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Computerless live rig

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:42 am
by steampoweredsequencer
Due to some serious computer issues over the course of my last few performances, I am contemplating an all hardware live setup. With frugality in mind, the only requirements are the ability to send 1 channel of midi to a dimmer pack for my lighting rig and the ability to import midi files via usb or floppy or sysex or some witchcraft.

I will already be using an Alesis Micron and a Moog MG-1. Any hardware would be in addition to these. I am mostly looking at ways to play backing tracks and have midi to sequence the lighting.

How would you solve this problem with hardware?
Recommendations and warnings are all welcome.
Not performing live is NOT an option.
Hiring musicians is out of the question too.

Re: Computerless live rig

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:35 am
by th0mas
I've performed live with an MPC1000 and it worked well as a MIDI sequencer and drum sequencer. But I think it'd be quite a bit overpowered if you just need MIDI sequencing.. One of the old roland sequencers would do the trick I think but it might be very hard to find a working floppy drive / floppy disks. MC-50 I think the model # was? maybe you can get a "floppy->USB" converter? I think they exist for some models.

Re: Computerless live rig

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:53 am
by nadafarms
Alesis mmt8?

Honestly I think the mpc series is the most solid for live performance and offers the most for your money, they're selling really cheap too these days. I think it would give you a lot better control over the music, though the mmt8 is nice for live track muting it's an older less reliable machine.

Re: Computerless live rig

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:14 am
by EmptySet
I know this is Vintage Synth Explorer and you never mentioned money, but the Juno Stage might fit the bill. It can play MIDI files. And AIF, WAV, MP3 - all from a flash drive. Of course, it has MIDI jacks too. I use mine for live purposes exactly like this.

Re: Computerless live rig

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:06 pm
by balma
you should use a MPC with two MIDI outs or a EMU command station. Yamaha RS7000 as a main brain sequencer is also a good option.

Both are plenty of satisfactory functions to be make them able to control several machines on a live act, without having to use a computer.

Centrlaize the sequences on any of them, using their internal sounds and also having only EXT MIDI sequences.

With the pattern map, create logical sequences of harmonies that would perform a song on all the gear.

I have been using and trying to improve this process during years.

The only synth that I CANNOT REPLACE on my live setup, is a $350 command station.....

They are so, so handy for live performance. You can have 32 tracks playing at the same time, controlling 2 machiners and also sending MIDI clock to "sub-sequencers".

In fact, you can have a very good control of four synths, with only one command station. Using the command station as the holder of the sequences and BPM, 2 synths as sound modules controlled and performed with the command station, and 2 synths with their own sequences, but TEMPO SLAVED to the command station.

I don't miss computers with this handy setup. In fact, I never needed them....

Re: Computerless live rig

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:30 pm
by EmptySet
In a similar vein, what does everyone use for samplers when going computerless?

Re: Computerless live rig

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:42 pm
by translucencecs
I only ever perform live and computerless, and I usually use a pair of Alesis MMT-8 sequencers and an E-Mu ESI-4000 for samples.

That particular setup has never let me down, so I'm more than happy to recommend it!

(BTW - I do also use Roland Grooveboxes, but they're mostly unsuitable for your needs, although the MC-808 could do all of the above, too)

Re: Computerless live rig

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:02 am
by balma
EmptySet wrote:In a similar vein, what does everyone use for samplers when going computerless?

What???? :shock:

instead computers, we use hardware samplers.

Hardware samplers are not a thing from the past.

In this live setup, I'm using three hardware samplers and a sequencer XL7. Audio sucks, this is for video illustration of a live act with no computer, no mixer, no audio streams.

Pure hardware

Re: Computerless live rig

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 5:58 am
by EmptySet
balma wrote:
EmptySet wrote:In a similar vein, what does everyone use for samplers when going computerless?
What???? :shock:
The reason I ask… the later the sampler you get, the better the specs (especially RE: load times for playing live). But, the later you look, the fewer the number of samplers are available. I lived through the era of floppy disk samplers and I can't do that again. :-) Just curious what people use these days, since the laptop has taken over so much of the sampler space. I don't care for gigging with my laptop, so I'm looking for a way to ditch my computer and using a sampler again… but only if it's not going to be as painful to use live as it was in the late 80s and early 90s.

Re: Computerless live rig

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:58 pm
by novielo
balma, what's that thing on your far left, the one with a 4x4 grid of light?

by looking at you, that's exacly why i love hardware.

Re: Computerless live rig

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:18 pm
by balma
the same one at the right. I use on that live act two Roland SAMPLERS SP 808 ex.

those were two hours, after them I was totally exhausted, I saw blinking yellow/red/green lights everywhere.

Absolutely agree with your hardware sampler availability these days.

What it seems really, really stupid to me of this situation, is that there is people with $$$ on his hand, looking for decent modern samplers that are not a software or a soundcard on a PC, but there is no offer to satisfy them.

Actually, samplers are musical instruments, but it seems that the industry sees the sampler as a graphic of a waveform on a 24 lcd flatscreen,.

I work mainly with samplers. I found a comfortable place, with several samplers of different ages and designs:

V synth, Roland SP series, Korg electribe series, yamaha A series. those have been my samplers.

The two SP808ex that I'm using there, are rare. That's surprising for me. Nobody talks about them, they are unknown. You hear a lot of the SP505, SP404, Boss. But the biggest of them, the 808ex, is far underrated.

They use ZIP disks. On each one of them, I have access to 64 banks of 16 blinking pads each one.

Obviously I don't have the 1024 sample locations full on each one.

But I have, on each one of my hands, around 400 samples to pick, in any moment of the live act, I can reach one of them.

And if its a beat sample, I do not trigger it manually since it could mismatch the kick of the current beat, so I trigger it quantized from the orange box, the command station.

On each bank, first row is voices, second row is sfx sounds, third row, sequences without kick, fourth row, sequences with kick.

So followin that scheme, I build a song on the fly. That live act is improvisation.

You can do it with samplers man. It takes some time to build a concept, to self-organize, to find their best implementation, despite there is a lack of samplers and a nonsense concept that they are gonna dissappear (f**k it) there is a lot to do with actual ones.
I will never replace that satisfactory feeling of being able to improvise, for a wave spectrum walking on a monitor

Re: Computerless live rig

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:09 am
by leonidspaul
Balma, that video for me is how a "live" act should be when an artist is down on a poster to play a live act. Sure beats the s**t out of watching someone leaning their chin on their hand and not moving form the same spot for an hour. Nice one, well done. Sounded kicking as well!