network daw . slly quesions but ?3

Hi guys !
just brought a new pc i5 to replace my now ageing quad core.
the old pc was very reliable and almost never gave me any probs…
i would like to use the old pc as storage and or as a slave using some third party VST …
what is a good way to achieve this (cost factor plays a role in this )
i want to run only one pc with cubase so … no 2nd licence . will the vst plugins and instr work or will i have to install them on the new DAW ??

i have an old router an i use this to network them together and Evt a laptop ??
like i said silly questions but i realy have no clue at all as far as neworks are concerned … i am just a musician trying to get some work done in the best way i can …
thanks in advance-

If you’re using Ethernet Networking you should be able to use a single Ethernet ‘cross-over’ cable between two PC’s. You should only need a router if networking more than two PC’s. You can use a router for two if you want, but in the last two cases use regular Ethernet cables. It’s best to use a very fast Ethernet card on your PC too.

If you don’t want to pay for two Cubase licenses, you have to pay for ‘something else’ … say like Vienna Ensemble Pro (VEP) which costs about as much as Cubase.

There’s also FX-Max Teleport, which you can get for free these days, which will work on an older OS like XP, but support has ended for it, being out of business and all. VEP has taken over, and will be better for current OS’s.

There are other ways to network computers as well…even audio/midi sound card networking, but you’ll have to either have to have ‘some kind’ of DAW software to host VSTi’s, or run the VSTi’s in a stand-alone mode.

If its GbE (Gigabit Ethernet), that is best. It also allows you to connect your NAS box (you know, for your backups!).

Unfortunately, they went out of business before doing 64bit versions of their VSTs, otherwise I would still be using FX-Freeze. I think Max was not too well in the end. He had taken long breaks off previously.

Yeah that’s what I’ve heard, but not much more…did the guy die or something?

At least for those who are into Ethernet networking with 64 bit , there’s VEP…which I understand works a lot better, although lacks the ability to use the 2nd machine for FX’s or something of that sort…? I’ve used FX-Max before, but not VEP. Personally, I’d rather run 2 separate DAW’s in sync than use Ethernet. There’s a lot on the subject of using multiple computers on the GearSlutz site.

Like with many people known only on the internet, we will never know unless there’s an announcement. Otherwise, they just fade from view.

In a way, Max was a lone wolf, like Joao of jBridge fame, just as accessible and amenable to ideas and suggestions, and just as much a critical enabler.

From what I have understood, as I have not used it either, VEP was primarily designed for VSTis, though they allow VST plugins for use by the VSTis on the remote VEP server.

FX-Teleport provided a per-instance bi-directional link from a locally-inserted proxy plugin to a remote instance of a VST(i). There were as many links as there were local VST(i) proxy plugins.

In contrast, a remote VEP instance is an host of multiple VSTis, and whatever VST FX are used with them, with only audio out coming back to the host DAW. It is not a bi-directional audio link, so cannot be used to provide a remote instance of an FX for a single local channel insert. For example, you cannot use it to provide a dedicated reverb host for a local bus.

There is still room for something like FX-Teleport.

Do you have any reasoning or links that support your preference. There is also the SoundsOnline and VSL forums.

I suspect that Ethernet, 1Gbps and higher, will be the future of audio. Sub-ms latencies are already possible. Even RME is incorporating use of Ethernet, though with a proprietary protocol layer. Audinate has had Dante out for a while, with a substantial number of PA/distribution-systems manufacturers on board. And there is the open-standard REVENNA as well. The latter two use completely standard IP over Ethernet, though they function better if the audio is isolated on its own network (or virtual network with minimum dedicated bandwidth).

It is just that the flexibility that Ethernet offers, particularly with regard to routing, scalability and heterogeneity, aided by cheap and plentiful cables and switches (at least for GbE), makes any of the current alternatives seem too limited, especially for long term investment.

Unfortunately, AoIP has still yet to mature, in that the cost to entry is still high, and the offerings are still aimed at those with mass IO needs, rather than the more modest needs of hobbyists and home/small studios.

