Old 11-26-2015, 04:50 AM   #1
Gass n Klang
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Default REAPER as live FOH mixer

hey guys,
this is my first thread and post in this forum. I'm very new to REAPER so please be charming

I want to use REAPER as a live FOH sound mixer for my acapella groups. Therefor I want to use one project per Song and different regions for the different songparts.

I use a Behringer x32 as "controller". Mics are coming in the mixer, through the preamp, AD-conversion, EQ, compressor and then they go through REAPER and come back as stereo track. So the x32 does the "global sound" and REAPER the sound per song.
The InEar-Monitoring for the Band I do in the x32 before sending the signals to REAPER, so there should not be any major latency problems (it doesn't matter if the PA sound is 10-30ms "too late")

That works well but at the moment I see two problems I'd love to solve:

1) Can I activate a "global latency compensation" somehow? I switch the "monitoring" in REAPER on to hear the the audio stream coming through the inputs of each track. So if one channel in REAPER doesn't have any processing and one channel has a CPU-hungry plugin, the processed channel will be too late. I think the compensation works with recorded material but it doesn't seem to work with live monitored material?

2) Can I send the Solo-in-Place audiostream to a seperate bus? The Master bus as I said goes directly to my x32. When clicking the solo button of a track, the solo is sent to the Master bus of REAPER. I'd like to send those signals to a separate bus so the Master bus always gets the full mix.

Sorry for the mess, the setup is very complex and there are many points to regard. So there's little place for workarounds.
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Old 11-26-2015, 06:46 PM   #2
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One more thing:
3) For one singer I use two channels: Beatbox and Singing channel. I'd like to toggle between these two channels (mute channel 1 = unmute channel 2 vice versa). Is there a way to get that working?
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Old 11-26-2015, 07:45 PM   #3
serr
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I've been using Reaper to mix FOH for over 6 years now. All happiness and light.

Reaper stability in OSX is unmatched.

Make a single project that is your live board (not per song!). You want to dial up the board to correspond to your hardware. Treat this part the same way you would an analog board: Be consistent with channel assignments for stuff you do every time for example. You certainly don't want to start from scratch dialing up your basic setup for every song!

System latency:

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. (Note that the latency reported at the top of the screen in Reaper is ONLY the Reaper added latency and does NOT include the connected hardware for the total system latency!)

Naturally this is different for each sample rate. Usually 48k is the sweet spot for live work. Lowest latency with lowest CPU hit. (96k would be lower for the same block size of course but it would be a significant CPU hit vs. 48k - and for live work you'd be hard pressed to hear any fidelity hit from less than HD sample rates.)

Plugins require a certain amount of input buffer. This is NOT a published spec! If you try to run a plugin at lower latency than its required input buffer, it simply will not run stably.

That means you may find that the plugins you want to use are not usable at live performance low latency. It doesn't matter how fast your machine is and not even OSX will save you here.

Plugins of course also induce latency from their processing. If a plugin induces greater latency than your system block size is set to, PDC will add additional blocks of latency to the system to accommodate. Such a plugin cannot be used for live work if it crosses this line.

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

Reaper's a champ for live work!

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!


PS. For monitor mixes (in-ear or floor wedge), you can dial up monitor buses in Reaper of course.
Or... You can use the digital monitor mixer built into your audio interface if that turns out to be more convenient.
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Old 11-26-2015, 08:24 PM   #4
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Hi serr, thanks for your reply. Glad to hear you're happy using REAPER live. I'll have to do one project for each song. No chance to get what I want otherwise. I'll do lots of FX (something like this and more: https://youtu.be/D3CawD-H2uk?t=153) per song.

Thanks for the 48khz suggestion. I was conscious of that but hadn't had in my mind. As I said, there won't be a monitoring problem since everything that has to do with monitoring is done before Reaper in my mixing board.

Do you have any suggestions regarding the three points I mentioned?
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Old 11-26-2015, 09:47 PM   #5
serr
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To restate your setup:
The x32 is your audio interface. You additionally use the built-in mixer in the x32 for your monitor channels.

#1. Reaper has plugin delay compensation (PDC). Baring a buggy plugin that reports its latency incorrectly to PDC (like Soundtoys Decapitator for one example), all channels of your board will be time aligned. The system latency is fixed in place by the block size. (It only changes if you try using a plugin with more latency than your block size. In that case Reaper adds multiple block sizes of latency to the system until it can time align all the channels again. Obviously a 'no go' situation for live use!)

Do your loopback tests. Determine the best sample rate to use. Vet the plugins you want to use.

I run my live board right at 11ms. Let's me load up on plugins.
May as well. 11ms is not perceptible.

Aside:
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.


Actually the 11ms I run with is perfect time alignment when the drums are 10' or so behind the mains (which is pretty typical).

I also use the built-in mixers in my MOTU units for stage and in-ear monitors for convenience.

#2. You're going to have to make your own solo bus for this one. The 'stock' Reaper solo functions are very much geared towards the control room style.

#3. Any MIDI controllers can be used. I listed the main components I use in my signature. (For your mute toggle example you could group the channels, assign just the mutes to the group, and invert the controls for one of them. Then assign one of the mute buttons to a MIDI controller.)


Again, I'd dial up a 'one size fits all' board so you ALWAYS have control of the system and there are NEVER any down time moments loading different projects. Just add the tracks you need for your rig and any fx you run so everything is under your fingers and ready to go.

That's my first thought anyway. You may have a valid need for more complexity. That's the beauty of this system. It's modular and you can dial up whatever crazy specific thing you need.

Last edited by serr; 11-26-2015 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 11-27-2015, 04:06 AM   #6
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Yes, x32 is my Interface/Mixer. I use the inputs there, EQ and compression and do the monitoring then. So everything, you'd do in a normal soundcheck. The processed signals go to Reaper where the songspecific setups are made. A stereo track goes from there back to the x32 and then to the PA. The x32 is my DAW controller as well (there's an OSC-script that makes it possible).

#1: I'll check that out, I used Soundtoys alter boy to check (has a lot of latency). Perhaps that plugin is just buggy...

#2: How do you do that Solobus? It's no problem to create a bus with a different mix from the master but I want to be able to listen to every single signal.

#3: Got a little problem there: Grouping the mutes (Master/Slave) works when clicking on one of the mute buttons in reaper. Even with the toggle switch it works. Clicking on the x32 controller mute button results in making both channels equal (so both muted or open). Any Idea? Reverse panning and volume works fine even with the controller. I assume there is no reverse mute?

Last edited by Gass n Klang; 11-27-2015 at 04:16 AM.
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Old 11-27-2015, 10:14 AM   #7
serr
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#2
Make a new track. Call it SOLO BUS or something.
Route every track to it. Mute all those sends.

'Unmuting' a send to your SOLO BUS is now your 'live' solo button.

#3
Using the x32 as both pre-processing AND controller? Yeah, the mute buttons would need to be disabled from the x32 somehow. Probably not possible.

You could make a custom action that toggles the mutes for the 2 tracks in question and assign it to a different button on the x32. Possible use a mute button on an unused channel?


I'd just use the x32 purely for inputs and do all processing in Reaper. You'll have access to more and better plugins and you can save your setup. (Yes, you can save things in the x32 but now you'll have it all in one place.) I'm not suggesting there's anything wrong with your dual setup. Just throwing that out there. (I also may not be aware of some critical thing that you like in the x32, so take that comment FWIW.) Reaper is a VERY powerful mixing board! You can do little magic tricks in a pinch like side-chaining your snare track to an eq band on the lead vox track to get it the hell out of your lead vox on that one small challenging stage. Just one example.
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