Old 09-11-2019, 11:48 AM   #1
migman
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Default Live Mixing Experiment

Hi all,

I occasionally run sound for a friend's band and currently I use a Behringer X32 compact and SD16 stagebox to get the job done. It works well but I have always wanted to give live mixing a go with Reaper, so I thought I would try an experiment. I have in my inventory the following:

Focusrite Saffire Pro 40
Focusrite Octopre Mk II
(2) Appsys ADX-32B ADAT digital snakes (on the way, picked up used for cheap)
2012 Mac Mini, quad core i7, 16GB RAM, SSD
Softube Console 1 Mk II
XLR patchbay
TRS patchbay

The gear I plan to order:
RME RayDAT PCIe card - $950
Sonnet Echo Express SE I PCIe thunderbolt expansion bay - $230
Behringer X-Touch (will probably wait to order until I make sure this will work as I hope) - $480

The Focusrite gear, patchbays, one ADX box, and power distro will be in a 6U case on the stage for the band.
At FOH will be another 6U case containing the Mac Mini, Sonnet box with RayDAT card, the other ADX box, power distro, and a custom patch bay that breaks out all the Mac Mini connectors. On my FOH table will be a keyboard, monitor, mouse, Console 1 (if latency is low enough), and X-Touch (maybe).

What I won't have is remote control of the mic preamps which is not a huge deal.

I also have a plan B which may be more future-proof. This involves a Dante solution that may require me to spend more. The gear that would need to be purchased:

Yamaha TIO-1608D (allows independent operation of the stagebox without a Yamaha mixer) - $1000
Focusrite Rednet PCIeR Dante Accelerator card - $1080
Sonnet Echo Express SE I PCIe thunderbolt expansion bay - $230
Behringer X-Touch (again, only once concept is proven) - $480

In this case the stagebox would just contain the Yamaha TIO-1608D and power distro. The FOH box would similar to above but substituting the Rednet card for the RayDAT. The Dante solution would be more elegant with less parts overall. Before I purchased the Rednet card I would test the setup using Dante Virtual Soundcard to see if the latency would be acceptable. If latency were too high I would then grab the Rednet card and Sonnet box. The Dante solution also allows remote control of the mic preamps via Yamaha's R-Remote software.

I would be interested in what folks think of either option or whether this is just nuts to begin with. Thanks!
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:43 PM   #2
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You also should be able to use your X32 as a Control surface for Reaper. The CSI Reaper extension now features OSC connectivity which should allow ro connect the X32 with high fader resolution.

-Michael

Last edited by mschnell; 09-12-2019 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 09-12-2019, 08:59 AM   #3
serr
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FYI, that Mac Mini does not have a pci expansion bay. You would not be able to connect that pci connecting audio interface you mentioned buying.

Why don't you just use your X32 rack as an audio interface (which it is) with Reaper and give it a spin? You don't need to buy all new equipment to give Reaper a trial for live sound. Dial up a live board for yourself in Reaper and try it with your X32.

You might want to consider keeping the stage as your home base and roaming with wireless control like you do with the X32 and iPad too. You can do OSC in Reaper for the iPad. Remote desktop apps are also an option. USB wi-fi hubs are also a thing for connecting USB devices (like a MIDI controller) wireless.

Their OSC setup for the M32/X32 is pretty slick. You install it just like a simple app on the iPad. You don't even have to know what OSC is and it's out of the box and running. DIY required in Reaper for this at present.
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Old 09-12-2019, 04:15 PM   #4
migman
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Thank you for the suggestions.

The PCIe expansion would be via a Thunderbolt expansion box (the Sonnet). Granted it is Thunderbolt 1, but 10Gbps will still allow the card to run at full speed. You are correct in that I don't need to buy anything give it a whirl. I have this https://www.unibrain.com/products/cat-5-repeater-400/ Firewire extender as well which would allow me to test option A just using the Firewire port on the Saffire Pro 40 in place of ADAT. My only concern was latency. I will try it out before buying the RayDAT.

