DSP Stacker Stability

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imonomi

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DSP Stacker Stability
« on: August 29, 2017, 06:53:51 PM »
I liked to use multiple DSP plug-ins but I can't ever seem to find a stacker that doesn't tend to crash and take Winamp down with it. Is this due to the plug-ins themselves (they seem to be very stable on their own)?

Is there a more robust stacker? It would also be helpful if the individual plug-ins crashed themselves but didn't affect the whole application.

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dro

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Re: DSP Stacker Stability
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2017, 09:54:12 PM »
What stacker are you currently using? As I know some of the older ones don't support some of the features newer DSP require (i.e. anything aimed at Winamp 5.5+ support) which can cause random issues. I've looked into trying to get muchfx compatible with newer Winamp releases but it's not been finished and now I'd prefer to do it in a different way (effectively the DSP/Effect preferences page is completely overridden with an integrated way of handling multiple DSP).

Alas the whole way that plug-ins works mean that if something goes wrong then it can bring done the whole program (with one hand plug-ins can do almost anything but on the other hand that means if they go wrong, it can affect everything).

I'm not aware of an obvious way that it would be possible to isolate any plug-in (though DSP plug-ins were a common cause of crashes from when I used to look at the official crash reports provided) as there's no easy way to know how much a plug-in hooks into Winamp to know what is going on (not helped by the very basic API that plug-in integration involves). I might be wrong and there might be a way (which would be ideal for when I do my own as part of WACUP) but I've not come across anything so far that would allow it to work as needed without a mass of issues (i.e. breaks the plug-ins and DSP feature completely).

-dro

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imonomi

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Re: DSP Stacker Stability
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2017, 08:09:28 AM »
I beg your pardon, I didn't realize you responded to my post!

I'm only familiar with MuchFX,  Multiple DSP Stacker v1.6, and another one that I can't think the name of. I can't tell which one among them is more stable, but I manage to crash Winamp frequently with any of them. Is there any one that stands out?

I think stacking is one of the best features in Winamp so I'd definitely like to see you take a crack at your own.

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dro

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Re: DSP Stacker Stability
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2017, 07:12:00 PM »
Multiple DSP Stacker was the best one I found though I had briefly started on trying to update a version of MuchFX2 but I've since changed my idea on how it should work (an external window isn't great & instead the dsp plug-in preferences page should be the way to manage the stacking - which is more work but when I do get around to doing it, it should be more intuitive as that way all of the plug-in management is done on that page).

As for the crashes, I think the stacker plug-ins are generally stable, it's more about the plug-ins that are being stacked via it that might be the cause of the issues as although It can be done, stacking plug-ins was never something that was designed for within the API and so forcing that might be the cause of issues arising.

If you are getting crashes & as you've got WACUP beta access, hopefully the WACUP crash reporter might catch the crash & I can then try & determine where & what happened. If not, we'll have to see if I can make something that better behaves :)

-dro

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Hot Karl

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Re: DSP Stacker Stability
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2018, 07:34:46 AM »
I liked to use multiple DSP plug-ins but I can't ever seem to find a stacker that doesn't tend to crash and take Winamp down with it. Is this due to the plug-ins themselves (they seem to be very stable on their own)?

Is there a more robust stacker? It would also be helpful if the individual plug-ins crashed themselves but didn't affect the whole application.

A little dated, but I joined the community so... I can tell you what I run that works for me and what has failed, so hopefully something useful comes out of this.  For years I have used my computer for everything audio and have constantly tried to improve, well, everything.  What I am currently running and why... 

Actual playback is Winamp, but I also run J. River Media Center (x64 v23) because hands down it has the best audio processing, and it is very reasonably stable as a native vst/dsp plugin host.  If you don't know anything about J.River, it is a stand alone media player and very good, but it's best heard and not seen if you know what I mean.  J.River comes standard with a WDM driver which allows you to be able to choose it as a sound output device (basically a sound card),  With this setup you get everything wiinamp and the best audio out along with stable vst/dsp abilities.

I have used about every vst wrapper out there (bluecat,  ddmf, bias, jbridge, etc.) and crammed them into about every sound configuration you can do and I have always had problems and/or they are a mess to setup and configure to work local.  Other than J.River, I am not aware that there is a media player that natively supports vst plugins for dsp, and considering that is the crux of the problem...  There is a vst host plugin for Foobar but that goes back to the original problem.

Without getting into detail about vst's and hosts, the biggest problem is the resources required.  Vst's, are for the most part, pigs.  They are also designed to work in DAW's and not media players.  Media players don't allocate the resources that DAW's do so even if you can get one, maybe two, crammed into your media player through a wrapper/host that is stable, the media player has to contend with not only doing with it is supposed to be doing, but to have it try and swallow the metric ton of information that the vst's are sending to it breaks it very quickly.  Also, the host is probably not very happy at this point also because they are generally not designed to be fed from a lowly media player buffer.  If any one of them fails the entire thing fails.  That is pretty much the reason you don't see media players supporting it.  Also, as if audio processing wasn't intensive enough, a lot of vst's have fancy lights and meters bouncing all over so the vst gui alone can easily break a host just because it looks fancy.  About every host/wrapper touts stacking a bunch of plugins in it regardless of the application, but that is not reasonable in most scenarios. 

