Old 08-25-2011, 09:04 PM   #1
Tycho
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Default Reaper for live use: Tabs?

I've been using Reaper for live shows for a few months now and have decided to change the workflow a little. Instead of putting the whole show in one project (as I've been doing) I want to put each song in a tabbed project.

Has anyone had any experience with this? If I set "offline background media items" does that basically amount to muting all the tracks in an inactive project--i.e. freezes VST instances etc?. How effective is this? When you have 10 or so tabs open with heavy projects in each, does it start to cause stability issues?

In general, is this a bad idea? I want to do this for a few reasons, not the least of which being the wonky behavior of tempo change markers in Reaper making it hard to re-arrange sets when doing everything in one project.

thanks

Last edited by Tycho; 08-25-2011 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:15 PM   #2
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I'd be interested in this too. I switched from Ableton to Reaper for my live set and just had my first show. It worked well but I'm still open to new workflows.

Having inactive tabs not consume resources could actually work to my advantage as I had to lug my desktop computer to the gig since my laptop wasn't up to the task (not something I want to do again).

The biggest issue since song transitions are meant to be seamless (for the most part) is how to switch tabs smoothly?

I think I can relate to the 'wonky behavior if tempo change markers' too. Moving them around would cause incorrect/undesired playrate changes in the audio files, which needed to be fixed manually...
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:12 PM   #3
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i haven't tested this, though I don't think "background project media offline" will not disable your vsti's. I think "run stopped background projects" will shut that down, in which case your mixing capabilites from tab to tab are ruined.

Personally, speaking for myself, I wouldn't even consider running the "production" version of a track live, especically multple tabs of them. To me it's just way too risky. Stemming out a bunch of stuff though, with certain dedicated vst's I'd be much more comfortable with. Probably your intention I assume is to have more tweakablilty live, though to me running complex projects (let alone multiples) brings with it potentially treachorous implications - god forbid a crash or even worse blasting noise. Again, all personal opinion, but I trust streaming audio much more than running vsts. That being said, sticking to the most TRUSTED vsts and maximizing their use through program changes I found usually quite safe. This way you can still have 4 or 5 vst's running, and hopefully cover your needs, yet keep your footprint low while accessing many sounds.

Aside from all that, atm, one idea that comes to mind is to run 2 instances of Reaps, both multi-tab, and both set to "background project offline". Having your tracks loaded into separate tabs (how much you deicide to streamline you live projects aside). Then you can mix from Reaper to Reaper, though you'll never have a footprint larger than 2 projects at once, yet you maintain all of the flexibilty of a separate transport for each track.

There's still loads of potential for "single instance multi-tab" setups too, and you can actually trigger separate tabs in various ways with midi cc's and some trickery, though I think a 2 instance setup would probably be fairly easy to setup, stable, and flexable - in theory at least

hth
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:18 PM   #4
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yeah I'm not trying to run full projects. Each project tab would basically be just some live effect input channels to process all the outboard (guitars, synths, drums, etc.), a few midi tracks (for sync and visuals), and some VSTi's running. We're talking 10 tracks max with maybe 2-4 fx on 4 or so of them and some master bus stuff.

I didn't know you could mix the output of two reaper instances, will research that, thanks for the tip. do you have to use soundflower or does reaper "see" other instances of itself?

The main thing I need is for the outboard synths being processed by reaper to continue to be able to play through as the tabs switch for transitions. some songs have a hard stop, but a few need to blend a little. was thinking of maybe packing up 2 songs in some tabs when I need this ability.

edit: and yeah, I have "run background projects" unchecked... so hopefully that removes them from the resource overhead.

