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How many MADI interfaces do I need? Audio Interfaces
Old 25th December 2010
  #1
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0013's Avatar
 

How many MADI interfaces do I need?

Not sure where to post this, so I'll try here...

I'm setting up the following system with 2 Macs and a PC.

Mac 1: PT/Cubase/Logic, depending on the project; synth/drum VIs and audio (eg guitars); sends MIDI over LAN to the PC

PC: Plogue Bidule running all my orchestral library

Mac 2: PT for recording stems and mixes; video

I want to put a MADI card in each and send the audio from Mac 1 and the PC to Mac 2.

Simple question (I hope): do I have to use a separate interface for each computer, or can I just use one in the middle (do I even need one at all?)?

I've deliberately left out details of other interfaces and number of channels, in order to simplify the question. I would plan to go for 128 channel cards, so I can grow the system, but for now I would probably only send, say, 24 stereo channels from Mac 1 and the same from the PC.

In case it's not clear, I just want to know about the MADI hardware interfaces for now.

Many thanks.
Old 25th December 2010
  #2
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quadrafunk's Avatar
 

I have the SSL Alpha Link AX with a Madi-Etxtreme card 64. Good I/O count on the AX.

AX model is 24 adat, SX model is AES


Info from the SSL site:
MadiXtreme 128

With two optical MADI connectors for 128 simultaneous I/Os, the MadiXtreme 128 can be connected to two SSL Alpha-Link MADI AX or SSL Alpha-Link MADI SX at the same time. Both MADI ports can also be used as redundant multichannel feeds and in applications that need a high number of I/Os in recording, mixing or playout.
Old 25th December 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Are you sure that you want to do this in this fashion? I'm trying to see the value of three computers with two of them recording audio. If you only use one computer for recording audio, you simplify things for yourself. And I'm also not sure about the need for MADI. Do you need 64 or 128 channels coming from each of the three computers?

I'm always looking to simplify.
Old 25th December 2010
  #4
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0013's Avatar
 

Thanks for the replies. I'm afraid I'm still none the wiser. I am aware of the SSL interfaces, but what I want to know is how many I need. Do I have to connect one interface to each card, or can I use a single interface that will route everything? Or could I even route the cards directly to each other and assign ins and outs from the computer, without an interface at all?
Old 25th December 2010
  #5
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0013's Avatar
 

Another way of putting this is, would the SSL MADI-X8 sit in-between all three interfaces and act as a router (it looks like it does), without the need for any extra AX or SX units?
Old 25th December 2010
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0013 View Post
Another way of putting this is, would the SSL MADI-X8 sit in-between all three interfaces and act as a router (it looks like it does), without the need for any extra AX or SX units?
I have not investigated this since MADI is far more tweaky than I need to be. But looking at the unit, it is a router for MADI signals. The only I/O on it is in MADI format. So you would then need three MADI cards, one for each computer. I'm not sure that you would need the router at all, depending. I still don't understand why you need MADI at all. What are you trying to get that you don't have now?

For example, suppose you just used Mac 1 and the PC for playback, and did all the recording in Mac 2. How many inputs and outputs do you need all at once, in each machine? Maybe 8 outputs from Mac 1, maybe 8 outputs from the PC, that means that you have to have at least 16 on Mac 2 to dump the first two computers worth of info, if you had to dump both at the same time, and you don't have to do that. You can dump 2 channels at a time if you needed to.

