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Networking and Audio/MIDI
#3012132 10/13/19 06:55 AM
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J. Dead Offline OP
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I know there are some standards for things like media servers, as well as protocols like AVB for multitrack audio over Ethernet, but don't have much knowledge or experience with them.

I don't have an active project but was just doing some brainstorming that got me wondering. Suppose you had a desktop with a high quality audio and midi interface, connected to some decent monitors, etc. Suppose you were also networked to other computers, possibly a mix of different OS, running maybe some virtual instruments, plugins, etc.

Would it be not only feasible, but practical (meaning low latency and not too cumbersome), to control all from the main computer and have all of the audio Coke into that computer, maybe even tap into some of the VST plugins from a remote machine all integrated into one workspace?

Edit: adding some additional thoughts.....I suppose there couple be a couple different ways to approach: one would be to send MIDI over the network and get Audio back over the network. That would essentially be like using the networked computer almost as a remote module. The other scenario would be to actually run the plug-in itself in software on the main machine, which I think I should probably less like
Y unless maybe you have some sort of client-server arrangement, but I don't know that plugins are designed to work that way.

Last edited by J. Dead; 10/13/19 07:19 AM.

Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Networking and Audio/MIDI
J. Dead #3012146 10/13/19 12:32 PM
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You can.

https://www.tobias-erichsen.de/software/rtpmidi.html

One example of a MIDI over Ethernet driver available.

Now you'll have to figure out how you want the audio to exit the PC then. Many of the Gigastudio composers were doing multiple PC configs to handle all the sampling they needed years ago. I've had 3 PC's over 15 years ago when I had a dedicated DAW, dedicated Gigastudio and dedicated Korg Oasys computer (had to run ME or less for those drivers and I was already on XP otherwise.) Worked fine back then. I think It was a mix of SPDIF and ADAT to move the audio to my main DAW back then. Been so long, the details are fuzzy in my head.

Devon

Re: Networking and Audio/MIDI
J. Dead #3012151 10/13/19 01:07 PM
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What DevonB said ...

and there´s a Cockos Reaper ReaPlug called "ReaStream",-

scroll dwn here

quote:

ReaStream

Supports streaming from host to host of audio and/or MIDI over a LAN segment
Supports streaming from different host software on each end
Supports UDP broadcast for streaming one to many (if local network can keep up)



... and there´s still Copperlan, which is, IIRC, MIDI only up to now.

But actually I dunno which is the best working solution and I´ll still need some time to find out later.


smile

A.C.

Re: Networking and Audio/MIDI
J. Dead #3012171 10/13/19 03:45 PM
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If your not worried about latency, other wise each PC needs an interface that can network
with others or to the main PC interface and from that interface to the PC via TB or PCIe.
Yamaha and Focusrite have Enet cards they claim are better on latency and support AVB
but they are pricey. MOTU has AVB interfaces that have both TB and USB that they
recommend for PC connection. I would like to use one of there interfaces for monitor
networking but you can't mix one companies AVB with another because they all have their
own protocols. Can't use a Mymix AVB with a MOTU or any others.


Triton Extreme 76, Kawai ES3, GEM-RPX, HX3/Drawbar control, MSI Z97
MPower/4790K, Lynx Aurora 8/MADI/AES16e, OP-X PRO, Ptec, Komplete.
Ashley MX-206. future MOTU M64 RME Digiface Dante for Mon./net
Re: Networking and Audio/MIDI
J. Dead #3015217 11/07/19 06:26 PM
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There are a lot of different AVB support standards, which can be a huge pain, but the place where networked audio at very low latency is absolutely exploding is in the Dante standard.

Some people don't like it because technically it's proprietary and they feel they have more freedom with something like AVB, but hey, if their freedom leads to all the conflicts and incompatibilities, I'm afraid I don't see the advantage. Dante is only one of the network options out there, but it's enjoying widespread acceptance and is trickling down into affordable interfaces that even small studio setups can use.

Do a search on "Dante interface" and prepare for some pretty long lists.. there's even a client software setup that lets computers relay Dante data over Ethernet without dedicated hardware.

You can learn more than you ever wanted to know at the website for Audinate, the creators and coordinators of Dante.


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, whoop de doo)
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Re: Networking and Audio/MIDI
J. Dead #3017885 11/30/19 08:46 AM
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Yea, been a while but didn't have a clear thought in mind. Dante is huge and has a
plethora of devices, but it seems so stifled and with out ingenuity which seems to lead
one to think that the proprietary thing is what is standing in the way. I need less AVB
gear to do than what it takes Dante to do. Dante is a big routing matrix but has nothing
to do with mix and levels. With AVB I can use one device to send my mix or mix within
and use one cat line to network with others, while with Dante I have to run 1 or more
analog lines to a central unit then have a control unit that runs a cat line to tie to the
network and loose control of the mix if I send several analog lines.

I think I have figured out what will work best for my situation, I bought a MADI card
for my converter which will allow me to use AVB, Dante or both. As I researched it
became clear to me that MADI was a must have in order for me to be flexible enough
for the multiple evolving ip audio technologies present and future.

Last edited by Throbert; 11/30/19 08:48 AM.

Triton Extreme 76, Kawai ES3, GEM-RPX, HX3/Drawbar control, MSI Z97
MPower/4790K, Lynx Aurora 8/MADI/AES16e, OP-X PRO, Ptec, Komplete.
Ashley MX-206. future MOTU M64 RME Digiface Dante for Mon./net
Re: Networking and Audio/MIDI
Throbert #3017891 11/30/19 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Throbert
Dante is huge and has a
plethora of devices, but it seems so stifled and with out ingenuity which seems to lead
one to think that the proprietary thing is what is standing in the way.


