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Running VSTs on an XBox One #2801389
01/12/19 08:24 PM
01/12/19 08:24 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,138
UK
lolatu Offline OP
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lolatu  Offline OP
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I recently read that the XBox One console has two separate OSes plus a hypervisor: a "shared partition" for apps, and an "exclusive partition" for games.

The idea is the exclusive partition gets to request system resources from the hypervisor so that you have guarantees around exclusive usage of CPU cores and memory, and hence hard guarantees on application performance, no unforeseen stutter in games basically, but with resources reserved to run other apps too.

Both these partitions are versions of Windows, with the eclusive one stripped back to make it as efficient and lean as possible.

Wouldn't this be ideal for running piano VSTs on? I still get annoying pops and cracks occasionally, especially when desktop Windows decides to update or do a virus scan or who-knows-what in the background. The "exclusive mode" is what I've been crying out for on my day-to-day PC.

It seems like the XBox One hardware, which is relatively inexpensive, would make an ideal platform for VSTs. It's essentially just an x86 box with 8 GB RAM running Windows, so existing software should be able to run without much modification. But it has the "bare metal" hypervisor to allocate resources, which PCs don't have.

Unfortunately I don't own an XBox One, or have the required skills to attempt to run VSTs on the XBox, but maybe there are people here who could, or who already have? Good idea??


Kawai CA95 / Steinberg UR22 / Sony MDR-7506 / Pianoteq Stage + Grotrian / Galaxy Vintage D / CFX Lite
In the loft: Roland FP3 / Tannoy Reveal Active / K&M 18810
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Re: Running VSTs on an XBox One [Re: lolatu] #2801395
01/12/19 08:37 PM
01/12/19 08:37 PM
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Ontario, Canada
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halherta Offline
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You can get a refurbished laptop with 8GB of RAM and a hard drive for about the same price as a brand new Xbox one. Just replace the hard drive with an SSD, or if you're lucky enough to have a second hard drive bay in the laptop add an SSD to it, and you are good to go. Using ASIO drivers should theoretically help reduce latency as they're supposed to bypass the Windows hypervisor.

If you intend to only use Pianoteq,you can always install Ubuntu Linux and select the "Low Latency" kernel for optimal performance, but then you'll not be able to experiment with other VSTs. Oh and with Pianoteq you won't even need an SSD. You will get better results with a beefy CPU though; say an i5 or above.



Yamaha P-125, Pianoteq 6, Ravenscroft 275 VST, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
Re: Running VSTs on an XBox One [Re: lolatu] #2801398
01/12/19 08:41 PM
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JoeT Offline
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You cannot run VSTs on Xbox.


Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7605
Re: Running VSTs on an XBox One [Re: lolatu] #2801401
01/12/19 08:52 PM
01/12/19 08:52 PM
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lolatu Offline OP
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@halherta The point is not to do with the inexpensive hardware per se, but the exclusive mode which allows games to run with guaranteed resources. You can't get that on Windows, and every now and them some daft background process kicks in. Point taken about running Linux, but like you say that'll only work for Pianoteq. I'm running an i7-6600U which is reasonably beefy for a laptop, but I still get clicks now and then. I couldn't risk using it for a live concert (not that I've ever given a live concert in my life, because I'm not that good at piano!).

@JoeT You sound like you've tried something like this before - would you care to explain? The articles I read just said basically anything that runs on the Universal Windows Platform doesn't even know what machine it's running on. And that XBox One games will run on Windows 10 without modification. https://www.developer.com/net/xbox-one-architecture-overview-for-developers.html


Kawai CA95 / Steinberg UR22 / Sony MDR-7506 / Pianoteq Stage + Grotrian / Galaxy Vintage D / CFX Lite
In the loft: Roland FP3 / Tannoy Reveal Active / K&M 18810
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Re: Running VSTs on an XBox One [Re: lolatu] #2801403
01/12/19 08:59 PM
01/12/19 08:59 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Offline
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Originally Posted by lolatu
@halherta The point is not to do with the inexpensive hardware per se, but the exclusive mode which allows games to run with guaranteed resources. You can't get that on Windows, and every now and them some daft background process kicks in.

Wouldn't be so quick to say it can't be done on Windows. With a 3rd party RTOS extension to Win10, even hard real time is achievable with Win10.


