Music Player Network

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 2 of 2 1 2
Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: PianoMan51] #3013526 10/24/19 07:59 AM
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 580
EricBarker Offline
Gold Member
Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 580
Originally Posted by PianoMan51
Sorry, but I have gigged for years with a laptop without problems, and assert that the worries about crashing are from those who haven’t developed the discipline to take care of their laptop, or those who have never tried.

There is a constant skirmish on this forum between hardware vs software. You stepped into the no-man’s land and will decide which side you run to for shelter.

Agree 100%. I've never had a laptop all-out fail, at least not something that i couldn't quickly recover from. I've seen my guitarists and bass players fail 10x over before I have even a minor glitch with my gear. But there ARE concerns. New MacBooks with the new ID chip have a glitch which will reboot the audio system if the headphone jack comes loose. Same will happen if a USB interface breaks connection. That will put you out for a minute. Has it ever happened? No... but it could.

I'm all about "Backups you already use". The kind of problems that occur with laptops or any technology are typically only things that will set you back a minute or so. Switching out another laptop will probably take just as much if not more time. Better still is to have another board already hooked up, maybe with some additional features that make you want to use it anyway. Don't just clone your setup on a set of gear you'll possibly NEVER use. Get yourself a smaller second board. Maybe it feels great to play synth on, maybe it's an organ or has a killer rhodes sim... something that you'll be tempted to have setup and play at every gig anyway. Then if your laptop fails, you've got a fallback that you already know how to use, just right there at the ready.

Almost no keyboard patch is "special" enough that it can't be momentarily substituted with something else. For the few tunes that use something crazy like backing tracks or a full orchestra with splits ("I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing"), you can just skip it for a bit until your equipment is back up and running. Trust in your own ability to adapt to the situation and use the patches at hand. Sometimes it's refreshing to play "Sweet Dreams" on grand piano for a change! Remember, the best bands don't "not fail", they just know how to adapt when things go wrong.

I've been doing the MainStage thing for 9 years now, every week. Software + Hardware is a GREAT match made in heaven.


"All's fair in love, war, and the recording studio."

MacBook Pro running MainStage and various plugins (NI and other)
Arturia Keylab88, Mojo61, Seaboard Rise49, Vortex Keytar (RIP), Trumpet
KC Island
Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: PianoMan51] #3013549 10/24/19 03:14 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,371
R
Reezekeys Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
R
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,371
Originally Posted by PianoMan51
So, other than my admission that I had a laptop fail in the outdoors sun, has anyone come back telling you about a failure?

Check out Reezekeys, who is all too reticent about his gigs, and tell us that you need to be more prepared than him?

Sorry, but I have gigged for years with a laptop without problems, and assert that the worries about crashing are from those who haven’t developed the discipline to take care of their laptop, or those who have never tried.

There is a constant skirmish on this forum between hardware vs software. You stepped into the no-man’s land and will decide which side you run to for shelter.


I don't think we should be so hard on poor Chris! Everyone has their own comfort level with their gear's reliability, and if someone feels the need to bring an extra keyboard on the slight chance that it might be needed someday, it might help them relax and enjoy their gig more – so it's all good.

For the record, I don't bring an extra keyboard, and mine is a controller with no sounds so I should probably worry more than most about my keyboard failing than my computer! As I mentioned in another thread somewhere, I pack a Roland JV1010 in my accessory case for local gigs so I have something to make sounds with if I don't have my laptop. For road gigs I don't bring the JV – It's just my MacBook Pro and Roland A800 Pro controller. You could say there's a little more at stake there – either one of those malfunctioning could be a problem. Based on my years of using this same basic setup I've come to use these backup strategies which have served me well, up until now at least:

I carry a Korg NanoKontrol that duplicates the buttons & sliders of my Roland A800, so I can do a gig using any "keyboard du jour" as long as it has a midi output, a sustain pedal, expression pedal and pitch & mod wheels. Give me an original DX7 or Korg M1, I don't care – I can do the gig with all my sounds. I also carry a spare SSD with all my samples so if my regular SSD were to fail I can substitute it. It happened on one AWB gig but that was back when I was experimenting with using a USB3 stick instead of a true SSD to stream my samples. It lasted a year, then I learned the hard way (in the middle of a gig) not to trust that form of storage for important gigs! Luckily it failed during a long drum solo, so I was up and running quickly and didn't miss an eighth note.

