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Nov 22

Written by: masterblogger
11/22/2010 9:30 AM  RssIcon

AskEQ_nrYes, in some cases you really can ReWire more than two programs into a host—no matter what people tell you.

I recently did a session at a studio of a friend who’s really into ReWire, and I’m hooked. He said that you need a super-powerful computer to pull it off, but didn’t really elaborate. How much computer do I really need? Can I get by with a dual-core machine?
Jacquie Tobias, via email
Seattle, WA

EQ: Your friend is half-right. (And we wonder why we get these kinds of questions right after a new version of Reason has been released!) The ReWire protocol itself uses almost no power; it’s really just a way of connecting one program with another. However, because you’ll be running two programs at once, they’ll be splitting your computer’s resources between themselves.

For example, if one of the programs has a virtual instrument loaded that stores a ton of samples in RAM, there might not be enough RAM left for the other program. Try running each of the programs that you want to use, and if either one consumes a lot of CPU and RAM, then ReWiring might be a problem. On the other hand, if your CPU isn’t breaking a sweat, you’ll probably be okay. You may need to increase latency a bit to lighten the CPU load, but in general, if you make sure your computer isn’t spending resources on unnecessary tasks, any modern music computer should be able to handle ReWired applications without problems.

If you want to get heavy into ReWire, the nicest present for your computer would be as much RAM as it can address. So is a 64-bit machine with a 64-bit OS the answer, as this type of system can address far more RAM compared to 32-bit systems? Not so fast. ReWire isn’t compatible yet with 64-bit operating systems, although it will generally work with 32-bit ReWirecompatible applications running under a 64-bit OS.

One last thing: Conventional wisdom says you can’t ReWire more than two programs together, but that’s not always true. Look at the screenshot for proof: Both Propellerhead Reason and Ableton Live are ReWired into Sonar, which is playing back music from all three programs. It’s definitely taxing the CPU, but it works.

Ask EQ a technical audio-related question, and EQ will answer it. Send it to eqeditor@musicplayer.com.

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