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Two Computers at Once

Discussion in 'Recording' started by AliveatmyFuneral, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. I run Sonar, and I also have BFD. The two running together use up a lot of CPU. Does anyone know a way to hook two computers together, to have Sonar run on one, and BFD on the other, but synchronized so there's no latency? Thanks!
  2. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Shouldn't you just be able to run the Sonar computer as Master, and MIDI out from that into the BFD computer as slave (set to MIDI Sync) to control the BFD kit?

    Of course, you'll need a audio interface for both.

    As far as latency, anything that has to be processed and run through anything is going to generate SOME kind of latency, but a lot of that depends on the computer itself and settings in the program, interface and cards, etc.

    If you have MIDI Out of the Sonar computer, and MIDI In on the other, perhaps just try that first?

    You may even want to do the bulk of MIDI stuff, besides drums, on the other computer, and save the audio computer for audio only. That's kind of what I do. I still use Cakewalk Pro 9 on my old MIDI computer (works fine, I'm used to it, it's only for MIDI...I saved the upgrades for the other computer), and the beefier audio computer controls it when I start doing audio. When I get a basic MIDI composition finished, as far as structure, I just copy it to the audio computer as a MIDI file, and use that as my bed for the audio recording. I don't even ATTEMPT to get sounds from it...at least not yet.

    The MIDI computer is basically acting like a "virtual tracks" computer, because I don't know what MIDI sounds will fit around the audio until I have all my audio recorded. I just play along to it as a backing track. At this point, it's a barebones MIDI composition...just something to give me timing and chordal/harmonic structure. Then I look for sounds on either the MIDI computer, the audio computer, or an external module/keyboard. I figure it's easier and less destructive to find and tweak MIDI-generated sounds to fit AROUND my audio, then to try to over-process my audio to fit around the MIDI sounds. I've learned not to get too involved with trying to make a perfect-sounding MIDI composition before I record audio. The recorded part will always change the dynamics of my carefully-crafted MIDI composition, so I just have to tweak again, anyway. Either that, or I have to frustratingly tweeze my guitar tone or whatever to fit within it. I choose to fit things around my recorded parts.

    I may even use VST drums or other instruments on the audio computer after I have all the audio tracks recorded. The reason I wait for that is that at least then, they are not taking up power AS I am trying to record. Since the audio tracks are already recorded, and the MIDI file is sitting right there with them, now I can experiment triggering sounds without worry that a processor-heavy virtual instrument will ruin a recording.

    If you leave the BFD solely on the other computer, you'll eventually have to get it back into the Sonar computer. How will you do that? You can run it out of the BFD computer audio interface and back into the Sonar computer. Or you can wait until the recording of audio is pretty much finished, and run it off the Sonar computer to mix within it, abandoning the BFD computer, as it was only a "guide track".

    Or, you can mix'n'match sounds from both, if timing is tight enough. I do it all the time. Occasionally, I find I have to "nudge" a track here or there, but overall, it works fairly well.

    You may even decide to just play along to a basic cheezoid, CPU-friendly small MIDI set until all your audio is recorded, then introduce the processor hogs. I realize that it may not impart the same sort of excitement and "realism" to possibly inspire you, but I have learned to look beyond all that, and envision what will be.

    Many ways to do this. These are just some. I'm sure others have more ideas. If you have two computers, may as well try to use them both. With a bit of controller-parameter tweaking, you can make some pretty good other sounds by mixing'n'matching identical MIDI tracks with different variations of the same instruments. I may have started off with 4...8...10...15 tracks of a basic MIDI composition, and by the time I have copied tracks and assigned different sounds, and played with controller settings...I may have 3 or 4 of one strings performance , 2 or 3 of another. I may like to put a horn blat at the beginning of a phrase (deleting the other notes until the next blat), coupled with a strong horn sound for the body, and applying some modulation and pitch at the end like a horn player running out of breath, and maybe even a softer horn sound fading in while that one fades out, with the same controller characteristics..who knows? I could end up with 30-40 or more MIDI tracks. I may like the attack of this, and the rounder sound of this, and the decay of this. If they are there, and I find them...why not use them?

    Just some thoughts.

  3. dementedchord

    dementedchord Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2006
    steinberg makes an app called V-stack ya might want to check into... as i understand it you can sync the two machines and play out of a soundcard on the second machine or transmit through your NIC...
  4. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Then comes the question of does the networking activity cause more or less problems than running that app? May have to look into that, just to see. Never heard of it. Sounds interesting.

  5. I've been reading a lot about the "fx teleporter", which is a means of connecting two computers, and running a program like bfd on the second computer- some guys in their forum have 7 computers running in sync at once!! The only problem with this program however, is that you have to have a whole other keyboard, mouse, and monitor setup to work within the individual effects. I want a program that will allow me to open, use, and edit effects all from the main DAW, without ever even knowing what the second computer is up to. I would hate to move around my studio all the time adjusting effects. I need to stay in one location. Let me know if anyone is keen on this program- maybe the guy in the forum was wrong? Thanks everyone
  6. VonRocK

    VonRocK Active Member

    Sep 3, 2006
    Calgary, Alberta Canada
    Maybe I missed something, but why can't you just run them both on the same machine?

    I suppose it might be because your projects require many soft tracks and effects beyond the capability of your hardware. I know that doing this type of thing with Logic Pro and Apple Macs is easy.

    I'm just thinking that it's quicker and easier to get a machine that can handle all the processing that you are doing instead of trying to synch up two machines.

    Forgive me for my next statement.

