Author Topic: Performing Live, Playback, Sync  (Read 2769 times)

clearskys

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Performing Live, Playback, Sync
« on: January 06, 2016, 03:28:40 am »
By now, I feel fairly confident in saying that a 2 deck system going to front of house is the most basic form of live performance one can achieve. Whether this is handled well by FOH staff is another question entirely, but it got me thinking how to truly perform live...not across one machine, but across multiple machines, MAYBE even multiple machines running different DAWs. This would harness the computational power of more than one device, and enable you to play out entire project files live without too many problems (theoretically).

In the past, musicians had to rely on more primitive technology, and I remember an early FutureMusic mau5 interview in which sample accuracy and minimal latency were clearly a problem. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=GTCqeWu094I&t=728)

"There is too much jitter, MidiTimeCode seems to be stable somehow. Except, Live cannot send MTC (but receive), so you have to run a program or an external device, that provides MTC. Only, but minor, problem is, MTC doesn't not include tempo information, so you have to setup the tempo on the´╗┐ different machines and then start. That is also possible in between, e.g. you change the tempo in the course of a song, we tested it and happened to be successful."

To have the data be super tight and sample accurate across multiple devices would require a hardware solution, which got me curious as to how to solve this problem in my own DAW without going and purchasing an AVID Sync I/O (or similar) that would be reliant on SMPTE streams.

Being an Ableton user, this got me thinking that there's a M4L device that seriously needs to be made. Simply put, a plug-in that converts SMPTE to MTC (which is more sample accurate) out in Live. Live only takes MTC in, and if you want to send MTC out, you need to Rewire and slave with another DAW. I think it would be something cool, and something super useful for people so they don't have to a) rely on midi clock and b) worry that their devices arent SMPTE compatible.

That being said, in a hardware solution, SMPTE gets converted into MTC when it goes down a MIDI cable. The aforementiond M4L device would keep everything in house and reduce costs for everyone wanting to communicate with another DAW, external device, etc. (via Ethernet or otherwise).

Upon further consideration, to do it as software would require a plug to read and write the actual linear time code from a hardware emulation, so unless your coding is pristine you will have latency issues. At this point, I was lost, so I consulted Steve Duda for answers. Here is what he had to say: http://imgur.com/a/LvNuC

Long story short - we knew SMPTE wasn't sample accurate (still, MTC > SMPTE) , and without resorting to an ITB solution, you can branch out either to external hardware solutions, or use ReWire (or a similar API).

Any additional thoughts are much appreciated!
« Last Edit: January 06, 2016, 05:42:51 am by clearskys »
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atris

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Re: Performing Live, Playback, Sync
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2016, 06:01:38 am »
If I understand what you're talking about correctly, Live link should do exactly that!
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clearskys

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Re: Performing Live, Playback, Sync
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2016, 06:09:44 am »
If I understand what you're talking about correctly, Live link should do exactly that!

Kinda. I'm talking about data sync on a larger scale that won't require a networked solution. Link is a step in a similar direction, but we shall see once it's out how sample accurate it is.

I was more interested in a software solution that's ITB that just converts SMPTE to MTC out initially. That's obviously inferior to ReWire as of today, but some cards still use this technology. I feel like once this technology takes advantage of near field cloud computing, we'll have streams of data between machines and DAWs that are sample accurate with almost no latency. Maybe. LOL.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2016, 06:11:23 am by clearskys »
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atris

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Re: Performing Live, Playback, Sync
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2016, 06:15:29 am »
I'm gonna be 100% honest, sample syncing and stuff goes way over my head and I have yet to figure it out, I'm sure I will one day but at the moment, it confuses the heck out of me. If it's not too much trouble for you, some links to tutorials would be greatly appreciated.
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wayfinder

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Re: Performing Live, Playback, Sync
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2016, 02:13:47 pm »
I was in a laptop jam with 8 others and we successfully synced our outboard gear and Live instances across half a dozen different computers with different versions of Live on different operating systems using ipMIDI: http://www.nerds.de/en/download.html

clearskys

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Re: Performing Live, Playback, Sync
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2016, 02:18:09 pm »
I was in a laptop jam with 8 others and we successfully synced our outboard gear and Live instances across half a dozen different computers with different versions of Live on different operating systems using ipMIDI: http://www.nerds.de/en/download.html

Holy shit, this looks really promising. Thank you for linking this!

I'm gonna be 100% honest, sample syncing and stuff goes way over my head and I have yet to figure it out, I'm sure I will one day but at the moment, it confuses the heck out of me. If it's not too much trouble for you, some links to tutorials would be greatly appreciated.

No problem, have a look at these two videos - they're great starters:

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG9jemV1T7I
2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIQ9IXSUzuM
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clearskys

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Re: Performing Live, Playback, Sync
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2016, 06:26:12 pm »
I'm gonna be 100% honest, sample syncing and stuff goes way over my head and I have yet to figure it out, I'm sure I will one day but at the moment, it confuses the heck out of me. If it's not too much trouble for you, some links to tutorials would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, and atris, this might interest you as well: http://www.presonus.com/news/articles/sample-rate-and-bit-depth. Good info. :)
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