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That's exactly what I was thinking as well, and the Roland is exactly the one I ordered earlier this week. Should be able to test out that theory tomorrow!


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I use a Dell laptop and a $15 midi to usb cable with my es110. It performs flawlessly not as snappy as the ES 110 internal itself but much better sounding of


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I'm happy to report that my historical ground loop issue appears to be 100% solved!

Context: I want to use a computer (Mac) to play a VST, and output the sound back to the NV-10's speakers to play. So I used the typical setup of USB-MIDI between the NV-10 and the Mac, and a 3.5mm stereo mini cable from the Mac's headphone output to the Line-In on the NV-10.

This resulted in a ground loop that I could never fully get rid of. I tried running the Mac on battery power, changing stereo cables, using a USB-C cable, using a USB DAC, inserting an iDefender on the USB cable, but nothing was 100% successful.

I also tried a cheap Amazon USB-C to DIN-5 MIDI cable, which worked great except it introduced its own kind of ground loop: clicking sounds being sent to the Macbook every time a MIDI event triggered. I had also tried partially inserting the MIDI plug since I heard that can help. No dice.

Solution: today, I received a Roland UM-ONE mk2 USB to DIN-5 MIDI cable. And it works perfectly! It sends MIDI to the Mac, and I can hear NO noise from the NV-10's speakers whether the line-in is plugged in or not. Even with Line in Volume set to Max, Line-In attenuator set to +10db, master volume switch at max, and my ear pressed against the NV-10's speaker grille, there's zero noise from the Mac.

So if you're trying to solve a VST ground loop issue, the Roland MIDI cable gets my vote.

I also tried the iDefender again, and this time it's quite good, more than acceptable. It could be because I'm using a Mac Mini instead of a MBP now, so there's no internal trackpad or other components to add to the noise, but whereas I had previously found it an ~80% reduction in noise, with my current setup it's easily an alternative to the DIN-5 MIDI to USB cable.


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For many years there have been complaints about cheap MIDI-to-USB cable devices. The advice has always been to avoid the cheap units and use one from Roland or Yamaha.
Your experience bears that out yet again.

But I'm puzzled. Why convert MIDI-to-USB? Does the NV10 not have a USB-to-host port? (Or perhaps I've missed a key point by not reading this entire thread?)

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
For many years there have been complaints about cheap MIDI-to-USB cable devices. The advice has always been to avoid the cheap units and use one from Roland or Yamaha.
Your experience bears that out yet again.

I wanted to be one of the cool kids and get a USB-C native adapter, and I paid the price.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
But I'm puzzled. Why convert MIDI-to-USB? Does the NV10 not have a USB-to-host port? (Or perhaps I've missed a key point by not reading this entire thread?)

It does have the port (USB Type-B socket), but using it resulted in ground loop noise when I tried to play the VST back through the NV-10's speakers.


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So USB really sucks when there's an audio cable present, eh?
Originally Posted by Gombessa
It does have the port (USB Type-B socket), but using it resulted in ground loop noise when I tried to play the VST back through the NV-10's speakers.
I don't know why that is. But you're not the first to be plagued by it.

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Originally Posted by Gombessa
I also tried the iDefender again, and this time it's quite good, more than acceptable. It could be because I'm using a Mac Mini instead of a MBP now, so there's no internal trackpad or other components to add to the noise, but whereas I had previously found it an ~80% reduction in noise, with my current setup it's easily an alternative to the DIN-5 MIDI to USB cable.

I'm glad everything is working for you now. I had noise introduced when I tried the NV10 with my Mac mini. I was using a regular USB A/B cable and stereo cable to connect the computer/piano. If I would have had a Roland UM-ONE mk2 cable with me, I might own an NV10 instead of an N1X today.

That wasn't the only factor, but it was significant enough that I would have taken a longer look at the NV10 if the noise wasn't present. The dealer was like 4 hours from my house so I couldn't just run back and try to troubleshoot it, and I didn't want to try and troubleshoot it after I bought it. Good to know there is an easy fix.

God Bless,
David


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I’m Using a cheap Chinese 5 Pin Midi din to USB cable and it works fine. It’s red and sold on Amazon

Last edited by RinTin; 05/03/21 11:14 PM.

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Originally Posted by David B
Good to know there is an easy fix.