The major caveat with any setup like this though is if you have a x86 host you will be limited to x86 plugins.  Unfortunately that is the nature of the beast.  And not all vst plugins play nice with proper hosts (e.g. Waves Audio plugins), but a lot do.  I certainly encourage looking into vst/dsp processing because it can make a huge difference in sound quality, particularly if you're playing back from any kind of lossy format such as mp3.  There are a lot of free vst plugins that are really good and make this very worth it.

If you have any questions feel free to let me know and I would be happy to answer them.  I have spent more time than I will admit to getting solid dsp functionality through media player playback and if I can save anyone time, broken keyboards, and frustration I will feel better.  :)

I currently can run (and sometime do) up to about 10 vst dsp plugins simultaneously and using yet another program, although indirectly, I can use any plugin regardless of x86 or x64 architecture and not only stable but no buffer issues, static, or delays.  So I guess, yes it is very possible to get the dsp you want and hopefully without the headache of doing it. 

I am around if you have any questions...
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 08:14:43 AM by Hot Karl »

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dro

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Re: DSP Stacker Stability
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2018, 02:08:11 PM »
In some respects, Winamp dsp plug-ins & VST plug-ins are quite similar in potentially being resource hogs & unstable :)

One thing I do have to ask is what sorts of vst are being used & why so many are actually needed in usage? I have to ask as up to 10 seems a bit extreme as I generally try to minimise any re-processing of the audio due to it often causing more issues (especially audio degradation depending on what's being done but maybe it's just me :) ).

-dro

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Hot Karl

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Re: DSP Stacker Stability
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2018, 02:58:18 PM »
One thing I do have to ask is what sorts of vst are being used & why so many are actually needed in usage? I have to ask as up to 10 seems a bit extreme as I generally try to minimise any re-processing of the audio due to it often causing more issues (especially audio degradation depending on what's being done but maybe it's just me :) ).

-dro

Lol, good point.  Mostly to test the stability limits and what kind of plugins will crash whatever playback I am using.  A few times I have stacked that many plugins in order to 'enhance' some terrible recordings, but only to convert the files with the dsp settings (occasionally it is useful to convert through the media player as opposed to a daw because of stability issues or bulk processing) , I have never used a large stack for playback.  One plugin, maybe two if playback is awful.

For me I find it nice to at least have the option.  Of course there is no way to recover data that has been lost with mp3 and various others, but for quite a bit of songs in my collection, a subtle plugin can make a huge difference.

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dro

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Re: DSP Stacker Stability
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2018, 08:12:12 PM »
Ah ok, that makes more sense :) Out of interest, what vst, etc do you tend to use? As part of me wants to consider doing a vst loader (or updating one of the existing ones) but it's not an area I'm that knowledgeable on at the moment.

-dro

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Hot Karl

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Re: DSP Stacker Stability
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2018, 10:34:20 PM »
Ah ok, that makes more sense :) Out of interest, what vst, etc do you tend to use? As part of me wants to consider doing a vst loader (or updating one of the existing ones) but it's not an area I'm that knowledgeable on at the moment.

-dro

(One thing I would like to say, if people are reading this that do not know exactly what this is about and are still reading... :)  vst/plugin is, in a nut shell, a turbo charged equalizer that can also be dynamic and adjust to the music being played)

For "sweetening" or adding that certain je ne sais quoi to an album, genre, or almost anything, it is certainly best to keep it simple.  Generally I use or look for one dynamic equalizer (not to be confused with dynamic compressors), or an exciter, tape saturation, maybe an imager, and finish with a nice general limiter/maximizer.  I generally stay away from compressors for a lot of reasons, but mainly because almost everything is already compressed to a certain degree and there is nothing worse than flattening the dynamic range of a good tune.  From a pure music standpoint, that is about it.

I have no clue how many plugins are out there, but more than what is healthy for sure.  I would like to think it would not be unreasonable to be able to support one or two vst's, but I probably know far more about what will crash things rather than what will make an integration more efficient.  :)

Looking at this from a developers point of view is a bit more fun.

If this is anything you would like to even entertain I will be more than happy to share everything regarding this. 

Oddly enough, a few months back I was perusing some vintage winamp goodness when I came across an Izotope plugin for winamp (not sure if it was native or not) but Izotope is certainly still around and is certainly not free.  Also would almost certainly crash any media player it was stuffed into, but aside from that, awesome!  And in 2001?  I know I was using winamp at that time but I do not remember seeing anything like that. 

