Playback problem with VSL Synchron Prime on Dorico 4

Hello @Ulf, @dko22 and @Mike_999,
I hope you are all doing great during this extremely hot summer! :slight_smile:
Despite the fact that Germans are most famous for their hard working and engineering mind,
of course with all my respect to @Ulf and his amazing work on the audio engine behind Dorico,
but VSL Synchron Player looks like something designed in Germany and developed in some village in China, or Namibia… :smiley:
It runs fine with small libraries, but when it comes to larger ones like Dimension Strings Bundle, it’s an absolute disaster… It eats enormous amount of real-time resources, which is the main cause for pops, clicks… etc.
I’m a bit disappointed by the VSL team, because one the guys there promised me, on 13th of May, that one of his colleagues will take a look deeper into the Performance issue of Synchron Player during the upcoming week (after 13th of May). Guess what? :smiley: No one contacted me on this problem even after 2 messages I’ve sent them asking about news and improvements on this topic. We are already in July. I wrote them my 3rd message today in the late morning, but still no any reply.
VSL produces the most expensive virtual instruments on the market, but when there are serious issues no one of them takes responsibility.
@Mike_999, you are having this issue on Mac OS, me on Windows 10 Pro… Both we are having enough powerful CPUs, no matter that mine are older 2x Xeon 8-Core E5-2670 0 @ 2.60 GHz (Overclocked to 3.0 GHz).
I would strongly recommend you to write to VSL about this issue. They should realize that there is a serious performance issue with the Synchron Player.

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

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The village’s name is Vienna and is the capital of Austria. The company is Vienna Symphonic Library and has nothing to do with Steinberg.

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In the Synchron Player click on the cogwheel and select “Force enable all slots”. This will avoid pops and clicks during first playback as all articulations will have been loaded already.

Hi @olilo ,
Thank you for your reply! :slight_smile:

Unfortunately this doesn’t help. This option is already enabled and still I’m having issues with Synchron Player.
Even the guy from @symphonic-riot , who worked on the Dorico Expression Maps sets for Vienna Instruments Pro warned me about serious performance issues with Synchron Player.
The only reason to invest in the Synchronized DS Bundle was the fact that VI Pro will be discontinued in future.

Thank you for the information, but I know perfectly where Vienna is. :wink: After all Austria is founded by some of German tribes, they speak the same language, just different dialects, basically one people in two separate countries. Just the Austrians are slightly more conservative and strict as society than the Germans in Germany. :wink:
I’m aware that VSL has nothing to do with Steinberg, unfortunately… I’m starting to think that VSL should be acquired by Steinberg. This will have positive effect on VSL products, no doubt. :slight_smile:

Best regards,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

Hi Ulf, and thanks. The time and effort you and other members of the Dorico team put into sorting out users’ problems is incredible and much appreciated! From @dko22’s posting below it appears that similar problems may well be a fact of life with BBC Core and I will likely hold off on purchasing an orchestral library to supplement NotePerformer until I can more safely rely on the relevant sample players that come with those libraries.

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@olilo, thanks for the suggestion but I had already enabled all slots to accommodate condensing and unfortunately, this did not resolve the problem.

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I can confirm what Thurisaz says about the OS. It runs without issue on my Win11 system, first time and every time…

Hi @wcreed,
Thank you for your reply! :slight_smile:
Would you, please, make your statement more clear?
You can confirm, or you can’t?
If you can confirm, it’s valid for Windows 10 Pro?
After upgrading to Windows 11 everything works fine?
If you could share more details from your experience, would be very helpful. :slight_smile:

Best regards,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

I built this system months ago, so can’t comment on Win10. I can’t imagine it’s any different though

I can only repeat that the VSL Special Edition with a full orchestral template works absolutely fine — my very modest processor (i3 4x core) runs at generally 30-40% with no clicks or dropouts . It’s possible a) they’ve got something wrong with the Prime version, in which case consider SE vol1 or b) it’s only a Mac issue. The full Dimension libraries will, not surprisingly, require more resources but I don’t know if the programming is any worse than the competition. From my experience, Spitfire’s BBC is clearly more problematical and many others have had similar issues.

Off topic!

Hi @dko22,
About your problem with BBC SO.
Try the following settings in the Spitfire Player in order to improve the performance:

  • Maximum Voices: 768 (Default 512)
  • Preload size: 6144 (Default 12288)
  • Stream Buffer Size: 8192 (Default 65536)
  • Maximum Pitch Voices: 12 (Default 8)

I’ve issues with BBC SO Pro and I was given these settings by the Spitfire Audio support.
Now everything works as expected.

Best regards,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

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I will try these settings, as I must admit I had given up on BBCSO for a while…

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I tried this with Core standalone and it was considerably better though still clicks and pops. I then tried it with VEPro which is my normal way of working with BBC SO. Only about 60% of the previous samples were preloaded and that in itself was done far faster than before. Performance was flawless even from the beginning. I’m amazed if this really is not a fluke. In that case, why does the BBC have such idiotic defaults?

