Old 11-29-2015, 06:34 AM   #1
teledork
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Default Reaper as a live mixer?

I'm thinking of trying to do a live mixing rig by way of laptop this next year. Grab something along the lines of a TASCAM 1608 interface and run it into a laptop with Reaper and use that to generate my mixes.

Anyone do this already? Any details I need to keep in mind before I start putting stuff together?
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:28 AM   #2
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Some people do it but I'm paranoid about using a computer for anything critical in a live performance unless you have a backup ready to plug-in and go.

It also helps if you have a dedicated computer (and a backup) that you don't use for anything else so it doesn't get messed with. And... If you do a show every night it's not too bad if you have a computer glitch once or twice a year. But, if you are doing only a few shows you don't want to blow one...

How often do you have a computer problem? A mixer of guitar amp can go for years without a show-stopping problem.
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:30 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVDdoug View Post
Some people do it but I'm paranoid about using a computer for anything critical in a live performance unless you have a backup ready to plug-in and go.

It also helps if you have a dedicated computer (and a backup) that you don't use for anything else so it doesn't get messed with. And... If you do a show every night it's not too bad if you have a computer glitch once or twice a year. But, if you are doing only a few shows you don't want to blow one...

How often do you have a computer problem? A mixer of guitar amp can go for years without a show-stopping problem.
Truthfully any decent production you've gone to in the past 5 years has probably been ran by a computer.

And op, read this

http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=169274

Been using reaper live for years now.
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Old 11-29-2015, 09:19 AM   #4
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I've been using Reaper to mix FOH for over 6 years now. All happiness and light. I wouldn't consider going back to the old-school analog or digital boards.

Reaper stability in OSX is unmatched.

I make the system record all my inputs (and all post fx tracks) to multitrack while mixing live. Never had a single issue. Not so much as a chirp or click and I record everything.

It just works.


You WILL however find buggy plugins out there!

Test your system thoroughly at home before going out in front of an audience!
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Old 11-29-2015, 09:38 AM   #5
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Isn't there an issue with latency?
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Old 11-29-2015, 09:44 AM   #6
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Isn't there an issue with latency?
I have plenty of headroom to dial up plenty of plugins and keep an 11ms total system latency time. So... no problem at all.

I run my system right at 11ms because... why not?

The game is: The block size for stable operation needs to be low enough for 11ms or less total system latency (analog > ADC > interface to computer > Reaper > computer to interface > DAC > analog out) which is the threshold for perception of a lag.

You'll see posts around here from people claiming they can hear 11ms and that it needs to be less. What's really going on is people misinterpret the latency reported by Reaper on top of the screen as their total system latency. Again, this is only the Reaper added component reported here. What they're really hearing is more like 30ms or so of latency for their whole system which is VERY perceivable.

Here are a couple threads with some more blathering about this stuff:
http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=165352
http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=164383
http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=169034
http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=169274
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Old 11-29-2015, 11:36 AM   #7
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SERR is the master on this subject, but I'll add my $.02. I think this is the wave of the future...especially for garage/bar bands. Think about it...a cheap single rackspace interface and a laptop. Add some powered speakers and you have a live recording rig/PA with tons of effects for not much money or space.

That said, I would be a little leery of the TASCAM. I've got the earlier version, and I love it, but I'm not sure if the drivers would the very low latency you'll need. I'm probably wrong. However, the 1608 finally has some onboard DSP. You could use REAPER to record and use the TASCAM software and onboard DSP to do decent mixes for live sound. You could make it work. Especially if you keep it minimal. Like setting up a single reverb and delay for FX and keep the individual tracks just to stock EQ and Compression plugins.

Another option would be the Behringer Air series. A rackmount box that lives on stage and you control it with a tablet...or a laptop. It uses onboard DSP for FX like available for the TASCAM.
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Old 11-29-2015, 03:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVDdoug View Post
Some people do it but I'm paranoid about using a computer for anything critical in a live performance unless you have a backup ready to plug-in and go.
I am using Reaper in a "Trunk" PC without monitor, mouse or PC-Keyboard for Live playing VSTs with a masterkeyboard in the studio and on stage.

No problems yet

-Michael
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Old 11-29-2015, 03:25 PM   #9
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You have dedicated software for this.

http://www.softwareaudioconsole.com/
http://ampmix.net/


For live reaper, being DAW, should have a feature called Sends to faders. That would make it ideal to use it live with hardware controllers.


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Old 11-29-2015, 04:50 PM   #10
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Into the fourth or fifth year now, and I LOVE it! http://pipelineaudio.net/reaper-live/
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Old 11-29-2015, 04:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Some people do it but I'm paranoid about using a computer for anything critical in a live performance unless you have a backup ready to plug-in and go.
i'd trust one of my computers with REAPER over even the most punctual bandmate anyday
plus REAPER will never swoop in on your babes
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Old 11-29-2015, 05:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
I have plenty of headroom to dial up plenty of plugins and keep an 11ms total system latency time. So... no problem at all.

I run my system right at 11ms because... why not?

The game is: The block size for stable operation needs to be low enough for 11ms or less total system latency (analog > ADC > interface to computer > Reaper > computer to interface > DAC > analog out) which is the threshold for perception of a lag.

