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Sylvain Martel

Crackling using 32-bit VSTs (BitBridge)

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Hello everyone,

I'm using the latest 64-bit Bandlab Cakewalk on Windows 10, and I'm getting a crackling sound when playing 32-bit VST instruments loaded via BitBridge in 64-bit SONAR, it sounds just like if the ASIO buffer size was set too low on my audio interface...  But the 64-bit VST instruments sound just fine, the problem only occurs with 32-bit plugins loaded with BitBridge!  My buffer settings are OK, the rest of the audio sounds good.  Very important to note : I've had this same problem with multiple audio interfaces (Focusrite Scarlett, Steinberg UR), and also with my previous Cakewalk version, SONAR X2 64-bit.  I tried fiddling with the BitBridge server configuration and plug-in properties but no avail, and frankly I couldn't see any setting that relating to latency.

Please help!

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Well, assuming these 32-bit plugs aren't themselves not playing nicely with Bitbridge:

1) Try bumping up your ASIO Buffer Size - just to see if it make any difference

2) Look to see if 64-bit versions of those plugins exist

3) Try the commercially available J-Bridge (around $20), which might give you better results for 32-bit plugins

4) Try finding similar sounding replacement instruments that are 64-bit.

Bob Bone

 

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Ironic that this should come up.

I opened up a project yesterday that uses SampleLord on most of the tracks (a 32bit soundfont player) and I was getting crackles all over the place.

I was scratching my head until I realised I'd recently done a complete rescan of my plugins, and SampleLord was being loaded using BitBridge rather than JBridge.

Swapping it back to JBridge instantly cured it. I've got 16 instances running smoothly with an ASIO buffer of 64 on my Focusrite Scarlett - a buffer of 32 works too, but struggles the extra VST effects.

I know I've said this before in other threads, but it's worth re-iterating... BitBridge is a really simple wrapper - all it does is wrap up the 32bit VST and pass the calls back and forth. JBridge on the other hand, has gone a fair way to address incompatibility issues with older plugins running on newer OS's, and has a bunch of options you can set on a per-plugin basis to get around various issues.

Another reason I'd recommend JBridge, is that it also does a pretty good job of load balancing between its processes. Even some problem 64 bit plugins can be improved by using JBridge (e.g. UJAM virtual guitarist series). Obviously I don't use it for every plugin, but I do for all my 32 bit ones.

Out of the ~1000 or so plugins I've got, there's only maybe been 2 that have not worked well with JBridge - they didn't work well with BitBridge either, and they were pretty unstable running on a native 32bit system in any case. All the rest of my 32 bit plugins work without issue with JBridge, although I have had to use some of the compatibility tweaks now and then.  

I use SampleLord as my sample player of choice for all the samples I've done of my old hardware gear. I could have made Kontakt instruments out of them, but I've found SampleLord to be way more CPU friendly and has been rock solid for me.

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Thank you for your replies.

I should have mentioned that I have already tried jBridge... In fact I spent several nights testing different plugins with it before finally resolving to abandon it, it was just too unstable to be workable.  Some plugins worked fine with it but many others just froze when I tried to close their window, forcing me to kill Cakewalk.  Changing jBridge options didn't seem to help either.  If you search on other forums you will find about half of jBridge users stating that jBridge works perfectly with all their plugins, and the other half unable to use it because of constant crashes, like myself.  It really seems hit and miss, go figure. 🤨

But apart from other options (jBridge, switching to 64-bit plugin versions, etc.), I'm mostly intrigued with why BitBridge works so bad...!

Quote

BitBridge is a really simple wrapper - all it does is wrap up the 32bit VST and pass the calls back and forth.

@msmcleod So what you're saying is that BitBridge was never designed/tested to work in real time...?  And that the audio glitches are somewhat normal in that perspective?

Edited by Sylvain Martel

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6 minutes ago, Sylvain Martel said:

Thank you for your replies.

I should have mentioned that I have already tried jBridge... In fact I spent several nights testing different plugins with it before finally resolving to abandon it, it was just too unstable to be workable.  Some plugins worked fine with it but many others just froze when I tried to close their window, forcing me to kill Cakewalk.  Changing jBridge options didn't seem to help either.  If you search on other forums you will find about half of jBridge users stating that jBridge works perfectly with all their plugins, and the other half unable to use it because of constant crashes, like myself.  It really seems hit and miss, go figure. 🤨

But apart from other options (jBridge, switching to 64-bit plugin versions, etc.), I'm mostly intrigued with why BitBridge works so bad...!

