Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

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somanytoys
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Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by somanytoys » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:26 am

I have a question, sorry if it's similar to something that's already been brought up before, didn't see anything in the search.

I'm recording at home, using a PC with Sonar (Cakewalk) Artist, and an Alesis EIE Pro interface. THE EIE works well for my current tech abilities, recording needs, and budget, except that I need more than just the 4 inputs that it provides. I'm capturing all tracks live - playing guitar through 2 amps live, and using loopers for guitars through other amps, and a direct in for bass & drums, instead of single tracking things. The plan is to use inputs for the drum machine, for DI bass (looped), 3 or 4 for guitars (live + looped) using mics on the amps/speakers, and maybe mic'ing an effected bass amp/speaker coming from the loop.

I've read that DAWs don't allow 2 different drivers to be used at the same time for interfaces, and even when using a more basic shared driver that will work for 2 different interfaces, it can cause latency and I'm not about to dive into the rabbit hole of what it would take to deal with all of that, latency on one interface was enough. I also want an interface with transformers, not just a soundcard with lots of direct ins.

All that said, I bought a 2nd EIE Pro, for and because of all of the reasons listed above, and it should come in soon.

My question is that since they are the exact same brand and model, and will use the exact same driver, will there be a problem stacking these interfaces into the DAW to utilize all 8 inputs simultaneously? I assume that I would be able to name each of the interfaces with a reference ID (1&2, A&B, whatever), and just identify the channels that are associated with each interface to assign to each different track. I just want to be sure that I can have all 8 lines being used at once to record 8 separate tracks, without having to perform much special technical wizardry.

Also, as a bonus question, these interfaces have a usb hub on the back of them. Would it be recommended to plug each of the interfaces directly into the computer, or would it be possible that one could be stacked through the others' hub, and both interfaces ported into the computer through a single connection? Not a big deal, just curious, really, but it would be kind of convenient.

Let me know if I left out any information that would be helpful.
-David

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Re: Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by parry » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:21 am

I know for a fact that it works on a mac, so I imagine there's a way to do it on a PC.
For me, I was using two Scarlett 2i2 usb interfaces. I had to use my Midi prefs to set up an aggregate device, in order to make it work, but it worked well. I think that's the key, is the aggregate device part.

Again, I would imagine there's a universal there, and that you can do it on a PC as well. For your reference, here's a link to the article that helped me: http://music.tutsplus.com/tutorials/qui ... audio-9095

I hope it proves somewhat helpful.
Good luck!

Edit: Admittedly, i didn't read it all, but a quick Google search and here's an article on SOS that looks like it addresses both mac and pc: http://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/ ... s-together
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Re: Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by Larry Mal » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:56 am

You'll be just fine.
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Re: Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by somanytoys » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:01 pm

Thank you very much, Parry. I had checked out some articles to find the info on what I couldn't do and what might be problematic , but I will definitely check out those links to see if I will need to use the info that's listed in them. I'll keep in mind the aggregate device thing. Macs, from my limited experience, are everything that a PC is not, like easy and capable, and without error messages about every little thing. Maybe one day I'll make the jump to Mac, but I'll still probably load a version of Windows to run on it, because it can. Especially considering that everything else that I have is made by Apple, including the router.

I'm very hopeful that you are correct, Larry, and that it won't be near the pain in the ass that it would have been 10 or 15 years ago, even though all I ever heard was "it's all just plug & play now, man!". But I've constantly found that nothing is that easy, maybe just for me. Surely I'm special.

On that last question, I'm kind of wondering exactly how much information is traveling through the USB per track/interface, and how much the max is for the information that a USB connection will allow to pass at one time. I'm thinking it's probably going to be right around what I'm trying to send through it, so it's probably better to have each interface USB into the computer independently.

Once I get it in and try to set it all up, I'll let you guys know if it was easy, or I had to use some of the info in the links, or if I have QWERTY imprinted backwards all over my forehead from frustration.
-David

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Re: Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by somanytoys » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:27 pm

Ow. Mucho painful info.

One plus I got out of it already is that maybe I should try to convert from ASIO to WDM/KS drivers, if I can. This is a discontinued model, and I think that they only upgraded the driver maybe once for this thing, so I'm not getting my hopes up that Akai has put out any improved drivers for this in the meantime. Did I say it was an Alessi earlier? I think I did. It isn't, I'm just an idiot.

That gives me some good info to try out, in case this doesn't go the way that Larry thinks and that I hope. Difficulty leads to frustration, frustration leads to beer, and that doesn't help with anything technical, only my ability to care about the fact that I suck at it at that moment, and it's only going downhill from there with beer.

or Crown, but still, you know. "Let's see if this rock gets any smarter by adding alcohol..."
-David

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Re: Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by somanytoys » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:53 am

Had 2 new microphones delivered already, but the person that I bought the interface from still hasn't shipped it, so I guess it's going to be a while before I can see if/how this works.

I've done some more research, and it seems like basically nothing's changed/improved in all these years. I think I might have to try changing over to WDM method from ASIO, and see if that gives me any better options. I also don't really want to have to daisy chain the clocks, but it looks like that's another possibility. Yay.
-David

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Re: Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:02 am

What kind of microphones did you get?

