I'm not scared of using my computer as a MFX-Amp

jhall

Member
Messages
849
There, I said it.
I have yet to have my laptop (which is loaded with a bajillion other things besides music stuff) crash or suffer any significant glitches while playing my guitar through it. In fact, It seems to me to be a LOT less finicky than any of my tube amps which change their sounds and moods even with changes in the humidity and temperature.
Now I'm a 50 year old who grew up on old chit and when digital stuff hit the scene I was one of those guys who embraced it immeideatly. Now it's just silly for the average guitarist to resist this technology.
With all the easily available VST amp and efx sims and cab impulses out there it is a cool universe.
 

Badside

Member
Messages
1,512
One thing I've learned with laptops on stage (used them mostly for backing tracks and multi-track recording) is that as long as a hard drive is part of the equation, things will go wrong. I did "burn" test at home that were successful, and it still failed on stage.

Then again, if it's just to use live VSTs you might be fine. But there is always this chance that Windows decide to use this moment to do a virus scan, a defrag or an update.

So two things that help:
- Disable all network connections (turn off wifi, bluetooth, everything)
- Use a SSD

Or just use an iPad (eh, I HATE Apple, but it's currently the best options for a live "soft" rig)
 

BCnSTL

Member
Messages
890
I think its hard to make a credible argument that a modern laptop rig is somehow *less* reliable than an analog amp/fx/pedal setup. Latency is a non-issue with a modern interface.

Tone and feel are a completely different matter.
 

johnnyninja

Member
Messages
624
What about laaaa . . . tency?

I did a test by making a click track and then looping through my stealthpedal and comparing the two. I got 5ms with wifi on and 2ms with it of. I have a macbook that's about 4 years old. I used Amplitube and had it set to it's highest quality.

I realize some people have struggled with latency but my set up is working very well.
 

Unnecessary

Senior Member
Messages
2,667
I just have a hard time trusting a multi-function device without a dedicated processor....I even have all my backing tracks that we play of my Surface on my iPod and on my phone....
 

Jarrett

Member
Messages
14,594
So what's a good rig for this type of setup these days?

iPad and certain apps?
Laptop and certain software?

How small can you go and still have good sound quality and stage reliability?
 

Unnecessary

Senior Member
Messages
2,667
some guys are using Bias/Jammup on the iPad and I think there is even a BT footswitch available now....I personally haven't seen anything that makes me think the modeling is all that and a bag chips, I think people get a little caught up on how they got the sound which contributes to thinking its awesome, but its more than useable in a live context sound-wise.

A computer with a processor that must maintain many different functions simultaneously just seems like a disaster waiting to happen in a live music context....I've seen decent spec machines take a half-second to locate a file source for saving, etc...so what if you have background process that hangs your patch change? Or you forget to turn your BT off and some idiot in the crowd tries to connect to your device?
 

DGChaos

Member
Messages
160
Yeah. I've used a laptop on stage before and it worked well. Of course, you have to switch off all updates or anything else that might get in the way. Most people shy away from laptops mainly because they don't really keep em' in good shape, and hence call them unreliable. In fact, if your gig isn't too long, you could even make do without a power supply.

But I did start using a Boss GT-100 eventually, even though it doesn't have as good amp models and isn't quite as flexible. This is mainly because the laptop is kind of unwieldy.

I'm actually considering getting a Microsoft Surface for a live situation to add more effects to my Boss GT's loop.
 

gbtommasi

Member
Messages
417
To me, there’s no difference in going on stage with a computer or with another modeler. I have a 4 yo Macbook pro, which I loaded with a SSD drive, and an iPad2. I have used both on stage and for rehearsal several times, with an FCB1010. I recently bought an Apogee Duet, which is a game changer for many aspects. Latency is not a problem, I can’t notice any.
On the Mac, I use MainStage mostly with S-Gear, I have my concert set up with all the patches I need. It also allows spillover of delays and reverbs. I use the Duet at 48Khz and 64 samples buffer, and I have 8ms of roundtrip latency. Just non audible at all. CPU usage is quite low, even when I use two amps and two instances of MixIR2 with some redwirez/Ownhammer mixes, delays and so on. Never had any problem. AH, I use some scripts to disable a lot of services, so that the CPU is dedicated to audio processing as much as it’s possible (CPUs on modern computers, anyway, have enough horsepower to run what you need for a concert and some more).
On the iPad, which I have used just once live, I use Bias and Jamup. I don’t even know which samplerate the duet is running at, I set the lowest latency, don’t know show much it is, but I just don’t notice anything.

Sounds are impressive imo. Through the Apogee the real character of my guitars gets into the soft, I have plenty of dynamics, bell ringing cleans and roaring crunches.
Is it Rock ’n Roll? Don’t know, but: is a Pod pedalboard Rock ’n Roll? Or is a cold 2 units AXE FX rock ’n roll? Not as a Marshall stack is... But as long as it sounds incredible... who cares? Unless you are not a rock star you don’t really need a scenography on stage.

I am a Marshall head+cab+monster size pedalboard kind of guy. I somehow miss the beast roaring behind me, but I realize it’s just ‘me’. I can live without it, at least at the moment, my sounds are more consistent... and my back says thank you :-D
 

gumtown

Member
Messages
1,947
So long as the MS Surface doesn't run Windows RT.
I have used the Boss GT's before with laptops.
As well as inserting the analog audio path through the GT Fx Loop, You can also use the USB audio.
I used to use the GT as an audio interface, dry signal tapped with the USB/DGT 'block' at the front of the chain,
into the laptop via USB cable, then into pitch to midi software, routed through various softsynths and using the midi over USB and the GT pedals to control the synth mix,
then the synth (and or GuitarRig-5) pas the digital audio back into the GT and mixes with the GT's own processing at the analog L/R outputs.

