Gig Performer is not a plugin chainer

Gig Performer is not a plugin chainer

Gig Performer is not a plugin chainer. Gig Performer is an audio plugin host for live performance and session musicians, the part of your instrument.

It looks like this or it looks like that…

. ….therefore it is the same as this or the same as that! My bicycle has wheels, your car has wheels so a bicycle is the same as a car!

As the great writer Alex Hailey once said, “Mistrust the obvious”.

Sure, there are ways to connect plugins together, such as using a traditional channel strip model, via a matrix or visually, the last being the way that Gig Performer does it.

That’s the easy part – and even easier if you use Gig Performer to do that routing. For an example of why it’s easier, see a quick example at Gig Performer Way vs. The Channel Strip Way

But it’s what you can do after you have connected your plugins together that makes the difference.

Simplified comparison chart

. Gig Performer, Plugin Chainer, Connect Multiple Plugins Together, A gazillion of other features


Gig Performer is part of your instrument, not your DAW

The philosophy behind Gig Performer is that you create the sounds you need to be able to perform entire songs. The sounds are not just a function of how plugins are routed together in a rackspace (see below) but also how they are controlled in real-time as you play using widgets to affect plugin parameters and using your physical devices (keyboards, MIDI guitar pedals, control surfaces, etc) to not only modify the sounds in a rackspace but also to switch from one set of plugins to a completely different set of plugins on the fly. When you have created the sounds you need, along with the real-time performance aspects, you can record your performance with your DAW and, without any changes, take Gig Performer on stage and produce identical results.


In the Gig Performer world, looking at the image below, each rackspace on the left represents a complete collection of interconnected plugins, i.e, a plugin topology. You can have as many rackspaces as you need for your show and more importantly, you can switch from one rackspace to another, even right in the middle of a bar, while playing a chord on a keyboard or with your guitar, and have the sound change instantly without any glitching. Individual rackspaces encapsulate other functionality such as tempo, global sync, controlling audio tail length when you switch, program change configuration and so on.

Plugin routing in Gig Performer

Gig Performer uses visual routing instead of traditional channel strips. Each rackspace (the column on the left) represents an entirely separate collection of connected plugins. You use these to create your songs and song parts for instant use in a live show or session with instant access.

Plugin routing in Gig Performer


Real-time control and widgets

On the panel side, each rackspace has its own collection of widgets (knobs, buttons, sliders, expression pedals, etc) which are used to control various plugin parameters, either onscreen using a mouse (or finger if you have a touch surface) or, more usually, by using physical controls on your keyboards or pedal boards. You can lay these out any way that makes sense for your particular situation. Using Gig Performer’s OSC support, you can also view and control widgets using an app like Lemur or TouchOSC

Screenshot 4313


Song mode

The image below shows Gig Performer in Song mode. Among many features of this mode, you can easily use it with a MIDI pedal controller where you can directly switch among different parts of a song (with instant audio switching of course) during the performance. With snapshots, you can reuse rackspaces but still override settings as needed. Switching song parts lets you send MIDI events out to external devices on the fly.

Here are a few other features:

  • Instant switching from one set of plugins to another on the fly with no glitching.
  • The ability to design front panels with knobs, sliders and buttons for manual and automated control from controllers, MIDI pedals and so forth.
  • The ability to manage a complete set of songs during a show or recording session.
  • The Rig Manager lets you replace controllers and/or control surfaces without having to reconfigure your entire system for different MIDI messages
  • Patch Persist so you can switch from one set of sounds to another with the old sounds remaining until you release the keys or sustain pedal.
  • Full remote control via MIDI or OSC so you can use a tablet attached to your mic stand to interact with Gig Performer instead of clicking on a laptop during a show.
  • Drive Gig Performer from Ableton, MaxMSP or other applications and instruments that generate OSC
  • Cross platform, Mac and Windows.
  • Support for ChordPro charts.
  • Control other hardware devices such as external synths, MIDI and OSC controllable mixers and so forth.
  • Support for Ableton Link.
  • Record all incoming audio to wave files for post production purposes.
  • A built-in programming language for advanced control…(MIDI transformations, function generators for modulation, respond to incoming OSC messages, ….).
  • So much else….you need to just try it!


Gig Performer Panels View .

Gig Performer, Performance View

Gig Performer® and Own The Stage® are registered trademarks of Deskew Technologies, LLC


Related topics:
 – Why use Gig Performer rather than a DAW for live performance?
 – What is new in Gig Performer 4?
 – A High Level Look at Gig Performer Software with Larry the “O” (YouTube)
5 Reasons for using Gig Performer rather than a DAW with Matt Vanacoro (YouTube)

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.