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Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

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Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby Kolakube » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:23 pm

Anyone?

Its just I been thinking, Laptops are 3 times as much for the same power and also they dont take PCI cards and such.

Anyone done this? How did it work out.

I must add, Im taking a dedicated music PC, not the family computer. Im thinking a small shuttle type PC, a very small LCD. Cant be too hard. Simply plug the monitor in, the keyboard n trackball. Not like its any harder than setting up hardware synths and MIDI cables.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby johnny h » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:49 pm

PCI cards are on the way out. You don't really need one (especially for live performing).

As for a desktop, it depends on how many gigs you're likely to get. If its a couple of times a year, its fine. I did a gig with a full PC once, and it was in my hometown so I could drive there and had people to help me carry it all. And it was fine because I only got the gig because I knew the promoter and knew the venue, not because I had any sort of reputation in the music industry. So I could get there really early and faff about setting it up.

But if you start getting asked to play quite regularly, you need a laptop. A macbook pro with time machine, so that if someone spills beer all over it, you can be up and running ready for the next show via a quick trip to the Apple store (on the venue's expense if possible).
Kolakube wrote:Anyone?

Its just I been thinking, Laptops are 3 times as much for the same power and also they dont take PCI cards and such.

Anyone done this? How did it work out.

I must add, Im taking a dedicated music PC, not the family computer. Im thinking a small shuttle type PC, a very small LCD. Cant be too hard. Simply plug the monitor in, the keyboard n trackball. Not like its any harder than setting up hardware synths and MIDI cables.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby JeffB » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:46 am

I gigged heavily for 18 months with a self built rackmount PC in a shockmount case.

I had a MOTU PCI-424 and 2408 MkIII in it.

Worked flawlessly using Cantabile Performer as my VST host.

I just got fed up of the weight and the bulk so went back to a laptop.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby OneWorld » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:06 pm

A friend of mine used to use an 01x as a front end to a PC he had mounted in a custom made rack on wheels with a 15" LCD mounted in the flip up lid, but the 01X was discontinued (no Win7 drivers) and laptops became that much more cheaper and powerful, so he went to a laptop setup with an M-Audio Firewire interface, and of course an external backup drive - most important bit!
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby James Perrett » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:02 pm

When I'm not doing music, I'm involved with a scientific underwater vehicle project which uses PC's for communications and control at the top end. We've travelled all over the world with this project and our systems are set up in all sorts of locations.

We've tried using various desktop and industrial PC's but we now just use a bunch of laptops. Desktop PC's need flightcases and these can get big and heavy if you have a decent size screen. Industrial panel PC's are smaller but not cheap and have limited expansion. Laptops are much handier.

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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby The_BPP » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:03 pm

I used to gig with a pc... Set up was a massive ball-ache, as was transportation. The LCD monitor was on a vesa mount, to the left of my head (for logistical reasons). It once came loose and banged me on the head. The drummer laughed so hard he nearly fell off his stool.

What I'm trying to say is base unit PCs are not built for regular gigging.

Oh, and drummers are arseholes.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:31 pm

The_Big_Piano_Player wrote:Oh, and drummers are arseholes.

To be fair, arseholes are useful at least once or twice a day (3 or 4, if you're Alex Reid).
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:47 am

The_Big_Piano_Player wrote:Oh, and drummers are arseholes.

Does that explain why some are tighter than others?


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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby Rich Hanson » Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:36 pm

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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby jaminem » Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:12 pm

I gigged with an Amiga A500 once, plugged into my mums 14" 'portable' color TV (pre flat screen) The quicksilver mail in Yeovil crowd could barely contain their excitement.

That was 1990, we were cutting edge...
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby Kolakube » Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:03 pm

Thanks guys.

I like the idea of the rack-mounted PC.

Of course the idea of a Macbook is even better but I resent spending £1500 when a £500 desktop is as powerful.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby johnny h » Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:18 am

Kolakube wrote:Thanks guys.

I like the idea of the rack-mounted PC.

