File size - how big is big?

I'm working on a band score right now and it seems like no matter what I do with RAM, DFD, etc, I can't get Finale to play back my score without major hiccups when everyone is in.  I'm using:

iMac 2.16gHz Intel core duo
2 GB memory
Finale 2007
GPO w/ KP2 for wind samples
VDL2

The score I'm currently working on has 39 staves (winds and percussion)  and when they are all playing, it just taxes it too much.  I've tried almost every combo to get it to playback better, but am having no luck, even with everyone's suggestions already (I've spent hours and hours reading old posts with the same questions). 

Some say 2GB is enough to turn off DFD, but that's when the OP is working with, say, 8 staves.  I've definitely got a lot more.

I've also read about latency, and that I think lower is better (?) but I don't know where to go to change that (this is my first Mac since 1997!).

And what about sample rate?  I can't find that anywhere, either.

And to make matter worse, the GPO sounds use KP2, and in the options menu it says ";more DFD voices = more RAM usage.";
I thought the whole idea behind DFD was to use the disk if you had too LITTLE RAM.  This seems to conflict, right?

I'm sorry to ask all of these questions since they seem to be right in front of my nose, but I'm still strugglin' here. 

Steve

You betcha... and if I could figure out how the whole karma thing works, this thread would be full of it... karma, that is...
Great news! Thanks for keeping us posted.
Update to my playback woes:

I got VDL:2.5 in the mail Friday and finally had a chance to work with it today.  I turned off Rosetta and, man is there a difference!  Finale loads tons quicker, all my sounds load tons quicker, and Finale runs faster in general.  And so far **fingers crossed** it has not quit on me :)

I'm totally psyched by all this. 

I also have to say that it plays back MUCH better - I'm afraid to even tweak anything in KP2 because even my full scores aren't clipping.  I haven't opened my biggest ones yet - I'm going to save them for when I'm really bold.

Thanks everyone for the help.
I think this may be a little bit of trying to have your cake and eat it too.��

GPO is nice, but is it really necessary for the purposes of composition?�� To me it's important to get a feel for the chord reductions and an idea of the instrumentation, but if it's a midi trumpet or a sampled trumpet it's not that big of a deal.

You'd free up a [b]lot[/b] of reasources just playing the band parts through DLS and reserving the sampled channels for percussion (which is where the notation programs truly fall short in their playback).�� For me productivity is truly one of the most important facets of writing, and if I'm constantly wasting time trying to tweak playback that's a worse evil than some crappy MIDI tuba parts that still get the job done.

If creating an authentic recording is the aim there's nothing wrong with creating a separate recording for both winds and percussion, and then splicing them together to make the master recording.�� They're fairly easy to sync up with a countoff before the song.

If you realy want to push the envelope with a LOT of sampled instruments in realtime then you're gonna live at the mercy of the hardware you're working with---and I suspect that even the most beastly of systems will still have the occasional clip dealing with that many staves.
I'm not sure I understand (you both seem to be saying two different things) - here's my MIDI setup right now:

GPO:
ch 1  flutes 1 and 2
ch 2  clarinets 1-3, and bass clarinet
ch 3  alto 1 and 2, tenor, and bari
ch 4  trumets 1-3
ch 5  horns 1 and 2
ch 6  trombone 1 and 2, baritone
ch 7  tuba

VDL:2:
ch 17  marimbas 1-4
ch 18  vibes 1-3
ch 19  xylo
ch 20  timpani
ch 21  aux A (with combo rack and glock in two different layers)
ch 22  aux B  (with combo rack and crotales in different layers)

ch 33  snares
ch 34  tenors
ch 35  basses
ch 36  cymbals

ch 49 met (from vdl snare bank)

I originally had each part on its own channel (for the most part) but changed mainly for ease of keeping up with things.  Of course, all the VDL:2 sounds are lite when possible. 

Sound output is set to 44.1
Reverb is off.
If I set the latency too high, all I get is screeching (is this right?), so right now it's on about 65ms.
Redraw is off.

VDL:2.5 should be in my mail box by this Friday - I'm excited to try it and see if things will change without Rosetta.  Finale 2k8 is also ordered (but will take longer through my school). 

We'll see :)
[quote]Another thing you might try is that similar wind staves share a common channel. For example, instead of having Trumpet 1, trumpet 2, trumpet 3 set to channels 7, 8, 9 (respectively) in the instrument list window, perhaps you'll preserve some resources by setting all trumpet staves to one common channel (i.e. channel 7). This means less instruments loaded, and playing back simultaneously during those fully orchestrated sections, which should help your system keep up.[/quote]

There have been instances that if this is done too much you may get drop outs.�� ��I would say that if this is not done for too many instruments this would be ok, but I wo uld refrain from all trumpets on one channel, all calrinets, all aux, all marimbas, all vibes, etc as this will almost certianly cause issues...especially if you use�� some of the MIDI sounds along with VDL.�� I see this everyday.
Avoiding Rosetta will make a big difference, so don't jump ship just yet. Once you have the KP2 version of VDL (VDL 2.5), this will help.

