Can I run Gig Performer on a very old laptop? [guest article]

Can I run Gig Performer on a very old laptop? [guest article]

I see these kinds of questions across the Internet, because users want to know if they can use their old laptop for gigging or to see how well Gig Performer does work with fewer resources.

These are the main reasons I decided to write this article. In 2009, I bought a Fujitsu Amilo Pi 3560 laptop, and back in the day it was a really great laptop. It featured an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4 GB RAM and a GeForce GPU chip. I downloaded HwINFO and took a screenshot to share detailed specifications with you.

HWiNFO screenshot of Fujitsu Amilo Pi 3560

For the purpose of this article I wanted to show everything as is:

  • I didn’t close or uninstall unnecessary applications (i.e. Dropbox),
  • I didn’t disable unnecessary services (i.e. Print Spooler), 
  • I didn’t disable my security software (which I would if I was to have a gig)
  • I didn’t check nor tweak any other settings (I set all update mechanisms to manual, check Task Scheduler, etc). 

I connected my old E-MU 0404 USB audio interface to my laptop and installed Gig Performer v3

The Performance section of the Task manager shows us basic usage info when this laptop is idle and Gig Performer isn’t running.

Laptop performance before loading Gig Performer, Task Manager

All set: my Jackson guitar is plugged into my audio interface, which is connected to my laptop. I started Gig Performer and (since I’m a great hard rock and heavy metal fan) selected DIEZEL Herbert + Metal Zone (a great plugin from Plugin Alliance). I was really amazed by the quality of this setup and enjoyed playing. While Gig Performer’s CPU indicator shows 5-8% when I play clean, it shows 20-25% of CPU power for this setup below.

Gig Performer, Diezel Herbert AMP Metal, Plugin Alliance

I kept playing, changing between rackspaces, changing effects, and it all went super fast, without glitches. It’s amazing that you can use a more than 11 year old laptop and  an old audio interface to play fluently and produce such great rich and highly customizable tones. Gig Performer indeed uses low CPU.

Gig Performer Resources in Task Manager, used RAM and CPU

While the CPU indicator in Gig Performer (which indicates audio processing cycles) shows 21%, you can see in Task Manager that the overall Gig Performer process only uses 9.4% of CPU! Here is the screenshot of Task Manager which shows CPU graph for the last 60 seconds. 

Gig Performer, low CPU usage, Task Manager

I played for another hour and figured out I could’ve carried out the whole gig with this simple setup, and be proud of my guitar tone.

Here are some key points that I want to highlight:

  • Gig Performers’ low CPU feature isn’t a marketing trick, you can run Gig Performer on your old laptop and be happy with the results.
  • You don’t need to carry lots of equipment to your gigs, you’re perfectly fine with your guitar, an old laptop and an audio interface.
  • You can get a superb tone very inexpensively: you don’t need to buy high-end gear – an inexpensive laptop, a simple audio interface, and Gig Performer will do the work. 

One might think my setup isn’t robust enough. What if my laptop crashes because the hard disk failed, for example? (as an aside, what do you do if your pedal or effect processor dies? 🙂 I have good news for you: when you buy a Gig Performer license, you can activate up to 3 computers with that license! The idea behind this concept is really simple: activate your computer (or laptop) in your studio, one computer on stage, and the third one is for backup. By buying one license, you cover all your needs.

If you’re still wondering about my results, just test it yourself 🙂 Gig Performer is an audio plugin host that works great with old computers and laptops. Download Gig Performer and try it free for 14 days.

 

Enjoy Gig Performer.

Nemanja Pudar

 



The Global Rackspace can receive audio from whatever rackspace is currently active. Instead of inserting effects in every rackspace, simply insert them once in the Global Rackspace and all your local rackspaces will have access to them. The Global Rackspace can also send audio to the currently active rackspace. So you can insert a looper that receives audio directly from your guitar (say) and then send the looped audio to different effects in different rackspaces. If a particular instrument such as a piano or organ is needed everywhere (or almost everywhere), put it in the Global Rackspace.

 

Gig Performer 4 provides a virtual view allowing you to spread out your blocks and connections to make them easier to see and manage, even if you have a very small screen. You can zoom in or out and you can use the Auto-Fit option to position your blocks to fit in the available space.

Scaling curves allow you to control the shape of the output of a widget or convert an incoming note velocity to a new velocity. Various predefined curves are available and they can be tweaked as necessary. You can also just draw your own curve as well to achieve the effect you require.

You can load up to 128 MIDI song files in a single plugin instance. Switch from one song to another, mute tracks and/or change their channel numbers. Tempo can be controlled by individual songs or you can use the global tempo and tap tempo to control the BPM interactively.