    Perhaps you are trying to do things really cheap. That might involve old hardware that is not able to do what you want to do. Old computers are free (at least around here) and you have to work with what you have.

    If this is true, maybe you should try to work within your means (financially and artistically). Instead of looking for a magical software solution to expand your physical capabilities, you should instead look inwards and use what you have.
  7. cfaalm

    cfaalm Active Member

    Feb 21, 2005
    Home Page:
    We have no idea now how you work with what hardware. To make any specific recommendations I'd like to know e.g. what CPU, how much RAM, soundcard.

    To add to VonRock's comment: Rendering MIDI to audio can lighten the load a bit. If I'm not mistaken, this can still be reversed if you change your mind about a part.
  8. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    There are many ways to control a second computer with the same keyboard and mouse you use for the first. The most popular is KVM Switch (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KVM_switch) for more information.

    I would think that with one good computer you should be able to do what you are asking about with no real problems. Something like a P4 3.0 gig, 2 gigs of RAM, SATA or ESATA drives and very little else running on the computer. I am sure others on this forum will have additional ideas for a fast computer.

    I have a good friend that runs more than you are asking about on one computer and I have never heard it hiccup or studder. He is a geek when it comes to computers and his computer is decked out with all the latest refinements including water cooling) and he runs a very lean very clean operating system. (Windows XP pro edition) with everything that is not needed for what he is doing taken off. It is possible that you are having problems due to some background operations that are stalling out your computer. You should read this article

    http://www.thewhippinpost.co.uk/audio/optimise-pc-audio.htm then do a search on the WWW for other suggestions.
  9. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    I don't disagree if that's what someone wants to work with. May be the best choice for them.

    As for myself, just because my MIDI computer is old, I have no plans to dump it into a landfill just yet. It still works flawlessly for how I use it. And, I'm in no hurry to bolster China's oppressive regime, and helping hand them the knife they are going to use on us by buying another computer full of parts made there. Not when this one still works.

    I was basically suggesting that if someone had another computer lying around, and wanted to take the load off the main audio computer, then it's not at all taxing or difficult to sync it up to use MIDI. It gets a bit more involved if you want to sync digital audio tracks on the two, but he didn't seem to need that. Each computer is now provided more overhead to run with fewer glitches.

    I've learned the hard way that to take too much time at first with perfecting a MIDI composition's soundscape will just be wasting time, when you have to redo a lot of things after audio is recorded, anyway. My suggestion to even possibly use the MIDI computer as just a "guide track" to play along to wasn't bad. It gives me a separate set of outputs to run through the mixer and easily adjust for monitoring.

    Then, when the audio is all recorded, start kicking in the MIDI-triggered virtual instruments on the audio computer, if desired. At least they haven't been hogging resources while trying to record and playback numerous audio tracks. And, possibly even mix'n'match sounds from the MIDI computer. Just gives more options...which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on a lot of factors.

    And rendering them to audio may be an option, but it just adds another audio track that is set, and that you may want to change later to another sound, anyway. Even that takes more overhead. Once you record an audio track, there's only so much you can do to it without mangling it. A MIDI-triggered track has nearly infinite possibilities to fit in around the audio. Why set in stone the sound of a MIDI track before audio is recorded?

    I have a fairly powerful, tweaked audio computer that has no trouble running all that stuff. I just choose to give it less to do to provide maximum overhead. Why? Because I can. No shame in using an outdated computer, or any other piece of equipment, if it does the job asked of it.

    I use what I have. I know it fairly well, and I also learn from it. If someone wants to make use of an otherwise possibly useless computer to get more life out of it...more power to him. However he chooses to do it.

    To each his own, as it should be. 8)

  10. VonRocK

    VonRocK Active Member

    Sep 3, 2006
    Calgary, Alberta Canada
    I realize that you are not working in the mac world, so it does not apply to you. Perhaps it will interest some others out there (and fulfill my mac zealotry commitment for the day!).

    I believe it's exactly what you are looking for, just the wrong platform.


    I'm curious what options like this are available in the PC world.
  11. Thanks for all the responses- very helpful!
    I am running a P4 2.4GHZ, 1 Gig Ram, EIDE dual 60 Gig hard drives (not raid, BFD samples are run solely off the second drive), and I am actually looking at buying a 300 dollar computer from Acer that is even faster (freakin technology). I am able to run BFD and my other stuff at the same time, but the load gets heavy when I've got around 20 tracks, and maybe 30 different effects, so I bounce a lot of things to audio to save resources- I don't like to do that though, this is why I wanted to connect two computers in the first place. Does anyone know about this fx teleporter? I want to know if it sucks, if it's good, etc. Thanks everyone!
  12. bwmac

    bwmac Active Member

    Mar 15, 2007
    for connecting two PCz togeather .
    1 mouse, one key board, 1 monitor, I
    use this


    might as well let every one know.
    I used the Belkin brand on the wifes PC and it sucks.
    slow to switch over, you know from her XP machine to the vista Dog.
    Oh, ya, sorry, thats another thread.
  13. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Distinguished Member

    Mar 19, 2003
    Kirkland WA
    Home Page:
    Instead of the hassle of running and maintaining 2 PCs, invest in a new motherboard.

    One that would use a dual core or four core cpu. That will be powerful enough to run both.

  14. KingSix

    KingSix Active Member

    Dec 19, 2005
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:
    I recently built a dual 4 core processor with 4 gig of ram for a client. If money is not a problem for you.... Windows XP see 8 independant processor....

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