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Topic: How to use VST and sample libraries on stage?

  1. #1

    How to use VST and sample libraries on stage?

    I'm still not satisfied with my live setup.

    - playing VST and sample libraries on stage

    That's what I have:
    - VST-Instruments like Ivory, Atmosphere, Trilogy
    - Kontakt-Libs like Scarbee
    - Steinberg VST Rack, Cubase
    - two Keyboards
    - Notebook, with everything needed

    That's what I want:
    - Keyb 1: Switch between Ivory and Scarbee-Libs like C.E.P.
    - Keyb 2: Switch between Atmosphere and B4
    - switching with hardware buttons of the Keyboards or other device
    - changing presets of B4

    How can I solve this the best way?


  2. #2

    Re: How to use VST and sample libraries on stage?

    Well, that's what Main Stage is for, but you'd have to buy a Mac. Main Stage is bundled with Logic Studio.

  3. #3

    Re: How to use VST and sample libraries on stage?

    For two keyboards it is most convenient if you can use two separate midi ports, one for each keyboard. Many USB keyboards act as a midi interface as well, so you can plug the other board into it via midi.

    I have a default setup which has Scarbee electric pianos and Sampletekk TSO all loaded into Kontakt2. I have assigned separate zones to my bottom midi keyboard (Kurzweil pc2/x) and each zone is set to a midi channel that corresponds to one of the instruments. In your case you could assign midi channel 1 to Ivory and then route the other libs to 2, 3, 4. I also route the EP's into guitar rig, but that's a different story.

    My top keyboard (Edirol PCR-800) is set similarly. Be sure to kill B4II's lower manual by removing its response to midi channel 2, or move your second instrument to another channel besides 2. I have some buttons assigned on this controller to give me the first four basic organ presets that I tend to use. Since I have full control over drawbars, overdrive, percussion, chorus etc., I don't really need to flip through presets that much. But your midi controller should be able to send out incremental program changes to browse through presets. You can also build a setup that sends a specific program change command to get to the right preset.

    Right now I am using energyXT 1 to do all this, but most vst sequencers/hosts, have midi routing assignments for each track. It's nice to use a very low footprint host like energyXT though because it loads super quick and has very little load on memory and cpu, leaving room for your Plugins to do the heavy lifting. The modular nature also makes it easy to patch in effects and midi helpers into the setup. Ableton Live works well too, except for initial program loadup time is much slower than energyXT. There are many hosts now, such as Bidule and Brainspawn Forte, which cater well to live use. I have no experience with Steinberg's VST Rack but it should be able to do most of what you need; I believe it was designed for live use.
    At some level different songs may need different setups. If you take the time to build custom setups or scenes for each song you can get everything dialed in more easily. Unfortunately, loading new setups can take a while when loading a bunch of big sample libraries.

    I would also say live use puts big demands on the computer, simply because glitches and crashes that you live with in the studio are unacceptable. Don't be afraid to use the 16 bit versions of your libraries or whittled down patches live, and be very careful with polyphony and convolution effects. They will load faster, use less memory/cpu and especially on a laptop rig will help counteract slower disk access speeds. Of course the faster Core 2 duo's or Athlon 64's work great, and make sure you have at least 2 gigs of ram. On my laptop most of my samples are in an external firewire drive.
    Eric Matlock

  4. #4

    Re: How to use VST and sample libraries on stage?

    Have you considered the Receptor? It doesn't run everything, but it's great for Kontakt 2, Ivory, Atmosphere and many others. The Receptor is designed to let you easily split and layer plug-ins, and is a lot more road worthy than a laptop with various things dangling from it.

    If you want to stick with Windows check out Brainspawn Forte, a "live performance workstation for virtual isntruments."


  5. #5

    Re: How to use VST and sample libraries on stage?

    On the PC I would reccomend strongly Brainspawn Forte. It is built for this and being used onstage, even for big name acts on tour. It has been designed specifically for the lowest latency possible and has a lot of features related to testing your setup to make sure it won't fail, etc.. Check it out.

    Another product that seems to be along a similar vein, but is still developing is Cantible. It has a few features that Brainspawn does not have, but its not really a rock in terms of robustness. When you put brainspawn forte into gigging mode, the entire screen becomes your setlist and it responds to your program changes, etc... But Cantible is quite a bit less expensive and worth watching.
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  6. #6

    Re: How to use VST and sample libraries on stage?

    Let's assume for a moment that I would use only one keyboard (I have the Roland RD600).
    If I would use forte, how to switch between my 32 VST-Instruments? Do I have to change MIDI-channels at my RD600?

    That's very extensive there, I can only change between two channels quickly. Or can I choose those VST-Instruments by sending a programm number via MIDI-Program Change from my keyboard?

    Do I need a keyboard where I can change channels quickly? Which one is good at that?

    But what if one of my VST-Instr. uses MIDI-Program Change to change presets like in the NI B4 II? Do I have to use an extra keyboard for it if I want to change presets?


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