I also carry another SSD with an OSX system and my music software, so in the unlikely event that my laptop were to fail or get stolen, I could borrow any Mac laptop with USB3 ports and a headphone jack and be in business. Of course this is an option I hope to never exercise, but another 2.5" external SSD doesn't take up much room in my laptop bag so I bring it.

Anyway, I guess I wanted to say (with my usual verbosity, lol) that I don't just go out on the road and "wing it." smile

Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: philtre71] #3013556 10/24/19 04:02 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,703
Toano88 Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,703
I've used a laptop and have had the hard drive decide it was time to take a dump. And I have had to replace a board that was plugged in when lightning struck a transformer.
Those are small one time events with minimal chance of repeating. On that note though, I will say I have had way more incidents of things like crackling noises and stuck notes from software instruments then I ever have with hardware. And to assert that that is due to a lack of discipline is a bit over the top. Stuff happens, you may go for years without an issue. Until it happens.

I rode a motorcycle for 35 years without ever crashing or laying one down. Until it happened, which made me very happy I was wearing an armored jacket, gloves, boots and a helmet!


Boards: Kurzweil SP-6, Roland FA-08, VR-09, DeepMind 12
Modules: Korg Radias, Roland D-05, Bk7-m & Sonic Cell
Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: philtre71] #3013572 10/24/19 05:09 PM
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 128
ajstan Offline
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 128
Regardless of whether someone is using hardware or software, the backup choices seem to be between either: a) redundant/similar equipment, or b) a fallback solution with reduced capabilities. The main considerations appear to be cost, transportation, space, and setup/teardown effort relative to the types of gigs being played and music that needs to be covered.

There is also an additional choice whether the backup eqipment will be "hot" and ready for immediate use or just be available for changeover when the time is appropriate, such as between sets.

For those that play primarily AP/EP/Organ and/or a commom set of sounds used across all songs, the fallback solution seems feasible. For those in situations like the OP and me with more customized sounds per song, the redundant/similar equipment solution is likely preferred.

As my band's gigs get better paying, have a higher profile, and more people plan their evenings around seeing us, I had been trying to figure out a solution for a backup for my NS3-HA88, which I use as a single-board rig. Only 10-15 of the 75 or so songs in my band's repertoire (mostly keyboard-driven or featured) have a single AP/EP program and/or a simple split with an organ. The rest involve some combination of 2-way/3-way splits, customized synths with effects, morphs and multiple programs for different parts of a song.

After trying a Juno-DS61 and a MODX7 (both great values for their price range), I came to the conclusion that it wasn't practical to re-create what I needed to survive a gig with either board, which resulted in my getting an NS3 Compact. Outside of converting about 20 programs with splits to have both 88-key and 73-key friendly versions, all I need to do now is a two-minute backup and restore process from one keyboard to the other to keep them in-sync.

The first gig, I kept the NS3C in a case on standby, then realized that was silly and now run a 2-tier setup. I'm working in the NS3C to reduce the number of program changes in a song and to add parts that I wasn't able to cover in a single board. I also have the benefit of bringing my entire set of sounds in a more compact format for practices and casual situations where dragging a large 88-key board isn't practical.

On the other hand, maybe I just used all of this to justify my G.A.S. for an NS3C.


Nord Stage 3 HA88, Nord Stage 3 Compact, Radial Key Largo, Westone AM Pro 30, Rolls PM55P, K&M 18880 + 18881, Bose S1 Pro, JBL 305p MKII, Zoom Q2n-4K
Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: Toano88] #3013606 10/24/19 09:19 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 10,891
nursers Offline
10k Club
Offline
10k Club
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 10,891
Originally Posted by Tombstone88
On that note though, I will say I have had way more incidents of things like crackling noises and stuck notes from software instruments then I ever have with hardware. And to assert that that is due to a lack of discipline is a bit over the top. Stuff happens, you may go for years without an issue. Until it happens.