Technical innovations are aimed at the wealthy, first. Then it takes a while for them to trickle down to the rest of us. Dante enables more connections easier - great for a media production company that has several studios throughout the building or neighborhood, and for large audio systems where they need multiple consoles, 30 channels of wireless mics, 40 channels for drums, and 20 channels of keyboards, and speakers all over the venue. Gigging musicians and hobbyists today are better served by other interconnecting systems. But the industry is working hard on interoperability and eventually you'll be able to use whatever works best for whatever you need doing.

MADI is something quite different from Dante and AVB and Revenna, and other AoIP systems, and it has its place. It's been around for longer than most people remember, but its applications were limited to those with the big bucks until it became supported by a chip the price came down.

Re: Networking and Audio/MIDI
J. Dead #3017915 11/30/19 04:37 PM
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Yea what, about 25 years or so, I just observed that it had alot more interconnectivity
with other formats including ip audio than most others and since my converter could use
a MADI card and there weren't that many around as well as the deal I found, trigger pulled.


Triton Extreme 76, Kawai ES3, GEM-RPX, HX3/Drawbar control, MSI Z97
MPower/4790K, Lynx Aurora 8/MADI/AES16e, OP-X PRO, Ptec, Komplete.
Ashley MX-206. future MOTU M64 RME Digiface Dante for Mon./net
Re: Networking and Audio/MIDI
J. Dead #3018492 12/04/19 10:52 PM
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Dan,

You have effectively described how my studio works. I have three ethernet networks in my studio. One is for internet and general connectivity. One is for Vienna Ensemble Pro (this is how my main DAW talks to my sample servers for the orchestral template. ). One is a Dante network used to route audio around the studio; it is effectively a giant digital patch bay.

Vienna Ensemble Pro (VEP) is a staple in the media composition world. It works fabulously. I can host samples, virtual instruments, etc on a computer running the VEP software. From my DAW, also running this software, I can play the remote instrument. I send MIDI, it goes across the wires and I get back audio that plays back as expected. I have two sample servers outside my main DAW running several terabytes of orchestral samples. The full template is ~600 MIDI tracks. Some have templates with 1000s of tracks using this software. It is very mature and "just works".

Dante is the audio layer of my studio. All mic preamps go into Focurite Rednet converters. They have an Ethernet output. I have a dedicated Ethernet switch that connect my interfaces, digital mixer, headphone monitor amps, DAW, and speakers. I can route any channel of audio anywhere, or even to multiple places at once. It often has ~40ch of audio flying around the studio and again, "it just works". My main DAW has a PCIe card from Focusrite in it that provides access to 128ch of audio across a single Ethernet cable. When I switch to Ethernet, I was able to pull out a huge stack of analog cabling, replacing it with a handful of thin Ethernet wires. If one needs more than 16ch of I/O, Ethernet is wonderful. Super low latency. I am digital from mic preamp output all the way to the Genelec studio monitors, and I am very happy with the resulting sound. I just don't have analog hiss, buildup, etc. When I removed my monitor controller (a very high-end Grace Design unit made to exceptional specs) and went straight digital, I got a significant increase in spatial accuracy in the stereo field, lower noise and a more "present" sound. Even the non-musicians in my house heard the system and said, "what changed? its definitely better".

So, Ethernet transport is a big win in my world. It is becoming the defecto standard for live sound, multi-room facilities, etc. I am finally done with interface limitations. Any time I need more channels, I can just buy another 8-16ch Dante-equipped interface and add it to what I have. Very convenient.

Re: Networking and Audio/MIDI
J. Dead #3019000 12/10/19 05:54 AM
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J. Dead Offline OP
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Let me kind of explain what got me thinking. Of course everything discussed here is part of it. But the other part is kind of the idea that a lot of moder hardware workstations are also basically computers, just running their own proprietary OS and software, people often thing "wouldn't it be great if I could run my favorite plugin or VI on that platform"? Manufacturers understandably don't support a bunch of 3rd party stuff because they can't control and support it. You can always MIDI up a laptop and run it that way, but now the user interface is on a laptop and not integrated with your workstation or performance keyboard. The latest developments in MIDI, once implemented, over some potential for plug and play support for servicing up a unique interface for a recognized device. For a long time, I've had this idea......

Essentially a keyboard that is a communication backplane and user interface. Think of the user interface almost like a web browser where different devices can serve up controls almost like a web server sends a web page to your browser. If there were a common protocol for basic controls - a knob object bound to a specific control - it would be trivial to build an interface, to the point where a user could even build their own. Make the panel module in that they could pick sliders, knobs, drawbars, etc. The backplane that connects it all is what got me thinking about all this. Somebody could release a synth and then also release a card version of it that would plug into this backplane, send their preferred interface to the UI and have panel controls routed by default as they like. Audio and control can interface with other devices in the unit via the backplane. After internal slots are full, a simple Ethernet cable to a rack expands it. You could even add memory, hard drives, I/!O etc that could be utilized by devices, with the platform acting as the traffic cop. Instead of one computer essentially having to support everything, it could be a mix of analog, digital, whatever, but the devices would be independent in that if it's a sampler it has its own processor and memory and doesn't tax the processor in the host, which is just essentially communicating with it.

Thoughts? My initial thought is just that it might be cost prohibitive.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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