Can't reset audio anymore?

• Sep 22, 2023 - 22:08

In Musescore 3, if audio stopped playing back properly, I could reset it under Edit->Preferences->IO. Musescore 4 doesn't have that reset button, but I still have the same kinds of audio playback problems. In Musescore 4 I have to completely exit and restart to reset audio, which, given the frequency of audio problems, is not very fun. Is the reset audio button hidden somewhere, or is it truly gone? Can it be brought back? (Preferably on the main interface?) Or, even better, can audio be reset every time playback stops? Or (best option) can the playback problems be eliminated?


No reset button that I know of. What kinds of audio problems are you having with MU4? The playback engine in MU4 is completely different. If properly setup there shouldn't be problems.

In reply to by bobjp

The symptoms are the same as I usually experience on musescore 3. Playback becomes slower that indicated, and samples don't play correctly. They sound garbled and echoey.

In v4, nothing I do restores clean playback. I can change audio interfaces and try other changes, but once the problem begins it is unrecoverable except restarting musescore.

I'm not sure everything that can cause it, or what you mean by setup, but certainly the process of changing VSTs and VST settings seems to cause it.

Making such changes also seems prone to crashing Musescore entirely.

So I just tried switching from one VST to another. I have an electric guitar track and I switched from a VST to a Muse Sound to anther VST.

I'll walk through how that's going.

  1. change from VST A to Muse Sound B. Worked fine.
  2. change from Muse Sound B to VST C. Musescore crashed.
  3. opened musescore and tried again. changed from B to C. This time it worked, sort of. Didn't crash, audio is fine, but it brought up the GUI for VST A with the name of VST C in the title bar. That's new, I haven't seen that happen before.
  4. switched back to A. This time the GUI for A comes up as expected. Audio is still working.
  5. switched to MS Basic. Works fine.
  6. switched to VST D, works.
  7. Switched back to VST A. Now, in the effect VST, I start changing tones. This seems to be working okay. I take a chance and start changing it while it's playing back. It working fine. Nice.
  8. Switched back to VST D and start changing the instrument. Still live playback. Yes. Everything is going well.
  9. Switched back to VST C. Uh, oh. Severe playback problems. It acts like its loading samples, but all audio stops playing. If I hit play/pause I get like one note from all of the instruments except the one I'm changing. Well, this looks like a VST problem. Not sure I like VST C. I try switching back to A. But it comes up with the GUI for C and the title bar for A, nothing changes regarding playback.
  10. I try going back to MS Basic. No audio still.
  11. Restart Musescore.

In reply to by a101010atlast

  1. When musescore comes back up, audio is working again. I try to change from MS Basic back to VST A. But it still comes up with the GUI for VST C. Drat. Haven't seen that before either. Well, naturally it isn't going to fail the way it's been failing if I'm actually writing down each step for you is it?
  2. Fortunately switching to VST D fixes the problem. And everything is now working fine again.
  3. Except when I try to go back to VST A, I still get the GUI for VST C. Ironically, I've got the same setup on another instrument and when I bring up the GUI for VST A, it's the GUI for VST A. Maybe this instrument got corrupted somehow?
  4. I try switching to VST D, MS Basic, and a Muse Sound, and then when I switch back to VST A it crashes musescore.

In reply to by a101010atlast

  1. When it comes back up, it shows VST A as the current instrument, but playback sounds like it's for VST D. I think. To make sure, I remove the effect VST.
  2. And sure enough, the GUI comes up as VST D. But when I try to change instruments in VST D, that window closes and up comes the GUI for VST A. And now the audio is messed up. But only when I solo the instrument.
  3. Okay, this seems to keep happing. If I solo the instrument, eventually playback gets messed up. But when I stop soloing the instrument, things start working again. So it's the right symptom, but before I was seeing it with all the instruments. I don't know if soloing an instrument would have worked to reset things like toggling solo is now, but I'll try that next time it happens for all instruments.

In reply to by a101010atlast

So, it seems very likely that it's the VSTs that are causing a problem. I don't know whether there is anything you can do to recover from their bad behavior or not.

I played around with things a bit more and VST A once again caused audio playback problems. No audio, except one note on pause and play. When I switched away from it to a Muse sound, playback resumed, and when I switched back to VST A it crashed musescore.

In reply to by bobjp

So, when you say "I'm not surprised that constant changing causes problems" I fee like you are trying to minimize a situation that's very unstable. "Constant changing" basically describes "using software". I'm describing a situation where every time I change a VST there is greater than 25% chance something serious happens. That's not very robust, and it's a frustrating user experience.

Since posting this, about every other time I've launched musescore 4 it has crashed. I'm pretty sure it's the VSTs that are at fault, and I'll follow up with those developers.

But it would certainly be a better user experience if musescore 4 was built in such a way that simply loading a jenky VST couldn't crash it on start up. It requires a bit more careful isolation of plugins to prevent that sort of thing, but it can obviously be done, No promises, but maybe I'll try building musescore and see if I can come up with some plugin isolation that's useful. This is a frustrating situation.

We've diverged a lot from the original question of being able to reset audio, these other sources of instability are a lot worse than I had originally thought.

In reply to by a101010atlast

Hey, sorry, that's sounds pretty arrogant. "No promises" is sincerely meant, and it would be better if the people who know what they are doing try this. I certainly won't have anything to show for it for many months, sometime next year at the earliest.

But the theory is straightforward if someone else wants to try. Basically, the UI and plugins have to execute in separate processes, and only communicate with messages and very carefully shared buffers. That way a jenky plugin can't take down the main process and the main process can either carry on or attempt to reload the plugin and try again. The challenge is communicating efficiently enough to allow realtime playback.

Unfortunately there isn't really a better way to deal with unreliable code not under your own control.

In reply to by a101010atlast

What about your system? Does your computer meet the specs. Is your sound device set up as best as it can be?
Yes, you are supposed to be able to use the software. But it seems to me that if you have a particular VST that is a problem what does that tell you?

In reply to by bobjp

Yes, my system meets the specs. My sound device (a focusrite scarlett solo) seems to work fine, although I'm not sure what 'as best as it can be' might entail.

As far as what my VST problems tell me, all I can say is that I might think they were the problem. Except that they all run fine in Reaper. I can switch between them, turn them on and off during playback, and load Reaper and save projects with those plugins, all without experiencing crashes or anything like the symptoms I've described.

Given that, I have to suspect Musescore. (sorry!)

I should have tried this first. It's true that it would be nice to tolerate jenky VSTs, but after trying them in reaper and experiencing no problems I'm guessing the VSTs are fine.

I suspect musescore is not interacting with those VSTs correctly.

I guess that means it would be better to focus on debugging the specific causes of those issues rather than trying to protect musescore against misbehaving VSTs.

I will try building musescore and see if I can make any progress but it will be a few weeks.

In reply to by a101010atlast

OK. Notation software is not like any other software. I also have a Scarlett solo. I also run Sibelius. And for it and MU4 the Scarlett has to be setup a little differently. You might not be able to just plug in the Scarlett and go for it. Do you know about "Exclusive mode"? Or Bit rate.
I'm not interested in defending MU4. There aren't many VST's that sound very good in MU4. Even using a vst adds layers of complications to a program that is still not quite ready for them. It is indeed a work in progress.

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