Old 08-15-2017, 01:08 AM   #1
BlackScreen
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Default REAPER for live mixing?

Hey there,

I have read about using REAPER as a live mixing console.
I would like to try just that. I have an upcoming musical production with about 32 channels inputs.
Would my MacBook Pro from 2012 be able to handle this with 64 samples?
I am using my RME HDSPe MADI in the Sonnet Echo Express SE I.
What would I need to do to optimize my MacBook to use in live conditions?

Could I use my Yamaha 01V96 as a controller for REAPER?
I have read that it is not easy to use the 01V96 - is it at all possible?

Thank you very much for your answers!

Kind regards
Florian
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Old 08-15-2017, 09:20 AM   #2
mschnell
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Why exactly don't you want to use the mixer itself ?

-Michael
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Old 08-15-2017, 12:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mschnell View Post
Why exactly don't you want to use the mixer itself ?
Because REAPER gives me the opportunity to use plugins that I would like to use.
The mixer itself is good, but I would like to use the plugins that I use normally in post in a live environment.
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Old 08-15-2017, 01:41 PM   #4
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So I suppose you want to use the mixer as well as an A/D D/A interface as as a control surface for Reaper.

Hence you not only need to configure Reaper appropriately, but also also set the mixer in a "local mute" mode.

BTW.: I suppose the "control" connection between Reaper and such a control surface should be done via OSC (rather than Midi).

-Michael

Last edited by mschnell; 08-15-2017 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 08-15-2017, 03:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackScreen View Post
Hey there,

I have read about using REAPER as a live mixing console.
I would like to try just that. I have an upcoming musical production with about 32 channels inputs.
Would my MacBook Pro from 2012 be able to handle this with 64 samples?
I am using my RME HDSPe MADI in the Sonnet Echo Express SE I.
What would I need to do to optimize my MacBook to use in live conditions?

Could I use my Yamaha 01V96 as a controller for REAPER?
I have read that it is not easy to use the 01V96 - is it at all possible?

Thank you very much for your answers!

Kind regards
Florian
My question would be can you achieve < 11ms round trip latency at a block size of 128 samples? If you can do that with that interface you're golden. If you have to lower the block size to 64 samples to achieve 11ms or less, you might be pushing it for how much CPU headroom is left for plugins.

Put a SSD in that machine if you haven't already.

For an example, I can run 36 channels of input with my now older late 2008 C2D MBP and the MOTU interfaces I use let me get under 11ms with a 128 sample block size. It just works. I can put SSL channel strip plugins on every track and I have a few verbs and delays up too. And I can record the raw multitrack while mixing. Even the lower end mid 2012 MBP with a SSD should run circles around that. The mid 2012 MBP is still currently the flagship MBP model.

Not sure about using the Yamaha for a control surface. I think so?
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Old 08-15-2017, 10:43 PM   #6
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I tried that for 2 years now with my acappella band. Used a x32 with 8 Inputs, internal EQ and compression and sent the signals pre fader to my laptop. For the faders I used my x32 as OSC controller but also gave MIDI a try.
It worked ok but never the way I wanted (ok, I had a very tricky setup with one project prr Song, many FX returns and so on).
I now switched to Bitwig for this purpose and cut the faderremote since this has always caused troubles or was very time consuming while programming the songs. If you don't use many scenes (I did that with markers and automations I jumped to) and dont want complicated things with fx modifiers and so on, it could work. If you wanna do fancy FX stuff, using many different settings (I had up to 200 for a show), I would recommend thinking about something different since Reaper isn't made for live use and probably never will be.
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Old 08-16-2017, 12:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
My question would be can you achieve < 11ms round trip latency at a block size of 128 samples? If you can do that with that interface you're golden. If you have to lower the block size to 64 samples to achieve 11ms or less, you might be pushing it for how much CPU headroom is left for plugins.
I will test the round trip latency thorougly before the production, of course.
I am aiming for 64 or 128 samples. I am not planning on using too much plugins with big latency - simple EQ and Comp probably and 2-4 FX channels with reverb, delay or something like that.
I have the mid 2012 MBP with a SSD, so this should probably work well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gass n Klang View Post
I tried that for 2 years now with my acappella band. Used a x32 with 8 Inputs, internal EQ and compression and sent the signals pre fader to my laptop. For the faders I used my x32 as OSC controller but also gave MIDI a try.
Thank you for your experience. I am not planning on using any snapshots. One snapshot (or REAPER project if you will) with all settings for the whole show.
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Old 08-16-2017, 06:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gass n Klang View Post
Reaper isn't made for live use and probably never will be.
Maybe reaper is not made for "Live Mixing". But I do use it as a VST host for live playing in a rather complex setup with two master keyboards, a Breath controller, and some 50 switcheable patches, including stuff like global transposing etc.

IMHO Reaper is just the perfect tool for this.

A key feature for the patches (aka snapshots, projects, ...) for live usage is SWS LiveConfigs.

-Michael

Last edited by mschnell; 08-16-2017 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 08-16-2017, 07:45 AM   #9
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Yes Michael, for that kind of use it's perfect I think. Sorry I was vague about that.
Reaper in general is great because of its great performance. For live mixing there are many things missing for me.

