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Posted By: dmd VST crackling - 02/24/18 08:53 PM
I am using various VSTs within cantabile 2 SOLO which I guess is a DAW.

For the most part, everything is fine.

However, there is a persistent crackling sound that rears its ugly head regularly.

I hear it for just a moment every 15 minutes or so.

I have read that it is due to issues with the buffer being too small.

My system includes .....


Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)i7-2600 CPU @ 3.40GHz 3.40GHz

64-bit operating system, x64-based processor

Windows 10

I have tried various sizes for the buffer and have no obtained a consistent solution by doing that.

Any other suggestions ?

Posted By: toddy Re: VST crackling - 02/24/18 09:18 PM
Does it still crackle when you increase the buffer size or reduce the sample frequency?
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: VST crackling - 02/24/18 09:20 PM
It's difficult to know with so little information, but crackling sounds generally comes from either system running out of steam for a moment or badly written sound drivers that just gets stuck when overwhelmed.

You did not say whether you have SSD drive or spinning disk drive. Spinning disk drives are most susceptible to these symptoms as they just can't keep up because your system spec looks to be 7 years old, and spinning disk drives from 7-8 years ago is too slow.

Time for a new system. It doesn't make sense to replace just pieces of it at this point when your system is this old. If you find a bug-fix for sound card driver, it may a good temporary solution while you shop for a new system. Look at NVMe (pricing dropping quickly to near SSD) as you do your shopping.
Posted By: newer player Re: VST crackling - 02/24/18 10:17 PM
You have a Focusrite interface so check out the Focusrite Windoze 10 tips:

Posted By: MacMacMac Re: VST crackling - 02/24/18 11:44 PM
np: Those recommendations are overkill. And some of them will make your PC unsuitable for normal use. And most of them are unnecessary.
This is not 2000 or 2005. Any modern processor can handle a VST. (If it can't then something is wrong/broken.)
Posted By: minstrelman Re: VST crackling - 02/25/18 02:31 AM
maybe try this.
Tweaking Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for music production

Posted By: dmd Re: VST crackling - 02/25/18 05:34 PM
Thanks to all for thoughts on this.

I am currently working through the "options" related to the focusrite suggestions.

I am only doing the simple ones that seem most logical.

I have set power to high performance, sounds to "no sounds", processor scheduling to "Background Services" and I have disabled Fast Boot.

I still have an occasional glitch.

Mind you .... this is not real serious to me at this point. Once per hour of playing ? Maybe a bit more.

It almost seems like something builds up and then it crackles to release that issue.

I say that because it even happens with very slow playing with maybe just a single note being played at the moment.

So ... still a mystery.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: VST crackling - 02/25/18 06:01 PM
My best guess is that a background job kicks in occasionally and causes the problem. You might try raising the priority of your VST software host (Cantabile). Not that this will be the right, permanent fix (though it could be). I mean instead that if it works then it leads me to believe in my first premise.

Alternatively you could just try shutting down unnecessary services. You can find online extensive lists of such services (but be sure you're reading about services that pertain to your version of Windows). You can disable a bunch of them, then play the piano for a while ... until you've played long enough to EXPECT one or more glitches.

If the glitches persist try disabling some more services. You might finally disable a batch that cures the illness. And then you can re-enable all the other batches.

I had to run through this regime on my old old old laptop running XP ... and the problem went away. I can't remember which service was the culprit. (It's been a long time.) But no matter ... if you're running a newer version of Windows the culprit will likely be different than mine.

One more thought. There are usually several services that support wireless networking. And I can recall that these were often cited as culprits for all manner of glitchy behavior, both with pianos and with ordinary computing. So try disabling those FIRST. (No, it's not just a matter of turning off wireless access, because the services will still be running. You have to turn off or disable the core services.)

Yes, I know ... you don't really want to be without networking, but this is just a trial. If disabling those doesn't cure, just turn them back on.

But if it does cure, maybe switch to wired networking? Or maybe employ a script that will turn off wireless when you use the piano, and turn it on at other times. This can be implemented with a simple clicky shortcut. I've done it before, and I can assist you if need be.
Posted By: dmd Re: VST crackling - 02/25/18 06:54 PM
MAC: Thanks for your help. Those are all ideas that I may utilize at some point.

I have gone into things about as far as I care to at the moment.

If I continue to get glitches, I think the next thing I will try will be to run the VSTs in stand-alone mode because I do not remember dealing with this when I was using them that way.

If that gives me no glitches, then I can be sure the issue lies with Cantabile and your idea of raising priority level of Cantabile might be promising.

I suppose I could do that first, too.

I just did it. I raised it from 0 to 1.

Now we try things and see what happens.

Posted By: dmd Re: VST crackling - 02/25/18 08:14 PM
Well .... I have done enough, now ... to know the issue is with Cantabile and the number of VSTs I have loaded and am actively using at any one time.

