Hi all. I have searched through the threads in this forum, and I have read through the topics dealing with crackling issues on the Mac. So, after reading all that, I have a fair idea of what the response may be to my problem--but I'll post it anyway. (Actually, after reading through those threads, I'm thinking that my problem is not as dire as some--but read on!)
--Pentium 4, 2.8 GHz CPU speed
--1.5 GB RAM
--Windows XP Home, SP2
--Garritan Personal Orchestra, full version (not the Finale GPO version)
--SoundBlaster LIVE! 5.1 Digital sound card (about a year old)
I have a score I'm working on that, at one point, has nearly every instrument in a full symphony orchestra playing at once, crescendoing, and all doing something different rhythmically. Then they hit a massive unison/octave on a sffz and decrescendo, with lots of percussion rolls and string tremolos. Going into these two or three measures, I start getting weird things going on HPlayback--LOUD crackling noises, missing notes/instruments, extra notes being played, some not being played at the correct dynamic or not at all, etc. For about those two or three measures things do just not work they way they should. (Other places in the score are fine.)
I figure that I'm somehow overloading the system, but I'm not sure what it would take to resolve it:
--Do I need even more RAM?
--Is it just that my CPU can't handle it? (Task Manager does indicate that it is maxing out during this section, so this is my strongest suspect at the moment. Question is: If this *is* the culprit, is there any way to fix it short of getting a faster CPU?)
--Is it possibly my sound card?
--Is it something else I may be overlooking?
I appreciate any help anyone might be able to give me.
Then they hit a massive unison/octave on a sffz and decrescendo, with lots of percussion rolls and string tremolos. Going into these two or three measures, I start getting weird things going on HPlayback--LOUD crackling noises, missing notes/instruments, extra notes being played, some not being played at the correct dynamic or not at all, etc. For about those two or three measures things do just not work they way they should. (Other places in the score are fine.)
Is everything OK when your tracks are rendered into audio? I imagine that's the case--that you're talking about having problems with the live play back of tracks before they're recorded?
Sounds to me that you just have So much going on for those big measures, that despite what looks like a hefty system (except for the Sound Blaster card which I believe has been noted on Forum posts as a problematic card for using GPO--am I correct?)--that it can't handle that full load.
Have you checked on the polyphony settings for the various instruments? It's quite possible that during those measures, one of the problems is that you're maxing out the assigned # of notes on some if not all sounds.
ON THE OTHER HAND---you actually don't know how fortunate you are. With the system I'm able to afford right now, I can't listen to more than 2 instruments at a time without the kind of crackling, drop-outs and stuttering that you're describing. I have to imagine a smooth play back when my tracks are still in MIDI data.
The only way I can hear all my tracks together is to divide a song up into at least 8 sections, render them, and then work with the audio mixer from that point on. If a track needs more MIDI tweaking, it's back to that individual part again, re-rendering, etc.
Yep, there's always someone having worse problems than we are. 8-)
My main question--are things playing back smoothly once your tracks are rendered into audio?
Do you get any low-memory warnings when you load the instruments? If yes, that could be a reason for crackles on playback.
I agree with rbowser in that I don't think your system can handle that kind of load. I have a laptop with a 2.4 GHz P-4 equivalent processor and 1.25 GB of RAM, and when playing back a piece with full orchestra, harp, and piano at 180 bpm (I did this for a fun test) I get a CPU reading of 180% or so with massive distortion and crackles.
Some people reported problems with Soundblasters in general for ASIO audio work. ASIO4ALL is a popular driver for ASIO with Soundblasters. I think Creative released a (new) ASIO driver, too. Also, make sure the latency is set to the maximum it can be.
I think that's about it. Good luck resolving your problem.