Using Gig Performer on tour with The Security Project

Using Gig Performer on tour with The Security Project

Gig Performer is used on tour with The Security Project, 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.

The Security Project performing live

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 Panels 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.

Do you use Gig Performer on tour? If so, we invite you to share your experience in the Stories from the Trenches forum of our Community.

Related topics

David’s live keyboard rig
See Gig Performer in Action
– Gig Performer is used by professional and well-known musicians all over the world

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.