICTS with anything. There's always something conflicting with something!

    Seen it, teched it and fixed it!

    TDM systems do have limitations in certain ways and we could argue over which is better...in fact if you want to talk about limitations...how about non 32 bit float in TDM system?! LE has it but TDM systems do not!

    Anyways, OH DEAR MODERATOR....Would you please move this to the Computing section puh...lease!

    Tanks a bunch!

  7. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    I can't debate the floating/non-floating issue. I have Pro Tools HD3 (never used LE so I can't speak for that hobbiest program) so I think mine is like 52-bit or something. I am going to be buying SAWStudio+ for a PC rig, and they uses non-floating 52-bit I believe. Each has it's advantages and trade offs.

    Bob at SAW uses assembly language which stabilizes the system, and he uses fixed bit technology with a 52-bit engine. He time stamps to the samples, so there is never any variance. I think that going fixed bit was a necessity for him.

    With TDM, no I personally have never had a conflict. When Digi works with a company for their proprietary DAW and TDMII, they generally don't allow it to be released unless it is conflict free. It isn't hard to do with a closed architecture system, and dedicated hardware.

    What I have seen occur most are conflicts with exceeding a manufacturer's supported amount of memory, and brands of memory. Other than that, TDM software works on TDM systems.

    When I go to the Digi UC, I see all kinds of wild posts. I don't know if they are full of it, if it is operator error, if they are using non-Apple computers, etc. I have not had ANY problems of any kind, aside from the minor OS-X conversion issues that were common to all.

    Back to the topic. I believe Cubase will run the program for interconnecting computers. I had thought of getting a rackmount server at one point, and dedicating digital I/O to each of the P4 processors, and then assigning DSP to plug ins. By the time that I did that, it was in concept about the same as a TDM, and more expensive.
  8. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    50 Bit....HA HA HA HA HA!

    now that's funny!


    Opus :D
  9. MisterBlue

    MisterBlue Member


    let me try and get you a real answer to your question.

    Cheap soundcards have an influence on your VST performance because they use excessive CPU power and have very inefficient ways of dealing with audio data. Unfortunately most SoundBlasters and friends fall into that category and should for serious audio applications (like running VST synths and DAW's) be absolutely avoided. There are much nicer "budget" audio cards out there that will give you a lot better performance.

    Look into what M-Audio has to offer (e.g. the "Audiophile card"). They tend to perform well for the money. There are also more expensive and fine solutions out there, such as RME, that will basically not tax your system at all (which is the ideal case). Latency and performance is accordingly extremely good with these systems. Also, don't hesitate to look on eBay. A used or somewhat older card might be available at a great price.

    Anyway, once you have a reasonable sound card the VST performance is basically only affected by the horse power of your main CPU (meaning the Athlon or P4 speed these days) and your available memory (every instance of a VST uses some of it). A common 2GHz+ CPU and 512+MB should give you a very powerful system that should go a long way.
    It finally comes down to making sure that you follow the different tips to optimize your operating system for audio use. It makes a real difference. Search on this and other forums for links on this topic.

    Bottomline, with a decent soundcard and an optimized OS you should have no further problems.

    Hope this helps,

  10. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Gee, isn't that what I basically said?!!

    Mine wasn't a real answer! :p

    Just kidding!!

    A soundblaster isn't really CPU intensive. It's the hardware buffering design on it that is limited. That's what causes the drift when you have too much for it to handle.

    Also the circuitry design is going to degrade your audio more so than anything as it is meant to be a quick and easy card for you video games!

    Opus :roll:
  11. DJ Simonz

    DJ Simonz Guest

    hey guys, huge thanks for the advice...

    I am thinking of replacing the soundcard now after speaking to a few more music people aswell.

    what ive got in mind at the moment (in my budget range) is;

    Edirol DA 2496 Interface
    M-Audio Delta 66
    ESI - Wavesterminal 192x

    any comments on the above cards?

    My pc is 2ghz with 1gb Ram and 7200rpm harddisk with 8mb cache, everything else seems ok audio wise at the moment apart fromt the problem as stated on post at the top.

  12. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    My advice is to stay away from Edirol products.
    They tend to have a lot of driver issues.

    Go with M audio as they have a proven track record!

  13. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Up your ram. (gee... that almost sounded like an insult). Seriously more ram and a good soundcard will help.
  14. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member


    Ummm..he has 1GB of RAM!! You can't be serious on that recommendation, can you? Or did you not read that correctly?!!!

  15. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Opus, No I didn't read that. One gig should be fine. Now that I look at his specs it seems like he has a pretty kickin' system. Add a good soundcard and he should be happening. The Aardvark Q10 is an inexpensive choice and it sounds pretty good. If he's using Steinberg software (Cubase SX/Nuendo) then system link might help him out as well if he can scrounge up an old computer and run the vst stuff on it.
  16. DJ Simonz

    DJ Simonz Guest

    How does systemlink work? I have a spare P3 866mhz pc with 512mb ram lying around...maybe I could set that up to use for vsti's

    Anyideas how system link works?

    Opus2000: ekkk I ordered the edirol interface before reading ur post...will get shipment later on in the week... Driver problems?? hmmm my friend is running one and its fine so far...Hope I dont run into problems.
  17. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    VST System link works on a digital sync between two computers. The catch here is that it must be a 24 bit digital signal and not anything under that.

    Basically System link latches on to the embedded clock of say an optical cable or SPDIF cable(preferably SPDIF as it has less jitter than optical does!) and provides a time accurate sync via this. Once that is set up, the machines are synched together.

    Also the two machines must be running a program that has system link in it.

    At that point the second machine sends the audio out to a mixer or back into the main machine for mixing or editing!

    All VST's on the second machine do not put any CPU strain on the main one!


    Opus :D
  18. DJ Simonz

    DJ Simonz Guest

    Does that mean I would need a soundcard or additional audio interface linked from my second PC machine to create a link up or would it be possible to hook up both machines to one audio interface only?

    Say my 2nd pc is link to my external audio interface by a 24bit SPDIF connection and then my 1st pc link to that same interface by PCI card as it hosts the interface primarily.. would that work?

    I have no clue..lol...

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