Old 05-12-2016, 01:47 PM   #1
Achib
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Default REAPER live band rig

Hey guys, I've got a complicated question requiring a complicated answer.

I'm currently in a jazz fusion band and using Reaper for all kinds of stuff.
For now I'm sending a metronome track to the drummer, playing keyboards, synths and playing back some horn parts that I arranged, but there's bound to be more.

The band consists of a drummer, guitarist, bassist, and myself.

I'm thinking about running the whole band through an interface so I can do some live looping of the guitar and at the same time placing effects on any element at a given time (particularly the kick and snare to get some more electronic beats at certain points).
I might use Amplitube to allow for different guitar or bass sounds in different songs but I'm also thinking about routing them through a dedicated output to an amp. Not sure about this, though....keeping the amp virtual or just using inserts before the actual miked amp on stage?
I would like to keep most of the live mix inside Reaper if possible.

If anyone has any experience with this kind of setup or has some ideas, suggestions or caveats, please join in the discussion.

Primarily, I'd like to know which particular interface would you recommend (no firewire), what kind of looper plugin could i use (I tried Mobius so far), and what do you think a live gig setup would look like.
Any piece of equipment that I might need, or problems i might run into?

Any suggestion is welcome.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-12-2016, 02:18 PM   #2
hamish
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I haven't done stuff as complicated as that, but I have used my Fireface UFX (over USB) to live mix vocals, drum mikes, bass and guitars including my own guitar using live FX.

The Fireface has 8 analogue outs, so run vocals acooustic guitar and drums to a stereo out and then to the PA, and electric guitar and bass take seperate mono channels out (with master send off obviously) to their amps.

That was pushing my brain to the limit in a live setting where I'm also playing guitar. Lucky it was a super relaxed small gig.

Anyway, I'm sure there are other interfaces that would serve you well but FireFace UFX I love for it's power and small size.

Worst difficulty I had was I'm using a laptop with no control surface, trying to set levels using a trackpad mouse. I'm looking at a quality trackball or small control surface for this type of setup.
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Old 05-12-2016, 02:19 PM   #3
serr
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I use Reaper to run live sound. I also have a performance rig for guitar that includes looping with Mobius and recording the rest of the band as well as handling the live sound. Might not be as complex as what you need with backing tracks and all that. I'm pro with the live sound and studio. Not so much with the performance thing.

Reaper is definitely the DAW you want to use for this for stability and flexibility. I wouldn't consider anything else but Reaper and OSX for live sound or literally any other audio job at this point. I'm beyond happy with Reaper. Since the focus of your rig is live sound which means running at low latency, you ideally want a firewire or thunderbolt interface. For both stability and lower latency at the hardware level so you have headroom to load up on plugins. You mentioned no firewire so, go with thunderbolt then. (I'm told the TB to firewire adapters "just work" FWIW.)

I've had very good performance with a combination of MOTU (for the interface and digital routing) and Apogee (for the converters). RME always gets glowing reviews. UA makes a classy unit. Focusrite gets a lot of bad reviews... They and Presonus are the budget models. Probably not a good choice for live sound in front of a live audience.
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Old 05-12-2016, 02:19 PM   #4
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I very happily use Reaper as a "VST Player" for playing piano sounds and solo Flute with two masterkeyboards and a TEC BBC (for rehearsal and on stage).

I use an NI Audio 6 interface for Midi in and Audio out.

I once tried to run an electric Guitar directly in the Audio6 and then through NI GuitarRig and mix in the Audio with Reaper.

Worked nicely.
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:02 PM   #5
Achib
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
I use Reaper to run live sound. I also have a performance rig for guitar that includes looping with Mobius and recording the rest of the band as well as handling the live sound. Might not be as complex as what you need with backing tracks and all that. I'm pro with the live sound and studio. Not so much with the performance thing.

