Anyone running distributed computing for music?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
ILTK
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Anyone running distributed computing for music?

Post by ILTK » Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:02 am

I been looking at "MIDI Over Lan" and since I have 3 used 2.0ghz machines standing around I was thinking about using these by dedicating a couple vst plugins on each one and running a standalone vst host on each one to hold the plugins. Each machines soundcard would go into my hardware mixer.

This would dedicate my main machine to running sequencing only, and would have the added benefit that if a vst plugin crashes, it will only take down the machine it's running on + I would have 6 ghz or power for running plugins in all + my main 3.8 amd for Live.

I could easily setup each machine so it boots and start up the vst host with it's dedicated plugins and MIDI Over Lan to handle the MIDI control and maybe have pcanywhere to remote each machine if needed, so everything can be controlled from the main work machine.

Has anyone tried something like this?

Edit, I'm also thinking about stuff like latency, not jus that it works but it needs to work with good latency for playing.

djsynchro
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Post by djsynchro » Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:34 am

Try this:
http://www.fx-max.com/

It works over LAN, no audio cards needed, no midi. it even reports the latency to the host like a normal VST would, so Live 5 will compensate for it.
All you need to do is set up a network.

They have a 15-day demo.

I still didn't run out of CPU steam (and I'm lazy) so I still didn't try it. I have heard good things about it though.

:D

longjohns
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Post by longjohns » Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:42 am

this is what spiderprod said about fx teleport on the windows shell thread:

"i am using fx teleport at the moment , i managed to make it work via firewire network , it's a good soft but it clips when you use controls .
the network thing is a bit too slow to handle many fx , plus if i wanna use waves plugins it takes about an hour to load them , & the waves plugins are the ones i use the most .
if someone could come up with a way to get fx teleport via adat or spdif that would be great ."

MrYellow
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Post by MrYellow » Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:48 am

I'm using 2 computers on a KVM switch with 2 monitors so I can always see
the 2nd computers 2nd monitor while being able to switch the main monitor.

VSTi computer is running Forte (awesome VST host, especially designed for
live use). With Wormhole transporting the audio back to Live over TCP/IP.

Haven't finished setting this up fully, was just gunna run MIDI sync thru a
cable, but if there is a decent TCP solution I can't see why not.

-Ben

sweetjesus
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Post by sweetjesus » Sat Jan 21, 2006 2:32 am

i use FX Teleport

its really great.

I host Energy XT inside it, so I have another world of sequencing and VST shell inside the other computer.

for the guy with Waves issues, try loading Energy XT and then loading the waves plugins inside that.

stinky
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Post by stinky » Sat Jan 21, 2006 3:13 am

I use it just like sweetjesus.. it's great with energy xt... but, i don't record using it. I bring everything over inside an energyxt project, and then record on my main host computer, not the teleport slave. It just clips too much without gigabit ethernet...

longjohns
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Post by longjohns » Sat Jan 21, 2006 4:10 am

so i've got two computers sitting right next to each other with a really short cable, gigabit ethernet connection between them.

will i be able to send good audio between them then??

stinky
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Post by stinky » Sat Jan 21, 2006 4:35 am

Yeah, you'll have to have 2 gigabit cards, one for each computer, and a pc-to-pc cable (or patch cable, but it's a special cable, you can't just use a regular cable). Or, just get a gigabit router, and you don't need the special cable, and can connect more than one computer (for multiple slaves). It's definitely the way to go, if you've got the cash.

MrYellow
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Post by MrYellow » Sat Jan 21, 2006 6:07 am

and a pc-to-pc cable (or patch cable, but it's a special cable, you can't just use a regular cable).
Called a crossover cable, because it's just like a normal network CAT5 cable
but 2 of the wires are "crossed over".

-Ben

ILTK
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Post by ILTK » Sat Jan 21, 2006 8:59 am

Thanks for the suggestions all, gonna check fx-teleport out :)

But why the need to send audio back and forth?

The way I was originally thinking I would just set each machine to run a dedicated setup of a plugin or two, then use a vst host environment to be able to load that setup, that way I could have everything setup so it would autostart when the machine is booted, and then just send midi to the machine with "MIDI Over Lan" from http://www.musiclab.com/products/rpl_info.htm then it's only MIDI data that is very light that needs to be sent over the network, switching sounds I could just do with embedded midi data in a clip to setup everything at song start just like I did back when I used a lot of outboard hardware.

