Slate kit completely silent on project reload

I don’t know if my project file has got corrupted but if I create a new instance of Slate, load a kit (any kit - user or factory) & all is fine: tap the pads and sound is heard from Slate; write a midi clip and sound is heard from Slate. All good so far.

Save the project. Immediately reload the project. The Slate instance is now silent. Tap the pads and nothing - nothing on the meters on the Pad setup tab, nothing. Play the midi clip and nothing. Silence. Load another kit into the Slate instance. Still silence: pads, midi clip, everything. Total silence. Click edit on the sample tab and the sample plays in the editor & can be heard fine. Return to the pads & silence.

Has anyone else had this at any point? I think I’ve covered the basics of trying to sort it myself (although any suggestions welcome) so was wondering if it’s plausible the project file’s got corrupted & if so is it possible to repair it : I’ve been working on it on and off since December & it isn’t something I could reproduce very easily.

Running on an iPhone XR although not with last week’s IOS release.

I’m happy to post a video of it if that will help?

Many thanks in advance for your time & any help.

Comments

  • @TakkAtakk said:
    I’ve been working on it on and off since December & it isn’t something I could reproduce very easily.

    What I mean is I’ve been working on the project since December & I couldn’t recreate it easily if I was asked just to start again in a fresh project.

  • edited May 23

    Hi @TakkAtakk , that sounds potentially tricky, but I'll give it a go.

    First off I would suggest you go through the basics like you have already but in case there's something you might have not noticed.

    1. Check the pad mutes, top left the "M" inside a box.
    2. Check pad levels, both in the "Sample" and in the "Pad" settings
    3. Check FX buses and OUT settings on the Slate
    4. Check for channel mutes and solos in the mixer
    5. Check channel volume faders
    6. Check audio effects in the mixer, ESPECIALLY AUv3 effects, those can crash and stop passing sound through
    7. Check In/Out settings in the mixer, specifically the "Track Output" section
    8. Check if the track is a Child to a Parent track, if yes, check 4–7 on the parent as well
    9. If these fail, quit all apps from the task switcher, reboot the iPad and start NS again.

      Ok, that should get you started. When the silent output has happened to me, about 80% of the time I've missed a setting or a cable has been unplugged or something, the rest have been crashed AUs. I hope it's something simple, but in case it isn't, at least we've eliminated a bunch of possibilities!
  • @Stiksi said:
    Hi @TakkAtakk , that sounds potentially tricky, but I'll give it a go.

    First off I would suggest you go through the basics like you have already but in case there's something you might have not noticed.

    1. Check the pad mutes, top left the "M" inside a box.
    2. Check pad levels, both in the "Sample" and in the "Pad" settings
    3. Check FX buses and OUT settings on the Slate
    4. Check for channel mutes and solos in the mixer
    5. Check channel volume faders
    6. Check audio effects in the mixer, ESPECIALLY AUv3 effects, those can crash and stop passing sound through
    7. Check In/Out settings in the mixer, specifically the "Track Output" section
    8. Check if the track is a Child to a Parent track, if yes, check 4–7 on the parent as well
    9. If these fail, quit all apps from the task switcher, reboot the iPad and start NS again.

      Ok, that should get you started. When the silent output has happened to me, about 80% of the time I've missed a setting or a cable has been unplugged or something, the rest have been crashed AUs. I hope it's something simple, but in case it isn't, at least we've eliminated a bunch of possibilities!

    Hi @Stiksi - I really appreciate you taking the time to answer in such detail. It’s late right now so I’m going to sleep on it - and I’m going to off the device (thus covering item number 9) and I’ll go through your points methodically in the morning.

    I have since posting also noticed something weird going on in the same project with a sample-based Obsidian instance (two revolving icons are displayed - one around the transport record icon, and one on Obsidian’s sample layer view - that I’ve not seen before) and the patch is not only no longer playing correctly but this Obsidian instance is now refusing to load any other patches from its patch browser now it is in this state.

    What has struck me though - and I don’t know if it’s maybe related - but even though my project is using a large number of Slate instances and Obsidian instances, this issue is only affecting the 1st 2 instances of Slate and the 1st sample based instance of Obsidian. All other instances of both devices that follow are all ok.

    So it got me thinking if I’ve maybe hit a limit as to how many sample-based devices I can run in a project - or a limit as to how much (in size) or how many (in number) samples NS2 can load? However it’s just a theory that struck me - no idea if it is a realistic theory. Oh - the cpu meter is hardly taxed so it’s not a cpu resources issue. Although I’d assume samples are streamed where necessary, maybe if they’re not it’s a memory capacity issue with the iPhoneXR or NS2?