Well put. It's USB and crackling issues that initially turned me off relying solely on software. Just last night at a practice I couldn't get MainStage to recognise I'd connected my MODX7. Yes that's a USB cable issue but it's generally something you don't need to worry about if travelling hardware only. I'm tweaking things and eventually it'll become a rare issue but it's certainly not the case now.

Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: philtre71] #3013612 10/24/19 09:58 PM
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 580
EricBarker Offline
Gold Member
Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 580
Whatever you do, I HIGHLY recommend your laptop has an SSD Drive. The few times I did experience problems, it was due to HDD speed and errors. SSD wipes all those problems away. I still think that Software with an HDD was a solid endeavor, but now with SSDs, I disagree with pretty much all of the critics of going the software route. Many hardware boards have HDD, so by having a laptop with SSD, you're already safer than hardware, IMO.

The new USB-C jack type is about 50x more secure than the old USB-A, which could potentially drop (but never did for me). Go out and get a USB-C -> B cable to connect to your controller. Take any USB-A jacks/adaptors out of the equation, those are potential failure points.


"All's fair in love, war, and the recording studio."

MacBook Pro running MainStage and various plugins (NI and other)
Arturia Keylab88, Mojo61, Seaboard Rise49, Vortex Keytar (RIP), Trumpet
Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: philtre71] #3013613 10/24/19 10:23 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,371
R
Reezekeys Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
R
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,371
Not to argue with ya but I used a spinning platter drive for sample streaming on my laptop rig for many years with no issues I can recall. Of course today I would never recommend them, given the price drops and improved reliability of SSDs. I have a few 2.5" SATA SSDs in Inatek UASP enclosures since my MacBook Pro is a Late-2013 and uses the older jacks (I guess USB3 is now "old", lol). Old USB3 with these old SSDs is plenty fast enough for the sample streaming I do and I have never had any issues there. I see these new tiny external M.2 SSDs with USB-C connectors and there's no doubt they will work great for what we do, though they're still more expensive than the 2.5" guys. And, I feel confident saying you don't need screaming NVMe speeds to stream audio files.

I always used external drives to store & stream audio. First because I didn't want my OS & app drive's heads to get too much of a workout. Then, when I got a MacBook Pro with an SSD, it was only 256GB so I didn't want to clutter it up with large libraries of samples. I just upgraded my internal to a 1TB so my next little project is to start moving some of the libraries from my external to my internal & see how it goes. The older I get, the less gear I want to carry – even if it's a single SSD! smile

Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: philtre71] #3013625 10/25/19 12:28 AM
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 580
EricBarker Offline
Gold Member
Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 580
Yeah... I paid a pretty-penny to get a 1TB SSD on my new MBP. But I always go internal for my live setup, Another drive is just another thing to have to hook up, and another connection that could potentially fail. I had a 2011 MBP and swapped out the platter for an SSD about 4 years ago, and it made a WORLD of difference. But a newer machine with faster caching and bus speeds may not hit an HDD so hard either. I didn't have many problems with the HDD, but it took a while for my big MainStage Project to load, and occasionally I would get clipping when it would reach its 16GB limit (I had over 100 songs/patches at the time, I'm now up to 300). Swapping out for an SSD was like a breath of fresh air. Now my new MBP has 32GB RAM and loads the whole project into memory.


"All's fair in love, war, and the recording studio."

MacBook Pro running MainStage and various plugins (NI and other)
Arturia Keylab88, Mojo61, Seaboard Rise49, Vortex Keytar (RIP), Trumpet
Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: philtre71] #3013642 10/25/19 02:02 AM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,371
R
Reezekeys Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
R
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,371
I waited years to upgrade my MBP SSD because the upgrades were so friggin expensive. Then a Chinese company (Sintech) came out with an adapter that let you use any NVMe drive once you update OSX to High Sierra. I jumped on an Intel 1TB for around $90 and so far it's been fine except for some sleep issues that I knew about going in. At least I was able to upgrade the drive – I'm sure you know that newer MBPs have the SSD chips soldered to the motherboard.