MIDI Over Lan just installs like 64 MIDI channels that you can pick in Live to chose what machine to send to, you set it up by telling the driver what midi channels go to what ip for each machine, then as long as the vst host is running and set to recieve on those channels everything should be good.

If this can be made to work, either fx-teleport or midi over lan, then you could totally jump of the upgrade race, everytime you need more horsepower just flick thru the local ads for used computer gear and buy a cheapo 1.5-2.0 ghz box for a couple hundred that someone is getting rid of cheap to buy themselves the latest and greatest, and there would be no limits to how much power you have access to.

EDIT, just came to think about that with the fx-teleport solution, since it sends audio back and forth, you would still be limited by your host machine and also network thoughput, this would not be so with the pure midi solution.

MrYellow
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Post by MrYellow » Sat Jan 21, 2006 9:18 am

My reason would be the Multiface.

2nd computer just runs a SB Audigy.

So I send the audio back to Live so I can setup sub-mixes and output
through the Multiface.

edit: damn MIDI over lan is stupidly expensive.... Sticking with a $10 cable.

-Ben

ILTK
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Post by ILTK » Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:37 am

MrYellow wrote:I'm using 2 computers on a KVM switch with 2 monitors so I can always see
the 2nd computers 2nd monitor while being able to switch the main monitor.

VSTi computer is running Forte (awesome VST host, especially designed for
live use). With Wormhole transporting the audio back to Live over TCP/IP.

Haven't finished setting this up fully, was just gunna run MIDI sync thru a
cable, but if there is a decent TCP solution I can't see why not.

-Ben
Forte looks very nice, I been scavenging the net for good vst hosts and what I found was next to useless, only one vst, couldnt save setups and load that setup via commandline options etc.., forte looks like it's just what I been searching for.

MrYellow
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Post by MrYellow » Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:59 am

It's very good.

Includes some nice live focused features, like u can stress test and crash
test. Stress test switches patches wildly and moves knobs randomly. While
crash test generates a fatal error to see if u'll end up with a loud tone or
anything bad like that.

Also has a screen option that turns it into this big blank screen that shows
the current patch in really big font with the ones above and below it smaller.
With notes and stuff.... I'm thinking of getting a tiny 5" LCD just for this.

I do a lot of mixing multiple synths together with it, hit snapshot and the
sound is saved, no more having to save settings in multiple VSTs.

-Ben

Machinate
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Post by Machinate » Sat Jan 21, 2006 12:49 pm

ILTK wrote:Thanks for the suggestions all, gonna check fx-teleport out :)

But why the need to send audio back and forth?[...]
EDIT, just came to think about that with the fx-teleport solution, since it sends audio back and forth, you would still be limited by your host machine and also network thoughput, this would not be so with the pure midi solution.
Well you'd have to mix the results somehow anyway, and if you plan to actually record your sounds then you need audio as well.
Besides, loading 10-20 vstis in your host isn't the same as just accepting one more stereo stream, it's much much much lighter on the cpu
mbp 2.66, osx 10.6.8, 8GB ram.

ILTK
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Post by ILTK » Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:25 pm

Machinate wrote:Well you'd have to mix the results somehow anyway, and if you plan to actually record your sounds then you need audio as well.
Yeah I know, I have a big hardware mixer that everything is allready running into, so that's no problemo.
Machinate wrote: Besides, loading 10-20 vstis in your host isn't the same as just accepting one more stereo stream, it's much much much lighter on the cpu
Good point, had not thought about it that way, it will all come back from a slave machine as one audio stream even if the slave it running 10 plugins.

Hmm, guess I'd just have to try both Midi Over Lan and fx-teleport and then see what gives me the most freedom and options, just trying to think ahead here, but I realy like the idea of having dedicated host machines for each slew of plugins, I have a bunch that just taxes the main system to heavily to be usefull and they sound wonderfull but are system killers no matter what cpu speed you are running, having more horsepower will allow me to layer synths and efx that I normally would not think about doing on one machine alone just like with hardware synths.

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