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Starship Krupa

"Upgraded" to Windows 10, Cakewalk performance has suffered greatly

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What it says in the title.

A few days ago, since the most important program I use on my Windows systems is Cakewalk, and the scuttlebutt is that Windows 10 is where the focus is, that especially Windows 7 is fading further into the distance, I decided to upgrade my main DAW system to Windows 10.

The upgrade itself went smoothly enough. My programs and hardware all worked fine afterward, with the exception that I still can't get both graphics cards to work at the same time, but that's not that big a deal. Either my Quadro FX580 or the onboard HD4000 are quite capable of servicing Cakewalk or Vegas Pro.

However, since the OS upgrade, the performance of Cakewalk has been, frankly, wretched. You can see from my sig that my system, while not a rocket sled, is respectable, and well within the specs for running Cakewalk. The only spec that's not listed is my project drive and OS drive are both 7200 RPM.  The configuration was fine for running Cakewalk before Windows 10 came along. So before anyone tries telling me I really need 32G of RAM or an SSD or some such, it worked perfectly with this configuration before the "upgrade."

So of course, right over the holiday, my friend and his son, both recording enthusiasts, come to stay for a few nights and I'm all psyched to show them this great program I've been using for the past 9 months, my friend even wants to track some drums. I get him going with it in loop mode, and he's so in the groove that he tracks the rest of the instruments and winds up with a total of 12 tracks of drums, bass, guitar and vocals.

However, by the time he's finished with tracking, I come over to see how it's going and hit the spacebar to start the transport and it takes about 3 full seconds to start playback. Then once it gets going, it gets to the end of the loop and the playback engine drops out. I hit the spacebar again, and again 3 full seconds. Then at the end of the loop, down we go again. Every time. He has to mix the song restarting playback at the end of every loop.

I try fiddling with the AUD.INI to set the dropout time longer, and no go, it's the same no matter what I try.

I try loading some of my older projects and they are taking way longer to load, and same deal with the transport taking 3 seconds to get rolling. I defrag the project folder, nope, no help.

So I post this both as a caution for anyone in the middle of mission-critical projects and throwing it out there as a request for ideas as to how I might regain my system's perkiness.

It's odd because Windows 10 and Cakewalk seem to be good buddies on my older Core 2 Quad system. It's just gone sideways on the main one.

I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually, I'm a good system tuner, but so far it's frankly shite. Embarrassingly so.

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Did you upgrade from 7 to 10 or did you do a fresh install of 10?

It's been my experience that any kind of migrations are iffy at best, and it's better to start with a clean slate if possible.

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Windows does, uh, "helpful" things like re-enable your HD Audio driver which may not cause problems, but at least in my case, disabling it make a HUGE improvement and others have reported the same difference. (IIRC this is the driver that makes sure that audio is NEVER prioritized over frame rate in games.) Windows also seems to re-enable it after updates to be "helpful", so after an update, check to make sure it's disabled.

It took me a while to optimize everything for the brave new world of Windows 10, but ultimately, it's been worth it. Note that it's very important to make sure ANYTHING your system has that uses a driver has the latest driver. The Intel Driver & Support Assistant has been super-helpful in keeping my computers up to date.

You'll get used to it :)

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Hi,

To add to what Craig suggested, in addition to turning off (again) the HD Audio Driver, I also make sure Game Mode stays off (Windows update has turned it back on) and that my graphics drivers are up to date.  

 

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Windows 10 should at the very least give you as good of performance as Win 7. Most everybody reports better performance.  However, some of the same things apply to a Windows 10 system as they did to a Windows 7 system. 

Nothing is as important as making sure you are using the right audio interface driver for best performance.  This may mean using WDM instead of ASIO.  If ASIO is used, and most recommend it,  find the sweet spot for low latency vs. stability.  There should be no delay in starting playback.  It can be due to buffers being too low or too high.

Be sure to set you computer to best  performance not balanced as the default. Be sure to disable startup programs you don't need running in the background.

Be sure to get the latest Windows 10 updates.  

As others have already said do not run Cakewalk in game mode. If you can use more than one hard drive.  The C drive should be reserved for applications and VSTs. A second drive should be used for sample libraries and a third for projects.  The more the better. 

Try to avoid programs that were meant for Windows 7 Make sure a program is Windows 10 compatible. Make sure you have full permissions throughout you system and drives.  

Remove Nvidia audio drivers from your system. Try to avoid your computer "calling home" via the internet  when running Cakewalk.   Some disable wifi too. 

Don't "optimize" Windows 10 as if it were Windows 7.  

As I think of more things I will add them. 

I hope this is helpful. 

 

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7 hours ago, Lord Tim said:

Did you upgrade from 7 to 10 or did you do a fresh install of 10?

It's been my experience that any kind of migrations are iffy at best, and it's better to start with a clean slate if possible.

what he said

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The “older core 2”  is an upgrade as well?

personally I would do a clean install. Jim Roseberry does consulting. I’m sure many of his customers have moved to 10. My first “Cat” is Win 7 and will remain so as long as possible. Why? Clean install is a PITA. 

Contact Jim

T

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Thanks, everyone, this is all very helpful.

A few things:

It is an upgrade, the free upgrade, and I don't have licenses for anything else, can't really afford licenses for a fresh copy. Is there a way to make a fresh install disk once I have an upgrade installation?

My interfaces are Presonus Firepods, rather old, but I could track 4 channels with them with software monitoring down to 4mS with no trouble under Windows 7. I researched whether the drivers worked under Windows 10, and according to several forum posts, they do, so I went for it. Latency is still fine with ASIO. I tried switching to WASAPI modes and it still had the 3 second start lag and barfs at the end of each loop.