An easy fix that took me 2+ years and 4-5 different cable arrangements to finally stumble upon smile


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I think I just discovered something really odd about CFX:

Back when I had a 32GB MBP, I was trying to find the best settings for pop/crackle-free playing with low latency. If I maxed out CFX's RAM allocation to 16GB, I could play for 5-10 minutes before the pops started showing up, and during this time I could see the RAM usage steadily rise in the CFX interface. Only when the RAM was nearing the limit would cracks/pops start showing up.

This never sat well with me, you know, because of the implications.

With my M1 Mini, I was getting cracks/pops at every setting, unless I set the buffer up to 512 or 1024 (which was surprisingly playable on the M1, can the buffer latency be shorter than on the old Macbook?). The M1 only has 8GB RAM, so no matter the setting, i only had to play 30-60 seconds before pops/cracks appeared.

Remembering my experience from before, I tried starving CFX of memory, and set it to 512MB and 16Kb prefetch. No pops or cracks AT ALL, even at 64 buffer 92khz (32 buffer did have pops almost immediately).

This brings my back to my discomfort with CFX's behavior. If it can play pop-free from fresh bootup until RAM is filled, from where is it loading these samples that are playing pop-free? Presumably it's streaming/loading it real-time from storage, which it can do just fine. And if pops/cracks start to show up only after the RAM buffer is filled, what does that mean? Maybe that some garbage collection or swapping may be introducing latency into the process that is causing buffer misses. Maybe MacOS sees that the RAM allocation is exceeded and shunts new samples back to SSD swap disk, or something else. But the key is that CFX can stream straight from disk at low buffer without nearly ANY RAM at all, and problems only appear when RAM is filled.

So I've wondered before if CFX could have a setting to NOT cache pre-played notes in RAM. Just trash it, and stream everything as inefficiently as possible. It may result in higher CPU or I/O load, but I don't care about that. By setting RAM low, I'm limiting the amount CFX can cache, and so the majority of notes played are forced to be streamed from disk. And it seems to work just fine.

Any thoughts on this theory, or anyone who can test it out and see if they can replicate the results?


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You can try adjust these 3 parameters:

- Max Engine RAM Allocation to say 128MB
- Inst Disk Pre-Caching to say 32kB
- Buffer, trying say to 128

Some people here have found luck experimenting with these three inputs. For some, extreme lows for the first two factors seems to work. I run those high (2048kB and 16GB, respectively).

If you run an odd sample rate (e.g. not an even multiple of 44.1KHz), then you are asking your computer to do more resampling calculations real-time, which could be part of the issue. I can't think of any benefits for running at 92KHz. 44.1KHz should provide optimal performance and sound quality. If your system runs better with upsampling for some reason you can try an even multiple (e.g. 88.2 or 176.4KHz)

All that said, CFX seems to have some memory leak issues for some systems which are documented in the PW forums.

For reference, I am using v1.010 and ARIA engine 1.967, which are the latest versions as far as I can see.
http://ariaengine.com/support/aria-engine-update/

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Sounds legit to me.

OTOH, I use it with the default settings and with a buffer size of 64 on a M1 Mac with 8GB RAM without any pops. Wondering why you have problems with the same configuration.


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Originally Posted by newer player
You can try adjust these 3 parameters:

- Max Engine RAM Allocation to say 128MB
- Inst Disk Pre-Caching to say 32kB
- Buffer, trying say to 128

Some people here have found luck experimenting with these three inputs.

If you run an odd sample rate (e.g. not an even multiple of 44.1KHz), then you are asking your computer to do more resampling calculations real-time, which could be part of the issue. I can't think of any benefits for running at 92KHz. 44.1KHz should provide optimal performance and sound quality. If your system runs better with upsampling for some reason you can try an even multiple (e.g. 88.2 or 176.4KHz)

All that said, CFX seems to have some memory leak issues for some systems which are documented in the PW forums.

For reference, I am using v1.010 and ARIA engine 1.967, which are the latest versions as far as I can see.
http://ariaengine.com/support/aria-engine-update/

I'll play with the settings a bit more, but so far, low RAM (which impacts the pre-caching you can set) seems to be very promising.

Regarding 44khz versus 48khz and multiples, I get what you're saying, but it also strikes me that the conversion/calculation required is a CPU-intensive task, and with CFX, the bottleneck is I/O, somewhere between RAM and disk swapping; I've got plenty of CPU cycles to spare. If a higher sampling rate allows the samples to pass into buffer faster and result in lower latency, I'll take it :0 That's based on my (layman's) understanding that higher sampling rate results in lower latency, but TBH, it doesn't seem to matter much if it's set at 92khz or 41khz.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Sounds legit to me.

