Frequently Asked Questions

What is Gig Performer?

Gig Performer® is an audio plugin host application to allow you to use your Windows PC or Mac along with an audio interface for live music performance. Whether you’re part of a band or a solo artist you can use Gig Performer® to manage all the sounds and/or effects processing you need when you’re on stage.

Is Gig Performer free?

Gig Performer® provides a free 14 day trial. In trial mode, Gig Performer® will be fully functional for 14 days except for occasional deliberate audio drop-outs during which moments the screen will briefly flash red.
To remove these drop-outs, please purchase the full version. Download Gig Performer here.

Note that the trial version is intended solely to help you determine whether Gig Performer is suitable for your needs and because a trial version is available, Deskew Technologies, LLC does not offer refunds for purchases.

On what platforms does Gig Performer run?

Gig Performer® is designed to run on both Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows so the user can work in whichever environment is most familiar and comfortable.

Why we created Gig Performer?

Here is a blog article explaining why and how Gig Performer® came about: Why we created Gig Performer.

What types of audio plugins does Gig Performer support?

Gig Performer® supports VST and VST3 plugins (Windows) and VST, VST3 and AU plugins (Mac).

Does Gig Performer come with any audio plugins?

Gig Performer 4 comes with a number of specialized plugins to handle basic MIDI and audio operations. Some third party plugin vendors have kindly provided us with versions of some of their commercial plugins which are used in some of our templates to make it easier for new users to work with Gig Performer if they do not have their own plugins yet.

Where can I find audio plugins if I don’t already have my own collection?

A quick internet search will turn up numerous sites on which you can find and download many free VST and AU (Mac only) synth and effect plugins. See this blog article to get started: Top websites for free audio plugins and how to use them in Gig Performer®.

How does licensing work?

As of version 3.6, Gig Performer® can be activated simultaneously on up to three computers with the same operating system. So buying a Mac license lets you run Gig Performer® on three Macs simultaneously and buying a Windows license lets you run Gig Performer® on three Windows PCs simultaneously. This gives you the ability to use Gig Performer on a machine in studio to create your gigs and allows you to carry two laptops with you on tours, one for backup in case of emergencies.

We also offer a bundle consisting of both a Mac and Windows license, which of course lets you run Gig Performer® on up to three Mac and up to three PCs.

If you need to run Gig Performer® on a fourth machine, you can deactivate your license on one of your other machines and then reactivate it on the fourth machine.

Can I use the same gig file on both a Mac and a Windows PC?

Sure – our “gig” files can be opened on either platform and as long as compatible audio plugins exist on both platforms, you will be able to use, edit, save and transfer gigs between the two platforms.

This mechanism also works even if not all audio plugins are present on one of the systems. Gig Performer has a built in “Chameleon” plugin that will “pretend” to be the missing audio plugin, obviously not producing any sound, but will turn into a real audio plugin on a system where the audio plugin does exist. This allows you to edit gig files even when some audio plugins are missing, although of course you cannot edit the missing audio plugins.

What is a Rackspace?

A Rackspace is a container for a collection of audio plugins (in the back) wired together any way you like along with a collection of panels (in the front) to control those audio plugin parameters in real time using widgets (knobs, sliders, buttons and so forth). A single rackspace could represent all the elements you need for a song or just parts of a song. You can switch from one rackspace to another instantaneously with no interruption in sound, allowing seamless transitions from one part of a song to another, even in the middle of a bar.

What is a Variation?

Variations allow you to instantly change the front panel settings of a rackspace. For example, if you have a single rack containing a collection of audio plugin effects such as phaser, flanger, chorus and echo, then different variations would allow you to instantly change multiple parameters so you can switch from just phaser to phaser+flanger+chorus or change the phaser rate, flanger depth and chorus width in one go, rather than having to press multiple pedals and/or adjust multiple dials. Many songs use the same audio plugins connected together in the same way but with slightly different parameters so variations allow you to reuse the same plugins without needing more memory to hold them.

What is a Panel?

A Panel is a container for “Macros” or “Smart Control” in other products, but a Panel in Gig Performer® is far more flexible. It essentially enables you to bundle a collection of smart controls in individual panels of a rack space.

What about songs and setlists?

You can organize rackspaces and variations into songs suitable for use in a session or show. Each song consists of one or more song parts and each song part refers to a specific rackspace/variation combination. Widgets values in rackspaces can be temporarily overridden by song parts. In this way, you can easily reuse your rackspaces for different songs and/or song parts, each one appropriately tweaked as required.

What is the Rig Manager?

The Rig Manager is used to manage a separation of your hardware (keyboards, MIDI controllers, MIDI pedal boards etc) and your rackspace design. This allows you to quickly replace one physical device with another, for example, when you are on tour and your keyboards are backlined. Instead of having to learn how to program or configure keyboards or controllers with which you are not familiar, you can train Gig Performer very quickly to recognize what MIDI events they generate to allow you to use different “rigs” at different shows.

Read more about the Rig Manager here.

Is the latency better than common DAWs like Reaper and Ableton? Is there a way to measure that?


With apologies, this question, although asked often, is somewhat meaningless.

The latency of any system is a function of the latency of the audio interface plus the latency implied by the sample buffer size divided by the sample rate specified in the application (see table below). So if you set the sample rate of ANY application to 44,100Hz (say) and the buffer size to 128 (say), that application will add 2.90 ms latency.

It doesn’t matter whether one is running a toy computer or the fastest supercomputer in the world!

Perhaps a better question to ask is, “Can I get up on stage, perform in real-time and do a 3 hour show, switching from one set of sounds to another on the fly, turning on/off or adjusting effects instantly and not get stressed out?”

THAT (among MANY other things) is what Gig Performer brings to the table.

Gig Performer does have a tool to let you measure the actual (as opposed to the reported) latency of your audio interface.

We know people are very interested in such things but we worry that focusing on such things just gets in the way of actually playing. Wearing my musician’s hat, my own position is, if I can play and not notice any delay or softness, that’s all that matters.

What is the minimum Windows requirement insofar as the processor speed is concerned?


No definitive answer to that one. Any modern machine running Windows 7 or newer should be fine but certain plugins may have more stringent requirements. If you use a lot of sample-based plugins, it helps to have more RAM but 8Gb would be a reasonable minimum. View this blog article to see how Gig Performer® runs on a very old laptop.

Can I use my tablet or mobile phone to control my audio plugin effects in Gig Performer?


Of course you can! Gig Performer® has a full OSC implementation, so you can use popular Android or iOS applications such as Lemur, TouchOSC or Oscar to control your effects from your tablet or smartphone. You can even control your effects from a Web browser.

Can I use Gig Performer to troubleshoot issues with my audio plugins if I use the other audio plugin host?


Yes you can! Download a free trial of Gig Performer, recreate your audio plugin setup and follow these easy steps from this blog article to find out which audio plugin causes problems.

What well-known musicians use Gig Performer?


There are many well-known musicians that use Gig Performer. See some of them in this blog article.

Scaling Curves

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.


MIDI File Player Plugin

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.


Favorites and Presets

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.


Probabilistic Sound Designer

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.


More Widgets

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.


MIDI Message Helper

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



Layout management

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.


Undo Support

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


Plugin Channel Count

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.


Input muting and output fading

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.


Faster Plugin Finder

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.



Touch Friendly Input

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.


New Tuner Display

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.