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Software: A little bit of crackling

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written by: Tenebrous

We found we had a spare 4gb of compatible memory lying around... (what are the chances, lol)... fitted it, and while it's greatly improved, it still crackles and pops a lot. It always does this when you've just recorded a phrase and the sequencer starts playing it back from the beginning again.

written by: Tenebrous

Thu, 27 May 2010 18:30:47 +0100 BST


I suspect the machine I'm currently using is just underpowered, but I get a lot of crackling when playing Sampler 1, Sample 3, AU 1 (an alchemy preset) and AU 3 (another alchemy preset) all at the same time. I'm using EigenD 1.1.4 testing at the moment.

Was there anything significant changed in 1.1.5 that'd help out? I couldn't see anything obvious in the release notes. Anything anyone can suggests to fix this?

My Win machine is a better spec - how does the WIn EigenD compare in performance to the Mac one?

written by: john

Thu, 27 May 2010 18:38:44 +0100 BST

Hi Tene

What does the EigenD performance meter show when you hear the crackling? Does it go into the red?


written by: mikemilton

Thu, 27 May 2010 18:53:55 +0100 BST

A couple of things for what they are worth

My old laptop (2.33G Core 2 duo + 2Gmem) definitely struggles with the larger Alpha Setups. I think it is driven by memory being insufficient for the samples

My MAC Pro (8core / 12GB mem) has no problem. That said, the performance meter seems to indicate it is working quite hard when, in fact, it is not.


written by: Tenebrous

Thu, 27 May 2010 19:17:03 +0100 BST

@John - Yeah, the performance meter is red, between 60-70%. Forgot to add that I had all 4 instruments going through AUMatrixReverb as a send effect too.

@mike - Having just bought the Alpha, a really nice system like your 8core/12gb is a bit out of reach at the moment ;)

The machine I'm using is an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4ghz with a measly 2gb RAM (should have mentioned this in my original post, sorry!)

I did some more experimentation with this. I sat hitting the same single piano note over and over at the same approximate velocity and it hit 85% briefly on the first press then stayed at about 10%. However, if I hit about 5-6 keys at the same time repeatedly it jumps to 95% and crackles like crazy.

written by: geert

Thu, 27 May 2010 22:30:06 +0100 BST

@Tenebrous, I do seem to remember that 1.1.5 improved performance for me, so I'd definitely upgrade and try it out

written by: Tenebrous

Fri, 28 May 2010 07:42:27 +0100 BST

Geert, thanks for that, I'll definitely try it when I'm home from work :)

written by: Tenebrous

Fri, 28 May 2010 10:16:20 +0100 BST

Hello, I'm now using 1.1.5 and while it's improved, it still crackles quite a bit.

I've got 6 takes playing (3 samplers, 3 AU) and one drummer voice and the performance meter is sitting at 90% in the red, and every beat starts with a brief crackle.

Occasionally while it's playing like this, if I hold a keygroup mode key you can see the keygroup lights light up gradually instead of in a big block all at once.

Maybe, just maybe, I'm taxing my system a little bit? ;)

written by: john

Fri, 28 May 2010 10:31:55 +0100 BST

Hi Tene

It sounds like you've reached the limit of polyphony on your hardware. When the performance meter goes red, you have used all your CPU up and you will experience glitching. More memory will help (the Alpha setups are a lot larger than the Pico and do use up quite a bit more RAM) but you may also find that the AU's are using up a lot of CPU. Some Au's are very thirsty in this regard.

