Old 04-03-2023, 12:38 AM   #1
TexaCali
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Default Live Mixing questions

I'm considering ditching dedicated hardware and creating a Reaper live mixing setup. Idea would be to use Dante stage boxes, run CAT6 to FOH with a PC running Dante Virtual Sound Card and Reaper, with some sort of control surface. Here are my questions:

1. Yamaha, A&H, SSL and others make Dante stage boxes for their consoles. Will these work with Virtual Sound Card and Reaper? Any recommendations for a 16x8 (or larger) stage box?

2. What sort of analog to analog latency would one expect with such a system (assuming zero latency plugins)?

3. Are there any extensions, themes, or other modifiers for Reaper to make the use with a touch screen more friendly for live use? See for example the Soundcraft Ui24R web interface or even Waves LV1. With all the customization options for Reaper it seems like someone would have made addons for live mixing.

4. Speaking of Waves, their FIT controller now supports HUI and was designed for live use. Anyone tried it with Reaper? Any control surfaces people especially like for live? I could see the Softube or even the new SSL controllers working nice in a live setup.

5. And finally, anyone done something similar and then gone back to a console? If so why?

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 04-03-2023, 12:41 AM   #2
pepe44
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You get very creative using some PA plugins alongside their gigperformer application. Another good option is the liveprofessor.
A mac with M1 chip will give you plenty of DSP for a full band.
Regarding the stageboxes is a matter of choice and price, they all give you good conection to FOH. Some have a softwre mixer so you can easily have access to the analog gain on stage from the foh position.

https://www.plugin-alliance.com/en/p...rformer_4.html

https://audiostrom.com/
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Old 04-03-2023, 01:18 AM   #3
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Very interesting project for an extremely versatile setup indeed !
-Michael
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Old 04-03-2023, 01:34 AM   #4
TexaCali
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Thanks pepe44!

Another question - easy way to adjust send levels.

Lets say I set up a track to be a stage monitor send, then send tracks to it. Having to click on each one of the send blocks and adjust that slider onscreen is an awful tedious way to have to adjust a monitor mix. Is there some sort of "sends view" in Reaper where I can get a mixer like view of all the sends for a particular track? This is a simple button press on most consoles, but I can't see how to do it in Reaper (not that I've ever needed such a thing when using Reaper to record and mix in the studio).

Edit - I just realized I could duplicate each track (or make a 1:1 send to the duplicate), then have the duplicates going to the AUX bus only (not the main mix), and that would give me faders in a mixer view. I could then set up custom track views to see just monitor 1, etc.

Only problem with this approach is if I have 16 input channels and 4 monitor sends, I'll need 16x5 = 80 channels in my reaper project! If I try to use a control surface that's going to be a ton of fader banking (unless it can adapt to the current view and ignore hidden tracks)

Last edited by TexaCali; 04-03-2023 at 01:42 AM.
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Old 04-03-2023, 02:52 AM   #5
en5ca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexaCali View Post
I'm considering ditching dedicated hardware and creating a Reaper live mixing setup. Idea would be to use Dante stage boxes, run CAT6 to FOH with a PC running Dante Virtual Sound Card and Reaper, with some sort of control surface. Here are my questions:

1. Yamaha, A&H, SSL and others make Dante stage boxes for their consoles. Will these work with Virtual Sound Card and Reaper? Any recommendations for a 16x8 (or larger) stage box?

2. What sort of analog to analog latency would one expect with such a system (assuming zero latency plugins)?

3. Are there any extensions, themes, or other modifiers for Reaper to make the use with a touch screen more friendly for live use? See for example the Soundcraft Ui24R web interface or even Waves LV1. With all the customization options for Reaper it seems like someone would have made addons for live mixing.

4. Speaking of Waves, their FIT controller now supports HUI and was designed for live use. Anyone tried it with Reaper? Any control surfaces people especially like for live? I could see the Softube or even the new SSL controllers working nice in a live setup.

5. And finally, anyone done something similar and then gone back to a console? If so why?

Thanks,
Mark
Here's REAPER extension https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=277759 that might be useful. I'm also currently working on modified MCU extension better suited for live use. On personal experience Dante Virtual Soundcard is perhaps a 'no go' for live PA (needs high buffer sizes and causes maybe too much latency), but can be useful for broadcast / stream mixing, if computer is powerful and stable enough. Also remember that Dante has some limitations on how many deviced can be interconnected directly, and DVS has channel count limit of 64 channels. I'm trying to replicate the M32/X32 'sends on faders' type of fader flip for MCU controller, so it could also become handy.
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Old 04-03-2023, 01:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexaCali View Post
- easy way to adjust send levels.
You mentioned that you consider to use a Control Surface Device. If so, the CSI Reaper extension should be able to make same control anything you like in an easy to use way, when creating the appropriate configuration files.
-Michael
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Old 04-03-2023, 01:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by en5ca View Post
Here's REAPER extension https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=277759 that might be useful. I'm also currently working on modified MCU extension better suited for live use.
Awesome and thank you! Hadn't thought of some of the mute/solo issues yet, glad to see you're already working on it. And looking forward to see what you do with the MCU extensions. The ability to make a control surface mimic a digital console will be huge. Waves seems to have done a good job with LV1 and the FIT controller (at least from the videos I've seen). No reason we couldn't do something similar with Reaper.

