Viola Sound Cuts Out

Report problems, bugs, etc.
Post Reply
User avatar
DrLeonard
Member
Posts: 316
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:08 am
Location: Hamilton, Illinois USA
Contact:

Viola Sound Cuts Out

Post by DrLeonard »

In the orchestral piece I am working on, the Viola sound just drops out after a while. To get it back I have to restart Overture. Does anyone know what causes this, and how I can rectify it? Thanks.
Dr. R. C. Leonard
https://www.rcleonard.com
Hamilton, Illinois USA
User avatar
Dean Krommydas
Site Admin
Posts: 731
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:27 am
Contact:

Re: Viola Sound Cuts Out

Post by Dean Krommydas »

Hi Dr. Leonard,

It's rather difficult to say without knowing more.

Can you share your computer specs again? I'm assuming you've been using an SSD to stream your samples from? Is this a fast passage the Viola is playing? Does it have a lot of changes? What is the size or scale of this project? Full orchestral? What is your current buffer setting?

To get the ball rolling...it could be your CPU/RAM and/or buffer settings.

I'd start a quick check by making some basic adjustments to your audio interface's buffer setting to see if it helps the playback. You can increase or decrease the size until you are able to play things back without dropping out.
Buffer Setting.png
Buffer Setting.png (66.73 KiB) Viewed 103 times
I'd also possibly look at KONTAKT's DFD streaming settings, but start with simple adjustments to your interface first.
User avatar
DrLeonard
Member
Posts: 316
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:08 am
Location: Hamilton, Illinois USA
Contact:

Re: Viola Sound Cuts Out

Post by DrLeonard »

Dean, thanks for the reply. Only the Viola is affected by this periodic dropout. There is not an overly active part -- no more so than for most instruments in this piece, the "Adagio" of my current project, "Sinfonietta 2023" (and it was happening on the "Allegro molto"movement also). I am suspecting something to do with ASO or Kontakt, not my system.

The system is Windows 7 Professional on a Dell Optiplex 960, running on a Samsung SSD with 3740 GB; memory is 15,258 MB (all this per Belarc Advisor profile). The audio settings are DirectSound with VoiceMeeter as the audio engine, at 832 samples. I have repeatedly tried tweaking the sampling rate and this seems to work best and has been like that for a few years.
Dr. R. C. Leonard
https://www.rcleonard.com
Hamilton, Illinois USA
User avatar
Dean Krommydas
Site Admin
Posts: 731
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:27 am
Contact:

Re: Viola Sound Cuts Out

Post by Dean Krommydas »

Hi Dr. Leonard,

Gotcha so you're just using ASO and I'm assuming your Sinfonietta 2023 is for strings only or a smaller-sized Orchestra? How many tracks/staves/voices?

My first instinct with dropouts and playback is to look at the size of the project and the system itself...CPU/RAM/Buffer before KONTAKT or the library...but need to continue to know more.

What buffer options do you have in your Audio Device within Overture?

You can find comfortable buffer settings to stick with but the need can also change based on a project. Your buffer number doesn't quite make sense to me yet. I'm not familiar with Voicemeter...maybe you don't have a physical audio interface/sound card? Usually, standard buffer settings for audio interfaces are 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, and 2048, and keep doubling. They are predictable precise numbers. Are you saying 832 is what is in use? If so, then I'd try to up the buffer if you have the option?

That's the first quick thing I'd try to rule out as it's rather simple to test...then playback the viola part and see if you can get it to playback all the way through without dropping out.

Remember:

Lower Buffer Size = Less Latency but will tax the CPU more

Higher Buffer Size = More Latency and will tax the CPU less

You mentioned
DrLeonard wrote: Thu Feb 02, 2023 4:31 pm Only the Viola is affected by this periodic dropout
Does it always drop out at the same point? Does it drop out when everything is playing together? Can you ever get the viola part to play on its own, in its entirety from start to finish? Once you are experiencing the dropout...can you solo it and see if it doesn't drop out?

Is it one viola sample you are working with or are you switching between articulations/multiple samples? Are you using more than one voice on the track?

Are you using CC data? Have you tried a different viola sample?

A lot of questions...sorry...you can also feel free to share your project.

Be well,
~Dean
User avatar
DrLeonard
Member
Posts: 316
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:08 am
Location: Hamilton, Illinois USA
Contact:

Re: Viola Sound Cuts Out

Post by DrLeonard »

Dean, thanks. I have switched to 1024 samples and will see how it goes. However, in the past with a large orchestral score I have found that with too high a sample number I get "stuttering" in louder passages, especially if timpani are playing. Alternatively, if the the sample number is too low I find the sound comes behind the screen display, i.e. there is a delay in the sound -- which makes it hard to compose. That's why I came to the 832 samples as the best I could find.

The viola sound sometimes remains during a working session, at other times it drops out at random, i.e. not at any particular place but suddenly through the entire score they stop playing. There are 21 tracks in the score in which I first encountered the viola dropout: flute, piccolo, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, timpani, xylophone, cymbals, tambourine, snare drum, first and second violins, viola, cello and contrabass. (In the current movement I am not using piccolo, tambourine, or snare drum.) I can be working along just fine, then suddenly I notice that the violas are not playing back.

This is a "sinfonietta" not in the sense of being for a smaller orchestra (compare the large orchestra of Janacek's "Sinfonietta") but in being shorter than other symphonies and in a perhaps lighter vein.
Dr. R. C. Leonard
https://www.rcleonard.com
Hamilton, Illinois USA
User avatar
Dean Krommydas
Site Admin
Posts: 731
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:27 am
Contact:

Re: Viola Sound Cuts Out

Post by Dean Krommydas »

No problem Dr. Leonard, and I understand about your Sinfonietta.

