Discussion Topic Question: I'm interested to see if anyone has pulled off running amp Sims on a Netbook. I picked up Guitar Rig Session back when NI was running the free upgrade to GR3. I would love to be able to go to jams and gigs with nothing more than a Netbook, the interface and a pair of powered PA speakers (perhaps a MIDI floorboard too). Actually, if Netbooks are indeed feasible platforms for amp Sims, I would consider attempting a case mod putting a Netbook in the same housing as a FCB1010.
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My setup: Guitar > Stealth Plug > Acer Aspire 3100 (Sempron 1800/2 GB Ram) >
Guitar Rig 2.
It works great, low latency and spare headroom.
Granted it's not a Netbook but it is a low end older laptop with only a single core and it still does what it is supposed to do.
I use it for solo practice only, but for that, it is perfect.
For recording I don't think it would suffice because of the slow HDD and the same would be true for a Netbook.
Does Line6 PODFarm count as one? I use that and the sounds are quite impressive. I'm more of a hobbyist than a professional (by a long shot), so it may or may not fit your needs. Runs just fine on my laptop, although you have to shut off the wireless card, which is a mild pain in the arse.
I have Guitar rig 2 running on an acer aspire one Netbook with the 1.6 atom
cpu, 1 gig of ram, and a 160g HD using a lexicon omega interface (not even
usb2.0) and get a modest 8ms latency with asio4all as the driver
it did not like GR3 so much
to to this effectively you need to optimize xp for audio
I switched processor scheduling to background
killed many services and startup items
tweaked the effects and fading menus
replaced the stock antivirus with the new Microsoft one that uses far less cpu
I think a usb2.0 interface will do much better than the omega, I am going to try a few out in the next few weeks
Lenovo has a Netbook with a 34 express card that will accommodate a Texas instruments based Firewire interface card. I believe it would be awesome for live guitar
I use this setup with the Piezo outs of my acoustic and it is the best sounding acoustic processor I have heard
I am adding a midi footswitch and using it live in real time
despite all the negative stuff I've read how it wouldn't work
...or how USB bites compared to Firewire
it works great for me
That is encouraging. What problems do you encounter with GR3? Is it a CPU hit, latency, or something else? On my systems GR3 does not seem to be any more resource hungry than GR2 was.
It depends, what Netbook are you looking at Craig?
The only one I have around the house is an eeePC but that's running on a bastardised Linux distribution and won't be fast enough or able to run any music software I think?
I think if you got a Netbook that had good specs then it shouldn't be a problem. One major factor I was looking at while choosing my laptop (Lenovo T400) was the heat. Obviously it's better to have a laptop or any computer running cooler but when you're using intensive audio apps it's even more important. So, this might be a factor to check out before you decide... obviously along with the other technical specs. But I think the heat is a factor that many overlook.
have a Dell Latitude D630, 1.6 GHZ and 1 GB Ram.
Use a light snake USB 2.0 interface running GTR3 with the headphone out adapted to my amp and it works good for around the house playing.
I haven't tweaked the OS and I get a few cracks and pops sometimes but it works for me.
Lenovo, Asus, Acer, that kind of thing, running Windows. Might be worth waiting until Windows 7 comes out, which I understand was designed with Netbooks in mind...although XP was designed back when "real" computers had the same kind of specs as today's Netbooks, and would likely work well with amp Sims.
vote for a headless Mac MINI Core 2 Duo
Get a used one off eBay for $300
The performance of a $300 used Mac Mini exceeds all Netbooks by a large margin.
Indeed, but then I need to carry a monitor, mouse, etc. I'm looking for a truly portable solution.
Thanks for the update, and you bring up a VERY important point: Most laptop
users report that disabling a computer's wireless card solves all kinds of
weird problems, including latency.
As to POD, Pods are great but they don't have things like tempo-synched step sequencers, which are a big part of my "techno guitar" sound.
u can use asio4all as a wrapper for the stock sound card and use a mic
... but there are much better sounding solutions out that use USB or Firewire into the computer with balanced outputs and inputs with the impedance matched for guitars
the lowest latency pro audio interfaces seem to still be PCI card for the PC
and Firewire for MAC
so how does the J-Station sound?
I love the matchless model on the millennium
that has to be the best model of any virtual amp or hybrid I have heard for electric saturated stuff
I've considered this kind of thing before. A MIDI controlled rig, switched by
automated messages from a project in a DAW (complete with click track and
whatever else). Seemed like a pretty cool idea to me, although I'd also still
like to retain a way to make changes on the fly.
I've always felt that while Netbooks have their purpose, their prices are so
close to some laptops that you're better off buying a cheaper laptop as you'll
get far more for your money.
One of my favorite computer/technology websites has a whole article about how you can buy relatively inexpensive laptops that are far faster than Netbooks for around the same price. Check it out here.
I'd feel much more comfortable running an amp sim (or any music-related software) on a more powerful system. The Intel Atom is great if you want to do the basic tasks for which Netbooks were created. If you want portability and something powerful enough to run music software, one of those $300ish laptops would handle it much more...handily.