I have no particular solution for this ....yet ... other than to not use more than 1 VST at a time in Cantabile.

I did raise the priority of Cantabile to HIGH and it still will crackle periodically.

I do not think I should raise the priority to REALTIME.

I will have to contact Cantabile to see what they say about all of this and go from there.

Perhaps there is an alternate DAW that handles this better. I do not know.

Thanks for the help.
Posted By: dmd Re: VST crackling - 02/25/18 09:28 PM

It just happened again.

This time it was using Pianoteq 6 as a stand-alone process.

So .... all that stuff about Cantabile .... Out the window.

And all those other things I did .... I am going to put them all back the way they were.

None of those things made any difference at all ... that I could detect.

So ... now, at least I can limit things to a single stand-alone VST ....not necessarily only Pianoteq.

I used to work in the computer industry and frequently dealt with issues like this.

Feels familiar. LOL ...
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: VST crackling - 02/26/18 04:33 AM
At least it does not sound like a hardware related issue, especially from HDD performance perspective since Pianoteq doesn't stress the HDD at all.
Posted By: Ojustaboo Re: VST crackling - 02/27/18 09:46 AM

The audio device you are selecting to use with Cantabile or standalone Pianoteq etc, is it the Focusrite ASIO one?

If your using one such as ASIO4ALL or Generic Low Latency, they will not be as good. The WASAPI will probably be even worse. I have the “Focusrite Safire Pro 24” and under Audio Engine in Cantabile I select “ASIO - Safire”

Just for your info, Cantabile is a VST host, not a DAW.

Cubase, Reaper, Pro Tools etc are DAWs

googling “focusrite 2i4 crackling” gives a fair few responses including fixes, might be worth trying them.

Failing that, googling ASIO dropouts or ASIO crackling might get some useful suggestions.

If still no luck, it might be worth contacting focusrite too.
Posted By: Marcos Daniel Re: VST crackling - 02/27/18 02:51 PM
My little grain of sand: look at interrupts. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interrupt_request_(PC_architecture))
I'm not an expert in this topic, but is your sound card share the same IRQ with other device in your PC you will get some crackles no matter how good is your CPU, since the other device will take from time to time the priority of the CPU.
If this is the case, in linux you can tweak to a certain point... anyway the easier solution is turning the other device off.
To see IRQs list type on a terminal cat /proc/irq (I searched in google for this, not linux PC to test right now)
In windows they can be seen in the device manager selecting view resources by type.
Hope it helps
Posted By: Frédéric L Re: VST crackling - 02/27/18 04:15 PM
On Windows, I suppose interrupts doesn’t do a lot of things : register a Deferred Procedure Call, and that’s it !!! If an other interrupt comes, I don’t think its IRQ matters : it will stop the processing, register a DPC, and lets the current DPC continue.
Posted By: dmd Re: VST crackling - 02/27/18 05:50 PM
Update: At the advice elsewhere ... I have been running LatencyMon and it is giving me information as to what might be the issue.

However, this is not high enough on my priority list to warrant myself spending a lot of time sleuthing at the expense of playing piano.

And .... my son is a bit of a computer guru ... so, this will be on the back burner until he comes to visit (months from now).

Thanks for all the ideas. I will be considering them with my son, later on.
Posted By: Cinjero Re: VST crackling - 02/27/18 09:48 PM
I tried LatencyMon myself, very useful information. For DELL owners, you'll see their sneaky drivers creating latency---- disable those suckers! :-)
Posted By: newer player Re: VST crackling - 02/27/18 11:06 PM
Originally Posted by Cinjero
I tried LatencyMon myself, very useful information. For DELL owners, you'll see their sneaky drivers creating latency---- disable those suckers! :-)

I did a clean install of Windows 10 pro and did not install any of their "added value software" on my Dell XPS 9550 such as: "Dell Update Application", "Dell Customer Connect", "Dell Help & Support", "Dell Foundation Services".

Well...I did install Dell Command-Power Manager as it gives access to fan speed control and some CPU performance boost one can not access otherwise.

Several of the critical drivers are only available from Dell (e.g. Intel Management Engine Interface Driver) but many (much more recent drivers) are available directly at Intel, nVidia, Realtek, etc.
Posted By: Cinjero Re: VST crackling - 02/27/18 11:56 PM
Originally Posted by newer player
I did a clean install of Windows 10 pro and did not install any of their "added value software" on my Dell XPS 9550 such as: "Dell Update Application", "Dell Customer Connect", "Dell Help & Support", "Dell Foundation Services".

With my old 8600 I didn't get too much latency, but with the 9550 I've been using 128 buffer with great results. I think the only "extra" I have left is for DELL drivers, otherwise, I cleared out the nonsense apps.
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