Notifications
Clear all

UNIFY as Stand-alone or as a hosted VST for live performances?


terrybritton
(@terrybritton)
Member
Joined: 7 months ago
Posts: 82
Topic starter  

Some in-depth discussion of the pros and cons of using the stand-alone version versus hosting in a DAW or performance program like Cantabile Lite, Solo or Performer for Windows, or Mainstage on a MAC would be welcomed!

I am torn between keeping Unify in stand-alone mode (where this excellent Maschine Jam script and template by Bernd@PDX can be used) or rather approaching it much more simplistically via hard-coded CC assignments for the Maschine Jam's sliders and buttons for use in a DAW, or in hosts like Cantabile, for recording and live performances.

I can use loopback to carry my audio signal from the Stand-alone into a DAW or Cantabile (and out to OBS) and retain all the benefits the above script gives me for using my Jam. I am going to try that out, at the very least for recording my improvisations, where the Jam becomes incredibly useful and inspiring for controlling Unify.

For my live shows, there are seven keyboards and other controllers involved. A typical length for a piece in my performances is about 10 minutes, and the transitions between sounds inform and define the performance, and that is a major component of each improvised piece. Unify has such powerful hosting capabilities that - using separate MIDI channels for each keyboard - I could let the stand-alone version host the different sounds for each keyboard in separate layers and then use layer switching to make quick changes.

This is very tempting to explore over using another piece of software to host Unify as a plugin (DAW, Cantabile, Mainstage) that is imposing its own CPU and memory load. Unify's CPU core management is quite impressive, which is a major influence in my considering this approach. However, I need to record the MIDI from each keyboard (and the audio!) locally, and so will require SOME kind of recording software, but I can pass the MIDI to the stand-alone Unify from the MIDI recorder, I'd wager.

Terry

 


Quote
terrybritton
(@terrybritton)
Member
Joined: 7 months ago
Posts: 82
Topic starter  

By the way...

For simple recording of the stereo output of Unify, I do not need to load up a big-ass DAW or host, as a much lighter-weight little virtual mixer for Windows exists that has a built-in recorder, called Voicemeeter Banana. It is donation-ware. There likely are other simple recorders that can capture high-quality audio as well, but Voicemeeter is incredibly useful when live-streaming. 

I am not sure what software to consider to accomplish the MIDI recording that is not a resource-heavy DAW (or Cantabile Solo or Performer).

Terry


ReplyQuote
zimp
 zimp
(@zimp)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 22
 

For strictly live as performing for live audience the stand-alone version is maybe the better option. In all other cases the plugin version wins for me. That's why I was caught by surprise the plugin version doesn't support OSC, only the stand-alone version does. This is a bummer because I like "to perform live" in a studio situation. I've made a Max program in the past that allows me to loop midi and modify key changes on the fly and at the same time recording all of this in a DAW which in my case is Bitwig. As long as OSC is not available for the plugin version I won't dive into the OSC world. I can use the stand-alone version using virtual midi ports but I won't. Too cumbersome. I don't think Bitwig is resource heavy, on the other hand I'm not that into the VST instruments, more of a hardware type of guy, so Bitwig is just fine.


ReplyQuote
getdunne
(@getdunne)
Member Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 3445
 

@zimp

Thanks for posting; this is quite intriguing. I have two questions.

First, the main issue with supporting OSC in plug-in versions of Unify is the need to ensure that each instance uses a different port number. One option is to allow the operating system to assign a number. This guarantees uniqueness, but you can no longer count on a known number being used, so you'd need a way to find out which number is being used, e.g. by looking in Settings. Would this work for you? I can think of other options, but they get complicated really quickly. Please let me know your thoughts, in context of what you're trying to achieve in your live setup.

Second, please tell us more about how you're using Max with Unify. I spent a bit of time working with Max last year, but I still have an awful lot to learn about how it's used in practice.


ReplyQuote
terrybritton
(@terrybritton)
Member
Joined: 7 months ago
Posts: 82
Topic starter  

@zimp As we both need some easy and repeatable method of pointing our instruments' MIDI out to standalone Unify (and hardware instruments too, perhaps!) that splits the signals out AND offers a way to combine the audio from standalone-Unify and hardware, I am looking at trying some tests with the free Cantabile Lite. You can do a LOT of MIDI and audio routing with that, and save your routing setups as "songs". On a Mac, Mainstage might offer similar capabilities, but I am not an Apple guy (at the moment - a MacBook Pro laptop may be in my future, though!).

I will make some tests and post a video on what I come up with. That solution would permit using standalone-Unify and its features (OSC, controller templates - like I do with Maschine Jam using THIS SCRIPT) and get the live audio shunted around where we want it for a sound man or for recording or both.

Terry


ReplyQuote
zimp
 zimp
(@zimp)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 22
 

Maybe I should post here more often so I will be remembered, lol. With Max I made a program that could record and loop midi and used chord recognition to modulate those midi loops to other keys and scales. Another use of the program was that it could be used as a midi control center for live playing and controlling the loops, switching them in and out on the fly (or quantized on certain musical time frames like beats, bars etc.) without note hanging.

