Magazine article Guitar Player

Ten Ways to Avoid Live Laptop Disasters

Magazine article Guitar Player

Ten Ways to Avoid Live Laptop Disasters

Article excerpt

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[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

REPLACING A STACK O' GEAR WITH A LAPTOP running amp and effects simulation software is appealing, but it's more complicated than just plugging in an amp. Here are the top ten tips for having a sweet relationship with your liveperformance laptop.

Avoid onboard audio. A separate USB or FireWire audio interface offers better audio quality and more durable connectors. Disable the onboard audio so it doesn't interfere.

Physically secure your laptop. If someone trips over the power chord, expect a crash to the floor. I mounted the laptop that handles my Digital Les Paul hex outs in a pedalboard that sits on the floor (Figs. 1 and 2). Once it's set up, I don't need to adjust much, as it handles bass and rhythm. (Bonus: The pedalboard is the ultimate hardshell case.) For leads, the Digital Les Paul's standard magnetic pickups feed a DigiTech GNX3000, whose sound I can change with footswitches.

Don't run on battery power. When using batteries, laptops often reduce performance automatically to extend battery life. You need the highest possible performance for real-time guitar playing.

Redundancy is good. If you can't carry a backup laptop, have backups of your data and programs. One reason I use Ableton Live for performing is because you can download a fully-functional demo that does everything except Save. If my laptop dies, I can get another computer, download Live, load my data, and be up and running.

With Windows, turn off unneeded services. …

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