Sucks about shipping- you would be able to daisy chain these interfaces, right?
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Re: Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by øøøøøøø » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:27 pm

I just looked up the unit you'll be using, and there doesn't appear to be clock outputs or inputs of any type (no TOSLINK, no Wordclock, no buttons to select which is the master clock vs the slave, etc).

How do you plan to deal with this? I'd recommend contacting the manufacturer for advice. Perhaps there's something that can be done in the software domain, but I wouldn't assume so.

You definitely will not be able to have two separate clocks running two separate converters feeding the same DAW at the same time without some form of sync. Most likely it just will not run, but even if you can hack it to run, you'll get clicks and pops in the audio as the clocks in the respective devices fail to maintain sync.

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Re: Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by somanytoys » Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:45 am

Larry Mal wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:02 am
What kind of microphones did you get?

Sucks about shipping- you would be able to daisy chain these interfaces, right?
I already had 2 Sennheiser e609's that I've been using for a few years, I recently bought an e906 and an MD 421 II (both Sennhiesers). It would be nice to run all 4 at once (along with the 2 direct ins for the drum machine and the bass looper), but that may be a pipe dream.

He finally shipped it, and I got it Friday. He just didn't get the notification that it had sold.

I do not know, and I haven't had the time or to try the more I read, the less confident I am. I may have to look into another method. But especially for the mics, I'd really rather use something with a transformer based pre-amp, than just a direct soundcard with multiple inputs and use the DAW's preamps. But what I'd care to use (probably Warm Audio) is ridiculously expensive for the little home jackery that I do. This Akai does a good job, and I was thinking I could just plug & play both, or daisy chain them. From what I've read, plugging both is going to be a real problem, if it even works (especially with the same brand/model), and I tend to think that daisy chaining them may overload the data flow capabilities of the usb cable.
-David

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Re: Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by somanytoys » Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:10 am

øøøøøøø wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:27 pm
I just looked up the unit you'll be using, and there doesn't appear to be clock outputs or inputs of any type (no TOSLINK, no Wordclock, no buttons to select which is the master clock vs the slave, etc).

How do you plan to deal with this? I'd recommend contacting the manufacturer for advice. Perhaps there's something that can be done in the software domain, but I wouldn't assume so.

You definitely will not be able to have two separate clocks running two separate converters feeding the same DAW at the same time without some form of sync. Most likely it just will not run, but even if you can hack it to run, you'll get clicks and pops in the audio as the clocks in the respective devices fail to maintain sync.
Thank you for all that info, Brad, I appreciate it. I've read a lot of your stuff, and I definitely respect your opinion/knowledge.

What little I've read so far has kind of depressed my optimism on this working (like at all), and the clocks were as big a concern (well, maybe secondary to) whether the software would allow them to both work at all, or possibly crash my computer. I read in a couple of articles about switching to WDM/KS drivers instead of ASIO (and not to use ASIO 4 All), but I wasn't ever that well versed in the deeper aspects of this side of the driver/software integration stuff, and definitely haven't progressed much since.

The main problem with contacting the mfr (from what I've seen a lot on their forum) is that not only that this model has been discontinued, but they took forever to release updated drivers to work with both Mac & PC years ago while it still seemed to be released, to keep up with OS upgrades. And especially since the drivers are often farmed out to other companies, I don't expect any kind of helpful advice/information from them that things have gotten any better or something new & cool is out now for it.

I was also trying to think of a way that I could possibly use the inputs of the 2nd one, and use the inserts (in) of the first one to couple them instead, but the more I think about it, the less it makes sense. Even if it worked, it would be each of the 2 mic inputs of the 2nd unit, blended into each single track of the original signals through the insert in of the 1st unit, unable to ever separate/manipulate them again individually. Not exactly an improvement, I don't think. I may have to rethink things if I really want more than 4 ins, like start tracking individually or 4 at a time, or look into using a soundcard, and maybe using the unit for the mic preamps, intput and out through the insert sends into the soundcard?

In the end, I may just end up having to use the one unit with 4 jacks, and just have a backup if anything ever happens to the original one. So much sad. That's really unfortunate, for its price, it's a retro-cool, nice and really solid little box.

I will say that they look kind of cool stacked, so there's that...haha

Edit: Thinking about that last option some more, I'd have to find out if using the insert outs of the unit into a soundcard would actually accomplish the main advantage of using the preamps in the unit, otherwise that's a dead end.

If it did, I guess it would be pretty cool to get an 8 input soundcard, I could plug the mics input into the inputs of the interfaces, and send their signals out through the interfaces' out inserts, to go into the soundcard inputs It's looking like that's the only saving grace that I could see to be able to use them both, and I don't think that those kinds of soundcards are too expensive.

Any opinions on that option's workability? An 8 input soundcard has got to be cheaper than a 4 input interface with transformer driven preamps, yeah? Otherwise I'll just scale it all on back down to 4 tracks, or maybe capture 4 tracks at a time, and then maybe track another 2 - 4 tracks later. It just sucks that I spent money on 2 more (though better) mics and another interface, that I can't use as I had intended.
-David

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Re: Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by somanytoys » Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:03 pm

I kind of lost the desire to do this, after all of the highly likely potential problems.