All you need with the GT is a laptop and a USB cable.

When relying on a computer, always have a small MFX pedal as a backup.
 

DGChaos

Member
Messages
160
Sir, would you mind telling us how you would use the surface with the Boss unit please?
Boss -> USB -> Surface -> FX Software -> Boss Output.

Did this at home with my laptop and seems to work pretty well. Surface's touchscreen would make quick edits easier.
 

gumtown

Member
Messages
1,947
Boss -> USB -> Surface -> FX Software -> Boss Output.

Did this at home with my laptop and seems to work pretty well. Surface's touchscreen would make quick edits easier.
You do realise you will need the Surface pro 2 which runs windows 8(.1), and not the regular Surface 2 which runs windows RT, which won't run regular windows applications.
Better off with the Lenovo or HP detachable i7.

Also most (current and previous) Audio USB gear won't run properly on USB-3 ports (as in the Surface Pro 2 single USB port), as they don't support USB-3 specs.
Find one that still has a USB-2 spec port.
 

mattball826

Senior Member
Messages
20,810
all modelers are computers and dsp (what your interface would be if used live). all modelers can fail just like a computer can and probably about as often which isnt a high number.

why not. we have e drums, keyboard controller running vsti's on pc)

major artists and crews trust computers for dmx lighting, why not for a guitar.
 

Unnecessary

Senior Member
Messages
2,667
all modelers are computers and dsp (what your interface would be if used live). all modelers can fail just like a computer can and probably about as often which isnt a high number.

why not. we have e drums, keyboard controller running vsti's on pc)

major artists and crews trust computers for dmx lighting, why not for a guitar.
true, but a modeler only has one job, its not gonna monitor your guitar signal for viruses or decide mid-set it needs to catalog recently saved files...and you're right about those lighting crews and big-time sound guys, but they also more than likely travel with 2 or more identical computers with identical software and all of their stuff loaded up and ready to go, because **** happens. If you can get two computers to take live, good for you!
 

mattball826

Senior Member
Messages
20,810
true, but a modeler only has one job, its not gonna monitor your guitar signal for viruses or decide mid-set it needs to catalog recently saved files...and you're right about those lighting crews and big-time sound guys, but they also more than likely travel with 2 or more identical computers with identical software and all of their stuff loaded up and ready to go, because **** happens. If you can get two computers to take live, good for you!
they do have backups. when my axe fx died i used a gnx4. now my backup rig is a simple zoom ms50. it works great.

computers are so fast today and perform spec/battery life is far better than back in the day.

computers are cheap too. you can disable tons of services you dont need and even dedicate a cheap laptop for your guitar rig.

talk about expense. we have about 11 ipads on our stage for my main band. from lyric pads to lighting to guys doing their own mon mixes (overkill imo because i have yet to see one guy change the setting).

really if the software can get you what you want, controlling the software, patches, etc on a laptop win or mac is easy and quite stable or just as error free as any modeler.
 

shredmiyagi

Member
Messages
1,216
Bringing a cpu to a gig is something I never want to do, but for home use my loaded Mac Mini and softwares are plenty nice. I'm more into desktop cpus... that's why.

Only thing that I'd like is a cool small monitoring amp. I was thinking it'd be cool if something like the Roland Mobile Cube came out as a bedroom guitar FRFR solution. 2 tiny stereo speakers, with a transparent pre and power amp meant to take a computer signal and just make it sound and feel good. For tiny amps, I really like the micro Cubes. They just need some more headroom, but a mini stereo amp that can monitor your gtr channel.. the software is adequate imo. Monitoring through flat-mix speakers is what hurts the experience.

It'd be cool if it had programmable EQ that worked better with different softwares (S-Gear, Kuassa, Guitar Rig, etc.).

Also anybody use Mobius? Great looper.. that and my FCB1010 have a lot of fun.
 

JamonGrande

Member
Messages
1,710
I used a laptop as a mfx/glitcher/looper quite a bit a couple of years ago, controlled with either an FCB1010 or a keyboard controller. I never had any issues with crashing while I was using Live as a host for VSTs and as a on-the-fly sampler. Since all of my uses for it involved some amount of delay/time manipulation via a blendable loop, latency in the <10ms range didn't really bother me too much. That particular laptop died its own slow death outside of performance, so no onstage disasters there

About a year or so I got into Mobius for some real basic looping action, and it did alright. The upgrade to mobius 2, however, caused a lot of issues, so I abandoned it and have yet to go back.

I'm using an ipad as my main rig controller right now, and just upgrade my mixer to a Presonus unit, so more tech is entering into my total gear. Once properly setup, my issues are rarely hardware based, but almost always involve software updates.

Joe
 

DGChaos

Member
Messages
160
, You can also use the USB audio.
I used to use the GT as an audio interface, dry signal tapped with the USB/DGT 'block' at the front of the chain,
into the laptop via USB cable, then into pitch to midi software, routed through various softsynths and using the midi over USB and the GT pedals to control the synth mix,
then the synth (and or GuitarRig-5) pas the digital audio back into the GT and mixes with the GT's own processing at the analog L/R outputs.

All you need with the GT is a laptop and a USB cable.

Exactly what I'm doing at home and wish to do live soon. I'm thinking of the Surface (or any portable touch-screen so it's easy to make changes and carry around). I have also added a mic to the setup for vocals and using Boss's reverb EQ reverb for vocal effects.
 




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