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Garritan CFX - What do i need?
#2753639 07/24/18 05:54 PM
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Hi everyone,

i'm new to software pianos. I plan to buy the CFX Lite version but i have some questions about how to make it work.

My novus will placed at my new home in the living room, far away from my stational PC, so i need a small PC/Laptop. How much power is needed to run a VST?

Is it working with USB to host or is a separate midi card needed? I saw some conversations about latency. Is this a real thing?

Thanks for help. smile

Tyr


Kawai Novus NV5
Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
Tyr #2753673 07/24/18 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyr
Hi everyone,

i'm new to software pianos. I plan to buy the CFX Lite version but i have some questions about how to make it work.

My novus will placed at my new home in the living room, far away from my stational PC, so i need a small PC/Laptop. How much power is needed to run a VST?

Is it working with USB to host or is a separate midi card needed? I saw some conversations about latency. Is this a real thing?

Thanks for help. smile

Tyr


I'm running a similar config--CFX Full through the NV-10, with a laptop and headphones. You should be able to use any modern laptop. I would recommend 8GB RAM and an SSD.

No separate midi card or "USB audio interface" should be required. You just get a USB printer cable (A-to-B), plug the B (square) end into the NV-10 and the A (quantum superpositional) end into the laptop.

You'll likely need an "ASIO" driver such as ASIO4ALL in order to reduce the latency of the interface (and yes, latency is a thing and likely to be the most burdensome thing you'll have to troubleshoot). On my Mac, I get phenomenal low latency with CFX set to 64 buffer, 48khz sample rate. It's also more than playable at 128 buffer 44khz. Anything above 128 buffer is noticeably laggy (it's like having a high "hammer delay" setting) and is really distracting.

Oh, and if your laptop supports BT, you can also establish a wireless BLE-MIDI connection to the NV10. However, I did that and it introduced noticeable latency (~10-20ms compared to a wired connection). I saw no point in spending time trying to get the lowest latency possible, only to effectively double the result by going wireless. But I suspect some people will like the convenience of wireless and being able to place the laptop anywhere they want in the room.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
Tyr #2753723 07/25/18 05:25 AM
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Thanks Gombessa.

I thinking about an Intel NUC barebone i3 which will be placed behind the scoreboard. It comes with a 2,4Ghz cpu, 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD and has a glossy ebony finish as bonus. Idk if it has bluetooth but this isn't really important. The setup should be almost invisible, so a laptop is a bit impractical.

Another question: I want to get the sound through the internal speakers via line in, but also want to use the headphone jacks of the novus to get the line in signal directly to the headphones, Does this work?


Kawai Novus NV5
Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
Tyr #2753726 07/25/18 05:36 AM
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Q2: How does Garritan work with touch inputs? I consider buying a monitor with touch support to navigate through the system.


Kawai Novus NV5
Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
Tyr #2753750 07/25/18 10:04 AM
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Hi Tyr - a few quick thoughts:

- I don't think the CFX Lite is very compelling. I quite like the CFX Full as the ambient mics improve the sound quality significantly for my ears. Personally, I don't think Garritan should sell the Lite version. That said, I use CFX Full Default as I don't particularly like the options (e.g other mics reverb, EQ, etc.). Based on my reading of threads here, I would guess CFX Full users just use default mics. CyberGene went out of his way to upgrade to CFX Full and has a good series of posts there. YMMV

- CFX has some minor bugs including a memory leak. So you may need to restart your computer from time to time. I turn mine off every night.

- Virtual Instruments can be rather demanding on computers. Low spec or poorly configured computers may force you to use high latency settings or cause irritating dropouts in audio.

- I think updates from Microsoft & Garritan have helped performance here quite a bit, at least on my laptops.

- With lower performance computers like a NUC or laptop, you never really know how they will perform in the real world. There are a few guys running NUCs here so do a search and consider their configurations. I might bump up to an i5 (MAYBE better performance and better future success). The 6, 7 and 8th gen CPUs from Intel are all from the same platform so you might save some cash with an older or used NUC.

- I have run Garritan CFX Full with 8GB RAM on Dell laptops with 6gen i5 (6300HQ) and yth gen i7 (7700HQ) it works fine and with no difference. RAM is so expensive today that I would not bother trying 16GB if possible.