    Just some thoughts. I’ll go through your list tomorrow.

    Many thanks for your time 🙏🙏

  • edited May 23

    Well, your limit for sample based instruments is your RAM, NS doesn’t stream from the disk yet. But it does sound like there might be something fishy going on…

  • edited May 24
    • are there any AUv3 plugins loaded in project ? Or in other words is this happening also with completely blank new project ?

    • maybe strange question - but do you have installed any audio damage plugins (not loaded in project, just installed) If yes, just try for a while uninstall them and then try again .. sounds weird but just try it :-)

    i would try also to completely reinstall NS of course... Akso make sure before you run NS to stop all other apps - just in case they are consuming too much memory.

    Although I’d assume samples are streamed where necessary,

    Nope, all samples in Obsidian/Slate are loaded into memory, just audio editor does streaming from storage (hence it is capable of efiting up to 2 hours ling audio files)

  • Hi @Stiksi & @dendy

    Many thanks for your help with this. I am now convinced it’s a memory limit issue because I originally thought it was either an issue with the particular patches or - as said originally - the project file was corrupted.

    However I decided to move the 2 Slate instances & the Obsidian instance further down the track order (to the very bottom of the track list), saved the project, reloaded the project and yay! - they are now producing sound again. Brilliant. However the 2 instances of Slate that are now the first two sample-based instruments (I’m using many instances) are no longer making any sound on project reload. Boo!

    If I set their track type to “No instrument”, and then change it to “Slate”, load in my patches, press play - sound is made, all good. Save the project, reload it, no sound.

    So, it’s definately not the patches, and I’m convinced it’s not the actual project file. I can reproduce the behaviour in other instances of Slate and Obsidian merely by moving their tracks in the track list.

    As an aside, @dendy , I am using Audio Damage’s RoughRider here and there, and I use Replicant2 to death - although part of the reason my sample-count is so high is that I sample its output, chop them up then load them into Slate, partly to save on cpu and also so as to have something permanent due to Replicant2’s random nature. So once sampled, Replicant is removed from the insert chain (not just bypassed).

    Any reason why Audio Damage specifically?

    Many thanks to you both once again for your time & help. ✋🙏🙏🙂

  • Good troubleshooting going on here.

    Since all the instances can play if they're added after loading the project it doesn't seem like a ram issue. It seems like there could well be an initialization bug when loading projects.

    One thing you could try on a copy of the project (it does happen on copies, I assume?) is remove a non-sample based track, for instance if you have any tracks that just have synth patches. If you only have one silent track on reload instead of two, it would seem to point to the number of overall tracks. If not, then it would seem to be related to the number of sample-based tracks. If so, then it may be possible to tell if it's related to just Slate, to Obsidian, or to the combination of both.

    Fortunately the problem doesn't seem to exist for saving files since your project is intact! You should definitely be working only on a separate saved copy of the project, not the original. Whatever you do, you should keep that copy safe until the problem is positively identified.

    It might be helpful to know how many tracks overall, and how many each of Slate and Obsidian. Sometimes numbers like 16, 32, 64, 256, etc. are are clues toward variable initialization issues since programmers sometimes use a certain integer type to reduce memory, but run into issues if the bounds of those integers are exceeded.

  • Yes, @number37 makes a good point: before you do anything drastic, like reinstall Nanostudio, it's probably best to export the projects you don't want to lose as .nsp files to a separate device using the "Archive" function in "Project". Exporting them will collect all the samples and presets into the same file, so it's self-contained.

    If you do decide to reinstall, also backup your NS folders like Instruments, Templates and Library so you don't lose any of your presets or samples. This is easiest using WebDAV, Cyberduck works best if you're a mac person.

  • edited May 24

    This does not sound like a problem that warrants or will be helped by reinstalling. If no less drastic measures result in an answer, maybe, but seems like a "ready, fire, aim..." kind of approach.

    If you have another device available, trying to load the project on it would be one quick way of seeing if it's an installation related issue.

  • Hi @number37 , @Stiksi

    Ok - sorry about the delay: real life, and also having to be methodical in approach.

    So, ok, in a copy of the project (well, it ended up being 4 copies in the end!) I stripped out all non Slate and non sample based Obsidian channels (although not their group-tracks: however that is unimportant to the findings though as it turned out)

    So, that left the project with precisely 80 tracks all in of Slate & sample-based Obsidian instances (and groups). I though 80 was significant, but it wasn’t as another sweep found some empty tracks, so removing them I got down to 75 tracks and the problem persisted.

