Magazine article Guitar Player

8 Tips for Using Laptops Live

Magazine article Guitar Player

8 Tips for Using Laptops Live

Article excerpt


WHETHER YOU PLAY MODERN METAL OR EXPERIMENTAL ELECTRONICA, employing a laptop onstage can offer instant access to an endless array of tones and effects. The processing power of current computers means amp emulations come astoundingly close to the real thing, and latency has been reduced to a non-issue. In addition, the quality of amp and effect emulations is now remarkably consistent, so your sonic weapon of choice comes down to personal preference. Whichever software you choose, however, here are some tips to make your onstage experience optimal and trouble free.


If possible, use a laptop that has nothing on it but your emulation software. The more CPU dedicated to guitar processing the better, and there's less chance of other software crashing your machine.

No Multitasking

Kill your Wi-Fi connection and shut clown your emall. You don't want the audience to hear "You've Got Mail " in the middle of a tune. Wi-Fi also eats up CPU.

Fancy Footwork

A MIDI footcontroller with at least one expression pedal is a must for switching programs, turning effects on and off, and manipulating wah-wah simulations. Expression pedals can also be assigned to control parameters such as delay lengths and feedback, tremolo speed, and even panning between rigs.

Quality In/Quality Out

Use the best audio interface you can afford. A high-quality interface will transmit the true sound of your guitar into the software, and extract the highest-quality emulation tones. It will also keep latency very low. …

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