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Laptop live? Never again.

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Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:01 pm
by qUE@3rdEvent
Most of the name acts will have a setup specifically for the performance (likely provided as a package by a supplier), there's a photo somewhere on the interwebs with Guetta and a tons of Apple Laptops in front of him incase one falls. I've been to gigs where an act's laptops crash mid set and it the usual startup sound over a large PA and a minute or so of dead air.

Trouble is like you say, unless you're a tech. and you've absolutely screwed down your setup to a custom OS and have everything streamlined, you're basically asking a general use operating system with likely unoptimised software to perform the job of hardware. So it's inevitable you get problems. This and you get into complex harmonics or subsonics, onboard DACs just sound pants.

It's the price you pay for cheap portability.

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:06 pm
by OneWorld
BJG145 wrote:The problem is the number of variables. Is it the MIDI controller...? The MIDI/USB interface...? Has the tablet detected it...? Is it the Windows config...the volume...? Is it the VST host...maybe it lost sight of the MIDI input...? Or maybe it's the plugin...? Or maybe someone didn't unmute the inputs to the desk...?

I don't mind troubleshooting this stuff when there's time and space...but if you're pulling it out of a bag in a crowded room and trying to get set up and ready to go while the band's warming up it's hopeless.

That is exactly it, too many variables to be factored in and people saying "Well I've never had a problem" doesn't fix a thing. I can't understand why people don't use a hard disk recorder instead of a computer, surely a decent multi-tracker does the same job?

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:12 pm
by MOF
I can't understand why people don't use a hard disk recorder instead of a computer, surely a decent multi-tracker does the same job?

This doesn’t address the OP’s problem, that of triggering a software instrument from a midi controller.

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:12 pm
by CS70
OneWorld wrote:
BJG145 wrote: I can't understand why people don't use a hard disk recorder instead of a computer, surely a decent multi-tracker does the same job?

Having used three setups for recording - to DAW on a pc, to hard disk recorder and to an hard disk connected to the TouchMix, I find that I much rather prefer the first.

The reason is simply visual feedback. A laptop large screen can be seen when performing and you have a reassuring waveform forming in front of you showing that the thing is actually recording.

With the hard disk recorder, there was very little saying we were recording, and the Touchmix screen is so small that I always have to get nearby to ensure it was still going (plus, it had the occasional short dropout.. it's a computer, after all).

Not sure about live performance. I guess one's gotta remember to disable the screen saver.. :-)

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:15 pm
by OneWorld
Watchmaker wrote:
BJG145 wrote: Windows decided that it couldn't wait any longer to start installing updates half an hour before I left...

The model wherein the operating system is provided "as a service" is incredibly risky for everyone except the rentier. One wonders, how exactly does Microsoft make money? The answer is by treating its customers as its commodity base, which doesn't pan out well for the customer.

Yep, the customer is bottom of the shidheap, that being said, more and more, an OS aspires to be all things to all people, from serious business stuff to games and gimmickery and all things in between. I cannot understand why Microsoft release a lean and mean, no auto-update, flotsom and jetsom 'services' running, to the general public (I believe there are editions of Win10 that are such but sold to big companies on a volume licence)

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:17 pm
by OneWorld
CS70 wrote:
OneWorld wrote:
BJG145 wrote: I can't understand why people don't use a hard disk recorder instead of a computer, surely a decent multi-tracker does the same job?

Having used three setups for recording - to DAW on a pc, to hard disk recorder and to an hard disk connected to the TouchMix, I find that I much rather prefer the first.

The reason is simply visual feedback. A laptop large screen can be seen when performing and you have a reassuring waveform forming in front of you showing that the thing is actually recording.

With the hard disk recorder, there was very little saying we were recording, and the Touchmix screen is so small that I always have to get nearby to ensure it was still going (plus, it had the occasional short dropout.. it's a computer, after all).

Not sure about live performance. I guess one's gotta remember to disable the screen saver.. :-)

A hard disk recorder for playback, or even one of the later digital mixers, the QU series come to mind, they record and playback from a USB key, though not at the same time but surely a 'performance' laptop would not be playing back a track and recording too?

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:20 pm
by OneWorld
MOF wrote:
I can't understand why people don't use a hard disk recorder instead of a computer, surely a decent multi-tracker does the same job?

This doesn’t address the OP’s problem, that of triggering a software instrument from a midi controller.

Record it at home, play it back at the gig

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:56 pm
by MarkPAman
OneWorld wrote:Record it at home, play it back at the gig

Then we're back to this question...

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=68896

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:15 pm
by merlyn
OneWorld wrote:I cannot understand why Microsoft release a lean and mean, no auto-update, flotsom and jetsom 'services' running, to the general public (I believe there are editions of Win10 that are such but sold to big companies on a volume licence)

I take it you meant don't release.