@msmcleod So what you're saying is that BitBridge was never designed/tested to work in real time...?  And that the audio glitches are somewhat normal in that perspective?

No, I meant exactly what I said,  "BitBridge is a really simple wrapper - all it does is wrap up the 32bit VST and pass the calls back and forth."

It works fine in real time, but it offers no additional optimisation or tweaks for changes in the operating system. Bear in mind that a lot of 32bit VST's were developed for Windows XP, on much slower machines. A fair amount of them used "illegal" windows calls or shortcuts to improve performance. BitBridge makes no effort to try to address these.

I suspect if you ran these plugins on Windows XP 64 bit, most of them would work perfectly using BitBridge.

Edited by msmcleod

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If you haven't already, do a RESET and RESCAN of your VSTs (Make sure to do both, many people often skip the reset which can make a difference).

What specific 32-bit VSTs are giving you problems?  Someone else could test these out and at least determine if this is a system-specific issue.

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2 hours ago, pwalpwal said:

i'm not sure bitbridge is being "kept up to date" either?

Well, that would be an odd exclusion considering the rest of the software is constantly being updated/developed!

I would think that any REPORTED problems with specific 32 bit VSTs are looked at

Edited by JonD

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2 hours ago, JonD said:

Well, that would be an odd exclusion considering the rest of the software is constantly being updated/developed!

I would think that any REPORTED problems with specific 32 bit VSTs are looked at

bitbridge was a buy-in of "fx teleport server" so who knows, don;t know if tey got the source code, or just a certain build of it? if it were being kept up to date then i wouldn't expect so many "just use jbridge" posts, or even the ability to use jbridge instead within cbb

i don't think they give a shit about 32bit plugs

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Cakewalk bought the source code for Bitbridge. That said, there is a limit to how much time a company can/should spend supporting third party software, in this case 32bit plug-ins, that the manufacturer no longer supports. Bridges were not intended to permanently extend the life of 32bit plug-ins. The main purpose was to allow manufacturers and users time to transition to 64bit. Continued reliance on a few pieces of software that are no longer maintained or supported while updating everything else is not a recipe for success.

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Yup - LOTS and LOTS of folks had a mixture of bliss and horror, when folks started running 64-bit Sonar while still using a boatload of 32-bit plugins, and there were entire YEAR'S worth of folks complaining about 32-bit plugin x, y, or z crashing Sonar and why wasn't something done about it, etc...

The answer now is the same as is was back then - 32-bit plugins are a crap shoot, no matter what bridging software is used, to try to have them work in 64-bit environments, and that is just the way it is.

All of those folks who had nightmares with 32-bit plugins had to eventually decide to move to use only 64-bit plugins, whenever possible, and for any remaining 32-bit plugins they just "had to have", some worked with Bitbridge, some worked with J-Bridge, some partly worked with one or the other or both - with some things inexplicably causing crashes, and some just went belly up as soon as they got loaded.  J-Bridge does offer some tweaks to try to assist individual 32-bit plugins running in a 64-bit environment.

Another thing folks used to do, during that transition period before they finished moving to all/mostly 64-bit plugins, was that for any projects where certain 32-bit plugins were REQUIRED - well, they would have a 32-bit Sonar installed, and do those projects entirely in a 32-bit environment.  Some folks even kept a 2nd computer available, usually with 32-bit XP or XP Pro, for working with 32-bit projects and all plugins therefore being 32-bit versions.  I don't think Cakewalk comes in a 32-bit flavor (could be wrong), but if someone still had a 32-bit version of Sonar - and needed to do some work using 32-bit plugins, I would suggest installing that 32-bit Sonar, and creating finished tracks there for only those tracks that required 32-bit plugins, then consider bouncing and exporting those finished tracks to audio and then importing them to a 64-bit Cakewalk. 

I don't know - kind of winging it here - because it has been many years now since I had to deal with large numbers of 32-bit plugins being required for getting the sounds I needed.  Once I moved to a 64-bit environment with only 64-bit plugins, I simply never looked back, nor do I want to now (except for the super small number of 32-bit plugins I find still work well in my 64-bit environment,

FORTUNATELY, once folks moved over to 64-bit plugins in their 64-bit environments, things almost always INSTANTLY got rock solid with FAR fewer crashes - all the way down to YEARS going by without a crash.  Almost all commercially available plugins offered free updates to 64-bit versions, though lots of the old freeware modules (many of which were amazingly good in a 32-bit Sonar), were just never ported over to a 64-bit version.