Well Pat, as for my reasoning, it’s a matter of thought (my own) that two separate full-on computer DAW’s linked/synced together by their transport functions with a good degree of accuracy gives the most in versatility.

As for specific links, on Gearslutz you can look at several posts by a user that go’s by ‘Thenoodle’ … he has the best handle on things with his own methods, that I’ve read anyway, and uses up to, or more than 5 PC’s all synced together by an older Motu Timepiece (MTP).

The advantages as I see it are, you can use any DAW software you like on each machine, each machine being a full-on DAW, you can do pretty much anything you need it to do without much limitation. If using one machine only just for running certain VSTi’s, your midi tracks can be recorded directly there, effects needed for those VSTi’s can be ran locally in there…same for the audio only machine. This method also allows one to run only ONE machine at a time, depending what aspect you’re working on…be it midi tracks & VSTi’s, or be it audio tracks. With Ethernet, while you’re working on all your midi tracks, you need to be running the 2nd machine full-time to handle the VSTi processing.

The disadvantages I’ve read from other people who are fans of Ethernet (with say VEP), are that with other methods, you have to spread your projects up between different computers, they want all audio & midi tracks together on one master machine…that’s just a mind-set/mind block IMO. Another complaint is having to have an audio interface for each machine, again, not a draw back in my mind, but a plus for more versatility, and any extra’s can be bought used for cheap. I view using separate DAW machines linked, the same as using one DAW machine with multiple monitors, and using each monitor with a different window view…in this case, each monitor is a different machine with full DAW functionality.

For Steinberg users, there’s System Link of course, and you don’t have to use multiple expensive full flag-ship versions, but … with something like a MOTU Time Piece, you’re not bound to using ‘only’ Steinberg, which using different DAW’s gives you the best of what they have to offer. I’m thinking of future plans to possibly use Cakewalk, Reaper and Cubase together this way. I have no interest in using Ethernet networking with something like VEP, not at this time anyway.

Ah, but different strokes for different folks.

Looks like it didn’t really catch on, with used Timepieces going for $70. Motu has gone all AVB (read Ethernet).

I know that the idea of having fairly decoupled systems, synched together at a basic level, seems flexible, but only from an individual system level, as the management of them doesn’t scale very well. Where Ethernet works is with choice of management topologies and scalability, plus low cost for the plumbing hardware, just because it is not niche-bound, like most audio stuff is.

Thanks for your input, as it got me to investigate further, so that I came across how much Ethernet is making inroads into audio. At the moment there are several competing audio networking systems using Ethernet as the transport protocol to some extent. Looks like we will have to wait to see what the future flushes out as the stayers.

Also, Ethernet is being used for different purposes. VEP uses it to distribute the VSTi load. Dante and Ravenna are using it to share the hardware load. We will see if a more integrated approach to using Ethernet emerges, so that several management systems are not required.

Yes Pat, Ethernet seems to be the ‘thing’ these days, and I’m certainly not knocking it. I don’t know much about “scalability” ? … I guess this means what you get per your dollar investment, and how complicated the system is?

Much of the stuff I’ve bought has been used, and if ‘scalability’ even applies here(?) it’s scales fairly well in this regard. My ‘upgrades’ are always a few steps & hundreds of dollars behind. I think I only paid like $50.00 for my ‘Motu Time Piece’ used, and like brand new in the original box. My extra audio interfaces, were also a fraction of the original cost.

The syncing together of individual systems does seem a bit archaic & cumbersome I’ll admit. But at the same time, being ‘old school’ myself, it’s in some ways easier to understand the ‘plumbing’ of it… The reason for referring to the person, ‘thenoodle’ on Gearslutz was because I’ve actually followed his method, being intrigued by it, and he is much further along than I am with this, where as I’ve only just begun.

I certainly wouldn’t be flat out opposed to ever trying something like VEP, but not at the moment being I’ve invested in so much older technology over the years, that I’m keen to it’s continued use, and in the case of acquiring more, it’s re-use.

