Anyone use a laptop for their live rig? Can VSTs cut it?

Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by nightlight, Feb 25, 2020.

  1. nightlight

    nightlight Regular

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    Aug 29, 2019
    Curious to know if anyone uses a laptop exclusively as their live rig. I have a setup that I think could really give my Kemper a run for the money.

    To be honest, I've been trying to get a good back up rig for my Kemper for some years. It's quite a tough ask. I can't really justify buying a second Kemper as backup because I am not a touring musician or an investment banker.

    I have a laptop and was curious to see if I could use some of the equipment I have to make it a good guitar rig.

    I basically used the VST Amp Rack which comes with Cubase. Ran an output from my interface into a Fryette Power Station and then routed that to a 4x12. To mimic a situation where I was playing live, I miced up the cabinet and recorded the output to get an idea of what the tone might sound like out front.

    Here's my results.

  2. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

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    May 4, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    I've used my old one as a Synth rig with my controller before it crashed, but that was a wayyyyyy old MacBook. Looking at more updated ones now.
    nightlight likes this.
  3. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal Regular

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    Dec 8, 2011
    Madison, WI
    Absolutely as long as your interface provides you with usable latency and you computer has a SSD. I haven't personally done it, but on my short list for this year is some sort of foot controller so I can have Helix Native as a backup just in case.
    nightlight likes this.
  4. concertjunkie

    concertjunkie Regular

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Denver, CO

    Yes, you definitely can! I set up my laptop in my previous band to run the JST Jason Richardson Toneforge for guitar tones for an entire tour for both guitars, with no issues!
    The laptop was running the following:

    4 instances of JST Jason Richardson Toneforge ( it's super light weight, and I needed 4 instances so I could do: L gtr no cab sim (running out to a 2x12), L gtr w/ cab sim (to run to our split, 1 end to FOH, 1 end to our mixer), R gtr no cab sim (running out to 2nd 2x12), R gtr w/ cab sim (to run to split - 1 end to FOH and other to the mixer),
    I also programmed patch changes over midi for each of these

    DMXIS (this plugin ran our lights that we used)

    backing tracks (out to split - 1 end to mixer and 1 end to FOH)

    reference tracks (only out to our mixer for our in ears)

    We also ran our mixer app on the laptop to make any micro adjustments to our in ear mix

    midi out from interface to bass head for patch changes

    Laptop is a MacBook Pro, 16gb ram, 512gb ssd, 2016 model.
    As mentioned before, a computer with an ssd is a MUST. No exceptions. 16gb ram would be ideal as well.

    We had no issues with that setup, and we had excellent and consistent sound each night! We did spend a fair amount of time prior to tour to making sure we got the tones we wanted and the FOH and cab sounds being as similar as we could dial it in. We got lots of compliments on our tones and overall sound.
    To answer your question again, yes, definitely it can.

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