For grins I went to Apple and priced a new 15" MBP with a 1TB drive and 32 gigs of ram.... OUCH MAN! I'm sure it's a screamer. Enjoy every day with it!

Last edited by Reezekeys; 10/25/19 02:03 AM.
Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: philtre71] #3013862 10/26/19 08:14 PM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 31
P
philtre71 Offline OP
Senior Member
OP Offline
Senior Member
P
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 31
Thanks again guys...this is all really helpful (and I hope it's a useful on-going discussion).

Just to reiterate...this is for situations where we use a controller board or boards only with Mainstage (or similar)...no boards with their own sound-production.

Tonight I did a test at a 'low risk' gig...vocalist with acoustic guitar + me playing Pianoteq on Mainstage via SL73. I had my ipad running Forscore anyway (we were doing some Blue Nile stuff, which I sometimes struggle to remember) so I had Ravenscroft loaded on the ipad and connected via korg iplug...USB from the SL73 went to my macbook and Midi from the SL73 went to the ipad via microplug. Audio from macbook and ipad/microplug went to a little 5-2 mixer from Thomann, and from there to the PA. This was a really compact setup where the only 'added baggage' was the microplug+power, a midi cable, two 1/4" jacks and the mixer.

With the ipad output on mute, if anything happened with macbook/mainstage I knew I had an immediate backup that just needed a press of two buttons (mute macbook, unmute ipad) to get back on track. It gave me the psychological comfort I needed to play without worrying about the technology. So, for my Gabriel cover band (see what I did there!), I might just create a basic multi-layer patch in sampletank on the ipad for each song. Wouldn't be the same as mainstage, but would get me through the gig in the event of a catastrophic failure and would involve the smallest number of additional parts.

I know you can't account for every eventuality, and even the hardest of hardware options can let you down (I once had to repair an accordion with a carrot 15 minutes before a gig).


Yamaha CP33/Roland XP-50/Studiologic SL73/Roland A-800/M-Audio Prokeys 88/Yamaha U1/ (retired: M1/W30/CZ1000/Juno 60/U20/DX7/RD1000) + Hohner Nova 96 CBA.
Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: philtre71] #3015354 11/08/19 11:23 PM
Joined: Nov 2019
Posts: 1
D
DavidSydney Offline
Member
Offline
Member
D
Joined: Nov 2019
Posts: 1
Hi all,

As someone contemplating a move from conventional keyboards to a Mainstage rig, this discussion has been really helpful (and reassuring!). So thanks to everyone.

One question I have: what is everyone using for output? Direct connection to amps via your Mac's headphone socket? Outboard DAC? DI box? Mixer?

Keen to hear!

Cheers,

David

Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: DavidSydney] #3015355 11/08/19 11:38 PM
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 580
EricBarker Offline
Gold Member
Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 580
Originally Posted by DavidSydney
One question I have: what is everyone using for output? Direct connection to amps via your Mac's headphone socket? Outboard DAC? DI box? Mixer?

I used to be a HUGE proponent of using the headphone jack, because if it got unplugged by accident, it would be no big deal (USB Interface disconnects cause reboots of the sound engine). HOWEVER, newer MacBooks with the ID chip have a "bug" where they reboot the audio engine if the headphone jack is unplugged. So that precaution doesn't hold true anymore. And USB-C ports are the most solid ports I've ever used, so I would DEFINITELY be comfortable with a USB-C audio interface, but I would be much less comfortable with a USB-A interface which has a history of bad connectivity. I believe MOTU have some new USB-C interfaces they just released, I would seriously consider them (and MOTU stuff is really high quality).

So, at this point I would say go either way: audio interface or internal sound card. Macs have always had very high quality audio and low latency, so you won't hear any difference, but if you feel a USB-C interface is safer and better for your workflow, that wouldn't be a bad way to go. Use a mixer if you have multiple boards or mics, but no reason to otherwise, just use a passive DI. However, sometimes a cheap line mixer makes more sense than a stereo DI, so whatever is most convenient.