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Running VSTs on an XBox One [Re: lolatu] #2801413
01/12/19 09:26 PM
01/12/19 09:26 PM
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JoeT Offline
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Originally Posted by lolatu
@JoeT You sound like you've tried something like this before - would you care to explain? The articles I read just said basically anything that runs on the Universal Windows Platform doesn't even know what machine it's running on. And that XBox One games will run on Windows 10 without modification. https://www.developer.com/net/xbox-one-architecture-overview-for-developers.html

There are two different platforms: The one previously known as "Windows" or "Windows PC" and the one Microsoft now calls "Universal Windows Platform" (previously known as Windows Phone). Both have nothing to do with each other.

One is the legacy (Windows PC) platform, which runs Virtual Studio Technology, the other is a walled garden under full control of Microsoft only running phone (store) apps approved by Microsoft.

You don't perceive the difference, because Windows 10 PC includes support for both platforms. Xbox does not.

You can't install VST instruments on Xbox One. In fact you can't install anything on your own, everything has to be approved by Microsoft and downloaded through their store.


Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7605
Re: Running VSTs on an XBox One [Re: lolatu] #2801463
01/13/19 06:37 AM
01/13/19 06:37 AM
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Frédéric L Offline
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@halherta : The ASIO drivers bypass the Windows mixer which induce latency. The hypervisor, Hyper-V is generally not installed. And you won’t be able to do it on Windows Home. See https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com...-enabling-hyper-v-for-use-on-windows-10/ I don’t think it will help : if you can defined guaranteed ressource, you will have to create a stripped down Windows installation (no background task).

The standard way to garantee CPU ressources is the MMCS scheduling : multimedia application can freely use the CPU 80% (a registry key can put it to 90%). Afterward, the remaining of the OS can use 20%. This 20% prevent a multimedia application bug to block the system. You still have 20% for calling the taskmanager and kill the Application.

This is not perfect : harware interrupts generate DPC (Defered Procedure Call), which are processed in priority (before MMCS application). If they are called at the wrong time for too much time, they could create drop outs. There is a wellknown application which measure the latency which could be made by DPC (DPC checker).

An other ressource is the disk. An anti-virus starting to scan can sliw down other application. I haven’t any problem with them. But use mainly SSD. Some VST provider advice you to put samples on a different disk than the operating system.

There is also memory : if the prefetched samples are put from memory to pagefile because other applications need memory, your VST won’t run correctly. No other way than avoiding too big application (Firefox can grab 1GB... too much for my 8GB configuration). I suppose hypervisor can be handy to allocate a fixed quantity of memory for your VST. But if you want to run 2 OS in the same time, you will need extra memory. Perhaps this extra memory would avoid paging without using an hypervisor.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 01/13/19 06:42 AM.

Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: Running VSTs on an XBox One [Re: JoeT] #2801541
01/13/19 12:09 PM
01/13/19 12:09 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,138
UK
lolatu Offline OP
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Originally Posted by JoeT
One is the legacy (Windows PC) platform, which runs Virtual Studio Technology, the other is a walled garden under full control of Microsoft only running phone (store) apps approved by Microsoft.

You don't perceive the difference, because Windows 10 PC includes support for both platforms. Xbox does not.

Would I be right in saying games on Xbox aren't UWP apps, though? If so, the Xbox would support both: UWP in its shared partition, and the legacy platform for the exclusive partition.

Quote
You can't install VST instruments on Xbox One. In fact you can't install anything on your own, everything has to be approved by Microsoft and downloaded through their store.

Yes that seems to be the major sticking point. But is there anything to stop VST producers getting their software signed and published by Microsoft?

I read up a bit more about jailbreaking the Xbox to run your own software but it seems like it's not really possible.


Kawai CA95 / Steinberg UR22 / Sony MDR-7506 / Pianoteq Stage + Grotrian / Galaxy Vintage D / CFX Lite
In the loft: Roland FP3 / Tannoy Reveal Active / K&M 18810
Re: Running VSTs on an XBox One [Re: Frédéric L] #2801543
01/13/19 12:14 PM
01/13/19 12:14 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,138
UK
lolatu Offline OP
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lolatu  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
@halherta : The ASIO drivers bypass the Windows mixer which induce latency. The hypervisor, Hyper-V is generally not installed. And you won’t be able to do it on Windows Home. See https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com...-enabling-hyper-v-for-use-on-windows-10/ I don’t think it will help : if you can defined guaranteed ressource, you will have to create a stripped down Windows installation (no background task).

The standard way to garantee CPU ressources is the MMCS scheduling : multimedia application can freely use the CPU 80% (a registry key can put it to 90%). Afterward, the remaining of the OS can use 20%. This 20% prevent a multimedia application bug to block the system. You still have 20% for calling the taskmanager and kill the Application.

