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jwadley

How does CbB handle big midi projects?

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Hi, everyone. I've been using Cakewalk/Sonar/CbB for 20 years, but only recently did I start using VSTi's. Now I'm using a lot of them in each project. I seem to encounter a lot of bugs. Midi notes have been transposed, midi clips are muted but won't stop playing... stuff like that. No doubt it's user error some of the time. But the problems are frequent enough and inexplicable enough that it can't all be me.

My question is a general one: Does CbB have a reputation - one way or the other - for how it handles big projects with lots of VSTis and VSTs?

I know that to troubleshoot a specific midi problem, y'all would need more to go on. For now, I'm just hoping for help establishing a baseline expectation. I searched the forum but couldn't find anything that spoke quite to that.

The VSTis I use are...

  • EastWest/Play
  • XLN Addictive Drums 2 and Addictive Keys
  • A few Waves VSTis on occasion

My projects also use lots of VSTs (mostly Waves).

Thanks for any insight you can offer.

Cheers,

Jonathan

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What version of Windows are you using?

There was a problem with a DLL limit reported a while back (not just for Cakewalk):

http://forum.cakewalk.com/VST-Limit-Reported-by-Other-DAWs-in-Windows-What-Say-You-Cakewalk-m3468760.aspx

and a fix in the insiders edition earlier this year...

The very latest version of Windows 10 (1903) should have fixed this, but then again 1903 probably isn't without its own issues.

In saying that, as Waves uses a shell for its plugins it should be protected to an extent.

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The other thing to look at is you MIDI prepare buffer, set it to 750 (or higher if necessary for very intensive MIDI projects) instead of 250:

image.png.b0c0932e0120dc93e13804ea405fc1e1.png

 

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11 hours ago, msmcleod said:

What version of Windows are you using?

There was a problem with a DLL limit reported a while back (not just for Cakewalk):

http://forum.cakewalk.com/VST-Limit-Reported-by-Other-DAWs-in-Windows-What-Say-You-Cakewalk-m3468760.aspx

and a fix in the insiders edition earlier this year...

The very latest version of Windows 10 (1903) should have fixed this, but then again 1903 probably isn't without its own issues.

In saying that, as Waves uses a shell for its plugins it should be protected to an extent.

Provide source links to issues that 1903 has that may affect the OP and his work.  Otherwise, it comes across as FUD.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/release-information/status-windows-10-1903

The only "issue" I heard of, was some external storage (SD Card, USB HDD)  having their drive letters changed... which was a non-factor since the OS wouldn't even let you upgrade with these plugged in (so it literally brute forces avoidance of the issue).  Then again, this isn't something that would affect work, as the OS blatantly just avoids installing the update in this case.

The rest of that stuff is fairly non-factor in the grand scheme of things.

The DLL stuff was fixed by Microsoft.

Upgraded on day 1.  No issues.

This is probably the cleanest update Microsoft has ever released for Windows 10, thus far.

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Thanks for the responses and suggestions.

I wonder whether anybody is reading this who uses EastWest or Vienna Symphonic Library or similar for big, MIDI-intensive projects and can say, "CbB handles those types of projects well," or "It's a tough slog" or can otherwise share their experience?

Since it came up, here's my system info:

Motherboard: ADK- Intel LGA1151: Micro ATX Z170 2x 16X PCIe, 1x PCIe 1x, Up to 64 gigs DDR4 2666+, M.2, USB3.1/C, USB3.0, Sata 6Gbs
Processor: Intel Core i7 6700 Skylake 4GHz Quad 8 meg cache with HT
RAM: 16 Gigs (2x 8 Gigs) DDR4 2666
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Home 10 64 Bit OEM
Hard Drive: Seagate Caviar 500G 16Meg Sata 600
Hard Drive: Seagate 3TB Sata 600 7200 RPM 64meg cache
Focusrite Scarlet 18i8

Cheers,

Jonathan

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CbB handles those types of projects well.  IF you have tons of RAM (64gb may be overkill but things just work better). IF you have a great interface with rock solid drivers (RME, for ex.). IF you have ASIO buffers set correctly for your system and number of VSTs loaded, etc. IF your system CPU etc. is robust enough and OS configured correctly.  IF you are using SSDs for samples.  IF you have antivirus and WiFi off or configured properly. Etc.  etc.  etc. IOW, the more tracks and VSTs and plug ins and automation and stuff you have going on, the more your system will be taxed. So, it all depends.  If your projects have ~100 tracks and multiple VST instances, you need plenty of  horsepower under the hood, properly tuned up to prevent problems. There are workarounds for lesser systems (freeze tracks as you go), but that comes at the cost of flexibility and ease of workflow.

