IpMIDI + Waves Soundgrid + additional DAW...am I on to something here?

Synetos

Active Member
So...I tried a "what-if" idea today and it is just tickling me how well it is working.

I have been using VEP for a while now, but I started to wonder if I really needed it. It is kinda clunky in my setup and doesn't do the audio inputs for offloading plugins as well as I would like.

In my VEP setup, I run a master and 2 slaves. It got me thinking, why cant i do what VEP is doing without using VEP?

Here is what I tried:

I have Cubase 10 on my main DAW and also on a slave machine. It could be Reaper or any DAW I want. I just happen to have 2 copies of Cubase 10 Pro.

  • I setup Soundgrid on both machines and assigned 128 channels of audio to each machine and then "patched" them via SoundGrid Studio. Basically, audio I/O between the machines.
  • Then I installed ipMIDI on each computer and setup 20 midi ports (that provides me with 360 midi channels).
  • In my master DAW, I created a midi track and set the input to just be my A88 midi keyboard. I set the output to the 1 channel and port on ipMIDI. Basically, I play my keyboard and it now sends the midi data over the ipMidi connection to my slave.
  • On my slave, I setup a VST instrument and set the audio output to a stereo audio channel that is mapped to my main DAW via soundgrid studio
  • On the DAW master, I created an audio input using the connections from the slave.
  • I just play the midi keyboard, and I get the audio produced on the slave on the audio channel i created in my DAW.
  • I can now record the midi, play it back over ipMIDI connection to my slave and return the audio (even record it). No added latency! This is unreal!
  • I did the same thing using an audio effects send for a Reverb channel. No added latency!
Trying to offload CPU hog plugins into VEP has not worked very well. This might just be an awesome alternative.

This might be most useful for FX processing, and basically not needing a SoundGrid Server to offload plugins...and...not be limited to just soundgrid compatible plugs. I need to pound on it a bit more, but my initial results are very promising.

I actually think this might give me better workflow. Yes, I will be limited to 256 physical audio channels in Cubase, but that should be more than enough for what I am doing. Not doing mockups with 1000+ instruments. I suspect one could do this with any Audio over IP solution, Dante, etc.

I am curious if anyone else is doing something like this?
 
What I would consider is the difference of costs involved.

If thats not an issue for you this might be an interesting alternative.


Ps: didn’t know about ipMidi. I shall have a look
 
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Synetos

Active Member
I wasnt really thinking about cost, since I already own all of the parts. I am trying to make my rig as powerful and efficient as possible, and stumbled on the idea.

It works good in Cubase to create "external effects" and then just put that as an insert in an FX track. That is one thing missing from trying to use VEP for Audio FX. Cant really do insert FX and get right back into the signal path. Basically, when it works, VEP audio inputs are pretty much just for trying to offload send FX. In Cubase, can create as may loops as I have outputs. Plus, I can do Mono...which I cant do in VEP.

Using this method, I can basically recreate what I could do with Waves Studio-Rack plugin, but now I am not limited to just Waves Plugs, and I dont need a DSP Server to offload the work. My slave machine is my DSP. I can make a custom FX chain in my slave for a channel strip, or just use it like send effects and get the CPU sucking H-Reverb off my main DAW. Anyway, I think this is how I will use it. I dont really think I am saving all that much by trying to use it for VST's. That works pretty good in VEP already.

ipMIDI is something i just discovered. I works great. It isnt overly expensive. $79 for 3 computer license. https://www.nerds.de/en/ipmidi.html
 
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Synetos

Active Member
So...after further testing, it isnt such an awesome solution afterall. Yes, it functions, but there is actually an added 5.85ms RT latency for the external effects loop. That makes it pretty much useless for live use, or in my studio. By the time I add that to the DAW 4.8ms and any additional delay from the plugins I choose, it will be too high for my ears to tolerate. :(
 

rrichard63

Perpetual Novice
  • I setup Soundgrid on both machines and assigned 128 channels of audio to each machine and then "patched" them via SoundGrid Studio. Basically, audio I/O between the machines.
Are you saying you can use SoundGrid Studio on each PC without having any Waves or Avid hardware on the network? If that's true, the Waves website and manuals certainly don't reveal the fact.
 
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Synetos

Active Member
I have Waves hardware and plugs, but technically...i believe so. I have never setup my systems without a Waves interface of some kind, so I am not 100% sure how well it would work. It supports ASIO devices. I use my HELIX USB driver with it. Used RME RAYDAT in the past.
The driver is free, so you can try it.
Just install soundgrid studio on two computers. Make one the master, and the other a slave. You can route audio paths between the computers...up to 128 channels on each machine via DAW's. They're basically virtual I/O ports. It is what makes soundgrid so powerful for linking up multiple DAWs.

EDIT: I tried it on two computers with no Waves Hardware interfaces. It works.
 
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Synetos

Active Member
You're welcome!

The most complex part of Soundgrid (in my opinion) is wrapping your head around the "Patch" matrix. Once you get it, you will understand the power of soundgrid. I hope in v10 they release a GUI that is easier to understand. I love the technology, so I am digging it. The GUI that is in LV1 would be perfect. But, I aint complaining when you basically can do what Dante virtual soundcard can do, for free and much lower latency.

