Multiple Soundcards

How Many? Same or Different?

Can you use multiple soundcards in N-Track to allow many tracks to be recorded simultaneously? I know in Cubase you can, but all the soundcards have to use the same ASIO driver. Is that the same situation in N-Track?

for example, could I use 4 stereo USB or Firewire inputs and record 8 tracks simultaneously? I know there are multichannel interfaces available with 8 or more inputs, but my question is whether or not this would work?

Would all the soundcards have to be the same model with the same driver?

What’s the limitation on how many could be connected at once?

Does N-Track have a limitation on the number of simultaneous recording tracks? Could I record 48 tracks simultaneously on a modern fast computer?

The best situation is: Use a single soundcard with multiple inputs, with a single driver. You will not have problems of synchronization, bus or irq sharing.
From there you can do some experiments or tricks, but be aware that each soundcard is a diffrent world, and you will found probably lot of troubles or issues. If you really advice, i suggest you to post the specific model of soundcards to make that.
If you only are curious about that, i have worked with n-Track using two Soundblaster Lives connected via spdif, with special drivers, without troubles, but with issues you need to know and solve.

You can use multiple sound cards, say 2 delta 1010 in the same PC, I think maudio can see up to 4 cards at once.

Ntrack shouldn’t have a problem.

But using different sound interfaces, like 4 different USB devices? I’d certainly avoid it. Any two will almost certainly have different clocks, and getting them to sync may be difficult or impossible.

It’s worth a shot, if you have them about, but I wouldn’t spend $$$ thinking I could get them to work.

ASIO drivers would have to use the same family of interface, like a maudio delta 1010, and a delta 44. Otherwise, WDM drivers would be my next try.

Most soundcards with digital IO (like S/PDIF or ADAT) in addition to the analog can use the digital IO to synchronize the cards. You plug the digital out of one into the digital in of the other and set the other to clock off the digital input (and so on, daisy chaining the cards).

Marce’s right that you’ll have less trouble with a single multi-channel card, but it’s possible to use multiple cards.

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Does N-Track have a limitation on the number of simultaneous recording tracks? Could I record 48 tracks simultaneously on a modern fast computer?

Someone was using a MOTU 24io with ntrack. I’m running 16 inputs myself, and iirc, someone else was running 3 ADAT interfaces too. I think that it’s probably a false economy to buy multiple interfaces if you can get away with one, or one and an ADAT converter (like a motu and a berry ada8000), especially in terms of driver issues…

MOTU 24io at my old church. 24 tracks at 24/44.1 every service. No problems at all.

Using my EMU 1820M at home I have tracked 16 channels at 24/44.1 using the audiodock I/O plus a Berry ADA8000 connected via ADAT lightpipe. Again, no problems.

Both the above situations the host PC is nearly identical. AMD AthlonXP 2500+ on an ASUS A7V600 mobo 512MB RAM, two hard disks, one for OS and n-Track, the other for the audio files.

D

Thanks everyone for your replies.

I guess the overall impression I get is that:

At least 24 tracks can be recorded, probably more, but nobody so far that has had success (or even failure) at this has come forward thusfar.

Multiple soundcards can be used, but it’ll be trial and error and they should have a wordclock reference or other method of syncronizing.

No real impression of how well or even if it’s possible to have 2 different soundcards running simultaneously with 2 different ASIO drivers.

If I could find enough interfaces that I could “borrow” I could make all these tests, but the overwhelming majority of people I have met only have one interface and only do about 8 tracks at once.

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No real impression of how well or even if it’s possible to have 2 different soundcards running simultaneously with 2 different ASIO drivers.


I think I read somewhere that only one ASIO driver can reside in memory. Never had cause to try it myself so I can’t swear that’s true… Maybe someone else will chime in on that one.

D

It depends on the ASIO. ASIO 1.0 (or just ASIO) is one device at a time, but ASIO 2.0 can do more than one. It will be device (driver) specific.

http://www.harmony-central.com/Events/WNAMM99/Steinberg/ASIO-2.0.html

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ASIO 2.0 Shares Hardware with other ASIO 2.0 Applications.

Now it is possible to have multiple ASIO 2.0 applications running on the same machine without the first one to get started grabbing the ASIO hardware for itself. As the applications are switched, the ASIO control is handed over to the next ASIO application. As more and more ASIO applications appear, this feature becomes more important.

I use ASIO4ALL along with MOTU ASIO. I don’t think I’ve actually recorded both at the same time, but I certainly have both installed.

Well. Most everything is hearsay, at the momement, but I did get a good tip from a fellow who uses ASIO stuff.
He claims that the drivers are specifically written by the hardware manufacturers to work up to a certain number of devices only. For example, with the RME Fireface 800 you can only have 3 of these units working simultaneously on one system. That’s the limit of that ASIO driver from RME. Other products might be limited to only 1 or 2…

So in essence, I expect it would come down to trying to get information from the writer of the ASIO driver for that specific piece of hardware to find out how many of those devices can be connected at once to one system. So, my next e-mail will be to RME and PreSonus to ask that very question.

In using ASIO4ALL, the writer of that piece of software would be the one to answer the question of how many devices could be operated simultaneously. I will ask him as well.

Thanks for participating!

Well, the “official” answer from RME is that their ASIO driver specifically limits the number of simultaneous devices to 3.

I’ll let you know if I get an answer from other manufacturers regarding this.

In the case of MOTU interfaces using the 324 or 424 PCI interfaces, the number of devices is 9 or 72 individual channels. In my setup I run 32 simultaneous channels (16 TDIF and 16 analog).