15 Nov Using Gig Performer on tour with The Security Project
The Security Project is a prog rock band that performs the early progressive repertoire of Peter Gabriel. I’ve been performing with them for about 4 years now, going on a couple of tours per year. My main software system was a custom developed application using MaxMSP. I developed this after trying the few audio plugin hosts that were available at the time and not being satisfied with any of them. It worked pretty well, to both host my plugins and to do some algorithmic processing. Unfortunately, what seemed like a minor update for Kontakt, my goto plugin for all sampler-related sounds, turned out to be a major headache because the update dropped 32-bit support and Max stopped being able to use it.
Now, for about the last year, my partner and I have been working on what we hoped could be a spectacularly better live performance tool that would host plugins, support MIDI and OSC, be really fast and most importantly, really reliable. We had a target date around the end of November of this year for the official release (and we’re going to meet that target!)
So even though we still had about 3 months to go, I decided to bite the bullet and put Gig Performer into service immediately. The bet was that if I ran into any problems, we would be able to address them really quickly. Ultimately that bet did indeed pay off. To make the transition as painless as possible, my goal was to leverage OSC to communicate between Max and GigPerformer and all the objects that sent messages to Max hosted plugins would now simply send OSC messages to Gig Performer. After a couple of nasty gotchas and a few crashes which we were able to fix immediately, Gig Performer really started living up to its expectations, particularly when it came to items like low CPU usage and flexibility.
The good news is that the actual experience on tour drove a few more important innovations and some critical workflow/usability enhancements which we believe will benefit everyone. For example, I discovered that I needed to use the same few plugins over and over again and so the ability to quickly duplicate a plugin saves a ton of clicking and selection. Also, little LEDs below all input and output channels in the performer view provide a quick diagnostic to let you know that audio is moving in and out, even if it’s too quiet to make the regular meters move. Very useful during soundcheck.