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" Large  Midi"  can mean  different things : I can have 20-30 midi tracks pointing to 4-5 VSTi  and likely 10 -15  " onboard " processing  VST plug-ins with 12 gig of ram and operate at 64 buffer and be really rock solid. I can also play through an amp VST in real time with nearly zero issues with latency. I can have half of those midi  tracks pointing to hardware synths - and it all runs very smoothly - predictably. My system is really pretty old and running Win 7.  I don't plan to update the OS at any time. My use of Appollo plugs is usually pretty limited, maybe 2-3 at a time.

Edited by RBH

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4 hours ago, Rhenn said:

CbB handles those types of projects well.  IF you have tons of RAM (64gb may be overkill but things just work better). IF you have a great interface with rock solid drivers (RME, for ex.). IF you have ASIO buffers set correctly for your system and number of VSTs loaded, etc. IF your system CPU etc. is robust enough and OS configured correctly.  IF you are using SSDs for samples.  IF you have antivirus and WiFi off or configured properly. Etc.  etc.  etc. IOW, the more tracks and VSTs and plug ins and automation and stuff you have going on, the more your system will be taxed. So, it all depends.  If your projects have ~100 tracks and multiple VST instances, you need plenty of  horsepower under the hood, properly tuned up to prevent problems. There are workarounds for lesser systems (freeze tracks as you go), but that comes at the cost of flexibility and ease of workflow.

This isn't necessarily true. I am running a system built in 2011 and with the GPU upgraded once in 2014, all my HDDs are spinning platters. I am running an i5 2400k, 8 GB of RAM and on Windows 7 x64. I haven't had to bounce to audio since I had my SD-50

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I do only midi. I use Play (EWSO Gold), Aria (GPO5), Vepro (Vienna sp. Ed. 1), and Kontakt (Cinematic Strings2). Also, Appasionata Strings from VI, which use the Synchron Player. Plus a few Dim Pro instances. I do almost exclusively large orchestral projects of my own creation, 50 + midi tracks. I usually have an instance each of Play, Aria, Vepro and Kontakt. DP and App. Strings are single-instance synths. I run 5 for App Strings, about 2-3 for DP. I use FX sparingly, e.g. two instances of EW Spaces reverb, two instances of Sonitus Compressor, two instances of LP64 EQ, all on two buses. No problems.

My stats: i7 Ivy Bridge (not the most advanced i7); 32 GB ram; (2) WD Black 1 TB HDDs;  Steinberg UR-22 ( a $100.00 usb interface);  Windows 7 SP1. I use the onboard graphics. I keep this computer offline almost always. I run MSE for AV. A fairly powerful but really pretty basic system. No Solid State drives, no high-end graphics, a modest audio interface.

I also tweaked the system for music production. Basically, I used the plan that Sweetwater Co. advises, but I picked and chose what changes I made. Also I looked at which Windows  services etc you can safely disable, using an online tutorial. Finally, I adjusted Cakewalk's settings so that I don't have any pops and clicks.

I figured this stuff out over a period of time; you can too.

Edited by mdiemer

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I'm an insider and I am running 1903. I haven't had any problems with it.  OS build is 18362.145. 

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Well this all gives me hope. Maybe I can eliminate a lot of the headaches by re-implementing best practices and tweaking how I'm using VSTis other plugins.

 Thanks for weighing in, y'all.

 

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...the hope didn't last long. Here are all the midi problems I've encountered in just the last two hours of work. I've included screenshots to help explain. There's got to be something wrong with CbB, right?

1. Can't copy automated mute envelope from virtual instrument track to a midi track. (In Screenshot 1: I tried copying it from track 22 to track 19.) Only worked when I cut and pasted it (Screenshot 2).

2. CbB plays start of muted midi track. (In Screenshot 3: I hit play and hear 1-2 seconds of the muted clip.)

3. Unable to select midi clip. In Screenshot 4, I am unable to select clip 14 with either the Smart tool or the Move tool - it's as if Cakewalk doesn't know it's there. After fidgeting with the clips around it for a few minutes, it finally came back to life.

4. I have two overlapping midi clips (call them Clip 1 and Clip 2). I click on Clip 1 with the Smart tool and hit delete. CbB deletes it and also deletes the midi notes in Clip 2 where those clips overlapped. Doesn't delete any of Clip 2 itself, just the notes that are in it that overlapped with the now-deleted Clip 1. It's as if it didn't know which clip the notes were in.

I have these types of problems with most of my projects. Not the same problems, exactly, but the same types of things. Some take 5 minutes to work around, some take longer and require rolling back to a previous version of the project. It might be worth noting that the projects were started in Sonar 3 long ago, though MIDI tracks weren't added until I was using Sonar Platinum.

Based on what everyone is saying, I gather that others don't experience problems like these. Does anybody know what might be going on, generally?

Thanks for any insight.

 

 

screenshot 1.png

screenshot 2.png

screenshot 3.png

screenshot 4.png

Edited by jwadley

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