In the Soundsonline Forum, EastWest has posted the manual for their new Hollywood Strings library, which is now shipping.
Hollywood Strings Manual
Starting reviews, which can be read on www.soundsonline.com forums are extremely positive. LASS owners who’ve just received Hollywood Strings see Hollywood Strings as a complementing tool.
See the NEW VIDEO.
However, since Hollywood Strings’ original announcement, some things have changed with the original spec.
1. The library is shipped on a 500GB storage drive with library size approximately 312GB
2. Hollywood Strings is 24-bit only. There is no longer a 16-bit option.
3. The Gold Edition has been discontinued.
4. Requires PLAY 2.0 which is now available for downloading.
In going through the manual, I noticed this aspect about the recommended system drives for Hollywood Strings which states:
Solid State Drives
There is no doubt solid state drives (SSDs) are a revolution for storing and streaming samples. While currently more expensive than traditional hard drives, the seek and retrieval times are almost instantaneous, which means you may be able to create even larger projects and/or to use lower latencies without needing workarounds to avoid disruption of the audio output. For the largest instruments in Hollywood Strings, SSDs may be your only option (light programs are provided for other users), and the number of mic positions that can be accessed simultaneously may also be dependent on solid state drives. Installing 2 or more smaller SSDs with a true hardware RAID 0 solution offers the best performance. For professional users, we recommend consulting computer system specialists to achieve the best performance.
Pages 13-14 of the manual.
This description creates a little confusion compared to what I’ve read on the various forums where one of the co-developers talked about using 7200RPM drives.
At this link, Doug Rogers, President of EastWest, talks about running two (2) 200GB OCZ SSD drives in a RAID 0 setup and the results they achieved.
At present you can get an OCZ Vertex Series 250GB SSD from Newegg, Walmart, Amazon, and Buy.com for around $750 each.
Here’s the definition of RAID 0 from Wikipedia for those not familiar with it:
RAID 0 (striped disks) distributes data across multiple disks in ways that gives improved speed at any given instant. If one disk fails, however, all of the data on the array will be lost, as there is neither parity nor mirroring. In this regard, RAID 0 is a misnomer because RAID 0 is non-redundant. A RAID 0 array requires a minimum of two drives. A RAID 0 configuration can be applied to a single drive provided that the RAID controller is hardware and not software (i.e. OS-based arrays) and allows for such configuration. This allows a single drive to be added to a controller already containing another RAID configuration when the user does not wish to add the additional drive to the existing array. In this case, the controller would be set up as RAID only (as opposed to SCSI in non-RAID configuration), which requires that each individual drive be a part of some sort of RAID array.
So with RAID 0 you’re creating one giant hard drive to work from. And according to the manual you should have more than 8GB of RAM.
According to one post, loading nine (9) patches) took up 8.5GB RAM. So at minimum, I’d suggest at least 12GB RAM in your system.
One point of clarification needed is whether or not the manual is suggesting that the entire library be installed on an SSD RAID 0 Drive as opposed to dividing up the library across several drives?
As we’ve asked before, can the library be put on multiple 7200RPM drives?
It would make it much easier to plan a budget for a system with these points clarified.
What is clear is that you need an i7 Quad 920 2.66GHz as the minimum CPU. Here’s a gaming chart comparing the three i7 models with an 8-core on the PC.
Whether PLAY 2.0 works with the Vienna Ensemble seems to be a matter of luck as one user on the Soundsonline forum reported they got Hollywood Strings with PLAY 2.0 running with it, but didn’t report the VE build number. This means that on a farm system, you’ll also need an audio card and MIDIoverLAN.
Also, an iLok key is required for copy protection.
What’s needed now is for EastWest to answer these few questions about 7200RPM drives with Hollywood Strings spread across multiple drives vs. putting the entire library on a RAID 0 drive with 200GB SSDs or better.
From what I’ve read so far, users are having good experiences running Hollywood Strings on Mac Pros and on PCs with i7 CPUs and 7200RPM drives. So far, excluding clarification about the SSDs, Hollywood Strings today can’t be considered a “bleeding edge” library. Those on the Mac Pro with an 8-core are ready. Those on PCs with i7s or better, are ready. Just make sure you have plenty of RAM.
Hard Drive Discussion at V I Control Forum: