Logic Studio apps Best way to multitrack record in MS 2.2?

Per Boysen

Logician
Have someone tried out what is the best way to multitrack record in MS?

I used to use my old G5, that has an old RME Multiface, and simply pipe digital ADAT channels from my performance MBP that has a Fireface400. But now the G5 has died and I have to find another solution.

The strategy I'm about to investigate now is to use Bidule AU plugin loaded with the Bidule File Recorder object to snag Mainstage Busses to separate files on disc. But first, does someone know of a AU plugin that does this more smoothly?
 

Peter Ostry

Administrator
Staff member
For less impact on mainstage I wouldn't do it with a plugin but rather with the standalone Bidule via Jack or Soundflower. Or with another software that is able to multitrack and doesn't need too much recources.

The better way would be a hardware recorder with an ADAT input or via an ADAT-to-analog converter. Or via ADAT to a second interface and computer. But apart from the costs all of that makes your setup bigger which, I think, you do not want.
 

Per Boysen

Logician
Yes, Peter. Maybe I should replace my dead G5 now with some dirt cheap PC just to take on the Multiface and record the ADAT pipe (as I used to do). Damn, can't believe the G5 died. It was fine and kicking on its second motherboard and now it just doesn't boot at all.
 

Per Boysen

Logician
But hey - with MS 2.2 Loopback has this new function:

Export Tape Loop: Shows an export dialog, where you can name and choose a location to save the tape loop to an AIFF audio file.

I have to try out that first.
 

Per Boysen

Logician
I thought the looper has a limit of 32 measures?
Oh, I didn't know that. Well... In the worst case I can just record a stereo file of the whole shebang and master it with carefully in Logic with automized EQ. Might work for sparse pieces.

Wouldn't it be great if Mainstage had a file recorder plugin!
 

Peter Ostry

Administrator
Staff member
I haven't tried the combination yet but if your Mac can handle Mainstage, Jack Server and Harrison Mixbus concurrently, this would be an option. Mixbus (an Ardour application) requires Jack anyway and Jack provides virtual audio ports.

You would send your streams to virtual audio channels and record them in Mixbus. Btw, Mixbus has a phantastic sound, the more channels you mix the better.
 

Per Boysen

Logician
Harrison Mixbus looks interesting, but time-wise it seems a bit overkill for this project. I need to start making this recorded music like from today and on. I think I'll go with just MS record function and make a little extra effort to set up everything "mixed sounding" in MS. You can record at 48 k now from MS which is my target format. I'll make music that works this way, ie minimal and performance oriented.

BTW, I just noticed that it is also possible to run Logic on the same computer as MS and have both applications talking to the RME Fireface. This means that you could actually set up cable loopbacks in the RME to record multiple MS outputs at separate Logic tracks. That's on top of my list to explore on some future rainy day.
 

Peter Ostry

Administrator
Staff member
Yes if your Mac is strong enough (mine isn't) this is a good method and you don't need to learn a new software. So far I remember you play through a FF400 so you can use the loopback on the 8 ADAT channels.
 

Per Boysen

Logician
Damn! My MBP 2.7 gHz i7 isn't strong enough to record in MS at 48 kHz anyway. I had no idea going up from 44.1 to 48 meant that much harder strain on the CPU. Seems I will have to give up recording performance-wise with effects in MS and return to just recording the classic way in Logic. But that is so much more time consuming because it means playing the instrument "as if were also playing the effects" and then applying the effects part afterwards by tedious automation work.

I see now why these multi effect devices are still around today "in the laptop age" :)
 

Peter Ostry

Administrator
Staff member
I see now why these multi effect devices are still around today "in the laptop age" :)
yeah ... I remember this discussion in a Parisian backyard ...
... but I still don't give you my gear :)


I tried another thing just out of interest. Audacity is a free and small sound editor that can multitrack from a given source. By mistake I downloaded the old version that should not support my system but it worked for a test.

I made a Mainstage concert with enough heavy plugins to bring the CPU meter into the red and sent three stereo outputs to Soundflower. While a couple of test oscillators played synthesizers I recorded the six channels in Audacity and got a good result. I tried to hide the program while it worked and all this stuff, could not disturb it.

