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Do I really need a mac to use live???


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Ok so I wanna use a laptop live so I can use software synths and a midi keyboard live but do I really need a mac to do this??? Sure they are great for artists but they are so good damn expensive, im hoping to use programs with lots of powerfull sounds aswell as pads etc. looking at omnisphere any ideas??

:confused: :poke:

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No. But in general I would recommend using "lots of programs with powerful sounds" live regardless of your setup. Find the best setup that minimises the amount of stuff that can go wrong. That might even mean doing the more CPU intensive stuff beforehand and playing it back using a sampler.

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Ok so I wanna use a laptop live so I can use software synths and a midi keyboard live but do I really need a mac to do this??? Sure they are great for artists but they are so good damn expensive, im hoping to use programs with lots of powerfull sounds aswell as pads etc. looking at omnisphere any ideas??

:confused:
:poke:

 

Here's what I discovered when I was using a PC laptop live; they are damned picky about what plugs in where and in what order. If I forgot to do something just right or didn't do things in the proper sequence I'd end up re-booting the computer. All this really adds to the overall frustration level of setting up and getting ready to play.

 

A couple years ago I decided just to go ahead and switch over to MacBook Pros. Sure they are more expensive but I've never regretted it for a moment. They are more reliable and trustworthy onstage. They don't care which USB port you plugged something into yesterday, they just roll with it. It really reduced my overall setup and play frustration level.

 

It may depend, however, on how much you expect from your computer. I was connected to a multi-channel firewire audio interface and an 8 port midi interface and was running backing tracks, midi sequences, patch changes and lighting control; there was a lot going on. If you'll just be using it as part of your keyboard rig, a PC may be fine. Know, however, you'll never get PC/Win latency reduced as low as it is with Audio MIDI Setup on OS X.

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I've noticed the same thing when using a PC and firewire. The mac-mini I have daisy chains firewire with no fuss. The laptop PC wouldn't daisy chain at all and the PC card firewire 3 port only works if I start the mixer before adding my external firewire drive.

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Here's what I discovered when I was using a PC laptop live; they are damned picky about what plugs in where and in what order. If I forgot to do something just right or didn't do things in the proper sequence I'd end up re-booting the computer. All this really adds to the overall frustration level of setting up and getting ready to play.

 

 

this weekend that happened to us too. we used a PC to launch some intros and at first it wasn't working; had to reboot. had a USB toneport (using as a splitter: one to the FOH and the other to the drummer's headset), and a USB MIDI converter (using my pedalboard to launch the loops).

 

will try using a Mac laptop and see if the setup is easier. thanks for the tip!

 

-PJ

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A mac is a big mistake. The vast majority of software is written for windows, as well as support drivers.

Computer software sampling takes a tremendously powerful computer. A dual core minimun, quad core preferred with loads of ram and a 7200 rpm hard drive. (In other words a $2,000+ notebook..thats fragile as well). You would need a 7200 rpm external hard drive to put the samples on to take a load off of the cpu..It borders on being to complicated for live use..... You will need to buy a book on both midi and the sequencer/synth software in addition to the user manuals.

Software samplers can easily bring a quad core with loads of ram to its knees.

If you use just a sequencer program that does not record and send the midi signal to a hardware keyboard/sound module you can use an old 500 mHz notebook.

All decent keyboards with midi in/out/thru can function as a midi controller for one or more external keyboards/sound module/soft synth. I would suggest a keyboard with sounds over a midi controller with no sounds, running Reason for software synth sounds with a fast notebook.

As far as keyboards, look for used stuff. you want musically useable sounds. Alesis QS series are very good, Roland XP 10, XP30, XP50 , Roland JV3050, 5080 are good. Yamaha CSX. AN1X, E5X, DJX, motif are good......Korg n1,Trinity are good. ... Obviously the expensive new stuff from roland and yamaha and korg are good too (motif,fantom,triton..ect)

Stay away from cheap consumer grade keyboards. Avoid specialty synths (one trick pony).

