Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
autodidactic
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 4:12 am

Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by autodidactic » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:35 am

Just out of curiosity, are any of my fellow Ableton Live users here using a desktop at gigs? If yes, please do tell. I'm in the process of picking out components for a new mini itx based PC that I plan to use in my studio as well as for backing tracks at gigs (I'm a guitarist btw). I'd love to hear about your setups. Pics would be welcome too!

TomKern
Posts: 358
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:08 pm

Re: Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by TomKern » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:45 am

I have no idea why anyone would want to do this!

It's not so much the size of the computer.
But carrying a screen to a gig?! 8O

No thanks

autodidactic
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 4:12 am

Re: Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by autodidactic » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:47 pm

Well my line of thinking is this. There are exactly three reasons to do this.
  • A desktop has a much higher price to performance ratio than a laptop, espcially Macbooks.
  • I'd only bring a smaller screen (max 20") which will only be used for rehearsing and in emergencies. Mouse and keyboard would also only be used in emergencies, my main controller would be an iPad and later when funds permit, a Push 2.
  • I'm already carrying a guitar rig and a PA. A tiny pc isn't really going to make a big difference in my setup and tear down time.
Incidentally, I'm planning on a mini itx rig in this little case...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SMXsKJcTtw

TomKern
Posts: 358
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:08 pm

Re: Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by TomKern » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:02 pm

My prediction is, you will do this a couple of times and then just get a laptop anyways :P

aratunes
Posts: 76
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:17 pm

Re: Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by aratunes » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:03 am

Saw Mr. Bill touring with a desktop tower and screen.
I use an HP all in one. I like the big screen, easy to see.
Thought the touch screen would be really helpful to go sans mouse, just touch the clips etc,

turns out , if you play at night, and a moth gets attracted to the light, it triggers all kinds of shit !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjlqeif ... m-G_gfnYw6

Ara

Angstrom
Posts: 14741
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:22 pm
Contact:

Re: Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by Angstrom » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:49 am

Back in the dawn of time I did it though that experience is probably not relevant

If I did it now I'd build it in a rack case, server format. Then mount that PC rack in a shockmounted 19" flightcase.
I'd get a MB with onboard video and nothing which can get shaken loose by a sudden innertal shock. Of course SSD only. Removables for easy swapping.
I'd put the best power supply I could find in that bastard and fix it in place like its a bomb. And also look at some surge protection or a voltage regulator with a big bank of capacitors. Because club stage power can be quite the surprising desktop killer, and festival or generator power is even less reliable. Low power low heat CPUs would probably be better.
I'd rather have two lower power PCs than one monster. One can keep the beats going if the other has a moment.

I hear modern people prefer a stage rig weighing less than a ton though. I'm weird.

login
Posts: 1822
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:41 am

Re: Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by login » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:28 am

It would have to be a rack format case (as servers) using a rack carrying case:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/GRC6X4


You could get the screen on top and also an audio interface in there. But yeah, if you don't have anyone to help you seems like too much weight.

fishmonkey
Posts: 4218
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by fishmonkey » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:19 am

ideally you'd want to stick a small UPS in there as well...
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

BoNGoMaN
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:16 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by BoNGoMaN » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:04 pm

@autodidactic The last time I used a Desktop PC on stage it was attached to CRT monitor & before Live was released. It took a bit of time to connect everything and balancing that monitor on a stand was indeed a challenge :? (laptops weren't powerful enough or cost effective at the time). It felt very cutting edge having two Mid Tower PC's linked via a Midi Cable controlling synths etc. However I wouldn't want to do that now, too many moving parts and takes up too much space, the modern laptop can be a compact, powerful package.

I do see your point about having a cost effective versatile machine. Heading down the miniITX (rackmount or cube) could also be useful if you remove all of the moving parts and make it simple to setup on stage (plug in power, audio, controller) launch live and you're performing.

Have you seen these? http://www.norcotek.com/product-categor ... th-monitor

As Angstrom mentioned unreliable power will cause you problems, as laptops come with a battery they will keep running if power is suddenly lost, with a desktop PC you would have to relaunch everything again unless you also invest in a small UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)

The_Subject
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:08 am

Re: Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by The_Subject » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:40 pm

aratunes wrote: turns out , if you play at night, and a moth gets attracted to the light, it triggers all kinds of shit !

Ara
LOL, I hadn't even considered this before, and spent ages looking into touchscreens. I'm glad I opted against now - although I wonder, being a barman of many years, I've never noticed moths touching the tills touchscreens, why should it be so different?

My band have gone through various set ups, many including a desktop PC. It's annoying, but you deal with it.

We're now looking into a new set up with two PCs and my computer - gigabyte brix. Great little machine this, and I found it in Maplins, to be kitted out with your spec of ram and ssd etc, makes it really compact and powerful, and pound for spec beat all the laptops I could find on the market at the time.

Either way, all three need screens, which we haven't fully discussed yet.

I am hoping we can just memorise the key order (i.e. win key, up x10, enter, alt, down x 3, enter) or downloading an auto-hot-key program so we can assign whatever to open this ableton file. In a perfect world this would be fine, but I have doubts.

I have used a raspberry pi screen too, took a bit of wiring up, but once installed it was fine if its only there for opening ableton and emergencies, not really a screen to work off, but I'd rather avoid screens where possible on stage anyway.

All this said, we're all pretty broke and are usually using what we can afford rather than what we'd like to use, so bare in mind my arrangement is not an ideal to be copied!

Tagor
Posts: 939
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:18 am

Re: Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by Tagor » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:06 am

i use an i7355k / 32 gb ram sometimes in the club
my 10 year old duocore alienware is just a bit outdatet.

slatepipe
Posts: 1937
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 4:10 pm
Location: stoke newington in london
Contact:

Re: Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by slatepipe » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:57 pm

i did it a couple of times, i think for my first ever two gigs, back in about 2004/5. it was a right fucking faff. especially taking it on the train to another city. i was using ableton 3 at the time :)

muthafunka
Posts: 2241
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2003 5:28 pm
Location: Tokyo

Re: Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by muthafunka » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:25 am

Once many years ago....crt, tower, keyboard, mouse....MAJOR hassle unless you rack or case it and design it plug and play. If it's doubling as good studio machine too...nah just sounds wrong. If it's just too play back backing tracks why not just play them off your phone etc?

autodidactic
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 4:12 am

Re: Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by autodidactic » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:12 pm

muthafunka wrote:Once many years ago....crt, tower, keyboard, mouse....MAJOR hassle unless you rack or case it and design it plug and play. If it's doubling as good studio machine too...nah just sounds wrong. If it's just too play back backing tracks why not just play them off your phone etc?
It's not just for backing tracks. I rely on some pretty involved custom max for live objects that require some horse power. I also would use it in the studio with logic and wanted to be able to run sample libraries. One thing that has caught my eye is the Intel NUC skull canyon. It would be even more portable than an itx build and give me thunderbolt 3. Hackintosh compatibility seems to be ok so I might not need to switch to Windows which I'm not too keen on doing. It could sit on my pedal board with a tiny screen and not seem out of place IMHO.

muthafunka
Posts: 2241
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2003 5:28 pm
Location: Tokyo

Re: Anybody using a desktop PC at gigs?

Post by muthafunka » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:35 pm

Ask yourself v carefully what you actually HAVE to run live and what can be bounced to audio.

Post Reply