trouble with DFD and low memory on fast machine

I recently purchased a new Dell Studio 17 to upgrade from my old computer to make my VDL experience much better.

-Dell Studio 17 with Windows 7
- core i7 processor quad core w/8gb of ram
- Using Sibelius 5 with VDL 2.5 and Kontakt Player 2
- I have 3 instances of Kontakt Player in my playback devices, 2 devoted to VDL soundset 5.2 and 1 devoted to Sibelius Sound Essentials (for wind sounds). There is also one instance of general midi as well on my Microsoft GS Wavetable
- Kontakt player is being used in plug-in mode I am assuming as I am not using any maple midi tools or anything but doing all instrument loading inside of Sibelius

My issue is that when I started to use Sibelius, the playback was really bad, crackling, voices dropping out, etc.....I disabled the CPU overload protection in Kontakt player since it said that having that option enabled could affect the amount of max voices playing back.  That seemed to work ok  but I still get choppy playback and crackling once in a while.

I attempted to adjust the DFD settings. However, anytime I increase it past around 75 mb, Kontakt player freezes up and I have to force close it. This happens every time. I have it set to 76.29 right now.

Now, every time I load up a score (full marching band score with winds and percussion), I get a notice in the middle of the loading that ways memory is running low and it may cause voice dropouts or other artifacts.

I have a very fast machine with more than enough RAM to run all of this without any issues or poor playback, but I am having trouble tweaking kontakt player to make this run smooth. I really could use some help b/c any DFD adjustments I try to make lead to a crash.


What soundcard/interface are you using?  If it's the stock mainboard audio that came with the Dell, use the Asio4all driver (free) and play with the latency/buffer setting.  I have a similar spec desktop and don't have to mess with my DFD settings at all (also using a SSD drive though.)  Over the years the ";crackling"; people experience is often a result of the latency/buffer setting being too low.
Indeed. With pro audio, a faster processor and lots of RAM may not help your output if you're using one of the low-end soundcards that often come built in to Windows PCs. I'm 95% certain that's what you're probably running into here.

Here's a short article on soundcards that may help explain:
I checked my sound card in device manager and it's an ATI High Definition Audio Device.

I read up on Asio4all and it has rave reviews. My knowledge is limited in this area.  If I install the driver, is that the end of what I have to do (aside from tweaking the latency as you suggested).  Are there any configuration changes I have to make in Sibelius or the rest of my system?

Thanks for the help!

Don't be fooled by the ";High Definition Audio Device"; name. It may be ";high definition"; for web browsers and spreadsheet jockeys, but it's not a soundcard that will give you very reliable performance if you work in audio (as most people here do). Asio4All can be a good bandaid, but it won't take the place of using hardware that was meant for the task of handling a lot of audio.

One other limitation to consider (and I may be wrong on this) is that it's not uncommon for Asio4All to dedicate itself to one audio program at a time. So for instance, if you wanted it to handle your output from Sibelius, that's fine, but if you also wanted to hear output from iTunes while you were writing, you'd have to quit Sibelius first in order for iTunes to access the driver. I'm not sure if this is how it is with all hardware, and if there's a difference on XP versus Windows 7, but it's a caveat you should be aware of since that's a clumsy way to work.

Ultimately, having hardware that's meant for the job will give you the best performance without workarounds like Asio4All. In the meantime, it's probably your best bet though!
Are you sure that's the only device you see in the device manager?  The ATI HD is usually part of the graphics card which has the ability to export audio with the HDMI port.  If you're not using the HDMI port to connect your audio, then it's not being used.  There may also be a 2nd ";High Definition Audio Device"; listed, which is a chip on the mainboard, with the 1/8"; connectors.  

By ";HD"; they mean it can handle a high sample rate for connecting to digital receivers, and has nothing to do with its ability to handle music production.  It's a chip that costs something like $4 to $7 for the mainboard manufacturer to add, and they're all made by Realtek, which does not make any products you'll find at a music store.

So that's the long version of saying ";integrated soundcards on PCs are crap, but Asio4all can help a bit.";  After you install that driver, you will have to tell Sibelius to use it (I think) in the play > playback devices > audio engines menu.

In the end you may want to get an internal or external audio interface that will have its own ASIO driver, and you can disable the mainboard audio completely.  Avoid creative labs, asus, and other consumer/gamer cards from electronics shops, and look at the gear available in a music store.
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