Regardless of the piece's length, sounds like you still have a fair amount of demand coming from your tracks and are expecting solid playback from your system.

I did a quick refresher on Voicemeter...and looks like that is a "virtual" sound card... which I"m guessing is how you are able to pick the irregular buffer settings from it.

I understand why you picked the 832 and it's great you found what works best on your system. I'm just not sure it will always be reliable.
Lower Buffer Size = Less Latency but will tax the CPU more

Higher Buffer Size = More Latency and will tax the CPU less
Generally speaking, an audio interface will help with latency.

For the sake of your testing...once you start experiencing the dropouts...

THEN try soloing the viola line...if it plays in its entirety... without dropping out... it's likely system resource related.

When trying different buffer tests...

Confirm if @ 1024 the dropping out stops. If so...obviously try to keep that setting when you're playing back. If not...try a higher setting. See if you can find a higher setting that plays everything back with no dropouts. Or maybe a lower one.

If you do eventually find a setting that plays everything back without dropping out...but is also experiencing too much latency, you can keep switching back and forth when you're writing, or wanting to listen, or when you're recording/exporting audio which will need to be clean. I know it's a pain, so if true...you might need to consider investing in an actual audio interface/card... although I'm not sure about your computer's processor/specs being enough in tandem.

I might go back and forth several times between soloing the viola and allowing it to play with everything else to confirm the behavior.

I might also mute other tracks one at a time and keep testing the playback to see what happens.

I would want to confirm with certainty whether it is indeed the viola or that maybe you can trigger the dropping out with something else too.

I might set up another track or two or three, mute the viola... and try different instruments (copy and paste the notes) and just see if those instruments cause the same thing. Push the limits a bit to confirm. Isolate and confirm if it's still just the viola. If you can put more instruments, polyphony, voices, and such without dropouts...then I might start wondering about the viola itself.

That's keeping things fairly simple and testing by making adjustments to your "virtual card" settings.

KONTAKT also has settings for DFD buffering that you can adjust to help cover the number of voices you are demanding. So you could also try putting your 832 buffer setting back and adjusting from within KONTAKT to see if that works for you.

You're trying to have enough buffers to cover the polyphony in your piece. You need enough to cover all the samples and voices... stream from your disk... utilize your RAM and CPU...and keep your latency bearable.

Maybe you're fine and it's something else...not 100% yet.
User avatar
DrLeonard
Member
Posts: 316
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:08 am
Location: Hamilton, Illinois USA
Contact:

Re: Viola Sound Cuts Out

Post by DrLeonard »

Thanks again, Dean. Today I haven't had the viola dropout problem -- as I said, it's intermittent (and maybe switching to 1024 samples made a difference). I have toyed with the idea of installing a sound card instead of using the "virtual sound" settings, but am not sure of the technicalities involved (i.e., what adjustments I need to make in the system to accommodate it). Nor have I done any research to come up with what might be the right sound card to install. If you have suggestions about reasonably priced sound cards I would be glad to know about them. My system is old (Windows 7) but I don't care for the Windows 10 interface, which I do have on a laptop -- I wish they had never abandoned XP and have made Windows 7 look as much like it as possible. (I actually have another laptop still running XP; we are retro-tech here.)
Dr. R. C. Leonard
https://www.rcleonard.com
Hamilton, Illinois USA
User avatar
Dean Krommydas
Site Admin
Posts: 731
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:27 am
Contact:

Re: Viola Sound Cuts Out

Post by Dean Krommydas »

My pleasure, it'd be nice if it was something simple.

As far as audio interfaces go...setting one up can be as easy as plugging it into your USB port and selecting it from Overture's Audio engine.

Choosing which one and working with the specs of your computer effectively can be more complicated...and yes you should do some research and eventually consider upgrading ..and not just for the sake of the audio interface.

Without getting into all the intricacies and functionality of audio interfaces...generally speaking, they can help improve latency with playback and recording but to what degree will vary on make/model and again may be related to your system specs and buffer settings working together. You'd be bypassing your Windows drivers and virtual card to see if it helps. Maybe you're fine without it too you'll have to see how far you test and push things.

I believe it's good to know what's out there even if not in your price range per se...like RME, UA (Universal Audio), MOTU (Mark of the Unicorn), Presonus, Behringer, etc.

Here's an affordable Presonus that might get the ball rolling for you:

https://www.amazon.com/PreSonus-AudioBo ... B06ZZCR6P4

RMEs are the best IMO... may not be too budget-friendly...but there's a reason they are priced that way.

I understand not wanting to upgrade to Win 10 never mind 11! I was stuck on 7 well-passed 10's release...until they stopped making plugins that would work in that environment. I loved XP too... they were solid OSs. But at this stage WIn 10 is also pretty solid. Your hand is eventually forced one way or another...but on the positive, it's just a matter of keeping up with new technology... maintaining functionality...and security is pretty important these days as well.

In any case, hopefully, some of these ramblings are helpful.

Be well
User avatar
DrLeonard
Member
Posts: 316
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:08 am
Location: Hamilton, Illinois USA
Contact:

Re: Viola Sound Cuts Out

Post by DrLeonard »

Thanks, I will have a look at the PreSonus device. As to Windows, one reason we stick with Win7 is that we use a few legacy programs that won't run in newer OSes. One is Adobe PageMaker 6.5 which we use to publish our poetry magazine my wife edits, www.wwquarterly.com . We can run a few other occasional programs in VirtualBox XP, but it's clumsy to use VirtualBox for programs we use regularly.
Dr. R. C. Leonard
https://www.rcleonard.com
Hamilton, Illinois USA
Post Reply