- You don't need expensive Optane or NvME storage. Simple SATA SSD is sufficient.

- Don't forget CyberGene's pedal mods. . .

Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
Tyr #2753799 07/25/18 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyr
Thanks Gombessa.

I thinking about an Intel NUC barebone i3 which will be placed behind the scoreboard. It comes with a 2,4Ghz cpu, 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD and has a glossy ebony finish as bonus. Idk if it has bluetooth but this isn't really important. The setup should be almost invisible, so a laptop is a bit impractical.

Another question: I want to get the sound through the internal speakers via line in, but also want to use the headphone jacks of the novus to get the line in signal directly to the headphones, Does this work?


I think an i3 should be fine, but I've found that higher powered CPUs and RAM actually help with latency, if you are really sensitive to those last few ms of delay. I'm probably more picky than most (but who knows).

You can route the sound from the NUC back into the NV-10 through the line-in jack, it's a straight 1/8" to 1/8" stereo audio cable. That will let you use the built-in speakers as well as headphones connected to the NV10.

Originally Posted by Tyr
Q2: How does Garritan work with touch inputs? I consider buying a monitor with touch support to navigate through the system.


No idea here. I can't believe it WON'T work with touch, though the Garritan interface is really early-2000s-ish with skeuomorphic rotating knobs that you have to click and drag up/down, so it's not touch-optimized by any stretch. There are a couple of folks in the "NV-10 Hands On" thread who are using touch displays as sheet music readers, it might be worth checking there for any considerations.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
Tyr #2753808 07/25/18 03:17 PM
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Thanks. I've purchased the lite version for testing purposes. I've installed CFX Lite on my Laptop and connected the novus via USB. Everything seems fine, keys are working but i don't hear anything. I've installed the ASIO sound driver which can be selected but still no output. I don't find any solution on the web.


Kawai Novus NV5
Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
Tyr #2753815 07/25/18 03:55 PM
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What soundcard and ASIO driver are you using?


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Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
Tyr #2753817 07/25/18 03:57 PM
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My fault. I had to select a preset.... /facepalm laugh


Kawai Novus NV5
Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
newer player #2753901 07/26/18 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by newer player

- I don't think the CFX Lite is very compelling. Personally, I don't think Garritan should sell the Lite version.


Hmm, that's harsh. To me it's the best virtual piano that I know of. And the lite version runs incredibly smooth on my old windows 7 system.

Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
newer player #2753905 07/26/18 02:57 AM
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np is right ...
Originally Posted by newer player
- Virtual Instruments can be rather demanding on computers. Low spec or poorly configured computers may force you to use high latency settings or cause irritating dropouts in audio.

- With lower performance computers like a NUC or laptop, you never really know how they will perform in the real world. There are a few guys running NUCs here so do a search and consider their configurations. I might bump up to an i5 (MAYBE better performance and better future success). The 6, 7 and 8th gen CPUs from Intel are all from the same platform so you might save some cash with an older or used NUC.
Compute power is so very cheap these days. I'd spend a bit more for a faster box and enjoy the performance.

Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
Tyr #2753910 07/26/18 03:29 AM
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While CFX Full has really beautiful ambiance added, I don't find CFX Lite so much worse. I could play both with equal satisfaction and wouldn't go as far as saying Garritan shouldn't have release the Lite version. Yes, I'd prefer the Full version but the Lite is a good (and relatively cheap) way to check whether you're OK with the playability and the sound.

Tyr, how do you like it so far? If you find the repedaling unforgiving, it's worth trying a fix that I have posted in a post some time ago and which others mentioned as well.


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Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
Tyr #2753917 07/26/18 05:08 AM
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Okay, here a re my first impressions:

First, i played the default preset only. I had no issues with input latency after installing the ASIO driver. Everything felt right so far. The preset loading took some time because the laptop has no SSD drive. The samples are beautiful and rich.

I'd tried different options for the sound output. My DT990 Pro have a huge impedance, so even with 100% volume on the laptop, the sound is low because i'm lacking an amp. It's better with my regular PC headset, but its sound quality isn't as good as the DT990. The default preset is lacking bass and i haven't played around with the settings panel, so it's not a software issue i guess.