Of course the idea of a Macbook is even better but I resent spending £1500 when a £500 desktop is as powerful.

Its not all about power you know.. Like I said it depends what you expect out of it. You can pick up a white macbook with a core 2 duo chip for under 200 (I sold mine for 200 euros!) and its perfectly capable of running a good live setup.

For my studio I keep a PC because its extremely powerful. It has an obscenely big fan which enables me to run my i7 processor at the best part of 5ghz. You simply can't do that on a laptop, and the power is useful.

For live however, the reliability, sturdiness and universality of macs is great. Case in point... I did a live show earlier this year and unfortunately someone spilt beer all over my laptop the night before. Luckily I kept a backup of everything on a USB stick (it was running from Ableton) and I was able to use the promoter's Macbook Pro to play the show. This involved other musicians (including a singer) and was the closing act of a festival, so it would have been a pretty big disaster if it had gone wrong.

But, it went ahead without a hitch, and I actually wasn't even worried about it, because it was a Macbook Pro. They are the only top end laptop which are produced in incredible volume and keep a relatively uniform functionality year on year. I could get my Mac stolen, burnt, kidnapped by aliens, whatever, but as long as I keep my time machine drive I can get back up and running in a couple of hours. If you are doing a lot of shows this becomes a big factor.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby Kolakube » Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:45 pm

Johnny, You do know thoese two first paragraphs are at total contrast with each other dont you

Did you do all your effects too from with macbook?

Currently all sound sources are external bar some samples. (This will never change.)

Also FX sends are external. 2 x Reverbs and 2 x Delays. Would a mac book be able to run all the sequencing and fx and the insert VSTs I use such as compression?

I worry I buy one of these things and it hasen't to power for what I need.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby johnny h » Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:22 pm

Kolakube wrote:Johnny, You do know thoese two first paragraphs are at total contrast with each other dont you
I mean I use the PC for production and the Macbook for live performance.

Did you do all your effects too from with macbook?

Currently all sound sources are external bar some samples. (This will never change.)

Also FX sends are external. 2 x Reverbs and 2 x Delays. Would a mac book be able to run all the sequencing and fx and the insert VSTs I use such as compression?

I worry I buy one of these things and it hasen't to power for what I need.
Yeah it will be fine for that... its only certain vsti synths that need a fast computer.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby Kolakube » Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:15 pm

Is use the daw / ableton for

*sample one shots (inc drums)
*instert fx (comps, eqs, flangers n such
*sequencing
*recoring 8 seperate tracks of audio from time to time to get the hardware in the box to do a studio cut of the odd track to put on iTune for people to ignore

Up until now i have always used hardware send fx as mentioned. Do you think a say, 4 year old macbook could do all the above and the send stuff? In otherwords everything exept making sounds?
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby johnny h » Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:42 pm

Kolakube wrote:Is use the daw / ableton for

*sample one shots (inc drums)
*instert fx (comps, eqs, flangers n such
*sequencing
*recoring 8 seperate tracks of audio from time to time to get the hardware in the box to do a studio cut of the odd track to put on iTune for people to ignore

Up until now i have always used hardware send fx as mentioned. Do you think a say, 4 year old macbook could do all the above and the send stuff? In otherwords everything exept making sounds?

Will work fine, that's really not a big ask for a computer these days!
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby uphillbothways » Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:25 pm

If you're halfway serious, you can build an absolutely bombproof setup for the price of a good macbook pro.

Start with a 6u flightcase of your choice. Add two 1u Supermicro servers, each with mirrored RAID drives. In the top two units, add a rackmount monitor drawer with a KVM switch - these are ludicrously expensive new, but you can pick them up quite cheaply used. At the bottom of the rack, fit a basic 1u UPS, just a few hundred VA worth in case you get unplugged. In the remaining unit, fit two half rack audio interfaces to the front and a little line mixer or a broadcast failover switch to the back.

If you don't need stadium-gig levels of reliability, omit all the redundant kit and you can put together a decent setup for well over a grand.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby johnny h » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:20 pm

uphillbothways wrote:If you're halfway serious, you can build an absolutely bombproof setup for the price of a good macbook pro.

