Kontakt : Separate Instances or Multis

Discussion in 'Newbie Questions' started by GingerMaestro, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. GingerMaestro

    GingerMaestro Member

    Jan 24, 2019
    I'm looking for some advice on Kontakt. In big projects, is it better to run separate instances for the various instruments, or Assemble a few together in a multi, or does it not really make any difference to Ram Usage either way ? Also I'm getting a clicking sound some time when using kontakt, is this because I'm using too much ram or is it just the samples loading/playing or something else. I'm running a MacBook Pro with 16GB of Ram (Which Annoyingly can't be upgraded !) Thanks as ever Ginger
  2. jbuhler

    jbuhler Senior Member

    Jun 19, 2016
    In Logic I generally run one instance per instrument. In Studio One I fill up the instances. I haven’t noticed much difference in performance. The pops and clicks could be a variety of sources: from a slow disk, or because your dfd buffer is set too small, or because the buffer of your audio interface is set too small—those are three that come to mind. It’s unlikely to be the first if you are streaming from a SSD.

    On your MacBook you can freeze tracks to manage the limited RAM. Freezing should also solve the clicking problems.
  3. Pietro

    Pietro Senior Member

    Jul 13, 2007
    Separate instances take extra RAM. It's not the same amount as the very first instance, but still if you have a lot of Kontakt tracks, it adds up.

    I live with it, cause I work with instrument tracks (1 track = 1 instance) in Cubase and definitely prefer it over rack instruments. I just accept the fact I need more RAM.

    - Piotr
  4. Divico

    Divico Senior Member

    As far as I know seperate instances afe better for multicore processing but take up more ram.
  5. Sibelius19

    Sibelius19 Music is just color and rhythm --Debussy

    Dec 12, 2015
    Michigan USA
    I do separate instances so I can keep track of which MIDI is controlling which instance (if I want them separated) and also so I can separately apply FX. I know you can do routing and such with Kontakt, and you can also apply different MIDI controllers to each instrument. But I guess this is just the way I work. Maybe it's more clunky, but I like it.

    I find if anything it's the CPU and data transfer that's the issue, not RAM. I hardly ever see issues with RAM, even with 5-10 instances of Kontakt. Data transfer is the biggest issue for me. The only time I've ever had CPU issues is if I was trying to multitask with separate programs open. I am going to be upgrading my PC, and I am making sure that my system files and the bulk of storage is internal SSD. And I will try to only use a regular HDD external drive for backup files.
    Unfortunately, that means a lot of curating, tossing a lot of stuff that I paid money for (or maybe pushing them to the back seat in the HDD in case I need them).
    SSD is just so expensive.

    I upgraded my current system awhile ago from 16GB DDR3 (1866Mhz i believe) to 32GB DDR3 (1866Mhz). I didn't notice much difference. I could multitask and stream better, but I still had the same issues (which I didn't realize before were the data transfer issues). So I ignorantly thought that I'd cure the hiccups in Kontakt with higher ram. It didn't help in my case (with Kontakt at least).

    So for me the biggest priority is:

    Data storage (SSD or HDD?)

    They're all important though in their own way.
    I know that wasn't really your original question. But take it for what it is.
  6. OP

    GingerMaestro Member

    Jan 24, 2019
    Thank you everybody, that puts my mind at rest regarding the Ram (For the moment) I don't use an external audio interface at the moment, just the built in Mac outputs, so perhaps that's part of the issue, thinking of investing in a cheap focusrite soon, so perhaps that might help ? I'm using SSD's..I'll look at the buffer size.. Thanks again
  7. Divico

    Divico Senior Member

    It will, probably. Audio dropouts can have a lot of sources.
  8. Sibelius19

    Sibelius19 Music is just color and rhythm --Debussy

    Dec 12, 2015
    Michigan USA
    My issues seemed to be mainly the data transfer issue. Not CPU or RAM. Almost everything was stored on HDD. I got an external SSD but not a lot of space, and still not as fast as an internal SSD. But it still fixed the issue for the most part (if I didn't load too many instruments).
  9. StevenOBrien

    StevenOBrien Member

    Sep 22, 2012
    Multis, definitely.