So yeah, something like this...  :)

https://winampheritage.com/plugin/izotope-ozone/79374

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Aminifu

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Re: DSP Stacker Stability
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2018, 04:24:20 AM »
...

Oddly enough, a few months back I was perusing some vintage winamp goodness when I came across an Izotope plugin for winamp (not sure if it was native or not) but Izotope is certainly still around and is certainly not free.  Also would almost certainly crash any media player it was stuffed into, but aside from that, awesome!  And in 2001?  I know I was using winamp at that time but I do not remember seeing anything like that. 


I agree that these types of add-ons are best used carefully for subtle "sweetening".

I remember the free Izotope Ozone plug-in. I used it for several years, until it became incompatible due to a Winamp upgrade. It was a very sad day for me when Izotope abandoned it in favor of a very expensive commercial version. I'm now using the free features of the Stereo Tool DSP plug-in (https://www.stereotool.com/download/), which is also very expensive. This is the only thing I've found that meets, or exceeds, what Ozone provided. However (similar to many VST plug-ins), using this Stereo Tool DSP plug-in greatly increases the average load Winamp/WACUP places on the computer's CPU. If your CPU is several generations old, this may limit the number of other apps that can be run at the same time.

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Hot Karl

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Re: DSP Stacker Stability
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2018, 05:18:49 AM »

I'm now using the free features of the Stereo Tool DSP plug-in (https://www.stereotool.com/download/), which is also very expensive.

I actually have not seen that one until now.  Very cool!  I will have to get my grubby little hands on that sometime.  I have some ozone plugins and they are very good, but the UI and the pretty graphics alone can crash a media player, and even most DAW's choke when they're loaded.

Out of curiosity, how do you use any/all enhancements?  EQ?  Reverb?  Saturation?  Etc.  I am always on the hunt for new techniques, settings, etc. :)

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sqgl

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Re: DSP Stacker Stability
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2018, 03:29:40 PM »
Forget "stability". Seems there is no DSP stacker which works at all in Winamp anymore (v5.666), is that correct? Are there no workarounds? I run shoutcast but now cannot run a compressor like I used to in WA5.5 :( Have signed up to this forum in a desperate plea for help please.

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dro

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Re: DSP Stacker Stability
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2018, 09:03:36 PM »
It all depends on what DSP plug-ins you're trying to use within the stacker are as unless the stacker supprots the API level that the DSP plug-in is trying to use then you'll see it either ignore the plug-in or it'll crash the whole process.

Off the top of my head I can't remember (assuming the Source DSP is one of the ones trying to be used) what level of Winamp client support was needed to allow it to work. As the main DSP stacker I used (Multiple DSP v1.6 iirc) was at made to be 5.5+ compatible.

Am guessing you're not having much luck from 'official' support on such matters...?

-dro

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sqgl

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Re: DSP Stacker Stability
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2018, 04:27:39 AM »
Thanks Dr O, yes I am trying to use the Shoutcast DSP v2.3.5 and the stacker complains about the API. Doesn't crash. Haven't even tried the other two DSP's (LordMulders's normaliser and BogProg's LiveWire for voiceover).

Yes the stacker (I forget which one) is advertised as working for WA5.5+ but this is obviously not true. Neither of the two stackers work with Shoutcast.

Have posted in the Winamp forum but I don't expect much help there anymore. I find it bizarre that the mob who took over Winamp don't offer support or fix bugs yet have invested so much energy into monetisation.

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dro

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Re: DSP Stacker Stability
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2018, 06:46:33 PM »
I've just re-tried with the attached copy of Multiple DSP v1.6 as well as Source DSP v2.3.5 & v2.3.3 on a patched 5.666 install (from https://www.filehorse.com/download-winamp/) & neither of them have shown the Winamp version message when they're enabled in Multiple DSP.

So it might be a version mis-match or something else going on that is cauing the issue. If it continues, you can make an Info Tool report (using http://koopa.meggamusic.co.uk/infotool/) & send it to me as a PM so I can check it over.

Have posted in the Winamp forum but I don't expect much help there anymore. I find it bizarre that the mob who took over Winamp don't offer support or fix bugs yet have invested so much energy into monetisation.
It all comes down to $$$ sadly (even Vivendi got rid of RN last year) as there isn't anyone involved with them with the coding knowledge of Winamp & plug-ins so all things related to that are in this weird limbo state. I also suspect that whoever might be left on the 'support' team (assuming there is) has been told to not to reply to any such questions, hence the forums being ignored (& left as spam ridden) which is really sad to see.

I've got streaming related things in the works for WACUP (be that right or wrong depending on your view point) but they're still a way off, mainly on a replacement Source DSP & a more 'natively' integrated DSP stacker (as mentioned further up).

-dro
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 06:53:51 PM by dro »