You'll see posts around here from people claiming they can hear 11ms and that it needs to be less. What's really going on is people misinterpret the latency reported by Reaper on top of the screen as their total system latency. Again, this is only the Reaper added component reported here. What they're really hearing is more like 30ms or so of latency for their whole system which is VERY perceivable.

Here are a couple threads with some more blathering about this stuff:
http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=165352
http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=164383
http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=169034
http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=169274
If the musician is wearing headphones, 11ms of computer system latency can be undetectable but when they're listening on stage monitors, every foot they are from the speakers is an extra ms of latency so they don't have to be far away before they get into detectable territory.
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Old 11-29-2015, 09:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stews View Post
If the musician is wearing headphones, 11ms of computer system latency can be undetectable but when they're listening on stage monitors, every foot they are from the speakers is an extra ms of latency so they don't have to be far away before they get into detectable territory.
I suppose that's why I run the monitors with the integrated digital mixers in the MOTU interfaces. That leg of the journey is around 3ms. (Sorry, didn't mean to omit that detail!)


There are a number of ways to configure a system. This gives me the biggest bang for the buck with the gear I have. If I had to suddenly run a system that didn't include the Cuemix mixers, I could go with ReaEQ and ReaComp on every channel and run with half the latency. Currently the system lets me use the SSL channel strips on every channel. May as well...

I also had the serendipitous experience of only using firewire interfaces this whole time. I started buying them before anyone made a USB option. (They were insanely cheap compared to the proprietary Digidesign interfaces that were the only other option at the time. We were all excited.) So... I simply missed out on the experience of crashy USB boxes that also turn out to have double the latency (the hardware itself) of the firewire boxes.

I also have redundancy in the rig for piece of mind. Two MOTU 828mk3's. Just one will still let me get 26 channels of inputs and 5 monitor mixes. I bring my laptop along as a backup (it can run a full show even if it's a little bit punishing for the old C2D). The Macbook Pro has 2 SSD's each with identical systems, the Mac Pro has 3. Haven't had to use any disaster plans at a show yet though (knock knock knock).

Reaper basically turned into the Swiss knife of audio apps. Studio work, live sound, personal guitar rig... everything just works and it's easy to use. The bottom line is Reaper saved me a boatload of money. I used to have to keep 3 systems - studio, live, & remote recording. They all morphed together with Reaper and everything was an upgrade. The upgrade for live sound over the mid sized Midas, A&H, and Soundcraft boards was nothing less than night and day stunning!

I do have to say that after reading a lot of posts around here that I'll never consider a USB interface for anything! The upgrade path to the next generation is thunderbolt when that comes around. And of course it goes without saying that I'd never consider using Windows in any situation that involves audio, an audience, or a client! But... I know there is at least one fellow on the forum that runs live sound with Reaper using Windows so it looks possible if you put in the time and testing and get just the right hardware.

The biggest challenge in my rig is self induced by my going with the wireless control surface. I'll get some wi-fi competition every now and then. Helps to have dual systems for that in those cases.

Last edited by serr; 11-29-2015 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 11-30-2015, 05:28 AM   #14
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This use-case was the thing that put me onto reaper.

This was years ago and I had a 1.3ghz laptop and none of the other programs I tried could even think about doing it without choking.

Back then I was recording 16 tracks which were duplicated and then I mixed the show live with the other 16 copies. Worked a charm

Course these days that's nothing special, but back then it was like magic!
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Old 11-30-2015, 05:38 AM   #15
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no reason why not.

modern digital consoles are essentially a computer, just a dedicated computer with with minal latency.

the xm32 digital console which is pretty popular has ain input to output latency off around 1ms unless yo insert some of the nice plugins.

some plugins dont report there latency correctly, some plugins do add latency . If you look at live professor which is designed for running plugins live with a digital mixer, it will show you the extra samples a plugin can add.

Fab filters Pro Multiband polugin adds 960 samples (20ms) so pretty useless live.

Live engineers use waves plugins with waves multirack or waves soundgrid.
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Old 12-16-2015, 06:57 PM   #16
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Guys, thanks so much for the replies. I figured it could be done, but I'm so new to the idea of it that I wanted to get some input from those that have done it. I imagine I'll take the opportunity to grab a new laptop and research interfaces after the first of the year for this purpose. We have a fairly non-intensive setup....two guitarists that sing plus three lady singers. I record drums, bass, keys and whatever other tracks we need for each song and play them on a tablet live. I'm guessing we could should have no trouble doing our thing in Reaper live.

I'll likely pester some of you further the closer I get to pulling monetary triggers. Consider yourself warned.
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Old 12-17-2015, 04:48 AM   #17
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I recorded and mixed live - This :-

https://youtu.be/hzPcdCixdUs

using a 2011 macbook pro, Mackie Blackbird firewire interface.

I used Cockos Compressor and Eq on all the tracks (nice and lightweight) and recorded at 48khz to get a little decrease in latency.

The interface was running at 3ms (48 samples If i remember rightly) and I was recording to the main hard drive of the laptop as .wav

Keep the plugins light, you really don't need much for live stuff if you're using decent live mics etc (shure sm58s etc)
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