Also, take a look at the DFD  slider in the KP2 ";options"; screen if you haven't yet. This can certainly help.

Another thing you might try is that similar wind staves share a common channel. For example, instead of having Trumpet 1, trumpet 2, trumpet 3 set to channels 7, 8, 9 (respectively) in the instrument list window, perhaps you'll preserve some resources by setting all trumpet staves to one common channel (i.e. channel 7). This means less instruments loaded and playing back simultaneously during those fully orchestrated sections, which should help your system keep up.

Check your Audio MIDI setup and ensure your sound output is set to a rate of 44.1k (rather than 48000). This may not have a huge effect, but might help.

If you are using reverb, try turning it off. This is oftentimes a CPU hog. If you really need it, you could apply it after the fact.

Sometimes Finale's screen redraws can steal a significant amount of resource. Try turning off scrolling during playback and see if that helps any.

Just a few extra tips. Keep us posted on your progress.
Jim, you're right.  Most of the time it goes okay.  But when everyone's in, it has no chance.  Unison (or nearly) sections are clipped beyond recognition.  I tried approaching it from the Finale side, but when I asked a Finale guy (I was recently at our Texas Bandmaster's Assoc. convention) he told me to get rid of VDL:2 and just use the 2k8 sounds.  He says that they're just as good as VDL:2.  Whatever, dude...

Anyway, if I can't get it to play back, I'm afraid I might have to do that as much as I don't want to.  As much as I love having all the mod wheel sounds, accessory stuff, and all the other specialized sounds, I have to be able to play back a band score with drumline.

Bill, when you say 127 different instruments, you don't mean total loaded do you?  Not sure exactly of the number there.  Maybe 127 includes each note on any given sample set?

Is there anything I can do with my current (brand new) computer to get it to work? 
Keep in mind however, that performance results will depend on how many instruments or voices are playing [i]simultaneously[/i]. Your 39 staves most likely aren't all playing back at the same time. When/if they do, those will be the moments where performance may suffer more.
[quote author=phsdrumguy link=topic=1876.msg9318#msg9318 date=1185153408]
Big reality-check-question would be: can my machine and software setup handle playing 25 wind parts and 14 VDL2-driven drum/keyboard parts?[/quote]

Even if you used lite instruments for everything, I'd be shocked to see it playback correctly with a score that size.  We use some fairly large demo files as far as number of instruments used on our demo machine and I've seen hiccups from time to time.  I believe last years demo fo 2006 cavies used around 127 instruments and it would work, but we'd have to cross our fingers each time.
Thanks for the help, Jim.  Your points make sense.  I've tried to upgrade online to 2.5 (did it last night) but didn't work for some reason - I'll try it again. 

And yes, I have to use Rosetta.  I am wondering if that slows it down some having to emulate.

As for the latency, it seems like when I first started tinkering with it (the day I set up my Mac), I saw an option to change the latency, but I can't for the life of me remember where I saw it.  I'm hoping someone can give me some insight on that.

Big reality-check-question would be:  can my machine and software setup handle playing 25 wind parts and 14 VDL2-driven  drum/keyboard parts?
39 staves is pretty big, so you'll definitely need to do as much dialing in as possible. For starters, if you're hosting both KP2 and VDL2, I assume you must be running your iMac in Rosetta. This could be a big part of your problem. My first suggestion would be to upgrade to VDL 2.5, which will share the KP2 with your GPO sounds. This is much more efficient than using Rosetta/VDL2 on an intel mac.

Latency - Coach might have more insight for you here, but if hosting your virtual instruments in Finale this way, I'm not certain Finale gives you a means to adjust latency. Most host programs do, but I'm not certain about Finale. Same with sample rate. If you've read about those things here on the forum, they're most likely referencing users who are using VDL in stand-alone mode, in which you can adjust these settings in Kontakt Player's ";soundcard"; setup window. If using KP as a plug-in, these settings are controlled by the host.

This may or may not help you, but for better CPU performance, you should consider RAISING latency (if you have the option to). This will relieve some strain from your processor.

With KP2, you can't turn off DFD. So you may be better served to adjust the settings in the ";Options"; window of KP2 which will allocate more or less RAM to DFD. This varies from system to system, so some experimentation may be needed. Try putting the slider about three quarters of the way toward the right for starters, and tweak from there.
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