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Best way to use VEP6
Last post Sat, Aug 12 2017 by Synetos, 4 replies.
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Posted on Sun, Jul 09 2017 10:43
by brunom
Joined on Thu, Jan 03 2013, Posts 7

Hey !

I'm planning to build slave machine and buy some VSL instruments & VEP6.

What is the best way to use VEP6 ? I want to buy the Ryzen 8 processors.

>> More instance (3, 4 .. with 150 audio output ?)

>> Single instance with 500 audio output ?

Thx for your experiences.

Posted on Tue, Jul 11 2017 11:18
by Jon@ShoutingProduction
Joined on Mon, Jan 18 2016, United Kingdom, Posts 8

Hey Bruno,

Here are a few notes and experiences we have from trying to get to an optimum setup for a fully loaded library and composing studio...

At our little studio, we are still in 'business startup' mode, but have spent the last 18 months experimenting with VEP6 (Vienna Ensembe Pro 6), in a number of different configurations and setups, including MacPro 5,1 and MacPro 6,1, NAS, Windows setups etc.  Its been a long and often frustrating road !!!  Largely because although VEP6, NI Kontakt and EW Play, UVI,  etc, do all tend to follow the same rules to allow for each to work and perform, one or two or sometimes all seem to have technical issues that eventually cause major problems on the front end (ie. on the DAW), and these affect different DAW's and VEP6 setups in different ways.  This is made more difficult by the amazingly broad variety of sample libraries, plugins and effects available today, where again these all have their own little idiosyncrasies that can affect how VEP6 and the DAW perform.

So as far as I (and we at the studio) can tell, there is no ONE perfect setup or configuration.

We have built 3 different setups over the last 18 months, as we have tried to evolve to a near-perfect way of working:

   1)  MacPro5,1 based setup with x3 MacPro5,1s (each with 12-core 3.46Ghz CPU, 96GB RAM, 2TB SSD for samples and plugins, running VEP5 then upgraded to VEP6), with MacPro5,1 (6-core 3.46GHz CPU, 128GB RAM, 1TB) front-end with Cubase 8 and Logic Pro X, and separate MacMini running ProTools for cues and mixdown.  

Advantages:  Fairly cheap setup using MacPro5,1s running El-Capitan.  Quick bootup and loading of libraries and plugins.    

Disadvantages:  Took time to share or move libraries between machines, and alot of time to create VEP6 templates that could work effectively on large projects. Also these Mac's only have slow SATA interfaces, so plugging in an SSD only increases speed by around 1.5 times. Using PCIE interfaces is expensive and only 2 slots available, making expansion expensive.  VEP5 worked ok but suffered from random crashes, which improved with VEP6 upgrade, but still crashed or hung occassionally especially when loading the big libraries..

   2) Same as above, but with all sample libraries and general plugin's stored on a QNAP NAS and connected to the MacPro5,1 VEP6 servers using Ethernet SFP+ (10gb/sec for quicker loading of sample libraries).    

Advantages:  Centralised sample libraries and plugins made it much easier to create, maintain and share VEP6 templates amongst machines and studio staff.  NAS upgraded to SSDs to store sample libraries, so much faster loading times (which reduced the chance of VEP6 hanging), though started to hit load-speed limitations caused by NI Kontakt.  

Disadvantages:  All machines and DAW computer had to be within roughly 20 feet due to cabling limitiations, making the studio very very hot and noisy, and greatly reduced amount of physical room left for composing.  

   3)  Current setup:  x4 IBM 3850 servers (each with 24cores, 256GB RAM, 512GB SSD, running Windows 2008 Datacenter Server) connected to QNAP NAS with SFP+ (10gb/sec), x2 MacPro6,1 (12-core, 64GB RAM, 1TB SSD).  The IBM servers each run VEP6 servers loaded with the bigger sample libraries such as Spitfire's libraries, and all percussion, choirs and voices - loaded up in hand built templates.  MacPro6,1s are used to edit templates, and as VEP6 servers to give me fast and flexible working environment in which to create project specific templates and cues, mainly used to load newly created or acquired libraries, and also to load the EastWest libraries (mainly because we've found they are so fussy and don't reliably all load on to any of the IBM servers).  We then have a MacPro6,1 to run Nuendo 8 and Cubase 9, and Logic Pro X, with MacMini running ProTools and other mixdown plugins etc.   We also found that with more sample libraries loaded than before (due to projects creating more samples) which imposed greater load on CPU threads and RAM, that the MacPro5,1 audio couldn't handle the latency, so we started getting alot of dropout and clicking on the DAW.