The more I think of it, the more I like the idea of having two separate parts but with tight integration: on one side the midi control part accepting input from multiple input devices like keyboards, midi controllers, OSC devices and essentially controlling what midi information goes where and on the other hand simple VST containers accepting information from the controlling part. The midi control part is a single instance so no problems with multiple ports in an OSC setting. Something like splitting Unify in half, except it won't be Unify anymore, I know.


ReplyQuote
getdunne
(@getdunne)
Member Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 3445
 
Posted by: @zimp

Maybe I should post here more often so I will be remembered....

The problem is that I can't remember who is who, when people go by different names in different places. I know who you are now. I was excited that maybe someone else had used Max as ambitiously as you, but it seems not 🤔 .

The more I think of it, the more I like the idea of having two separate parts but with tight integration: on one side the midi control part accepting input from multiple input devices like keyboards, midi controllers, OSC devices and essentially controlling what midi information goes where and on the other hand simple VST containers accepting information from the controlling part. The midi control part is a single instance so no problems with multiple ports in an OSC setting. Something like splitting Unify in half, except it won't be Unify anymore, I know.

I'm actually experimenting with something like this. In my studio I have all my MIDI devices connected to a single PC, running a custom app which can send MIDI data (as MIDI-over-OSC) plus various OSC commands to Unify instances running on that PC and/or two different Macs. All three computers' stereo audio-outputs are sent to a mixer. I believe this may be the best way to build custom live-performance rigs with Unify.


ReplyQuote
terrybritton
(@terrybritton)
Member
Joined: 7 months ago
Posts: 82
Topic starter  

@getdunne What is the MIDI latency like when using OSC to send it through the wireless network? Is all that immediacy people want still there?

Terry


ReplyQuote
getdunne
(@getdunne)
Member Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 3445
 
Posted by: @terrybritton

@getdunne What is the MIDI latency like when using OSC to send it through the wireless network? Is all that immediacy people want still there?

Probably not. Wi-Fi is a convenience; it should never be used if latency (and time-variation of latency) is a concern.

That said, I've played fast-attack sounds like piano using MIDI-over-OSC over Wi-Fi and haven't noticed any latency. More accomplished players might.


ReplyQuote
zimp
 zimp
(@zimp)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 22
 

In my world the daw is still center of the studio. What I miss these days is a way of controlling a daw *from a players point of view*, using sophisticated tools that allows me to play all my available synths with ease. As it stands now a daw is just a collection of tracks and good luck with it. But what if we could more streamline it?

Imagine this program acts like an intermediate between your hardware setup (keyboards, midi-controllers etc.) and your daw. What if this program allows you to decide what midi information goes to what tracks in your daw? And what if these tracks contained a simplified version of Unify, and you can remotely control what patch to load? A daw controlled like this is like setting up a Unify patch, but on a higher level with all the advantages of a daw like recording and mixing.


ReplyQuote
zimp
 zimp
(@zimp)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 22
 

A little mock-up made in Max. It makes the assumption that the plug-in version of Unify is OSC aware which is currently not the case.


getdunne and Robert.P liked
ReplyQuote
Robert.P
(@robert-p)
Estimable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 199
 
Posted by: @zimp

Imagine this program acts like an intermediate between your hardware setup (keyboards, midi-controllers etc.) and your daw. What if this program allows you to decide what midi information goes to what tracks in your daw? 

Hi, not sure if this is what you after, but there is a MuTools MUX Modular available - I use it mostly for creating my virtual control surfaces that I can later map to my MIDI controllers (see the screenshot). It's quite flexible, it says it supports OSC and works inside Unify like a charm. 

An example: Mux Modular placed on Unify master MIDI Layer sends 16 separate MIDI streams to 16 instrument layers (each layer is listening to a different MIDI Channel). There is a plenty of MIDI processing that can be made with MUX (especially wit addition of some 3rd party plugins). In this example, the control panel can contain 16 x 128 = 2048 knobs and sliders to control everything just by sending CC messages to the instruments. (or by converting CCs to something else).


RO-mix liked
ReplyQuote
getdunne
(@getdunne)
Member Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 3445
 

@zimp

The new Max mock-up looks terrific! I'll be happy to help you make this a reality with Unify. I'll be in touch directly with some more details.


ReplyQuote
zimp
 zimp
(@zimp)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 22
 

@robert-p

That looks impressive! I watched a few YouTube videos and the possibilities are amazing. Is it what I'm after? I'm not sure, I don't know the program and with Max I have a few years experience. But thanks for pointing it out to me!

@getdunne

Thank you, looking forward.

 


Robert.P liked
ReplyQuote
Robert.P
(@robert-p)
Estimable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 199
 
Posted by: @zimp

I don't know the program and with Max I have a few years experience.

 

Max intrigues me, I have to try it! Thanks!


ReplyQuote
Share: