Two computers in a studio


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A post up not that long ago has got me thinking about having more than one computer in my studio. I think it was Ott who suggested someone buy another computer rather than a hardware synth on the grounds that you can buy a very good audio computer for very cheap these days, and can get some very powerful synths or other vst's going on that.

This idea appeals. I also have friends with whom I'm going to setup a studio with and I hadn't considered the full potential of using both there computers and mine together in the same studio.

My question is about connecting the computers together. A network might be useful but is not essential (as I see it anyway). How can you midi sync them? Is there a way to get one set as a slave that is triggered by the other? Am I being stupid and missing the point somewhere?

Clearly you can easily use one as a live instrument with audio outputs into the main sequencer but you would have to trigger things manually to get them in time.

Cheers, all help and advice would be appreciated. :jump:

Think that might be what you're looking for. It does use LAN networking rather than MIDI, but most machines come with at least 10/100 Ethernet on the motherboard these days.

Cheers Mum, though as I don't understand what a VST system link is I'm afraid I'm still confused. I think I know what a SPDIF cable is like, or I could at least easily find out.
Any more detail? THanks.
Cubase uses VST system link. I saw that on London's Expo. It takes a few clicks to activate it and when you press play/stop...etc on one computer the other is in sync, no latencies and it is sample accurate too.

Peace out.
do it proper with midi/ spdif and a wordclock and both computers to get them both working as digital desks/VST monster. But u do need decent interfaces with no latency on both. Ive got 4 machines all working in harmony together, meaning no more bouncing! until final mixdown on the mac. and an easier conversion to live sets.

This is simpler than VST stacking etc and you can run completely different software on each machine! :Smile3: :Smile3: :Smile3: :Smile3: :Smile3: :Smile3: :Smile3:

p.s. but it isn't always necessary, i used to just have one pc sending out a master midi clock controlling the others just like hardware only with a midi in each, but again mismached latencys can be a problem.. :unsure:
I'm thinking of getting a laptop and running VStack on that as an "external" VST monster. I'm not too clear on how it works yet though. I think I'll need a good USB soundcard on the laptop as well, with Spdif - for syncing, right?. And then does the sounds come through directly into cubase in the host machine, or do I need a mixer for the outputs from the 2 soundcards?

hmmm... think I should read the manual :Grin:

I don't have a huge amount of knowledge in this sort of thing, but I would have thought using a USB soundcard might cause latency issues that could make syncing a real hassle. I could well be wrong though......
Stay away from USB 1 soundcards, their maximum speed of 11Mbp/s is pretty much useless for anything except a stereo pair out, and more inputs/outputs causes the latency to go above 30ms which is a bit much (less than 20-30ms causes the presidence effect where the brain merges the incoming signals as they are inpercievably close)
USB2 has no such probles with almost 40 times the bandwidth as is Firewire. There are a lot of decent firewire interfaces for about £2-300 with spdif and 6in/out or more. :Smile3:
If u r fealing adventurous get a M-Box for £300 which gives you ProTools action if u r ready for it! :Grin:

u dont need a mixer for the setup, just enough in/outs to plug one computer into the other. plug the 'vst-moster' into the other computer so you ocan record the final mixdown onto one machine for mastering (unless youve got some nice recording hardware) :bananada:
Cool. Yes, I was a bit surprised to read that USB was fast enough, but I'm not surpriised to hear that USB 1.1 isn't! Pro Tool is a bit beyond me budget at the mo' though :P

hmm... yeah this VST-monster idea is sounding good! Raaargghhhh!!! :punk:
okay cool. and for mac?
No, Chris, it was hoomur, referring to the endless Mac v PC debate (which I think I've managed to stay out of up to now!).

VSTack will work as a MIDI synth rack with anything that can send MIDI, which includes Logic. Using it with System Link is, so far as I know, restricted to Steinberg products.
Colin OOOD said:
No, Chris, it was hoomur, referring to the endless Mac v PC debate (which I think I've managed to stay out of up to now!).

Macs are shite :tongue1:
You could try midioverlanCP

This is running stable between my 2 ps'c.. the kool thing about this program is that in the newest version its cross platform...
I haven´t got the newest version so i have no xperience between a mac and a pc, but i think since osx i shouldnt be a problem...

one thing about lan and midi/audio is that you should invest in a good network adapter.. 3com makes good ones... stay away from realtek...