I am likely going to order the Soundgrid Extreme Server. I was just kinda waiting to see if there is something new following the "C" product line release. It is why I was so exited about the prospect of being able to work around needing to have one in my studio. But...I know I probably wont want to wait. I am a bit impulsive with my gear lust and acquisition syndrome. :)
 

Mishabou

Active Member
So...I tried a "what-if" idea today and it is just tickling me how well it is working.

I have been using VEP for a while now, but I started to wonder if I really needed it. It is kinda clunky in my setup and doesn't do the audio inputs for offloading plugins as well as I would like.

In my VEP setup, I run a master and 2 slaves. It got me thinking, why cant i do what VEP is doing without using VEP?

Here is what I tried:

I have Cubase 10 on my main DAW and also on a slave machine. It could be Reaper or any DAW I want. I just happen to have 2 copies of Cubase 10 Pro.

  • I setup Soundgrid on both machines and assigned 128 channels of audio to each machine and then "patched" them via SoundGrid Studio. Basically, audio I/O between the machines.
  • Then I installed ipMIDI on each computer and setup 20 midi ports (that provides me with 360 midi channels).
  • In my master DAW, I created a midi track and set the input to just be my A88 midi keyboard. I set the output to the 1 channel and port on ipMIDI. Basically, I play my keyboard and it now sends the midi data over the ipMidi connection to my slave.
  • On my slave, I setup a VST instrument and set the audio output to a stereo audio channel that is mapped to my main DAW via soundgrid studio
  • On the DAW master, I created an audio input using the connections from the slave.
  • I just play the midi keyboard, and I get the audio produced on the slave on the audio channel i created in my DAW.
  • I can now record the midi, play it back over ipMIDI connection to my slave and return the audio (even record it). No added latency! This is unreal!
  • I did the same thing using an audio effects send for a Reverb channel. No added latency!
Trying to offload CPU hog plugins into VEP has not worked very well. This might just be an awesome alternative.

This might be most useful for FX processing, and basically not needing a SoundGrid Server to offload plugins...and...not be limited to just soundgrid compatible plugs. I need to pound on it a bit more, but my initial results are very promising.

I actually think this might give me better workflow. Yes, I will be limited to 256 physical audio channels in Cubase, but that should be more than enough for what I am doing. Not doing mockups with 1000+ instruments. I suspect one could do this with any Audio over IP solution, Dante, etc.

I am curious if anyone else is doing something like this?

If you don't want any added latency, just use VEP in stand alone mode and MOL or IPMidi between Master/slave. I tested a similar set up using Dante instead of soundgrid, works great and no added latency but end up going back to VEP server mode as I lose too many important features in stand alone mode.

As for hosting VST, i don't see any advantage doing it in a DAW on your slaves as I find VEP pro way more reliable and efficient compare to any DAW I've tested (CB10, Live 10, Logic X, DP 9).
 
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Synetos

Active Member
If you don't want any added latency, just use VEP in stand alone mode and MOL or IPMidi between Master/slave. I tested a similar set up using Dante instead of soundgrid, works great and no added latency but end up going back to VEP server mode as I lose too many important features in stand alone mode.

As for hosting VST, i don't see any advantage doing it in a DAW on your slaves as I find VEP pro way more reliable and efficient compare to any DAW I've tested (CB10, Live 10, Logic X, DP 9).

Thanks for the suggestion. For some reason, VEP in standalone mode, cant see the soundgrid driver.

EDIT: Scratch that. A reboot resolved the issue. I am gonna give this a test this morning.

EDIT2: It works, but still registers about a 6ms RT latency on the Steinberg External FX loop. Although..when testing it with a mic, I didnt notice the delay like I did when using it in Server Mode. Not sure why, yet.
 
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Synetos

Active Member
I received my Soundgrid Extreme Server a couple days ago. OMG! This was so worth it. Wish I would have done this long ago.
 

DAMskill

New Member
Are you saying you can use SoundGrid Studio on each PC without having any Waves or Avid hardware on the network? If that's true, the Waves website and manuals certainly don't reveal the fact.
I just installed the SoundGrid Driver. Without SoundGrid Hardware it doesn't work.
If i'm doing something wrong please correct.
 
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Synetos

Active Member
I just installed the SoundGrid Driver. Without SoundGrid Hardware it doesn't work.
If i'm doing something wrong please correct.
You can use any ASIO interface. I used to use my RME Raydat. Install its driver like normal, but then choose Soundgrid Driver for ASIO audio in your DAW. You have to configure your interface in the soundgrid studio setup, and route the patching, etc.
 
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Synetos

Active Member
The RoundTrip latency went up too much using external effects loop in Cubase. That is what I lost by using that method.
There are lots of ways to play around with this stuff, but I went back to just using one machine and running VEP7 in localhost mode. It seems i am always fiddling with my setup. I think i like doing that as much as i like making music :)
 

Henk

New Member
The RoundTrip latency went up too much using external effects loop in Cubase. That is what I lost by using that method.
There are lots of ways to play around with this stuff, but I went back to just using one machine and running VEP7 in localhost mode. It seems i am always fiddling with my setup. I think i like doing that as much as i like making music :)
hi Synetos:

After running cubase(Digigrdi lv1), how much buffer is suitable for programming and large projects.
I have been at 256 and can't be lower anymore.