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Topic: A Question to the GPO Team and any Techs.

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Question A Question to the GPO Team and any Techs.

    Will ... GPO, SSV, GOS and all the rest up to and including notational and sequencers, work on a "clustered" system of computers? After the commercial break I'll provide you the reason for this inquiry.
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    Re: A Question to the GPO Team and any Techs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Styxx
    Will ... GPO, SSV, GOS and all the rest up to and including notational and sequencers, work on a "clustered" system of computers? After the commercial break I'll provide you the reason for this inquiry.
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    Styxx, do you mean a distributed network?

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    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: A Question to the GPO Team and any Techs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    Styxx, do you mean a distributed network?
    Well, I guess so. Our tech teacher here at the school of hard nuts, builds systems were several PC share CPU power when running a task. He was telling me all about it and said it works perfect with scientific tasks and wondered how it would work with musical tasks. Sounds interesting to me if it works. He says it's on the same line as a super computer.
    Dave ... where you going Dave? ... Dave ... Don't pull that plug, Dave ... Daavvee yoouurrrrrrr hhhhuuuurrrrrrtttttiiiiinnnnngggggmmmmeeeeeeedddda aaaaaaaaa*

  4. #4

    Re: A Question to the GPO Team and any Techs.

    Yes, essentially distributed computing allows you to break a large computational task into separate pieces to send to any number of linked processors. While these (potentially aged) processors would choke on a large job, they'll happily work on a portion thereof. They do this often in graphics and video rendering, too.

    In this case, you'd be breaking up the orchestra so each PC could handle a section (or a few sections). So PC #1 has your trumpets, PC #2 has oboes, etc.

    In order to do this, you need some sort of "MIDI over LAN" driver. Many of these have been written, including one by Dan H. for GPO Studio. Then you take the outputs from each of these into a mixing board.

    There's also a product called "FX Teleport" that does this in a more seamless way, including the transport of audio back to the "master" computer within your sequencer.

    Mind, some orchestral library products *have* to do this because of their intense resource requirements (and the 4GB resident process RAM limitation on 32 bit Windows). Personally, I'd rather have it all on one computer.

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

  5. #5
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: A Question to the GPO Team and any Techs.

    Ok, Mr. M. So, would you say the Athalon 64 (did I spell that right?) would be more appropriate than stringing together several older PC's?

  6. #6

    Re: A Question to the GPO Team and any Techs.

    Given the real-time nature of music, most definitely.

    In CG animation rendering, for instance, the artist will work on scenes and models in low-resolution as a preview of how things will work. When a significant stage of the scene is complete, batch rendering over a network is started: pieces are distributed to all the processors to render and the results are transferred back to the master program.

    With music, though, we want to work in high resolution *all* the time to hear the results immediately. There's no real separate "render" stage (well, perhaps if you have a library with several sample rates with one for "preview"). Even in the case of using a network of several old PCs for sample playback, the real-time nature of the beast means that you will be restricted to the slowest computer involved: if your oboes are playing on an ancient machine with 1500 ms of latency, then *all* the machines will have to run that slow.

    Then again, such a delay isn't a problem to some people, or they solve the issue by stringing several shiny new Athalon 64's together.

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

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    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: A Question to the GPO Team and any Techs.

    Wow! I actually understand what you are saying here! Alleluia! What about stringing together several P4 - 3.0 CPU together given the speed of all at equal?

  8. #8

    Re: A Question to the GPO Team and any Techs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Styxx
    Wow! I actually understand what you are saying here! Alleluia! What about stringing together several P4 - 3.0 CPU together given the speed of all at equal?
    Then you could go beyond the limits in RAM, CPU, or disk streaming speed that you might need to simulate large orchestral samples at high sample rates with no looping and each with their own positional convolution reverb in real time.

    BUT...

    You will need to physically go to each PC to set up what sounds they're currently playing and tweak their settings (since they don't have remote-network GUIs (yet)), you will need a physical audio mixer to get them all playing together live, you will have to manage the network, and you will have to recombine each PC individual work yourself by hand after you've decided you're done.

    Now, if this was *truly* distributed computing, then you'd be able to control all the settings from one screen and the rendered output would be returned to you in one local virtual mixer. To my knowledge, none of the Mammoth Replace-Human-Players Sound Library Purveyors have considered such an integrated distributed system, so you have to configure a bunch of third-party stuff yourself to make it go smoothly. But I may be wrong.

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

  9. #9

    Re: A Question to the GPO Team and any Techs.

    what he said... this is one of those empty promises from the earlier days of computing!

    What you are describing, having a sample engine run on several different machines, each machine playing back different parts is not really distributed computing, at least not in the academic sense, but it is cool, and it can make a large job more manageable!

    My first "distributed" environment used an Amiga running Bars and Pipes Pro to drive all my external MIDI synths and samplers (many of which were computers too), and a PC running Sound Forge for audio. (There were also audio tracks on the Amiga via Sunrize Studio16). All of this was locked (more-or-less) to SMPTE time code coming from an analog tape deck.

    What a mess!!

    Lately I use Musiclab's MIDIoverLAN product to link two machines together for MIDI. Audio is sent from the "slave" machine back to the primary DAW over lightpipe.

    The primary machine runs Sonar. All my other software synths and samplers are distributed (licensing permitting) between the two machines. GigaStudio96 also runs on the slave machine.

    It works. It is NOT ideal by any stretch of the imagination. I use VNC to set up the remote screen some of the time, but mostly I just use a KVM switch.

    If I could afford to buy a honkin big multi-cpu machine I would. If I could convince MS that the x-windows concept is not all that bad I would. Sadly, neither of these things seems like it is going to happen any time soon.

    To answer your last question, at one point (for reasons I'll skip) I had four P3-500 machines lying around the house. When I was not using them as doorstops I set up this silly six machine orchestra. I don't remember the specifics, but with all the softsynths moved off the primary DAW it screamed! I wired the whole mess up with plain old MIDI cables and it worked like a charm. When you stop to think about it, samplers don't need a heck of a lot of horsepower. Memory... yes, disk... yes, I/O bandwidth... yes, but horsepower... not so much. Some softsynths do a lot of computations, and they can benefit from faster CPUs.

    Sorry, it's late, longer answer than it needed to be.

    Bill

  10. #10

    Re: A Question to the GPO Team and any Techs.

    Quote Originally Posted by wst3ae
    If I could convince MS that the x-windows concept is not all that bad I would.
    At least WinXP now has "Remote Desktop Connection", which allows you to take over a machine completely over the network. Not quite the same as processing on one machine and displaying on another, but it beats having to KVM everything.

    So far as X-like remote GUIs go, the proposed GMPI plugin standard laid out that the GUI should be independent from the DSP code itself, which I thought was a clear indicator that they'd thought about remote computing in the design! Too bad Steinberg and Apple decided not to play ball and shielded their own plugin specs instead.

    I think I'm going to write an open standard MIDI over LAN spec someday. I might as well write a remote-GUI for music white-paper while I'm at it! (one more for the never-ending to-do list...)

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

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