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Topic: Giga Meltdowns? Please read--this may help you.

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Giga Meltdowns? Please read--this may help you.

    Hi guys,

    I'd like to explain something which may help people who are experiencing blue screens or meltdowns under large loads.

    You may recall that Giga 2.5 and earlier versions had a solid polyphony cap.

    Now (Giga 3.0, top tier versions) there is no practical polyphony limitation built in. This is something the user base overwhelmingly desired, me included...the ability to max out a given hardware setup.

    It has a dark side, though, in practice. Because Giga is running in the Kernel, Windows is not going to come to the machine's rescue if Giga pushes your hardware past its limits. The OS will not shut down gracefully. At best you are going to blue screen. At worst, you'll go black with a pop, and reboot.

    That's not something that is going to be fixable. That was why polyphony was always limited before...to protect us a bit from ourselves. We said we were big boys and girls, and we could handle it ourselves--thank you very much. We have been given that opportunity...but it comes with a price, as all opportunities do.

    The upshot here, and the practical advice of this message: You MUST SET A POLYPHONY LIMIT within the ability of your machine...No matter how fast your machine is.

    If you just leave the brakes off, or you don't clamp down right under your machine's croak-point, you can--and you will--starve your processor before Windows can defensively and safely protect disk operations. Most of the time, this will be recoverable. You could get unlucky, though.

    More advice:

    If you are running a Giga-only system, you have the easiest shot at this, since you can be very accurate about your limits. Find the level at which you start getting playback artifacts, and cap it just below that.

    Understand this: You will actually get better PRACTICAL polyphony performance by doing this, because when you've set a realistic maximum, Giga will invoke its polyphony management to give you a "virtual" polyphony which sounds higher--it has very intelligent and good sounding note stealing capability.

    If you don't set the cap, you won't get that benefit, because the machine won't know when it's about to go bye-bye. It will just go.

    If you are running Giga in a general use DAW, and have other programs running, start with a lower polyphony cap. Try 160. See how it sounds when you push up against that...e.g., when the meter just goes up there and sticks. Does it still sound pretty darn good? If so, the polyphony management is working well, and your machine is capable of sustaining this polyphony easily. Then start pushing it up...I'd go by values of 10. See if you can get artifact-free sound at 170. 180. You get the picture.

    If you always run certain other things simultaneously, run them while doing this. Try to get the best possible realistic usage pattern as a baseline for setting your polyphony maximum. You'll be rewarded with better performance from everything, not just Giga.

    When you start getting playback artifacts, back down until you do not get them.

    This is how you can determine the very best setting for your machine.

    If, on the other hand, you try the idea of going from the very maximum, or even from a very high setting, and blowing up the machine--then trying lower--you are going to expose yourself to a lot of potential heartache and unneccessary crashes.

    So, to summarize:

    1) You need to set a polyphony "cap" no matter how powerful your machine, so that the polyphony management system can give you "better" virtual polyphony than your machine can get on its own. This is the most important thing to understand about GigaStudio's polyphony limitation, conceptually--that you WANT to set a limit, so that Giga can work its management magic and get you better performance for your given rig than you'd get "wide open."

    2) Because Giga can starve your processor before Windows can protect disk operations, and because there is nothing practically possible to stop this, you must be conservative about determining your polyphony cap. You'll get better performance if you set it ten voices too low than ten voices too high.

    3) The best way to determine your polyphony cap is to set a very practical limit (say starting with 160) load up a piano patch, and play wildly with the pedal down. Does the meter "stick" at 160, yet still play with no audible artifacts, indicating that the polyphony management system is stealing notes as transparently as possible? Good. Set the limit at 170, and do the same experiment. Keep repeating until you hear artifacts. Then back down to the last "good" setting. You're ready to rock.

    I hope that this is helpful. It's not official Tascam dogma to my knowledge, just my practical experience. And it is my belief that people may save themselves a lot of heartache and find that Giga is actually a lot more stable than they think, if they'll take the time to do this very necessary bit of setup.

