Mo' gear, Mo' problems

Last night I played an important gig. Important for me, anyway. A friend was launching an app and asked me to play support for his amazing multimedia set. In my hometown. With people actually listening rather than just having a beer and shouting over the music.

Musically, I think it went okay.I set up, went to get some dinner, returned to play and my monome wasn’t responding. Not usually an issue, it often happens when I’m using my cheapo USB hub, unplugged it, plugged it back in, kinda got it working again, if laggy. Then my APCmini stopped working mid-set. Unplugged it, plugged it back in again, all good, but it totally stressed me out.

The rest of the set was… fine. Not great, but fine.

It just made me miss the days that I used to play with my laptop and an original launchpad, and a cable with 3.5mm jack on one end plugged into the headphone socket, and rca on the other plugged into anywhere I could find.

These days I take my laptop, monome, apc, microbrute, focusrite soundcard, dj mixer and sometimes a volca or two. Occasionally I inexplicably launch samples from an MPC, even though I could just do it all from ableton. The music isn’t any better. the performance might be a bit more interesting. It’s harder to set up, and sometimes I run out of space on the table or in the booth provided.

Oh, I know, poor little rich boy has too much gear to decide what to take… I understand this is a very first world problem.

Anyway, how do you guys decide what to take out live? What inspires you in a live situation? What has been relegated to studio use only?

Big love fam!



I applaud your courage to try anyway despite the challenges…what feedback did you get from your friend? the rest of the audience?

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They bloody loved it. I’ve been doing this a while, and was brought up performing as a kid, so I know how to hide it when things go tits up. The music didn’t stop playing :smiley:



My self imposed constraints are:

  • Only what I can carry myself in one trip.
  • Only what I can plug in without a separate USB hub or mixer.
  • Everything needs to be rock solid, or have practiced, non-set-destroying resets.

I’m close, but not perfect to this. My current live collection is:

  • MacBook Air running Live
  • Novation AudioHub
  • FaderFox UC44
  • Launchpad Pro
  • Launchpad Mini
  • Novation Circuit

Can’t add another thing without taking something out! Actually, I find the HW has settled and I’m pretty happy with it. The software that drives some of that gear is another issue…


Sometimes i need to restart my mac when i unplugged 256 by accidentally otherwise i can’t use my 256…
Is this common?

I use these for my live set :
Ableton live
Monome 256
Ipad or Iphone with touchable3
Midi fighter 3D

'only what’s required for the show-
the variables being 'required and 'show

live rig for Saturday Broadcast 2016 Exhibition & Event

I saw Alessandro Cortini earlier this year and his setup is remarkably simple and very reliable. He uses an iPad or iPhone to play back audio tracks of unfiltered oscillators being sequenced - the track timing is synced with video playback for his visuals, probably through a separate click track playing or something. The sound of the oscillators is sent to a pedal board that consists of fuzz, delay, reverb, and a filter effect - all outboard. No laptop or controllers. The performance appeared to be highly interactive even though I knew he was not “playing” the synths. I was very surprised - he sounded great.

I would prefer to have some sort of ability to improv with a live setup and I think this would be a little limited to me. However, I see its merit as a backbone to the overall performance. It would b easy enough to incorporate a skiff or outboard piece of gear for this without reliance on it for the overall success of the gig. I don’t play live currently but when I did, less was always more in terms of gear. This is how I would probably do it today.


I think the content of the music is a great way to frame this problem. Unless you are doing pure improvisation, the musical piece is already composed and should be able to stand on its own. Its easy for me to see the risk/reward relationship this way - this piece of gear either adds to the performance or is a distraction to it (potentially by malfunctioning).

tonight’s rig

just posting this here because it fits nicely in this discussion imo