Create a sound by placing and interconnecting your desired plugins, such as a synth, some effects and perhaps a mixer. Select them all and then save the selection as a named favorite. The favorite will subsequently show up in all plugin insert menus, making it easy for you to recreate that configuration whenever you need it again. This feature is also very powerful for creating your needed sounds on your studio computer and then transferring them to your touring laptop.

Parameters you select in an open plugin are captured into the Probabilistic Sound Designer dialog window. When you click Randomize, you're only adjusting those selected parameters. Each entry in the PSD dialog has a curve but unlike widgets where the curve controls scaling, in the PSD the curves are used to define the probability of particular values being selected. Make sure the filter cutoff never gets too slow so as to block all sound. Perhaps adjust the max range of the VCA attack parameter so that the sound doesn't have too much delay. Constrain the octave ranges of the oscillators, perhaps ensuring that 1/3rd of the time we select 8' and 2/3rds of the time we select 4'. The possibilities are endless.

Numerous new widgets are included in Gig Performer - a new sustain pedal, plastic knobs, drum pads and more colored sliders. Shapes can be colored with different borders and fill colors and morphed from rectangular to circular. Your creativity is now the limit to creating fabulous front panels in Gig Performer.

Select MIDI devices by name. Choose the MIDI message type and adjust the appropriate parameters for the specific type

 

Gig Performer supports arbitrary resizing. Layout your widgets the way you want - resize the main window and the widgets will grow or shrink as necessary to maintain the same interrelationships. No matter what size screen you have, your front panels will still be neat and usable.

If you move your widgets around and/or resize them, or even delete them by mistake, the Undo facility will correct your mistake. Minor moves to a widget by mistake will no longer spoil your design

Some plugins support a large number of outputs and they depend on the traditional channel strip to control how many ports should be available.   When you only need a stereo pair, it is convenient not to have a large horizontal block. In Gig Performer, the number of available ports  is controlled by the channel count override, which can be applied to individual plugins and will be remembered when the gigfile is reloaded or if the plugin is saved as a favorite.

Rather than a single audio length tail, Gig Performer 4 gives you the ability to control input muting and output fading separately. Input muting controls how much time it takes for audio input to be silenced when you leave the rackspace. Output fading controls how much time will be taken for audio to fade out when you leave the rackspace.

Instead of searching through menus of perhaps hundreds of plugins (you know who you are!), the Quick Plugin Finder makes it easy to find the plugin you need by simply typing partial strings. For example, as shown here, to find the Modartt Pianoteq 7 plugins, it's enough to type pia mod 7 (in any order, by the way)  to restrict the list of available plugins to those matching your query. The Quick Plugin Finder also knows about manufacturers, presets and favorites.

Any entry field can be changed by either dragging your mouse (or finger) up or down, or by using the large popup touchpad where you can just tap on the squares to enter a value. The large popup keypad also does validation so you can't enter an invalid value. You can also just tap the BPM field to pop up a larger view where you can quickly change tempo, tranpose, trigger Tap Tempo and enable Ableton Link, the last allowing you to synchronize Gig Performer with any other application that also supports Ableton Link.

The tuner view makes it easy for guitarists to quickly check and adjust their tuning. You can toggle into the tuner view from any other view and toggle right back as soon as you're done. All output will be silenced automatically while you're in tuning mode. You can adjust the concert reference pitch from its default of 440 Hz to suit your own needs. The tuner view fills the entire screen so you can easily see it from a distance.

GP Script adds new language improvements such as multiple initialization sections, initialization with declarations and enhanced callbacks. The WidgetValueChanged callback now supports multiple widgets. Sysex messages are now built-in with numerous supporting functions. String array handling is much faster. Integer bit manipulation is now built-in.

 

A new global GigScript allows incoming MIDI messages to be modified and redirected on the fly. It also allows you to define keyboard macros for your computer keyboard to control Gig Performer itself. For complete information, please review the GP Script Language Manual available through the Help menu.

Scriptlets make creating custom MIDI processors easy. You don't have to be a programmer to use them - you can just download scriptlets from our ever-growing collection on our website and drop them right into your rackspaces to use them. Use scriptlets for simple operations such as turning your single notes into chords, modifying, duplicating or converting one kind of message into another, automatic chord latching (AutoSustain), threshold detection, sysex manipulation....imagination is the limit.

It's impossible to include a complete list of enhancements or we'll just bore you to death. Here are some of the highlights

  • System Actions plugin
  • MIDI Out to OSC converter
  • Comment plugin
  • New GUI dialog to define MIDI events to send on song part change
  • MIDI Out blocks can automatically send multiple MIDI events
  • Open/close a plugin editor from a widget
  • Choose default startup view
  • Quick find for plugin parameters
  • Large collection of startup hints
  • Hippy Mode
  • OSC Patchbay mode
  • Plugins now default to stereo I/O
  • Dragging presets into the wiring view will automatically create the required plugin
  • Numerous other minor (but nice) usability and workflow enhacnements
  • And of course numerous bug fixes!