Topic: Second PCIe card just for loopbacks between DAWs?

Hi all,

Now that ReWire is dead, I'm trying to figure out using DAWs side-by-side in a way that doesn't suck. I need bidirectional audio between DAWs.

I understand that TotalMix has Loopback, and from what I've read, when you choose to use a particular channel for Loopback, you can't use the physical I/O.

I've completely maxed out the physical I/O on my RayDat.

If I were to source a second RayDat, would I be able to exclusively use it for loopbacks and utilize the physical I/O of the other card in both DAWs too?

When enabling loopback, do I lose the physical I/O for an entire ADAT port (8 channels), or just for as many channels of loopback as I enable?

However, RayDat are a little thin on the ground currently.

Am I able to buy any other RME PCI or PCIe card and achieve the same alongside my RayDat? If so, which PCI or PCIe card would be best as it'll just be dedicated to loopbacks from one DAW to another? Wouldn't want to waste features I won't be using. Would an Hammerfall/HDSP card (not HDSPe) work for this purpose?

Are there any disadvantages I should be aware of?

Am I still able to use a TCO card?

Sorry for the mountain of questions.

2 (edited by ramses 2022-11-19 12:22:59)

Re: Second PCIe card just for loopbacks between DAWs?

Please put an example / detail, what signal flow you need.

The RME ASIO driver works "multi-client", this means you can load the ASIO driver in multiple applications.
Side note: the same way "DIGIcheck" (RME audio analyzer) accesses audio information from the recording interface.

I just performed the following little test:

App#1 - Cubase using ASIO driver             - sends audio to SW playback AN 1/2 (TM FX middle row, audio from PC/apps)
App#2 - MusicBee using same ASIO driver - sends audio to SW playback AN 3/4 (TM FX middle row, audio from PC/apps)

In TM FX, both SW playback channels (AN 1/2 and AN 3/4) are routed to HW Output ADAT1/2 (ADI-2 Pro).
On HW Output ADAT 1/2 I enabled Loopback which sends audio to the corresponding HW input, ADAT 1/2.

With App#3 WaveLab - using the same ASIO driver - I can record audio from HW input ADAT 1/2,
which is the looped back signal from submix HW Output ADAT 1/2
that contains audio from SW playback AN1/2 (Cubase) and SW playback AN3/4 (MusicBee)
or whatever more HW input or SW playback channels more you route to this particular submix HW Output ADAT 1/2.

What does this mean to you?

In your case, both applications (DAWs) should be able to access the RayDAT in parallel using the RME ASIO driver.
If application/DAW#1 creates a submix, let's say on HW Output AN1/2, and you enable loopback there,
then DAW#1 and DAW#2 (and any other application loading this ASIO driver) can read the "looped-back" submix of HW Output AN1/2 from the corresponding HW input AN 1/2.

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub12Pro

3 (edited by ramses 2022-11-19 12:36:30)

Re: Second PCIe card just for loopbacks between DAWs?

Regarding some of your statements:

hammyhavoc wrote:

I understand that TotalMix has Loopback, and from what I've read, when you choose to use a particular channel for Loopback, you can't use the physical I/O.

In TM FX, you have individual submixes per HW output.
You can activate loopback on any of the HW outputs.
This sends audio from this particular HW output (aka "submix") to the corresponding HW input.
The looped back signal "overlays" any potential audio arriving at that HW input, but the input signal is not lost.
You can route it to another free HW output and even enable loopback there, if you want to record it (on the corresponding HW input).

hammyhavoc wrote:

I've completely maxed out the physical I/O on my RayDat.

Not yet sure how this related to the topic, as the needed signal flow is not fully clear to me.
As I mentioned, maybe it is sufficient that both DAWs access the same audio HW via ASIO driver in a "multi-client" fashion.

hammyhavoc wrote:

If I were to source a second RayDat, would I be able to exclusively use it for loopbacks and utilize the physical I/O of the other card in both DAWs too?