In your case: For just one set without any automation, snapshot/scene use (= as vst host inluding sends and faders/panning) it should be perfect. Depending on the plugins you wanna use, 32channels at 64 samples could be very difficult I think.
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:20 AM   #10
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There are a few here who exclusively use it for fairly complex live mixing FWIW as in Reaper being the PA, amp sims, monitors, and live show recorder etc. Serr and Aschat come to mind. Looks like Serr has already chimed in though. It's not something I care to do but for quite a few it seems fine.
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackScreen View Post
I will test the round trip latency thorougly before the production, of course.
I am aiming for 64 or 128 samples. I am not planning on using too much plugins with big latency - simple EQ and Comp probably and 2-4 FX channels with reverb, delay or something like that.
I have the mid 2012 MBP with a SSD, so this should probably work well.
My comment would be to NOT entertain the idea that an interface that requires a 64 sample block size to achieve < 11ms round trip latency would be an OK aim.

If live use is going to be the thing, you don't want to start with the system pushed to the top of its headroom just for normal operation. If you can get 11ms latency with a 128 sample block size, you'll have headroom for anything and everything that may ever come up and you'll be bringing home full multitrack recordings from every show to boot.

Now that RME unit is almost certainly in the club. Measure it to be sure though.
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Old 08-16-2017, 10:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
There are a few here who exclusively use it for fairly complex live mixing FWIW as in Reaper being the PA, amp sims, monitors, and live show recorder etc. Serr and Aschat come to mind. Looks like Serr has already chimed in though. It's not something I care to do but for quite a few it seems fine.
I do use Reaper for live mixes, and it works fine (would work better if I actually set up a hardware controller) but I don't do much of that fancy scene switching stuff. My bands haven't needed it, and when I'm mixing other people it's not much more than a mixer with some EQ and compression.

I think things start to get awkward fast if you want to have everything change for every song with different backing tracks and FX chains and tempo changes, but want to be able to jump between them on the fly.

Honestly, i think the only way to know if your system will be able to keep up is to try it. Set it up with all the tracks and plugs and routing that you think you're going to need, and then let it run. Ideally you'd actually have some signal input to all the different inputs at once. Then watch the Performance Meter and listen for crackles and glitches.
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Old 08-16-2017, 11:00 AM   #13
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Yeah, I don't do high falootin stuff with scene changes, running lights from MIDI triggers, replacing drums live with MIDI triggering, or any of the karaoke stuff with backing tracks.

I just use it as a basic mixing board that magically lets me bring home multitrack of every show. That is getting few and far between nowadays as I'm pretty burnt on live sound work. But Reaper as FOH definitely made things easier and more powerful for me and I wouldn't think of using anything else for a quick small or medium sized gig.

You really need to set up at home and shake the system down when doing this. Again, don't start with an interface that you need to push the system block size down to 64 samples to even use if live sound is your goal. Rehearse setting up. Rehearse disaster scenarios for different pieces of gear going down.

I'm not going to lie. An analog mixing board is inherently intuitive. The controls are right there under your fingers. Complex things like computers that would immediately turn into a paper weight if something went wrong can put you off. But the payoff for the extended abilities can be worth it.
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Old 08-16-2017, 11:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
as I'm pretty burnt on live sound work.
Welcome to the club though I've been out of it for 15 years now and still don't miss it. Loved it for a long time though but it eventually just got old. The problem I had was I had so many bands I mixed exclusively for so long, it took me close to year to fully get out of it because they kept calling and raising the offer. I was very lucky though as I didn't need to own, setup or carry PA, the bands hired the sound company then had me come in and mix.
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Old 08-16-2017, 11:36 AM   #15
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I think things start to get awkward fast if you want to have everything change for every song with different backing tracks and FX chains and tempo changes, but want to be able to jump between them on the fly.
I do exactly that and I find REAPER to be very good at the job especially with the help of custom scripts. Its performance and flexibility for live use are the main reason why I chose it over other DAWs.

Last edited by cfillion; 08-16-2017 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 08-18-2017, 02:35 PM   #16
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Just a quick update from my side, as I was testing the whole day:
I got 35 (I did not need more, but probably could have gotten more to work) tracks with EQ (Q10 from Waves) and comp (C1 from Waves) to work. I have inserts in the main speaker and monitor speakers - I inserted X-FDBK from Waves there.
Everything works as I intended it. No pops and crackles. Latency also not an issue. I tried with 128 samples buffer size.
I saw that the "allow live fx" option in the buffering preferences is key to get it to work. I had the "anticipate FX" option still turned on - seemed to work fine. Any experience here? Only use live fx?
Thanks for your help!
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:43 PM   #17
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I can't imagine why you would use the Waves crap over ReaComp and ReaEQ. Seems the ReaPlugs almost have to be more efficient. If it's working, though....
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Old 08-19-2017, 12:22 AM   #18
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I also think that the basic REA... plugins technically do the best job possible. 3rd party plugins only make sense for their dedicated sound "coloring" or special functions, or dedicated user-interfaces features some might like.

-Michael
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