Aaahhh, this is the kind of discussion I wanted... :-)
There seem to be few proprietary tools that allow
anything (os, machines, applications), it seems most tools are monolythic
Well, I wouldn’t say this anymore: looking at the current market, we have an
increasing offer of techonlogies aimed at distributing the different parts of
a/v processing. We have ReWire being around since many years, just to name
one, but I’m thinking more of Dante Network, which I believe to be the future
standard for studio connectivity. Just have a look at
and it will be immediately clear what I’m talking about.
what I am trying to achieve is a network mainly made of
cables (while minimising audio cables), with the
That one confused me. Maybe I don't think big enough but I
imagining in my home studio even at 20x20 feet (maximum size if I cleaned
up) ever gaining anything from using a network connected audio interface.
As an example, in my studio I have a 16 channels audio mixer, which I found to
be of little use over time, since I dropped my old bands in favor of composing
activities. Now I find myself using more and more MIDI synths and virtual
instruments, which I can easily mix in Ardour. By now I barely use 4-6
channels, while my gear is getting older and noisier.
At this point I could get rid of this mixer, and all of the cabling,
patchbays, hardware synths and effects, buy a smaller one just to have the
analog inputs for a couple of microphones and a bass amp. It would be directly
connected to the audio interface, and that would be all for my needs. Less
noise, less clutter, less dust...
Now the interesting part: I have used Linux for almost 15 years for all my
works, and over time I have seen many great projects grow, as well as hardware
support. Nowadays I can connect a control surface to my workstation and use it
with Ardour or Non Mixer. I can write music for a full orchestra in MuseScore
and send MIDI data to a Kontakt instance running over Wine, or even a
dedicated Windows host.
Just to add some more spice, I am experimenting with the excellent MIDI
filters by Robin Gareus to have complex instruments such a string section with
bowed and pizzicato parts, or a drumset, directly mapped to a bunch of
different MIDI tracks in Ardour, coming from a single staff in MuseScore.
Even for a small project I end up having at least 50-60 tracks (audio and
MIDI), which grow far over 100 with orchestra. This is a non trivial load for
a single workstation, and even if it can handle them, I would find myself
using many applications on the same machine, with all the fiddling between
windows, upgrade or crash nightmares involved. Such a setup would only
transfer the clutter inside the PC.
Fortunately there are solutions: for example I can run MuseScore on my laptop,
have it synced with the main workstation by means of JACK, and send MIDI data
to Ardour for recording, with the minor hassle of manually transferring the
tempo map. Ardour can in turn route such data to the virtual instrument on
another machine (one or more), and receive the resulting audio stream.
As you can see the matter is getting quite complex, and could justify by
itself the effort to set up a network. Not to mention the (partial)
elimination of a single point of failure.
The good news is that almost all of this can be done with FLOSS software and
relatively inexpensive hardware, in a tidy, repeatable and easy to upgrade
way. I see the big advantage...
I would add the zita tools in here. In particular
zita-njbridge. You may
wish to look at sonobus as well for slightly wider networks.
Yep, another interesting tool. Actually a quite orthogonal setup which makes
use of zita-njbridge is MultiJACK
which aims at squeezing even the last CPU cycle by running multiple instances
of JACK in a single machine, if I understood it correctly.
I have probably turned it into something about
artistic choices. Still, I
think a real world example of what you are trying to do or have already
done. along with position of artists, producers, etc. including real
distances. Are there doors involved? Separate groups of people working on
film and audio?
No. One man in one room, getting the job done alone. But with the potential of
remotely communicating with a filmmaker, a producer, other musicians...
This seems to be the current trend among professionals, as the budget for
music gets lower and lower. Why hire an orchestra, a studio, a conductor, one
or more arrangers, and so on, when a composer and a Pro Tools and Kontakt nerd
(even better if the two coincide) could do (apparently) the same with a
fraction of the budget? Personally I loathe this trend, but I (and many
others) must be ready to face it. And let’s remember that my choice of using
mostly free software makes me an outsider...
As I said above, the idea of using network outside of
snake replacement in
a large venue, broadcast studio, or some other comercial enterprise sounds
interesting, but a more filled out explanation may be helpful too.
Well, I think my arguments should be a bit clearer now. Or not?