One way of looking at it is that home users are beta testing Windows 10 for the actual version -- the enterprise version.

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:29 pm
by Wonks
merlyn wrote:One way of looking at it is that home users are beta testing Windows 10 for the actual version -- the enterprise version.

That once was the case, but Enterprise users of Windows also had the Home editions (at hoe of course) and they often liked the new features in the Home editions and so asked for them to be brought out quicker in the Enterprise versions. So they are pretty much brought out at the same time now, though he Enterprise versions have more control on how they are rolled out within the company by the IT department.

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:43 pm
by MOF
Record it at home, play it back at the gig

The OP wants to play a DrumKat live.

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:45 pm
by The Elf
OneWorld wrote:That is exactly it, too many variables to be factored in and people saying "Well I've never had a problem" doesn't fix a thing.
Maybe not, but it needs to be said. People often blame the technology; the easy target. If others can make it work it's not the technology per se.

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:14 am
by CS70
merlyn wrote:One way of looking at it is that home users are beta testing Windows 10 for the actual version -- the enterprise version.

It's been many moons now since Microsoft made money with Windows. They have long moved on and they keep making Windows because, well, it's good marketing I guess.

With the OS, they do what most people want. Performing artists are not most people.

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:38 am
by James Perrett
The secret to having a reliable computer is to treat it as a single function device. If you are using a laptop live then it should never be set up as a general computer for web browsing or any other non-music tasks.

I don't use a laptop for live performance but both my recording laptops have networking disabled whenever they are recording a gig. The only application running is Reaper. My Windows 10 laptop has updates deferred permanently (it runs the Pro version of Windows 10) so it shouldn't go off and do anything else while the recording is happening.

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:33 am
by The Elf
James Perrett wrote:The secret to having a reliable computer is to treat it as a single function device. If you are using a laptop live then it should never be set up as a general computer for web browsing or any other non-music tasks.
And yet I can tell you that my humble PC World PC lappy does not conform to this secret! And neither have any of my performing/recording laptops for as long as I've been using them. And yet they all work just fine. I neither keep them off the 'net, nor switch off any functions.

If there's any secret I believe it to be about being sensible and tidy, not installing any old stuff that takes you fancy for 20 minutes, and regularly making a point of cleaning up, updating., re-checking, backing up... The stuff that most people seem reluctant to do - and then call me when it goes wrong! :lolno:

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:28 pm
by BigRedX
The biggest problem I see with most computer-based systems being used live is that there is too much assembly and disassembly involved every time.

One of the bands I play with use a computer-based backing for synths, and sound effects. The laptop that runs lives live permanently in 3U rack case along with the audio/MIDI interface, PSUs DI boxes and patch bay. All the connections to the computer are fixed permanently in place and never touched. Apart from a single mains lead for the whole rack all the other connections to the outside world for audio and MIDI are made with XLRs.

The laptop sits on the top shelf of the rack case (it's one where the top as well as the ends come off) in a cut out made of flight case foam and held in place with effects pedal velcro. It never moves. All the cables joining the various devices in the case are held in place with cable ties. They can't move either. In 2 years of gigging this set up the only problems have been caused by dodgy leads from the PA system. I know that it's not a problem with my equipment so if the PA isn't getting the signal they were expecting the first thing I do is to replace their XLR leads with some of mine, and guess what? It works.

It takes less than 5 minutes to set this system up and get it running.

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:33 am
by TheChorltonWheelie
BJG145 wrote:...testing at home...? Worked great. At the gig...? No way. This was just a jam night so you get about five minutes to set up. I thought there was only about a 50% chance of getting it working anyway, but that was optimistic.

So I need to find an inexpensive MIDI sound module with a variety of decent sounds, because I'm never using Windows again. It's let me down several times too often.

Studio/recordings...? :thumbup:

Live...? :-|

That's all down to setup, and/or the kit you're running, as we run large shows from nothing more than a laptop and it's rare that we have any issues. Some of those shows are 35-40 track playbacks, with effects on the busses, so it's not as though the laptop is strolling along at 20%.

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 2:14 am
by fcmusician
Never had a problem. Doing my solo/duo thing. I use Showplay and a Roland xv5050 sound module. Been using that set up for years.

Re: Laptop live? Never again.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:12 pm
by BJG145
I'm half-expecting another storm of angry protest for reviving this thread, but I don't care. Each to their own; it's a question of finding what works for you...

...and it's an XV2020 I just picked up on Facebook Marketplace. Finally all the MIDI controllers I've been accumulating make sense. I can plug them in (even USB ones like the Artiphon, via a Kenton box), switch on - and it just works, first time, every time. It's a 'Road to Damascus' moment.

:D

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