Start with a 6u flightcase of your choice. Add two 1u Supermicro servers, each with mirrored RAID drives. In the top two units, add a rackmount monitor drawer with a KVM switch - these are ludicrously expensive new, but you can pick them up quite cheaply used. At the bottom of the rack, fit a basic 1u UPS, just a few hundred VA worth in case you get unplugged. In the remaining unit, fit two half rack audio interfaces to the front and a little line mixer or a broadcast failover switch to the back.

If you don't need stadium-gig levels of reliability, omit all the redundant kit and you can put together a decent setup for well over a grand.

Its overkill in terms of weight and cost for what is required.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby Pete Kaine » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:25 am

uphillbothways wrote:
Start with a 6u flightcase of your choice. Add two 1u Supermicro servers, each with mirrored RAID drives. In the top two units, add a rackmount monitor drawer with a KVM switch - these are ludicrously expensive new, but you can pick them up quite cheaply used. At the bottom of the rack, fit a basic 1u UPS, just a few hundred VA worth in case you get unplugged. In the remaining unit, fit two half rack audio interfaces to the front and a little line mixer or a broadcast failover switch to the back.

Hmmm... I've just spent a week testing a custom setup for a firm looking for something like this. Managed to build a silent 3770 rig that can hold up to about 20TB of mechanical storage as well as a RME AIO into a 2U case.

I was thinking grab one of those slide out/pop up KVM draws and you can get the whole lot in a 3U case. Of course you lose the UPS unless you go for a 4U solution and you don't gain a physical line mixer althrough I was looking at using the RME mixer for that side of things.

Your other option is somthing like this http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/chieftec_bl01b/ where you can mount the screen to the case itself. Gigabyte also has something similer althrough in the past 12 months of trying to get them to import one to the UK I've still failed to get my mitts on one.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby johnny h » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:01 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:
uphillbothways wrote:
Start with a 6u flightcase of your choice. Add two 1u Supermicro servers, each with mirrored RAID drives. In the top two units, add a rackmount monitor drawer with a KVM switch - these are ludicrously expensive new, but you can pick them up quite cheaply used. At the bottom of the rack, fit a basic 1u UPS, just a few hundred VA worth in case you get unplugged. In the remaining unit, fit two half rack audio interfaces to the front and a little line mixer or a broadcast failover switch to the back.

Hmmm... I've just spent a week testing a custom setup for a firm looking for something like this. Managed to build a silent 3770 rig that can hold up to about 20TB of mechanical storage as well as a RME AIO into a 2U case.

I was thinking grab one of those slide out/pop up KVM draws and you can get the whole lot in a 3U case. Of course you lose the UPS unless you go for a 4U solution and you don't gain a physical line mixer althrough I was looking at using the RME mixer for that side of things.

Your other option is somthing like this http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/chieftec_bl01b/ where you can mount the screen to the case itself. Gigabyte also has something similer althrough in the past 12 months of trying to get them to import one to the UK I've still failed to get my mitts on one.

For 8 tracks of audio, midi and some FX? That's way too extreme! A simple laptop can handle that kind of performance without breaking a sweat. Or your back.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby MonkeySpank » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:40 am

Kolakube wrote:Is use the daw / ableton for

*sample one shots (inc drums)
*instert fx (comps, eqs, flangers n such
*sequencing
*recoring 8 seperate tracks of audio from time to time to get the hardware in the box to do a studio cut of the odd track to put on iTune for people to ignore

Up until now i have always used hardware send fx as mentioned. Do you think a say, 4 year old macbook could do all the above and the send stuff? In otherwords everything exept making sounds?

I sold my 2007 2GHz Core2Duo MacBook Pro last year to my friend for £400 and it could handle all of that and a thousand times more. I only sold it to him because I got lucky and scored a newer i7 a few months beforehand, otherwise I'd still be using it now. I ran Logic 9, with no outboard at all: my effects and synths were entirely in the box and that machine never came off the rails. Heavyweight soft synths are what tax a computer (e.g Arturia's Jupiter 8). Compression, reverb, delays, flangers etc. plugins generally don't tax them at all.

