Issue with Spectral: NO more mod assign to any FX param...

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
Deist
KVRist
141 posts since 20 Aug, 2011 from Japan/France

Post Mon Dec 09, 2019 2:17 pm

I hadn't fired Linplug's last flagship synth for quite some time (in fact at least a couple of years) but this past weekend I felt like diving into it again — it's such a deep and unique engine really. (Still no other synth like it to this day I believe)

Anyway, having a brand new PC (yet still using Win7 mind you :wink: ), I dug up the soft + serial and proceeded to install it on my current setup. After browsing a bunch of the factory presets, I very soon started to create a patch of my own... And sure enough that's when I noticed a problem: impossible to map ANY modulation (be it envelope/LFO/Arp, Pitchwheel, Modwheel or any other CC, what have you really) to _ANY_ of the Fx knobs...

So I investigated: I cleared any possible CC mapping, which fixd nothing (there was none anyway, having just installed the thing). So I reinstalled the (64bit) prog, but in demo mode this time, without entering my serial: same result.
I uninstalled everything and installed the 32bit version instead: ditto.
I also tried the 64bit version in 4 different VST hosts: Ableton Live, Renoise, Reaper and VSTHost, but it didn't change anything...

Finally I went back to my old 32bit Vista PC which still has Spectral on its HD and launched it (I couldn't believe I had never noticed such a major flaw before!!): but it WORKED there, everything behaved as it's supposed to!!!

And that's where I'm left at and throw the towel, cause I really haven't a clue where such an issue originates and what more to test.
So I come for help on KVR: does any of you guys know either where this puzzling problem may come from, or at least have more ideas than I do about where/what to search/test?

Any help will be GREATLY appreciated as I won't get much sleep tonight trying to figure this out (to no avail, I already know...). Thanks in advance for any suggestion people!

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wagtunes
KVRAF
17911 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: Issue with Spectral: NO more mod assign to any FX param...

Post Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:08 pm

Question: Did it always do this or did it work at one time? If it never did it and is only doing it on a new install then there's not much you're going to be able to do about it. Linplug is out of the synth business so if it is a bug, for whatever reason, it's not going to get fixed.

I didn't know if you were aware of this or not.

Hopefully, it's user error and somebody can tell you what you need to do to "fix" the problem. Otherwise, you're probably out of luck.

FWIW, I own Spectral but never tried modulating FX, usually limiting myself to filters and envelopes.

Deist
KVRist
141 posts since 20 Aug, 2011 from Japan/France

Re: Issue with Spectral: NO more mod assign to any FX param...

Post Mon Dec 09, 2019 5:35 pm

Thanks for your comment Wag!
wagtunes wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:08 pm
Did it always do this or did it work at one time?
As I explained, it used to work (and still do 100% fine) on my old Vista 32bit PC.
It never did however on my new 64bit Win7 PC: always have the problem no matter what I try...

I believe it isn't a bug per se: Spectral final version is 1.3.1, which means a good bunch of updates and fixes happened before Peter retired Linplug, and I'm confident such an enourmous flaw couldn't have been overlooked (by him AND all the users!!). I'm also confident many owners of Spectral under Win7 on KVR would be able to attest the plugin works flawlessly for them.
Could be a specific bug related to MY particular setup though, sure. That seems like the most likely given everything I've tested to eliminate most other scenarios. If that indeed is the case, then obviously I'm f**ked as long as I'm using this PC.
If it's user error on my part, I'll be damned if I can imagine what it is (installing and using a softsynth properly isn't exactly rocket science, I've done it right countless times until now like most people).
FWIW, I own Spectral but never tried modulating FX, usually limiting myself to filters and envelopes.
Well all I can say is that you're certainly missing out (of course it depends a good deal on what kind of music you're making, ie. what kind of sounds you're crafting). Given the very high sonic quality of Spectral's FX section, in particular the chorus, phaser and reverb, you can achieve stunning stuff like evolving textured pads by modulating some of their parameters.
I don't know many other synths with such a stellar section really, but I know several whose FXs lack a good deal of power and effectiveness on the sound — of the ones I've recently tried out, Dmitry's Diversion and Thorn come to mind: both powerful and deep, especially Thorn with its amazing harmonic filter, but their FXs are rather weak, especially the modulation ones! Their phaser and chorus sound shallow to me, while it is possible to use both in Spectral to reproduce an excellent equivalent of a 70's string machine (albeit not with divide down Osc obviously). Of course one could argue that 70s synth sounds, in particular string machine sounds, are most definitely NOT the focus of DS Audio synthesizers, true. But it certainly wasn't the case for Spectral either, and yet its FX section is powerful and versatile enough to make it possible. I don't think you can achieve the same with Thorn (and prolly not with Diversion either).

