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How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church #2394660 03/06/15 01:07 PM
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I'm about to make a purchase of a high end laptop with an SSD and one of the main purposes is to connect it to my PX-350 to use VSTs at home. However, the idea ocurred to me of taking the laptop to church and doing the same using the piano as a controller and running VSTs live. Can it be done? Has anyone else tried something like this?

This is the laptop I'm getting: http://www.amazon.com/GL551JM-DH71-...33&sr=1-1&keywords=gaming+laptop

Edit: Any other ideas that might make this process easier or other alternatives are more than welcome. I'm looking for insight and am open to a different approach.


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Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Giancarlo Robles] #2394758 03/06/15 04:54 PM
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Since I have a PX-350 and run Pianoteq on a laptop, I've asked myself the same question. When using my (single) loudspeaker, I run in "Monophonic" mode.

My laptop is _way_ slower than yours, and it works fine. So far, I haven't had need to get really good piano sound, outside my room.

My first worry (if I took the keyboard and computer to a gig) would be ground-loop hum. I'm using the built-in soundcard. At a gig, I'd carry an extra DI box, plug the computer soundcard into the "unbalanced" side, and run the balanced (XLR) output to a "Microphone" input on the church PA system (or use my own speaker -- depends on the size of the church).

Turn off any Wi-Fi driver and Internet connection. Make sure the computer isn't going to quit in the middle of a song to update its operating system.

. Charles


. Charles
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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Giancarlo Robles] #2394760 03/06/15 04:58 PM
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Yes, people use software for playing live all the time (Mainstage being a prime example)


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Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Giancarlo Robles] #2395115 03/07/15 03:47 PM
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If the laptop is used primarily for this, then your requirements should be:

Large, fast hard drive. SSDs are fast, but not large and 256 GB would probably be too small if you are going to install more than one software piano or much other software. Some software piano samples are 30 GB or more. Most software pianos are optimized for hard drives so a 7200 Hz hard drive should be good enough for software pianos. IMO a single SSD in a laptop would put too big of a space constraint on your laptop. I think SSDs should be used in a system where you would have more than one drive, but that's my opinion.

Lots of RAM. 16 GB is great.

Multicore processor with lots of cache. High end Intel or AMD processors are more than sufficient.

The RAM and cache will make up for the slower speed of a hard drive.

The video on this laptop is overkill. Built in graphics is sufficient for just running a VST and host.

Audio for gaming or video is NOT the same as for audio performance. For gaming and video, it doesn't matter if there is a slight delay (latency). For performing, you need extremely low latency. PCs generally do not have audio cards that meet performing specification. Macs mostly do. Part of why Macs are so common in the music industry. Stability is the other reason. Spend some of the money on a external audio interface.

Minimize the other software you are running on the laptop - especially if it is for performance. This will help with latency and stability.



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Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: DragonPianoPlayer] #2395146 03/07/15 05:25 PM
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You can have a mSata SSD and a HDD in a Laptop.

Originally Posted by DragonPianoPlayer
If the laptop is used primarily for this, then your requirements should be:

Large, fast hard drive. SSDs are fast, but not large and 256 GB would probably be too small if you are going to install more than one software piano or much other software. Some software piano samples are 30 GB or more. Most software pianos are optimized for hard drives so a 7200 Hz hard drive should be good enough for software pianos. IMO a single SSD in a laptop would put too big of a space constraint on your laptop. I think SSDs should be used in a system where you would have more than one drive, but that's my opinion.

Lots of RAM. 16 GB is great.

Multicore processor with lots of cache. High end Intel or AMD processors are more than sufficient.

The RAM and cache will make up for the slower speed of a hard drive.

The video on this laptop is overkill. Built in graphics is sufficient for just running a VST and host.

Audio for gaming or video is NOT the same as for audio performance. For gaming and video, it doesn't matter if there is a slight delay (latency). For performing, you need extremely low latency. PCs generally do not have audio cards that meet performing specification. Macs mostly do. Part of why Macs are so common in the music industry. Stability is the other reason. Spend some of the money on a external audio interface.

Minimize the other software you are running on the laptop - especially if it is for performance. This will help with latency and stability.



I think you are wrong, Macs aren't special at all it just has to do how the kernel handles the samples and the midi controller. I mean there's no point on buying a Mac, you can build a better PC with Apple OS for half the price, just check tonymacx86 website.

You can get good results with a cheap audio card with asio than with any Mac, I have a cheap Asus Xonar DG and it works great.

