new things to do with N (long read)


this little essay talks about what you can do with two (or more) PCs - it includes methods of connecting PCs both across a network, USB and MIDI and also sending audio from one PC to another for processing - however there is one thing the must NEVER NEVER NEVER EVER BE DONE and that is to try and connect the USB from one PC into the USB of another PC, AS YOU WILL FRY BOTH PCs - FOR PC ALSO READ LAPTOP -

on my network (at this time) i have only two PCs, one is running Win2000 and the other is running WinME - i have a six way hub and netgear cards in each PC, all hard drives are formatted to FAT32 - the slower of the two is the one running WinME - - running a network across two versions of Windows is not without its trials and trivulations, for quite some time i could not gt the two to co-operate, then one day i checked the drive sharing on both PCs and found that the A; on one PC was not shared but it was on the other, set the drive to share and everything started working perfectly ? -

if you already have a network installed then you may well have tried all of this but for those who have not, or are thinking about installing a network here are a few things you can do - one thing that you may not have tried is setting Ns VST folder to scan VSTs on another PC, i now have FL studio (fruity loops) VSTs working in N from another PC (abet without the fancy FL GUIs but they work OK ) so in theory you could have one PC with all the VSTs you can gather on it and then access them from any other PC and any program that allow cross network VST scanning -

some things are quite surprising, i can open Ableton Live 4 and Fruity Loops across the network on a PC that they are not installed on and they interact exactly with everything on that PC the same as if they where installed on that PC - depending on the age and speed of your PCs you could have one PC set up to hold all your audio files and easily open them in the other - i can open a song in N across the network, work on it like it was on that PC, i can even mixdown that song with the mixdown going to the PC i am using, but i cannot save

the song directly to that PC it always remains on the hard drive of the other PC - in this case although N shows the waveforms of the song in the timeline but the audio is streamed across the network from the hard drive on the other PC - the amount of tracks that can be
streamed is directly related to the speed of the network and the speed of the other PC -

there are some that dont open across a network (and N is one of them) others try to open and fail, some wont open (in my case sometimes i am attempting to open them on a version of windows they where not ment for) - but still its fun just trying to see what you can do -

MIDI can be fun - for this i had to use my BCR 2000 as an intermediate as my MIDI cable was not quite long enough to join the two PCs directly, i opened N on both PCs, on one PC i set up a midi track and and set its MIDI output via USB to the BCR 2000 - i set the MIDI in to my

keyboard - on the other PC i just opened blank MIDI track and set it to output to Da Hornet which comes with N - its MIDI input was set to any channel - connected the MIDI cable out from the BCR2000 to the in on the joystick port of the other PC and i could play the Da Hornet from the kbd that was connected to the other PC - it also played from an standard midi track - now if i wanted to record the output from Da Hornet back into the other version of N all i would have to do is to connect a lead from the audio “out” on one PC to the audio “in” on the other -

OK now lets push the boundaries a bit further - here i want to use the Erosion Filter in Ableton Live - but as it is locked to Live i cannot extract it as a VST - so how can i get a track playing in N to interact with Ableton Live ? - this can be done between any two PCs just using interconnecting audio cables, although i describe it using the network, it really only needs 2 audio cables -

on my fastest PC i open Ableton Live from across the network - ie, it is opened on a PC that it is not installed on - on the other PC i open N, but the track i want to open in N is not on that PC it is on the other PC across the network, no problem, using My Network Places i can

open that track perfectly - the PC running N only has its on-board soundcard in use , so i take a lead from the line out on the back of the PC and connect that to the line in on my Soundlaster Audigy NX USB on the other PC - in track one on Ableton Live i drop in the Erosion filter that i want to use - i press play on the PC that is running N and the audio output from that PC appears at the audio input of Ableton Live and passes through the
Erosion filter, this (due to lack of cable) i have to monitor from the Audigys outs - if i had enough cable i could could easily route the audio back into the other PC and record the filtered sound to another track in N -