Instead, I just bought a refurbed iMac, which will be my first Apple computer. I think what I'll do instead is just put either the same DAW or some other DAW if that doesn't work with a Mac, and just run the 2nd EIE with that setup. Later on I can see if I can run the EIE along with a soundcard, using the soundcard for the things that don't necessarily need the preamps (like bass & drums), and use the EIE for the 4 mics.

It's the more money way, but it would give me 2 recording computers in 2 different places, and possibly more options on each one, if the soundcards will integrate with the EIEs on either/both. With all of the years of experience I have with PCs and the various MS Windows products, I tend to have more confidence in pulling it off with the Mac, if it can be done.
-David

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Re: Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:07 pm

Sorry if I gave you some bad advice there- when I looked into it in a cursory fashion, I had the idea that you would be able to daisy chain them via USB but when I looked into them again, I did not know why I thought that in the first place.

I later decided to try and recommend that you look into setting up an aggregate device, but didn't feel I would be able to support that idea on Windows.

Now you are on the Mac OS, though, I am going to recommend you look into aggregate devices:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202000

I haven't done anything with those in a long time, but you'll note that you have some control over the clock source in that way. Considering you have two of the same devices by the same manufacturer, I will hope that you will get good results with this technique.

Also, now that you are on Mac, look into Logic, it's the only thing that keeps me on the Mac platform.
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Re: Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by somanytoys » Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:38 pm

No, it's not that you gave me bad advice, I appreciate everything - it all helps, to spark ideas, if nothing else, even if they don't end up working in the end.

I kind of thought I could daisy chain them, too, especially because this device has its own usb hub - makes total sense, but apparently not to the DAW/Windows/driver/whatever. Like I said, with the potential problems, I don't really feel like chasing that rabbit down the hole with that method. I did look a little bit into aggregating, but just like you said, even that didn't seem very hopeful with Windows.

I am perfectly willing to try it with a Mac, which is one of the reasons I decided to finally get one (and it was dirt cheap). Don't know if I can use the Mac version of the same DAW that I already have (Sonar/Cakewalk Artist) if they have one, but I'd also be willing to buy something else for the Mac if I need to, and maybe just make the Mac the dedicated computer for recording, and use the laptop for browsing and all of the other programs I have on it.

Thanks so much for that info, I'm going to look into that article (probably many times) and also into Logic - I assume that's a DAW program? If so, thanks for that, I had kind of started looking around a very tiny bit at other DAW programs for Mac, in case Artist isn't available for Mac, or if it would just be better to go with something else anyway. And if I wanted to, I could import all of the .wav files from the artist files into the new platform to work with, couldn't I? It's not like I'm so great at mixing, so I wouldn't be losing that much by just moving the stems (or whatever) over. I assume they all use the same wave files on the tracks.

It would be most cool if both of them would work on the Mac, and hopefully without way too much trouble,m but even if it is, it might be worth all the trouble.

Thanks for the info and pointing me in the right direction, Larry, I really appreciate it.
-David

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Re: Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by somanytoys » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:17 pm

I seem to be a repellent to timely shipping lately. My iMac still hasn't seemed to ship, although I got a notice that the macbook I bought my son later that day or the next, has shipped. I'm going to try to contact them this evening to see what the deal is.

So meanwhile, I wait...
-David

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Re: Using 2 of the same interfaces with a DAW to record

Post by somanytoys » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:25 am

I got the iMac in Saturday, set it up yesterday. It's cool, but it is an older model, and it's constrained to the El Capitan OSX (which is why it was so cheap). I couldn't upgrade it to Sierra (tried), so I bought the older version of Logic, the Studio or 9 version, whatever exactly they call it (the package, wasn't available for download). So I'll be trying that out, and I'll try to get used to the Logic, and if I like it, maybe one day I'll buy a newer Mac and Logic Pro X.

I'm still going to try to see if the iMac & old Logic will work with both interfaces, but if not, at this point, I may just either stick with a 4 input unit and only record 2 amps at a time, or start getting better at doing multiple/separate tracking sessions to add more tracks. Or maybe still try to see about introducing a soundcard to use for the non-mic channels/inputs.

But if it doesn't work, I will at least have 2 computers with different DAWs and can use 1 interface on each computer. Both DAWs should be able to swap stems/wave files, so I can import/export what I want into each of them, and see which I like using best, and/or have a laptop that I could bring to record somewhere other than home with a dedicated 4 input interface (maybe record from a mixer?).

It may not be a total win at my original idea, but it may end up being a good thing anyway. Either way, I'm going to make the best of it.

I'm going to start reading up on that info you pointed me to, Larry, and still give this an honest shot when I'm ready to buckle down and try it. I really appreciate the information. I'll post if I do ever get them both it working, maybe with some tips that made it work in case anyone else ever tries something similar, or could.
-David

Vaya con Covfefe.

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