An good external audio interface does give the best results.

Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Giancarlo Robles] #2395165 03/07/15 06:19 PM
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Oh my, not a Mac/PC debate starting? Haha. That is so 1990, let it go.

If you enjoy researching best components and building computers it makes sense to use Windows. You can install Mac OS on a home built PC but it's a hack. Every time Apple updates the OS something gets broken and you have to figure out how to fix it. Sometimes as simple as reinstalling something, sometimes not. So I generally suggest if you build a PC you go with Windows and if you do decided to dual boot or use Mac OS exclusively, once it's working - leave it be.

On the other hand if you like the Mac OS you're just as well to buy one, particularly if you don't enjoy researching components, assembling PCs, installing OS and drivers, trouble shooting strange problems, etc etc. Macs are a great choice for the fellow or madame who finds all of these things a hassle.

Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: ElmerJFudd] #2395175 03/07/15 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
Oh my, not a Mac/PC debate starting? Haha. That is so 1990, let it go.

If you enjoy researching best components and building computers it makes sense to use Windows. You can install Mac OS on a home built PC but it's a hack. Every time Apple updates the OS something gets broken and you have to figure out how to fix it. Sometimes as simple as reinstalling something, sometimes not. So I generally suggest if you build a PC you go with Windows and if you do decided to dual boot or use Mac OS exclusively, once it's working - leave it be.

On the other hand if you like the Mac OS you're just as well to buy one, particularly if you don't enjoy researching components, assembling PCs, installing OS and drivers, trouble shooting strange problems, etc etc. Macs are a great choice for the fellow or madame who finds all of these things a hassle.


Are you serious, really ?
You can get a prebuild PC with Windows already installed, and it still will be cheaper and more flexible than any Mac (with the same specs).

I recently formarted my PC, after almost 4 years with W7 (Which I didnt have any of your "strange problems") to W8.1 because I got a new SSD, the only driver I had to download was for my graphics card, and that's it.

There's barely any reason to buy a Mac, you can use Linux and you wont have to buy a audio card to have good latency with your VST/VSTi.

You can build a PC accordingly to your personal use, If you are lazy enough you can get a technician to build one and set it up for you, and it still be cheaper. Stop spreading misinformation.

Last edited by NighhhT; 03/07/15 07:03 PM.
Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Giancarlo Robles] #2395189 03/07/15 07:54 PM
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I see where this is going. Unfortunate, but I'm out. Enjoy!

Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Giancarlo Robles] #2395248 03/08/15 12:29 AM
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EJF, you are not any fun. Vim or Emacs? Hah!

FWIW... I run VPs on my 2012 MacBook Pro with no problems. (Ivory II Grands). The computer you are getting is better all round so you should have no problems. Windows or OSX should not matter. I have no experience gigging with this setup.


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Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Giancarlo Robles] #2395270 03/08/15 03:12 AM
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Sooner or later you will need an external audio interface with good ASIO drivers for achieving low latency and balance outputs.

Check out the Steinberg ur12 one of the cheapest units with great performance.

Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: pspicer] #2395315 03/08/15 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by pspicer
EJF, you are not any fun. Vim or Emacs? Hah!

FWIW... I run VPs on my 2012 MacBook Pro with no problems. (Ivory II Grands). The computer you are getting is better all round so you should have no problems. Windows or OSX should not matter. I have no experience gigging with this setup.


smile Ha ha ha, indeed. Vim or Emacs... hilarious!

I will offer that either professionally or personally I currently work with a lot of computers. Right now I use the Lenovo W520 (it's been replaced by the Lenovo W541) which I use in mobile rig with ProTools 11 and Sibelius 7.5. It has an i7, 8gb of RAM running Windows 7 64bit. A lot of horse power for a laptop, which is what we needed. The onboard speakers are lousy on the 520, as is the onboard microphone and camera (not important to me). Screen is ok, nothing to brag about. But it can render audio and video really well for a laptop. The power supply is a huge brick, also not important, just need processing power. And for this it fits the bill. Had an issue early on with streaming audio cutting out. I recommend using a DPC latency checker on any prebuilt (or home built) PC to investigate these kinds of issues. Surprisingly, or maybe not so much - it was the bluetooth mouse driver.

