Portable processing with the SoundGrid Mobile Server
I’m not sure it’s completely normal to put a computer server in your backpack when you’re off to run a live gig, but the Waves SoundGrid Mobile Server is a wee little thing that’s going to give you some serious real-time plug-in power for your show or the studio.
SoundGrid Mobile Server
What’s SoundGrid? SoundGrid is a system whereby you can route audio through software running on a computer-based box and process it in realtime using Waves plug-ins. This happens over standard ethernet cables at extremely low latencies. It’s proprietary so it’s not having to wade through Windows or MacOS which is why it can be so fast and efficient. It can handle multiple computers and audio interfaces provided they are connected to the same network. You can use it in the studio as a DSP box and because of the low latency it’s completely possible to monitor directly through. It also allows you to route audio between rooms in a similar way to other network protocols like Dante and RedNet. In a live situation it’s good for real-time processing, it can also record whole shows and it can route audio to the stage or different rooms. It’s a versatile technology that does away with loads of cabling and equipment.
To make it all work you need some SoundGrid Host software running on Windows or MacOS which controls the network, you’ll need a SoundGrid compatible audio interface and then a SoundGrid DSP server – that’s what the SoundGrid Mobile Server is a mini version of.
Waves have basically taken an Intel NUC Mini PC and branded it – which is a very cool idea. It’s running an i5-6200u processor with 4GB of RAM and housed in a durable aluminium casing. For that immediate real-time processing and monitoring you’ll need a SoundGrid audio interface, but if you’ve just got your regular USB one then you can still route processing over the network at your audio interfaces regular latency.
SoundGrid started off as a pricey technology that seemed aimed at venues and large studios. But with products like the Mobile Server it’s becoming more accessible, more like adding DSP processing from UAD and that’s a lot more interesting to many more people.
SoundGrid Mobile Server will be available early next year for $849.