Quote:
On personal experience Dante Virtual Soundcard is perhaps a 'no go' for live PA (needs high buffer sizes and causes maybe too much latency), but can be useful for broadcast / stream mixing, if computer is powerful and stable enough. Also remember that Dante has some limitations on how many deviced can be interconnected directly, and DVS has channel count limit of 64 channels. I'm trying to replicate the M32/X32 'sends on faders' type of fader flip for MCU controller, so it could also become handy.
Oh wow. I'm not married to Dante or DVS, it just seemed like a convenient solution. What would you suggest for a low latency solution? I just need something that can be deployed as a stage box with an Ethercon running back to FOH. Another nice perk of Dante was it didn't tie you into any single manufacture, and left open the option of using Dante for returns. Or if the problem is just DVS, then would some sort of hardware Dante to USB or similar solve the problem?
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Old 04-03-2023, 01:45 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mschnell View Post
You mentioned that you consider to use a Control Surface Device. If so, the CSI Reaper extension should be able to make same control anything you like in an easy to use way, when creating the appropriate configuration files.
-Michael
Thanks, and yes. I remember seeing on the Reaper blog that the CSI extension could spill sends across the faders on the X-Touch. I do have an X-Touch so I'll have to give that a go. Though I'd like to also have a good touchscreen solution if the control surface is not available.

BTW - I'll probably start with the X-Touch since I have it and it is well supported. But I think this really calls for more than 9 faders in a single box (using extender boxes is too much bulk and fuss for a live setup). So far the Waves FIT controller looks most interesting. Presonus makes a 16ch faderport as well. Any other 16+ fader surfaces worth considering?
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Old 04-03-2023, 01:56 PM   #9
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BTW, I highly recommend anyone interested in live mixing on a touchscreen (Reaper or otherwise), check out the Soundcraft Ui24R web demo (if you haven't already). A quick web search will take you there, it is a fully interactive demo that works just like the Ui24R (in fact the Ui24R is controlled via web browser). It is a clean and efficient interface that works well (I own a Ui24R and have used it for several years now). Obviously it is not as powerful as Reaper, but it would be cool to see some of the aspects of this interface brought into Reaper extensions for live sound use.

I should add I've used Reaper for well over a decade as my sole studio DAW and for live backing tracks, sequencing, light shows, and probably a few other things I'm forgetting. It is a total Swiss Army Knife and my number 1 audio tool. Looking forward to seeing how it can be customized for live mixing.
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Old 04-03-2023, 02:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TexaCali View Post
Awesome and thank you! Hadn't thought of some of the mute/solo issues yet, glad to see you're already working on it. And looking forward to see what you do with the MCU extensions. The ability to make a control surface mimic a digital console will be huge. Waves seems to have done a good job with LV1 and the FIT controller (at least from the videos I've seen). No reason we couldn't do something similar with Reaper.



Oh wow. I'm not married to Dante or DVS, it just seemed like a convenient solution. What would you suggest for a low latency solution? I just need something that can be deployed as a stage box with an Ethercon running back to FOH. Another nice perk of Dante was it didn't tie you into any single manufacture, and left open the option of using Dante for returns. Or if the problem is just DVS, then would some sort of hardware Dante to USB or similar solve the problem?
From networked audio solutions for live productions Dante is still probably the best option. Just wanted to point out that it has some quirks and DVS is quite demanding on the computer.
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Old 04-03-2023, 03:53 PM   #11
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From networked audio solutions for live productions Dante is still probably the best option. Just wanted to point out that it has some quirks and DVS is quite demanding on the computer.
Thanks. So is there a good hardware alternative to DVS?
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Old 04-03-2023, 10:48 PM   #12
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Dedicated "Digital Snakes" can offer lower latency than protocols sharing a LAN (such as Dante).
The most affordable "digital snake" solutions seem to be those by Behringer (seemingly excellent sound quality in that section of their products).
Hence a combined usage of a Behringer (X32 or Wing) Mixer as "Snake" interface and as a Control surface device at the same time seems like a good way to go. And it might be a plus that it can be used without a PC in appropriate situations and as an emergency fallback.

BTW.: as (AFAIK) Reaper does not support multi-touch, using a touch-display for mixing might be problematic. Maybe a decently crafted Web-Interface might help for this.

