Better solution for Laptop-MIDI-Keyboard setup

Discussion in 'General Keyboard Discussion' started by cadu1990, May 5, 2013.

  1. cadu1990

    cadu1990

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    Hey everyone.

    I was a keyboard player, and the keyboard I have is one of those beginner models that children usually have to learn how to play.

    But now I'm in a more professional band, and the need for better equipment surfaced.

    I don't know if you ever heard of Rammstein, but we are a cover band of them.
    Rammstein uses a great ammount of sound effects, starting from standard sinthesizers to random sounds, like police sirens.

    My keyboard only have MIDI IN and OUT ports, and the only solution I managed to find to play the music, is using FL Studio. What I do is described below:

    The setup consists of my keyboard, a laptop and a MIDI/USB cable.

    I create files on FlStudio, one for each song. In the different channels of the files, I put the sounds on the notes of my preference, like "mapping the keyboard". Then I create a Layer channel, to play all the other channels at the same time, like so:

    [​IMG]

    For example, the range of the "Distorto" channel is from C4 to F5, the "intro" I play only using the C3, and sometimes I put more than one channel in the same key, to create complex sounds.

    Then I connect my keyboard to the laptop via the MIDI/USB cable, and finally I connect the sound output of the laptop to the amplifiers of the concerts.

    It's a newbie setup, but so far is doing the job. But, there are some problems, like the delay, latency, I have to wait about 30s between each song, because the laptop is a little slow and takes time to load the files.

    So I wanna hear from you, what could I do to improve my setup and sound quality?

    Maybe I should get a faster laptop?
    Maybe there are better MIDI/USB cables?
    I'm using the sound driver of the laptop, a generic one, could this be a problem too?

    And another thing, I never played with a modern keyboard, like a Roland AX-Synth, or AX-9.
    Those keyboard have the ability to store sounds and files inside them, so I wouldn't need to connect to the laptop during the shows?

    Thanks
     
    cadu1990, May 5, 2013
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  2. cadu1990

    The Y_man Moderator

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    What's the spec of your laptop? Right click computer > Properties

    Please let me know
    Processor/Clock Speed
    RAM

    Thanks
     
    The Y_man, May 7, 2013
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  3. cadu1990

    cadu1990

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    It's a standard office laptop.

    AMD V120 2,2Ghz
    2Gb DDR3 Ram
     
    cadu1990, May 7, 2013
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  4. cadu1990

    The Y_man Moderator

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    OK.... not too bad (2010 build)

    Might help with another 2GB ram... but check by running task manager while you are using it as the synth and see if the CPU is loading up.

    The Y-man
     
    The Y_man, May 8, 2013
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  5. cadu1990

    MountainSide

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    A bit more ram would definitely help. On the latency side, do you have a wireless card in your computer? These are notorious for causing latency and drop-out problems. If you have one try turning it off via the Device Manager in the Control Panel. And see if that helps. Download and run a program called DPC Latency Checker (you can download it free at www.thesycon.de ). Your computer should be running in the green at all times. Also, defrag your hard drive using a program called DeFraggler (you can download it free from a company called Piriform). The defrag program in your OS is not strong enough for music applications. Be aware that the initial run of DeFraggler could take 24 hours to run.
     
    MountainSide, May 14, 2013
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  6. cadu1990

    Tuomas Easton

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    I use a laptop for live MIDI all the time. The key is getting an actual MIDI interface like an Mbox, or I use a Tascam 1800. The interface will act as a soundcard and handle most of the load of the audio/signal. I recommend against using keyboards with on-board sounds, at least for your situation. If you already have all the Rammstein sounds mimicked through FL Studio, then you don't want to have to try and recreate them with a new keyboard.

    USB/MIDI cables are pretty much the same with speed, There are rumors about cable length vs Latency.. but the signal still travels at the speed of light.. so unless you have a 80,0000 mile long cable you wont really notice a big difference (at least not from the cable).

    You might also look into using a better DAW like LIVE, or Reaper, which can use your FL studio patches also, but is better designed for live interfacing.
     
    Tuomas Easton, Apr 4, 2014
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  7. cadu1990

    Ken B

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    Go Mac no matter how little you can afford. You'll never go back to windows. I just did, and I'm so happy. And btw, the sound driver is prob your problem. I used to get latency with anything other than an ASIO driver. Buy a used cheap USB interface on eBay or CL and connect via that. It'll fix your problems until you get a Mac.
     
    Ken B, Jan 4, 2017
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  8. cadu1990

    Fred Coulter Collector of ancient keyboards

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    Computers used for live music need to be stripped down of extraneous programs. (Anything having to do with networking other than MIDI, internet, WiFi, blutooth, etc., is extraneous.) There's an amazing amount of crap that gets loaded that will just slow you down. First, see what loads at startup. Then look at what's running in the background. If you don't need it, kill it.

    Yeah, this means that the music computer won't run FaceBook or the other necessities of modern life. Perhaps set up two different log ins with two completely different configurations. As a worst case scenario, you may have to set up your computer as a dual boot system.

    2Gig of RAM is not enough. See if you can add more. Memory is cheap.

    For an example of what a music program uses, Hauptwerk will run on 2 Gig, but wants 16 Gig. (https://www.hauptwerk.com/learn-more/requirements/) Admittedly, Hauptwerk uses really large sample sets, but it shows how much RAM matters.

    I didn't noticed what operating system you were running. Depending on the operating system, we may be able to give you more detailed advice.
     
    Fred Coulter, Jan 4, 2017
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    Ken B and happyrat1 like this.
  9. cadu1990

    Ken B

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    Totally true. I was using XP pro with SP3.
    The new windows op systems suck.
     
    Ken B, Jan 4, 2017
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  10. cadu1990

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    Actually my Linux systems can more than handle all the day to day apps of personal computing as well as route my MIDI signals without so much as a trace of latency.

    I dumped Windozer 20 years ago, and since I'm not made of money, macs were off the table and I've never looked back or regretted my decision since.

    FREE as in BEER software is definitely worth the effort if you want something that's stable and reliable and far less costly to run :D :D :D

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Jan 4, 2017
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  11. cadu1990

    Fred Coulter Collector of ancient keyboards

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    While your Linux system can probably handle the load, having a Skype call in the middle of a set might be distracting.
     
    Fred Coulter, Jan 4, 2017
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  12. cadu1990

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    Easy enough to turn skype off in Linux. And if I'm not actually recording at the time I don't really mind a little distracting chit chat while I'm working :D

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Jan 4, 2017
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