In any case, whether you have a use for modulated FX or not, you sure have one for the Wet knob of some FX (Delay, for instance) being partially openable or closable via Modwheel if needed, something which I presently can't do anymore! (Sure I can map directly via MIDI learning, but that's much less powerful and detailed as using the mod matrix to define exactly to what amount I want it to modulate anyway).

I'm as pissed as I'm puzzled by that issue. Does anyone have an idea? (And does anyone EVER experienced anything similar with Spectral?)

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layzer
KVRAF
6674 posts since 11 Jun, 2006

Re: Issue with Spectral: NO more mod assign to any FX param...

Post Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:13 pm

so just stick an external effect and modulate it that way...where theres a will.....
HW SYNTHS [KORG T2EX - AKAI AX80 - YAMAHA SY77 - ENSONIQ VFX]
HW MODULES [OBi M1000 - ROLAND MKS-50 - ROLAND JV880 - KURZ 1000PX]
SW [CHARLATAN - OBXD - OXE - ELEKTRO - MICROTERA - M1 - SURGE - RMiV]
DAW [ENERGY XT2/1U RACK WINXP / MAUDIO 1010LT PCI]

tasty tatsyn
KVRist
397 posts since 19 Jun, 2016

Re: Issue with Spectral: NO more mod assign to any FX param...

Post Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:14 pm

spectral last version working without problems on win10 ....

even mod assigns to FX's...
it's just weird it works on factory presets but not when you start your own presets...
what is your procedure to start a preset?

Deist
KVRist
141 posts since 20 Aug, 2011 from Japan/France

Re: Issue with Spectral: NO more mod assign to any FX param...

Post Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:59 pm

Ok, retiring this thread as I finally found where the problem came from (after many tinkering with the OS, that is). Not a bug with Spectral at all (apparently, it was Windows memory allocation related — very curious as I've never seen a VST working with only one specific section only partially responding (the Fx themselves were applied, just ignoring any modulation) before. I assume it pertains to how Spectral is coded internally...)

Thank you Wagtunes, Layzer and Tatsyn for your replies!
To answer the last 2 BTW:
@Layzer: your suggestion made of course sense as a workaround, but you'll admit it wouldn't have been the same (not mentioning extra CPU charge): for instance, I've done presets including stuff like internal _per-voice_ LFOs modulating some Chorus values (for extra movement and very subtle glitchiness) in a pad, and THAT would not be feasible the same way and with same results using external Fx. Plus I would have lost the advanced Fx routing capabilities of Spectral (each OSC/filter can be routed simultaneously to any 2 of the 6 (7 if you count final EQ at the end of the chain) Fx slots and that too can be internally modulated of course)...

@TastyTatsyn: I explained myself wrong, or at least forgot to mention a detail before: while browsing the factory presets, Fx parameters modulation wasn't working for them either (indeed, retrospectively I realized some of the BigTone ones for example didn't behave as intended), I just only got aware of the problem when programming the synth myself.

Anyways, happy ending: back with joy to a fully working x64 Spectral, and man this synth is still relevant come the end of 2019!! Between the advanced and extended cross-mod types interconnecting 4 custom additive OSCs, freely hand-drawable filter shapes (with optional tracking! Too bad the filters itself can't self-oscillate), plethora of mod sources (12 envelopes and 5 poly-able LFOs man!! Plus the 32 steps Arpeggiator including its own 3 different mod values) manageable in a 24 slots modmatrix, and finally the top-notch quality Fx I previously mentioned (all of whose parameters being modulatable, if you recall the original topic and my issue ;-) + an advanced poly glide section, all wrapped up in 32 voices polyphony, this is still a sound designer's dream like what, 7 years after its release!
I believe it can actually produce some sounds not possible anywhere else (I kinda recall Simon "the magician" from Patchpool writing something along those lines BTW) and would still be a strong contender if it just got released today against the current heavyweigths of the softsynth world (after all Zebra still does too, and its even older than that — not considering its various small upgrades of course). Just my opinion... Yeah, I've missed this synth, and I realize I shouldn't have stopped using it for this long. Even without any more support and with the dev out of business (or maybe because of it!), I'm so glad I did buy it when I had the chance! (I did the same with M-RGT's Ambitron around the same period and never did regret it either despite whatever happened to Boris...)