OK so the above could be done using Re-Wire, but this way does not crash as the load is spread across two PCs and unlike ReWire you can use any two programs that are not ReWire compatible - as this only uses audio you can easily cross platforms, Logic on a MAC and any DAW that will run on your PC -

this cant be done with ReWire but can be easily done using MIDI - on my fastest PC i have Mackie Trackion 2, it came with Slayer 2 - unfortunately Slayer is locked to Tracktion - to add Slayer to N would cost quite a lot, but by following the above i can use Slayer in N via
Tracktion very easily - (again as above i have to use the BCR 2000 as an intermediate) - i open N on my slow PC, insert a blank MIDI track, output MIDI to MPU401 (WinME for joystick port) for messing about i set the MIDI in to my M-Audio trigger finger via USB - connected the MIDI cable from the MIDI out on the MPU401 to the MIDI (A) in on the BCR 2000 - in tracktion i insert Slayer into a track as a filter, i set the track in to BCR 2000 in A
(the input from the other PC), i then set up another track to accept the input from the rest of the BCR 2000 this time it is set to BCR 2000 in (the control data from the BCR 2000), i then send the output of that track to the input of the other track that is recieving MIDI from the other PC - on the PC running N i press the pads on the Trigger finger and Slayer plays on the other PC OK, i load in a MIDI track and set outs and ins accordingly, press play and as before Slayer plays on the other PC, but now as i am near the MIDI controller i can tryout

various settings in slayer via the BCR 2000 as the track plays - i could with another MIDI cable be able to control N through Tracktions MIDI sync (which at the moment unlike Ns MIDI sync works) - also as above if i had enough audio cables i could route the audio out of Tracktion directly back into N and record it to another track -

OK you may well ask why on earth go to such levels to play a VST, well i have a demo version of Slayer that came with FL studio that is on the WinME PC - but it completely overloads that PC (one note and the PC is dead), i can transfer it to the fast PC but as it is a
demo it only lasts a few minutes - Slayer 2 is rather good, so is the Linplug RMIV drum machine that came with Tracktion, i thought N track drums was good then i heard what RMIV can do - sorry to NTD but thers no comparison, RMIV is massive, (its also very expensive as well), unless that is you buy Mackie Tracktion 2 which at the moment is practically being given away as Tracktion 3 is out - the difference between 2 and 3 in minimul and 3 is/was riddled with bugs - i dont know what Mackie thought they where doing releasing 3 with so many bugs ? - there was a full (1st) bugfix available on their website the day the boxed versions hit the streets - but 2 is rock solid and is worth buying just for the freebies which by following the above can now be used to greatly extend the capabilities of N - sort of N V6 already! -

OK so before you all start BLEATING ABOUT LATENCY - if you go from N on one PC through another and back to N there will be a delay, but that only comes in to play if you try using it in realtime, for track creation it does not matter at all as you are only working with one track, it will be easy enough to adjust the start position when inserting that track into a song - in realtime i can take the line out fron my Audigy into my Roland sp606, use the Rolands effects (you know the ones that only money can buy) back then into N and i only get the slightest echo - it you didnt know what was going on you wouldnt notice it - if you have never used a Roland “D beam”, believe you me you have never lived -

for real fun on my slow PC (Celeron 700meg winME) i can run Virtual DJ out across to my other PC and record to N - if you are working with loops then the things you can do with VDJ are mind blowing - all you need for this is to make a connection from line out on one PC to the line in on the other and a little imagination -

Dr J

Hi Dr. J:
That’s a nice report, you posted and how you interact with the Material and Hardware and Applications and Audio Editors and Audio Utilities…

I believe that Flavio is working on (in this series of Builds) getting n-Track to interact with various audio file extensions… Which is right up your alley… This can only be good for n-Track and those guys that use n-Track as an editor with-in their Video/Audio Creativity…

I’m networking three machines with five operating systems with-in my Audio Set-up… But I’m not even close to where you are and where you’re headed, with the ideas you have with your set-up…


My goodness, that is quite an accomplishment, Dr. I feel good when everything boots up properly and the little meters move along with the music… :D

Multi-machines, holy moly.

Most of us are still trying to figure out multi-tracks! :D