Occasional 'Stuck Notes' in NoteWorthy Composer

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Posts: 20
Joined: June 10, 2016 - 13:55
Occasional 'Stuck Notes' in NoteWorthy Composer

I realise that the way the Subject line is worded might make it seem that NoteWorthy Composer (NWC) is the cause of the problem but I don't believe that to be the case. I have used it for decades and know that accidentals have to be matched across bar lines or the problem will occur so I am always careful when incorporating tied notes in my compositions.

I was recently forced to consider buying a new computer after my 13-year old Windows XP machine started giving me serious trouble. It incorporated a Creative Soundblaster 'Audigy 1' soundcard and after updating the driver early on I was very pleased with the sounds it produced when using NWC. My compositions tend to be mainly electronic/synth in nature although some of them are piano based. My new computer contains an ASUS motherboard with a quad core Intel i5-6400 @ 2.7 GHz CPU and 8 GB of DDR3 RAM. The sound system is an on-board Realtek so-called 'High Definition Audio' and I'm very pleased with it's performance. The operating system is 64-bit Windows 10 Pro.

When I first used the new computer, I knew nothing about VirtualMIDISynth and the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth was the only MIDI output device available for use with NWC. A short time with it made me realise that there had to be something better as it was awful. I joined the NoteWorthy Composer forum and soon learnt about VirtualMIDISynth and the whole new world of soundfonts, which I previously hadn't been aware of. I tried one or two of the latter that had been suggested but I didn't like them as they didn't produce the sounds I was used to. Then someone told me about three Creative soundfonts ha had and he even set up links so I could download them and I now use one of them continually set up in VirtualMIDISynth. I have set up the latter as the default playback MIDI device in NoteWorthyComposer and I am now hearing sounds that are very similar to those I used to hear in specific compositions.

However, unfortunately, every so often - and totally out of the blue - I am confronted with what I term 'stuck notes' where a note will continue to sound long after it should have ceased and in many instances the only way to stop it is to close NoteWorthy Composer, then reopen it. Merely stopping the work from playing (pressing F6) does not stop the sound. To make matters worse, it is intermittent and does not always occur in the same place each time. Not surprisingly, its presence is spoiling my enjoyment. Recently I read an article comparing VirtualMIDISynth and BASSMIDI and this very problem was mentioned with regard to VirtualMIDISynth and that BASSMIDI did not suffer from it.

Incidentally, I've tried changing some of the settings in VirtualMIDISynth but I haven't been able to eliminate the problem. I really like the program so hope a solution can be found.

Thank you.

Johnno

Posts: 1536
Joined: March 25, 2012 - 01:19
Re: Occasional 'Stuck Notes' in NoteWorthy Composer

Thanks for your kind words.

First of all I'd like to point out a "workaround" for stuck notes issue: there's no need to close your MIDI client (NoteWorthy Composer) to stop them.
VirtualMIDISynth has a panic feature, activated with an hotkey of your choice (default is CTRL+ALT+SPACE), that immediately shuts down all of the notes currently playing.
Well, it's not a fix for the issue but it could save you from stop-save-close-reopen your MIDI software during your work.

That said, I suppose you're using VirtualMIDISynth 1.x.
My suggestion is to try VirtualMIDISynth 2.x (currently in beta, but the first release candidate will be out in a few days); read here for further details.
It's known to have better performances in Win8+ systems.

Please report your thoughts there.

Posts: 20
Joined: June 10, 2016 - 13:55
Re: Occasional 'Stuck Notes' in NoteWorthy Composer

Firstly, thank you for your assistance. You are correct in your presumption  as I am currently using version 1.17.1.0, which appears to be the latest version, so I shall certainly download beta 6 of version 2 and try it out and I will let you know if I encounter the 'stuck notes' problem. By the way, I had no other issues with the VMS I am using so I shall be concentrating on the SN alone.

I have just started another composition - again electronic - so version 2 should prove interesting.

 

Johnno

Posts: 20
Joined: June 10, 2016 - 13:55
Re: Occasional 'Stuck Notes' in NoteWorthy Composer

I've checked out beta6 of version 2 - at least I assume I have, as NoteWorthy Composer imformed me that VirtualMIDISynth #1 was  set for MIDI playback. (I would have thought calling it #2 might have been more appropriate). As I had to uninstall verson 1 first, I guess it must be correct. In any event, the sound font display and selection are different and I got confused about the latter and ended up selecting neither of the two fonts installed, then I realised that green was correct (which, if I'm honest, should have been obvious to anyone!).