This is not perfect : harware interrupts generate DPC (Defered Procedure Call), which are processed in priority (before MMCS application). If they are called at the wrong time for too much time, they could create drop outs. There is a wellknown application which measure the latency which could be made by DPC (DPC checker).

This is interesting and relevant - thanks Frédéric. As you say, the problem is that we don't have this stripped down version of Windows on PC.

I might have a look at this DPC checker.


Kawai CA95 / Steinberg UR22 / Sony MDR-7506 / Pianoteq Stage + Grotrian / Galaxy Vintage D / CFX Lite
In the loft: Roland FP3 / Tannoy Reveal Active / K&M 18810
Re: Running VSTs on an XBox One [Re: lolatu] #2801554
01/13/19 01:03 PM
01/13/19 01:03 PM
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JoeT Offline
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Originally Posted by lolatu
But is there anything to stop VST producers getting their software signed and published by Microsoft?

By rewriting the software to UWP and losing the whole VST plugin system in the process, they could publish standalone apps to Xbox, assuming UWP MIDI actually works on Xbox and it has drivers for USB Audio/MIDI interfaces. (You can't install you own drivers either.)

Very unlikely to happen.

Quote
I read up a bit more about jailbreaking the Xbox to run your own software but it seems like it's not really possible.

Your own software means your own software you wrote for the platform. Not standard software written for PC. Xbox is not a PC. It won't run PC software ever.


Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7605
Re: Running VSTs on an XBox One [Re: lolatu] #2801562
01/13/19 01:39 PM
01/13/19 01:39 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 7,224
Raleigh, North Carolina
MacMacMac Offline
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I'm having a hard time understanding why you'd want to go to so much trouble ... when VSTs run on a regular PC with no fuss at all.

Re: Running VSTs on an XBox One [Re: MacMacMac] #2801571
01/13/19 02:22 PM
01/13/19 02:22 PM
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thickfingers Online content
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I'm having a hard time understanding why you'd want to go to so much trouble ... when VSTs run on a regular PC with no fuss at all.

----------
----------
Originally Posted by lolatu
Wouldn't this be ideal for running piano VSTs on? I still get annoying pops and cracks occasionally, especially when desktop Windows decides to update or do a virus scan or who-knows-what in the background. The "exclusive mode" is what I've been crying out for on my day-to-day PC

Re: Running VSTs on an XBox One [Re: JoeT] #2801666
01/13/19 06:24 PM
01/13/19 06:24 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,138
UK
lolatu Offline OP
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lolatu  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by JoeT
By rewriting the software to UWP and losing the whole VST plugin system in the process, they could publish standalone apps to Xbox, assuming UWP MIDI actually works on Xbox and it has drivers for USB Audio/MIDI interfaces. (You can't install you own drivers either.)

Very unlikely to happen.

I'm not talking about running UWP apps on the shared partition (which anyone can do already simply by enabling developer mode) - the exclusive mode is the interesting bit.

Quote
Xbox is not a PC.

The other sources I've read suggest it pretty much is. The OS for the shared UWP partition was originally Windows 8 (now Windows 10), and the exclusive gaming partition is a streamlined Windows 8. Hence why it seems an interesting idea. The question is how much - if any - modification would be required.

Anyway, if any VST developers want to register as an Xbox developer and give it a try, it doesn't look too onerous: you talk through the idea with Microsoft then get 2 free dev kits: https://www.xbox.com/en-GB/developers/id


Kawai CA95 / Steinberg UR22 / Sony MDR-7506 / Pianoteq Stage + Grotrian / Galaxy Vintage D / CFX Lite
In the loft: Roland FP3 / Tannoy Reveal Active / K&M 18810
Re: Running VSTs on an XBox One [Re: lolatu] #2801731
01/13/19 11:00 PM
01/13/19 11:00 PM
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MossySF Offline
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Under Windows, you can change your start shortcut to use the START command and pass /HIGH to give it the highest priority. It won't stop other stuff from running but it'll decrease non-HIGH background processes interference. E.g. instead of:

* C:\Program Files\XYZ\xyz.exe

it would be:

* START /HIGH C:\Program Files\XYZ\xyz.exe

Last edited by MossySF; 01/13/19 11:01 PM.
Re: Running VSTs on an XBox One [Re: lolatu] #2801751
01/14/19 02:01 AM
01/14/19 02:01 AM
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Frédéric L Offline
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With a MMCS applications (see https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/desktop/procthread/multimedia-class-scheduler-service), I don’t expect the START /HIGH to have much effect.

I suppose that most DAW and standalone virtual instruments to be MMCS compliant. With Reaper, you can set the priority and MMCS is set by default.


Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq

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