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Topic: 5 computers...and what else?

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  1. #1

    5 computers...and what else?

    Hi,

    Me composer. Me want Gigastudio make music.

    More specifically I\'ve got five custom built computers sitting in my home right now just waiting to be used for music making. One is my master DAW for sequencing and mastering and the other four are Gigastudio slaves. The computers are complete and ready to go except for audio interfaces which I\'m not sure about with the ever looming presence of GS3 and GSIF2.

    Anyway I want to make these five computers earn their keep and make music! Them and my Yamaha S80. That\'s really all I have right now.

    So what does one in my situation do? I just got approved for a bank loan of about $10,500 and I\'m itching to buy whatever it is I need to get all this neato technology doing its job. Problem is I\'m kinda numb to this recording studio stuff and I can\'t seem to figure out what would be both the best sounding and most stream-lined (not to mention cheap) route to go.

    I\'d appreciate both broad and specific setup information. For instance, what kinds of equipment do I need? (32 track mixer? 24 track mixer? synchronization? MIDI interfaces? Studio monitors? etc.)

    And if anyone would be so kind I\'d greatly appreciate a specific setup or two of what\'s making your studio run with multiple gigacomputers.

    I greatly appreciate any and all services rendered.

  2. #2

    Re: 5 computers...and what else?

    No need to lecture me about the bank loan, I have that more than taken care of.

    But thank you for the setup information. Unfortunately I\'m not sure what I should be and shouldn\'t be looking for, so your well-stocked studio is a little overwhelming to me.

    I wish someone could just tell me given what I want to do, what I need and why I need those things. Why\'s are very important to me at this point particularly.

    Thanks.

  3. #3

    Re: 5 computers...and what else?

    I would start by looking into FX-Teleport and the upcoming Giga VST Wrapper. If these things work, you won\'t need any hardware for the slave machines other than to make sure they have GigaBit Ethernet cards and get a GigaBit Ethernet switcher to handle all 5 machines. All this stuff should work with Giga 2.5 for now and later 3.0. You will need an audio card and MIDI interface for the sequencing computer though. All the mixing is handled in the sequencer of the main computer.

    If this stuff proves to not work well for you, then you can look into a bunch of audio cards with GSIF drivers for the Giga machines. If the audio cards have MIDI interfaces, even better. A combination of real audio cards but ethernet MIDI (like midioverlan) can work real well too.
    You will need some way to mix everything this way and you would either run it through a mixing board or run it all into your sequencing computer. Something like a 32 input RME ADAT style optical digital card on the master computer and 8 channel cards on each Giga machine plugged into those 32 inputs.

    Hope this helps a bit.
    Dave

  4. #4

    Re: 5 computers...and what else?

    Thank you very much David for your reply. That was very very helpful.

    Could you please clarify a few things for me?

    As economical as the FX-teleport route sounds, I like the idea of having GSIF (GSIF2 preferably) audio interfaces on all four of the gigacomputers.

    If I use a mixerboard (which I\'d very much like to) how would things then work (excuse my ignorance here)? I\'d like to keep everything digital if possible. From what I\'m to understand would it be like this: I\'d have my main DAW connected to the 4 slave computers via their MIDI interfaces. The output of those four computers would be routed to a 32 channel mixerboard where I could monitor and do an initial mix of everything. Once I have everything mixed like I want I could then send the audio back into my DAW for final effects processing and mastering.

    Does that sound about right or am I way off? Do I need a piece of equipment for getting the audio back into my DAW? Another question is will I have to battle with synchronization issues between the four gigacomputers? If so, what hardware would I use to solve that?

    I feel like I\'m getting closer and closer to what I\'m searching for here. Thank you for your help. It\'s greatly appreciated.

  5. #5

    Re: 5 computers...and what else?

    \"As economical as the FX-teleport route sounds, I like the idea of having GSIF (GSIF2 preferably) audio interfaces on all four of the gigacomputers.\"

    (Nothing wrong with that. the FX route provides virtual GSIF drivers in case diddn\'t know. However, it would probably be less intimidating and faster to get up to speed with actually sound cards)

    If I use a mixerboard (which I\'d very much like to) how would things then work (excuse my ignorance here)? I\'d like to keep everything digital if possible. From what I\'m to understand would it be like this: I\'d have my main DAW connected to the 4 slave computers via their MIDI interfaces. The output of those four computers would be routed to a 32 channel mixerboard where I could monitor and do an initial mix of everything. Once I have everything mixed like I want I could then send the audio back into my DAW for final effects processing and mastering.

    (You sure could. Thats kind of the way I work right now.)

    Does that sound about right or am I way off?
    (right on target. Thats the old school method that has been used for years. Not a bad way to go if you have the budget)

    Do I need a piece of equipment for getting the audio back into my DAW?

    (Just send a stereo or multi-track mix from the mixer into the audio inputs on the sound card of the main DAW. You will need to do the research to find out what kind of connections and how many you want for the mixer and the card)

    Another question is will I have to battle with synchronization issues between the four gigacomputers? If so, what hardware would I use to solve that?

    (You could probably daisy chain the SPDIF digital connections that come with most sound cards (use only Digital cables for best results, don\'t be tempted to use standard audio RCA cables) Then set one machine (or the mixing board) to master and everything to slave, set the same sample and bit rates etc. Thats one method. Larry Seyer likes to use an Ardvark synch distribution amplifier that sends sample accurate clock to each machine at the exact same time. Seems to tighten up the audio a bit. Make sure you can work the mixing board into the system for synch as well. This is not my area of expertise so people can feel free to correct or add to this. I will not be offended)

    Anyway, thats all for hooking up using a mixingboard. Keep in mind, allot of people just use the DAW as the mixing board, live or with captured audio tracks. (there are fancy controllers that make it easier) A mixing board however can be very intuitive as well. Other options include capturing all your samples to hard disk on your DAW and running those tracks to your mixer. Lots of options to say the least.

