ASIO Guard discussion

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-steve-
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Re: Interesting ASIO-Guard Observation

Post by -steve- »

What Lights says makes sense.

I want to know this:

When they say "VST Instruments with more than one MIDI input" does that include multitimbral instruments all the time or just when they are being used on more than one midi channel?

Kontakt is supported according to the Plugin info window, but it has more than one midi input. Also it uses disk streaming, as far as I know...

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Re: Interesting ASIO-Guard Observation

Post by lights »

I haven't tried it, and I'm not sure you'll know if ASIO Guard is working or not, but I assume Kontakt and Omnisphere (both use disk streaming and both are multitimberal) will not benefit from ASIO Guard whether you check the checkbox to turn it on or not. My guess is you're best to just freeze those tracks.
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Re: Interesting ASIO-Guard Observation

Post by -steve- »

That makes sense...

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Re: Interesting ASIO-Guard Observation

Post by emotive »

lights wrote:I don't think that VSTs support ASIO natively when used in a VST host.
SB have developed a technology that can only work with certain plugin configurations.

Not all plugs require the sample accurate synchronization that ASIO can provide, i.e. overhead.

Anything that rules out compatibility is another issue I'm afraid :oops:

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Re: Interesting ASIO-Guard Observation

Post by lights »

emotive wrote:
lights wrote:
emotive wrote: I don't think that VSTs support ASIO natively when used in a VST host.
SB have developed a technology that can only work with certain plugin configurations.

Not all plugs require the sample accurate synchronization that ASIO can provide, i.e. overhead.

Anything that rules out compatibility is another issue I'm afraid :oops:
I'm still really having trouble understating what you're saying :( and without relevant references quoted here, I'm not sure I will be able to catch up. Given that ASIO Guard appears to be a look-ahead buffering system (increasing buffers on tracks that aren't record-enabled, as I believe Helge said) or do some some sort of pre-rendering, I don't think it has any reliance on sample-accurate sync. After all, you can freeze or offline render any VST.

In any event, I guess we can all experiment and see what works best. Sadly almost all of my primary VSTis are multitimberal (receive multiple MIDI inputs and have multiple audio outputs) and therefore excluded.
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Re: Interesting ASIO-Guard Observation

Post by emotive »

What I think the ASIO Guard technology is, is a way for the sequencer to map buffers according to expected demand, that is what is already in the pipeline but as of now it only can support mono-timbral instruments, due to the lack of multi-timbral VST instrument tracks.

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ASIO Guard... Complete FAIL for Me

Post by lights »

I decided to pull up a recent project that I completed with Cubase 6 and try it out on Cubase 7 to see if ASIO Guard helped at all. This project is pretty heavily packed and I needed to increase my latency to finish mixing it.

My system is Win7 x64, Cubase 6/7 x64; i7 980x, 18GB RAM. M-Audio ProFire 2626. Hyperthreading turned off.
The project is 44.1/32bit, uses some multichannel VSTis (Omnisphere, Trillian, Tremor) and single channel VSTis (Kontakt, Iris) but they are all frozen. So really all we're talking is many channels of audio with lots of effect plugins. There are 13 group channels all with at least one insert, some fully loaded with 6, and about 45 tracks, many of which have inserts (some have none). There were no effects enabled on the master channel (some were inserted but their power buttons are off.)
I use Control Room and have IKMM ARC2 inserted on the main 2ch output with room correction enabled.

In Cubase 6, the project had an occasional ASIO peak overload with my audio interface's buffer set to 256 samples. But it played without audible distortion or breakups with that buffer setting.

In Cubase 7 without ASIO Guard, the peaks were more frequent, and there were a few clicks, but it wasn't THAT much worse. Don't get me wrong, though Cubase 6 performed better than Cubase 7.

In Cubase 7 with ASIO Guard, there was constant fuzzy distortion and the project was constantly peaking. It was unplayable. This was a major disappointment.

So I turned hyperthreading on (as was recommended by Steinberg) and this just made things worse for Cubase 7 in both ASIO Guard on/off configurations.

Overall, it appears that despite the fact that there really weren't any VSTis loaded and all I'm dealing with is either frozen or recorded audio playing through effects, ASIO Guard not only failed to improve performance, but significantly degraded it.