Everything was set to 48 kHz. (Old) Audacity refused to record with 48kHz/24 Bit (lovely crashes) but 16 bit and 32 bit float worked. After recording I could save the single tracks (one by one) as .wav with 48 kHz and 32 bit float. Of course you want 24 bit and this was only a short test, recording time was just a minute.

Maybe you want to try this method. Currently I have no interface connected. I think you can use your RME loopback and won't need Soundflower. Looks promising because my Mac is relatively old: MBP 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4 GB RAM.
 

Per Boysen

Logician
Yesterday I set up 16 ch Soundflower as Aggregate Device but could not find a way to call it up in Mainstage without unloading the RME.

And today I tried the ADAT loopback at 48 kHz but this introduced some audio artifacts that can't be in the music to be recorded.

Then I tried to set up the morphing external MIDI control in Logic but it failed too, due to Logic's inability to record automation externally to more than the selected track (need to record both audio and automation to two audio tracks while also recording one MIDI Instrument track plus automation to two Aux tracks).

I think the next logical (!) step must be to set it up in Ableton Live, record the album and then import audio and MIDI files for final mixing in Logic.
 

Peter Ostry

Administrator
Staff member
Yesterday I set up 16 ch Soundflower as Aggregate Device but could not find a way to call it up in Mainstage without unloading the RME.
Was the Aggregate Device correct? Click on the plus sign then in the small list click first on the RME interface and it jumps to the top of the list. Click on Soundflower to make it the second interface. This produces one bigger interface. Call the whole thing "RME+Flower" and select this one (!) in Mainstage. Output and Input selection in any software: the first Soundflower channel comes after your last RME channel.


And today I tried the ADAT loopback at 48 kHz but this introduced some audio artifacts that can't be in the music to be recorded.
This was the normal Totalmix loopback with ctrl+click on the output channel? Never heard about problems with 48 kHz. Maybe a samplerate problem somewhere. Can't verify that at the moment, without my interface.


I think the next logical (!) step must be to set it up in Ableton Live, record the album and then import audio and MIDI files for final mixing in Logic.
Well, if it works ... I do not know Ableton Live.
 

Per Boysen

Logician
This was the normal Totalmix loopback with ctrl+click on the output channel?
No, I used the optical cable. Guess the jitter was caused by the clock. Didn't know about that ctrl+click trick to set up a virtual loop in-the-box so many thanks for enlightening me, Peter! :)

I will immediately close down Ableton now and try that method, since I get much better sounding audio input with MS. Read the RME manual and found:
Recording a Software's playback
In real world application, recording a software's output with another software will show the fol- lowing problem: The record software tries to open the same playback channel as the playback software (already active), or the playback one has already opened the input channel which should be used by the record software.
This problem can easily be solved. First make sure that all rules for proper multi-client operation are met (not using the same record/playback channels in both programs). Then route the play- back signal via TotalMix to a hardware output in the range of the record software, and activate it via Ctrl-mouse for recording.
 

Per Boysen

Logician
Hopefully final words here; It works! But the audio artifacts are not just clock jitter, MS really is tip-toeing at the outer frontiers of CPU power. I'll see tomorrow if I can free up some extra cycles by closing down something else. Preparing a Bidule file recorder for the most CPU friendly (?) rendering to disc of the eight outputs from MS through the REM Totalmix. Created a Totalmix preset for this routing... great tip, thanks again!
 

Peter Ostry

Administrator
Staff member
When you use Bidule and don't need all your channels for playing/recording it may be possible to outsource one or two of the heavier plugins to Bidule to relieve Mainstage.
 

Per Boysen

Logician
Good point about "outsourcing", Peter. I'm glad I've got it working now. But I chose Logic instead as the recorder, so I'm able to outsource the virtual instruments from Mainstage to Logic as the live MIDI output from the Stick I'm playing is going into Logic as well. This leaves Mainstage with less CPU load and opens up for retroactive editing of recorded MIDI in Logic. For the performance vibe there's no difference because it sounds just the same in the monitors if playing a synth hosted by Logic or by Mainstage. Any advanced audio trickery (like on-the-fly freezing a reverb or a delay) has to be done withing Mainstage though and simply recorded into Logic on an audio track. The RME Fireface400 gives me four stereo loopback channels to pipe over audio between the two applications.
 
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