Court Jester of the Ibanez Wizards
Washburn N4 alder
Ibanez RG421 w/ Dimarzio TZ+AN + Ghost Midi
'92 Mesa DC-5 combo
THD Hot Plate
L6 Echo Park
Craig: How's the Netbook search going? Also looking at this possibility. I am going with a group to Albania at the end of Sept. and would like to condense my electronics (small pedal board with gr 33) . The software for amp Sims and effects definitely seems doable. My concern is with accessing the synth sounds in the Netbook or laptop without glitches and latency. I'm using a Brian Moore with rmc pickups. Another concern is getting the rmc converted to midi (gi 20?) then into the computer. Hauling equipment overseas is something I'll do if I have to, but how much nicer would it be just to have a guitar, a interface, and a computer. Hope all is well. David
I've had no problems with SSD drives and Netbooks so far. As for the speed, it surprised me a lot! Ultra fast
Decent Article on using a Asus Eee PC
The Asus Eee PC is unlikely to be your first choice of laptops for music. But it’s small, it’s cute, and it’s ridiculously cheap. Some CDM-reading computer enthusiasts are biting, as we found out in March when we asked you if you had turned the Eee PC into a music box.
On the Linux side, you’ve got lots of options. Best among these, CDM reader Dan Stowell has put together a comprehensive tutorial on using SuperCollider, the powerful, free sound synthesis engine. You can even add custom GUIs using a free Java-based tool. There are also plenty of DIY environments for music working nicely (Csound and Pd included, as well), meaning the Eee can very quickly become a programmable, dedicated sound machine and synth for the price of the cheapest closed-box, name-brand piece of music gear.
Linux also supports various music tools that lend themselves to a lower-end machine, like music tracker MilkyTracker. Check it out in videos on the Eee: Eee-PC MilkyTracker Xandros, more. (Thanks, emrox!)
The surprise is, full-blown Windows software holds its own. From the NI forums, a group of intrepid Guitar Rig 3 users have fired up XP and have a pretty usable, self-contained Guitar Rig computer:
Guitar Rig on Eee PC [Native Instruments forums; thanks to Jahmal Tonge for the tip!]
The trick is, you do need modded video drivers to make use of 1000×600 resolution, thus accommodating the user interface. Forum members also suggest avoiding the newer Atom model as they believe it will be slower. Then again, while this proof of concept is tantalizing, I’d probably hold out for more-powerful mini PCs coming out — and the fact that music works this well on this machine means it only gets better from here.
Computer Music Magazine did do a review of the Eee, and were a little more practical about the Eee’s downsides (though the resolution hack here helps at least with that problem). But then, the other way of looking at this is that the Eee is just the beginning. Plenty more budget mini-laptops are coming; already machines from HP and others close the gap with “conventional”, pricier laptops. Linux distributions may soon target these configurations (Ubuntu has promised a “remix”), and Microsoft has committed to keeping XP and Vista going on these machines, as well. And that means the price divide with computer music is getting erased fast.
Installed the demo of Peavey Revalver last night on the Eee to take it for a spin. While stability was an issue using my interfaces lowest latency (1.9 ms), it worked much better at higher rates but at that point the latency could be felt and was a bit dissapointing. I should mention that the Eee is dead stock with only 1 GB RAM and a slow 5400 RPM drive and no tweaks to XP to improve performance. With some tweaks and upgrades one might be able to get it to work, however stock it's not a good partner to Revalver. I didn't try Amplitube and my experience is that app is even more resource hungry than Revalver.
Try loading it up in REAPER, it has a great true latency calculator
that will let you know your full I/O path latency. Could give you a
hint as to why it sounds good one way and not so good another.
It's not too surprising that the little EEE can't really swing a powerful modeler, though - there's a heck of a lot of calculatin' going on, especially when the latency is that low. They're handy little things but you need the power that a more robustly spec'd laptop would provide to take the studio on the road, I think.
The Eee meets Revalver's specs but that's just to basically function, not guaranteed to function well! Honestly, we're probably only 6 months to a year away from a next generation Netbook which will handle any of the big amp sim apps. Intel just released the ATOM Z550 which clocks at 2 Ghz. Add 2 Gb RAM that's getting close the specs of my desktop and met the specs of my old laptop which cost nearly 4 times what I paid for the Eee...
I use Gr3 live with CubaseLE on XP, which also plays back a minimal stereo
backing, and hosts a Korg Wavestation softsynth which i occasionally switch to
throughout the show, via a MIDI'd controller keyboard (2/3rds of our show i play
Our vocalist also runs live through the system on her own virtual track complete with FX (comp,delays,verb).
Our stereo backing track is a single 55min wav file with markers appointed along the timeline, and the tempo track in cubase is 100% synced to the tempos of each song.
All my GR3 patches change automatically, and so do the vocalists (and so does the wavestation) ...... and every effect throughout the show is auto tempo synced.
The only catch is ..... i use a desktop/tower and small lcd monitor with an Echo Mia PCI card.
The vocalist and i plug into a Mackie VLZ (i'm DI'ed), She is hard panned left and i am hard panned right, we leave the mackie via the Alt Bus only and enter the Mia via inputs 1 and 2 respectively.