The only thing I really miss in this beast (apart from self-oscillating filters as said) is a full-fledged sequencer — although the feature-packed Arp can of course fullfill most of the tasks in its place, but I'd have liked (I know, I can plug in an external Seq, but once again I like self-contained patches and synths)

rj0
KVRist
301 posts since 18 Sep, 2010

Re: Issue with Spectral: NO more mod assign to any FX param...

Post Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:16 pm

Deist wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:59 pm
Ok, retiring this thread as I finally found where the problem came from (after many tinkering with the OS, that is). Not a bug with Spectral at all (apparently, it was Windows memory allocation related — very curious as I've never seen a VST working with only one specific section only partially responding (the Fx themselves were applied, just ignoring any modulation) before. I assume it pertains to how Spectral is coded internally...)
Quite interesting, and concerning, as more synths than just Spectral might be impacted by this issue (and yes, I have Spectral running on an old Windows Vista system).

So before entirely retiring this thread, could you, generally at least, describe how you tracked the problem to memory allocation, and then solved it?

Deist
KVRist
141 posts since 20 Aug, 2011 from Japan/France

Re: Issue with Spectral: NO more mod assign to any FX param...

Post Fri Dec 13, 2019 12:07 am

I don't believe there's actual reasons for concern in my little episode. As I said I'm fairly certain that it had nothing to do with Spectral itself, although you're prolly right in saying it may happen if you're not careful — since you're using it under Vista yourself, remember also that my Spectral running on an 10 years old x86 Vista laptop is still working perfect and it's my new install on brand new laptop that got dysfunctional.
As for the way I finally got rid of the problem and made me conclude that Windows memory management was somehow involved: I had a few separate browser windows open, all of them amounting to about a hundred tabs or so and, even though my memory was still very far from full (I have 16 Go of RAM on this laptop, and with all these tabs I reached maybe 20/25% of it filled), closing all browser windows (after backing the session up obviously) fixed the problem with Spectral's FX.
Of course it could also have been some unknown and weird interaction between Firefox and the VSTi, but that's really venturing into esoteric speculation... ;-)

Anyway, as long as you're not having your music-making computer multitask anything behind your DAW+plugins (something Windows is supposed to manage very well, but we all know the myriad of issues that is prone to generate in reality), and better yet not even using any internet connection at all, I surmise you should be fine (note: the present laptop I was using — and having issues with — Spectral is in fact NOT my main music-making comp; that is a desktop PC which has its ethernet cable pulled out unless necessary).

rj0
KVRist
301 posts since 18 Sep, 2010

Re: Issue with Spectral: NO more mod assign to any FX param...

Post Fri Dec 13, 2019 10:57 am

Deist wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 12:07 am
I don't believe there's actual reasons for concern in my little episode. As I said I'm fairly certain that it had nothing to do with Spectral itself, although you're prolly right in saying it may happen if you're not careful — since you're using it under Vista yourself, remember also that my Spectral running on an 10 years old x86 Vista laptop is still working perfect and it's my new install on brand new laptop that got dysfunctional.
As for the way I finally got rid of the problem and made me conclude that Windows memory management was somehow involved: I had a few separate browser windows open, all of them amounting to about a hundred tabs or so and, even though my memory was still very far from full (I have 16 Go of RAM on this laptop, and with all these tabs I reached maybe 20/25% of it filled), closing all browser windows (after backing the session up obviously) fixed the problem with Spectral's FX.
Of course it could also have been some unknown and weird interaction between Firefox and the VSTi, but that's really venturing into esoteric speculation... ;-)

Anyway, as long as you're not having your music-making computer multitask anything behind your DAW+plugins (something Windows is supposed to manage very well, but we all know the myriad of issues that is prone to generate in reality), and better yet not even using any internet connection at all, I surmise you should be fine (note: the present laptop I was using — and having issues with — Spectral is in fact NOT my main music-making comp; that is a desktop PC which has its ethernet cable pulled out unless necessary).
OK, good to know.

I have come across sound setups (such as letting applications get exclusive access to sound devices) that can generate surprises, but nothing quite like what you experienced (I let Reaper get exclusive access, but not my browsers).

Also, some older apps and browsers only use a single core on a multi-core computer, and if that core gets maxed out, bad things happen.

Anyway, thanks for describing. Something to keep aware of.

Thanks again,

rj0

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