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Using a laptop computer in place of digital stompboxes
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Guitars, Basses, Amps & FX  
Author Using a laptop computer in place of digital stompboxes
Diamat
Hello all,
I really like Eventide's iconic reverb, chorus, delay, modulation, pitch-shifting effects... I have their bundle plug-ins and I am thinking how to incorporate them to my live guitar rig. The obvious thing to do would be to buy these H9 boxes but I think, why on earth on 2018 not to use the laptop to replace the digital stompboxes? –and then reamped and straight to the amplifier.

I am not concerned at using a laptop because: it's introducing a lot of complexity that can go wrong, , foot controller to control the presets on the laptop, switching from one effect to another, activation key for vst's, looks ugly, whatsoever...

I am concerned with the fact that even with maximum computer horsepower, latency would still be a serious issue. I am concerned as well with the fact that the output of my soundcard (Motu Ultralite) even reamped with a proper box, could entail serious impedance/sound problems when entering the guitar amp (let's say an amp with a big clean headroom), I guess it could be even further problematic if I put a fuzz box between my guitar and the Hi-Imput of the audio interface.

Is this a serious feasible route? Any experiences?
Thanks!
smetak
Depends on the computer's processor - I have an old machine with a pentium i5 chip and 16 ram - and fool around with a guitar via VCV Rack and a Motu Hybrid as interface.

The latency is VERY noticeable and the program being heavy on the graphics, can't really add too many modules or the machine will crack and hiss - the fan spins like crazy. If using Reaper to record, depending on the number of tracks, the entire thing crashes - wouldn't have the courage to use it live.

Saving a bit to update to a computer with an i7 and more ram - believe that the response should be a tad better.
Rex Coil 7
Diamat wrote:
Hello all .... why on earth on 2018 not to use the laptop to replace the digital stompboxes? –and then reamped and straight to the amplifier. Is this a serious feasible route? Any experiences?
Thanks!
d'oh! If the computer crashes or goes down in the live gig, your entire system is down. You are totally without everything ... no FX, no compression, no signal ... you're just plain old "off line" with no recourse.

applause On the other hand ... when using a pedalboard, if a hardware stompbox takes a shit in a live gig, you just hit the bypass footswitch and go to plan B (which you should have all worked out prior to going on stage in the first place).

I was in a band between 2001 and 2009 where we tried putting everyone and everything on individual laptops. I played bass and keys, my wife was on keys, we also had a living breathing drummer using a "Trap Kat" drum triggering rig, and a singer/guitar player. Every one of us had our own laptops, all set up with a host program that used very little CPU and various VSTs. We all had the same computers, and all of the same audio interfaces.

It was fraught with issues. After one year of touring all over the south western USA and northern Mexico we shit canned the lap top rigs and went back to conventional set ups. The only exception was my wife's synth rig. She continued to use the laptop loaded with a single VST (FM7) which is a stand alone program requiring no host. It worked most of the time with the occasional bomb but since the only program that needed loading after a reboot was the FM7 getting her back up and running was ~fairly~ quick.

I can't recommend it. As I said, if the laptop falls on it's face your entire rig is dead.

sad banana
yarderyyz
I did it with a windows computer for a while and can't recommend it. When it worked it was great, but when it didn't it really buggered everything up. The extra setup + likelyhood of everything tanking was stressful, especially when you have to setup mid-show and only get a line check.

I'd consider it again, but it'd have to be a mac because I have way better luck with things not crashing, and everything needs to be setup in a travel rack (including the laptop). Ideally Guitar, Vocals, Whatever else you want to process just plug into the front, and the sound guy/amp gets some cables from the back.

Doing this with a floating interface and laptop is just not worth the setup imo. And, even with easy setup, I'd still want to know that if something died the band I'm with could still hack it.

Wouldn't worry about impedance going from the interface to the amp. People reamp all the time by just turning the output down (no reamp box) and it sounds fine. Likewise, I wouldn't worry about having fuzz before the interface/DI as long as you aren't clipping going into the computer.
Exhale
I always thought what kind of problem can someone have with MS Windows that it crashes and hangs all the time ?
I saw just the same number of cases in apple land.
Called kernel panics.
Especially after software updates,

If you use fresh install of Windows, no codecs, games, hacked downloaded software, a UPS on stage, it can be just as stable.
For geeks, there is Linux.
Not a single crash, server proof solution.
TXBDan
You don't need a computer, an iPhone or iPad plus an iRig will do. Apple CoreAudio is quite low latency and very reliable.

Edit: i'm dumb and didn't read your whole post. Not Eventide quality, but there are some darn good effects for iOS and it doesn't get much easier.
GuyaGuy
Surprisingly--to me at least--the guitarist from Gang of Four has been using plugin fx in his live show for a while now. I imagine he also has a backup and a tech. Me, I like to keep the tech on stage simpler.
yarderyyz
Exhale Hardware boxes and power can bugger up too, so even an all pedal setup isn't crash proof, but I'll admit my Windows vs Mac preferences is probably largely irrational. I got bit by windows updates and random crashes with slow restarts before a few high stakes shows. It wasn't long after that I abandoned computer on stage for a few years because the added stress wasn't worth it.

Since then I did one tour using a MBP + Reason + Motu Interface + Softstep to run some vocal FX, but the setup was a pita so it only got setup on about half of the dates. I did have one random crash in that time, but at least the boot loader didn't forget what partition my OS was on forcing me into some recovery mode shit mid show smile

More to the point and windows vs mac aside, I'd only have a computer on stage if I was doing stuff that was actually impossible with other rack mount or pedal based solutions. For me that means my gig requires Max/MSP/Max4Live and custom hardware that I'm controlling via the computer. That domain is random crash central, but I guess it's part of the game then haha.
scanningthemirror
I almost exclusively and jam with vcv rack and reaper + vsts, or max msp. I never have crashes I don't know why people have issues with crashes all the time. However if you did have one then your sets over lol.

Fennesz uses a laptop so I don't see why you couldn't.
smetak
scanningthemirror wrote:
I almost exclusively and jam with vcv rack and reaper + vsts, or max msp. I never have crashes I don't know why people have issues with crashes all the time. However if you did have one then your sets over lol.

Fennesz uses a laptop so I don't see why you couldn't.


What's your machine's configuration?
Exhale
Windows must be updated totally.
Don't turn off automatic updates.
It's a crucial and meaningful thing.

Better config is Intel chipset and CPU (i5, i7, i9)
No AMD for low latency perfomance.

I run open browser with lots of tabs, coding some stuff and
work in a daw simultaneously.

And never had any single crash or bsod.

It must be people have hardware problems with PSU or motherboard.
Dust accumulating, bad el caps...
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