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Connecting/Syncing two Macs in Studio Utility Software
Old 18th February 2016
  #1
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Connecting/Syncing two Macs in Studio

Hey guys,

I've been reading up on syncing two macs together in a studio environment. The purpose of this, for me, is that I have a bunch of soft synths and instrument VSTs on one mac running Ableton, and on the other, I want to have Pro Tools to record into and save CPU. My studio has a console in which Pro Tools is routed in and out of.

My synth computer is connected to a Digi003 and a MOTU USB MIDI Timepiece for all my external MIDI synths. My Pro Tools computer is connected to an Antelope Audio Orion32.

In theory, could I connect the clock output of my Orion32 to the clock input of the Digi003, and connect the two computers via MIDI (using a USB Midiman on the Pro Tools computer)? The MIDI connection takes care of tempo sync, and the time clock connection takes care of sample sync, to an extent, correct?

My DIGI003 would have 8 separate audio outs that would be inserted in my patch bay, therefore it could connect to my regular system of recording.

I'm curious to know if LAN-based connections are more stable for MIDI sync. I checked out Vienna Ensemble Pro, but for my situation I don't think that would be the best program to use.

I've attached a simple diagram to show connectivity. Hopefully this layout makes sense.

TL:DR - I want to sync two computers. One running Ableton and one running Pro Tools. I want them time synced and audio synced, and I want to be able to record the Ableton computer outputs onto the Pro Tools computer.
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Old 18th February 2016
  #2
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Me_Likey's Avatar
 

I've been doing this for years, although now my DAW is fast enough to handle a lot of it in a single computer.

I have the first computer running Pro Tools, the second one running a variety of soft synths. It used to be mostly Kontakt, but nowdays my main DAW computer is fast enough to handle most Kontakt Instruments inside Pro Tools. It's much more convenient. Anyhow, I have MIDI out of my DAW to MIDI in of the second computer. I have MIDI sync enabled on both sides - Pro Tools sending and second computer receiving. If I was running a sequencer I would use MTC, if I'm just providing tempo for a synth I use MIDI Beat Clock. The audio from the second computer is going through ADAT lightpipe back to the DAW. The audio is synced through ADAT too. I try to keep both audio interfaces at the lowest latency possible. Both MIDI and audio will cause a slight delay. You can measure the delay and shift the track, but I don't usually bother since all my timing critical parts are inside my DAW.

I'm just treating my second computer as a versatile outboard MIDI synth/sampler.

Hope it helps!
Old 19th February 2016
  #3
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This definitely helps! It confirms that I can do it!

I was considering an ADAT lightpipe audio send. So, essentially, I can send ADAT out of my Digi 003 and into the ADAT in of the Orion32 with 1 optical cable, and that should be fine for sending audio? I understand there would be a delay, but, like you, I would just shift the tracks in the DAW.

Thanks for the help!
Old 19th February 2016
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJSound21 View Post
This definitely helps! It confirms that I can do it!

I was considering an ADAT lightpipe audio send. So, essentially, I can send ADAT out of my Digi 003 and into the ADAT in of the Orion32 with 1 optical cable, and that should be fine for sending audio? I understand there would be a delay, but, like you, I would just shift the tracks in the DAW.

Thanks for the help!
Have you looked at VEPro5 for this.
Works as a plug in on the slave. Midi and audio over Ethernet. 32 and 64 bit.
Old 20th February 2016
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mc_deli View Post
Have you looked at VEPro5 for this.
Works as a plug in on the slave. Midi and audio over Ethernet. 32 and 64 bit.
I did. But, I essentially want to be able to still sequence in Ableton on another computer, and I want the timelines to sync so I can eventually record into Pro Tools. VEPro looks cool, but I really want to use Ableton as a whole on another computer, then eventually record everything into the other one. My ableton sessions usually take up a bunch of CPU, so having it on a separate computer will help divide up the work.
Old 20th February 2016
  #6
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Me_Likey's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJSound21 View Post
This definitely helps! It confirms that I can do it!

I was considering an ADAT lightpipe audio send. So, essentially, I can send ADAT out of my Digi 003 and into the ADAT in of the Orion32 with 1 optical cable, and that should be fine for sending audio? I understand there would be a delay, but, like you, I would just shift the tracks in the DAW.

Thanks for the help!
You need two optical cables if you are going to sync the audio clock through ADAT. One for sending audio to your DAW, the other to send the clock to your second computer. Both ADAT in and outputs are used. I suppose you could use the Digi 003 as the master clock, but I like to use my DAW and main interface as the master clock. That way I minimize how many tracks are subjected to possible jitter.
Old 20th February 2016
  #7
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gradivus's Avatar
 

Check vienna ensemble pro. That's the route I'm going when I upgrade.
Old 21st February 2016
  #8
With a Motu Digital Timepiece (DTP) you should be able to synchronize two machines together, using it's midi for transport commands with midi machine control (MMC), and using it's word clock for keeping sample accurate synchronization. Each machine running any DAW software you want.

http://www.stonemanstudios.com/images/motu_dtp.jpg

Before I began synchronizing my computers, I was using sound card networking with audio/midi between them. Using the 2nd computer just as I would with a midi synth...works great too.

Last edited by Steve Fogal; 21st February 2016 at 07:20 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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using two mac to record a session

Hi all,
I have a similar problem. I just bought a mackie onyx 1640i and I would like to record a session including eq shifts and send return (whatever I am moving on the mixer)linking another mac which I would use only as a recorder with Logic or Cubase.
So on the first mac I play Ableton live which is connected to the mackie onyx. Therefore, what shall I need in the second one in order to record as a multitrack 16 channel session? I thought that the second firewire port on the mackie would have allowed me to do so easy but I can not connect the mixer to the two mac at the same time.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
I believe you would need to have both computers clocked together for synchronization, and to be able to send transport commands on both for simultaneous operation. As for sending audio between them, analog or digital would do, as long as there's the channel capability you need.
I've used multiple PC's synchronized for a while, but in my own case, I only need to send a stereo audio sub-mix among PC's, one is a VSTi PC, another is an audio PC etc, etc. I never needed multiple audio channels among my systems, as long as I can monitor any number of PC's by the use of say, a mixer.

I don't see BNC word clock on the Mackie to synchronize anything to. And don't know if the D-Sub connectors on it are analog, digital or either? Digital audio can be clocked generally, not that familiar with D-Sub audio and it's capabilities.
A capable interface could use a hardware synchronizing device in many cases, and send transport commands separately via midi signals... but I don't see how that Mackie could work with one I've seen, not having clock or midi on the unit.

Maybe there's a way to transfer audio via something like Ethernet, and if that can provide digital audio, maybe it could be clocked (?), then there would be a way to synchronize. But then you'd still need transport commands to both computer DAW's at once.
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