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Topic: Distortion, stuttering, crackling - Konakt 1 Player

  1. #1

    Distortion, stuttering, crackling - Konakt 1 Player

    A couple weeks ago I posed the question here why my system was severely distorting the playback of an orchestral piece I'm working on, particularly rolling timpani. The consensus seemed to be that my P4 2.8 was not up to the task, so I invested in a new Core Duo E8400, which required replacing almost all the rest of the computer's innards with new components, and many hours to assemble, set up, and reload apps.

    Now the CPU doesn't even break a sweat on that piece (Task Manager measures 2-12% of capacity). But the piece sounds just as bad as before.

    Yesterday evening I read through old posts about distortion, fooled with latency and voices and any software setting that seemed worth trying, all to no avail. It still sounds awful. I tried installing asio4all, which simply turns off the sound. Tried to install a kx driver but there are dozens and the one I tried would not even allow me to reboot the system.

    This is getting extremely discouraging, as I am spending all my time fighting with the system instead of composing and orchestrating. If the examples of others did not sound so good (GPO4 orchestration examples), using my same system to listen, I would not believe that GPO could produce professional quality sound.

    2MB wav file of beginning & end of the piece in question: http://www.mediafire.com/?bajdtyw1mxu

    What is causing the distortion?

    System: W2kPro, Sibelius 4.1, GPO Sibelius Edition, Core Duo E8400, 2 GB DDR2-800, Soundblaster Live!, K240KDF phones. (I replaced the SB long ago with an Emu 1212, but it sounded no better and was a pain to use so I sold it.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Orcas Island

    Re: Distortion, stuttering, crackling


    The Support section is the right place for this question.

    Often distortion is caused by soundcard issues. It could be clipping in your DAW or often it is the buffer settings on your soundcard. Try raising the buffers on your soundcard.

    ASIO4ALL may be the culprit and it is not as good as native ASIO drivers. Most inexpensive audio cards have native ASIO drivers. Try using WDM or directsound and see if it is the ASIO4All driver.


  3. #3

    Re: Distortion, stuttering, crackling

    I'm not using asio -- I loaded the driver but it didn't work so I'm using directsound.

    I looked all over and find no place to change a buffer setting. I looked at all the card's software.

    There's the Kontakt Player Options window, where there are sliders for Preload Buffer and Voice Buffer, but they seem inoperable (N/A is found in adjacent fields). If I pull down the Expert menu directly above and select one of the eight preprogrammed dual settings, click Apply and then try playback, I don't hear a difference. If I click Close and then open the window again, those buffer settings are right back where they were before, namely left margin.

  4. #4

    Re: Distortion, stuttering, crackling


    No soundcard of software issue, from looking at the wave file youve provided it is an obvious case of digital clipping.


    Short, to compensate for the low level of your headphones, you seem to compensate by putting all levels to max in aria, which is not the right solution. i guess you need propper analog stage amplifying
    David Viens, Plogue Art et Technologie Inc.
    Montreal. http://www.plogue.com

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Just north of Sydney

    Re: Distortion, stuttering, crackling

    Absolutely right, as David says, your signal is clipping.

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  6. #6

    Re: Distortion, stuttering, crackling

    Thanks for comments.

    I recorded this in Audacity. Of course I heard, and saw in the wave, that it was clipping at the start so I reduced the input volume. It was still clipping at any volume setting. The one I posted was about level three or four on the slider.

    But it isn't clipping in the middle and the end of the piece, and the sound is still wretched. Scratchy, unbalanced.

    I don't have Aria, this is GPO Sibelius Edition from 2005, v1.0. Player is Kontakt 1. I just reinstalled Sibelius/GPO on my new system and have not gotten to downloading Kontakt 2 yet. I had it installed before, and the sound was the same.

    I still don't understand what I need to change to solve the problem(s).

    BTW, amplifier is a Yamaha RX-V493 (AKG phones plugged into it).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Orcas Island

    Re: Distortion, stuttering, crackling

    Hi Doug

    Kontakt 1? That's quite old. It may be a good idea then to call Native Instruments and see if they have a solution - their number is 323-467-2693. Upgrading to Kontakt 2 is free and may remedy things.

    Also, you still may want to check your default volume settings if you are getting clipping.


  8. #8

    Re: Distortion, stuttering, crackling - Konakt 1 Player

    Hi, Doug - I see you're already getting good input from Gary and the others here. Sorry that things are still not going right.

    I took a listen--yikes, that of course isn't acceptable. Well, I know it's been said here that your sound card isn't an issue and that it's all due to having your volumes too high. But what I heard in the sample you posted is exactly what I've heard when I used anything but a good Asio sound card which has all of its settings available through its provided software.

    My opinion is that since the sound completely drops out in one portion of your sample, that it isn't a matter of just digital clipping.

    You said you upgraded and re-built your computer, but you didn't mention what card you're using. I really feel you need an Asio sound card/audio interface.


  9. #9

    Re: Distortion, stuttering, crackling - Konakt 1 Player

    Thanks again to all.

    The sound drops out from my sample deliberately. To illustrate beginning and end of the piece, I just recorded about ten seconds of each with a gap between.

    I will be getting Kontakt 2 today, but it probably won't be easy, the last time I did it was a byzantine process. And as I mentioned earlier, I didn't notice any difference in the sound with Kontakt 2 vs 1 in my older system.

    The card could be a significant factor. Yet as I wrote above, I once invested in a 1212m but I didn't hear any improvement and had an awful time with the accompanying software so I unloaded it and went back to the Soundblaster. I wish I had access to a couple cards I could try out to see if they solve the issue. Otherwise it's another $ hundred+ roll of the dice and I've already spent several hundred in order to make no perceptible improvement.

  10. #10

    Re: Distortion, stuttering, crackling - Konakt 1 Player

    Hello again, Doug - I see, my mistake about the gap, I understand now.

    Soundblaster card -well, it's generally acknowledged these are not the kind of cards for sound production work. Great for gaming, but not for home recording.

    I really do think you need an Asio sound interface. There are plenty of good ones for around the $150 range, like the Alesis io|2 I use on my laptop. When trying to use anything but Asio, I get results like in your demo, which of course is completely garbled.


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