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  • Hybrid Studio Approach

    Thinking of shifting from Mac to PC because of a need for raw power. But:

    A different approach (all about power distribution basically) would be the Hans Zimmer hybrid studio (or at least as  I understand it). In this approach, not only is sample rendering offloaded AKA VE PRo, but the monitoring and mixing too.

    This would be based around a 2nd workstation that brings in all the monitoring (could be Protools, or Nuendo or any other mature system)and Ethernet streams. The "composition" workstation would be MIDI only. No plugs whatsoever. NADA. This would give a really snappy system under any OS. I am preeeetty sure this is what Zimmer does, and he evolved this from years past when no DAW could handle what they do now. (or rather promise to do, but never quite do).

    The point about Zimmer of course is that he comes from a position of great confidence. He can say - "ok this particular sound is going to work for the whole film, beginning to end. Regardless (pretty much) of what  my client says to me."  Whereas, us mortals must have available the ability to swap in alternates, which may require a different mix/sound set. But with a wide enough "desk DAW" this would not be a problem.

    The template (on the composing DAW) would basically be a massive bank of pre-setup MIDI tracks. And the mix side of the template would be on the "desk DAW" as I am calling it. This could be a powerful PC with RME etc etc, linked up via ethernet to further slaves. One could run MIR - but for now lets imagine Protools or a 2nd Nuendo seat (in my case). One could call up the odd plug on the compositoin DAW where MIDI clock fails to work etc etc.

    Tha drawback of course is recalling the mix. Thinking aloud, one could rig up the "desk" Daw as it were, to sync to picture, and chase a mix. The great thing about this would be, regardless of preserved de-coupled whatever, you would HAVE to think in terms of a totally de-coupled setup, rather like a bank of old samplers in fact. The discipline of organised thought would be forced upon one, old school style.

    The fact is, VE PRo is great, but once you have several instances, several MIDI ports per instance, it just gets sticky and slow to save. AND swap cues, and swap back again, and try to remember why you were loading the damn thing in ther first place before a "lost" instatiaion pops up and round and round we go...And your latency is dependent on the weakest link in the chain (usually a slave of course)

     I am not an inexperienced user here (20 years) but you try loading a job that depends on VE Pro form 18 months ago. That is what I am grappling with now. Not pretty actually. You need to really take notes of have every slaves startup drive cloned for recal in the future. . I am actually really missing the old way - hard connected monitoring. It just worked.Why load it? Because I am doing series 2 of something. The client wants my old tracks tweaked.

    Not wishing to moan or rant, but we all need to be very careful what basket we place so many eggs in.


  • Perhaps I am missing one of your points, but couldn't you simply run each system stand-alone even under VE Pro, and save the corresponding template on each machine by project or cue?  If one wishes, one can still use the "old way" of MIDI interfaces and soundcards with Vienna.  Depending on the number of machines you are ultimately thinking of using, it might require multiple VE Pro licenses, but it sure should be doable.

  • I have been through exactly the same thought process on and off for quite a while now, including using FX-Teleport and VE Pro. The conclusion that I came to was that the one thing that is most important to me in my workflow is that I need low latency. For me that is a 128 buffer (at 44.1), which on my system equates to 3ms. Any more and I start to feel uncomfortable when playing. For things like legato strings it is not quite such a big issue, but when I start using more rhythmic patches, any lag really makes things difficult to perform. Even for legato there is a built in lag because of the transition material, so any extra induced by my computer would be unwelcome.

    So, my conclusion was to get th fastest system I could and run everything from one computer. If I used slaves I would have to do it as you describe, with hardware outputs to a hard disc recorder of some sort, and monitor directly from the slaves. Obviously in that case loading different projects could become a pain, as the templates would have to be loaded manually for each slave.

    My solution for this (using VE Pro on one computer) is to have a general template for the orchestra that never changes, and to load all extras locally in Nuendo. this way every project loads up as  expected, and there is very little housekeeping to be done to recall stuff.

    Loading old projects could be a problem with VE Pro, but before I put a project to bed I always save a metaframe and multiple viframes, as well as save the version of VE Pro I was using on the back-up disc. Also, all my projects are rendered to audio, and I save a MIDI file for emergencies. I would say that this is far more than most people do with their hardware solutions, so I ought to be relatively safe. As long as both the on-site back-up and the off-site back up don't fail at the same time. [:O]


  • Hi again

    Very wise to save the VE PRo verisons. That's the slip up I made. And I am paying the price. Although one project used a beta VE PRo that reall really screwed things as it could not load anything that it had not saved itself and vice vera. Audio track-lays would have been a good idea too but in the heat of deadlines, and the niext job looming...

    I like your single machine approach. Interesting. So you're saying that there's no or little latency as it's all "in house" as it were. Are you running VI plugs direct? What machine? I found my 8 Core MP suffered. Maybe a 12 Core new one can handle it. What latency? Cards? I presume a PC...

