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Topic: Help! Linking together two or more PC's...

  1. #1

    Help! Linking together two or more PC\'s...

    Hi all, after reading through the forums here and searching the net, I still have a few questions/concerns about linking together multiple PC\'s.

    Not sure how to phrase all of these questions but here goes;

    1.) Is it an absolute no-no to run a USB midi interface for more than one machine? What are the alternatives?

    2.) I was thinking that due to the lack of a hardware mixer on my part that I would sync together multiple copies of Cubase, do internal mixing on each machine, and then run each mix out in stereo to the main mix-down machine. If this is viable, is Midi Time Code the way to go?

    3.) Assuming MTC is the preferred method in locking everything together, I have read that it is best to dedicate one midi cable to the transfer of the time code on it\'s own. How is this possible though if each computer only has one midi in/out?

    Am I approaching this the wrong way? Perhaps it might\'ve been easier to explain first what I am after and let you guys suggest the best method. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Put simply I want;

    Machine 1; Sequencer/Mixdown DAW
    Machine 2; Sampler (Giga)
    Machine 3; Sampler (Kontakt)

    Essentially I need recommendations on cheap reliable sound cards and the required midi gear to pull this off.

    I understand the whole concept of running a KVM box for all of this, my main concerns revolve around having a tight low-latency multi-PC DAW environment.

    Thanks in advance for your help.


  2. #2

    Re: Help! Linking together two or more PC\'s...

    If you need timecode on multiple machines, I would suggest a good external clock. This would feed SMPTE to all machines.

    However, by looking at what you need, I don\'t think you need any sort of timecode in anything but your main sequencer computer (which will use it\'s own clock).

    I use multiple computers in my studio. I have a main computer running Sonar 2 and a dedicated Gigasampler machine. Both machines have thier own independent USB midi interfaces. The Gigasampler machine is being treated as a sampler, it had no need for timecode, just as a hardware synthesizer wouldn\'t typically use timecode.

    Of course there are some exceptions. There is the occasional synth patch that can use midi timecode to drive an LFO. For use this, I would pass the midi time from my main machine.

    But for any time critical functions, such as actually locking two running sequencers, I would buy an external clock.


  3. #3

    Re: Help! Linking together two or more PC\'s...

    Hi Mark, thanks for your reply. Much appreciated!

    I am yet to purchase Giga so cant speak for it\'s mixing functions, but with Kontakt it doesnt really function as a mixer/eq/effect processor in the traditional sense. This was my reason for wanting to run a copy of Cubase on the same machine so that I could do a sub-mix of all instruments and route them out in stereo, back to the main machine for the final mixdown.

    Sorry for the dumb question, but when you refer to the external clock, are you referring to a midi/smpte interface? Would that generate it\'s own clock? I was always under the impression that it kind of \"passed the time code along\" from one machine to the next.

    Thanks again for your reply.


  4. #4

    Re: Help! Linking together two or more PC\'s...

    Hi Scott,

    An external timecode generator is an external hardware unit that generates SMPTE timecode, wordclock, midi timecode and a variety of other sync functions. It\'s sole function is keeping everything in the studio locked to the same lock source. Digidesign makes one for Pro Tools. MOTU makes one.

    I have successfully locked two sequencers together with midi timecode (on occasion). But I\'ve also had a ton of problems on other occasions. I was having problems with digital audio tracks drifting. The pitch was warbling as the audio was not quite in sync. Using the dedicated sync solved the problem.

    There is a work around that was successful on a friends project (at least it worked for us). He locked 2 PC\'s together via midi time code. During playback everything was fine. However when he attempted to input audio from computer #2 (as a live feed) back into computer #1 he had problems. So what we ended up doing was a mix on machine #2, then copy the wave files to a CD, then import them into the mix on machine #1. This worked well. I imagine because all digital audio was then under the same clock.

    Damn, this stuff gets confusing!


  5. #5

    Re: Help! Linking together two or more PC\'s...

    Originally posted by Scott Cairns:

    1.) Is it an absolute no-no to run a USB midi interface for more than one machine? What are the alternatives?
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">A cheap and nice solution is to use MusicLab MIDIoverLAN+:

  6. #6

    Re: Help! Linking together two or more PC\'s...

    Hi Mark, actually it is all starting to make a lot of sense thanks to you! [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    Would it be feasible then do you think to lock all machines to the external midi/smpte interface and then feed the audio mix of machines 2 and 3 back into machine 1 in real time?

    Sounds like the way to go. For a budget priced card I was considering theAudiophile card as it has midi built-in plus SP/DIF if the need arises. I know this card also has the GSIF and ASIO 2 drivers.

    A cheap and nice solution is to use MusicLab MIDIoverLAN+: <font size=\"]

    - Thanks Steve. I must admit though, I am a little concerned about transmitting midi over ethernet as ethernet isn\'t truly built for midi and has collisions and noise etc. (according to my networking friends anyway) [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Unless of course you or others are enjoying success with it?

    Regards, Scott.

  7. #7

    Re: Help! Linking together two or more PC\'s...

    I would like some suggestions related to this topic. I have two computers: my first is a Pentium 4, 1.4, gHz, 1 gig ram, Gina24. Windows 2k with 2 hard drives (40 and 80 gig) and GS96. On the forty gig I run my sequencer (an old version of Cakewalk Home Studio), GS 96, and on the 80 gig I have my GS samples.

    My second computer is a Pentium 3, 667, 512 ram, Windows 2000 and with two hard drives (one which I will eventually replace with a faster 7200 rpm drive).

    How can I use this second computer with my GS set up?
    If I run the sequencer on it, how would I connect it to the other computer to trigger the samples?
    Any downside to this?
    What would the benefits of this be?
    To what degree does running GS and a sequencer on the same computer compromise performance?

    If this has been addressed already, please provide me with a link.

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