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Hi @dko22,
Well, I don’t know what to reply on the topic about the “idiotic defaults”?! Most probably they have issues with the Player.
I tried to push the team to improve the player and make it works as expected. Even Ulf did his best in order to help the Spitfire Audio team to improve the situation, but no feedback from those guys…
I was replied by the support this:

Thank you for your follow up - I’m afraid there is no update on this issue yet - it is the only report of its kind, but I will continue to monitor this for you and advise as soon as there is anything to share.

Basically I was told that I’m the only one to complain about the performance of the BBC SO Player.
Probably if someone else tell them about the very same issue, would help somehow?! I don’t know.

Here both Sychron Player and the Spitfire Player share similar problem, and both companies do nothing to improve it.
Even the guys at VSL do not reply on this issue.

Here a video with the Performance issues I’m having could be seen (Cubase Pro 12.0.30):

The real-time peaks sometimes are jumping up to 100%. I suppose it happens during the changing the KeySwitches.

Here is a video about the how SY-zed DS Bundle behaves hosted in Dorico 4.1.10:

Despite that the performance in Dorico looks worse than in Cubase, the Playback is far better,
even without pops or dropouts, or they are sometimes just very few.
Actually in Dorico the worse behavior is caused by the moving ModWheel.
Unfortunately the MIDI CC and KeySwitch changes have serious impact on the overall behavior of
Synchron Player.

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

Thanks, @dko22 .

You mention using the VSL Special Edition with a modest CPU and I wonder how much RAM you have on that computer—I have little experience to guide me but worry that the 16 GB on my M1 Mac mini might not be enough to allow smooth playback.

You have also mentioned using Vienna Ensemble Pro. I understand the principle of keeping all samples loaded in VEP but also understand VEP helps a CPU “keep up” with playback and wonder if somebody who doesn’t use VEP (like me) would get similar playback results to somebody who does use it . Of course, adding VEP to my own system would be one option but wouldn’t this be overkill if I only have one library?

Finally, the Special Edition comes in multiple packages. Do the provided Dorico expression maps automatically “adjust” which samples are used for playback depending on which packages a user currently has, effectively choosing the best sample out of those available?

I don’t generally use VEPro with VSL --only third party full orchestral libraries. I currently have 32Gb RAM but it was perfectly OK when I had 16Gb. VEP is very useful for mixed libraries or in some cases better performance but there’s no need for it with VSL SE on its own in my experience.

As for the Expression Maps, I don’t use the VSL official ones as I prefer my own (I did them for vol. 1,2 and 5 before VSL finally got round to doing it anyway and subsequently added 7) so I’m not entirely sure what’s the answer to your question though I assume you need to use the correct map for the relevant library.

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Many thanks, David. Your input on this posting and related others has been helpful indeed.

I need to update my evaluation of the new BBC settings. As I thought it was too good to be true, after an overnight break and restarting VEPro and Dorico, the performance was initially no better than before. As before the situation stabilises after around a minute playback after which it seems generally OK. As the issue is noticeably less with Dorico 3.5, I still think that in this particular respect, it’s the current Steinberg audio engine which is the main factor in the performance and it will be interesting to try it with the new one when it becomes available in Dorico.

Hi @dko22,
Well, that’s strange… hmmm…
You could conduct another test. Try to host your BBC SO Template, with the same project and the new settings directly in Dorico. This is the only proper way to test the audio engine. You need to exclude VE Pro from the picture, because it’s a third party factor which may also lead to some issues, since many issues with the iLok versions of the VSL products were reported, especially in the Cubase section.

We will continue to investigate performance issues on specific systems and provide additional improvements in future updates. We still rely on your reports, so please get in touch with us in the Steinberg Forum if you are still experiencing issues after this update.

According to the official statement there is improvement in the communication between Cubase and VE Pro, but still possible issues could exist.

The BBC SO Player settings I provided above, everything works fine for me, when hosted directly in Dorico 4.1.10.

By the way, you could make Windows Performance Recording with WPR Toolkit while using Dorico in combination with VE Pro:

And send the result to Ulf for further investigation. This would be much more helpful than sharing personal observations. After all we are not engineers and we don’t know what exactly happens under the hood. The WPR file will provide much more information about the problem, to the team at Steinberg.

Here is how to use the WPR:

  1. Install it.
  2. Turn Off the Anti-Virus software,
    and any other app that is running in the background.
  3. Fully load your VE Pro template.
  4. Open your Dorico project .
  5. Launch Windows Performance Recording.
  6. Press “Record” button.
  7. Playback your Dorico project.
  8. Stop the WPR.
  9. Save the WPR file.

This is it! :slight_smile:

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

Hi @Thurisaz , I have previously used the WPT to share performance info with Ulf and indeed I only used the BBC SO in standalone mode for that. I only use VEP because the performance is better but did test your settings initially in standalone. As Ulf has, said, it is likely that a version of the new Cubase audio engine will be ported to Dorico before too long so it might be best to wait for that before doing too many new tests.