Using mainstream software known to work and sound good is wise. Reason sounds good and has a sequencer built in, along with rhythms/sounds, and since it does not record its easier on the cpu useage, so you could get buy with a dual core, 7200 rpm drive and an external hard drive for the sound libraries.

Cakewalk and cubase are sequencer/recording only software with minimum sounds intended for sketching out songs. Both are excellent. I would go with Reason because instruction books are available as are sound libraries, and it has a sequencer to run a keyboard.

For a soft synth, I would start out with Reason and free Linux Sampler with its free sound libraries. (you need the big computer for this stuff)... The one Gb free piano sounds great!

The most foolproof method is to use a sequencer and a hardware keyboard/sound module. A sound module is a keyboard unit that mounts in a rack and is controlled by another keyboard or controller.

You will also need a peak limiter to avoid damage to your other gear.

Keyboard/synths generate sounds that you can not hear that permantly damage your hearing, so practice at low volumes, and allow for theshold shift breaks.

I would avoid off the wall software synths or software that is not real popular. How are you going to quickly figure out how to use it, if there is no instructional stuff available for it? Most user manuals are not eneough!

good luck!

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A mac is a big mistake. The vast majority of software is written for windows, as well as support drivers.

Computer software sampling takes a tremendously powerful computer. A dual core minimun, quad core preferred with loads of ram and a 7200 rpm hard drive. (In other words a $2,000+ notebook..thats fragile as well). You would need a 7200 rpm external hard drive to put the samples on to take a load off of the cpu..It borders on being to complicated for live use..... You will need to buy a book on both midi and the sequencer/synth software in addition to the user manuals.

Software samplers can easily bring a quad core with loads of ram to its knees.

If you use just a sequencer program that does not record and send the midi signal to a hardware keyboard/sound module you can use an old 500 mHz notebook.

All decent keyboards with midi in/out/thru can function as a midi controller for one or more external keyboards/sound module/soft synth. I would suggest a keyboard with sounds over a midi controller with no sounds, running Reason for software synth sounds with a fast notebook.

As far as keyboards, look for used stuff. you want musically useable sounds. Alesis QS series are very good, Roland XP 10, XP30, XP50 , Roland JV3050, 5080 are good. Yamaha CSX. AN1X, E5X, DJX, motif are good......Korg n1,Trinity are good. ... Obviously the expensive new stuff from roland and yamaha and korg are good too (motif,fantom,triton..ect)

Stay away from cheap consumer grade keyboards. Avoid specialty synths (one trick pony).

Using mainstream software known to work and sound good is wise. Reason sounds good and has a sequencer built in, along with rhythms/sounds, and since it does not record its easier on the cpu useage, so you could get buy with a dual core, 7200 rpm drive and an external hard drive for the sound libraries.

Cakewalk and cubase are sequencer/recording only software with minimum sounds intended for sketching out songs. Both are excellent. I would go with Reason because instruction books are available as are sound libraries, and it has a sequencer to run a keyboard.

For a soft synth, I would start out with Reason and free Linux Sampler with its free sound libraries. (you need the big computer for this stuff)... The one Gb free piano sounds great!

The most foolproof method is to use a sequencer and a hardware keyboard/sound module. A sound module is a keyboard unit that mounts in a rack and is controlled by another keyboard or controller.

You will also need a peak limiter to avoid damage to your other gear.

Keyboard/synths generate sounds that you can not hear that permantly damage your hearing, so practice at low volumes, and allow for theshold shift breaks.

I would avoid off the wall software synths or software that is not real popular. How are you going to quickly figure out how to use it, if there is no instructional stuff available for it? Most user manuals are not eneough!

good luck!

