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Dante PCIE + VEP + Cubase?

benatural

Active Member
I've searched older threads and haven't quite found what I'm looking for.

Does anyone have experience using a VEP with Dante? I run VEP on a master and two slaves, and if I knew with confidence that investing in Dante hardware would a. work well with VEP and Cubase, and b. help me keep latency low, I would strongly consider it.

Questions that come to mind are:
  1. We're there any gotchas you didn't expect?
  2. Do you still use the VEP VST from within Cubase to route audio into it? Or is it done via Cubase inputs?
  3. How do you transmit MIDI?
Does anyone have any experience with this? If so I'd love to hear more about it!
 

LinusW

Active Member
I used Dante+rtpMIDI before VEP, it's no longer in use here.

If you are going for VEP, then I don't actually see what you would use Dante for. The audio is sent from VEP to VEP. You would only need an audio interface in the master machine. Or will your master machine run a Dante card and send to a console with Dante interface?

1. I had VEP crashing on my slave because I had a long USB extension cable from the slave to the eLicenser/ViennaKey. No more freezes since I moved it to the computer USB port.
2. Yes, VEP VST in the projects connects to VEP on my slaves. That's the way to put it in Cubase.
3. I use VEP VST as an instrument track. Record MIDI onto it, it's passed through the VST to your slave. (There is an option to enable external MIDI inputs in VEP, but there's no point to do that as you're using Cubase.)
 
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benatural

Active Member
Thanks for your reply LinusW, interesting to hear about your experience and set up! Currently I use VEP similar to you, using server mode, sending and receiving audio and midi through the VEP VSTi in Cubase to and from VEP in server mode on the slaves.

The way I *think* integrating Dante will work is:
  • On my slaves, VEP in stand-alone mode (rather than server mode) sending audio out via Dante to the master
  • Dante direct to Cubase audio inputs rather than using the VEP VSTi
  • MIDI out from the master to the slaves... somehow. Perhaps eith MIDIOverLAN? No idea!
  • Audio out from Cubase, into my converter (which has a Dante option)
In theory it seems like this should work, but I have no idea if it will actually be as simple as I imagine it!
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
how do you think the dante method latency would be less then using VEP the normal way?

I don't see the point of going all the way to Dante.

I mean, you could use virtual network midi to non-server-VEP on another machine and have both machines with their own sound card (of any kind, dante not needed) feeding into whatever sound system you're using, and that might eliminate some of the network latency typically found with VEP master-slave scenarios..but you open up some other issues in terms of having two machines that are not completely synchronized.

But Dante is basically a more generic version of what VEP already does by itself. Its a way to route audio around over a network. I do not know whether Dante is more efficient at network transmission then VEP is...but I bet it would be a negligible difference, while adding a lot of complexity to your setup, and cost.

One of the advantages of VEP, as you probably already know, is that the plugin latency will be reported back to your host and ensure your project is playing in sync..even when there is a slave adding extra network latency. I hear you that its a lot of latency though, but I'm not sure Dante would reduce that substantially, but if you decide to try it, I'd like to hear about your results for sure.
 

wst3

my office these days
Moderator
I use Dante every day in my day job. It is a remarkably stable protocol, and can operate at very low latencies. I've had Dante in my studio on a couple of occasions. It works well for machine to machine and as a way to expand inputs.

But so far I've not found it to be any more stable than VEP, and and there was no improvement in latency. I've used both open source rtpMIDI and MIDIOverLAN, and there was no real difference there either.

Using Dante provides some serious "cool" factor, but I think it is more expensive, and requires slightly more effort than VEP, so for now I'm sticking with VEP.

My two cents...
 
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benatural

Active Member
I use Dante every day in my day job. It is a remarkably stable protocol, and can operate at very low latencies. I've had Dante in my studio on a couple of occasions. It works well for machine to machine and as a way to expand inputs.

But so far I've not found it to be any more stable than VEP, and and there was no improvement in latency. I've used both open source rtpMIDI and MIDIOverLAN, and there was no real difference there either.

Using Dante provides some serious "cool" factor, but I think it is more expensive, and requires slightly more effort than VEP, so for now I'm sticking with VEP.

My two cents...
Interesting! I think it's the latency that I'm most interested in. So far VEP has been very stable performance wise for me, no crashes etc. But latency isn't the greatest given the amount of demands I place on the server. Even with my template that uses no more thant 16 stereo connections to the server. I work with an extensive template and the more complex the music is, the higher I have to increase the buffer.

I'd like to stabilize latency and keep it low, and based on what you said, is it true to assume that I could achieve that?
 

Mishabou

Active Member
I've searched older threads and haven't quite found what I'm looking for.

Does anyone have experience using a VEP with Dante? I run VEP on a master and two slaves, and if I knew with confidence that investing in Dante hardware would a. work well with VEP and Cubase, and b. help me keep latency low, I would strongly consider it.

Questions that come to mind are:
  1. We're there any gotchas you didn't expect?
  2. Do you still use the VEP VST from within Cubase to route audio into it? Or is it done via Cubase inputs?
  3. How do you transmit MIDI?
Does anyone have any experience with this? If so I'd love to hear more about it!

I upgraded my studio to Dante 2 years ago and love it. A couple of Cat6 cable replaced over two thousand feet of Mogami cables. The protocol is mature, reliable and sooooo flexible.

I'm using a nMP running CB10 and PT Ultimate and two VEP MacMini slaves. My AD/DA is a DADx32, sound card for the nMP is Dante Rednet PCIe, Rednet AM4 for headphones and Neve/Lynx Aurora preamp with Dante for tracking in various part of the house.

