VST pops and clicks

PC Configurations, motherboards, etc, etc

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yayajohn
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VST pops and clicks

Post by yayajohn »

Posting this here instead of 'Problem Solving' because it appears unrelated to Scope
Xite-1
Windows 10 64
ASUS ROG Strix Z490
NVME drive
Ableton - CPU resource meter spikes a little but not even close to red line.
Scope is solid. Recording audio (ASIO) is solid. When I load up an intensive VST getting random pops and clicks. Not really noticeable but well, it is..
Been trying to track down for months now.

NVME is suspect as the hard drive light also blinks continually at odd intervals even with nothing loaded.

Any suggestions would be helpful.
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garyb
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by garyb »

spikes mean cpu overruns. the meters in an app like Ableton are not all that accurate. a very quick overrun may not last long enough for the meter to record it.

something may be running in the background. application updaters?
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valis
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by valis »

HD contains a pagefile (plus you have background processes), and will even TRIM etc when idle. So HD accesses that you can't correlate to the user processes / current working set are normal in a modern PC.

GPU drivers, Checking IPC issues (DPC Latency, how the system performs when you're not set to a maximum performance bios & OS profile...etc), and possibly cpu power profiles set in BIOS/EFI with a board that current. On a modern machine it's less likely that you'll hit 100% on even a given core when the CPU is running flat out, but if the CPU cores aren't fully clocking up changing power states can cause CPU hungry VSTi's to swap cores around as they work, and the core parking + wakeup latencies often show in CPU meters as CPU heavy usage (rather than what it is, which is CPU being unavailable since the scheduler has decided there's not enough usage to keep everything in a single TDP state). ASUS will tune the defaults to general 'productivity' and gaming workloads.

I have also found it necessary sometimes (even on desktop apps) to go into the new Graphics Settings area of the windows settings and define per-application GPU profiles to keep things on the nvidia GPU. This may or may not be relevant for graphically heavy plugins you're using, but at the very least it can't hurt to add Ableton here and set the Nvidia GPU as default ("high performance" option).
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yayajohn
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by yayajohn »

Well I really did try to eliminate the background apps as much as possible and tweaked the BIOS per the recommended Scope computer.
Unfortunately there's a bunch of new crap in the BIOS that I just don't understand yet but I'm working on it.
On a side note: When I was first installing everything on the new computer, the BIOS recognized my USB dongle wireless mouse and keyboard and one day it just stopped recognizing them and says "no keyboard connected" but when I plug a wired USB keyboard then it recognizes it. WTF?

Valis; the NVME drive I set already to trim only once a month (trim=optimize right?)
Grphics card is a Radeon and I installed the specific software for the card but it seemed way too complicated and intensive with the sole purpose of monitoring the fitness of the device and probably used even more resources unless I wanted to increase the fan speed or overclock it which I don't.....so I uninstalled it.
Now how would I go about locking the CPU's in Ableton? Is there a "Set CPUs to be woke ALL the time" setting? :D

btw....thanks
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valis
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by valis »

Let it trim as frequently as it wants to imho, TRIM is defined by the usage of the drive and isn't really the same as defragging (which we could just defer until ready as long as enough spare drive space was left to accomplish the task). What TRIM does is go back and 'recover' blocks that have been marked for deletion but deferred until the host controller decides the drive is idle enough. There are still GC (garbage collection) routines that exist below TRIM that will continue to function, but TRIM is going to zero-out all previously used (and marked for deletion) NAND blocks so not letting it run can actually adversely impact write performance.

USB might be the initialization string support (EHCI Initialization) or another option, but it's likely something either you changed or that was changed as a default with a bios update or different bios/efi profile that you loaded. Enabling/disabling 'legacy USB support' for instance can also sometimes do this, it really depends on what the BIOS/EFI is changing on the signalling level when you change a USB related setting. ECHI is simply a peripheral control protocol and so issues a response string to initialize the device before the OS loads and hand it off in a state that allows the OS to still use the device, just like other BIOS-enabled devices (storage, cpu, etc).

Set CPU's to be awake all the time is done either by doing both EFI & OS power profile changes, or just in the OS. In your EFI/BIOS you might have several performance profiles, and in most cases modern motherboard software can call up different hardware profiles (for instance different fan speed curves will be a part of this software--when talking specifically to fans connected to the motherboard itself rather than a 3rd party controller or your GPU fan). And then in Windows you have "Power Settings" which I toggled via the icon on the tasktray back when you could tell windows to keep that always visible (XP for instance).