 

Macs cant be that bad I see 98% of artists who use a laptop live use a mac. In fact iv not seen anyone use anything else :S but they are so damn expensive... I wanna do some midi triggering have some powerfull sounds comin from it the & all the other usual stuff no lights atm :). Yea tho thats what I was plannin on using a keyboard also I currently have a roland sh-201 and a copy of reason but wanting to add to this by gettin another laptop strictly for music and another midi keyboard (dont you think buying a keyboard with sounds on & using software over complicates its use???) Thanks for your help :)

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Microsoft's knowledge database and technet are just so vast and comprehensive. And besides that they have MSDN for programmers which is a massive resource.

Macs limit you in terms of software..its like Linux..

If you are going to use a computer you have to know how to keep it going with updates and drivers for hardware.

The big thing is the access time on the hard drive..it has to be fast..9ms or less..a 7200 sata hard drive is 9ms.

Software samplers are moving gigabytes of data around in nanoseconds..so you need fast ram, a fast cpu (dual core or better), the operating system loaded correctly with the correct drivers and updates. And if you are really tech savy..maybe RAID on the hard drives.

Two or more hard drives allow the opertating system on one drive and the samples on another (could be a 7200 rpm usb external drive).

Might as well have as many sounds available to use as you can..thats why I suggested a keyboard with sounds over a controller..but there is nothing wrong with a controller. The midi out port on the keyboard goes to a midi in or midi thru on the next device..If you plan on haveing a bunch of keyboards/sound modules/computers then you would need a midi controller..but for just two keyboards..let one control the other...its complicated no matter how you look at it..thats why I suggested using stuff with instructional materials available..makes it easier and faster...and possible

Once you learn how it all fits together and works its a piece of cake.

 

You absolutely positivley do not have to use a mac. ......... You just need a fast computer with a fast hard drive(s), fast ram (3 Gb++) and a correctly configured os.

You could just use a slimline computer case with a micro atx motherboard.. and a 15" lcd monitor (or smaller).....doesnt even have to be a notebook. A standard size computer is smaller than a 25 watt guitar amp.

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Sequencing software (Cakewalk,Cubase,Reason..ect) allows you to play other instruments (and rhythms) you dont play (or do play) and does it flawlessly...if its a good sequence that you bought or downloaded..it's played like Beethoven or Rachmaninov was playing piano right by your side..you just act like your playing..comes out perfect.. You dont need to build a sequence from scratch ..just use preexisting stuff...thats why you see tiers of keyboards..they are faking playing with a computer..Besides..you can allow spaces in the sequence and play a little bit live..then you really fool people..

 

Makes you a Stadium Concert Quality player instantly!!! I am not joking.

 

Go to the ClassicalMusicArchieve.com, and download a Rachmaninov MIDI file concerto (sequenced by Findley) and let windows media player play it and you will see what I mean..Imagine what that sounds like in a good sound module!! Imagine being able to pick which piano brand to play..(or synth pad)!!... Learning Cakewalk or Cubase or Reasons sequencer is worth it!! You cant go wrong!!

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One last thing..Craig Anderton, the guy who runs this place even wrote a book on midi!!

 

Here are some good books on midi

ISBN-10: 0132624036 The Midi Files by Rob Young 352pg

ISBN-10: 0825613744 Midi for the Professional Robert Moog,Paul Lehman 255pg

ISBN-10: 0825610508 MIDI for Musicians by Craig Anderton 105pg

All available at amazon.com used or new

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Macs limit you in terms of software..its like Linux..

 

Programs like Logic Pro and MOTU Digital Performer are the choice of many professional musicians and are Mac only. Digital Performer is especially well suited for live performance because of the ability to have sequences for all your songs within one project file; something no other sequencer program (Mac or PC) does.

 

Additionally I run Ableton Live 8, Reason 4 and a number of other plug-ins, amp emulators and soft synths on both my Macs and PCs.