Last edited by Tycho; 08-25-2011 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:34 PM   #5
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in taht case, maybe dedicate 1 tab to live inputs, and tab out the rest as the "media" tabs. Then you should be able to keep everything running in the background for mixing flows, but have maximum effieciency on your inputs\vsti's and avoid doubling tracks that already exist. If you need specific settings on your vst's\inputs for each track, that's where it gets tricky i guess.....

on osx you can run 2 reaper's right out the same outputs on your soundcard, for windows I think maybe the wasapi driver will do that, though i wouldn't know for sure

edit: do a second portable install to run 2 instances
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:41 PM   #6
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this seems like a good way to go to avoid duplicate input channels, but the big problem here how to mix incoming live signals through the master bus? I'm running EQ/comp/limiting (often with sidechain on comps here and there) over the live inputs and so would need the live inputs to mix with any audio coming from a media track.

can audio from one tab be routed to another? I checked and I don't see a way to create a send that goes to another project.
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:59 PM   #7
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i get what your after, though for every solution i think of, it's seems there are inherent sacrifices.

there is no intertab routing (I WISH!), though can be done software (rearoute? wiretap) and hardware too, out a soundcard back in. Though if you need differnt sidechains for each tune, it's back to square 1
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:06 PM   #8
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thanks for all the help on this... just wanted to give an update:

been using tabs live for a while now without incident. I turned off background tab processing so only the active tab is on. we're playing the instruments through stripped down versions of the actual projects from the album (minus some of the outboard gear which we don't tour with right now), so it sounds pretty close to the recorded stuff. I decided to keep it to a tight, trusted list of plugins including: ReaEQ, SoundToys (Echoboy, Decapitator), Waves (SSLEQ, SSL Bus Comp, L2, RenEQ), D16 Toraverb, Amplitube, PSP Microwarmer.

For the next tour I'm adding another 19" case for my Chameleon Labs 7602's and a pair of Distressors for the guitar and bass input channels so that will cut down on plugs in the future. But right now it's running really tight even with pretty heavy plugs and 12-14 open project tabs. Have a Logidy USB footswitch to control transport.

In anticipation of a more complex set for the next tour I recently got the second instance of Reaper up via a portable install and now have both instances talking to each other via the IAC bus in OS X. Works out great as I can trigger samples in one instance while the other one is switching tabs allowing for smooth transitions.

Both instances trigger Resolume Avenue A on another machine at FOH for projections using the network MIDI built into OS X.

At first I was sort of put off by how complex the setup needed to be to accomplish the things I wanted, but now I feel like the flexibility afforded by this setup warrants the complexity. I really feel like just about anything I can dream up is possible as far as sequencing of events etc.

I could see this workflow being better integrated into Reaper via an idea I talked about in another thread. The idea of a "meta-tab" would be great. This could be a tab class (you could assign a tab as meta via context menu) that disregarded tab settings and was always active. Other tabs could route midi/audio to/from meta tabs.

Another great addition would be an Ableton-like control window that allowed "launching" of tabs. This way I wouldn't have to switch to a tab to activate and play it. each tab would just be represented by a play button in the scene launcher, when you pushed it the associated tab would become active and play.

With just a couple tweaks (well maybe some of these are a little bigger in scope than "tweaks"?) Reaper could be so solid for live use.
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:15 PM   #9
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hey man, good to hear it's working well

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tycho View Post
Another great addition would be an Ableton-like control window that allowed "launching" of tabs. This way I wouldn't have to switch to a tab to activate and play it. each tab would just be represented by a play button in the scene launcher, when you pushed it the associated tab would become active and play.
I've had some success in that direction assigning midi notes to the SWS "switch to project tab actions". It's still a little bulky but macro's for each tab

swicth to tab#
play

switch to tab#
stop

should basically work like a launcher - though not all that elegent - if I understand you correctly, it could\should get the job done

the UI still changes, but the transports will still act individually, and the macros would essentially equate to triggers -

all that aside, natively enhancing tabs would be totally sikter. There's a wide range of really cool ways tabs could be used with enhanced triggering, syncronization, and routing. There's a myriad of things tabs could be useful for, both live and in production - and some enhancements towards those applications would go a long way - imo of course ,
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Old 11-27-2011, 05:57 AM   #10
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i've been posting questions about this stuff for a while without much response, glad to see some other people are doing what i'm about to do!

like you i previously played live with one massive project, albeit in cubase. having tabbed project windows (and the ability to preload certain ones) for me appeals a lot more.

the way i plan to do it is to use GR4 as a separate, standalone instance and play live guitar through that. i will have an instance of kontakt per tab probably that will be bypassed as the song reaches the end of the track. it's mildly annoying that pressing 'space' jumps back to where you stopped originally so i'm going to have to make a little 'enter -> space, space' tab to make sure the cursor jumps to the right end point for each song and the bypasses are in operation properly.