    And yes the point about going back to monitoring via audio is absolutely right. That's where I am coming from and used to do it that way. I guess I am wanting to refine this even further to the point where EVERYTHING is just "UP" all the time for a particular job. Including all the reverbs, stem set ups,  everything that that job wants. Another thing is, you see I keep refining my orchestral template. Or changing it because of bugs in Nuendo for example (5.5 does not chase certain CC on automation lanes in the same way as it did). So although the genereal template SHOULD work, there is always some fly in the ointment somewhere!

    It's nice to share this scenario with some like minds. At times I feel like I am trying to tame a giant beast, who's weak point is an obscure controller buried in a track somewhere, and until I find it (cue tension music as dealine looms) I'm screwed.... My dream is, that perhaps a separate "desk DAW" could also allow some traction, or "in point" for an assistant. Always a very tricky thing to to recognise when one needs one, and even trickier to work out what on earth they could do!

    I might try this (my proposes "desk daw" way) for a job and see how it feels. And report back!


    (PS I could maybe avoid Windows this way too ;)

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    @Another User said:

    (PS I could maybe avoid Windows this way too 😉


     Oy, no posturing. [:P]


  • DG

    Do you mean Track Presets, but a bunch of tracks at once, or are you talking about VST Connections presets? Or are you talking about "save selected channels" funtion from the mixer?I do know where you're coming from, just wondering what you meant there.

    My setup is a little different in that I have a second computer running another copy of Nuendo, that runs picture in sync, and also is "tied" into the main DAW via about 16 channels of ADAT, both ways. So when I lay down a cue, it always gets played "live" accross to the other machine in sync to picture. The "videostation" as I call it, runs one project all day, which is the whole episode of what I am working on. In that machine, I have stems etc receiving from the main DAW. I then can create new versions for a client and see all my versions for the whole episode at once in one huge project. Form there I can also output batch mixes or whatever to create DVD's etc with dialogue mixed etc etc. This for me would be the logical place to put "tracklays of my VSTi's. It wold in effect be a massively parrallel set of stems but a great safety back-up.

    I work the other way too - if I am lucky enough to record live orchestra, I'll put those (live) recordings against picture on the videstaion, and bring in what I need the other way back to the main DAW. The beauty of this is that I can create a complete Nuendo project with all clicktracks and submix guide tracks on Videostation, and take that in on a laptop to the recording session.

    I have now received delivery of Windows 7!! Big intake of breath. I am thinking of trying out first on a slave (to get used to the Windows thing). Are there any things to look out for in your experience when bootcamping windows onto a Mac?

    By the way, any reticence on my part regarding Windows is more a "fear of the unknown" than anything else!



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    @Another User said:

    I have now received delivery of Windows 7!! Big intake of breath. I am thinking of trying out first on a slave (to get used to the Windows thing). Are there any things to look out for in your experience when bootcamping windows onto a Mac?

    By the way, any reticence on my part regarding Windows is more a "fear of the unknown" than anything else!




    I haven never done the installation in Bootcamp,, so I can't help you there. You would hate the set-up I have for windows 7. I have turned everything off, so it looks just like XP. Apart from the fact that Pro Tools requires some tweaks (for when I', using that program) all the other stuff is either tweaked in the BIOS, which you don't have to worry about, or disabling power saving things, which I guess you would do in OSX anyway.

    I totally understand your trepidation. It's exactly how I feel when I do a big update of any software, or even a hardware update. Everything is unknown. I still remember when I changed from Acorn to Mac to PC. The comfort blanket was when I opened my software and it all looked familiar.

    Good luck anyway.


  • FWIW - I bootcamped only one machine until now, but this was a surprisingly painless experience. There are several good tutorials available online. I've been told hat it is less easy on a Mac that was in heavy use already, but on a brand-new machine it was a question of an hour or so.

    ... then funny thing is that under Win7 this Mac seems to run faster, and the graphics look better on screen. :-)

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Hey DG and everyone,

    It's so nice to get support! Emotional as much as anything else!

    I do make MIDI files too for sessions for exactly the same reasons. Most studios run PT. 

    Bootcamp - I image the first re-partition stage would get slow if the drive was heavily used. So that makes sense. I'm going to do a test, and if it's all working nicely, do it again on a dedicated Windows SSD drive when I "learnt form mistakes" that I wiiil inevitably make.

    I wonder how smoothly my Nuendo key commands will port over...

    Actually I think once the Mac boots into Windows, it's Windows all the way in terms of preferences and energy saving etc . So I may come grovelling back here for some Windows tips on that in a few days! The bootcamp software basically partitions a drive, in such a way that OSX is not destroyed (and you don't HAVE to gert a second drive) and installs drivers to run the Mac keyboards, trackpads and all the rest of it (and I suppose specifics of the motherboard, guessing on that one).

    So all that remains