In Win10 (and WIn7 iirc) this icon only appears for tablets/laptops so you can either go into the Power settings and toggle it yourself, or do as I do and recall the power profile by using a handy windows shortcut (two shortcuts total, one to load each power profile). This is available attached to this post for those who might be interested in trying this approach.
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yayajohn
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by yayajohn »

Thanks. I'll try it.
What do you recommend to load to track a CPU spike to it's origin?
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valis
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by valis »

Do you mean lock to a cpu core? You can't do that on a modern CPU, the power & speed-step implementations are much more complex. It shouldn't be necessary once you have the CPU properly set to do 100% on your Win10 power profile. What you *will* need to do in the BIOS/EFI is ensure that you have a nice base clock with more than 1 core in turbo, which is where the power profiles (sometimes also called Overclocking profiles) come in on the BIOS side. That of course involves voltages, memory timings and much more, but most boards should have the appropriate profiles in this era and only need minor tweaking, if any.
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yayajohn
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by yayajohn »

Thanks Valis. No I meant software that monitors CPU performance and tells you what is spiking your CPU at a given time.
Pretty sure i've set the BIOS to max performance without overclocking. I did check the power profile and I remembered I set this right from the get-go. Anyway, i'm really only getting it at such a minor rate that it's hardly worth doing anything but it just bothers me is all.
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by jksuperstar »

Look for a program called LatencyMon, it does realtime analysis of DPCs, or Deferred Procedure Calls (used to respond to interrupts)...this is the best way to find out how the PC is operating for real time audio, and if there are any single spikes, and possibly capture info about what caused it

There's some ways to use the windows Task Monitor to help debug too, but getting LatencyMon,and following the extensive debugging it offers and the many people that use it will get you on the path to figuring it out. Once you go down that road, it will lead to lots of techniques for improving the system performance, but it's all so specific to versions of windows, drivers, motherboards, and sound cards (which is the only given here). So just take it 1 step at a time.
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valis
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by valis »

Elsewhere I also linked SpaceF to something called Process Hacker from Sysinternals. They have a variety of tools, and this one is useful to monitor processes in the way you suggest. It would be used in tandem with other tools like LatencyMon, and in my case I also do not let it replace my task manager but run it alongside in my tasktray.
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yayajohn
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by yayajohn »

Thanks guys. I installed both of those programs. Continuing the investigation.
nebelfuerst
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by nebelfuerst »

I ran latencymon and got a maximum latency of 1500us.
What numbers do you get ?
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by dawman »

I haven’t had any issues since setting Kontakt, Omni and PianoTeq up as single core instruments.
Hyper Threading, Turbo and other “enhancements” are disabled in the BIOS too.

My host seems to place workloads better this way.

Before everything was multi core which seemed redundant, so on the advice from a Kontakt developer who was helping me achieve the highest polyphony, I tried his method and it worked.

But this was necessary as I layer instruments for bigger sounds. Since most sampled instruments are already mastered I end up with more detail in the sound, which does sound bigger, but on single layer sounds like a panned Rhodes the presence is equal, as it concentrates on a single sound instead of layers of similar sounds.

Hope I made sense..
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yayajohn
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by yayajohn »

Ok I might try something like that. I unplugged an external USB drive and it may have been at least part of the culprit. Problem is it doesn’t behave the same way every time. The other day my mouse was glitching and I wasn’t running anything. Might have been a win 10 update which is really aggravating. I’ve got some stuff loaded in the sys tray like Roli so I’m trying to see if any of those might be the cause.

Nebelfuerst: I’ve run the program before but I’m still learning how to use it so I don’t have any info to share just yet.
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valis
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by valis »

Updater apps don't usually cause issues. USB devices might, depending on what else is attached to USB or sharing an irq (if not sharing they're most likely to impact other USB devices in this era, as long as you're not involving a 3rd party USB chipset). More often than not, what we have is a combination of a device that peaks single core usage combined with triggering TDP states that aren't fully compatible with the type of load the OS scheduler is seeing.

Moving hosted plugins to single core loads means that only the host and OS are negotiating with the PCU (or what it has evolved into) which is sort of the CPU's hypervisor overseeing resource allocation in combination with handling TDP states and sleep states.

For background applications to play enough havok with this, there would either have to be something amiss (and this DOES happen, I had software that conflicted with Apple Bonjour meaning I can't have iTunes or 3rd party utils like RTPMidi on that machine or Bonjour was causing app crashes for the conflicting app, and its host). Or that the background task is doing operations frequently enough without consideration of the host PC load. I would be more suspect of apps that 'detect' the currently running application to load profiles (fan, rgb, keyboard, mouse etc) and the like than I would of Roli or Magix tasktray apps etc. ESPECIALLY when switching between apps, or doing other things that trigger the given app.
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Re: VST pops and clicks

Post by garyb »

win 10 updates make lots of troubles with audio. i always start the computer long before i'm ready to work, to allow that to complete.
a usb controller on the same irq as Scope will definitely make problems if a device is plugged into the corresponding port.
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