Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

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SLiC
KVRAF
3229 posts since 2 Dec, 2004 from North Wales

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:52 am

Interesting…..anyone tried the preview?

Microsoft has released a preview build for Windows 10 that promises to dramatically increase the number of plugins that you can run in your DAW.

The company is testing a ‘FLS Slot Limit Increase’. Here’s what they have to say about it:
“As PCs get more powerful, musicians have created increasingly complex projects with more tracks, more instruments, and deeper effects chains. As a result, some of those musicians were running up against a FLS (Fiber Local Storage) slot allocation ceiling that prevented them from loading into their DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) as many unique plugins as they’d like.

This build greatly raises that per-process FLS slot allocation ceiling, allowing loading potentially thousands of unique plugins.

Beyond musicians, this change will positively impact any application that dynamically loads hundreds or thousands of unique DLLs that have statically-linked Visual C++ runtimes, or otherwise allocate FLS slots.”

We asked Microsoft Windows Pro audio and music person Pete Brown to help us understand what this update means for musicians. He explained that the current limitation has been there for years, but musicians are now running into it, because they’re using beefier systems and creating more and more complex projects:

Microsoft’s Pete Brown

“What was happening was that the DAW was using, say 40 slots itself, and then people with really complex projects were using many unique plugins (not instances, but completely different plugins) in their projects, and were running into problems loading the last ones that would have put the FLS count > 128.

That’s typically a very complex project on a pretty beefy system, but some folks were actually hitting that. The DAW would simply refuse to add an instance of that next plugin. They could use new instances of existing plugins in the DAW, because the code had already been loaded and initialized, but new plugins (new DLLs that haven’t already been loaded into the project) would just fail.
Now, we’d really like developers to dynamically link the runtime so that we could service it (bug and security fixes) without requiring developers to recompile their plugins. But we know that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, and for old plugins: never. So we changed the limit of slots from 128 to just over 4000.

Developers don’t need to do anything, but end users will no longer have their DAW plugin count capped by this limitation. The new count means that, today, users will run out of memory and processor time before they run out of FLS slots. But we’ve made it much easier for us to change in the future if/when we need to make it more than 4000.

The limitation goes back to the Vista and XP timeframe. The reason folks are running into it now, is PCs have gotten so powerful, that musicians are hitting this limit where before they would simply run out of memory or CPU.”

We also asked Brown to give us a layman’s summary of what the FLS change means for musicians:
“It’s a bit hard to put this completely in layman’s terms because it’s a change to the kernel code in Windows. But here’s a shot:

FLS slots are how we manage small in-memory storage locations for what are called “Fibers”. Fibers are lightweight threads. Threads are bits of code that execute in parallel, sometimes on different processor cores. Almost everything done in parallel in a DAW is using either Fibers or Threads to allow that code to be run. How that is handled differs from DAW to DAW.
DAWs are a process that can load external code (plugins) that are contained in DLLs. DLLs (Dynamic Link Libraries) are compiled code that is packaged specifically to be loaded by other processes. DLLs are the main way code is shared on Windows.

Most VST plugins for Windows are compiled using a version of Visual C++. Visual C++ has a runtime library full of functions that are used by anything compiled with it. That runtime library allocates (depending upon version) one or two FLS slots per instance of the library loaded in a process.
Now, for convenience and ease of installation, most plug-in authors statically link that runtime. That means that the runtime code is included inside the plugin DLL, instead of referenced from another DLL. So, if you have 50 different unique plugins loaded in the DAW, and each plugin statically links the runtime, there will be 50 copies of that runtime code loaded into the DAW process. Each copy of that runtime code will allocate one or two FLS slots, so you can end up with between 50 and 100 FLS slots used just by the runtime.

If the plugin dynamically links the runtime (that is, the plugin references a runtime DLL that is installed with the plugin, or is already present on the system), only as many copies of the runtime will be loaded in the DAW process as there are unique versions of that runtime. So, if there are 50 plugins in the process, but collectively they use, say, 5 unique versions of the runtime, there will be only 5 copies of that code loaded into memory. This is obviously better for memory usage, but also better because there will only be between 5 and 10 FLS slots used.

There’s a bit more complexity here based on how the runtime is installed (app local, global, etc.) and the versions available, but this captures the gist of it.

The DAW itself also tends to use a number of FLS slots. This varies significantly by product. The slot may be just for a variable used in the fiber to, say, keep track of a pointer into an audio buffer, or something else.”

If you’re a technically knowledgeable user and have hit this limit in the past, you can test the update. Since it’s pre-release software, Microsoft says that you should use the Insider build on a non-critical PC to test it out. Details are available at Microsoft’s site.

For other users, Microsoft expects to release the change in their upcoming ’19H1′ release. There’s no date set for this release yet, but the name means “first half of 2019”.


Source:


http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2019/ ... -your-daw/
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Scotty
KVRAF
1725 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Re: Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:24 am

This is excellent news. The FLS issue was very hard to diagnose with complex projects. I didn't hit the limit very often but I have hit it on 2 large projects in the past 2 years and the issue was poorly understood. In Cubase , those projects would show the plugin as loaded but they wouldn't process audio making it very difficult to determine why a particular sound (perhaps one deep in the mix) wasn't quite right. Once we understood the cause (about 5 months ago this was discussed at length) we could adjust our workflow but it is going to be great to not have to worry about it.

it will also be good news for companies whose plugins use a lot of FLS slots.. specifically Universal Audio and Izotope. I stopped using many of their plugins for that very reason.
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chk071
KVRAF
18530 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:26 am

Aha, finally. Good thing Microsoft seems to care about stuff like this. :)

SoundPorn
KVRist
480 posts since 24 Jul, 2018

Re: Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:32 am

This is just amazing news in general, Microsoft trying to cater to people who aren't Jeff from Accounting.

chk071
KVRAF
18530 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:33 am

Anyone up to create a project with 4000 instances of OnePingOnly? :D

SLiC
KVRAF
3229 posts since 2 Dec, 2004 from North Wales

Re: Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:44 am

Its great to see MS directly talking about DAWS!

