Multiple Output Unify
I have been experimenting with using multiple Unify instances inside hosts such as Blue Cat Patchwork and MetaPlugin Synth with good results. I then use the multiple outputs of those hosts to output one stereo pair per Unify instance. So far, I have gone up to 4 instances and I have low CPU load and it spreads the workload over multiple cores on my Win 11/Ryzen 7 PC. Has anyone else done similar experiments?
Interesting! Thank you for the report, Tony.
I am working on expanded input/output options for Unify itself, but for live use, most people use one or more Unify instances inside a capable live-host app such as Gig Performer, Cantabile, or Camelot. Unify takes care of spreading the CPU load, while the live-host provides desirable features such as set-lists, which Unify doesn't have.
Patchwork and Metaplugin don't have such features, but do allow the kind of multi-output setup you describe inside a DAW, because like Unify, they can be run as plug-ins. In most cases, this will be overkill, as you can simply use multiple tracks with one instance of Unify on each track.
I'm curious about where you're headed with these experiments. Please tell us more about your set-up, why you need multiple outputs, and whether you're operating in a DAW or using the Patchwork/Metaplugin apps.
@getdunne BlueCat Patchwork has a standalone version and Metaplugin can run in something like the free Tone 2 Nanohost. So, you should be able to run both outside a DAW.
Right now, I am experimenting with different setups within Bitwig to allow more expansive sound design.
Using BC Patchwork and DDMF Metaplugin allows saving of multiple Unify instances so that I can come up with some very big sounds with multiple Unify instances with the flexibility that multiple outputs provides.
And I can use these sounds in various DAWs. I not only use Bitwig, but also Ableton Live, FL Studio, Reaper, Studio One, and Cubase.
I was looking at Vienna Ensemble Pro for the same kind of thing, but hosting a server on my computer and using their plugin would only introduce additional latency.
I hope that you can produce a multi-output version of Unify one day, and perhaps even a server/host version a la VEP to allow operation over a network.
Interesting. What do you mean exactly by "big sounds with multiple Unify instances with the flexibility that multiple outputs provide". Can you give an example of how you are using multiple outputs?
For example, I can use sounds from various Unify libraries in 4 instances of Unify within Metaplugin/Patchwork and be able to save these "megasounds" within either host. They then become portable and can be used in any DAW with multiple outputs available. This makes them DAW agnostic and portable. The same would not be true if you used multiple Unify instances on different DAW tracks. This would provide a similar workflow to what VEP offers without the client/server latency.
I can use sounds from various Unify libraries in 4 instances of Unify within Metaplugin/Patchwork and be able to save these "megasounds" within either host. They then become portable and can be used in any DAW with multiple outputs available. This makes them DAW agnostic and portable. The same would not be true if you used multiple Unify instances on different DAW tracks. This would provide a similar workflow to what VEP offers without the client/server latency.
You can do this with a single instance of Unify, loading each patch into a separate Unify layer. The only thing this approach adds is the ability to keep each patch on its own stereo bus. Is this something you need, and if so, how do you use it?
Yeah, I am aware of that...however, it is nice to be able to have the multiple stereo outputs. For example, in DAWs like Bitwig and Ableton, I can use the DAW's audio processing options for sound design instead of having to rely on those within Unify. I think folks that use external processing would also be interested in that approach.
In addition, it is quicker and easier to mix within the DAW rather than within Unify. Also, I can add other synths/samplers quickly and easily on the fly with separate outputs as well.
Of course, if Unify had multiple outputs, it would be unnecessary to use a host and multiple instances of Unify.
Anyway, I did the experiment as a proof of concept so I thought I would share it.