Thursday, January 31, 2013

Freeing Up RAM

As it comes from the factory, the original Kronos is pretty tight on available sample RAM. After the all the standard libraries are loaded you have little left for new samples. Since OS version 1.5 you’ve been able to add an additional stick of RAM, which is highly recommended, but you can also go about managing your RAM in a pragmatic fashion, unloading samples libraries for which you have little use. Outside of 320MB of base “ROM” everything else, every sample, program, combi can be replaced with your own. We’re talking tens of GBs of samples and thousands of programs.


When the Kronos boots, it loads 320MB of base "ROM" and a large file called PRELOAD.KSC. PRELOAD.KSC contains the large piano and drum libraries, the EXs3 Brass/Winds, etc. On disk it takes up 12GB and 814MB of RAM. You can mange this file and remove libraries and even specific samples from loading.

As an example, if you primarily use your Kronos for gigging and never use the large stereo drum libraries, why not just remove them from PRELOAD.KSC? You can use the RAM you recovered for something more useful.

Do the following:

  • Click on the drop-down menu (very top right corner) and select UNLOAD ALL IN BANK...
  • In the dialog box change the selection to EXs8 (these are the Rock Ambience Drums) and click OK
  • Repeat these steps but change the selection to EXs9 (Jazz Ambience Drums)
  • If you were paying attention to the Memory use scale at the top you should find yourself with more available RAM

A few more steps:

  • Go to DISK==>FILE==SAVE.
  • Click on the drop-down menu (again very top right corner) and select SAVE SAMPLING DATA
  • In the text box at the top give it a name, e.g. "PRELOAD (no drums)"
  • Make sure LINKS TO EXs & USER SAMPLE BAKS is selected (this creates a small pointer file vs. re-saving 11GB of samples)
  • Make sure ALL is selected (in the Sampling Mode Data Options section) and click on OK.
  • Near the bottom-left click on the ADD KSC button.
  • Find the file you just saved (PRELOAD (no drums)) and click on ADD.
  • Now click on the red button next to PRELOAD.KSC in order to deselect it and click on the same button next to PRELOAD (no drums).KSC to select it.
  • Click on the AUTO-LOAD NOW button near the bottom-right

Now you've freed up RAM for more user samples and your Kronos will boot without the drums until you change it back.

Loading _UserBank KSC and PCG Files


Often when you download a user samples library for the Kronos it comes with instructions detailing how it should be loaded, but that's not always the case. I thought it would be helpful to examine the files that come with a typical download and explain the function fo the files a little.

Example files: If you downloaded the posted above you would find the following files:

CP80b (folder)

You should have unzipped these files and copied them to a folder on the SSD of your Kronos.

  • CP80 (folder) contains all of the samples. You shouldn't have to deal with this folder at all.
  • CP80b.PCG contains the Programs. You will be loading this file. PCG BTW stands for Programs, Combis and Global.
  • CP80b.KSC This is the old version of the KSC. It will load everything into RAM. You typically don't need to worry about this file, but if you did want to go in and make changes to the actual samples/multisamples then you would use it. Editing of the samples/multisamples must be done in RAM.
  • CP80b_UserBank.KSC This is the new version of the KSC file format that supports VMT (streaming from SSD of user samples). You will want to load this file.

So the two important files are CP80b.PCG and CP80b_UserBank.KSC. 


To load the UserBank.KSC do the following:

  • Go to DISK and find the _UserBank.KSC for the library, e.g. CP80b_UserBank.KSC
  • Click on the LOAD button near the bottom right. You will see an information screen similar to the one above.
  • In the KSC ALLOCATION section you have three choices. I'll go through each of them in more detail.
APPEND: will simply add CP80b_UserBank.KSC to any samples that are in RAM or used by EXS or other UserBanks. If you have enough available RAM, this is probably what you want to do.
CLEAR SAMPLE MODE DATA: This is a very useful option if you've converted, for example, a soundfont into the Kronos. When the Kronos does the conversion, all the samples are in RAM. When you save the sample data a _UserBank.KSC is created. Now when you load the UserBank (streaming version) of the KSC you will want to clear out the samples from this library that are currently in RAM. This option only removes samples in the sampling area and does not touch the EXs like those loaded in PRELOAD.
CLEAR ALL: This does what you would expect. It clears EVERYTHING out the sample area as well as any EXs libraries that are loaded. You would possibly use this option if you were loading in a very large KSC--maybe something that you would use instead of PRELOAD.

  • Next is the LOAD METHOD FOR KSCs AND USER SAMPLE BANKS. Generally you will just want to keep this at the KSC SETTING. You can flip through the other options, RAM and VIRTUAL MEMORY and see the impact of the two methods on the memory required. Typically KSC SETTING and VIRTUAL MEMORY are the same thing.
  • Press OK to LOAD.


Now let's take a look at the CP80b.PCG file. Before actually loading the file it's often useful to do a little investigation before hand.

  • With PC80b.PCG selected, press on the OPEN button at the bottom. It will show a folder called PROGRAMS.
  • Again press the OPEN button. It now says BANK U-G. Remember this, U-G. When I saved this file on my Kronos, it was in Bank U-G.
  • Press the OPEN button one more time. Now you can see a list of all the programs in the bank and what's really cool is you can audition them right from here. Just select the program and you can play it. You can even load individual programs and save them to specific program slots.
  • Let's back out of this by hitting the UP button three times. You should be back to CP80b.PCG.
  • With PC80b.PCG selected click on the LOAD button. You will see a dialog box similar to the one below which was pulled from the manual.
  • Ignore the top options (you've already loaded the .KSC file) and instead look at the .PCG CONTENTS. It has a couple of options.

ALL: All will take any and all program, combi and global banks and load them into the exact location(s) they were saved to. This might or might not be what you want to happen. We know from investigating the PCG file above, that I had saved it to Bank U-G. If you would choose ALL now, it would load and overwrite everything in your U-G bank.
SPECIFIC BANK: If instead you click on the arrow (or use the value dial) you will get a list of all the program banks. Using this option you will want to select BANK U-G. A TO: field now is selectable to the right and you can choose any destination bank. This option allows you to store the bank anywhere you'd like, but you must properly choose the source bank (U-G in our example).

  • Click on the OK button.

Now you're Programs and Samples for this library are loaded. The Programs are non-volatile (you won't have to loaded them each time). The KSC will need to be loaded each time you start up the Kronos, but you can add it to the KSC AUTO-LOAD detailed in the earlier post.