Using the line in jack was totally awkward. It's producing a noise, which comes from the novus itself depeneding on the volume knob level. The sound via build in speakers was horrible. Using line in and headphones results in a mono playback and general poor quality (including the noise from the line in).

Currently i'm not sure what i can do to fix some of the problems and increasing the sound quality without building up a huge external speaker setup which i try to avoid.


Kawai Novus NV5
Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
CyberGene #2753918 07/26/18 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
np is right ...
Originally Posted by newer player
- Virtual Instruments can be rather demanding on computers. Low spec or poorly configured computers may force you to use high latency settings or cause irritating dropouts in audio.

- With lower performance computers like a NUC or laptop, you never really know how they will perform in the real world. There are a few guys running NUCs here so do a search and consider their configurations. I might bump up to an i5 (MAYBE better performance and better future success). The 6, 7 and 8th gen CPUs from Intel are all from the same platform so you might save some cash with an older or used NUC.
Compute power is so very cheap these days. I'd spend a bit more for a faster box and enjoy the performance.


Definitely this. Even though the lite version of CFX piano will not be as resource heavy as the full version, I would also recommend spending extra on a better CPU. It will help overall performance and the extra processing power will be useful if you decide to upgrade to the full version of CFX piano at a later date. In terms of low latency you will also want to configure your computer/operating system for processing audio/live performance.

Originally Posted by CyberGene
While CFX Full has really beautiful ambiance added, I don't find CFX Lite so much worse. I could play both with equal satisfaction and wouldn't go as far as saying Garritan shouldn't have release the Lite version. Yes, I'd prefer the Full version but the Lite is a good (and relatively cheap) way to check whether you're OK with the playability and the sound.


I agree with you, sometimes the ambient microphones are a bit overrated on here. I don't use the CFX settings that are generally recommended on here though anyway and much prefer a custom preset I made using the player microphone perspective.

The repedaling fix for CFX piano by CyberGene i would highly recommend as it improves the playability of the piano library..

Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
Tyr #2753919 07/26/18 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyr


Currently i'm not sure what i can do to fix some of the problems and increasing the sound quality without building up a huge external speaker setup which i try to avoid.


The DT 990 Pro are 250 ohm so your going to need a headphone amp or even better a dedicated audio interface with a decent headphone amp to properly power them. Depending on the audio interface choice, the latency will probably be significantly lower again.

Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
Tyr #2753966 07/26/18 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyr
First, i played the default preset only. I had no issues with input latency after installing the ASIO driver. Everything felt right so far. The preset loading took some time because the laptop has no SSD drive. The samples are beautiful and rich.

I'd tried different options for the sound output. My DT990 Pro have a huge impedance, so even with 100% volume on the laptop, the sound is low because i'm lacking an amp. It's better with my regular PC headset, but its sound quality isn't as good as the DT990. The default preset is lacking bass and i haven't played around with the settings panel, so it's not a software issue i guess.

Using the line in jack was totally awkward. It's producing a noise, which comes from the novus itself depeneding on the volume knob level. The sound via build in speakers was horrible. Using line in and headphones results in a mono playback and general poor quality (including the noise from the line in).

Currently i'm not sure what i can do to fix some of the problems and increasing the sound quality without building up a huge external speaker setup which i try to avoid.


Those are nice headphones. Let's troubleshoot the headphone noise.

First of all, don't put the headphones on your ears when testing so you don't risk your hearing. I put mine on a table nearby or around my neck.

1. If you play just the NV-10 with built in Kawai sounds and your DT990 headphones, is the sound good and loud enough? If not,

a. The NV-10 has a headphone type adjustment panel with 6 options (manual p.131)

b. The NV-10 has a phones volume "boost" function for more power if you select high. (manual p.132)

c. The NV-10 has a master volume adjustment.

2. Unplug laptop. If you play the CFX with the laptop unplugged from the mains (i.e. running on battery) but a stereo cable from the laptop to the NV-10 line-in (and the headphones hooked up to the NV-10 headphone jack) does the noise disappear?

