Pro advice wanted: best (technical) setup for full live shows?


I have no lag, and I use amp sims when playing guitar, and it would be very noticeable with guitar. I am still running Win 7 X64. I have no reason to upgrade, or update, at this time, so I am staying stable. I can preload a 50 song set list in a very short period of time, and switch songs immediately, and state changes are seamless. I use a powered USB hub running a Line 6 pedal, 2-key controllers, and USB mouse, all connected to one laptop USB port. In another laptop port, I run my powered Focusrite. And in the 3rd laptop port, I run my main keyboard controller. Other than my own mistakes, Gigs are smooth right now with my setup…no lags or crackles. I do not run Omnisphere or huge sound libraries. There is no need for them in most situations. I set out to simplify everything, and have not sacrificed great sounds in doing so. Just my experience at this point in time.


Ok great, well, I couldn’t sleep :sleeping::eyes:
So Looked my settings again and seems indeed it runs ok at 512 samples.
Dunno why before it was so critical.
I also set waveRT active in the Motu panel. Is that ok?

I bought a 7 plug powered USB hub, hope that will give extra stability.

I’ll wait some more for the ups

I will check for some better USB cables also. Any recommandations?


Another data point from me. I pre-load setlists of about 12-15 songs (but most of them are 10 minutes+ prog songs, often with anything up to 30 or more song states), and each typically has 10-30 instrument plugins, all in linked racks. I routinely use some heavyweight plugins like Diva, multiple instances of Omnisphere, and sample-heavy plugins such as Ivory II, Ravenscroft, Kontakt, etc. My last gig setlist loaded a total of 143 plugin instances, and it does take a minute or so. Cantabile load meter typically sits around 30% while playing most songs, and rarely over 50%. Song switching takes about a second or so, I think mostly because I have such big complex song setups with so many racks/plugins. But it’s all seamless and feels robust and easy to trust.

I run an Intel Core i7 box with 16Gb RAM and SSD, with a MOTU Ultralite Mk2 audio interface running with a 128 sample buffer, and don’t really perceive any latency. Running it all on Windows 10 without any problems, and the updates/service packs haven’t caused any problems so far (touch wood).



Ok sounds good Neil.
I just saw today YIworker.exe was taking high cpu, so I hope the bitsum app can keep that in control.


I did research on usb cables here:


Which is why you can do that, lol. Unfortunately, my drawback on using a WIN 7 older laptop is I am limited to 8Gb RAM which will not let me run Diva in “diva mode”. I am also touching wood. :sweat_smile:


Woah dude, TMI. …


Neil started it…just until I need glasses though. :rofl::rofl::rofl:


Ah, so he did. Figures :smiley:


Don’t know what you’re running but I’m a great fan of Lenovo refurbs. The T420 was purchased for $220. Some bright spark found out that the motherboard supports 16gb, contrary to the official specs!
It works beautifully. So now it’s a $370 laptop.
And because it has 16 gb of ram, it was worth throwing in a 500 GB Samsung EVO SSD. OK - it’s now a $500, built like a tank, 16gb, SSD equipped Thinkpad. :smiley:


Not Bad!! Thanks for the info Adrian. Is there a choice on OS versions?


yep, I wouldn’t go live at more than 128 samples - especially since I use amp sims for my guitar (twice the latency).

My main rig uses an RME Babyface (1st gen), coupled with a Behringer ADA8200 via ADAT. This gives me an additional 8 outputs, since the Babyface only has one stereo output. The latency added by the ADA8200 is neglegible, and it’s pretty cheap, so overall a great setup for multichannel output.




Ok true, didn’t think of that, for live FX like voice fx, I’ll need 128 indeed :-/
Avenger synth runs safer on 512 but it won’t work for other stuff…
Quite frustrating.

I also did wonder, how to convert digital to analog on stage. So it’s done with ADA like that Behringer, right?


I bring a backup thinkpad to every gig. You need to keep it current with your main rig, and after getting burned a couple times by free Bakcup software, I jsut made a lsit of the few folders I need to manually backup, and I’ve been good ever since.

And yes, stay on PC. Some people have had a lot fo issues when changing to W10. Personally, I stayed on Win 7 for that reason, and since my rig has worked reliably gigging for over 3 years, I see no reason to change… at least not yet.

As a side note, I agree with Derek, you may also simply be running too much from one box. Theoretically video playback shouldn’t use much cpu resources, but I’ve been in the video biz for decades and every machine handles video a little differently, there are so many variables and potential conflicts, jsut like audio. Maybe your DMX app is a heavy laod, too. +1 on Brad’s optimizaiotn guide, it’s the best out there. It’s time consuming, but using his guide and testing every paramteter change, I was able to get latency on my Scarlett 2i4 from 12 ms down to under 7ms. With a little help from Focusrite’s new drivers, too.

Good luck… it’s not fun to gig when you’re thinking about your rig, instead of the music!


Just played around with Avenger a bit - it runs quite nicely at 128 samples on my setup. The one thing I don’t like about Avenger is that it peaks on note starts quite massively: my standard lead sound creates 20% load when I hit the note, then goes down to about 3% on sustain, even with wild aftertouch exercises. So there seems some inefficiency around note setup.

Guess I’ll have to look for another default synth - this behavior is not very trust-inspiring…




@twaw Indeed very stressfull playing with one eye on the CPU meter and 1 ear on the glitches LOL :smiley:

That’s why I’m hoping C3 would be able to handle more stuff in the timeline so I can use C3 instead of Reaper, but it’s no option yet.

Would be great if I could run the media/midi player for audio/dmx presets andeven timeline preset switches and maybe video in the timeline also. I know that’s quite a DAW function, but still, I’m sure C3 could handle it better, song by song. Plus I trust @brad more with performance and stability of software :wink:

@Torsten Yes I like Avenger, it’s nearly the only synth that handles analog and sampling in 1 plugin. plus great fx and great arp etc,… But very demanding. I discussed allot with the dev, he’s very open about it, but I guess the problem is to big to handle… Or no proiority. Wich for me it seems crucial to the succes of the product. But that’s not how they see it.
I’m looking at Falcon atm. Hope that will work as good or better… Still I’ll have to reprogram everything. Weeks of work…


For DMX are you running midi tracks? As you probably know, midi track playback uses hardly any CPU at all. I typically stack three or four midi tracks for each song, to switch my guitar effects, load the song’s preset for the mixer, toggle effect mutes in Cantabile, etc. That’s interesting about Reaper, I found cantabile to be one of the lowest loads of any I tried. And I’m still on C2 Solo.


Ow time to switch to C3 ! :wink:
Yes in Reaper, I send it to DMXis, usb dmx host.


you could host avenger via jbridge in Performance Mode. (Did we already find out that didn’t work?) or, a more expensive solution is to run Vienna Ensemble Pro 6 as the a plugin which allows you to place up to 4x the buffer into that particular chain. It’s important that the plugins which require fast throughput are not compromised just because one or two lazy lumps want to slow the whole thing down. I’ve been running DIVA via jbridge in perf mode and it REALLY takes the heat off.
This would actually be an extremely useful facility to have directly in Cantabile, where plugins can be given their own multiple of the ASIO buffer.
Can it be done @brad?
Perhaps the single most system boosting enhancement we could get!


Hey Corky, I’ve seen them with Win 7 and 10.
I’m still using 7 on all my systems. I just… like it.