    Best regards,
    Bruce

  2. #2

    Re: Giga Meltdowns? Please read--this may help you.

    It's the same with GigaPulse and Memory loading. I found that I would get break ups with three GPulse instances. I use two. I bombed with 92% of memory loaded. I back off once things start approaching 90%.

    If I want higher limits, I'll buy a faster machine. I keep my car's engine below the redline. It makes sense to do that with Giga too.

    -JF

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Re: Giga Meltdowns? Please read--this may help you.

    Thank you, Bruce. That was a very helpful and interesting post.

    Tom

  4. #4

    Re: Giga Meltdowns? Please read--this may help you.

    "If you don't set the cap, you won't get that benefit, because the machine won't know when it's about to go bye-bye. It will just go."

    This makes sense, although if ones machine is tied up with other resource drains, such as a sequencer writing audio to disk then will such a cap still
    protect against crashes? It might be important to not just set the cap
    based on playing a piano with the pedal down, but also when doing sequences
    with a full load(which might require a lower total voice count for stability?).


    Duncan

  5. #5

    Re: Giga Meltdowns? Please read--this may help you.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    I keep my car's engine below the redline.
    -JF
    hey! that was a good one!!!

    i will tell this my clients from now on and i hope they dont drive automatic cars.

    ;-)
    Digital AudionetworX

    ______________________________
    http://www.digital-audionetworx.de
    mac - pc - gigastudio
    berlin - germany

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Giga Meltdowns? Please read--this may help you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Brinsmead
    "If you don't set the cap, you won't get that benefit, because the machine won't know when it's about to go bye-bye. It will just go."

    This makes sense, although if ones machine is tied up with other resource drains, such as a sequencer writing audio to disk then will such a cap still
    protect against crashes? It might be important to not just set the cap
    based on playing a piano with the pedal down, but also when doing sequences
    with a full load(which might require a lower total voice count for stability?).


    Duncan
    That, I can't say. But certainly your assessment seems sensible. On a multipurpose, all-in-one rig, one should definitely set the cap in a somewhat realistic setting--whatever that means for the individual producer.

  7. #7

    Post Re: Giga Meltdowns? Please read--this may help you.

    I have a setup with a dedicated Gigastudio machine. It is a Pentium 4 2.8 GHz with 2 GB of RAM running winxp. How can I practically apply your advice, and set a reasonable limit on polyphony? I want to know what this machine can handle, given its technical capabilities.

    As a side note, when I load up Giga I am watching the Windows Task Manager on the Performance tab, and PF Usage is at 831 MB just before bluescreen, and physical memory usage (Total minus Available) is approximately at 1 GB before bluescreen. Of the 2 statistics I do not know which is more important. It sounds like Gigastudio is hitting the infamous 1GB limit talked about so much in the forum. I know of the registry tweak at http://henningson.triona.se/musikbanken/gigastudio/ but I have not done this. Do you or TASCAM endorse this hack?

    Thanks.

  8. #8

    Re: Giga Meltdowns? Please read--this may help you.

    Thanks for suggesting this approach Bruce. Makes sense.

  9. #9

    Re: Giga Meltdowns? Please read--this may help you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adriann
    I know of the registry tweak at http://henningson.triona.se/musikbanken/gigastudio/ but I have not done this. Do you or TASCAM endorse this hack?
    try it! the best for me that works is the 8 800000 8 800000 8.
    after i dissabled allmoast all services i was able to load 13xx MB into msg. exe.
    using the mattias app is very easy. but before you dissable service to a clone copy of your drive!!!
    Digital AudionetworX

    ______________________________
    http://www.digital-audionetworx.de
    mac - pc - gigastudio
    berlin - germany

  10. #10

    Re: Giga Meltdowns? Please read--this may help you.

    Thanks for the tip! Will indeed try it .

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