3. I think there are three (3) line-in levels you might adjust. Adjust line-in level on NV-10 (there is both a dial & a software adjustment and they are different. See manual p 128). Adjust output volume from headphone output of laptop. You "probably" want the laptop output to be rather high but you need to just experiment. The NV-10 has a master volume adjustment of course.

4. Line in cable issue. Is the line-in cable fully inserted in both jacks? Look at the cable and make sure both sides are TRS (e.g. at each barrel end, there are three silver-colored sections. Each end's sections will be separated by 2 black plastic insulators just like those of your headphones). Can you try a different line-in cable to make sure this is not a bad cable?

5. Are your DT990 headphones using a 3.5mm jack? Are you using an adapter to plug into the NV-10. Is that fully plugged in and are you sure it is not defective? Is the jack TRS?

Last edited by newer player; 07/26/18 11:30 AM.
Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
newer player #2754007 07/26/18 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by newer player
1. If you play just the NV-10 with built in Kawai sounds and your DT990 headphones, is the sound good and loud enough? If not,

a. The NV-10 has a headphone type adjustment panel with 6 options (manual p.131)

b. The NV-10 has a phones volume "boost" function for more power if you select high. (manual p.132)

c. The NV-10 has a master volume adjustment.


I have to increase the volume a bit, due to the impedance of the headphones.

Quote
2. Unplug laptop. If you play the CFX with the laptop unplugged from the mains (i.e. running on battery) but a stereo cable from the laptop to the NV-10 line-in (and the headphones hooked up to the NV-10 headphone jack) does the noise disappear?


No. The noise is always there if i turn the line-in volume knob to maximum. You can hear the noise from either build in speakers or plugged headphones. It has nothing to do with garritan.

Quote
3. I think there are three (3) line-in levels you might adjust. Adjust line-in level on NV-10 (there is both a dial & a software adjustment and they are different. See manual p 128). Adjust output volume from headphone output of laptop. You "probably" want the laptop output to be rather high but you need to just experiment. The NV-10 has a master volume adjustment of course.


I've tried some options but it doesn't helped much in terms of sound quality. Maybe the connected cable has some issues.

Quote
5. Are your DT990 headphones using a 3.5mm jack? Are you using an adapter to plug into the NV-10. Is that fully plugged in and are you sure it is not defective? Is the jack TRS?


Both plugs are working fine on the headphones. I think the main problem comes from the line in connection.

Thanks.

Last edited by Tyr; 07/26/18 03:08 PM.

Kawai Novus NV5
Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
Tyr #2754021 07/26/18 04:04 PM
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Try connecting say a cheap mp3 player to the NV-10. Just start with low volume. Does that sound OK via headphones and via NV-10 speakers.

Maybe a bad 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable? Try jiggling it around and reinserting. Try a different cable.

Might be a line-in problem with the NV-10?

Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
Tyr #2754022 07/26/18 04:07 PM
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Maybe a ground loop? I have a terrible ground loop when connecting CFX from a laptop to my Kawai ES7 line in. The only way I solved it is to unplug the laptop power and use it on battery only. But the sound through those speakers is still rather appalling so I haven’t ever used it.

Last edited by CyberGene; 07/26/18 04:09 PM.

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Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Garritan CFX - What do i need?
CyberGene #2754034 07/26/18 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyr

No. The noise is always there if i turn the line-in volume knob to maximum. You can hear the noise from either build in speakers or plugged headphones. It has nothing to do with garritan.


Does it make the sound even if you have nothing plugged into line-in, AND nothing plugged into USB-to-HOST? If so, I think there was talk about this on the NV-10 Hands on thread. I believe it could have been some insufficient insulation on one of the internal wires...

Originally Posted by CyberGene
Maybe a ground loop? I have a terrible ground loop when connecting CFX from a laptop to my Kawai ES7 line in. The only way I solved it is to unplug the laptop power and use it on battery only. But the sound through those speakers is still rather appalling so I haven’t ever used it.


I had a ground loop that persisted on battery power. Ended up getting an iDefender which I never actually use because I didn't go line-in (though it did drastically reduce the noise). Another way to solve it is to eliminate the USB cable completely with Bluetooth MIDI, but the extra latency made that a poor option for me.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
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