Once all that info is in Mac 2, how many instruments do you need to record all at once? Will 16 handle it? If so then we have established that you need 2 interfaces with 8 outputs, and 1 interface with 16 inputs. If you really want to buy for the future, buy a 24 channel interface for Mac 2.
Old 25th December 2010
  #7
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0013's Avatar
 

Hi Bill,

Thanks for your reply. I am a film composer and have over 400 midi tracks in my template. I could easily see myself bringing in 64 tracks from the PC and 64 from the Mac. The reason to split audio is to keep the PT recording Mac purely to monitor and record stems in 5.1. Trust me, I've thought this through!
Old 25th December 2010
  #8
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gsilbers's Avatar
 

maybe ask your question here

Welcome to the VI Control Forum! Musicians helping Musicians!

its more into film scoring setups.

im guessing u looked into Vienna ensemble pro but didnt like it?

im running 200 or so tracks on it. from the PC slave (i7-24gbram) to a macpro. very good so far and almost no noticeable latency.

from there i go adat to the PTHD2 with 16 channels just for stems.
but yes, only stereo so far.
but ive seen templates that go into pro tools stereo and in there its routed to 5.1.
not the same if u are using surround samples like in hollywood strings that give that options.

the defacto setup in remote control is having madi with an adat to madi converter and back. like the adi8 from rme.
so the giga computers that have adat will go to madi into pro tools via ssl madi delta.
but that for those who still have their giga computers.
but if u are going all out with a new setup i guess madi would make sense.
id still take a seconds look at VEP.
Old 26th December 2010
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0013 View Post
Another way of putting this is, would the SSL MADI-X8 sit in-between all three interfaces and act as a router (it looks like it does), without the need for any extra AX or SX units?
Yes, it appears to be made to do just that. MADI doesn't care if it is going to another card in another computer, or if it's going to an I/O device, so long as somebody is the clock master and everyone else is a slave. The X8 has 1 WC in and 3 WC out, so that might help with your setup.

I know you have a different need going on, but FWIW, I'm using VE Pro with very large templates and it's working really well. Wasn't always the case, but they're making it better every day.
Old 26th December 2010
  #10
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muziksculp's Avatar
 

The SSL-MADI X8 is around $4000 for a router !
Old 26th December 2010
  #11
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gsilbers's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by muziksculp View Post
The SSL-MADI X8 is around $4000 for a router !
yep, a bargain...

a router with 512 channels of audio in and 512 of audio out. in one 1u.

if u need about that much channels then its the way to go .
Old 26th December 2010
  #12
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muziksculp's Avatar
 

Actually, I'm trying to look into a MADI solution to route my computers. I will eventrually have 3. (1 Master PC) and (2 slave PCs).

Master PC (SSL MADIXtreme 128) Interface
Slave PC1 (RME HDSPe MADI w/ WC module) Interface
Slave PC2 (RME HDSPe MADI w/ WC module) Interface

I'm guessing I can use the RME Total Mix software to route signals in the chain of MADI audio shown in the diagram (see attachment below). The Master PC is hooked up via MADIXtreme 128 to an SSL ALpha Link AX. for AD/DA.

I will use an external WC generator (Antelope Audio OCX) to sync all MADI interfaces to the OCX WC.

I'm not sure if the OP has considered this type of setup configuration ?

if anyone can comment about this setup, i.e. would it work ?

I currently only have 2 PCs, but, once I add a third PC, things get a bit more complex, especiallyt if I stick to a MADI system.

The other alternative, is to use VE Pro and just keep the MADIXtreme 128 in the Master PC. This is provided the VE Pro solution would allow for a decent amount of audio stems to be routed from slaves into master PC. I figure 24 stereo max. from each PC would be good enough for my needs, if VE Pro can do that then it is the better solution.

Any feedback would be appreciated. and hope this is helpful info. for the OP.

Thanks.
Attached Thumbnails
How many MADI interfaces do I need?-studio-connect.png  
Old 26th December 2010
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0013 View Post
Hi Bill,

Thanks for your reply. I am a film composer and have over 400 midi tracks in my template. I could easily see myself bringing in 64 tracks from the PC and 64 from the Mac. The reason to split audio is to keep the PT recording Mac purely to monitor and record stems in 5.1. ...
That is the kind of information needed to give you a useful answer.