I think VEP is the best choice when starting to connect multiple computers in one project when it is going to used by a single user. Multiple cubases on multiple computers is a) expensive and b) not intuitive unless you want to do a cooperation with another user that is working on the other computer. That kind of cooperation is something VEP is not able too.

VEP is a server based host that connects to a DAW through vst’s that are delivered with the package.

There are some reasons to choose VEP. I don’t know if they are relevant for you:

  • 1/ it is rock solid build. Never had a crash with it.
  • 2/ it is by far the best host for older 32 bit plugins, since they have seperate servers for hosting 32 bit vst’s and 64bit.
  • 3/ it is not the same price as cubase, but goes for around 235 euro’s
  • 4/ they are very efficient in handling plugins, wich means you can have more active plugins with the same resources in comparison with most other DAWs
  • 5/ you can expand in the future by hosting up to 3 computers over LAN, since for the price of it, you get 3 licenses.
  • 6/ since the vsti’s are delivered to the main DAW as audio, they do not strain the asio driver at all.

There are some things to take in to account too:

  • 1/ you really need a fast ethernet connection. Since you say it is an old computer, check if your network connection is powerfull enough. Every seperate output you make wih the old computer to the new computer streams audio over the network, so when connecting multiple outputs over the network you eat quite a lot of bandwith. Once the bandwith is consumed, that’s it. So speed is essential for your network.
  • 2/ it is a different workflow, since you will be setting up your templates in the instances that are handled by the servers, and you still have the main workflow within cubase to deal with. So it is more workflow to deal with. That being said. That kind of setup is being used by a lot of people who are doing mega projects who need hundreds of active tracks. (film and such) It will take a serious time investment to set things up, but once you’re done, you might actually really enjoy it.

An option that i want to mention is that the new cubase 8 has new features, one being able to disable instrument tracks and also at the same time the ability to render them in place. (i;e. replace the vsti by rendered audio) That is quite impressive and very stable, since this method creates massive more freedom in terms of resources in the main DAW. That being said, f.e. i’m for the moment taking the path back doing everything within cubase itself, since it is only one workflow to handle with, and the time with asio overloads seems to be a thing from the past now, since disabling tracks unloads the entire thing (including the mixer) and thus does not strain the asio driver anymore, even with hundreds of (unloaded ) instrument tracks. So there is no real need to go throug VEP anymore, at least for me. (except i’m still using it since i still need the old templates for live performances,and cubase 8 is still very new and version .0)

But as it seems, the latter is probably now the most conventient in terms of workflow, and isn’t being plagued anymore by rising asio drivers and spikes. And that would give you the opportunity to use the old computer for internet and things you do with computers outside working with the DAW. :slight_smile: Keeping that seperate is always a good idea.

kind regards,

Scalability with Ethernet is about:
a) the capability to add more nodes (devices, computer, or whatever) where and when required, while maintaining an integrated management view
b) being able to increase the bandwidth or redundancy of connections
c) use the same network for multiple systems, while maintaining the bandwidth requirements for each.

These facilities allow a bedroom hobbyist to expand to a small studio, to a multi-room suite, to a major player, without having to start over at any expansion stage. Equipment doesn’t have to be abandoned, but just moves to the periphery, as bigger Ethernet devices take over communication management.

Conceptually, the system does not change, no matter what size it is, or becomes.

Thanks for that clarification on scalability Pat. At least some of that seems to also apply to other methods of using multiple computers…like the capability to add more computers when more resources are needed, being able to expand a bedroom studio, with multi-room capability as well, not abandoning your older computer, but adding it to your set-up.

Hello roel, not meaning as a contest, but just some thoughts…

The BEST choice is what an individual prefers IMO, and the OP already said he prefers not to use a 2nd Cubase. Full Cubase versions (or other DAW software) are expensive yes, but not the lite, used, or free versions. Once used to working with multiple individual DAW machines, it also can become intuitive, and does not need multiple users, though allows this. As with anything, it’s just a matter of getting used to anything after the learning curve.