There are few hard-fast rules, and everyone's needs are different. Computers/Keyboards put out fairly high-gain audio, so you shouldn't have to worry as much about cable runs and noise like passive guitars and mics. If you happen to play right beside the mixer, there's little argument against plugging right into the board. For longer runs I use a DI. I also gig with a trumpet and vocal mic, and I have two boards, so I need a mixer to output all that. But you might not need that.


"All's fair in love, war, and the recording studio."

MacBook Pro running MainStage and various plugins (NI and other)
Arturia Keylab88, Mojo61, Seaboard Rise49, Vortex Keytar (RIP), Trumpet
Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: philtre71] #3015375 11/09/19 01:44 AM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,371
R
Reezekeys Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
R
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,371
Honestly I have never had my headphone cable accidentally unplug. I do take a precaution – winding it around the handle of my SKB Studio Flyer case the computer sits in. That acts as a strain relief should anything pull on the other end of the cable. After an incident with my MOTU Microbook IIc suddenly dropping its connection in the middle of a gig, I went to using my headphone out. No 3rd party driver involved, or a potentially flaky USB-A connection (which is what I think messed me up with the MBIIc). Smooth sailing ever since.

Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: Reezekeys] #3015381 11/09/19 03:51 AM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 3,343
Markay Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 3,343
My rig is USB from laptop to Focusrite audio interface to small format mixer. 2 feeds from mixer, one to my on stage monitor second to DI to FOH.

For me it is all about being able to manage gain staging. Despite many hours spent carefully balancing each patch, live the room acoustics and how loud other members of the band are vary from venue to venue so much I find I always need to able vary volume easily and often between songs. I find it better to leave the MainStage Master output alone so if I want increase or cut my volume both onstage and to FOH I adjust the big round knob on my Focusrite. It has a nice analog response facilitating small adjustments on the fly. If I just want to adjust on stage volume, which is the case most of the time, I use the fader for that output on the mixer.

Despite what many will say about loose USB A and B sockets I have a laptop that has a tight fit USB A socket and the Focusrite has a tight fit USB B socket. Tight enough that I could swing the Focusrite around my head and it would not dislodge from the cable. I always carry a DI to avoid ever being the cause of audio or ground loop hum and to protect my mixer against the possibility of FOH accidently sending phantom power.

I always map each channel strip volume in a patch to a rotary encoder on my controller so I can vary volume for splits and layers on the fly if needed. I also use the generic Apple core audio driver for the Focusrite, it is automatically recognised by MainStage and works like a charm. I make sure that it and the controller are plugged in to the same USB ports before I turn on the laptop so there is never any need for MS to reconfigure the attached devices on boot up. It is exactly the same state as when it was last shut down.


MainStage 3 | Axiom 61 2nd Gen | Pianoteq | B5 | XK3c | EV ZLX 12P
"Music is a journey. We are all at a different stage in that journey." James Morrison, Australian trumpet legend
Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: DavidSydney] #3015439 11/09/19 09:22 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 325
bg Offline
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 325
Originally Posted by DavidSydney
One question I have: what is everyone using for output? Direct connection to amps via your Mac's headphone socket? Outboard DAC? DI box? Mixer?

Radial USB-Pro DI

Re: Mainstage and backup plans [Re: Markay] #3015489 11/10/19 04:50 PM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 31
P
philtre71 Offline OP
Senior Member
OP Offline
Senior Member
P
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 31
I’ve now added a teccontrol breath controller to my setup...used in conjunction with mainstage it is simply amazing and keeps the setup nice and minimalist!


Yamaha CP33/Roland XP-50/Studiologic SL73/Roland A-800/M-Audio Prokeys 88/Yamaha U1/ (retired: M1/W30/CZ1000/Juno 60/U20/DX7/RD1000) + Hohner Nova 96 CBA.
Page 2 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Dave Bryce, Stephen Fortner 

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.3