Help wanted: No big enough memory block available, M1 mac

Joel Member Posts: 3 Newcomer

I am trying a Kontakt instrument and the experience with Kontakt can't be more frustrating.

When loading an instrument (.nki file) -- Embertone Walker 1955 Steinway D, Kontakt will emit an error saying "ERROR: could not load sample (no big enough memory block available)".

I also tried memory server, which does not work when running as an AU Plugin (why? is it a bug or unsupported yet?). Standalone player seems to work, but in the options - Memory tab "Max. accessible RAM for memory server" reads only 1.0 GB, although I have enough memory in the system! Neither can I increase this memory allocation. However, due to poor memory allocation and resource management, the instrument is absolutely unplayable as samples will be purged and voices dropped and lost when playing.

My machine is M1 mac mini 2020, 8GB RAM, Monterey 12.3. I am running Kontakt 6.7.1 (arm64 native version). It does have enough free RAM, or even if there is no enough RAM space the VSTis should load by making use of swap memories.

Searching the knowledge base forum, somebody says try x64 version rather than x86 (32-bit) version. This does not apply, however, the Kontakt application is running natively as arm64.

I also saw some post which says Kontakt 6.4 broke memory management and resource allocation, which hasn't been fixed even yet, so try Kontakt 6.3 or earlier. But I am unable to try this workaround as NI does not provide an old installer, and I haven't received anything back from NI after writing contact and support request.

Can anyone please provide me with help or some guide on how I can workaround or troubleshoot this error?

Thank you!



  • Studiowaves
    Studiowaves Member Posts: 412 Advisor

    Try exporting from.nki to wav. It will decompile the large nki file. Use the exported folder to play.. It should load fast and it may fix the problem. If not then reduce the buffer settings for the pre load into memory.

  • Joel
    Joel Member Posts: 3 Newcomer

    Thank you for your reply. I think exporting nki to wav is no longer possible as the sample files (.nkc, .nkx) are proprietarily protected.

    I also tried overriding instrument's preload size: 6kB -- the minimum possible value far smaller than the default) but it doesn't seem to make any improvement. I believe audio buffer size has nothing to do with memory footprint.

  • EvilDragon
    EvilDragon Moderator Posts: 999 mod

    Memory server does not work in arm64 mode AFAIK.

    6.4 didn't break memory management, it replaced the memory manager used.

    Can you try opening the instrument in Kontakt standalone and see if at least that works? If that works, try running Logic in Rosetta mode and see how that fares, too.

  • Joel
    Joel Member Posts: 3 Newcomer
    edited April 2022

    Hi EvilDragon, thanks for your reply. Everything is the same in Kontakt standalone and in VST3/AU plugin. Logic running in Rosetta or native doesn't seem to have any effect.

    I realized that overriding instrument's preload size indeed helps: I could try the minimum possible value (6KB). However you just have to click the checkbox to the right of "override instrument preload size" to turn it on!!!!! ---- This feels like a very counterintuitive UI. Even if it is turned off (honestly I hate how Kontakt's UI was designed, it really doesn't tell whether a checkbox is turned on or off, which should be improved), one can still change the slider bar which has no effect at all unless this checkbox is turned on.

    This would make the VSTi loadable, but due to poor memory management it is often very unplayable. Very often the case I see an error message "BACKGROUND LOADING WARNING: Your memory is getting low. Please use the purge function to free some resources..." This makes the instrument very unplayable; some samples are lost and the voice is missing while playing perhaps due to automatic purging. I would expect automatic reloading of samples as I play, but somehow this was not the case for me: the purged samples won't load.

    One worse thing is that the total memory used by all Kontakt instruments can't exceed 1GB; if you happen to have any other Kontakt instrument loaded, even if it's turned off, it will consume all the available memory and kill other instrument to load.

    Is there any way to increase maximum memory allocation size? Why it's capped at only 1GB?

  • EvilDragon
    EvilDragon Moderator Posts: 999 mod
    edited April 2022

    It really seems like you might actually be running out of RAM, depending on which instruments you're attempting to load...

    Regarding the checkboxes, it's pretty common for filled square to denote "on" and empty square to denote "off"...

  • diogoterror
    diogoterror Member Posts: 4 Newcomer
    edited June 2022

    I'm having this issue too.

    On m1 running native, the RAM is artificially capped at 1gb (my machine also has 8gb). I found other people online with the same issue:

    I can replicate this in Logic, Ableton and Studio One. It's also true that if you run the host (any of them) in Rosetta mode, the max accessible RAM goes to 6gb, which is in line with how much I actually have available to use.

  • caroljames972022
    caroljames972022 Member Posts: 1 Newcomer

    You can upgrade your memory 8 GB memory is not enough these days. I recently updated my system memory ( it is a 16 GB memory I have now 20 GB memory in two slots and I am happy with this decision.

  • Mumbledoor
    Mumbledoor Member Posts: 5 Newcomer

    It really seems like you guys don’t give a hoot because it is easily demonstrable that the amount of RAM is not the problem here. Also closing a thread because there are already two threads about this topic seems like an easy out. Maybe there should be something done if threads keep popping up?

  • Dryke
    Dryke Member Posts: 1 Member

    Has there been a solution found to this yet?? I'm having the same issue.

  • Studiowaves
    Studiowaves Member Posts: 412 Advisor

    I have a pc, not a mac, and have never seen this error. 16gig memory, Maybe don't preload as much data. It's under settings in Kontakt. I have two ssd drives and don't load much into memory but it's also on the pcie bus in a raid 0 configuration.

  • soniklab
    soniklab Member Posts: 2 Newcomer

    Bump..was there any solution to this? @Joel @diogoterror @Dryke ?

  • PDF
    PDF Member Posts: 1 Newcomer

    Hi, same problem here, both in Kontakt 6 or 7 player inside Ableton Live 11 (Mac Mini M1, 8Gb RAM, Ventura).

    Any sample-heavy library (eg. Session Guitarist) will send Background Loading Warning when memory used reaches 0.9Gb. No other plugin running, CPU usage at 7%.

    Workflow-wise, it's not acceptable to need to purge samples every time I load a big file or instrument.

    Is there any info about NI addressing this 1GB allocation cap soon? As it makes working with other NI products (such as libraries) nearly impossible.

    The only workaround I've found so far is launching Ableton Live using Rosetta, which really defeats the purpose of using M1-native software, which I believe Kontakt claims to be :)

    Any help on this issue much appreciated :)

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