i am also going to get a cheap-ish hardware delay unit so i can trigger a sample at the end of a song, send to delay line and switch tabs, meaning a smooth transition between songs as well. i had thought of 'rearouting' all slave audio into a master instance of reaper but this just seems like too much of a headache.

i plan to 'run background projects', which will mostly just be audio tracks, and a few instances of plugins on each one which will be bypassed at start / end project points so less CPU is being used on the active tab. i need quick changeover times so i am going to try it this way with a full 30 minute set and see what happens.

i've got it sending MTC properly to a second machine that syncs to video. i had previously been using Chaingang to slave to MTC but i now plan to use another instance of Reaper, synced to MTC over ipMIDI. tested this yesterday and it seems solid.

be interested to know if you chaps have any other tips anyway. if you're interested in what on earth all this is for, here's the site: http://publicservicebroadcasting.net

all the best

john
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:10 AM   #11
Andy Hamm
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Default Experienced latency and drop outs when switching between tabs

I actually tried doing this, I used one project for my FOH mix and a second for my monitor mixes. Switching back and forth between the tabs would introduce drop outs, glitches and latency into the system.

CPU Usage and memory usage was low (less than 20% on a 3.4 GHz core), and my input count was between 18 and 20 on the FOH and only 8-12 on the monitor console. Other than uncluttering my FOH console, there wasn't any real advantage to using the tabs for the monitor mixes, so I just abandoned the idea.
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Old 12-10-2011, 02:56 PM   #12
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The tabs idea is great, right now our set has about 8 songs all in one file and it tends to get bugged down when I'm modifying the system (lights and midi). CPU is only at 20%, ram at 272mb (atom dual core, 2gb ram) M-audio fast track ultra is the interface. It has been phenomenal for 50+ shows, no issues unless I forget to open the m-audio internal mixer.

But I'm putting each song on separate tabs that click over with SWS markers so I can edit songs if need be and it cleans things up somewhat making it a bit easier.

I'm really trying to find new ways to make our live show easier/more unique and so far it's been great.
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Old 04-22-2014, 06:42 AM   #13
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Hi,

I am planning to use Reaper to play back my backing tracks and also as an effects processor for my guitar and voice. I have read other posts here about it but am not so sure about some aspects of the setup so I'd appreciate any help or advice from someone who has done this. My setup will be quite simple:
Laptop+Saphire6 USB interface+AER guitar amp+Bose L1. ALl tracks are audio, no midi required.
From what I've read it seems the best way to do this is to have all my backing tracks ready to play as separate project tabs in Reaper, use SWS extension project list to call up a song as required.
My guitar and mike will be plugged into the Saphire 1&2 input which will go to my AER amp and then to the P.A.
The backing tracks need to go directly to the P.A. so I will need to use RCA output 3&4 on the saphire and send that separately to the P.A. and bypass or mute the Master output in Reaper routing options. (Not too sure how to do that, can someone do a step by step? Thanks)
Oh and what about latency? I obviously need to find a balance between stability and playability (I'll be using Waves GTR 3 as effects processor on the guitar and probably a reverb-delay-compressor on the voice but not too much, the AER has a good sound already)
That's all I can think of right now, obviously I need to do a test run but I just wanted to check here before I put in all the legwork organising the songs and playlist etc.

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:26 PM   #14
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Just doing this myself, naturally went the tabs route but didn't know you could disable background project processing (thanks : ). Couldn't find the settings for it though.

For the sake of Google, you have to right-click any project tab to find them (kind of unintuitive in that they apply to all tabs, not just the one you right-click).

For me tabs seem a good idea as I sometimes use volume automation from the original mixes for live tracks, so having a song in each tab (including the live tracks), makes that work easily, ie. the mix automation already matches the project tempo (especially important if the tempo is automated). I can see that smooth song transitions are tricky, so I'm still figuring out the best approach. But I'll see how far I get with tabs and actions.

I will also do synchronized video projection, but using my own playback plugin (part of the reason for that is the option to have variable speed audio and synchronized video playback, so I can tap tempos each night and still have the video sync).
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