I'm just configuring a new machine to be my Gigamachine. I have VSL and a few other libraries, which will require a lot of hard drive space. For cost reasons I'd rather fit three 300GB drives for samples and audio, rather than a 400GB drive (also a 120GB drive for Windows). My question is, will Gigastudio be OK streaming samples from several drives at once, or should I try to get my samples on one drive?
On another note, I need to figure out how to link up my sequencing machine to my GIgamachine. Ideally I suppose I should use Midioverlan, but I'm not sure I want to network my machines. The problem is I've already had the maximum number of licenses for my NI stuff (on the sequencing machine) after having to change my RAM a couple of times. If I put in a network card, and then have to rebuild the machine for any reason, I'd have to beg NI for another license.
Also I would like to be able to render performances from Gigastudio as wav offline. The only option I could think of was to use Steinberg's System-Link, have V-stack on the Gigamachine, and run Giga adaptor as a VST. Is anyone doing this? If so what kind of polyphony do you get? Are there any issues with putting things like the Performance Tools, or Maple Tools, in the chain?
First, contact NI and get your authorizations straight. There is no need for you to be losing authorizations. Be sure to de-authorize a machine when you make the fundamental changes which trigger a new authorization. That way, you can reclaim it. If the machine is changed fundamentally enough that the CP is triggered, then it is not the "same" machine, and therefore, you should be able to de-authorize it and reclaim the authorization.
If you have somehow mismanaged this before, you can call NI and explain the situation now and get it corrected. They are a very sensible company, and will not create problems for someone who is just trying to work. I recommend being VERY proactive about maintaining licenses, so that you are not caught in a bind at a time you might be experiencing a machine failure. These Draconian CP schemes are a nightmare, for sure, but one has little choice but to manage them closely--or it is easy to lose the rights which you have purchased. You have a right to two installations for each license, and as long as you are following the rules, the license binds NI to do whatever it takes to make sure you have access to those rights. Licenses work two ways!!!
Networking: Yes, you should definitely network any machines that are working together in your studio. Even if you are not using MIDIoverLAN or another networked protocol for transferring audio, the advantages of a networked setup are numerous. Automating backups and creating a data-management plan are SO much easier in a networked environment. It can all happen while you sleep.
GIGA multi-machine protocols: To me, the best way to use GigaStudio in a large installation is to transfer tracks via lightpipe into your DAW. This gives you eight submix tracks per lightpipe, and it's very convenient to bounce/punch in this quantity. Alternately, you can always render-to-disk in the same quantities that you can pipe out in your hardware, so it is possible to use the MIDI-sync capture and drop the files on your disk, then drag them across the network into your project. If you are using gigabit (or even 100 Mbit) networking, you can easily stream quite a few tracks across the network in real time without trouble. However, if you're also passing MIDI through the network, you would probably just want to move the files across into your project folder on the DAW machine.
That would be my advice. I know that many people are fond of keeping everything in VSTi protocol and controlling it all from the DAW. This has never really worked well for me. I find the DAW getting too bogged down when it's wearing so many hats, and taking the sampling and most of the synthesis offline to other machines works better for me. It also leaves me with lots of options, should the worst happen and a machine should fail. I can make ANY of my machines take over, because they are all fitted with extensive i/o hardware and can all serve as standalone workstations.
What I want in my setup is 1) redundancy, 2) speed, and 3) flexibility. The way I have made that work is to make sure that every piece works as an independently-capable system, and that there are numerous ways that the machines can share data. It may not be ideal for everyone, but it is ideal for me. If something doesn't want to work on a given day, I want to be able to immediately work some other way.