FLS Slot Limit Increase
As PCs get more powerful, musicians have created increasingly complex projects with more tracks, more instruments, and deeper effects chains. As a result, some of those musicians were running up against a FLS (Fiber Local Storage) slot allocation ceiling that prevented them from loading into their DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) as many unique plugins as they’d like. This build greatly raises that per-process FLS slot allocation ceiling, allowing loading potentially thousands of unique plugins. Beyond musicians, this change will positively impact any application that dynamically loads hundreds or thousands of unique DLLs that have statically-linked Visual C++ runtimes, or otherwise allocate FLS slots.
i7 Win 10 + Surface, BWS, StudioOne 4, X32 Desk. Rubicon R8s, DM12, P8, Virus TI, Syst1m, 500hp Eurorack, Elektron A4, RYTM, OT, Heat, Digitone, MPC Live, OP-Z, Mother+DFAM, Drums, Guitars, Basses and Amps

metamorphosis
KVRAF
3774 posts since 8 Jan, 2005 from Hamilton, New Zealand

Re: Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:50 pm

:tu:

Scotty
KVRAF
1725 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Re: Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:47 pm

I get the humour but to clarify... you always could load as many of the same plugin as your computer could handle. The FLS limit applies to the maximum number of unique plugins.. One instance of one ping only uses only 1 FLS slot... 4000 instances of One Ping Only still only uses 1 FLS slot.
chk071 wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:33 am
Anyone up to create a project with 4000 instances of OnePingOnly? :D
Asusp9712Core,RayDats,OASYSPCI,Cubase9,KorgLeg,Avalon737s+2022,UA4710D,6176,DCS,LA610MK2s,Neve, ARC2, Soundtoys,UADOCTO,AdamA7X, SphereMics, BCF+R2000s, DrmBrut,MiniLog,Volcas,MoogSubPhat,EnsqDP4,VirusC,Scope,MinBrut,Plugiator,NIS61 Ultimate,ComposrsCld.

DarkStar
KVRAF
8716 posts since 2 Sep, 2003 from Surrey, UK

Re: Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

Post Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:07 am

Humour me - why "Fiber"?
DarkStar
Interesting, if true ...

chk071
KVRAF
18530 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

Post Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:10 am

Google turned up this as a first result: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/window ... ead/fibers

That's why i love Google BTW. I tried Bing a couple of times recently, when i booted up Microsoft Edge, and, it's really crap compared... don't find anything with it.

DarkStar
KVRAF
8716 posts since 2 Sep, 2003 from Surrey, UK

Re: Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

Post Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:16 am

Ah ha - thank you. Of course a thread is made up of several fibres (UK spelling) :)
DarkStar
Interesting, if true ...

legendCNCD
KVRian
756 posts since 23 Sep, 2004 from there

Re: Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

Post Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:50 am

Daymn they "finally did something". As an Insider since the first Win10 release, I've been asking them to take audio into consideration immediately. I've written quite detailed stuff into their reporting tools about what why and such. Now if we could get ASIO or a new WASAPI included into Win10 with the rumoured 'put all un-needed background tasks away' mode...

Scotty
KVRAF
1725 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Re: Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

Post Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:58 am

Nice to know that some of the insiders along with the vendors were able to get this issue on the map. I know that Steinberg was involved in discussions based on forum posts.


Now you know what would be great ? If all those tech youtube stars would start running a few audio tests along with all their game specs. We are seriously limited in getting good audio performance numbers with a notable exception being scanaudio . If we could lobby Linus and Jays Two Cents and Gamer's Nexus and others to run a few audio performance benchmarks it would be very helpful. All of those guys have teams with some audio experience.
legendCNCD wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:50 am
Daymn they "finally did something". As an Insider since the first Win10 release, I've been asking them to take audio into consideration immediately. I've written quite detailed stuff into their reporting tools about what why and such. Now if we could get ASIO or a new WASAPI included into Win10 with the rumoured 'put all un-needed background tasks away' mode...
Asusp9712Core,RayDats,OASYSPCI,Cubase9,KorgLeg,Avalon737s+2022,UA4710D,6176,DCS,LA610MK2s,Neve, ARC2, Soundtoys,UADOCTO,AdamA7X, SphereMics, BCF+R2000s, DrmBrut,MiniLog,Volcas,MoogSubPhat,EnsqDP4,VirusC,Scope,MinBrut,Plugiator,NIS61 Ultimate,ComposrsCld.

PieBerger
KVRist
169 posts since 23 May, 2012 from London

Re: Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

Post Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:12 am

While I've never hit the current ceiling myself, it's great to see Microsoft taking a serious interest in it's audio/production user base. Hopefully this is a sign that they will look at improving/optimising other aspects of Windows to our benefit.
Always Read the Manual!

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AsPeeXXXVIII
KVRist
388 posts since 17 Aug, 2015 from Finland

Re: Microsoft Windows 10 Update Will Let You Use More Virtual Instruments & Effects In Your DAW

Post Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:11 am

For once, Win10 is getting an actually good update.
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