We are considering changing the minimum system requirement for Alpha players to be 4G of RAM as people do seem to run into performance issues earlier than with the smaller Pico setups.


written by: catoro

Fri, 28 May 2010 11:22:23 +0100 BST

Buying 4 gigs is not a biggie, if you know the specifications and what to look for, you can get them for around 80 Euros .
Apple sells the modules so overpriced that makes you laugh (and as you probably know they don’t really produce those modules), if you read the fine print, changing the RAM will not void any warranty and it is a quite straightforward process (even with the unibody units).
I upgraded my macbook pro some months ago when EigenD was in the first versions because I was experiencing some glitches, toke me 5 minutes and I can’t be happier with the results.
Despite my profound dislike for Windows, I don’t know how windows will manage these RAM issues, windows by nature is not very good (historically speaking) managing resources.



written by: Tenebrous

Fri, 28 May 2010 14:17:52 +0100 BST

@Catoro - I've upgraded my laptops a few times and agree it's a no-brainer, but the Mac isn't actually mine to upgrade.


Makes a lot of sense, thanks. Unfortunately I guess I'll have to wait for Win EigenD til I can make use of the better hardware I have (faster processors and 4gb).

On my Win laptop I can use Cubase 5 quite happily with 12 VSTs all running (and generating output) at the same time 'almost live'... but then again I do understand that in terms of timing that's a bit different from what EigenD has to do to be as responsive as it is.

Just out of interest, I'm only using the bundled Alchemy AU with EigenD.

Thinking about it, if it were possible to have EigenD record a 'wav' of the instrument you are recording, rather than the actual data used to generate the sounds, this'd help immensely with performance (a long term suggestion, of course).


written by: Tenebrous

Fri, 28 May 2010 21:09:15 +0100 BST


Would it be possible to create me an Alpha setup with 8 samplers instead of 4 samplers & 4 AU rigs? Or perhaps 6 samplers and 2 AUs? I'm using Factory Alpha Setup 3 mainly in Split 5.

Also, perhaps as an indication as to the (poor) performance of my laptop, it takes 4 mins 50 seconds to load EigenD ;) This is where it loads straight into my Alpha user setup.

I also did a little bit of testing and it appears to only get a performance hit if multiple instruments are triggered at exactly the same time. e.g., if I select 4 instruments and record the same phrase on all 4 at the same time, it crackles. If I record the 4 instruments seperately (albeit with the same phrase) it seems quite happy to play them back at the same time. Presumably because I couldn't hit the notes exactly at the same time all 4 times. I also get a big crackle when the current bar I'm recording ends and it starts playing the phrase I just recorded. All the crackles are accompanied with a jump in the performance indicator.


written by: Tenebrous

Sun, 30 May 2010 21:52:12 +0100 BST

I think the biggest problem here is that I've loaded the piano samples into all 4 samplers, and I'm playing them all at the same time. Sampler 3 has seperate left/right soundfonts too, so the samples are actually loaded 5 times. This, I imagine, is quite memory-heavy ;)

Apart from that though, I get crackling if I hit 4 piano notes at the same time. The next time I hit them they're fine. If i hit a different 4, it crackles. To me, that sounds more like memory than CPU.

written by: 0beron

Mon, 31 May 2010 10:45:23 +0100 BST

Sounds like a few adjustments to EigenD should soften the impact of this problem - a more sophisticated interface to the recorder agent ought to cure the problem of having to load a sound font more than once to play several phrases with it, and control over the size of the setups ought to help (ie you could make a setup with a couple of samplers and nothing else for quick loading and low memory footprint).

I've also experienced some of the glitches at the start/end point of loops that Tenebrous describes - you can hear an example in both of my videos on youtube. It seems to affect just the first loop playback, when it comes round again it is seamless. Is there some kind of pre-caching or pre-emptive loading that could be done by an extra thread? Ie so that EigenD has some lookahead and can tell a bar or two in advance when it is going to experience a spike in CPU load or memory bandwidth, and can do as much work as possible in advance? (limited by availability of spare resources without causing further glitches and the inability to perform time-travel of course...!)

written by: Tenebrous

Mon, 31 May 2010 11:47:45 +0100 BST

We found we had a spare 4gb of compatible memory lying around... (what are the chances, lol)... fitted it, and while it's greatly improved, it still crackles and pops a lot. It always does this when you've just recorded a phrase and the sequencer starts playing it back from the beginning again.

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