    So I did a count of Slate instances (non-muted and muted). Looooong story short, I found this:

    27 instances of Slate : the problem occurred
    26 instances of Slate : the problem did not occur

    The mute state of the instances tracks made no difference to those numbers - they were consistent over many further tests I did, including adding additional sample-based Obsidian instances.

    So, with regards to the first 1,2 (and now sometimes 3) Slate instances not producing any sound on project reload it does seem that 26 Slate instances in a project seems to be my limit.

    Unfortunately I do not have another device to test this - plus I don’t know whether the number of instances are relevant to the size and/or number of samples contained in each instance.

    (regarding the secondary issue of the Obsidian instance going screwy - the 2 revolving icons appearing & it refusing to load any patches, I can’t replicate it now in these stripped down projects. One for another day, that)

    So, yeah - 26 good, 27 bad. Any thoughts? Or one for Matt to look into/comment on?

    Many thanks for everyone’s time and input 🙏🙏🙂😷

  • Oh, and to repeat, this is on iPhone XR with the previous iOS to the one released last week (I’ve just not got around to installing it yet).

  • Well, seems like it’s nice and consistent if nothing else @TakkAtakk . Could you export the project file throught the ”Archive” function and send it to me (dropbox or wetransfer or similar works fine, send the link to me in a private message). I will try the project out and see if I can get it to misbehave.

  • edited May 25

    iPhone XR has 3 GB of memory, so unless you are using large gigabyte big sample libraries, i think 27 Slates should be not limit ..

    Unfortunately I do not have another device to test this - plus I don’t know whether the number of instances are relevant to the size and/or number of samples contained in each instance.

    I'm pretty sure samples size IS relevant, i guess it is crucial. If there is no more memory for loading another samples, they are simply not loaded .. some apps are "solving" lack of ram by simply crashing :)) I guess Matt's solution was always to avoid crash at all costs so those samples are simply not loaded, that all.. Maybe some warning / error message would be good idea in this case, to avoid user's confusion ..

    Any reason why Audio Damage specifically?

    I was asking about AD plugins because AD plugins in general are not much reliable in NS (i saw some users reporting issues also in other hosts, although not so often).

    One user had catastrophic failures during saving project in NS (total freeze during save or mixdown) and, if i good remember - uninstalling AD plugins solved the issue ! So i was just curious if this would solve your issues ...

  • edited May 25

    Hi @TakkAtakk , as I test I created a fresh project with 27 Slate instances each with one pattern and each with a different kit loaded. I couldn't replicate the problem with that approach, so there must be some other variable. It does seem getting the project to @Stiksi is the best approach if you're comfortable with that and are able to do that.

    Just out of curiosity, what is the project size as shown in the "Load" listing?

  • I've been noticing that NS2 file actions (specifically refreshing the project list and creating a new blank project) have been taking longer than they used to.

    I must admit that I am very lazy when it comes to file management, so I had too many "Untitled something" and "Test something" projects, which had either amounted to nothing or were really only to test a concept. I had pages of projects.

    Since @TakkAtakk's description above looks to me like a memory issue, I thought I'd test it on my iPad. Refreshing the list of projects (e.g. to load one) was taking quite some time (around a minute?) with the blue icon spinning, and creating a new blank project was taking maybe 15 seconds.

    After deleting them all, I find my iPad (gen 5 running iPadOS 13.3.1 by the way) is now back to responding instantly to these actions.

    So I do suspect that there is some memory issue at the root of these issues. Whether there's anything Blip can do or not is another question. There were reports of RAM management problems in earlier iterations of IOS13, so perhaps there's something unhelpful the OS is doing... It's possible that the OS doesn't even let an app know when RAM is an issue, it just delivers very slowly or never....

    Anyway, if it as RAM and the OS, then it may also depend on what else is running on the device at the same time @TakkAtakk. Or how the OS allocates RAM. All of which may make this very difficult to replicate.

  • Hmmm.... I also tried loading Slate kits with far too many very large samples.

    Specifically:
    1. copy a 108MB sample (a mixdown) into the Audio folder of an empty project
    2. using Files app, duplicate 31 times (enough for two Slate kits of 16 pads each, and all samples "different") in the same folder
    3. create Slate kit #1 from a blank kit with the first 16 of these samples
    4. create Slate kit #2... but after loading the first 7 pads with a sample NS2 crashed.

    Not really a sensible test, but maybe that points away from it being a RAM limit caused by sample amounts after all, since it didn't act in the same way?

    So I'm not sure I've added anything to this discussion, sorry....

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