[LAD] Has anyone ever played a plugin in realtime ... [related to:] hard realtime performance synth

Fernando Lopez-Lezcano nando at ccrma.Stanford.EDU
Wed Feb 10 18:32:48 UTC 2010

On Thu, 2010-02-04 at 20:30 +0100, Emanuel Rumpf wrote:
> 2010/2/4 Arnold Krille <arnold at arnoldarts.de>:
> > On Thursday 04 February 2010 18:50:28 Emanuel Rumpf wrote:
> >> Has anyone ever played a plugin in realtime ( live )...
> >> ...and I don't mean a one-finger melody, but a mutli-polyphonic piano
> >>  piece, eventually with sustain held down, which resulted in about 20 to 40
> >>  simultaneusly processed voices.


> > Yes, I have. I believe Ken Restivo, Atte Andre Jensen and many others too.
> >
> Reliably ? At a latency below 10 ms ?
> Which synth ? I don't intend to mistrust you, but I remain
> disbelieving for now. :-)
> Linuxsampler is well written and reliable, but
> when playing intensely, it xran too here.

I've been working for a while in a piece for real-time synthesis /
sample playback and a piano controller (and pedals, etc, etc). I
normally play with my laptop, a dual core lenovo t61 running the latest
rt patched kernel and: linuxsampler at 96 voices max (4 different piano
samples), two instances of the supercollider synthesis engine doing
synthesis and spatialization, a program in supercollider controlling the
whole thing (including the GUI feedback screen for the performer),
jconvolver for convolution reverb and ambdec for ambisonics decoding.
All with a PCMCIA RME card and a Multiface running at 128x2 48KHz. 

It can glitch but if it does it is because it has actually run out of
cpu (and I have had a couple of instances in rehearsal where I'm playing
textures so thick that the supercollider scheduling queue has filled up
with not so good results, argh :-)

All in all quite reliable (I played an earlier version of the piece in
last year's LAC). 

-- Fernando

> >> We have dedicated hardware for graphics, why not for audio ?
> >
> > There are manufacturers selling dedicated PCI-cards to do VST-plugin work and
> > free your cpu of that.
> >
> Interesting, although uneligible for my laptop..
> > But whats the purpose of running some piece of (almost)
> > generic software on generic platforms, when you still need specialised
> > hardware?
> >
> Being generic means (for the platform) to support a bunch of
> specialised applications.
> It doesn't bother much to buy additional hardware, in order to make
> the system more generic, but not being able to make it
> generic enough for being able to use it for a cerain specialised application.
> We are used to extend the systems usability through additional peripherials
> such as graphic-cards, audio-cards, printers....
> That's what has made it a success.
> > Of course you can buy dedicated audio-hardware. Its called keyboards and
> > synths and mixers and effects (outboard).
> >
> These make me lose the generality.
> > But isn't it easier to have it all in software and carry it around on your
> > pc/laptop/usb-stick?
> >
> It absolutely would, if it gave me the same reliability.
> > Please give us some pointers to help you improve performance on your definitely
> > un-tuned and probably mis-configured system before making our work bad in
> > general.
> >
> I'm not making it bad. I'm even searching for a way to
> make it more valueable by making it more usable.
> I don't think my system is so badly configured - how to measure ?
> It's not the most recent hardware, I admit.
> > Have fun,
> Thanks

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