It still appears to me that you are not recording (or recording much) to the first two computers, they are mostly output devices. So input converters aren't an issue, just where you send the MADI outputs. If you are planning for 64 outputs per computer, you are definitely in MADI territory, and that means at least 2 MADI cards for the first 2 PCs. Where are these 128 individual tracks going?

Even if these 128 tracks go to the router and on to some other computer for mixdown, they still have to be mixed down. Just to play devils advocate for as moment...Why not just mix them down in the source computers and send the subs (say, 24 of them per computer) to wherever you plan to send the 128 tracks? (Again, just looking to avoid MADI and save money.)

Choosing to only record 5.1 and stems in the second Mac is your choice, but it could handle a lot more.

I have heard that film mixing is getting to take up more and more tracks, and that is not my field. So if MADI is the way to go, rock on. But you'll need a MADI card for each computer.
Old 26th December 2010
  #14
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gsilbers's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by muziksculp View Post
Actually, I'm trying to look into a MADI solution to route my computers. I will eventrually have 3. (1 Master PC) and (2 slave PCs).

Master PC (SSL MADIXtreme 128) Interface
Slave PC1 (RME HDSPe MADI w/ WC module) Interface
Slave PC2 (RME HDSPe MADI w/ WC module) Interface

I'm guessing I can use the RME Total Mix software to route signals in the chain of MADI audio shown in the diagram (see attachment below). The Master PC is hooked up via MADIXtreme 128 to an SSL ALpha Link AX. for AD/DA.

I will use an external WC generator (Antelope Audio OCX) to sync all MADI interfaces to the OCX WC.

I'm not sure if the OP has considered this type of setup configuration ?

if anyone can comment about this setup, i.e. would it work ?

I currently only have 2 PCs, but, once I add a third PC, things get a bit more complex, especiallyt if I stick to a MADI system.

The other alternative, is to use VE Pro and just keep the MADIXtreme 128 in the Master PC. This is provided the VE Pro solution would allow for a decent amount of audio stems to be routed from slaves into master PC. I figure 24 stereo max. from each PC would be good enough for my needs, if VE Pro can do that then it is the better solution.

Any feedback would be appreciated. and hope this is helpful info. for the OP.

Thanks.
thats a cool setup. the bricasti must be the icing on the cake.


VEP should work with up to 3 computer servers right? with no xtra licenses.
seems like a more efficient and time saver (and hardware) if u start having more PCs. most composers get 16gb ram good slave computers for which VEP can handle the amount of tracks 16gb can get + cpu.
(imo of course. setups vary)

i was very reluctant to trust VEP/network over hardware but its growing on me. my only complaint is the GUI which could be more user friendly, but luckily VSL listen to its customers so maybe theyll change a few things.
but overal CPU and stability is great.

i have VEP with 200+track into logic which go straight into PT.
which is another way of routing. using logic as a hub. for me its more about having audio control, i like having the audio to edit before i print the stems .

which is not a very time consumer practice as most have their samples go into pro tools for stems so they can print demos fasters or stems to later be replace by a real string section of what not.
Old 26th December 2010
  #15
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muziksculp's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gsilbers View Post
thats a cool setup. the bricasti must be the icing on the cake.


VEP should work with up to 3 computer servers right? with no xtra licenses.
seems like a more efficient and time saver (and hardware) if u start having more PCs. most composers get 16gb ram good slave computers for which VEP can handle the amount of tracks 16gb can get + cpu.
(imo of course. setups vary)

i was very reluctant to trust VEP/network over hardware but its growing on me. my only complaint is the GUI which could be more user friendly, but luckily VSL listen to its customers so maybe theyll change a few things.
but overal CPU and stability is great.

i have VEP with 200+track into logic which go straight into PT.
which is another way of routing. using logic as a hub. for me its more about having audio control, i like having the audio to edit before i print the stems .

which is not a very time consumer practice as most have their samples go into pro tools for stems so they can print demos fasters or stems to later be replace by a real string section of what not.
Thanks for your feedback. I'm kind trying to decide between a totally MADI solution vs VE Pro, the cost of MADI systems is sky high, when compared to a networked Audio/Midi via software (VE Pro). I'm sure that the VSL techs. are working to improve VE Pro's GUI, and efficiency. But, MADI is a solid HW solution as well. So... It comes down to cost, and flexibility, I think a MADI Router could take care of the flexibility, again at a high-cost. It seems like a MADI Router is a must have device if the number of computers one uses is going to grow (3,4,5,6 .... ).

