Adding Redundant Inputs to Live Playback

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PlayAUDIO12: It’s the interface which has transformed the way working musicians run live playback of audio and MIDI. Don’t take just our word for it: PlayAUDIO12 is currently out on tour with some of the world’s biggest acts.

When we designed PlayAUDIO12, we designed it to do one job better than any other interface made before or since: Live Playback. We stripped out all the unnecessary stuff that studio interfaces made you carry that you’d never need.

One of those big, money, weight and space saving things we threw out, were inputs. We built PlayAUDIO12 for playback so why bother with another bunch of redundant preamplifiers and A/D converters you’ll never use?

Adding Inputs to a Redundant Playback Rig

A few of our professional users have recently asked if it’s possible to add a couple of input channels to their redundant playback rig setups. This is very useful for real-time computer processing of live sources such as vocals, guitars, and anything else you can think of.

We put our heads together in the office and realised not only is there an easy way to add inputs but thanks to some of the clever technology we build into our interfaces, it’s also possible to add built-in redundancy to those inputs too…

Choosing The Perfect Interface

We already know that the PlayAUDIO12 has no audio inputs, right? To add inputs to the system, we need to add another audio interface. Not just any interface though; the perfect tool for the job comes from the iConnectivity stable: The iConnectAUDIO4+

Why the iConnectAUDIO4+ I hear you say? Well, it has a number of design features which make it ideal for the job:

  • Four mic/line inputs for diverse inputs sources
  • An external power supply (rather than bus power)
  • Support for connection to two computers simultaneously

Why do we need these things? Well, the first of those features is reasonably obvious; four mic/line inputs. We don’t know what kind of things you’re likely to be processing!

Plug in a microphone directly for crazy vocal effects. Maybe you’re running guitar amp modelling software? That’s OK too - iConnectAUDIO4+ supports Hi-Z inputs such as your guitar’s pick-ups. That means no external DI boxes required.

The next two features are essential to running redundant audio inputs. The whole point of a redundant rig is that if your primary computer fails during a show, the second computer will carry on the show seamlessly.

PlayAUDIO12 is designed to automatically switch to a secondary computer if your primary machine fails. So what would happen if you just had a regular audio interface plugged into your primary A computer to give you extra inputs? If PlayAUDIO12 did an automatic switch over to the B computer, that computer wouldn't be connected to your inputs and you wouldn't hear your live input signals at all!

Multi-Host Support

Not so with the iConnectAUDIO4+! We built the iConnectAUDIO4+ with the facility to share its inputs and outputs with two computers - simultaneously! This means you can use the iConnectAUDIO4+ as a virtual Y-Split.

Using your iConnectivity control software, you can route your audio inputs to be sent simultaneously to both your A computer and B computer. When PlayAUDIO12 switches over, your inputs are still routed (no, really, you’re welcome!).

So, why do we need an external power supply? Well, technically, you can do the same job with the iConnectAUDIO2+ as well. However, the iConnectAUDIO2+ is powered from the USB Bus. If one computer suffered a total power failure, then the iConnectAUDIO2+ would also fail.

There *is* a work-around, by using the optional iCP9V power supply. However, by that point, you’re close to the price of the iConnectAUDIO4+ which comes with two extra inputs and an external power supply as standard. You pays your money…

Ok, so how do I connect all of that up then? Honestly, it’s pretty straightforward, we’ve even made you a pretty diagram to explain it all (Bob did this, it took him ages, everyone say thanks Bob).

 Adding redundant inputs is simple and easy with the iConnectAUDIO4+ Orange lines show the inputs (in this case a guitar and a microphone). Use iConnectivity's control software to route your inputs to both computer connections, shown here as the yellow lines. Your PlayAUDIO12 then connects in the normal manner (purple lines), just be sure to set your DAW's inputs on both machines to accept the outputs from the iConnectAUDIO4+

Adding redundant inputs is simple and easy with the iConnectAUDIO4+
Orange lines show the inputs (in this case a guitar and a microphone).
Use iConnectivity's control software to route your inputs to both computer connections, shown here as the yellow lines.
Your PlayAUDIO12 then connects in the normal manner (purple lines), just be sure to set your DAW's inputs on both machines to accept the outputs from the iConnectAUDIO4+


As you can see, adding external audio inputs to a redundant playback rig really is as simple as buying an iConnectAUDIO4+, and routing your inputs to be split between two computers.

It’s a new era for playback systems, and at iConnectivity, we’re right at the cutting edge of making playback affordable, accessible, lightweight, reliable and also scalable to suit your needs and your budget. Just more reasons why professionals everywhere are turning to iConnectivity for #perfectplayback!