To be honest your requirements could almost be handled by GarageBand, or similar, running on an iPad.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby Pete Kaine » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:02 am

johnny h wrote:
For 8 tracks of audio, midi and some FX? That's way too extreme! A simple laptop can handle that kind of performance without breaking a sweat. Or your back.

Nah it wasn't quite doing that, the spec was setup for event recording hence the insane amount of storage and requirement to rack it. The 3370 was a proof of concept item too, so we could see just what would work in it; ended up going with a i3"S" chip to keep the power/heat profile right down.

I was more making the point that if someone really wants to go for a rack solution then it can be condensed into a far tighter space. The are some fairly short rack designs as well if you look around and if you kit it out with SSD's and you can lug it around with one hand with relative ease.

Someone else was asking me about a playback/recording/cantabile system (for the in house performers) they could set up as a permanent install into rack too which would have worked well based around the same sort of spec. I'd agree with you that a laptop makes as much sense for the second one, but I can understand going that route if it's going in an install and they just want to fit and forget.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby MonkeySpank » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:15 am

Pete Kaine wrote:
johnny h wrote:
For 8 tracks of audio, midi and some FX? That's way too extreme! A simple laptop can handle that kind of performance without breaking a sweat. Or your back.

Nah it wasn't quite doing that, the spec was setup for event recording hence the insane amount of storage and requirement to rack it. The 3370 was a proof of concept item too, so we could see just what would work in it; ended up going with a i3"S" chip to keep the power/heat profile right down.

I was more making the point that if someone really wants to go for a rack solution then it can be condensed into a far tighter space. The are some fairly short rack designs as well if you look around and if you kit it out with SSD's and you can lug it around with one hand with relative ease.

Someone else was asking me about a playback/recording/cantabile system (for the in house performers) they could set up as a permanent install into rack too which would have worked well based around the same sort of spec. I'd agree with you that a laptop makes as much sense for the second one, but I can understand going that route if it's going in an install and they just want to fit and forget.
I hardly need to tell you of all people Pete, but I mention it here out of interest for the original poster: the times they are a-changing:

24-track recorder DAW for the iPad.

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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby Kolakube » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:34 pm

Thanks guys for replies.

Im surprised to learn Delays and compressors dont hog CPUs much. Good to know.

I bought the lexicon reverb bundle a few years ago and I must say. Its either extremely poorly coded or CPU heavy. Running more than 2 instances of this is scarey. And that's on my desktop.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby Pete Kaine » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:33 pm

Kolakube wrote:
I bought the lexicon reverb bundle a few years ago and I must say. Its either extremely poorly coded or CPU heavy. Running more than 2 instances of this is scarey. And that's on my desktop.

Badly coded delays can kill a machine with ease for a couple of reasons, thankfully most of the ones out now are designed to combat the more common problems. If your seeing problems on the lexicon plug in (and I recall I had it and binned it for the same reason) it's probably worth checking out a few more recent ones.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby Magic Matt » Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:59 pm

Kolakube wrote:Thanks guys for replies.

Im surprised to learn Delays and compressors dont hog CPUs much. Good to know.

I bought the lexicon reverb bundle a few years ago and I must say. Its either extremely poorly coded or CPU heavy. Running more than 2 instances of this is scarey. And that's on my desktop.

My now aged P4 3GHz handles about 12 instances of the Waves reverb plugins without an issue, and it can handle over 20 of the one bundled with Sonar 2. It sounds like the Lexicon one is a bit of a lemon.
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Re: Anyone gig'd with a a PC before (IE not a laptop)

Postby The Elf » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:26 pm

Despite my early concerns I've never found the Lexicon reverbs very demanding of processor power. I regularly run half a dozen reverbs on an old XP PC without it even breaking sweat.
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