Syncing separate DAW computers also has similar advantages…

  1. Can also be rock solid if set up properly (but really, any computer can crash)
  2. A full DAW computer can handle older 32 bit or 64 bit VSTi’s as well.
  3. Only full versions of DAW software are expensive…again, lite & older used can be cheap,
  4. Yes, as I’ve heard VEP is very efficient in handling VSTi’s.
  5. One can also expand with other methods to use multiple machines…of course, it’s not already paid for up front.
  6. Using added machine takes away strenuous loads from the main DAW, that’s the point of course.

With separate computers with it’s DAW software, you only really need a stereo sub-feed out of it, and each machine can process whatever it needs locally before sending audio out. Minimal bandwidth, no problems there at all.
Any multiple computer solution I’ve tried has it’s own particular work-flow and creates more work & needs templates. Once used to it, it can be easy.
Also, unlike Ethernet, having separate DAW machines allow it’s user to use only ONE machine at a time much of the time… while say, creating midi tracks on a dedicated VSTi + midi machine, and assigning your VSTi’s…with Ethernet, you have to have both (or more) machines on full time.

Funny thing though, I’ve found that you really can’t fully appreciate any method without actually having tried it. As I’ve said before, I’ve never tried VEP, but have used FX-Max for a while…I’ve since abandoned using it in favor of other methods that fit my needs better than Ethernet …and NOT for reasons that it’s only 32 bit…as everything I have is 32 bit.

But, I’ve also learned that different methods can actually be used together with ‘other’ methods simultaneously…which can be really neat, but adds more work of course.

Ethernet is just an information transport mechanism that things like AoIP, AVB, use, and so it is separate from them. It does not preclude having separate DAW computers at all. That is a function of whatever software/hardware that uses it. For example, that Timepiece could have used Ethernet as the clock transport medium, feeding into clock/whatever extraction hardware at the remote end to feed compatible devices. Now, that would have been more flexible!

I don’t mean to have anything against Ethernet as a means to transport anything. To me, a wire is a wire, a connection is a connection. I’ve done several Ethernet installations in my work for simple networking computing needs, and in my own home networks. Though all of my music machines have anything to do with network, disabled.

Most of the people who have used, or are currently using VEP are very happy with it. I suspect largely in part that they paid good money for it, understandably. With FX-Max, I had downloaded it from it’s grave yard site for free, so I didn’t take any financial hit abandoning it. Had I paid $300-$400 for VEP, I would have stuck with it until I MADE it work, like it or not…even if it meant all new software and all new computers damnit! :laughing:
Likewise, with all my investments in my current method - I have 8 or 9 full-featured audio interfaces alone - I’m not about to abandon that…but ‘for me’ in my own case, I’m liking it better overall, it’s more familiar, works better, it can do more, it’s more reliable, easier to set up, it fits my own work flow, great flexibility, etc. Granted I have accumulated a lot of hardware.

Now if all my audio interfaces in each machine could transport digital audio via an Ethernet cable, I’d be happy…though they all have s/pdif I/O connections which works just fine, I only need a stereo sub-mix out, being each machine does everything needed locally. I also have the capability & flexibility to use 8 channel adat digital audio from each machine, but I’m not using it in favor of simplicity.

Among the most important points for me these days is, never having to transport midi among computers anymore, not when I can record midi directly into a dedicated VSTi machine. As said, it also allows one to just work with just one VSTi machine powered on as long as needed, while building song projects virtually 1st…which is what I do before a single audio track is recorded in another machine.
As far as I know, when using VEP, you have to run both machines full-time while recording all your midi & setting up all your VSTi’s …unless I’m mistaken…? that VEP also allows you to record midi tracks ’ directly within’ the host/slave machine? If not, it should in the future, and while at it, be able to act as a full host DAW software too, to match the flexibility that using separate DAW computers offer…which would be like getting say, Cubase 8, along with 3 licenses to run your networked machines.

