Your system...

First off, VDL2 is great and has helped out tons. Thanks!

I'm curious for those ";hard-core"; users what your computer configuration is. I upgraded my laptop to a Pentium 4 2.8 GHZ with 1GB RAM and with one full instance of VDL2 loaded I have some light clicks because of polyphony. For those of you that can open multiple instances and use the full versions (I can only use the light with full pit and battery) of each instrument... what have you got? In the future, I want to get a desktop that has the power to run VDL2, taking full advantage of the program.

Also, I'm loving the ability to use VDL2 in Fruity Loops.

thanks.


later
Yeah, those mini's are cute and all, but I wouldn't go there if I intended to be running larger audio projects. It's good to hear that Jesse had a good degree of success with it, but whenever possible, I'd vote for buying a machine with more upgradeability in the RAM department, faster hard drive(s), and fastest CPU possible. Of course, not everyone is needing that level of computing power so it's good to know that there's good results possible with some of the less expensive, more consumer-ended models.
I would have bought a Mini Mac, but I run some fairly large Logic/Pro Tools sessions.
Here's a little Mac Mini review-

I just bought a mini 1.42 Ghz, stuck 1 GB of RAM in it, and used it to arrange a couple songs for a school.  I didn't buy the mini as my main computer, but for casual use.  It performs pretty much as I expected- the mini is basically an iBook without a monitor attached, so the hard drive is a slower 5400 rpm (maybe even 4200 rpm) and it takes awhile to load the VDL2 samples.  It is able to load 8 voices without any warnings and I can play back a medium-sized battery+pit score without drop-outs.  There are times when things feel sluggish and I see the ";spinning beach ball of death"; for a few seconds at seemingly random times.  In comparison with my PC that has 2 10k rpm RAID drives (which are required to play back uncompressed HD video without dropping frames, otherwise not very necessary) that loads VDL2 samples almost instantly, waiting a minute for just tenors-lite to load is a little annoying.  Exporting the audio to AIF or MP3 takes A LOT longer too- but since you only do it once per session it's not a big deal.  So if anyone is on a budget and is patient about load times, the mini can get the job done.  I also prefer Mac OS X over Windows XP in almost every way, but I am forced to use a PC for a couple specific programs for work (and video games) otherwise I'd only use Mac.

One cool thing I bought was a cheap KVM switch so I can use one keyboard, mouse, monitor, and speakers with both my PC and the mini.  A simple keystroke switches between the two.  You can also remap the keyboard in OS 10.4 so the ALT key on a PC keyboard is in the correct place for the Command key on a Mac.
I don't think this was mentioned before, but it's also worth looking at your ";latency"; setting in VDL2>Setup>Soundcard. Most audio interfaces will allow you to adjust the latency slider which will increase or decrease the time it takes for audio to be produced from the moment a note is called upon. While your natual instinct would be to keep this as low and quick as possible, this actually places a higher strain on your CPU. Ultra super low latency is certainly important for LIVE performance, however if you're writing with a notation program, it's not a big deal if this latency is a bit higher, and oftentimes raising latency to around 30-43 ms (miliseconds) will cure some of those clicks or cutouts you may be getting.

Also, for the ";audio interface";, if you're a windows user, it's highly recommended that you use an ASIO driver as this setting as they do tend to perform better than MMX or Direct Sound interfaces. Cheap soundcards may not offer an ASIO driver, but you can look into the alternative of ASIO4all at http://www.asio4all.com. There's some brief descriptions of these various Windows audio interfaces in the VDL2 user guide. Macintosh users often don't have to worry about these driver/interface concerns since Core Audio (audio interface for all macs) is by default a very solid audio interface that performs well.
I'm finally about to buy VDL2, and a new computer to go with it.  I'm ordering a Power Mac G5 Dual 2.3GHz with OS X v10.4 Tiger. 

