The Preferences dialog is accessed by choosing 'Preferences...' from the 'Engine' menu of the main KRISTAL Audio Engine window.

A range of different settings can be made, in four different categories.

1. General

'Start with KRISTAL Desktop'

When 'Start with KRISTAL Desktop' is selected the KRISTAL Audio Engine application opens as a large 'parent' window, occupying the whole of your Desktop. The Mixer controls are then available in a smaller sub-window.

The default Desktop background pattern can be replaced by one of your own. Simply click the 'Select...' button and choose a suitable Bitmap (*.bmp) file in the dialog that appears.

'Load Sequencer Plug-In automatically'

By default, KRISTAL starts with the KRISTAL Waver Plug-In automatically loaded. Un-checking 'Load Sequencer Plug-In automatically' over-rides this. If you then want to open KRISTAL Waver, you'll need to select it as an Input Plug-In in the Mixer window.

'Open Last Project on Startup'

Forces KRISTAL to automatically load the last project (*.kristal) at startup.

'External Audio Editor'

Select the prefered application for editing audio files.

See also Edit in External Editor

1.1 General - Controls

'Knob Behavior'

Changes the behavior of knob controls when clicking and dragging:

Circular Linear

2. Audio Setup

The 'Audio Setup' may differ, depending on the currently selected Audio Output device:

For MME devices you can set Blocksize, Playback Buffers, etc. here. ASIO drivers usually provide their own control panel.

'Block Size'

All mixing and effect processing is done in blocks of this size, e.g. a block size of 1024 audio frames equals approximately 23ms of audio material at a 44.1 kHz sample rate.

If you're using an ASIO compatible audio device, the block size is determined by the ASIO driver; it can usually be changed in the driver's control panel.

If you're a using a standard MME audio device, the block size can be changed directly from within KRISTAL.

With a smaller block size, KRISTAL will be more 'responsive', e.g. changes to volume, pan and effects parameters will happen more immediately. On the other hand, a too small block size may result in interrupted playback. You should experiment to find the optimum settings for your system.

'Playback Buffers' (MME only)

KRISTAL 'caches' all incoming and outgoing audio data in several memory 'buffers' to ensure smooth, uninterrupted sound. You can set the number of memory buffers to be used for playback and recording independently.

Increasing the number of buffers helps eradicate 'glitches' in the sound - but more buffers also results in greater 'latency'. Latency is the delay caused when the computer processes sound on its way in or out of the system.

The total audio system latency can be calculated as follows:

An incoming signal (e.g. from a microphone) will be audible on the output (e.g. speaker) after 371 ms.

The above applies to MME audio devices. In contrast with these rather high latencies, ASIO provides latencies <= 10 ms, which makes recording real-time 'live' performances possible.

'Record Buffers' (MME only)

See 'Playback Buffers' above.

'Sample Rate' (ASIO and MME)

Altering the sample rate affects the 'frequency response' of the recordings you make. Generally, a higher sample rate results in 'better' sound quality, in the sense of greater 'clarity' in the high end.

A sample rate of 44.1 kHz results in 'CD quality' audio.

The available sample rates depend upon the capabilities of your audio hardware. KRISTAL supports hardware capable of 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 and 192 kHz sample rates.

'Pre-Load Amount' (ASIO and MME)

The 'Pre-Load Amount' setting determines how much audio material should be read at once from the hard disk.

For example, a Pre-Load of 2 seconds means that KRISTAL Waver tracks are 'cached' 2 seconds in advance. (Similarly, changes made to clip volume/fades will be audible after 2 seconds, plus the current output latency.)

'No Pre-Load' means the mixer reads audio data directly from hard disk. This option should not be used in conjunction with small block sizes - take note, ASIO users!

2.1 ASIO Channel Setup

Different ports of multi-channel ASIO cards can be activated or deactivated independently. Only 2 inputs and outputs are active by default.

  • Click 'Apply' to make your changes valid.

  • Select the desired output port in the mixer master channel.

  • Select the desired input port for recording in the KRISTAL Waver.

3. VST Effects

'Scan global VST Folder'

Windows allows applications to register a 'global' folder for VST Plug-Ins, so that every VST host application can look in the same place for Plug-Ins to load. Checking 'Scan global VST Folder' tells KRISTAL to scan this folder on start-up (if it exists) and load whatever it finds in there.

'VST Folders'

In addition to the global folder, up to three other, different VST Plug-In folders can be nominated.

VST Editor Windows 'Always on top'

If checked, VST editor windows stay 'on top', respectively above mixer and Waver window. Changing this setting does not affect currently opened editors immediately.

4. Devices

Here you can disable ASIO or MME devices, meaning that they do not appear in the menus anymore after program restart.

This can be useful e.g. if a device does not work correctly with KRISTAL. If you have an ASIO card the inputs/outputs appear a second time as MME devices. It is recommended to disable the MME devices in this case.

Please note that the actual output device/ASIO driver is selected in mixer window (see Audio Output).