    Good luck
    Dave

  6. #6

    Re: 5 computers...and what else?

    Wonderful. I can\'t thank you enough for your comments.

    Having cleared those things up I have a few more things I\'m rather ignorant on.

    First, audio interfaces. I assume my DAW would have one kind of audio card and my four Gigacomputers would have another kind.

    Do I need seperate MIDI interfaces from the audio cards or would it be possible to buy audio cards with all the necessary MIDI connections built into them?

    Tell me if I have this correct. To send MIDI out to the other four computers my DAW would need an audio card with four MIDI outs and one MIDI in for my keyboard controller input. But each audio card on the Gigastudio computers would need only one MIDI in/out.

    Is there any advice on specific audio interfaces you could give me that would work for what I\'m doing? I know the new GSIF2 thing kind of muddles the issue, but at the very least are there any cards coming out in the coming months to watch?

    And finally how will I tell my DAW which tracks to send to which computers? I use Cubase SX and Sibelius. What will make my computer \'see\' the other four computers?

  7. #7

    Re: 5 computers...and what else?

    First, audio interfaces. I assume my DAW would have one kind of audio card and my four Gigacomputers would have another kind.

    (it depends on how you wind up hooking things together. If you were going to use the DAW as the main mixer, then the DAW would ideally have a 32 input digital ADAT lightpipe card. Then each Giga machine would have 8 ADAT lightpipe outputs and these could go directly into the DAW. If you are using a mixing board, it would depend on the connections to that board, analog, digital etc. Also, the DAW can be used as an extra Giga machine if you like as well.)

    Do I need seperate MIDI interfaces from the audio cards or would it be possible to buy audio cards with all the necessary MIDI connections built into them?

    (Either way will work. It depends on the cards you are shopping for. If they have MIDI on board, even better.)

    Tell me if I have this correct. To send MIDI out to the other four computers my DAW would need an audio card with four MIDI outs and one MIDI in for my keyboard controller input. But each audio card on the Gigastudio computers would need only one MIDI in/out.

    (If you only plan to use 16 MIDI channels per GigaStudio, machine, then this is perfect. Each GigaSTudio however can handle 64 channels (4 MIDI inputs) and Giga 3.0 will handle 128 (8 MIDI inputs) This is why options like MIDIOverLAN and FX-Teleport are attractive because they can save a lot of money on MIDI hardware. For 4 Giga Machines using all 64 MIDI channels each, you would need to have 16 MIDI outputs on the DAW, and 4 MIDI inputs on each Giga Machine. Double that for 3.0 if you want to get crazy. However, depending on the libraries, not every machine will nessesarily need all 4 ports each. You might run out of RAM before you even run out of MIDI channels for example)

    Is there any advice on specific audio interfaces you could give me that would work for what I\'m doing? I know the new GSIF2 thing kind of muddles the issue, but at the very least are there any cards coming out in the coming months to watch?

    (GSIF-1 will cover you for just playing back the GigaStudios and running audio between the cards. GSIF-2 will come into play if you wanted to treat a Giga Machine like an effects unit to run audio in and out in real time through the GigaPulse or VST plugins inside Giga. I know the Echo cards are GSIF-2 and others are planning on it. You may not need it yet though)

    And finally how will I tell my DAW which tracks to send to which computers? I use Cubase SX and Sibelius. What will make my computer \'see\' the other four computers?

    Once you install your MIDI interface on your DAW, these will simply show up in the sequencer. You will have to document what goes to which machine as you set things up. Basically, select a track, select a port and select a MIDI channel and play.)

    Have fun.
    Dave

  8. #8

    Re: 5 computers...and what else?

    Quote:

    Another question is will I have to battle with synchronization issues between the four gigacomputers? If so, what hardware would I use to solve that?

    (You could probably daisy chain the SPDIF digital connections that come with most sound cards (use only Digital cables for best results, don\'t be tempted to use standard audio RCA cables)

    Unquote:

    I have a four computer set-up and I use the Roland M-1000 Digital Line mixer to bring a stereo sum of the three soft-synth computers into the fourth(running Pro-Tools) through s/pdif. One thing that is cool about the M-1000 is that the incoming digital clocks don\'t have to be synchronized. The M-1000 will accept multiple unsynced signals (even different clock rates) and resolve them to any output format (and rate) you choose.

  9. #9

    Re: 5 computers...and what else?

    I can\'t thank you enough for this advice.

    You\'ve got me thinking now that an outboard mixerboard is a silly waste of money when I could just use the one in my DAW. So I think I\'m going to go with the ADAT lightpipe cards and skip the mixerboard all together.

    Also, MIDIOverLan makes a lot more sense considering the amount of MIDI O/I\'s I\'d need in this setup.

    I have only two quick questions.

    1. Is there anything bad I should know about MIDIOverLan? Are there any sync issues? Would I still need a word clock syncronizer?

    2. How would I monitor everything without a mixer?

    Thank you.

  10. #10

    Re: 5 computers...and what else?

    I am not a MidiOverLan user, but a lot of people here use it in a multi PC setup without problem. A word clock is only needed to get rid of problems in the audio chain, not for midi stuff.

    Regarding monitoring, you have to get the audio into your PC, I don\'t know how you do it with SPDIF, but with ADAT, there are RME cards that can handle 3 ADAT inputs, you might need to use 2 of them in your case (not sure how well a system works with 2 soundcards though)
    Then you would use the SX mixer to organize all your audio Inputs.
    If you decide to wait for the Gigawrapper and use FXTeleport, you don\'t have to bother about all this audio and midi issues and just have to make sure you have a proper network setup for your PCs.

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