I have been in working with Mark McDuff renovating Farmhouse Studio. New furniture, new wiring, new Digi Icon D-Command Control surface plus a new lick of paint on the floor. It’s looking great! www.markmcduff.com

This week saw us purchase a new Inte I7 Nehlam 2.6ghz Computer.  This was due to Mark purchasing East West’s Composer Collection.  Now the background with this has been, for years Gigasampler was the primary source for orchestral sounds for the projects we did.  With Tascam now discontinuing support for Giga, and Vienna Symphonic Library require a lot of $$$ to update to the new Vienna system, the choice to change over to East West’s Orchestra was made.  We would still use the VSL on the Giga computer as a supplement.

Now all of this was supposed to work fine on Mark’s dual-quad core Mac Pro with 16gig of memory.  However the problem with apple marketing lends you to believe that 10.5 is a 64bit operating system allowing you to use 16gig of memory in a program.  It is actually true, however one problem is that Logic IS NOT natively a 64bit programme, hence you cannot use more than about 3.9gig of memory.  Logic alone takes up approx 1.9gig of memory, not leaving a\lot of the 3.9gig left for samples.

Enter Plogue Bidule.  This is a fantastic program that can be rewired into Logic.  This allows you to use another set of 3.9gig on top of the 3.9 gig in Logic.  Not too bad.  However some problems when changing Logic sessions with rewire crashing, and some performance issues with Play (East West’s sample playback engine) led us to go back to our original concept of running separate computers to generate different sounds.  The holy grail of one computer, one programme, producing all sounds is still a far off dream it seems.  At least until the migration to full 64bit systems and 3rd party software are realised.

Next twist, Play is a 64bit native application.  Yay! However it is only truly 64bit on a Windows system.  The OS X version will allow you to load plugins into ram above 3.9gig, but not utilise streaming instruments, which is where all the power actually lies.  So you cannot load a Steinway piano into ram (52gig!).  Ok, Intel release I7 processor which is amazing by all accounts so we decided to go with it.  In addition to the blazing processor speed, memory bandwidth is far superior by utilising DDR-3 memory in a triple channel configuration.  This means you need to load ram in groups of 3 to fully utilitise the memory bandwidth.  I chose the Asus board which has 6 slots, all filled with 1600mhz 2gig sticks for a total of 12gig.  This is all running on Vista Business 64bit

Now, Plogue Bidule can run native 64bit so SHOULD be able to use Play natively addressing all the 12gig that we put into the I7.  However, we had no end of problems with Play in Plogue Bidule on Vista x64.  As soon as I wired the outputs of play to the asio sound card it would crash.  Other 64bit (x64) VST instruments would load and play fine.  The graphic of Play also seemed to be a little corrupted, but this could also be related to how it was playing.  This was through a different sound card.  Utter despair!

Well, Play is 64bit native on the PC so we could at least load up to 16 instruments in one play performance.  So all was not lost.  However, the way Play standalone works to “save your setup” is archaeic.  It is literally crap, so it was quickly becoming a non-event.  I think there was even mention of going back to Vista 32 to get something that would work by this stage…

more to come