My installation of Windows 7 was tuned to within an inch of its life, and my AUD.INI was tuned to utilize it.

I have the onboard audio interface disabled in the BIOS and Windows has always respected that 😊. I checked and it continues to.

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I've not seen any decrease in performance with Win 10 only improvements. That said my DAW PC which was originally upgraded from Win7 developed some bizarre issues and couldn't be updated any more. After MS support couldn't figure it out I did a clean install of Win 10 and its fine now. Unfortunate but sometimes Windows will get corrupt.

Your issue with playback not starting properly looks like its hardware related however. Make sure your drivers are all up to date. You can also try a different audio device (like the onboard audio) to see if its related to the current driver.

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As far as being able to do a clean install of WIN 10 after getting the free upgrade from WIN 7,  I found it is very helpful to sign into (or create) a Microsoft account and activate/authorize the computer to link it with the "digital license" that is associated with your MOBO.  Then Microsoft stores your digital license for you and you can retrieve it again on the same computer when you do a clean install.

I have about 6 WIN 10 computers that were upgraded from WIN 7, and some will allow a fresh install authorization using the old WIN 7 product key, but others have not been so easy.  But what is easy is signing all your WIN 10 computers into the same Microsoft account and "activating" while signed in. 

To do this, (before you do your wipe/clean install) go to Settings>Update and Security>Activation: Add Microsoft Account.  Create or sign into your existing account and the account automatically stores the  digital license associated with ("linked to") each computer.  When you've done your clean install, just go through the same procedure and your WIN 10 installation will be instantly authorized/activated.

Easy to manage and never worry about losing a product key.  Good luck.

Bill

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On 12/29/2018 at 6:01 PM, Starship Krupa said:

However, by the time he's finished with tracking, I come over to see how it's going and hit the spacebar to start the transport and it takes about 3 full seconds to start playback. Then once it gets going, it gets to the end of the loop and the playback engine drops out. I hit the spacebar again, and again 3 full seconds. Then at the end of the loop, down we go again. Every time. He has to mix the song restarting playback at the end of every loop.

 

This has me pondering how you were recording. Did you insert a dozen audio tracks and overdub new parts to each track, I don't follow this "looping" and mixing from the end of a clip at all?? Reason I mention this is possibly your doing something  weird that is making Cakewalk think too hard. 

Running 12 audio tracks side by side should not put a strain on any system for the last 10 years. 

Now if your trying to add 200 VST effects that's another story.  

If you are, what happens when you bypass the effects? 

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On 1/1/2019 at 2:18 AM, BRainbow said:

I found it is very helpful to sign into (or create) a Microsoft account and activate/authorize the computer to link it with the "digital license" that is associated with your MOBO

Yes this is what the Microsoft rep told me too. Although he claimed that even without a digital licence it would know that it was the same PC. I haven't tried the latter theory though since I used a microsoft account.

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I did the in place update to Windows 10 on my DAW with no issues. Currently, my DAW is the only Win 10 not associated with my Microsoft account as I didn't want yet another online connection to the interned through the DAW.  my Win 8.1 and 2 other Win 10 PC's are connected via my microsoft account. I'm not sure there is any good reason to set up the DAW through Microsoft?

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As Bill indicated one reason is to allow an easy full reinstall of Windows even if hardware changes. I think using a MS account creates a "digital license" that allows easier authentication in case of disaster recovery.

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I've now done the thing with adding my Microsoft account to all of my Windows 10 systems. I had forgotten about that, thanks.

The way my friend recorded, and this is SOP for us, is as follows:

1. I imported a "guide track" of him playing and singing the song, just acoustic guitar and voice. He recorded this on his iPhone with a fancy Shure mic.

2. I set him up to record drum tracks, recording 4 simultaneous tracks with a "Recorderman/Glyn Johns" pair, snare, and kick. I set it up in Loop record mode, with 10 seconds of leading and trailing silence so that he could stretch a bit between takes.

3. He recorded about a dozen takes of drums in this fashion

4. We chose one take as a "working" take, muting the other ones, and saving them for later comping

5. He then recorded various overdubs of vocals, guitar, and bass

6. Which he made a pretty killer mix of, that I hope to put up here in a couple of days when he's done mastering it on his Pro Tools system back home

Beginning around step 5, I wasn't around much, because I was buried in getting financial records together. He was just having too much fun with CbB to stop. When I looked in on him during the mixing process, though, the project was getting hard to work on because there was about a 2 second lag between when you'd hit the spacebar and when playback would start, and every other time it would hit the end of the playback loop, the audio engine would die.

I defragged the project folder, which helped a tiny bit, but not much.

Which brings us to current circumstances.

What finally did help with the playback stopping was increasing ExtraPlugInBufs to 5 and Playback I/O Buffer Size to 1024. This was after spending hours combing the AUD.INI Alphabetical Manual, which should give some indication as to what level of system tuning I'm okay with.

What is weirdest is that lag between when I hit the spacebar and when playback starts! It keeps getting worse. It's now up to almost 4 whole seconds, I kid you not. Something is definitely messed up here. It seems to be related to the number of tracks in a project; it doesn't happen with all projects.

What I'm thinking at this point is that something is bottlenecking my system. Noel suggested my interface drivers, but Mixcraft is happy with a project of the same complexity.

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20 minutes ago, Craig Anderton said:

Is the project recent, or from a long time ago? I recall reading something about known issues with projects created using older templates.

Couldn't be much more recent. It's the one I talked about in the DAW fanboy thread, started by my houseguest the day after Xmas.

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