I've helped a lot of people these past few years set up their musical work templates and servers and software and such and I'm happy to continue to do so. But given that people continue to ask, and given how long it actually takes to explain it, I thought maybe a diagram/graphic would be nice. This way I can point people to one place where they can look at their leisure.
This does not get into the heavy details such as track balancing and sample controlling, but I find those are pretty personal decisions and usually depend on the kind of music being made. But it shows a good overview of the hardware and where different processes in the chain are handled. Of course, I'm happy to continue explanation from here if you still need help in setting something like this up, so please feel free to leave a comment or reach out!
Below I’ll address some of the most common questions I get asked about my setup relating to templates. If you ask good ones I'll add them!
Q: How do you handle recall of all of your outboard synthesizers? How are they hooked up?
A: All of my synths are MIDI'd up and in Digital Performer are assigned their own ins/outs for both MIDI and audio so that they're addressable by name, which keeps things simple. So I literally just arm a MIDI track, pick a synth from the list, and then start playing
Recall happens via SYSEX messages, mostly. Some of the newer synths have dedicated plugins that do a per-song recall of all channels, settings, and such. The older ones have menu options where I can just send all current patch data as a message to the sequencer so that I get full recall. And for the oldest ones? I just dial up the sounds and leave myself notes within the track in the sequencer.
Q: How is all of the audio from the outboard/synth stuff handled?
A: I have everything connected individually -- i.e. no mixers and such. This lets me, again, simply select the name of the outboard from a list of inputs and record whatever I want to come in. Every single object in my studio has its own grouping of tracks in folders in my main template so I don't even have to set that up. The same goes for my preamps and microphones -- the ones I use most are set and ready to go. I simply just arm them and track directly into the pre-set tracks. Of course, all of the buss and routing work is done so that when I'm done tracking, one simple pass incorporates all of the outboard, mics, imported files, and all of the audio from the slaves into a few stems.