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.