Every machine has it’s own install of VEP and every machine has it’s own servers so you don’t need to have them on all the time, and yes all the machines combine the miditracks of all the synths in one cubase project. What is streamed is the audio over LAN, since you only need one audio interface for the entire network.

That being said, if you have references in a cubase project pointing to a machine that is not powered on, you will be noticed about that.
For me it’s not black or white. I think all given arguments here are legitimate. It’s about workflow and availability of resources for your project as you mentioned.

Hi roel, having used FX-Teleport before, I thought I had somewhat of an understanding. And if I’m understanding you correctly, VEP works ‘close’ to as thought…Just like FXT, with VEP you also record all your midi tracks in your Master machine, along with all your audio tracks in your DAW software project (Cubase, Cakewalk etc)…

BUT…you’re saying that VEP (and maybe I had misunderstood how FXT works) does NOT actually send midi between machines at all? Only audio is being sent through the Ethernet? Ok, now I’m a little confused(?)…So what must be happening, is that the midi tracks in say, Cubase/Cakewalk/etc, within the Master machine must be sending the midi into a VEP install there(?), where are all your VSTi’s are installed/set up with in the Master machine, and are assigned to those midi tracks(?) and ‘instead’ of this Master machine doing all the processing and RAM munching etc…and some how magically, the Slave is just doing all the ‘processing only’. If so, I have to then assume that there is a ‘combined latency’ in the round trip out of the Master machine, into the Slave machine, back out into the Master machine…(?)

When you say “servers” though… in this instance you’re calling the VEP software install a ‘server’? Or that once installed it (that machine as a whole) becomes known as a server?

Previously, I had thought of FXT & VEP being the same or similar to each other, and also much like the old audio/midi sound card networking method (DAW farm)…that is, because I had assumed that midi was being transported from machine to machine.

As I’ve read many times over at the GearSlutz forum, people have talked about the high latencies that VEP has, and that was one of the draw backs. As I recall from a ways back, FXT had similar latencies to audio/midi sound card networking…minimal but perceivable. With synchronization of transports among DAW machines, latency is not as perceivable …that is unless playing say, an exact same audio file on BOTH machines…which then you’ll hear a ‘flange’ effect between the two simultaneously played files (though still, it ‘sounds’ in time, ie’ can’t really distinguish beats being out of time per say), but the flange effect can be remedied by carefully nudging the audio…so say, I’m sending a stereo audio sub-mix of all VSTi’s from a dedicated VSTi machine (where all the midi tracks have also been recorded into) I then record the VSTi’s ‘mix’ into a stereo audio track in my DAW software in the Master machine…Now, only if playing ‘both’ audio files on each machine (which would never happen) would that flange effect be heard, and even without nudging, cannot perceive any actual latency…but simply knowing there must be some latency there, because of having compared the two exact audio files where you hear a flange effect…that stereo audio file can be slightly nudged, and aligned to the grid. THEN you have a perfect match of timing. I’ll point out that, when sending audio from a dedicated VSTi machine, into your Master machine, any latency is a ‘one-way’ trip…that is why there is less latency than doing round-trips.

Now, I can ASSUME that with the audio being sent from the VEP Slave machine, into the Master DAW machine, that audio can ALSO be nudged to compensate for any latency…which I have to guess is inherently MORE latency than with a sample accurate sync method to begin with…which makes nudging the audio an absolute necessity with VEP…or in either/any case of any given method, some kind of ‘compensation’ setting can be used.

The primary draw backs of any given sample accurate machine sync method I hear over & over are that…

  1. You need to have an audio interface in each machine
    2 You need some kind of DAW software host in each machine
    The main issue being more of an expense, though can be if you let it, neither have to be all that costly at all, especially if buying older/used.

Expenses and complication of initial set ups aside in either case, once you’re ready to roll, it’s all down to your preferred method of working. Although I’ve done some standard types of Ethernet networking set ups, I found setting up FX-Teleport much more complicated than any type of standard home network. Even once I got it working, I had a LOT of strangeness that I just could not overcome…not to mention finding more limited (and problematic) than even audio/midi sound card networking.