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Laptop on stage? No.

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Laptop on stage? No.

Postby BJG145 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:46 pm

I was suspicious, but I thought this had become standard now. Admittedly I'm new to playing keys on stage, and it was a short slot, but all the same...messing around with a USB cable, then trying to sort out the polarity on the sustain pedal. All worked fine at home, but extended squealing live, until I quit Ableton with everything connected and started again.

I'd nearly taken the Triton, but I was seduced by the Rhodes sounds on Lounge Lizard. Never again. I'm going old-school. (The song choice was also over-ambitious, though I've discovered it's quite fun to chuck decent musicians in a hole and watch them dig their way out.)
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Re: Laptop on stage? No.

Postby MarkOne » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:15 pm

It's whatever you feel comfortable with really...

I have played with an all Mainstage rig and loved it... Planned ahead and actually rehearsed my set-up and tear down a few times before I left the house.

And in this config I have less wires that the average guitarist with a pedal board full of stuff :)

But I've been there when the technology let me down with a hardware rig (Well, actually the physical MIDI cable between two keyboards wasn't fully inserted) - Oh how we laughed when the gentle flute sound I thought I'd selected for the intro of a song turned out to be the full out metal lead sound from the previous song! [laughter level might not be as advertised]
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Re: Laptop on stage? No.

Postby The Elf » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:27 pm

I use Cantabile for live performance now. Since I began using it I have never looked back - it's an incredible piece of software and getting better all the time.

Laptop on stage? YES!
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Re: Laptop on stage? No.

Postby Music Wolf » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:16 pm

The Elf wrote: Since I began using it I have never looked back

Possible whiplash claim by the sound of it :bouncy:
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Re: Laptop on stage? No.

Postby Dave Rowles » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:12 am

If you've got a Mac, then mainstage is very reliable. Not heard of Cantabile, but as it's windows looks like I can't play :(

Laptops are very common these days, especially with younger performers. However, one client I work for won't touch them because "These keyboards work in the way that you need them to, to control the sounds. I've not found a controller keyboard that does the same."

Fact is, if you perform with something you're not comfortable with you won't perform as well. So stick with the hardware if you've got it and are used to it!
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Re: Laptop on stage? No.

Postby Matt Houghton » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:48 pm

For me it's just the risk involved. The probability of a crash may be fairly low, but the impact is high: you can hardly ask the audience to twiddle thumbs while you take a couple of minutes to reboot the machine, boot the software, load the session. Well, you can, but neither you nor they will be in the best frame of mind for enjoying the rest of the gig!
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Re: Laptop on stage? No.

Postby Dave Rowles » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:33 pm

Same client uses a computer based keyboard that takes 1-2 mins to boot up. It's also his main keyboard. So if it goes down for any reason you've still got the time sink!
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Re: Laptop on stage? No.

Postby MarkOne » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:16 am

Matt Houghton wrote:For me it's just the risk involved. The probability of a crash may be fairly low, but the impact is high: you can hardly ask the audience to twiddle thumbs while you take a couple of minutes to reboot the machine, boot the software, load the session. Well, you can, but neither you nor they will be in the best frame of mind for enjoying the rest of the gig!

I haven't actually timed it, but I reckon in a race from power-up to pressing a key and getting a sound between my SSD Mac and my Fantom G, there isn't going to be much in it.

I've seen people using the Kronos taking around 2 minutes, so that's sort of in the same ballpark.

And at least if there is a stage power outage, the MainStage part of my rig has a battery :)
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Re: Laptop on stage? No.

Postby The Elf » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:19 am

I don't really get this overriding techno-fear about using a laptop live. Here's a thought - if my laptop died on stage I have my 150-quid backup laptop waiting in the wings that could be up and running in 5 minutes.

If I was using my Korg Kronos and it died I wouldn't have a backup at all. It also wouldn't cope with a power dip like my laptop would.

Which is the safer scenario?...
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Re: Laptop on stage? No.

Postby Dr R » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:54 pm

If your kit breaks on stage often enough, but if you're good enough, then it gets you a revered nickname. Slowhand, anyone ;)
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Re: Laptop on stage? No.

Postby blinddrew » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:01 pm

David Ford makes a bit of an act about having to fix his homemade kit on stage, you need very good patter to carry it off though.
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Re: Laptop on stage? No.

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:35 am

The Elf wrote:I don't really get this overriding techno-fear about using a laptop live.

I know, it's nonsense: many hundreds of gigs, probably in the 1000's now, using a laptop running PT with 4-5 stereo tracks, AND bussing vocals in and out of PT in real-time with complex vocal chains. MIDI out to lighting rigs and connection to video software to sync the visuals and not a single failure.

The fact that a laptop essentially has its own UPS, unlike 99% of other stage equipment, makes it infinitely more reliable, and being a veteran of 1000's of gigs it's safe to assert to that the majority of stage issues are power-based (and even that's rare these days).
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