I will dig into the X32 OSC options as well. Thanks again for the ideas.
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Old 09-16-2019, 08:25 PM   #5
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X32 is not a quality audio interface, its barely a good mixer, and Im not trying to piss anyone off, but I tried the X32R and concluded the sound was choppy, but turns out to be a good drum sub-mixer because choppy works fine with drums.

The RME PCI-e is a great choice, I use a different audio interface live, but have an RME RayDat as a spare just in case. Their drivers and real time performance are top shelf.
Ive used Reaper as a live VSTi host and loved the way I could insert my DSP Plug ins into Reaper Inserts and FX Slots.

Ive seen many guys using Reaper and a laptop to mix and record bands live and automate lighting using the video screen as a Que Chart. The size can be made to full screen so you can see it from sveral feet away while you might be mixing on another laptop.

Its a great live DAW, sounds really good with a quality interface, nad you can make a theme serve your workflow.

Its a great live host for keyboard players, I can trigger loops, reverse loops, etc.
Ive never tried it yet since I use a 1010Music Black Box, but pretty sure yu can tap tempo FX and even bom on a snippet or loop.

You'll have fun don't worry.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:54 PM   #6
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If the sound is "choppy" with a multi channel USB Audio interface, this supposedly means that the USB connection does not decently work.

AFAIU, the X32 pushes 32 channels in either direction through the USB interface. I feel that this is really demanding for the Computer site.

It's possible (but rather unlikely) that the external device features a bug, but you will need a decently high level computer for that task (which usual (especially non "gaming") laptops are not intended for).
-Michael
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Old 09-17-2019, 01:55 AM   #7
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+1

RME states 54 channels max. for USB2 with their hardware/driver. In practice, that's usually enough. Like 32 in, 16 out.

If yours was choppy, you should try it with another computer, or even a USB port that's on another internal hub. There are still a couple budget USB chips around that can't do it. Usually you'll find these in low-end tablets, but sometimes they also surface on laptops. Even big brand ones.

And it only seems to be a problem with some Windows PC's. Never saw it under Linux, not even with stuff like a RPi.The X32 is class compliant, so it shouldn't need drivers. Yet there is a Windows driver...

We currently have 2 X32's and they're used all the time. No problems.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:42 AM   #8
serr
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"Choppy sound" results from an unstable DAW setup. Latency set too low for one of the parts of the system. This isn't something you could live with or run a show with. It's not a "compromised sound" situation. It's a "This system isn't working or usable at all like this because something is set wrong." situation. You can't very well call the sound of an interface being used "choppy" when the root cause is it being run in an unstable way.

The X32 is what it is. No HD sample rates available for studio tracking. But a decent amount of bang for the buck for 16 solid mic preamps in a small pretty user friendly interface.

@migman, what's the latency roundup with your current interfaces?
The first thing I would do it take inventory on your current gear. Run loopback tests with each of your current interfaces and see where the breaking point is. Your target latency for a live sound mixing system is under 10ms. You might want as low as 4 or 5ms for any in-ear monitors you might be running.

So... with a block size set to achieve that latency with an interface in question at the sample rate used, can you get all the plugins up and running that you need? That's the game.

FYI, 48k is usually the sweet spot for a sample rate that lets you run at the lowest latency with the lowest CPU cost. Going to 96k crosses a line and gets into more processing cost for the same latency. 48k should beat 44.1k every time though.

Also FYI, the class compliant USB connection is a Mac thing. Windows users need to install drivers for these interfaces.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:43 AM   #9
migman
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Thanks for info everyone. My daughter was born on 9/21, so I have been out of the loop and haven't had time to experiment with my setup. I am going to hold off buying the RME gear just yet and try it out with just my Saffire Pro 40/Octopre setup via my firewire-over-ethernet extender. I did pickup an X-Touch controller to play with so I will try to integrate that as well. Thanks again.
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