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Old 09-29-2019, 08:48 PM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Louisville, KY, USA
Posts: 1,057
Default First Gig Went Flawlessly

Last night I was able to use my Alesis Vortex 2 Wireless Keytar during a live show with my band. It went exceptionally well!

I decided to use NI Maschine as VSTi host due to their excellent browser capability. The instrument browser searches all NI products at the same time which is a considerable time saver vs browsing each separate plugin individually. On the other hand, it limits you to browsing the NI products. Other VSTi's have to be handled separately, even Arturia Analog Lab 4 which is supposed to be NKS compatible, ASFAIK.

The problem I ran into with Maschine was not being able to figure out a way to MIDI control the Master Volume from the Keytar. There may be a way, but I could not figure out how before the show. My solution was to run Maschine from inside REAPER and MIDI control the REAPER track fader containing Maschine.

The setup:
Laptop using the integrated soundcard and the WASAPI driver, headphones output to keyboard amp.
Keytar connected wirelessly to laptop (it uses its own Bluetooth dongle).
One track in REAPER, with Maschine as VST, set to all MIDI from the keytar, record armed, and track monitoring active.
Individual instrument patches in separate "slots" in Maschine, each set to different MIDI channel.

I only have about 8 patches set up so far. No problems running out of CPU since I'm only actively playing one patch at a time from the keytar. As best I can tell, the VSTi's don't use any CPU until they're being played. Though, they do appear to fill up the RAM. Task Manager showed 40% usage of the 8 GB of RAM on the laptop.

NI and REAPER report drastically different latency from the WASAPI driver. I don't know which is more accurate, but either way it's playable so far. NI reports a round-trip latency of 8.1ms but REAPER reports the latency as 0.4ms. So, maybe it's 8.5ms total since I'm hosting a host? I don't know. I play the keys and there is basically no perceptible latency, and I'm pretty latency sensitive when it comes to instrument playing. That's the main reason I'm so late to the VSTi game in general. I was never able to achieve playable performance before.

The WASAPI driver is set to: 96 kHz, 16 bit, 256 buffer.
The integrated soundcard has a 192 kHz setting available, but using it offered no reduction in latency vs 96 kHz as reported by Maschine (I didn't compare in REAPER). I don't need 24 bit at the moment since I'm not processing any inputs at all yet. I don't know if I'm getting any latency reduction due to lower bit depth since I didn't measure both options.
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