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sync two computers playing back?

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sync two computers playing back?

Postby chueh » Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:33 pm

Is there any way to sync two computers to play back the same time by pressing only ONE "play button?"
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Re: sync two computers playing back?

Postby Credo » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:59 am

If you intend to sync two stand alone ARIA players, I'm not aware of a way to do this.

If your intention is to sync multiple sequencers or DAWs, then yes, it's possible with many advanced DAW systems (CueBase here, and it supports a number of sync types since the late 1980s).

What DAW or sequencer do you use? Check its manual for synchronization features. Many of the higher end MIDI Sequencing/DAW applications support MIDI/MMC or even SMPTE synchronization.

To sync two DAWs or MIDI sequencers (actually you can sync more than two...imagine a studio with a rack full of ADAT digital audio and video tape recorders and loads of other gear like synths, drum machines, media severs, etc. that need to be synced). You have a few choices. Among the choices are MIDI time code with general midi start and stop messages, or via MMC commands. Some DAWs also support locking to SMPTE time code that can be sent over an analogue audio connection.

To do it via MIDI:
Set one computer as the Master clock source. This machine is in charge of all the timing. The master should also be set to send MIDI time code and start/stop messages over a MIDI, serial, or LAN port to the slave computer.

Having MIDI interfaces connected between the two PCs are a common way to do this, but it's also possible given the right drivers to do it with modem/serial ports and null cables, or even over Ethernet ( [MIDI over ethernet for mac] https://www.ableton.com/en/help/article ... r-network/ or [MIDI over ethernet for PC] http://www.tobias-erichsen.de/software/ ... orial.html ).

Set the other computer as a slave, so that it syncs with time code coming in over what ever connection you have between the two systems. Set it to lock up with external timers (slave mode) and to receive the time code and respond to MMC messages over the proper port or network connection.

Make sure the computers are connected via some interface capable of getting the MIDI sync signals from the master computer to the slave.

Via SMPTE:
You'll need an audio time-code track. You can generate your own, or have this site generate some for you ( http://pehrhovey.net/blog/2013/07/el-te ... -wav-file/ ). This time code should be sent dry with no effects, from your DAW (or tape machine) with an isolated audio output (you can use analogue or a digital/spdif connections), and connected via audio cable to an input on the slave machine. You'll have an audio cable sending the time code from an audio output of the master machine, into an audio input of the slave machine (the time code should be a mono track, so if your sound card only has stereo connections/jacks/ports...be sure to pan the sync signal far to one side, and that will free up the other side as a mono channel for other purposes.

On the slave, you'll need a dedicated audio input to receive the SMPTE time code. Make sure the slave machine's DAW is set to sync up with the time code it's getting from the master.
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Re: sync two computers playing back?

Postby chueh » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:34 pm

Hi, Credo, thank you so much for replying this topic. It's a lot of information, yet I definitely need it. I will slowly digest everything you said.

I use Anvil Studio for PC and Aria Player, while Garageband and Aria Player for Mac.
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Re: sync two computers playing back?

Postby chueh » Fri Jul 03, 2015 10:17 am

Credo, I read your reply more than several times, just trying to digest and absorb the info. You wrote:
"Having MIDI interfaces connected between the two PCs are a common way to do this, but it's also possible given the right drivers to do it with modem/serial ports and null cables, or even over Ethernet ( [MIDI over ethernet for mac]."

A driver....... I have had the concept of having a driver to make a physical "device" to work, such as a printer or a scanner drivers for a printer or a scanner to work, I am not sure what driver I need for my PC to sync with the Apple. I knew that the Aria Player works because of the Aria Player "machine" (if I remember correctly if that's what's called). Is it the driver then? Aria Player is not a DAW, yet it does play midi files. Is it still capable being connected and synced with another program? When I installed Anvil Studio for PC (only with PC version), I don't remember that there was any driver involved. Thus, I am not sure what driver would I need to sync both the Apple and the PC?

Long before I had the thought of syncing two different operating system computers and programs, I did use the midi port connecting my Yamaha synthesizer with the PC by a USB2 for Anvil Studio, and just told Anvil Studio to add my synthesizer. That's all I did, and it all worked and synced. It even did not ask me for any driver. Since a physically present device like my synthesizer is a hardware, I understand the steps and processes of syncing it to a computer. On the other hand, I am still not sure how two different programs from two different operating system computers communicate exactly. I knew that they communicate by sending the midi signals, yet my brain is cloudy about the procedures..

