I'd like to initiate a discussion of what everyone is using to run either Giga or Kontakt and large piano sample libraries for live performance. I wish to go in this direction, but have some reservations....
I'm going to start by attempting to run the Scarbee electric pianos and maybe White Grand Jr. on a Muse Receptor, which is a rackmount box that runs VST's and VSTi's. If this works out I'll invest in some other piano libraries.
If it doesn't work out, I'm either going to try using a laptop with an external drive, or give up the idea altogether and stick with a digital piano.
Anyone having success? Pros and Cons? Powerbooks, or PC's?
I play every week live with Galaxy 5.1 piano with great success.
I build a system with a Asus Pundit-R Barebone and Echo indigo and I put it into a little bag. I can start my Galaxy without any monitor with the help of a macro recorder, so I start my computer and it start galaxy piano itself.
Excuse me for my bad english.
I do pretty much exactly what you're talking about. I built my own "briefcase PC" based around an MSI Hermes barebone (now susperseded by the similar but updated HETIS model). The PC is built into a briefcase-style flightcase with a slim TFT monitor mounted in the lid. Audio is handled by an Esi Waveterminal 192L soundcard.
I run Giga 2.54 and use the PMI Bosendorfer, Scarbee Rhodes, Scarbee Wurlitzer, Quantum Leap Brass, and Native Instruments' Pro-53 and B4.
This system is totally stable and trouble-free. I don't look at it during playing: I load everything up before the set, with all the samples I'll need in their appropriate slots in Giga, and synth presets loaded into an instance of "Chainer", the VST host program. Then I send out a set of program changes etc at the beginning of each song, that are saved in my controller keyboard. That routes the keyboard's MIDI outs to whatever sounds I want for the song, and away I go.
This system was quite cheap to build and I had the intention of building a whole second system for complete redundancy in case of problems. But I haven't got around to it and to be honest I'm starting to wonder whether I need to.
I need to add some more in the way of FX but apart from that it's great.
The key in my view is to be very conservative, choose very proven parts that aren't cutting edge (Intel 845 chipset in this case, with P4 2.4Ghz and 1GB RAM), and only install the software and sounds you need (and only things that you've already tested for stability in studio use). I reckon there's a certain amount of choice in computing between functionality and stability. We all say we want stable machines, but when amazing new things become possible to do in the studio, we willingly sacrifice a bit of that stability in order to try out some amazing new software. For live use, you just have to leave that at the door and be very strong willed about ONLY allowing the most proven things, and combinations of things, into your rig. For example I use Giga 2.5 rather than Giga 3, because I've used it for years, I know its quirks, and it works well for me. I am tempted by the new stuff in giga 3, but I won't put it on my live rig until at least several months after I've got it and used it in anger on my studio machine, and am completely convinced that I can trust it the same way.
If you take this attitude, you'd be surprised just how reliable a Windows PC can actually be.
I sort of do something similar. I use two machines. One is an mac ibook that plays back sequences, audio files, and whatnot. It also routes my MIDI signal chain from three different keyboards. Some sounds are in Reason but I also built a tiny PC (Athlon 2.16gh) with 1 gig ram for a synth rack. It contains various sample libraries (EWQLSO, GPO) plus other stuff and I use VStack to host it. The system is very stable and makes for a great portable setup.