I think a wise way to proceed forward is to try VE Pro, before spending all the $$$ on MADI interfaces, Routers, and see how VE Pro performs. If it doesn't do the job, then go the expensive MADI route. I'm going to give VE Pro a chance, before comitting to a total MADI solution. (Although I have already purchased the three MADI interfaces, one SSL, and two RMEs).

I'm still in the process of putting together a new Project Studio, lots of things to think about, and consider. Flexibility, work-flow, ease of use, expandability, ..etc.

Oh, and the Bricasti M7 is the icing on the cake heh

Cheers.
Old 26th December 2010
  #16
Gear Head
 
0013's Avatar
 

Thanks for all the replies - very useful.

I am currently using VEP on the PC via LAN, but I can't go lower than 256 samples and I find it to be a bit flakey. It also puts quite a lot of strain on the CPU of the Mac. I could use it instead of Bidule, with MIDIoverLAN, but I'd still want digital audio to come out of the PC, so MADI is the only way.

That SSL X8 looks like a great solution - I think i'm going to go for that with a 128 card in each computer.

Now I just need SSL to get the 128 card working with PT9...
Old 26th December 2010
  #17
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DeadPoet's Avatar
I haven't read the entire thread here, but I'm using two PC's:

DAW1: SSL MadiXtreme 64 hooked to an SSL Alphalink Madi AX via MADI
DAW2: M-Audio Lightbridge hooked to the alphalink via ADAT and having it's own 8ch AD/DA on the 4th ADAT port. (an RME Raydat or other card can be used for this as well)


I can record analog on both computers with the push of a button on the alphalink, I can route signals in digital from one pc to the other via adat->madi, ... lots of options.


All clocked by an external clock, but I think you can get by with using the alphalink as a master and some creative wordclock cabling.




Herwig
Old 26th December 2010
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muziksculp View Post
I think a wise way to proceed forward is to try VE Pro, before spending all the $$$ on MADI interfaces, Routers, and see how VE Pro performs. If it doesn't do the job, then go the expensive MADI route. I'm going to give VE Pro a chance, before comitting to a total MADI solution. (Although I have already purchased the three MADI interfaces, one SSL, and two RMEs).
I think you're very wise to do it this way. At what, around $250? Definitely worth a try. Just be sure to get very high quality Ethernet cables and no-compromise Gigabit switches/and/or router. You want to give VEP the best shot possible before having to go the expensive hardware route. On Macs you can use the second NIC port for a dedicated connection. I just started doing this, and not so much as a hiccup since. heh
Old 18th January 2011
  #19
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I know this is a month late, but since I've been doing some work setting up madi systems I thought I would clarify what would be needed for the OP.

for 64 tracks per comp:
Mac 1 - Madi card with 64 channel, 1 madi connection card (e.g. MadiXtreme 64)
PC 1 - Madi card with 64 channel, 1 madi connection card (e.g. MadiXtreme 64)
Mac 2 - Madi card with 128 channels, 2 connections (e.g. MadiXtreme 128)

for 128 channels from both comps:
Mac 1 - 2 Madi connection card (e.g. MadiXtreme 128)
PC 1 - 2 Madi connetion card (e.g. MadiXtreme 128)
Mac 2 - 2 x 2 Madi connection card (e.g. 2 x MadiXtreme 128)

There's no need for the X8 router or AX/SX units unless you start needing PC1 and Mac1 to send audio between each other.
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