Reaper is definitely the DAW you want to use for this for stability and flexibility. I wouldn't consider anything else but Reaper and OSX for live sound or literally any other audio job at this point. I'm beyond happy with Reaper. Since the focus of your rig is live sound which means running at low latency, you ideally want a firewire or thunderbolt interface. For both stability and lower latency at the hardware level so you have headroom to load up on plugins. You mentioned no firewire so, go with thunderbolt then. (I'm told the TB to firewire adapters "just work" FWIW.)

I've had very good performance with a combination of MOTU (for the interface and digital routing) and Apogee (for the converters). RME always gets glowing reviews. UA makes a classy unit. Focusrite gets a lot of bad reviews... They and Presonus are the budget models. Probably not a good choice for live sound in front of a live audience.
I don't think I can connect to firewire or thunderbolt.
I have a Toshiba laptop with only USB 3.0/2.0 and HDMI.
If there's some way of connecting this, I'm not aware of it.
USB 3.0 shouldn't be so bad?
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:21 PM   #6
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Have you a got a PCMCIA slot? The this?:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/CDL-Micro-F.../dp/B000OQA8AC

But Firewire devices can be picky so read up on compatibility first. I have no experience of USB 3 but it may be fine....
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Old 05-12-2016, 05:55 PM   #7
Gil Navarro
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I've been mixing live audio primarily "in the box" for seven or so years now. Everything from small bars to large stages. There's a lot to say about it but to keep it short, I'll just make a couple of points.
1. At 48k I never use a buffer setting larger than 64. If you have people on IEMs I'd shoot for 32 but 64 can work. In order to accomplish this you need an interface with solid proven drivers. RME and MOTU are at the top of my list. You obviously need a computer that's up to the task as well. With Windows there is a lot of OS tweaking to be done (stopping services).

2. I prefer software that's designed for live latency. I used Software Audio Console for at least 500 shows but now when I'm in the box I'm using AMP. I like to be able to quickly see what my comps and gates are doing without having to open a plugin gui. Reaper can't do that.

I'm not reaper bashing. I do all my live tracking with it because it's the most efficient DAW I've used. It's never crashed on me while tracking. For me, using Reaper as a live console is too clumsy.
Oh, another thing, when mixing live, only use zero latency plugins.
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Old 05-12-2016, 05:59 PM   #8
Gil Navarro
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For three years I was using a M-Audio Profire Lightbridge. It's FireWire and they can be found used very cheap. The latest generation drivers are great. I was running at 64 buffers.
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Old 05-13-2016, 05:37 AM   #9
Achib
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Guys, I don't have a firewire port, or a PCIMCIA

I'm wondering what the big deal is, as my current fast track pro USB 2.0 interface gets a 64 sample buffer which to me seems quite enough.
Am I missing something here?

My Win 7 x64 is fully optimized for audio and works stable and smooth.

What about these AVB interfaces that connect through the Ethernet port?

I was looking at that MOTU 8M. looks like it's awesome but costs an arm and a leg.

Good thing the whole band might chip in...
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Old 05-13-2016, 06:29 AM   #10
martifingers
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The 2 input (?) fast track may well work great but quadruple the number of channels and your system may well get stressed. I don't have any experience with AVB or MOTU but agree they look great and I am sure other wiser heads will advise.

Incidentally I have switched to an SSD and happily get 8 simultaneous channels recording on a quite modest Dell laptop.
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Old 05-13-2016, 06:37 AM   #11
serr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achib View Post
I don't think I can connect to firewire or thunderbolt.
I have a Toshiba laptop with only USB 3.0/2.0 and HDMI.
If there's some way of connecting this, I'm not aware of it.
USB 3.0 shouldn't be so bad?
You might want to consider a more pro computer for such a gig. Live sound mixing + recording + click tracks and backing tracks is not trivial. I'd honestly invest not only in a better machine but also a 2nd backup machine that at least runs the minimum setup.

