Help! Getting audio dropouts when bouncing to disk in DP- SOLVED

musicalweather

Active Member
Am under pressure with a project and am suddenly getting problems with bouncing to disk in Digital Performer. Instruments cut out for a fraction of a second. I seem to get the beginning of notes; the dropouts occur after the onset of the note. Hard to know what in the chain might be causing this. I've never really had this problem before.

I'm on a Macbook pro (Sierra, 16 GB of ram) using Digital Performer 9.51. All my sample libraries are on a PC connected via VE Pro 5 (most updated edition). The PC has Windows 7 Pro and 32 GB of ram. My audio interface is a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4. The Focusrite is somewhat new to my studio.

The library I'm using is EWQLSO, and I'm on Play 5.0.5. Please note that the playback in Digital Performer seems to work fine, though when I play the full orchestra, there seems to be some dropout toward the end. But when I solo individual tracks, they play back perfectly.

I'm wondering if it has something to do with the extremely fast tempo I have. It goes from 248 to about 325. (That might seem frenetic but it doesn't actually sound that fast, as the instruments are essentially playing one note per measure.) The dropouts in the bounced tracks occur throughout the tracks, not just toward the end.

I also wonder if it might have something to do with having loads of tracks in this sequence. I actually used a different orchestral library at first, then made new tracks with EWQLSO. I disabled the VE Pro instance with all those tracks, so I can't imagine that's causing the problem.

I'm not really sure how to troubleshoot this, so I'd really welcome any suggestions you might have. Here are some things I've tried:

  • increasing the buffer size of the VE Pro plugin in DP to 4 buffers
  • changing the bounce format to deinterleaved SDII. I was using interleaved SDII before. Doesn't seem to have changed anything.
  • I watched the CPU usage in VE Pro while playing back the entire orchestra. It doesn't get much higher than 30%. Likewise in DP, the processing meter is very low.
I've had this setup for several years and have had huge templates which played and bounced to disk without problems. There are two relatively new elements in my setup, though. One is the Focusrite, and the other is PLAY 5. My suspicion is moving toward the Focusrite, but perhaps that is baseless.

Thanks for any troubleshooting advice, suggestions, brainstorming.
 

sinkd

Senior Member
Curious why you are bouncing Sound Designer instead of WAV? Does DP 9.51 still have the pre-gen option in plugins prefs (should be off?) Have you maxed out the sample buffer in Core Audio (not just the buffer multiplier in VEPro) Are the Play instances in VEPro the only plugin in those instances? I suspect Play, actually.
 

clisma

Senior Member
If time is of the essence you might be best off dropping a few tracks to audio and seeing if it improves. Keep doing it until there’s no more dropouts. After you deliver, take your time to troubleshoot. Since only two elements have changed, you have the great advantage of knowing where to start (though Play5 in my experience has been vastly better than Play4, so I’d start with removing the Focusrite from the chain).
 
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musicalweather

Active Member
Thank you both for your responses. Clisma -- I already tried just bouncing a single track -- still got the same problem. Hadn't thought of totally removing the Focusrite, but I guess I could bounce to disk using the built-in audio. I'll try it out later (an in a rush this morning). Sinkd: I bounce to WAV for exporting audio. When I want to create stems and view the bounced audio within DP, I use SDII. The PLAY instance is the only plugin inside this instance of VE Pro.
Thank you both for your help!
 
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musicalweather

Active Member
OK, I switched the audio to built-in audio and got the same problem -- notes being choked off. Then I copied the midi to a new track and used an instrument from Kontakt's own library -- no problems! So this really makes me think this is a problem with PLAY. I think I still have the original zip file to install PLAY 4. Makes me quite nervous to change horses mid-stream, but I guess it's what I have to do. :unsure:
 

TimCox

Active Member
I've had this happen with Play. I use Hollywood Percussion for a lot of stuff and they would drop out mid note. The solution was go to the settings for that particular instrument on Play and make sure 'Stream from disk' was unchecked (simply clicking it). That worked for me and now my Tam Tam sings!
 
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musicalweather

Active Member
I've had this happen with Play. I use Hollywood Percussion for a lot of stuff and they would drop out mid note. The solution was go to the settings for that particular instrument on Play and make sure 'Stream from disk' was unchecked (simply clicking it). That worked for me and now my Tam Tam sings!
Hi Tim,
OK, I unchecked stream from disk, and that seems to have solved the problem! I did a bounce and everything played fine. I'm a little worried about having all these instruments (I guess there around 30) play from RAM, but since the current playback is fine, I'll just uncheck stream from disk as I go through and bounce the tracks individually.
Thanks so much for your help. You saved the day!
 
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musicalweather

Active Member
I've now upgraded to PLAY 6, in the hopes that this problem would go away, but it's still there! Going manually through each instrument in a PLAY instance and unchecking "stream from disk" is time-consuming and burdensome on the memory when there are many instruments. PLAY repeatedly gives me warnings about memory when I'm doing this. So I'm still looking for a solution for this problem. If I don't find one, I guess I'll need to revert back to PLAY 4 (and I'll ask for a refund from EastWest for the upgrade fee :mad:).
 
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musicalweather

Active Member
I'm sorry if it seems like I'm beating a dead horse, but is there really no one else here who is having this problem with PLAY 6? I just upgraded to High Sierra hoping that might do something, but nothing has changed. EastWest did not issue a refund for PLAY 6 and I have not been able to downgrade to PLAY 4 (if anyone has any tips on doing that, please let me know).

FWIW, my specs:
  • Mac OS 10.3.6
  • Digital Performer 9.52
  • Vienna Ensemble Pro 6.0.1711
  • PLAY 6.0.5
All of these are the most updated versions.

PLAY and VE Pro reside on a Windows 7 Pro machine.
 
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musicalweather

Active Member
Continuing my beating of said horse, I did another experiment today. My PLAY libraries reside on a PC, and MIDI and audio are piped back and forth to my Mac via VE Pro. Today I tried using PLAY as a plugin on a DAW on my PC (Sonar Homestudio). Recorded some midi notes, then bounced to tracks inside Sonar. No audio dropouts at all. I then used VE Pro, with an instance of PLAY in it, inside Sonar. Did the same thing and also got no audio dropouts.

So, if you all have any ideas of what this tells me, I'm all ears. I still think the problem may be PLAY 6, but PLAY 6 in combination with Digital Performer. I'm going to write to MOTU, though I'm not optimistic about the possibility of finding a solution through them.
 
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musicalweather

Active Member
Ugh, evidently this IS a DP bug! MOTU tells me it should be fixed in the next version of DP. It can't come soon enough.
 
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musicalweather

Active Member
This problem has been solved. :dancer:Today I updated VE Pro to 6.0.1. (Yes, I know it's been out a while; I didn't update yet because I was in the middle of projects, and I have been mightily burned in the past when updating in the middle of a project). That seems to have fixed the problem of getting audio dropouts when doing an off-line bounce.
So I don't think this was related to DP or to PLAY. A recent PLAY update had no effect on the problem. Then again, it's a little hard to tell. Anyway, I'm happy!