In freelance work I use the current Mac Book Pro. Very similar in cost to the Lenovo. CPU is only i5 but same amount of RAM. Came with an SSD, the retina display looks awesome, and the onboard mic and camera are very good (more important, as this laptop does double duty with office and family stuff). It's lighter, smaller, power supply is a little square with a magnetic connector to avoid screwing up the port on the laptop should it get kicked out. All software I run is available for both Mac and PC - with the exception that on the Mac Book I also have access to Logic Pro. Apple does not have a build of this for Windows (somewhere on the internet you might find a copy of Logic 5 for Windows. I have no idea if it would run on Windows 7 or 8). OSX is very stable, I have never crashed it. If an applications freezes, it doesn't take down the finder. Never had any issues with audio/video streaming or strange interrupts. It's a very good design.

I also build from time to time. My last build I used a Gigabyte mobo with an Intel Core i5 3570K and was able to throw in a 512mb SSD for boot drive and 16gb of RAM in a fairly quiet NZXT H2 case (important for audio work. home build PC's can be noisy if you don't think out your build). It dual boots, either Windows 7 or Mac OS - very useful. I only use Windows for Office or games... sometimes Adobe stuff, since I don't have Mac installers at the moment and am avoiding upgrading to their subscription service. This is a pretty fast PC - comparable to the current iMacs. Cheaper, but you don't get the big screen, small foot print, and all the extras like camera and speakers, thunder bolt ports, etc. I could add these things, but that bumps up the cost of build. It is not as fast as a Mac Pro, not even close - but Apple does not offer an i5 or i7 based Mac Pro. Only Quad and 6-core XEON processors with dual AMD FirePro graphics - which would be nice, but isn't imperative. I do wish Apple would offer an affordable tower based on 5th generation intel core processors, but that's never going to happen again. The previous generation Mac Pros and Power Macs were much nicer towers for user upgrades.

Back to the original posters topic. Ivory, Ravenscroft, Pianoteq etc. all run great on any of the above.


Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Charles Cohen] #2395371 03/08/15 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Since I have a PX-350 and run Pianoteq on a laptop, I've asked myself the same question. When using my (single) loudspeaker, I run in "Monophonic" mode.



I think you mean monaural - unless you are just plinking out single-notes. smile

Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Giancarlo Robles] #2395387 03/08/15 01:22 PM
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I second suggestions for a good audio interface. Even with a Mac, you will want it for the better outputs (vs. using a headphone jack). If you have the same setup at home (i.e., using the same laptop and same board), then that would be ideal that way you can reduce the troubleshooting when hooking up the laptop with a different DP at church.

Personally, I prefer using Macs. I'm not a computer wizard, and when I had PCs, it was always a struggle with things working and then suddenly stop working for no apparent reason. Vista was the worst and that is when I switched to a Mac. I've never looked back, and it is so much easier to get things up and running so I can focus on making music. I also find it to be a lot more consistent , meaning when I unplug something and then later plug it back in, it works like it did the first time without further configuration.

Also, I do not recommend monaural mode for live performances. DPs and keyboards really should be in stereo, even if they have a "mono" capability and even a mono piano sound. Stereo sounds better. That may just entail an extra direct box into your PA system, but well worth it for the richness you get.

Other than that, using a VST should be pretty straightforward (though I haven't tried playing live with them yet). What VSTs are you wanting to use? Are you not happy with the PX-350 sounds? Just curious.


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Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Scott Hamlin] #2395479 03/08/15 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Scott Hamlin
Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Since I have a PX-350 and run Pianoteq on a laptop, I've asked myself the same question. When using my (single) loudspeaker, I run in "Monophonic" mode.



I think you mean monaural - unless you are just plinking out single-notes. smile


You're right. But Pianoteq's choices are labelled:

. . . Stereophonic
. . . Monophonic
. . . Binaural

. Charles


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Giancarlo Robles] #2395712 03/09/15 08:21 AM
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Morodiene, I'm very happy with the piano sounds of the PX-350, however my focus has changed. When I started learning to play piano, I thought I was going to eventually be the main pianist at church. That has changed and now I'm doing either organs, strings or synths as a second keyboard. I occasionally play piano but the main focus is on other instruments. That's the reason why I'm looking into alternatives. I find I'd like different types of organs and strings to have more versatility when I play, not being stuck with the standard PX-350 sounds. I'm considering right now the vst option since I'm going to be getting the laptop anyway. As for vsts to use I'm thinking of GSI VB3 for the Hammond organ. Don't really have a strings vst thought out yet.