-Michael

Last edited by mschnell; 04-04-2023 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 04-04-2023, 03:14 AM   #13
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Thanks. So is there a good hardware alternative to DVS?
To my knowledge Dante Virtual Soundcard (DVS) is the only software based solution which allows computer/DAW get patched into Dante network, so there isnt alternative for that. Dante network and hardware themselves really dont induce that much latency; only DVS, which requires quite large buffer size and/or relatively powerful computer. I've seen RME USB Dante gear being used instead of DVS, even just for recording, but it adds cost if it's personal rig. I've even seen one company use RME USB Dante/Madi converters instead of built-in Dante cards on their Digico consoles, so I'd guess they are good.
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Old 04-04-2023, 08:18 PM   #14
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I am building a similar system although I will be using MADI instead of Dante. I wanted to use Dante, but at the time I was buying, no Dante gear was available. I would have gone with the Yamaha RIO stage box and an RME Digiface Dante interface. Since I had a Focusrite Octopre MKII already, I decided to use ADAT and MADI as an alternative. I added a Behringer ADA8200 and Ferrofish Pulse 16MX for the stagebox and an RME Madiface USB as my interface. I haven't assembled it yet, but I hope to get it up and running soon. The Dante setup would have been cleaner for sure and had the benefit of remote preamp gain control, but I think this arrangement should work fine. I will be very interested to see how yours turns out. Good luck!
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Old 04-04-2023, 10:40 PM   #15
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remote preamp gain control
Hopefully we will see digital snake systems using 32 Bit Floating point. Those devices "automate" gain control, and offer 24 bit resolution without digital clipping for any gain they are fed with.

-Michael
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Old 04-05-2023, 04:39 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by TexaCali View Post
Awesome and thank you! Hadn't thought of some of the mute/solo issues yet, glad to see you're already working on it. And looking forward to see what you do with the MCU extensions. The ability to make a control surface mimic a digital console will be huge. Waves seems to have done a good job with LV1 and the FIT controller (at least from the videos I've seen). No reason we couldn't do something similar with Reaper.
The extension is now here. It's not complete but still represents the basic idea.
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Old 03-29-2024, 09:16 AM   #17
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Default Live Mixing

I use the Ferrofish A32Pro connected via MADI to the RME Madiface USB into the computer.

In combination to the A32 I have a yamaha Tio 1608-D2. Both the A32Pro and the 1608 are placed near the stage (for now). The 1608 connects to the A32 via Cat 6 for the Dante feed, the A32 converts everything to Madi and sends it down a fibre cable to the RME back to FOH. My computer is in a 6U mobile rack feeding two Dell HD monitors.

The A32 and 1608 gives me 48 channels in and 48 channels out.

On occasion I have just had the 1608 on stage with the dante cable connected to a Fibre converter and then run back to front of house where I convert back to cat 6 and into the A32.

Fibre snake has 8 fibre feeds that can be used depending on when I have the 1608 on stage or both on stage.

the 1608 has 8 outputs with I use for main speakers and in ear monitor or wedge feeds.

Reaper mixes everything to include the cue mixes (SWS Cue) which the band can access via the web interface. Control surface is the ICON P1-M. Its small and easily transportable.

the only draw back is the limitation Reaper has on how many mixer screens are visible. I would ideally want two maybe three mixer windows to make things a bit more easy to move around with. For now I use the snapshot with just Vis selected and bounce between, vocals, band, FX rtns, outputs....ect. works for now.

Reaper does not play well with Waves plug-ins so I use the Reaper native plugins as much as possible with zero latency....i can easily capture the rehearsals and then make adjustments as needed.
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Old 03-29-2024, 12:46 PM   #18
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I haven't integrated Dante network into my workflow yet. Plan to!

I started mixing live sound with Reaper in 2009 when the 1st iPad came out and the thought of roaming a venue wirelessly occurred to me. Haven't looked back since! I also used a USB over wi-fi hub to connect a couple USB MIDI controllers for physical controls.

I sort of abandoned it when the X32 Rack came along (and for pennies on the dollar vs the Mac Pro and preamp/interface rack). I like their iPad app. No one has anything like this worked up for Reaper that can be easily downloaded and installed. There could and should be!

Reaper was great to run live. (Still is.) It was magical back then to bring home full multitrack right off the same computer with zero extra setup. Maybe old hat and expected now.

Not sure what the network latency range is and what level of switch you need depending on latency needs. Reaper itself with a direct connected interface can be cranked down to hit the target for live sound. An interface that lets you get at or below 8 or 9ms round trip with a 128 sample block size will give you a system that's unstoppable. A slower interface where you have to crank the block size down lower to hot the same latency means less plugins you can use live.

I use some Waves plugins. I know a few of them are buggy. I don't think it's only with Reaper either. There are buggier 3rd party plugins than Waves out there!
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