Advantages:  All VEP6 server machines reloactaed ot heir own machine room.  So noise, heat and space is no longer a problem.  DAW machines in the studio are connected to the VEP6 servers via ordinary CAT 7 ethernet cables.   Greater flexibility for borring additional VEP6 machines if / when we need to, to support bigger projects.

Disadvantages:  Much more time needed to install and setup the IBM servers, due to complexity of Windows 2008 server software (but less time needed to maintain).     We had to remove our SFP+ network due to needing the PCIE slots in the NAS for additional SSDs, so have defaulted back to using CAT 7 ethernet to load sample libraries on to the VEP6 servers, and normal Thunderbolt for the MacPro6,1s.  This means it takes around 60 to 90 minutes to load the sample libraries, especially if we want to load and use all of the Spitfire Symphonic libraries. When budget allows, I'd like to upgrade the NAS to something that supports SFP+ to support either 10gb/sec or 20gb/sec. Also, because of the variety of sample libraries and plugins, together with the 50 feet distance between the machine room and the studio, we had to turn up the buffer setting on Nuendo and Cubase to max (2048), and the same for VEP6, in order to get rid of low level clicking.  Ideally we would replace the ethernet connection with Thunderbolt, but then we run in to all sorts of challenges as we would need to figure out how to build or acquire a Thunderbolt switch to connect the backend VEP6 servers to a single network.

Bottom line - there is no one solution to fit all, and if you're not careful you end up with a whole army of I.T. experts trying to figure out how to support your growing studio and server farm.

 

The easiest solution, is to not have all your libraries loaded, but just the ones you need onto a backend server (with lots and lots of RAM and highend CPU power), and only load the samples you want to use.  This is probably easier if you are just composing from home or if its just you.

Lastly, VEP6 will work fairly seemlessly on any platform (Windows or MacOS).  The best way to get accustomed to it, is to play around with it in a simple setup.  One computer running a DAW with VEP6 slave plugin loaded, with VEP6 server also running and loaded with a simple library. 

Hope that helps in some way :-)

Jon

Posted on Wed, Jul 12 2017 08:15
by brunom
Joined on Thu, Jan 03 2013, Posts 7

Woua Jon, That's totaly impressive.

First at all Thx for sharing your experiences. It's golden. It will be very usefull for the futur cause right now, i have 5500 euros budget for one or two New I7 7820X.

I read you post 5 times but i dont have such money to get server, or more than i want to get.

May i ask you one last question ?
How much audio track one I7 with 64GB ram can afford when the Ram is full of audio samples? 

My problem is to know if I build 1 pc with 128 GB of RAM and the best I7 or two pc with 64GB of RAM with a average performance I7.

I dont want to have a slave machine, with my ram full up, who dont use the entire CPU capacity. 
Or, i dont want to have a cpu with a Limited processing capacity (If i use only 70 Gb on my 128Gb of ram, for exemple).

I dont know if i'm clear... But i still need help to get over it.
Thanks in advance.
bruno

Posted on Sat, Aug 12 2017 22:23
by Synetos
Joined on Mon, Jun 22 2015, St. Paul, MN USA, Posts 54

I have found one powerful machine to be better than multiple weaker ones. Part of my thoughts on it have to do with mixing and mastering, after I am done with all things VST. It is nice to have all that added power for plugs. I primarily run VEP6 as a local host. No network latency at all. 

What is best? Well...it really depends on how you are going to use it, how large of libraries you want on hand, etc. My latest machine cost me about $5000 to build at the time. I am happy with it.

Strings Complete Bundle (Full) - Woodwinds Bundle (Std) - Recorders (Std) - Vienna Imperial (Std) - Vienna Instruments Pro 2 -Vienna Ensemble Pro 6

Cubase Pro 9.0.1 - Waves Mercury - MeldaProduction MTotalBundle - Eventide AnthologyX Suite - Slate Digital Everything - Wavelab Pro 9
Windows 10 Pro - i7-6950x (10core) - 128GB Ram - all SSD Harddrives - GeForce GTX 970
Dell P4317Q & UP3216Q 4K monitors -RME HDSPe RayDat PCIe Roland A-88 and Nektar SE49 midi controllers
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