I've played two of my compositions in version 2 so far: one is over 23 minutes long and the other is over 12 minutes and there wasn't a hint of 'stuck notes' at any stage so that's certainly good news so far. I did detect what sounded like distortion/clipping on triple forte passages but that could well be the fault of the sound card, or something overloading somewehere. On the plus side - and something I should have mentioned before - , the first  work I played has a long diminuendo in its central section and, with the old Audigy 1 card, when the dynamic dropped below a certain level the high frequencies of the instrument playing would disappear, leaving a dull sound. It was most strange and certainly not what I wanted and it didn't occur anywhere else in the piece, even in pp passages. That deficiency no longer exists with VMS and the Creative sound font I'm using.

Incidentally, I was a little disappointed to find none of the sound fonts present when I opened the 'new' VMS. Is it possible to save them somewhere before uninstalling the older version then reloading them later into the new VMS? Other than that, I'm very pleased so far, assuming the distortion mentioned lies elsewhere.

Johnno

Posts: 1536
Joined: March 25, 2012 - 01:19
Re: Occasional 'Stuck Notes' in NoteWorthy Composer
Johnno wrote:
NoteWorthy Composer imformed me that VirtualMIDISynth #1 was  set for MIDI playback. (I would have thought calling it #2 might have been more appropriate). As I had to uninstall verson 1 first, I guess it must be correct.

Virtual device in VMS2 is called VirtualMIDISynth #1 not to differentiate it from VMS1 devices (in fact VMS1 and VMS2 can't be installed side-by-side) but because of a new VMS2 feature: multiple virtual devices.
Open VMS2 configurator, go to the Options tab and you can enable up to 4 virtual MIDI devices, named VirtualMIDISynth #1, VirtualMIDISynth #2, ...

Johnno wrote:
...ended up selecting neither of the two fonts installed, then I realised that green was correct (which, if I'm honest, should have been obvious to anyone!).

Once you enable more than one device, the white/green button splits in 2/3/4 buttons (one for each device).
You can configure different soundfonts for each device.

Johnno wrote:
I was a little disappointed to find none of the sound fonts present when I opened the 'new' VMS.

I've thought about adding a configuration upgrade task a while ago, but VMS2 became so different from VMS1 and that conversion became too complicated (and not safe).
Sorry for that but, since I hope nobody will get back to VMS1 after installing VMS2, that should be a one time only task...

Posts: 20
Joined: June 10, 2016 - 13:55
Re: Occasional 'Stuck Notes' in NoteWorthy Composer

Thanks for the clarification about 'Virtual MIDISynth #1'. I now understand the reasoning behind it. Thanks also for pointing out the situation with the buttons when more than one device is enabled. I might wish to utilise more than one sound font at a time but not, I think, MIDI devices. However, one never knows! I also appreciate the problem in retaining the sound fonts if VMS1 is radically differet from VMS2. However, will it be possible when new versions of VMS2 appear?

Johnno

Posts: 1536
Joined: March 25, 2012 - 01:19
Re: Occasional 'Stuck Notes' in NoteWorthy Composer
Johnno wrote:
However, will it be possible when new versions of VMS2 appear?

If you mean "upgrading from a VMS2 beta version to another beta or final release" then yes, configuration file will be upgraded.

If you mean "upgrading from latest VMS1 to VMS2 final release" then... I'm still thinking about it, but there are some things to fix: VMS1 needs to be uninstalled before VMS2 installation. VMS1 uninstallation will completely remove all of its files, including configuration file (I'd like my softwares leave the system as clean as possible once removed ;) ). So there's no way for VMS2 setup to upgrade VMS1 configuration simply because... there's no more configuration to upgrade.

One option could be to change VMS1 setup to allow leaving old configuration files around, but it will only work if you're upgrading from the very latest VMS1 to 2.
Better could be fix VMS2 setup to include an option to export VMS1 config before giving the message to remove it. I tnihk this is the way to go; I only wonder how work it will need...

Posts: 20
Joined: June 10, 2016 - 13:55
Re: Occasional 'Stuck Notes' in NoteWorthy Composer

I was referring to VMS2 updates only as you had made it clear than maintaining the configuarion between VMS1 and VMS2 would be very difficult due to the considerable differences between the two versions, and I'm perfectly happy with that scenario.

I've been playing quite a few of my compositions since upgrading to VMS2 beta and, so far, no 'stuck notes' whatsoever.  So, from my perspective, it's looking - and sounding - good. I'm still not convinced about the "cleanness" of the sound but that could be due to any number of possible causes and I might have to live with it. That's the trouble being a hi-fi nut with top-notch stereo equipment. Computer sound does have its drawbacks.

Johnno