As for VEP, I tested the ''normal'' method vs stand alone (VEP with Rednet PCIe and MOL for midi). Stand alone method provides better latency and practically zero system overhead when sending over 100 channels of audio to the DAW via Dante but you obviously you loose all the cool features.
 

jamwerks

Senior Member
You might get better latency figures by spending you $$ instead on powerful cpu's, that coupled with good drivers on your interface, should let you work at lower buffers (and thus less latency)?
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
also make sure you are keeping an isolated network cable between master and slave VEP machines...don't try to do it through the same router and switch that all the rest of your house is using internet.
 
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benatural

Active Member
You might get better latency figures by spending you $$ instead on powerful cpu's, that coupled with good drivers on your interface, should let you work at lower buffers (and thus less latency)?
I definitely have tried that route, and I believe I've maximized the potential of that setup. I really do have a crazy template - 2700 midi tracks and 40 channels from two VEP servers, 140gb loaded between them. CPU usage is low, RAM not maxed out, using a Lynx AES16e which has pretty low DPC, outboard reverb, minimal VST use, minimal submixes... Still relatively high latency.
 
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benatural

Active Member
I upgraded my studio to Dante 2 years ago and love it. A couple of Cat6 cable replaced over two thousand feet of Mogami cables. The protocol is mature, reliable and sooooo flexible.

I'm using a nMP running CB10 and PT Ultimate and two VEP MacMini slaves. My AD/DA is a DADx32, sound card for the nMP is Dante Rednet PCIe, Rednet AM4 for headphones and Neve/Lynx Aurora preamp with Dante for tracking in various part of the house.

As for VEP, I tested the ''normal'' method vs stand alone (VEP with Rednet PCIe and MOL for midi). Stand alone method provides better latency and practically zero system overhead when sending over 100 channels of audio to the DAW via Dante but you obviously you loose all the cool features.
Nice! When you say you loose the cool features, do you mean things like ''raise instance"? Curious if you're using external instruments for routing audio and midi in Cubase?
 
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benatural

Active Member
also make sure you are keeping an isolated network cable between master and slave VEP machines...don't try to do it through the same router and switch that all the rest of your house is using internet.
Good advice. I work at a business that has a fast network, the slaves are in another room and direct patched to the wall ports in my office into a switch, and the switch is connected to the network. Unfortunately there's no way for me to avoid going through the switch unless I use a second NIC which might not be feasible for me.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
Hi @benatural ,

I got considerable help from @Nathanael Iversen on this topic. The best suggestions he had were actually pretty simple. I monitor through Pro Tools and simply cutting the Playback Engine setting (essentially, the buffer) from 512 to 64 made a huge difference.

Should I have thought of it myself? Yes, of course! But sometimes things like that are staring one in the face.

I also replaced two aging PC satellite computers with a single i9-9900k and that allowed me to reduce further my buffer settings.

It has really helped when composing to have more "feel," especially for rhythmic passages and drums.

Your posts made me wonder if you're an in-house composer at a game company?

Good luck!

John
 
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benatural

Active Member
Hi @benatural ,

I got considerable help from @Nathanael Iversen on this topic. The best suggestions he had were actually pretty simple. I monitor through Pro Tools and simply cutting the Playback Engine setting (essentially, the buffer) from 512 to 64 made a huge difference.

Should I have thought of it myself? Yes, of course! But sometimes things like that are staring one in the face.

I also replaced two aging PC satellite computers with a single i9-9900k and that allowed me to reduce further my buffer settings.

It has really helped when composing to have more "feel," especially for rhythmic passages and drums.

Your posts made me wonder if you're an in-house composer at a game company?

Good luck!

John
Hey @JohnG thanks for that! Yes, I'm the Audio Director and Composer, in-house at a game developer. The network/office thing gave it away huh? :)

To make sure I understand what you mean, are you saying you monitor your slaves that have VEP on standalone through Dante routed to Pro Tools on your master? Do you write in Pro Tools too?
 

wst3

my office these days
Moderator
I'd like to stabilize latency and keep it low, and based on what you said, is it true to assume that I could achieve that?
No one can say for certain - based on your further descriptions of your system I'd say bottlenecks are not likely the network portion of VEPro, so whether VEPro or Dante requires more overhead on the machines is anyone's guess.

If I owned the VEPro licenses, and had to pay for the Dante hardware and software I don't think I'd stick with VEPro. I was able to borrow Dante hardware for my experiments. For me the result was such that it wasn't worth the change.

Then again, my standard template is nothing like yours<G>!
 

Mishabou

Active Member
Nice! When you say you loose the cool features, do you mean things like ''raise instance"? Curious if you're using external instruments for routing audio and midi in Cubase?
Raise instance being one, but there are other nice features not available when you use VEP in stand alone mode.

I have a few hardware synth routed directly in CB and I also use the JL Cooper Master Fader Pro for CC, Roland A88 controller, iPad Pro and an Avid S6.
 
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benatural

Active Member
No one can say for certain - based on your further descriptions of your system I'd say bottlenecks are not likely the network portion of VEPro, so whether VEPro or Dante requires more overhead on the machines is anyone's guess.

If I owned the VEPro licenses, and had to pay for the Dante hardware and software I don't think I'd stick with VEPro. I was able to borrow Dante hardware for my experiments. For me the result was such that it wasn't worth the change.

Then again, my standard template is nothing like yours<G>!
Oh there's Dante software to buy too?
 
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