    Kontakt has some ridiculous overheads that just multiply when you add more instances. Per-instance, it sometimes takes 10-30 seconds for the loading of samples to even begin (I think this is related to its internal database, but god knows what it's doing. Storage speed doesn't affect it). Save times (including the dreaded auto-save) also multiply with each instance you add.

    Just pulling up or closing the plugin interface can cause a 3-5 second hang, which gets frustrating very quickly if you need to switch between instances constantly. If organization is a concern, I make liberal use of those "01-16, 17-32 etc." tabs at the top of the GUI to separate different types of instruments.

    There are additional CPU and RAM overheads related to having multiple instances too, but it's nowhere near as big of a problem as the workflow slowdowns mentioned above, in my experience.
  10. Divico

    Divico Senior Member

    I thought its just my machine that takes so long to load Xd. For me the best solution seems to be a couple of multis-instrument group wise.
  11. jbuhler

    jbuhler Senior Member

    Jun 19, 2016
    I don't have any of these problems using per instance layout in Logic. And I really dislike the way Logic handles multis and so avoid them whenever I can. I do encounter the save problem in Studio One however, where I do use the multis, and the multi arrangement minimizes that.
  12. labornvain

    labornvain New Member

    Feb 9, 2014
    I use a butt load of Kontact instances all the time, frequently 20 or 30, without any apparent performance problems. Only when I start mixing, and load up a bunch of plugins, does it become an issue. But because each instrument is in a separate instance, I can take advantage of the freeze function. But again, that's only necessary during mixdown.

    The only time I use multis is if I want to take advantage of Cubase's ability to assign different midi channels to different notes. So I can load say, a legato in slot 1 midi channel 1, and spicattos in slot 2 MIDI Channel 2, then using the midi logical editor, I can go in, select all the short notes at once, and send them to mido channel 2, thereby triggering a different articulation. And because that articulation has its own slot in kontakt, I can tweak it a bit level wise which you can't do using key switches or expression maps.

    But normally, having each instrument in its own instance, on its own track, allows me to process each track independently like you would on a real mixing console. I can't even imagine trying to mix a project inside of Kontakt.

    I have a small project open right now it's not even done yet, and it already has 14 instances of Kontact. Many of those have some compression inserted, the horns have Decapitator on them for a bit of distortion, a solo violin part has a de-esser on it to take out some of the harshness on certain notes, and they all have different send levels on various reverbs. And I'm not even close to mixing this project yet.

    Meanwhile, my latency is at I think 256ms, with no clicks or pops, running on a mediocre PC with only 32 gigs of RAM.

    The amount of time it takes to open a Kontact window is annoying. But because I do all my processing and tweaking externally using Cubase, I rarely ever have to open a Kontact instance.

    Even when I want to load a new library, for a new part, I don't have to open Kontact. This is because I save all of my Kontact patches as track presets, organized into subdirectories based on what type of instrument is (i.e strings long, strings short etc.).
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
    jbuhler likes this.
  13. NoamL

    NoamL Winter <3

    Jul 6, 2015
    Los Angeles
    I was in the same situation you were in (capped at 16gb RAM on a MacbookPro) and my audio dropouts always came from pushing the system to its limits. Like, 14.5gb of samples loaded into Logic with all other programs shut down.

    I never had a problem with LogicX projects that had 60+ instances of Kontakt. The problem was that load times, and audio bugs, scaled up proportionately to how much RAM the loaded instruments actually demanded.

    The best solution is a VEPro template with (if you're using Logic) single instances of Kontakt. But a dedicated VEPro computer isn't cheap. It could be up to $1k to get the computer, VEPro, and the necessary RAM. But this way you will never have significant load times again. You just load your VEPro template at the beginning of each day and get to work.

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