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Windows Remote Desktop for Cbb DAW Control

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I am looking to purchase a Surface Pro 6 tablet, running Windows 10 Pro. I would use this for multiple purposes in the studio, but most significantly as a remote control for my desktop DAW PC (i7 8700k 4.7 GHz, built by Jim Roseberry at Studiocat). Jim suggested that I run Windows Remote Desktop on the Surface Pro 6. Sounds like a great idea to me.

I would use this when I am in various parts of the room where I can't easily get to the desktop DAW PC/Monitor/Kybd/mouse, eg sitting at the piano or the edrum kit. I would use this to control Cbb, control the transport, tweak VST's, etc, as well as controlling the monitor mix using RME TotalMix for my UFX+ audio interface.

I would have the Surface Pro networked on my home intranet via WiFi (802.11ac). My DAW desktop PC is connected to my router via GigE cat5 cable.

Anyone have experience using Windows Remote Desktop in the manner described above? In particular, I am interested in how this affects performance, latency, and display smoothness (eg meters, sliders, knobs, text updating, etc) on the remote device. On a reasonable powerful desktop DAW, I am hoping this will operate smoothly enough so that I can run the remote continuously during tracking.

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I know of someone on this forum that does this all the time without issues.

What you might want to consider is the audio quality on your Surface.

Edited by razor7music

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EDIT :  I was in error when I wrote this post.  I've corrected things further down in this thread...

I've just gone through the process of setting up remote desktop so I can use my laptop above my midi keyboard to control things while everything is actually running on my much more powerful tower PC, a few feet away.  It was not as straightforward as I had imagined, not by a long shot.

The biggest problem is that USB devices on the tower are not accessible/visible through remote desktop, so I couldn't, for instance, plug my midi keyboard into the tower.  I had to plug it into the laptop and use midi over LAN to get it to the tower.  Midi ports are accessible through remote desktop, buy only if sound is output from the remote machine (my tower).  Both machines are connected with an ethernet crossover cable.

It is quite possible that I haven't learned all the ins and outs of this kind of setup and there may be an easier way than the one I came up with.

There is no latency at all (at least that I can detect with my ears) between my midi keyboard into the laptop and the sound coming out of the tower.  I was pleasantly surprised.  There might be latency if you're sending audio back to play on your mobile device.

 

Edited by Paul P
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Thanks for your response razor7music. I would not be using any audio internal to or attached to the Surface Pro. All the audio would be via the desktop DAW PC and its attached RME UFX+ audio interface.

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Thanks Paul P. Yes as far as USB MIDI goes, my intent would be to wire that all to the desktop (tower) DAW PC. As mentioned above all audio would be via the UFX+ audio interface on my DAW PC. So the Surface Pro would only be used as a remote display/touchscreen/ and/or kybd/mouse. Would that work OK?

Also curious -- was there a problem using a WiFi router/home network for the Remote Desktop communication?

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I use remote desktop this way without issues.  I can even run cakewalk from another room using an old dual core PC from 10 years ago.  It basically just acts as a "dumb" terminal to control your DAW.  All of your inputs/outputs have to be plugged into your main DAW system.  I haven't had any issues so far with the speed of the display.

 

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21 hours ago, Scott MacBride said:

I use remote desktop this way without issues.  I can even run cakewalk from another room using an old dual core PC from 10 years ago.  It basically just acts as a "dumb" terminal to control your DAW.  All of your inputs/outputs have to be plugged into your main DAW system.  I haven't had any issues so far with the speed of the display.

 

How do you get your daw (running on the main computer) to see your usb devices (like a midi/usb keyboard) connected to the main computer when you fire up your daw program after logging in through remote desktop ?

After a lot of researching and head scratching, I came to the conclusion that that was a limitation of remote desktop.  I'd like to be wrong.

EDIT :  I've since gotten things to work.  See a but further down in this thread.

Edited by Paul P
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The remote desktop just acts like another display attached to your main computer.   My usb interface shows up just fine.  Make sure you don't have the advance options checked to use your local resources, you want to use the remote resources as is.

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I did some googling of remote desktop midi and found some info from folks who have had a similar problem as Paul P above. Here is a possibly relevant thread in the Steinberg forum: https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=107721

Apparently Remote Desktop supports audio redirection by default in some setups and also apparently audio redirection also implies MIDI redirection. 

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I'm using ASIO drivers with a Focusrite interface, recording audio only so I don't know about the MIDI part.

You can try under the remote desktop launch: Show Options->Local Resources->Remote Audio->Play on Remote Computer  to see if that solves the issue.

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Well, looks like I was confused during my first attempt regarding usb and midi ports.  What must have happened is that I hadn't yet discovered the necessity of having the option in Remote Desktop for audio output to occur on the server for the midi ports to appear, and then went about finding a workaround and ended up sending the midi over lan from my laptop to the tower, which does work.

So I tried again and yes, I can have my keyboard plugged into my tower and now my daw sees it just fine through RD.

Thanks Scott for inspiring me to try again.

 

Edited by Paul P

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Paul P. : Glad you got Remote Desktop to work with Midi interfaces on the main DAW.

I was also looking into UltraVNC. Anyone try UltraVNC for remote DAW control?

One advantage to UltraVNC is that both the local and remote desktop can be active, avoiding the need to connect/login/logout/disconnect everytime you move back and forth between the Desktop/Tower DAW and the remote Laptop/Tower. Also it would allow for 2 users (1 at each desktop), of course this would require proper coordination between the users to avoid mouse battles :)

 

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Another piece of the puzzle :  I installed a virtual desktop app called Dexpot that gives me 4 different desktops that I switch to using ctl + F1-4.

Desktop 1 is my usual desktop on my tower PC.  Desktop 2 is for when I'm remotely logged from my laptop with its much smaller screen.  This desktop only has music playing related icons.  Desktop 3 is all the portals (Native Access, etc), user manuals, etc, for installing and maintaining all my music sofware.

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