[Wine] Kontakt doesn't respond to Akai USB MIDI Keyboard

Yiannis Liverezas iliverez at gmail.com
Wed Sep 8 08:05:08 CDT 2010

On Tue, 2010-09-07 at 20:15 -0400, jordan wrote:
> Hello,
> > I can use kontakt with wine (wineasio, etc), but it is difficult to achieve
> > low latency for playing with a midi keyboard without pops and clicks. I have
> > even tried wine with the wine-rt patch. Could you provide some information
> > about your system (cpu, memory, audio interface) and jack and kontakt/wine
> > configuration?
> The clicks and pops could be caused by poor irqbalancing, shared IRQs
> or something is getting higher priority
> than your audio stuff, and causing interference. one of your
> schedulers might need some adjusting, depending.

I will check this further. In fact, I use two soundcards at the same
time, the motherboard's one at irq22 and the M-Audio at irq19. However,
when dealing with audio production, I use jack only with M-Audio. The
intelHDA just rests idle. First step will be to completely disable the
MB soundcard from the BIOS. I will investigate if the relative irqs are
shared with other devices.

> how about your alsa.conf??? any of your own configurations.
> One that might be important in this context is:
> "options snd_usb_audio nrpacks=1"  - usb runs at full speed (if your
> midi-keyboard/audio device is using USB).

I will check this also, although the only physical midi connection I
have currently is from the Roland-TD4 Vdrum midi-out to the midi-in
socket of the M-Audio, no USB device. However, in the past, when running
Fedora 11 with CCRMA packages and using an ESI USB->midi cable,
performance was awful. For keyboards, strings or whatever else I use
VMPK or a sequencer, until I get a real keyboard ;)

> Do you use anything in /etc/fstab to speed up your HD, as well as
> minimizing disk-writes? this may affect Kontakt,
> as it can potentially be accessing your harddisk, quite a bit. are you
> using DFD in Kontakt, or running samples from memory (from memory is
> often better, although it will eat up your RAM) I minimize my DFD
> usage...
If available, I use the sampler mode. Are you aware of specific tweaks
in /etc/fstab that I could use?

> as i do not own m-audio, i am not sure of the best settings there, i
> would experiment, or look around forums for the ideal settings. i
> would use lower quality settings, with lowest latency and work my way
> up from 44100-16bit to 96-24bit.
I will continue experimenting. Currently, I have got the best results
with 96000 16bit and 256 frames. However, using vsthost (dssi-vst)  with
superior drummer works flawlessly in many other combinations, even when
using large samples (totalling ~1.2GB).

> Right now, i am using;   ( i say right now, because i am building a
> much faster, rackmount PC )
> Dell Inspiron 6400, 1.6 CoreDuo, 1gig DDR2 ram. 320gig SATA.
> I have an IntelHDA(STAC9200) and an Edirol FA-101(firewire).
> (Not very high-specs but works just fine, this was my testing ground
> before i bought my rack.)
So my hardware should be adequate for running Kontakt.

> Fedora 13 (with Planet CCRMA packages, minus the CCRMA kernel)
> my kernel: 2.6.34-zen2.i686  (Zen-kernel compiled,
> customized/optimized by me) with some CFLAGS for optimizations, like
> compiling native to my CPU only, and i select only modules my system
> requires ("make localmodconfig") I also use some fairly harsh
> optimizations, which i can't recommend. i have to modify kernel code,
> before compiling, so that it doesn't break and not boot, and so my
> wireless driver works properly. lol.
> -kernel with preemption enabled, but I do NOT use igno-molnar's
> rt-patches, nor rtirq.
> -I do NOT use Irqbalance ( i balance them manually, and save my
> configuration in /etc/rc.local for startup)
> -I use the "BFS cpu-scheduler", finely-tuned for low-latency. (again
> tuning saved in rc.local for startup)
> -I use BFQ IO-scheduler, tuned for optimal IO operation on a SMP
> system. (again rc.local)

Could you post or send me your configurations for rc.local?

> Jack 1.9.6 (compiled myself)
> -"classic Jack", as in no jackdbus or ladish...
> - I use Jack-midi always, unless i am using wineASIO with a standalone
> app. wineASIO uses ALSA-midi.
>   which is usually fine if i am playing keyboard live, just keep
> jack's frames small.
> - start jackd/qjackctl with: "/usr/bin/jackd -P89 -p128 -t8000 -dalsa
> -dhw:0 -r44100 -p128 -n2 -P -Xseq" (intelHDA).
>   (i also disable audio in, in alsamixer, as if i am recording
> audio-in i won't be using IntelHDA anyway)
> - i'll have get back to you on my firewire startup (it's not in front
> of me, right now).

I tried these settings, both with the intelHDA and the M-Audio, but no
real progress was achieved.

> - * I also run Qjackctl with the command 'schedtool -I -e qjackctl'.
> what this does is use a feature in BFS, that will give jackd and all
> of it's threads a higher priority. it is called SCHED_ISO. Jack's main
> thread will use FIFO, but all others will use SCHED_ISO, which has a
> global setting of "75" on my machine.

I will try this tonight. Should I suppose that this is connected with
the above mentioned configurations in rc.local?

> In my kernel config, for Zen-kernel(www.zen-kernel.org), there is a
> setting to SCHED_ISO on X(xorg). I DONT use this setting, as my audio
> needs priority above everything. this way i experience smooth audio,
> no interference from my system. I can even use wireless while making
> music, without it causing xruns.(which is known to happen).

