11/22/2010 9:30 AM
Yes, 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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.