I'd love to know if I'm missing some magic here.
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Re: ASIO Guard... Complete FAIL for Me

Post by fizbin »

Probably a red herring, but what's your firewire chipset?

Not knowing that, can you go into device manager and fish out the hardware ID for me?

Any reason you need 32 bit audio? Done deal, but seems overkill to me. Maybe next time.

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Re: ASIO Guard... Complete FAIL for Me

Post by lights »

I think that the variable the FW chipset being the same for both Cubase 6 and 7 rules it out as any sort of culprit. The system is rock solid and has worked flawlessly with Cubase 6. Cubase 7 without ASIO Guard performs *almost* as well. (Which I might expect because new features have been added to the mix console.) The only variable is ASIO Guard, and when enabled, performance is far worse.

Are you asking because you have seen different behavior with heavily-loaded projects? Are you seeing ASIO Guard actually improve things? (Talking Win7 x64 here.)

I use 32bit because the mixing with Cubase DVD series I watched (produced by Steinberg) strongly recommends it.
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Re: ASIO Guard... Complete FAIL for Me

Post by fizbin »

I'm asking because there are better FW chipsets for audio than others.

If you've already got it figured out, then turn off ASIO guard and get on with it. Sounds like things were acceptable before.

I've got C7 installed, just haven't worked with it much yet. I tried simple playback on one (previously C6.5) heavy project with ASIO guard and it seemed to do OK.

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Re: ASIO Guard... Complete FAIL for Me

Post by lights »

They were ok yes but daws like Reaper do better because of features similar to ASIO Guard. ASIO guard should improve, not degrade performance for projects like mine. When I get complex projects I should no longer need to increase latency with ASIO Guard.

Hopefully Steinberg will reply with some explanation.
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Re: ASIO Guard... Complete FAIL for Me

Post by emotive »

lights wrote:They were ok yes but daws like Reaper do better because of features similar to ASIO Guard.
What's the equivalent feature in the DAW mentioned?

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Re: ASIO Guard... Complete FAIL for Me

Post by lights »

Reaper has a feature called 'anticipative' rendering. The DAW renders channels in the background which reduces loa substantially. It is similar to ASIO Guard in its goals.
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Re: ASIO Guard... Complete FAIL for Me

Post by emotive »

So would you say it's a kind of freeze, whereas the ASIO guard technology does not so much render but instead allocates buffers for expected streaming demand?

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Re: ASIO Guard... Complete FAIL for Me

Post by lights »

Yes, anticipative rendering is a different way to achieve a similar goal. Maybe a better, more effective way. After all, "allocating a buffer" is just rendering further in advance. Reaper developers realize that there's a lot of idle time during the mixing process and uses that to actually render channels and effects further in advance than milliseconds.
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Re: ASIO Guard... Complete FAIL for Me

Post by emotive »

lights wrote:Reaper developers realize that there's a lot of idle time during the mixing process and uses that to actually render channels and effects further in advance than milliseconds.
Good idea, maybe Cubase can have it one day, but for professional audio I much prefer the ASIO guard approach notwithstanding it's limitations around disk streaming and multi-timbral VSTi's.

I wonder if it is possible to use single instances of a multi-timbral instrument, without any disk streaming or if conformance is pre-defined.

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Re: ASIO Guard... Complete FAIL for Me

Post by lights »

Well in my case ASIO Guard simply doesn't work. It actually makes things worse. So I'm not sold.
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Re: ASIO Guard... Complete FAIL for Me

Post by MaXxive »

Never worked for me as well.

Ofcourse, I did really take a plunge. Moved from Windows 7 to 8. Moved from Cubase 6.5 to 7 and moved from 32bit Cubase to 64-bit Cubase. Also using JBridge now.

All of those combined made my life hell. Whenever I just clicked on the workarea and hold my mouse, the ASIO meters would go up... This was while NOT recording or playing even :S

I turned of ASIO Guard and it's very workable right now. I also fixed some plugins to 64-bit now and I can mix and record like crazy now! With ASIO Guard on, I couldn't record a simple bassline audio for more then 15 seconds :S It would hickup and then stop recording.
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Re: ASIO Guard discussion

Post by Conman »

I think that if you had a lot of problems with C6.5 then ASIO guard will not be a panacea for all the problems. In any case it seems to work at my end but the effect is negligible. I think as it's use continues that some will find better uses for it than others.
For myself I think it's a bit early to finalise my opinion on it as viable (both my opinion AND ASIO guard) until I decide that C7 is mature enough for main usage, probably a couple of months.