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Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Giancarlo Robles] #2395784 03/09/15 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Giancarlo Robles
Morodiene, I'm very happy with the piano sounds of the PX-350, however my focus has changed. When I started learning to play piano, I thought I was going to eventually be the main pianist at church. That has changed and now I'm doing either organs, strings or synths as a second keyboard. I occasionally play piano but the main focus is on other instruments. That's the reason why I'm looking into alternatives. I find I'd like different types of organs and strings to have more versatility when I play, not being stuck with the standard PX-350 sounds. I'm considering right now the vst option since I'm going to be getting the laptop anyway. As for vsts to use I'm thinking of GSI VB3 for the Hammond organ. Don't really have a strings vst thought out yet.


I'm asking because I haven't gotten into yet myself except for VST pianos, but I'm looking to buy strings and other orchestral instruments. With the PX-350, do you think it would serve well as a MIDI controller for organ? Can faders or knobs be assigned for controlling drawbars?


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Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Morodiene] #2395805 03/09/15 11:21 AM
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I managed to use the PX-350 before my last laptop died with the piano vsts I have in my sig. IMO it worked excellently with piano vsts. I'm actually considering selling my PX-350 to get a PX-5S to have more control using the sliders and knobs, especially for organ. It probably will be a little more complex with the PX-350 since the GSI VB3 organ has the knobs once you open it in Kontakt to change the parameters and sound. I'd say it works with the PX-350 but keep your mouse close because you will be using it a lot. Even with my piano vsts I used the mouse constantly to change options.


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Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Giancarlo Robles] #2395831 03/09/15 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Giancarlo Robles
I managed to use the PX-350 before my last laptop died with the piano vsts I have in my sig. IMO it worked excellently with piano vsts. I'm actually considering selling my PX-350 to get a PX-5S to have more control using the sliders and knobs, especially for organ. It probably will be a little more complex with the PX-350 since the GSI VB3 organ has the knobs once you open it in Kontakt to change the parameters and sound. I'd say it works with the PX-350 but keep your mouse close because you will be using it a lot. Even with my piano vsts I used the mouse constantly to change options.


I think that could be a bit clunky. When I'm playing I don't often have hands free to do other stuff, like move a mouse.

I agree, the PX-5S would probably be a more suitable controller, and I'm guessing since it's more designed for that sort of thing that you'd be able to do most of your controlling while playing via the sliders, and then use the mouse for setting up things in between numbers.

I currently use my MOX6 for worship band, playing strings, pads, organ, and sometimes electric guitar. I do some programming in advance so then I just have to push a button or two in between songs and really try to avoid any complex changes within a song. That's just me and my comfort level with that sort of thing, though. If I were to use a VST, I'd want everything pre-programmed and saved as a preset, so a bit of work ahead of time, but once you find the sounds/settings you like, you will re-use them.

edited to add: The PX-5S will also have a lot more sounds to choose from. I've listened to some demos on youtube and it seems that they have a good selection of what you'd need, so perhaps VSTs wouldn't even be necessary if you got this.

Last edited by Morodiene; 03/09/15 12:23 PM.

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Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Giancarlo Robles] #2395835 03/09/15 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Giancarlo Robles
I'm about to make a purchase of a high end laptop with an SSD and one of the main purposes is to connect it to my PX-350 to use VSTs at home. However, the idea ocurred to me of taking the laptop to church and doing the same using the piano as a controller and running VSTs live. Can it be done? Has anyone else tried something like this? . . .



Must admit I wouldn`t be happy cluttering up a church (service) with so much extraneous stuff, all of which could go horribly wrong. A live performance demands reliability and simplicity. I would forget the idea. There`ll be acceptable sounds on board already, and only you would be able to tell the difference. Just work out the best way to deal with what you have. It`s bound to be sufficient, and won`t distract from your playing, or that of your bandmates . . .not to mention the congregation, or the vicar . . .

Last edited by peterws; 03/09/15 12:14 PM.

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Re: How would a PX-350 fare using VSTs during live play @ church [Re: Morodiene] #2395892 03/09/15 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene


edited to add: The PX-5S will also have a lot more sounds to choose from. I've listened to some demos on youtube and it seems that they have a good selection of what you'd need, so perhaps VSTs wouldn't even be necessary if you got this.


I think I have to consider that as well. It's possible that with all the customization the PX-5S provides I might not even need the laptop for VSTs. There are quite a lot of user made sounds for the PX-5S so probably one of those organs might suit my needs. It is true that once you choose a particular sound you stick to that sound most of the time so if there is something appropriate I might not need anything else.


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