Interesting, I will check the AVLinux kernel build options

> *** Wine 1.3.1 (compiled by me, standard version/not RT-wine)
> - i only select features i am using. ie: no pulseadio, ISDN, etc.
This may make a difference, I use wine 1.2

> - Useful Registry Keys: AlsaDriver--->UseDirectHW
Tried this, but had no obvious effect

> - Only ALSA selected in winecfg
> - all debugging turned off. either in the registry or "WINEDBG=-all".
I also use this option. With debug enabled, I noticed that  moving
Kontakt in a separate workspace or minimizing its window improves
performance. Actually when the window is not actively rendered most of
the debug messages are not generated anymore.

> - Winetricks, when needed too.
> -other performance tweaks, i can't think of off-hand.
> My setup, isnt exactly run of the mill or the standard for RT,
> pro-audio in Linux. But on this machine, my method works awesome. I do
> know how to optimize the standard schedulers + RT, and i still do
> compare the two, but the way i am doing it, seems to be best for me. I
> can make music for hours and hours without problems, and i can record
> tracks in ardour just great...
> > Also, when using larger buffers and driving kontakt from a software
> > sequencer, e.g. tuxguitar, I usually get distortions when playing chords.
> interesting, i've never used tux-guitar. I do experience distortion on
> chords if alsamixer is set higher than about 75-80% (80% is actually
> 100% gain, so above and beyond that, is actually over-driven in ALSA).
> i would try lowering your gain, and also the gain in Kontact, until it
> doesn't distort anymore. if that isn't the case, use smaller frames.
> I always use 128, even when running 3-4 synths with FX, or editing
> 12tracks in ardour, while recording a synthline..
> I only use larger frames, when doing "post-production", like FX,
> automation and mastering.
I noticed this morning that when this distortion happens, I instantly
get high cpu usage, from 60% to 100% and then back to normal. This is
more evident when I use two instruments at the same time with a
sequencer, e.g. rosegarden, even if those instruments are really small
(both in sampler mode less than 20MB).

> my "craptop" with "the dreaded intelHDA"(so they say) almost is always
> happy with 128frames. I keep mentioning the IntelHDA, because i
> actually use it more than Firewire. As carrying around the FA-101 to a
> jam, isn't really required. it is only handy for recording multiple
> audio tracks at once.
> I use a combination of "jacker" - a small midi-tracker for some
> sequencing (it's very lite) and i use seq24 sometimes as well. then, i
> just record right into ardour, with some cut and paste techniques,
> bouncing tracks.
> the kind of thing you do on slower machines. (like i used to do in
> Protools on my old G4 mac)
> > I use a dual core Athlon 5200+, 3gb ram, M-Audio 2496 with 32 bit real time
> > kernel PAE (AV Linux 4). I mostly run kontakt as a VST plugin with vsthost,
> > since I cannot "see" the midi inputs when running as standalone.
> Nice hardware :)
> as Standalone with WineASIO - you need to have midi-seq enabled in
> Jackd. then you will see midi, under the ALSA tab in Jack. From my own
> experience, i would say either run it as a standalone with lower
> frames(alsa-midi needs smaller frames to be more accurate), or use it
> with FST, which will give you Jack-midi. using the rt-wine shouldn't
> really matter,  in fact FIFO scheduling Windows applications is a good
> way to cause a soft/hard lockups of your system, if a plugin glitches
> out.
Hmmm...When I try Kontakt with fst it usually crashes or hangs. I will try again though.
Also removing the JACK option from winecfg, provided midi inputs and
outputs in standalone mode.

> if you do run them with FIFO, don't run them with a high number...
> VSThost is great, but you might want to use SAVIhost instead. Lots of
> plugins may cause xruns in VSThost that won't give you issues with
> SAVIhost/FST/or as a standalone Windows app(WineASIO).
> I don't use any windows VST host for this reason alone.....
Maybe I was not clear here. With vsthost I meant the executable from dssi-vst. But I will give savihost a try.

> > Could you also post which instruments/libraries/NI plugins you use and work
> > fine?
> I own NI Komplete. I mainly use Battery3, Massive, Absynth, but also
> FM8, GuitarRig, Kontact.
> Some of them cause xruns on startup, Battery works flawless, no xruns,
> except when switching kits.
> Massive and Absynth work the best. Massive never causes xruns, even at
> 64frames. Abynsth only causes 2xruns on startup. these three are my
> favorites. Kontakt i use alot too, in various forms, ie: "gariton
> personal orcestra" or with the stock Kontakt programs.  I also use
> M-tron Pro a lot, it works great, and almost never causes xruns, has
> only happened 2-3 times(ever) when i was switching programs. Kore2
> player may also work for you depending, but my system can't keep up,
> it is too slow for that. ( i can use it, but it has crashed once or
> twice, or i get splashes of xruns). But my machine is old, so i am not
> surprised.
> all of the NI synths i usually run standalone (as i am playing them by
> hand and recording), while if i was sequencing i would for sure be
> using FST for Jack-midi or a2j. I always run Battery3 with FST.
> Beyond that (as i could go on listing plugins forever). the easist way
> to find out what plugins are well-supported in Wine/linux, is to take
> a good look through www.kvr-audio.com. ANY plugin that is "Recepter
> Compatible" will run perfectly fine. this is because the Receptor is
> built on linux and wine. There are many many others that will work as
> well, because Receptor uses an older, probably custom version of Wine.
> And newer versions of wine, probably can support more. but there will
> be some trial and error, here. just so you know!
It seems that most things can work fine in linux and also could work
fine with my hardware. So I just have to find out the correct
> I hope that helps.
Indeed :)

> jordan

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