One big reason I’m doing all this is a potential move from a “Waterfall” type of rig to a “Cyclic” rig design (my terms).
My current rig I call a Waterfall design:
The computer with Cantabile acts alongside other hardware units to produce one of the sound sources. MIDI control is done by a mix of routing in Cantabile and direct hardware input using Thru MIDI ports on sound modules.
The software sound source from the computer and the hardware sound sources get mixed in a substantial line mixer (Samson SM10) and then post-processed (FX) by “downstream” hardware. This mixed source is fed to a master looper.
The looper is followed by a small output mixer which handles final volume control, monitoring (phones), mixing in of a some backing tracks. The output mixer also provides a feed for recording the final mix, which can be done back in Cantabile.
Pros: lower latency (less A/D & D/A conversions)
Cons: More gear, lack of control of the MIDI going to the sound modules, lack of software post-processing of sound modules.
I’m experimenting with a Cyclic design:
This design places Cantabile more in the center of the signal flow, giving it control of all MIDI and audio signals as well as more control over FX processing. These rig designs call for an audio interface
with more ports, but can require less outboard hardware.
Audio from hardware sound modules feed back into Cantabile for FX processing and mixing. The looper(s) are fed audio from Cantabile, which then feed their output back into Cantabile for (optionally) additional processing.
Recording is done internally by Cantabile (or on the audio interface itself, as can be done by the RME UCX II) and the final mix comes from the audio interface.
The final mix can be more complex, with front and rear speaker pairs.
Pros: Less gear, more of control of the MIDI going to the sound modules, option for software post-processing of sound modules.
Cons: higher latency (many more A/D and D/A conversions), more complex audio interface.
Of course, there are Hybrid designs … but that’s for another day …
Hope this is useful to someone … it was useful for me to write it all down and get my thoughts straight.
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