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Parallels VM Midi Latency

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Parallels VM Midi Latency

Postby Pitchfork » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:58 pm

Is there a way around Parallels Desktop 8 and Audio/Midi latency when using DAW on the Windows side (of a Mac)?

I have a Mac and USB M-Audio keyboard which works great. However I have some plugs that are Windows only, and use my copy of Reaper to host them in Windows partition on PD8. I can easily switch the plugged in USB Keyboard over to Parallels and it turns up in Windows and ready to play in Reaper.

However the latency even with tweaking the DAW is just a bit too much to play/record. Notes are delayed that the recording in the piano roll is off which is a bit annoying.

Does Parallels itself have a latency MIDI USB setting or as im doing this out of the Mac's digital output, would connecting a Coreaudio interface (like my 828mk2) bring this up to speed?

I know its a VM and shouldnt expect too much, but it means I may have to buy a PC tower just to run a few Windows Plug ins (which isn't a bad thing) and maybe better to have a dedicated machine, and render the VST's to audio to bring back into the Mac (to mix the final audio project)
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Re: Parallels VM Midi Latency

Postby G-Doubleyou » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:09 pm

Your other better performing option, is to get a large system drive and use Bootcamp to run windows.

Bootcamp is a utility that provides windows drivers for Apple Hardware, and bios emulation.

You can do your work in Reaper Windows and Then open on the Mac side, if you want to.

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Re: Parallels VM Midi Latency

Postby rACed2 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:15 pm

Pitchfork wrote:... However I have some plugs that are Windows only, and use my copy of Reaper to host them in Windows partition on PD8. ...However the latency even with tweaking the DAW is just a bit too much to play/record. Notes are delayed that the recording in the piano roll is off which is a bit annoying.
...

Would it be possible for you to record the MIDI in the Mac then playback it through the paralells version with the plugins and record that to a new track?
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Re: Parallels VM Midi Latency

Postby Goddard » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:23 am

Saw you'd also posted a query over on GS.

PD8 can't provide low latency over USB due to the way in which USB (and audio hardware also) is emulated (abstracted) for use (connection) by the guest OS. PD8 does not support direct "hardware passthrough". Dunno if VMware Fusion does (doubtful).
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Re: Parallels VM Midi Latency

Postby G-Doubleyou » Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:41 am

It's a tough deal to get better performance in that virtual space.

In simple terms, with Bootcamp the mac BECOMES a widows machine, Windows communicates directly with the Apple hardware.

Your set up has Windows talking to Parallels, who passes the message on to OSX.
By the time the message arrives it's old news.


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Re: Parallels VM Midi Latency

Postby Goddard » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:22 am

G-Doubleyou wrote:It's a tough deal to get better performance in that virtual space.

In simple terms, with Bootcamp the mac BECOMES a widows machine, Windows communicates directly with the Apple hardware.

Your set up has Windows talking to Parallels, who passes the message on to OSX.
By the time the message arrives it's old news.




Except that bootcamp isn't virtualization, it's just Windows running on Intel hardware with an Apple UEFI BIOS instead of OSX running on that hardware, i.e., a dual-boot setup with Windows being installed in a separate partition from OSX. But it's only Windows, without OSX at all, i.e., either OSX or Windows, but not both at same time on same system.

Parallels Desktop (or VMware Fusion, etc.) is a virtualization platform (hypervisor) running under OSX which enables running Windows in a virtual machine (VM) alongside OSX at the same time on the same system, with shared desktop (so-called "coherence" feature). PD8 running in OSX can boot a Windows VM from a bootcamp partition in which that Windows is installed

Btw, Windows has offered similar virtualization capabilities for some time now also (basic, but for free) enabling running other (earlier) versions of Windows in a VM alongside, e.g. XP mode.

A limitation of most virtualization platforms has long been been that host system hardware needs to be further abstracted (emulated) in order to be made available to guest OSes running in VMs, unless it can be directly assigned (passed-through) to the guest OS while being hidden from the host OS. USB passthrough in PD8 is virtual (emulated) and thus slow. And PD8 doesn't even offer emulated Firewire at all, while the basic Windows virtualization platform doesn't even offer USB emulation (only in server hypervisor version).

Some enterprise class virtualization platforms do offer direct passthrough capabilities for certain system hardware, as necessary support for this has become available in recent Intel and AMD processors and chipsets. But even so, different applications running under host/guest OSes or in separate VMs can't easily communicate or share data between themselves (which typically requires networking them), which makes it difficult to use separate DAWs under separate OSes in a virtualization scenario.

The best solution for the OP would probably be running the Windows-only pluig-ins on a Windows PC alongside the Mac as was guessed at. Vienna Ensemble Pro could be useful for that although not absolutely necessary if audio and MIDI can be otherwise passed between PC and Mac.
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