We go through cubaseLE>plugins, where the entire signal is dual-mono'ed, and spat out the Mia's outputs 1 and 2, into a stereo channel on the mackie which is outputed to the Master Out only ....... which feeds the to the Engineer out at FOH.
It takes me less than 10mins total setup time, and the total round trip latency is 10ms ..... the singer doesnt notice it, nor do i, nor does the FOH engineer or the crowd.
The system is kinda clunky looking but is totally bulletproof and runs smooth as silk all night every night for hours on end if needed.
EDIT: We are filming our next show, and ill throw a youtube link up, if only to clarify my post above
Theres no question really about desktop systems or even moderate laptops
being capable of running soft modellers/samplers/synths live. You can get 15inch
dual core cpu laptops with 4 gigs ram for $399 now.
The netbooks are nice due to their small size (i can put mine in a gig bag) and greater battery life, hence the thread on topic.
If Line 6 would recognize pod farm on my pod x3 pro I could test that on there, but apparently, the free pod farm was only meant as a gesture.
Try Line6 GearBox
When i get time - I will try my Line6 Toneport Gold w/ Gearbox on my HP Mini 110 with Hi res (1366 x 768) HD Screen, 2GB RAM and WinXP and report my results.
I just got GTR3.5 up and running on my Acer Aspire One netbook.
Seems to do just fine, although there IS a little bit of latency using the ASIO4ALL drivers and the native sound card. But that's to be expected.
My GOOD portable audio interfaces are either Firewire or PCI cards, and the Aspire doesn't support Firewire.
Looks like I might have to break down and get a little USB I/O box. But hey, if it works with no detectable latency, then I could conceivably just take a midi footswitch, my netbook, and a powered monitor to gigs.
thinking about this as I woke up this morning and thought of what would be
a REALLY killer product for ME.
A powered monitor/PA speaker, with a two channel mixer, an XLR input for channel one, and a 1/4 instrument in for channel two.
But wait, I'm not finished...
It would also have a USB port, to send and receive digital audio to and from a computer, and the two input channels could be toggled to go straight to the USB port, left and right channels. The converters would have fairly flat frequency response, and would ideally be 24bit for low noise.
Finally, let's add to this box a midi input that ALSO gets routed to the USB port, so you could use any midi controller on your software with the system.
It's such a narrow market that I can't imagine one of these boxes appearing in the near future, but it sure would be a sweet product for a guitar player with a computer-based rig.
Well, I plugged in the cheapest little USB device I had, a Behringer
UCA202 ($29), and I managed to get my latency down to 6ms with no
glitches, which is fairly playable.
Maybe once I do some optimization, like getting rid of unnecessary services and such, I might be able to get it down to 3ms.
This is the full GTR3.5, btw, with dual amp sims and all stomp boxes on "go".
I'm starting to believe that I could actually gig with this little Acer netbook!
Oh, I wouldn't trust the Behringer to be noiseless in various live environments. I'd get a better interface before actual gigging. But the fact that it's playable with this cheap little plastic I/O box is very encouraging.
Amp Sims and a Netbook? I think post #13 is a good start
Personally, You get what You pay for, While Post #13 suggested a Mac mini
(which is not as portable as a Netbook) Mac's are (in my opinion and using Mac's since the late 1980's though not always for music creation) and have used PC's as well (our house has 3 Mac's and a Lone PC running Win XP Pro) Mac's are so much more efficient, user friendly and heck, use Garageband (along with a miked amplifer and effects ) or run a Line 6Podxt into Garageband and you can do alot, I use a Atomic Reactor Amplifier and (individually) use Podxt (with model packs) a Vox Tonelab (desktop unit) Roger Linn Adrennalin II (now a III with a dual chip update and new faceplate through Roger Linn's site) or use individual effects as well, E-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man with Hazari, A Boss SL-20 Slicer, Seymour Duncan Shape Shifter and just getting used to a Electro-Harmonix Super Looper 2880 and Footswitch (I researched looping devices (dedicated) for over a year and kept coming back to EH) Mix things up Amp Sims are great to me (if I had the $$ I would update or add a laptop Macbook the white "non-aluminum model" is rumored for a drastic price drop without spec changes and if a student thats $949.00 (now) and I have heard $600.00 range (still higher then Netbooks yes.. but a 2+ ghz processor 2GB ram and Nvidia Graphics (and Ilife 09 included with Garageband and Logic 9 wether express or full version those have both dropped in cost by 50% in the past year+, I am a desktop person as I like to load ram and have a large HD laptops are nice though for onstage use I agree depends on how, where, when you want to use the computer and applications and tons of freeware (either platform) but get anti-virus running day one (I do not have any anti-virus programs on our Mac's for the past several years (I was wasting money, on the PC You Bet its on there! There is no right or wrong answer alot of excellent opinions and if lacking sources go to the amp sim forums Line 6 has a decent one(used to be great) not sure anout the others Apple.com has tons of support and user forums for evry product they make and made in the past,
Best Of Luck!
Peace and Hope