 

If that's not enough, you can run Sonar (and probably many other PC programs) natively on a Mac with Windows via BootCamp, something Craig Anderton highly recommends.:thu:

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You dont need to build a sequence from scratch ..just use preexisting stuff...thats why you see tiers of keyboards..they are faking playing with a computer..Besides..you can allow spaces in the sequence and play a little bit live..then you really fool people..


Makes you a Stadium Concert Quality player instantly!!! I am not joking.

 

Wow, just..........wow.:facepalm:

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A mac is a big mistake. The vast majority of software is written for windows, as well as support drivers.

 

 

Who really needs access to 2000 different office suites and 40 different DAWs?

 

Macs may only have access to 3 or 4 programs, but they are usually very good. (Crap software is everywhere, but it's harder to find for a mac.) You're obviously someone who has very little real experience with a mac. I'm a former PC/Network tech. There's one mac in the house and it's where I spend most of my time. (Recording, mixing, surfing, designing CD covers....) There's nothing that I can't do on a PC, but experience in both worlds leaves me always recommending macs.

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Sequencing software (Cakewalk,Cubase,Reason..ect) allows you to play other instruments (and rhythms) you dont play (or do play) and does it flawlessly

 

 

I use Cubase. It's mac / windows software. Will agree it sequences fine. (That's how I back up my Roland VK-77's settings.) It works fine on both machines. (And I suspect it does everything you probably need.) You can move into it right away and if you decide to move over to a mac, you can bring it and all your work right with you. (Access is controlled with a USB dongle. that way you can have it installed on different machines but only use it on the one where the dongle is attached to.) Just a quick note that my drummer who also uses cubase but on an XP machine has had more driver issues than I have. And Macs are just as hard to get used to as any new Windows operating system.

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A mac is a big mistake. The vast majority of software is written for windows, as well as support drivers.

 

 

I have to assume you wrote this to try to start a flame war. Obviously, you have never used one.

 

Macs are used by over 90% of pros that use laptops live. I don't know how many more programs Windows has then Mac but Mac has every program I need and plenty I don't. As far as drivers...they are mostly built into the OS so you don't have to install them on a Mac.

 

I use at least one Mac at every show and have since OSX was released. OS 9 and any Windows version other then XP and 7 absolutely sucked for live use. Way too many crashes. Windows 7 seems to be the most stable version Redmond ever released. I use Windows 7 Ultimate on my MacBook Pro everyday.

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Sequencing software (Cakewalk,Cubase,Reason..ect) allows you to play other instruments (and rhythms) you dont play (or do play) and does it flawlessly...if its a good sequence that you bought or downloaded..it's played like Beethoven or Rachmaninov was playing piano right by your side..you just act like your playing..comes out perfect.. You dont need to build a sequence from scratch ..just use preexisting stuff...thats why you see tiers of keyboards..they are faking playing with a computer..Besides..you can allow spaces in the sequence and play a little bit live..then you really fool people..


Makes you a Stadium Concert Quality player instantly!!! I am not joking.


Go to the ClassicalMusicArchieve.com, and download a Rachmaninov MIDI file concerto (sequenced by Findley) and let windows media player play it and you will see what I mean..Imagine what that sounds like in a good sound module!! Imagine being able to pick which piano brand to play..(or synth pad)!!... Learning Cakewalk or Cubase or Reasons sequencer is worth it!! You cant go wrong!!

 

 

I use Cakewalk, Reason, Logic, Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Spectrafoo, & Cubase all the time...on my Mac. What is your point?

 

It

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I do have my mac-mini setup to dual boot. XP and Mac. Only did that because Windows is a better gaming platform. I'm in OS-X for serious work. (This was a recent change. I have all the necessary work software in OS-X.)

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Argh sorry to cause people trouble just wanted to find out peoples view, :( but anyway sounds like macs are the more sought after lappy better for musicians anyway by the sound of thing, now its just a matter of which one im thinkin macbook/macbook pro (Im wanting to do some sampling, do some triggering and use midi software synths) Cheers for your help people :)

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