So... let's say that I connect an Ethernet cable between the Apple and the PC, and then I just need to use the Mac's Audio Midi Setup to find Anvil Studio in the PC, correct? So the driver...still....not sure what driver???
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Re: sync two computers playing back?

Postby Credo » Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:29 pm

chueh wrote:Credo, I read your reply more than several times, just trying to digest and absorb the info. You wrote:
"Having MIDI interfaces connected between the two PCs are a common way to do this, but it's also possible given the right drivers to do it with modem/serial ports and null cables, or even over Ethernet ( [MIDI over ethernet for mac]."

A driver....... I have had the concept of having a driver to make a physical "device" to work, such as a printer or a scanner drivers for a printer or a scanner to work, I am not sure what driver I need for my PC to sync with the Apple. I knew that the Aria Player works because of the Aria Player "machine" (if I remember correctly if that's what's called). Is it the driver then? Aria Player is not a DAW, yet it does play midi files. Is it still capable being connected and synced with another program? When I installed Anvil Studio for PC (only with PC version), I don't remember that there was any driver involved. Thus, I am not sure what driver would I need to sync both the Apple and the PC?

Long before I had the thought of syncing two different operating system computers and programs, I did use the midi port connecting my Yamaha synthesizer with the PC by a USB2 for Anvil Studio, and just told Anvil Studio to add my synthesizer. That's all I did, and it all worked and synced. It even did not ask me for any driver. Since a physically present device like my synthesizer is a hardware, I understand the steps and processes of syncing it to a computer. On the other hand, I am still not sure how two different programs from two different operating system computers communicate exactly. I knew that they communicate by sending the midi signals, yet my brain is cloudy about the procedures..

So... let's say that I connect an Ethernet cable between the Apple and the PC, and then I just need to use the Mac's Audio Midi Setup to find Anvil Studio in the PC, correct? So the driver...still....not sure what driver???


If you're using MIDI cables to connect two devices, then you've obviously already installed some sort of MIDI interface, that includes what ever drivers it needs to get the information in and out of software that wants to use it.

As for using Bonjour, that is only necessary if you want to use some other method besides MIDI cables/interfaces to connect the two PCs. I.E. Using a wireless ip interface, or an Ethernet connection.

The reason you need some driver level stuff to use WLAN or Ethernet is because:
1. We need to turn the MIDI stream into something that can be sent over the network as ip packets.

2. We need to create nodes where software can see that these new virtual 'MIDI Ports' are available for use.

In the case of using wireless WLAN, or an Ethernet connection/cable to send MIDI, you'll need to install something (I called it drivers) that lets you send MIDI data over an ip and get it in and out of software. See these links for more information on using Ethernet to send/receive MIDI.
( [MIDI over ip for mac] https://www.ableton.com/en/help/article ... r-network/ or [MIDI over ip for PC] http://www.tobias-erichsen.de/software/ ... orial.html )

As for connecting two computers via Ethernet cable: Unless you're certain that at least one of the Ethernet interfaces on your two systems support the Auto MDI-X protocol, or has a button or switch for making the crossover...please do NOT connect two machines directly without using a proper 'crossover cable'. If you're not sure about this MDI-X business...just use a crossover cable...
( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethernet_crossover_cable )

Typically, we have some sort of hub or router between the two machines. In that case you'd just hook both machines into the hub/router using standard/straight Ethernet cables. Our 'driver' would be responsible for getting a connection to the router/other machine, and trading data and getting into a 'MIDI INPUT and OUTPUT' that our Music Software can find and use.

I'm not sure if ARIA stand alone's MIDI playback engine can sync with external time code, but yes...you CAN 'play' ARIA via MIDI, as a synth/sampler in stand alone mode using any proper MIDI input.
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Last edited by Credo on Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:30 am, edited 6 times in total.
Credo
 
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Re: sync two computers playing back?

Postby chueh » Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:59 am

Credo, first of all, thank you so much for this reply especially to warn me about not using the regular ethernet cable to connect two computers.

I just got my MacBook 3 weeks ago and did not have any cables or adapters except the USB-c power cord that came with the MacBook. I was going to purchase the adapter for USB-C with ethernet after I confirm the answer of my question here. I am so very glad to read your answer, or my computers would be turning into ash :cry:

Again, I will slowly learn the process and get it eventually. I will post the outcome later...
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