I go out with my Mac Pro and then a laptop for a backup machine. The Pro has 2 SSD's with redundant systems. Just 1 SSD in the laptop so the 2nd system is on a HDD. Might have to pause the recording if I ended up running with that. Pretty sure 3 SSD'd aren't all going to die in one night though. I've actually never had a drive go down or any kind of crash or problem at a gig whatsoever. It's just good piece of mind insurance for a gig with an audience watching you where IF something goes wrong, your system now has the specs of a brick.

FYI: You can't really describe your system latency by the block size you set. The block size number isn't the target. It's a system of hardware and software. Your target is a round trip latency of 11ms or less for the system at whatever block size needed to get there. As mentioned for in-ear monitors, you might want that latency down to around 5ms. If you have a hardware interface that can let you achieve a 11ms or lower latency with a 128 sample block size, you will have a LOT more headroom for plugins than if you need to go to a 64 sample block size just to get workable latency.

The budget USB interfaces that are even capable of lower latency are going to require a 64 sample block size just to even be usable. And then you add the USB management to your processor load at the same time. Not a good idea for a live sound system.

PS. I use the Cuemix digital mixer in the MOTU interfaces for my in-ear mixes. The integrated digital monitor mixers included in modern audio interfaces are getting pretty evolved. You could actually run FOH on one if you had to. People are doing just that with those Midas/Behringer units and the newer batch of interfaces from MOTU. But of course you'd rather run Reaper for FOH.

Last edited by serr; 05-13-2016 at 06:44 AM.
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Old 05-13-2016, 06:58 AM   #12
Gil Navarro
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I have one of the new MOTU AVB units. You're right, they aren't cheap, but I think they are a fantastic value. Off the charts routing and expansion ability. The newest drivers even support Thunderbolt for PC.
Edit:
And like Serr said, the included zero latency mixer is pretty useful. Comps, gates, eq, and even a verb. Would work great for a monitor rig, freeing your computer of horsepower that you can dedicate for FOH and tracking.
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Old 05-13-2016, 08:01 AM   #13
serr
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Consider the used market for gear too. The newest generation computers with thunderbolt 2, quad i7, etc, etc and the fancy new thunderbolt interfaces from UA, RME, and the like all looks like great stuff. And you might just be able to justify that purchase considering your goal for the rig. It's certainly gear that would last you 20 years.

But there are very powerful machines from the last 7 or 8 years and pro firewire interfaces that deliver a lot. Worth considering if you are on a budget (or even if you aren't). My computers are circa 2009 (except new gen SSD's) and my firewire interfaces are a few years older than that. There hasn't been any new stuff that would give me anything but an expensive sideways move right now. (I actually miss drooling over the new Macs every 6 months. Someone needs to make something that makes me think my current stuff is too old!)
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Old 05-15-2016, 11:15 AM   #14
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I've been running PC live rigs as a keyboardist with vocals and guitar fx since 2007 using Brainspawn Forte. Its a specialized program for live. Nothing like it on the mac. It doesnt immediately look like it can mix with many live inputs and fx but it actually does it really well and stably.

Cantabile has recently released a new version that comes close to Forte. These are the only 2 for keyboardists, apart from mainstage on the mac, which is currently nothing on either.

My interfaces in the past were Fireface, M-audio fire 410. Currently MOTU traveller for main rig and a Roland DuoCapture ex for jams (keys and 1 vocal only. Fireface is in the studio now.

I'd also advise against USB for so many i/o. Given you have USB 3 I'd assume you would be way past PCMCIA but maybe have pciExpress 34 or 56. My current lappy runs really well, its a Lenovo T540p and has i7 4790, 16GB ram, 3xSSD internal with pci express firewire card, windows 10 pro 64bit. Otherwise the Fireface UX is the best USB alternative if you must go USB.

Reaper will be something to look at for live with the SWS performance stuff but its still clumsy compared to Forte or Cantabile or AMP, SAC.
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