DPI Scaling (host & plug-in) issues, questions, and observations

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Topic Starter
6 posts since 12 May, 2006

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 3:05 pm


I've been trying to muddle my way through dealing with some plug-ins (Izotope in particular) that don't want to play nice as far as scaling at a readable size on my 4K / 15.6" laptop screen (running Windows 10). As I'm many of you know, very high resolution on a relatively small screen can make for some pretty tiny graphical elements if they're not coded with very high DPI in mind.

Anyway, I thought I'd share my observations and see if there might be any suggestions from the developers or other users.

In short, Izotope plug-ins were showing up tiny when I opened them in Acoustica. They were essentially unreadable/unusable at this size. I had a similar issue with some Waves plugins before I realized the Waves plugins at least have a drop-down menu where you can choose different scaling percentages. The Izotope plugins scale in a fashion too, by clicking and dragging a handle on the bottom right of the plugin interface... but while the overall layout of the plugin UI increases in size, the text elements remain tiny and nearly impossible to read.

After some research, I realized that there are some per-program scaling settings in Windows 10. I played around in those and came to the following conclusions:

1) Scaling performed by APPLICATION (see figures 1-3 below):
This appears to be the default, as with this enabled things were the same as I described in the second full paragraph above. Certain plug-ins show up ridiculously tiny, and even some that allow you to increase the size manually still have tiny, unreadable text. Another thing I noticed here is that the menu text, etc. in Acoustica itself appears very sharp with this setting. See figures 1-3 below for illustrations of what I'm talking about.

2) Scaling performed by SYSTEM or SYSTEM (ENHANCED) (see figures 4-5 below):
This makes the plug-ins scale at reasonable/readable sizes by default, BUT...
It makes the application menu text look slightly blurry.
For that matter the plugin text elements don't look super-sharp either... but they're at least big enough to read and it's a huge improvement vs. the alternative.

I don't necessarily love blurry Acoustica, but of the two possibilities, I do prefer to use it that way so that I'm able to use my plugins without having to put my face 6 inches from the screen and squinting.

Anyway, that's where things stand for me at the moment, and I'm curious if others have had similar experiences or have any suggestions.

Screenshots below show the issue, although the forum software is re-sizing the images so that the differences aren't as obvious:

Figures 1-3: DPI scaling performed by APPLICATION

Figure 1 (settings window for Scaling performed by Application)
Figure 2 (Scaling performed by Application - crisp menu text with tiny plugin GUI)
Figure 3 (same as Figure 2 with plugin GUI scaled up.... but text still tiny)
Figures 4-5: DPI scaling performed by SYSTEM (ENHANCED)

Figure 4 (settings window for Scaling performed by System (Enhanced)
Figure 5 (scaling performed by System - mushy text but right-sized plugin GUI)
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Last edited by pud2000 on Fri Dec 10, 2021 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Topic Starter
6 posts since 12 May, 2006

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 3:13 pm

I mean the real solution here is for the plugin developers to code their plugins to scale correctly and for Microsoft to get its act together with regards to how Windows handles monitors with various and multiple resolutions and pixel densities.

But I am curious how other people deal with it or if there is a host-specific fix that Acon could implement.

Topic Starter
6 posts since 12 May, 2006

Post Sat Dec 11, 2021 10:47 pm

I think I'm coming around to the idea of tossing in the towel and just changing my laptop screen to 1080p when I'm working on audio. 😂 It seems like the most straightforward way to make everything look right.

User avatar
1299 posts since 1 Jan, 2005 from Norway

Post Thu Dec 23, 2021 5:07 am

Thanks for reporting and I apologized for my late response. DPI scaling and plug-ins is a major pain under Windows since there's room for different interpretations. VST3 should be better in general. The iZotope plug-ins don't support DPI scaling at all as far as I know (same reported here: viewtopic.php?t=538293).


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