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EastWest has announced that the PLAY 3 Software Update is now available for download (currently v3.0.15).

PLAY 3 has been greatly improved and optimized on both Mac and Windows platforms. Sample Streaming and CPU performance have been improved, and for the first time the user can now set their maximum voices all the way up to 2,048, double the amount possible in PLAY 2.

On Mac OS 10.6 and later PLAY is now fully 64-bit, allowing you to load larger projects than ever before. Both saving and loading times are now improved (especially when using the new "Fast Disk Mode" - see below).

Apart from optimizations, EastWest have also solved several bugs and known issues that were present in previous versions of PLAY, making this the most stable and robust version to date.

Fixed and enhanced in PLAY 3:

  • Optimized performance on all platforms, including increased 'max voices' setting now up to 2,048.
  • Added 64 bit compatibility on Mac OS 10.6 (AU, VST, and Standalone).
  • Added 'Fast Disk Mode' feature for Mac for enhanced streaming and faster load times.
  • Improved save times.
  • Added 'autosave' feature (standalone only).
  • Fixed potential noise bursts.
  • Fixed other minor bugs on all platforms.

This update is recommended for all owners of PLAY 1.0 and above on Mac OS X (10.5 and later Intel Macs) and Windows (all versions). All installed PLAY Virtual Instruments (Software) will be updated by this Play Software Update.

"Fast Disk Mode" setting on Mac
This setting, available in your 'Settings > Streaming' tab in PLAY 3, is a new optimization for use with Solid State Drives (SSD) and fast mechanical hard drives. This setting increases the ratio of samples streamed directly from your hard drive from those typically loaded into memory.

The "Fast Disk Mode" will greatly improve your loading times. Even if not using an SSD, user's on high quality mechanical drives should see improved loading times using this option, so EW suggest experimenting with this if you are running into long load times for your projects.

Why isn't there a "Fast Disk Mode" setting on Windows?
Due to PLAY 3 already being optimized for both 64-bit and SSD technology in Windows, this setting is not necessary.

Is Wordbuilder also 64-bit on Mac?
The Wordbuilder component of Symphonic Choirs is not yet 64-bit compatible on Mac. EW are working on this and anticipate releasing it soon, however currently this will still work as a 32-bit component. For projects using this EW suggest using the host either in 32-bit mode, or if your host supports using both 32 and 64-bit plugins (such as Logic) you can still use this in your 64-bit projects as a 32 bit PLAY instance.

What kind of loading time improvements should I expect to see?
Loading times are now improved in PLAY 3, however know that in many cases these are scaled towards larger loads. This means that your big projects and big instruments (such as the large Hollywood Strings 'powerful system' patches) will see a greater improvement than a single smaller instrument.

Some benchmarks for loading time improvements:

Mac:

  • Logic project containing Hollywood Strings, QL Pianos, and Symphonic Choirs (approx. 3GB):
    • PLAY 2.1.2 (512 buffer / 'medium' engine setting) : 11:45.
    • PLAY 3 (512 buffer / 'medium' engine setting): 7:28.
    • PLAY 3 (512 buffer / 'medium' engine setting/ 'Fast Disk Mode' enabled): 4:05.

Windows:

  • Cubase (64 bit) project containing Hollywood Strings, QL Pianos, and Symphonic Choirs (approx. 6GB):
    • PLAY 2.1.2 (512 buffer / 'medium' engine setting): 5:15.
    • PLAY 3 (512 buffer / 'medium' engine setting): 3:48.
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