Two different cards mean two different instances of TM FX with no connection between them.
You can route audio between the cards only in the DAW or by providing ADAT connections between the cards
to exchange audio between the cards / TM FX instances.
Should you record in double speed (88.2/96) you need to consider that you have only 4 channels left (channel multiplexing to achieve the required bandwidth for the higher sample rate).

hammyhavoc wrote:

When enabling loopback, do I lose the physical I/O for an entire ADAT port (8 channels), or just for as many channels of loopback as I enable?

You enable loopback not for the whole ADAT port, but on a (mono or stereo) channel basis.

hammyhavoc wrote:

However, RayDat are a little thin on the ground currently.

Am I able to buy any other RME PCI or PCIe card and achieve the same alongside my RayDat? If so, which PCI or PCIe card would be best, as it'll just be dedicated to loopbacks from one DAW to another? Wouldn't want to waste features I won't be using. Would an Hammerfall/HDSP card (not HDSPe) work for this purpose?

First, let's clarify your requirements in terms of required signal flows / routing. Perhaps the information in my two postings clarifies what is technically possible and gives suggestions on how to use the equipment differently than using ReWire.
Possibly this also avoids the additional purchase of hardware.

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub12Pro

Re: Second PCIe card just for loopbacks between DAWs?

Hello Ramses!

Thank you very much for your thoughtful response, really appreciative of it.

Sorry for my late reply! I subscribed to the topic, but I didn't get any kind of email notification about it, and it didn't go to my spam. Should I have gotten one? Didn't find any preference for that on my forum profile.

Re the maxed out RayDat, I previously thought it was relevant as I have equipment attached to all the physical I/O that I use within my DAW template, and would need to keep using, so ideally don't want to designate any of the physical I/O as loopbacks as I wouldn't be making full use of what I have physically.

With that said, I had no idea that enabling a loopback didn't override the hardware input; just goes to show, I shouldn't trust all information from YouTubers... TIL! :- )

Re TM FX, will this differ than with my RayDat? AFAIK, and I may well be wrong, I can (and do) use TM, but there's no FX chip on the RayDat, so can't make use of the more recent developments, if that makes any difference with this scenario.

In terms of example signal routings, ideally, I'd at a complete minimum have a stereo pair coming out of DAW A and feeding that into DAW B, and likewise, a stereo pair from DAW A feeding DAW B.

Example workflow being messing around with Bitwig, Live, or Max for example, and treating them as live instruments to then feed into DAW A. But likewise, being able to send out signal from DAW A to process and play with in DAW B, and feed back into DAW A. They don't need to flow via TotalMix necessarily, but I do want to reduce latency and any potential unnecessary signal degredation as much as possible, which is what attracts me to digital loopback in TotalMix instead of running physical I/O.

If possible, I'd likely run several busses of audio back and forth between the DAWs to replicate Octatrack/Maschine/MPC/groovebox-sampler-like functionality.

Now ReWire is dead, I'm currently using Maschine VSTi with my main DAW (16 outs from the VSTi, 4 in) whilst working on picture, but it leaves a lot to be desired workflow-wise (no merge/split patterns, can't record different pieces of hardware simultaneously (maximum of one stereo pair at a time, so 4 inputs is largely worthless in Maschine VSTi), so it's inappropriate for jamming with others using real instruments, which is where I feel something like Live or Bitwig might give me what I'm after in terms of non-linear stuff and recording multiple instruments at a time, as doing them one by one in Maschine really slows things down versus jamming for an hour and then kit-bashing clips together to see what we liked and what fits picture or a level of a game.

In terms of not confusing signals with dual purpose I/O, ideally, I'd like a separate card just for it so that the DAW templates and TotalMix routing are just set-and-forget. As long as both cards appear in both DAWs, and can be used simultaneously, complete with loopbacks of signals betwen DAWs, that's brilliant.

Would something like an HDSP 9632 alongside my RayDat suit my needs? Is there any difference latency-wise running loopbacks on something like that versus a second RayDat or similar?

It would be cool if there was an RME product that was a 'Mix' card that gave users the routing of TotalMix between software applications and the DSP of FX. I could see that being popular with streamers.