I already use an M-Audio FireWire 1814 Interface, KORG Triton LE keyboard-and running Pro Tools M-Powered, Reason 3.0, Logic 7, and Finale 05. 
I use a PowerMac G4 dual 1.25gHz with 1.5gb RAM and OSX 10.3.9.

Since I'm usually writing larger scores, I load my VDL2 sounds directly into Kontakt 2 in stand-alone mode and send MIDI out of Sibelius via dual MIDI ports from MIDI Patchbay (instead of apple's IAC Bus).

For making my recordings, I save my Sibelius score as a MIDI file, then import that into Logic Pro where I load the Kontakt 2 Multi (saved) as a plug-in to run the VDL2 sounds. From there I can make tweaks to velocity and balance, then bounce to audio file.
I have a P4 3.06HT, 2 gigs of ram, and VDL is on its own physical hard drive. Coincidentally, I have never had a problem with performance.

I also rely on Sonar to render everything at high quality when it's time to do that.

Also, with what jmattson was saying, you may want to look at Dell's workstations through Small Business. You don't have to have a business; just use your own name as the business name. Sometimes Home has the better deal, sometimes Small Biz. No matter what, use a coupon code. I have a direct link to techbargains on my site - I've used them nearly a dozen times and saved several thousand dollars over non-coupon prices for workstation-class boxes. If you're not into ";rolling your own";, it's the best cheap alternative, I think.

I think RAID and SCSI are overrated - just give your samples their own drive with nothing else on them, FULLY defragmented, and they will do very well. That second drive is probably cheaper than all the alternatives.

Don't overlook a good, not-on-board soundcard. Paying all that money and not having a solid card is just plain stupid. :shock:

Finally, back to rendering software (Cubase, Sonar, et al) - get one that can freeze your synths, releasing ram. Then even if you have a ram problem, it may take an extra step, but the output is right.

-Mat
cityofrain.com
With DFD set to ";small instruments"; and using the ";lite"; instruments when loading the samples, I have been able to use an older computer. The demos I made were done on a 1.8 GHz PC with 1 GB of RAM, generic mainboard soundcard, and 7200 rpm hard drive. I could have used my faster work computer but I wanted to test it out on an average system and it worked fine. It's more about properly configuring what you have. The computer I used was built for about $450.

When it comes to getting a fast desktop PC, you won't find the top performers at a retail store. They don't offer dual processors or the fastest hard drives. You'd need to look at ";workstation"; class computers from Dell, HP, Alienware, etc. and it won't be cheap. If you are a nerd like me, you can build one from parts for a lot less. For example, I built a new box last month with dual Opteron 2 GHz CPUs, 2 GB of RAM, 2 10,000 rpm hard drives in RAID 0 array, an M-Audio sound card and ATi X800 graphics for about $1600. It will run circles around anything at CompUSA or BestBuy and isn't [i]that[/i] expensive. Also, the Pentium D and Athlon X2 chips will be out in a month or two so I'd wait for those. They are dual-core chips that are very fast.

If you go the Mac route, they always offer big discounts on previous edition computers in their ";special deals"; section of the online Apple store. They have a dual 1.8 GHz G5 for $1500. It will need a RAM upgrade for another $100-200 but is otherwise a very fast computer. I like OS X and Apple's audio software more than what's available for PC, but I'm a 3D artist and Macs don't support the software I use. Most of the CDs you listen to were recorded on a Mac.
You should be able to get 8 instruments to play without any clicking. Using the ";lite"; instruments, try first de-activating DFD (in the options window). Quit VDL2, then relaunch and load those lite instruments. Since you're not using DFD, the instruments will load slower (since you're loading entire samples into RAM), but their performance will likely be much better. You may be able to do that with a gig of RAM. If it proves to be a good test case for you, then loading that bad boy up with as much RAM as possible could probably be a good solution.

You might also find the RAM/DFD topic of some help at:
https://www.tapspace.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=13
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