OTOH, I use it with the default settings and with a buffer size of 64 on a M1 Mac with 8GB RAM without any pops. Wondering why you have problems with the same configuration.

My guess - damper pedal abuse? smile


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Don’t underestimate my foot! 😀


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Guys (and gals?),

I am SO almost there. Everything's working, I'm getting virtual pop/crack-free performance out of CFX at a higher sampling rate and lower buffer than I've been able to run before, and it's actually super convenient. No keyboard/mouse/monitor, I can control the Mac from my tablet on the music stand OR in the other room where my home office is (where I took the below screenshot)...

Hardware:
Mac Mini M1 (8GB, 256GB SSD)
MIDI: Roland UM-ONE mk2 DIN5-to-USB adapter/cable
3.5mm stereo cable

Audio flow: NV-10 MIDI-->Roland-->Mini-->3.5mm cable-->NV-10 line in-->headphones

CFX settings:
RAM allocation: 512MB
Inst. Disk pre-caching: 16kB
Buffer: 64
Sample Rate: 96kHz

[Linked Image]

Goals:
[X] Doesn't break the bank
[X] Runs CFX pop/crack-free
[X] No ground loop noise from Mac
[X] Easy to switch between headphones/speakers
[X] Easy to adjust volume
[X] Small, compact setup
[X] Headless
[X] Controllable from the bench and/or from another computer
[ ] Tucked away invisibly
[ ] Easy for others to switch off VST (for organs, other fun sounds)

For the last one, I was hoping I could create a favorite with Line-in set to -10db, but that setting doesn't seem to save to a favorite, AND it's not entirely
silent. I might just have the kids live with it.

I think the hardware is more or less set. I'll give it a few more days to smoke test everything, and after that, it's time to break out the velcro and cable ties. I'm also wondering if I can find a cheap, black cable management box that fits the Mac, I can affix the box to the underside of the DP behind the front leg braces, and keep the Mac inside of that for easier access.

Couldn't have made it this far without all the help here, thanks again!


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Awesome!

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Originally Posted by Gombessa
I'm also wondering if I can find a cheap, black cable management box that fits the Mac, I can affix the box to the underside of the DP behind the front leg braces, and keep the Mac inside of that for easier access.

You can easily make something that is custom and will accommodate your need. A few pieces of wood, some wood glue, and paint. Wood glue can make a "joint" that is stronger than the wood around it.

One trip to Home Depot and you're all set. Probably less than 30 dollars.

I love little custom projects like that. The only challenge would be how to mount the box to the bottom of the NV10. I encourage you to give it a try.

God Bless,
David


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yep. I just have my Mac mini and adapters in a small mesh tray on the left side but the appearance leaves much to be desired.

There are Mac mini specific mounts. Here's one that's $15 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KWKJBQ7/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_YZKHAY3J1T97AX6ZCM58

I wouldn't personally drill into an NV10 but you could possibly use 4 large 3m command strips (rated for 10lbs) instead of screws. Mac mini is 2.6 pounds

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I think my journey is coming to an end, and it looks like it'll have a happy ending!

After looking around for some kind of mount or box to hold the mini in, I just said screw it, and mounted it directly to the bottom of the NV-10 with industrial strength velcro. It fits, it's reversible, doesn't require wood screws, all ports are accessible, I can see the power led, the routing works, and there is space for cable management. What could be better?

Find the mini:
[Linked Image]

Mounted underneath:
[Linked Image]

Cables from the front panel (well hidden placement, kudos to Kawai on thinking about that!)
[Linked Image]

The view from the back-a single power cable
[Linked Image]

Simple cable management tip stolen from JoBert--twist ties pinched behind the panel screws.
[Linked Image]

Since the piano is against a mirror, I can just stand up from the bench and see the white power light (edit: no no no, I mean the white LED power light!) to confirm the mini is on.
[Linked Image]

Also, since I use a BT keyboard of the floor paired to my tablet as my janky DIY page turner, it means I automatically have a keyboard to use with the Mac, via VNC! No re-pairing or re-connecting, just pick it up and type when needed.

This has so far turned into a near-perfect solution, it's clean, quiet, seamless, I'm just so happy with it. Thanks again for everyone who helped contribute with your comments and suggestions!


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