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How to share DAW projects across 2 PCs on a LAN? Mirrored drive?

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How to share DAW projects across 2 PCs on a LAN? Mirrored drive?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:42 pm

We have evolved into tracking on one PC while doing the editing and some mixing on a second PC in a different room. So we are needing to work on the same Pro Tools project from 2 PCs.

If you try to just open the project from the mixing PC and go to the shared drive on the tracking PC, ProTools complains since the drive is not local to the mixing PC.

So what we do now is a 'save session as' and include all audio. Then copy the project folder with all of the audio over to the other PC. Then move it back and forth if needed using the same method.

But I would like to create a mirrored drive drive so that we get an automatically mirrored copy of the music drive (M drive) from the tracking PC and can see that mirrored drive from the mixing PC. Will that work? If I make changes to the project on the mixing PC will the tracking PC see the changes and update its folder?

So I was about to do that, but wanted to ask if anyone does this and can confirm that it works for ProTools, or if there is perhaps some other preferred method for sharing projects across 2 PCs on a LAN.
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Re: How to share DAW projects across 2 PCs on a LAN? Mirrored drive?

Postby Dr R » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:51 pm

Does PT still complain that the drive is not local if you map the share to a drive letter, rather than a UNC pathname?
I can imagine it might as it's concerned about disk access speed, and a non-local drive may be unreliable.

I'll see what I can find out about windows O/S level mirroring. I use it all the time for databases, but the rules are different. What O/S and version are you running?
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Re: How to share DAW projects across 2 PCs on a LAN? Mirrored drive?

Postby CS70 » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:57 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:We have evolved into tracking on one PC while doing the editing and some mixing on a second PC in a different room. So we are needing to work on the same Pro Tools project from 2 PCs.

If you try to just open the project from the mixing PC and go to the shared drive on the tracking PC, ProTools complains since the drive is not local to the mixing PC.

So what we do now is a 'save session as' and include all audio. Then copy the project folder with all of the audio over to the other PC. Then move it back and forth if needed using the same method.

But I would like to create a mirrored drive drive so that we get an automatically mirrored copy of the music drive (M drive) from the tracking PC and can see that mirrored drive from the mixing PC. Will that work? If I make changes to the project on the mixing PC will the tracking PC see the changes and update its folder?

So I was about to do that, but wanted to ask if anyone does this and can confirm that it works for ProTools, or if there is perhaps some other preferred method for sharing projects across 2 PCs on a LAN.

One option could be to use a usb3.0 stick or a detachable ssd driver and physically swap between the rooms?
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Re: How to share DAW projects across 2 PCs on a LAN? Mirrored drive?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:15 am

Dr R wrote:Does PT still complain that the drive is not local if you map the share to a drive letter, rather than a UNC pathname?
I can imagine it might as it's concerned about disk access speed, and a non-local drive may be unreliable.

I'll see what I can find out about windows O/S level mirroring. I use it all the time for databases, but the rules are different. What O/S and version are you running?

Windows 7 on the tracking PC.
Windows 10 on the editing PC.

I've been waiting for a reason to upgrade the tracking PC, so if this is it, I would be willing to do that if needed.
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Re: How to share DAW projects across 2 PCs on a LAN? Mirrored drive?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:25 am

Dr R wrote:Does PT still complain that the drive is not local if you map the share to a drive letter, rather than a UNC pathname?
I can imagine it might as it's concerned about disk access speed, and a non-local drive may be unreliable.

That works! Oh man had not thought of that.

Now that I have the tracking PC's M drive mounted on the editing PC as (also called) the M drive, I can now open ProTools and open the session on the M drive and it works.

Now that I recall the error message I got before was something about not being able to open sessions from a disk that is not a drive letter.

OK, so that works for a small project.

But I can't imagine this is going to work for serious projects right? How many tracks of audio can I read off of a disk on another PC on the LAN. I always thought this was a no-no for ProTools?

I am going to try a big project and see what happens.
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Re: How to share DAW projects across 2 PCs on a LAN? Mirrored drive?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:30 am

OK, I am running a project with 32 audio tracks and it seems to be working fine, even though I am running on the editing PC while opening the session on the M drive which is on the tracking PC.

I am wondering what the limitation with this setup is going to be?

I sure is feeling like something is built into Protools to make this work smoothly. It is acting just like normal.

Cool!

I can process clips with AudioSuite and that works fine.

I can do all the normal editing.

BTW I run vanilla Protools 11 (Not HD).
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Re: How to share DAW projects across 2 PCs on a LAN? Mirrored drive?

Postby James Perrett » Sun Apr 08, 2018 2:35 pm

A gigabit LAN is going to give you plenty of tracks - the bandwidth is theoretically higher than USB2 and Firewire.
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Re: How to share DAW projects across 2 PCs on a LAN? Mirrored drive?

Postby Dr R » Sun Apr 08, 2018 3:43 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:That works! Oh man had not thought of that.
Now that I have the tracking PC's M drive mounted on the editing PC as (also called) the M drive, I can now open ProTools and open the session on the M drive and it works.

Cool! Seems like the LAN is fast enough, so job done. :D
The next suggestion I was going to make was try writing Robocopy batch files to just copy new or changed project files between the two PCs, but that's less fun than making music.

Glad it worked.
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Re: How to share DAW projects across 2 PCs on a LAN? Mirrored drive?

Postby DC-Choppah » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:45 pm

I just wanted to update this thread as I discovered a really handy ProTools feature for mixing over the LAN.

The limitation I was running into was when bouncing a mix over the LAN from the mixing PC with a project located on the tracking PC. When bouncing ProTools mixes on a large project I would get 'running out of CPU - try removing native plugins'.

So the problem is trying to write and read from disk across the LAN at the same time.

This only happened when bouncing, not mixing. But I thought this was the limit to my LAN mixing fun.

BUT if you check the offline bounce box, ProTools bounces fine - no problem. No limitation. What is interesting is that the speed will indicate slower than real time, like 1.7x.
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