I have a VERY small number of 32-bit plugins that I still use, and I keep the ones that I have thoroughly tested in a separate sub-folder in my VST32 folder in Program Files (x86).  This way, only after I have tested out a 32-bit plugin, found it worked in J-Bridge - THAT is when I would move it into a sub-folder called Bridged (subordinate to VST32) and it is only the Bridged folder that I added to my VST search path in Cakewalk.  So, I do have access to tested 32-bit plugins, and that is a very small number - I have well over 1200 plugins, and of them, perhaps 20 are 32-bit.

Bob Bone

 

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On 6/21/2019 at 1:45 AM, msmcleod said:

I use SampleLord as my sample player of choice for all the samples I've done of my old hardware gear.

😲

I'm not familiar with this plug-in, but I'm surprised that you'd be using a 32-bit player when there are modern 64-bit options like TX16w and Garritan Aria Player available at no cost. Aria Player requires a bit of spelunking to obtain, which I can help with if you are interested. I think it's based on open source code, so they have to give it away, but they don't make it easy.

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6 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

😲

I'm not familiar with this plug-in, but I'm surprised that you'd be using a 32-bit player when there are modern 64-bit options like TX16w and Garritan Aria Player available at no cost. Aria Player requires a bit of spelunking to obtain, which I can help with if you are interested. I think it's based on open source code, so they have to give it away, but they don't make it easy.

I originally got it for use with the V-Machine:

image.png.a8d728745dbb26719e587553d85605dd.png

It came as a bundle with Extreme Sample Converter, which in itself is a fantastic utility for converting between different sampler formats.

I just got used to using it, and as it's never caused me any issues and as it was designed for the V-Machine, it has incredibly low CPU & memory usage. 

golden.png

It's also one of the few sample players that plays stereo soundfonts properly, but it also supports . 

I might contact the developer and see if he'll consider doing a 64 bit version.

 

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I concur with the thought that using one of the freeware 64-bit sample players would be well worth exploring, and the Tx16wX sample player is 64-bits with LOTS of features.

Here is the link to the Tx16wx: https://www.tx16wx.com/

Bob Bone

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On 6/23/2019 at 2:03 AM, msmcleod said:

I might contact the developer and see if he'll consider doing a 64 bit version.

That is a nice interface, but heavens, the Geneva.

 

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On 6/21/2019 at 7:13 PM, JonD said:

If you haven't already, do a RESET and RESCAN of your VSTs (Make sure to do both, many people often skip the reset which can make a difference).

What specific 32-bit VSTs are giving you problems?  Someone else could test these out and at least determine if this is a system-specific issue.

I have reset and rescanned many times while testing BitBridge and jBridge.

On 6/22/2019 at 8:11 PM, backwoods said:

specifically, what plugins are crackling with bitbridge and jbridge? 

Simply put : all of them.  All my 32-bit VSTs crackle the same way with BitBridge, and it was identical with my previous PC and audio interface.  I know it's not a plugin or system specific issue.

The replies here convinced me to give jBridge another chance so I downloaded the latest trial version and just as before, some plugins worked fine, some froze and crashed (Korg MS20) and others displayed blank screens after a while (Native Instruments FM8).

I'm giving up on this problem.  I'm not in trouble, I still have 32 and 64-bit DAWs installed and I will use the respective plugin version for each one; I only wanted to make the switch to a 64-bit host while keeping my beloved old plugins but I now understand that there's no good and reliable solution for everyone.  Thanks for your input!

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18 hours ago, Sylvain Martel said:

...some froze and crashed (Korg MS20) and others displayed blank screens after a while (Native Instruments FM8)....

Plugins that have their own protection scheme, like the Korg MS20 are far more likely to crash when bridged. Sometimes allowing JBridge to run with admin privileges can help, but other times not.

Both the Korg MS20 and NI FM8 have 64 bit versions, so better to use them than bridging 32 bit ones.

Basically, only used bridged plugins when you absolutely have to. 

Apart from SampleLord, when I use 32 bit plugins, I'll I also tend to render them by right clicking the clip / Process Effect on a copy of the track, and archive the original. That way I can remove the 32 bit plugin from my project.

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16 hours ago, msmcleod said:

Both the Korg MS20 and NI FM8 have 64 bit versions, so better to use them than bridging 32 bit ones.

was about to say the same

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I have an issue with hypersonic 2 x32 bridged with Jbridge in CbB. It crashes immediately and doesn't open. Meanwhile it works fine in Reaper, Cubase, Studio One and Live. 

Any solution to getting Hypersonic 2 to run with Jbridge in CbB? 

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