I do think that the manual needs to be clarified as something seems to have been lost at the translation.

Looks like it's even more important to chivvy those 3rd party VST makers to get into 64bit or sack them and phase out the use of bridges. If the VSTs aren't 64bit by now then they likely never will be. If you're using shedloads of tracks and instruments and FX then you WILL get a lot of trouble. The more off-mainstream bits and bobs you use the more likely they will fall off and take your Project with them.
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Re: ASIO Guard discussion

Post by lights »

I've given up all 32bit plugins completely. So in my initial example above all is x64 native. I'm going to experiment more and I hope I find out why the project isn't playing substantially better. I thought ASIO Guard would allow me to keep my interface set to very low latencies, but it seems to require a HIGHER latency to function at all so I'm confused.
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Re: ASIO Guard discussion

Post by Conman »

lights wrote:I've given up all 32bit plugins completely. So in my initial example above all is x64 native. I'm going to experiment more and I hope I find out why the project isn't playing substantially better. I thought ASIO Guard would allow me to keep my interface set to very low latencies, but it seems to require a HIGHER latency to function at all so I'm confused.
That actually makes sense to me because it's purpose is to compensate for higher latencies delay so it's effect on lower latencies will be negligible.
So if you have a high track count plus a lot of power sapping FX etc then it might pay one to set the latency higher, thus reducing CPU load, and use, like me, a drum kit to play into GA1 with the least amount of latency.
I'm still working on it too though to see just what does or does not work.
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Re: ASIO Guard discussion

Post by lights »

That isn't how I understood it. I understood ASIO Guard as a feature that allowed you to set a low latency for your audio interface and any track that wasn't record-enabled (and met the ASIO Guard criteria) would be pre-buffered with a higher latency.

This would allow you to monitor record-armed tracks with no perceptible delay, but still have a high track count loaded with effects that would have, without ASIO Guard, required much higher latency.
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Re: ASIO Guard discussion

Post by JMCecil »

lights wrote:I've given up all 32bit plugins completely. So in my initial example above all is x64 native. I'm going to experiment more and I hope I find out why the project isn't playing substantially better. I thought ASIO Guard would allow me to keep my interface set to very low latencies, but it seems to require a HIGHER latency to function at all so I'm confused.
Keep one thing in mind, this was primarily written to address issues in OSX. I think on Win we are probably relegated to MIDI record timing delay compensation as the real ASIO Guard benefit. Conman your "this is logical" post isn't logical at all.

What I can't figure out is what it does when the combined delay of insert delay is > than the ASIO Guard buffer. Sometimes it seems to work and other times not. I haven't been able to isolate a particular plug that might be the culprit, but that is usually where it ends up with stuff like that. It seems, that ASIO Guard works great with the new UAD plugs for example. I can bring the buffers down without having the UADs CPU munching. But I sure don't know how to reconcile the latency information with the reported buffers.

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Re: ASIO Guard discussion

Post by JMCecil »

I meant to add, that I'm surprised that it works with UAD (or seems to), as I thought it would get treated as "external" by ASIO Guard and disable asio guard on the track. It may be doing that though.
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Re: ASIO Guard discussion

Post by Conman »

lights wrote:That isn't how I understood it. I understood ASIO Guard as a feature that allowed you to set a low latency for your audio interface and any track that wasn't record-enabled (and met the ASIO Guard criteria) would be pre-buffered with a higher latency.

This would allow you to monitor record-armed tracks with no perceptible delay, but still have a high track count loaded with effects that would have, without ASIO Guard, required much higher latency.
Hm. I can see that makes sense as well. As I haven't yet tried it with higher latency I'll have to try it and see if it works as I think it's meant to. I'm getting used to people saying I'm not logical without any explanation as to why.
I don't have to say others are illogical. All I do is state a case without trivialising the personal.
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