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Kontakt 5 & Cubase 6.5 Asio Spikes: Some Resolution
Old 10th October 2013
  #1
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Kontakt 5 & Cubase 6.5 Asio Spikes: Some Resolution

I've noticed several posts on the web concerning ASIO meter spiking with Kontakt. Having recently spent substantial time attempting to resolve the issue on my system, I thought I'd share what I found worked, along with what didn't.

Machine: ASUS M3A78-CM mobo, 8GM RAM, NVDIA 9500 video (onboard disabled), SATA HDDs for OS and samples.

OS/Software: W7 Home Premium (64-bit), Cubase 6.5 (64-bit), UAD 7.2, NI Komplete Ultimate 8 and a few Waves plugs. The Liquid Mix uses jBridge to address the 64-bit system.

Interface: Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56, on its own TI FW card.

Add-ons: UAD Octo (PCIe) and Liquid Mix 32 on its own (legacy enabled) FW card.

The system is reliable, fast and has substantial resources. I use a template for production that instantiates 3 loaded instances of Kontakt (including Studio Drummer), 1 SampleLord and 1 FM8. There are also numerous plugs in place, primarily UAD-2. I am able to run using a buffer of 128 with a latency reading of around 7ms, tracking through plugs. With 36 audio (24-bit) channels and 7 MIDI streams going, it's quite usable.

I can run a lower buffer, but the UAD gets a little finicky if I go below 128. Evidently, this has to do with upsampling in some of the plugs. Obviously, temporarily turning off the UAD, disabling latency compensation or monitoring through the interface are all options if the latency proves distracting. Frankly, it's workable.

Kontakt was causing ASIO meter spikes pretty frequently. Although there were no dropouts and no stuttering, there were occasional pops and it was irritating. It was running with the default 60k preload buffer and multi-core processing enabled.

Long story short:

1. I installed and ran UltimateDrfrag on the sample drive, which turned out to be 51% fragmented. This resulted in my being able to run a preload buffer of 6k in Kontakt. The HDD portion of the ASIO meter doesn't even show activity anymore. The template loads in 35 seconds, rather than 3:30. The system displays RAM usage of 4.5 GB, down from 6.5 GB

2. Verified I was using the 64-bit dlls for Kontakt.

3. Adjusted some of the video settings on the NVDIA control panel. Graphics activity can have a substantial impact and the interaction with the ASIO load should not be overlooked. I use several workspaces in Cubase. The ASIO hit when I am running 48 channels with meters is greater than when displaying the Project view, for instance. Displaying the VTSi rack with its flashing lights even has an impact. Just an FYI.

4. Turned off the reverb in the Studio Drummer's mixer. The mixer profiles themselves are a resource drain, but I am able to run one without issues. Using the Init setting (which nullifies most of the mixer settings) will help reduce the load, if necessary.

I can now run 36 audio (24-bit) channels and 7 MIDI streams with a 128 buffer setting and my ASIO meter displays 25-40% with virtually no spikes, depending on the view. Worst case (with a graphics intensive view), I will see 2 spikes in 45 seconds. Typically, there are none. It idles around 20%.

I performed all of the "best practice" tweaks to the power scheme, USB performance and HDD DMA settings, which I recommend as a default.

WHAT MADE NO DIFFERENCE:

I spent a day experimenting with all of the Black Viper tweaks. It made no difference, other than causing a solid machine to behave sub-optimally. For example, Cubase would hang when I tried to close it. For me, though educational, it was a waste of time.

Disable the LAN: negligible.

Enabling/disabling CPUs and setting Affinity in processes: no usable results.

Enabling/disabling multi-CPU option in Kontakt: negligible. Mine is activated.

MY TAKEAWAY:

Defrag, reduce preload buffer (RAM usage) and tailor video settings.

I hope this helps someone. It was a colossal PITA to see such a machine hobbled.

Good luck.
Old 26th October 2013
  #2
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Realziment's Avatar
 

Can you please give some detail of the adjusments made in your Nvedia control panel. I deleted my catalsy software for the AMD Radeon card i have because i previously never used it or needed it. So ill need to reinstall and see what settings to adjust.
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