Hi, I’m Dave Boulden and you may well have seen me floating around the forum, Facebook group and in the comments whilst watching Brett’s excellent videos on YouTube.
First a very brief bit of back-history: I have been playing keys since I was a teenager, with my first purchased synth being a Casio CZ-101 (though I did try restoring a half-built E&MM Spectrum monosynth before that, but it never really worked properly). I started in some originals bands with schoolmates (lots of fun with EDP Wasp, Yamaha CS5 and Roland Juno 6 synths), an 80’s duo with a mate in my 20s (we got shortlisted for Eurovision one year!) and subsequently co-formed a band that morphed into the one I’ve been playing with for 25 years: Marylebone Jelly.
My years in this band have seen me typically using two keyboards to gig with, mostly a combination of a Roland and a Korg and a brief appearance of a Yamaha Motif ES7. I eventually settled upon using Roland Fantoms as my upper tier keyboard (Fantom X7, G7, 7 and now 07) and a Korg on my lower tier, initially a Korg M3 and then a Mk1 Kronos 73.
A mixture of the Kronos beginning to wear out and the sheer weight of it all led me to make the switch to a controller & VST setup. Over the years I have tried out Brainspawn Forte, which I used to run on a second PC in my studio rack to give me more CPU power for synths when recording, and more latterly Cantabile and Camelot with more of a view towards live performance. As soon as I tried Gig Performer (at version 3), however, I knew I’d found the perfect live host for me, not least due to the possibility to extend it via GPScript and extensions which fits perfectly with my day job as a self-employed software developer.
My live rig now consists of a Roland Fantom 07 on the upper tier and a StudioLogic SL88 Studio controller on the bottom tier with an
Donner StarryPad Akai MPD226 controller giving me MPC style drum pads for sample and chord triggering. I couldn’t get comfortable with the Roland Zenology Pro plugin licensing situation, so opted to get a Fantom 07 as one of my controllers so that I still had access to the ZenCore engine – a shame as it’s an excellent plugin otherwise.
I am running GP4 on a Windows 11 SFF PC, a Lenovo M920q which I have upgraded to M920x spec (better CPU cooler). It has a 1Tb NVMe SSD, 32Gb RAM and an Intel Core i9-9900 CPU. I have a 10” touchscreen connected via a single USB-C cable.
Currently I am utilizing the Fantom 07 as both a synth and an audio interface using an ASIO driver. The audio outs of the Fantom feed into a Behringer Flow 8 mixer which can also act as a standby backup audio interface. I am using a MOTU M4 audio interface allowing me to connect the Fantom to inputs 3&4 and a gooseneck microphone to input 1 for vocoder duties. For on stage monitoring, I am using a pair of Thomann’s The Box Pro DSP-108 Alto TS408 active wedge monitors. When programming sounds in my studio, I also attach a StudioLogic MixFace for some extra hardware control to give me a more hands-on feel when sound designing.
In terms of plugins, my most used choices are:
- Modartt PianoTeq Stage 8 – for all acoustic pianos (either their Steinway Model D, or the Yamaha YC5)
- AAS Lounge Lizard 4 – for all electromechanical pianos, mostly Rhodes and Wurlis
- IK Multimedia B-3X – for all tonewheel organ sounds
- Arturia V-Collection 9 – mostly Jun-6 V, Jup-8 V, OP-Xa V, ARP2600 V, Prophet-5 V and DX7 V for synth sounds
- Arturia Pigments 4 – for modern synth sounds
- GForce Oddity-3 – synth sounds
- Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2 - lead and arpeggiator sounds
- Native Instruments Kontakt 7 - sampled sounds
- Native Instruments Battery 4 – one shot sampled sounds mapped to my MPC style pads
- Trackbout RipChord – for mapping chords to my MPC style pads
- Plugin Alliance MAAG EQ 4 – master bus EQ
- Native Instruments RC 24 – master bus reverb
- TDR Limiter 6 GE – master bus limiter
My band is a party band and so we aim to leave no gaps between songs, indeed we segue most songs together, holding the final chord of the previous song while the next song starts, so the MIDI Patch Persist ability of GP was an absolute must for my situation. We cover a wide range of songs designed to get people up and dancing, but with a really good selection of 80s tracks within that mix. Since we leave no gaps and the lead singer calls the songs as we go, I needed a reliably quick way to select any item from the set list quickly. To this end I have been coding my own extension to GP for selecting sounds. Once I develop it to a level I am happy with I’ll make it available and some boiler-plate source code for using a web UI within a GP extension.
Most of my rackspaces use the same idea of an upper and lower keyboard, each feeding their own mixer. These two mixers feed into the global rackspace where I can balance the two virtual keyboards in a 4-channel mixer which is mapped via widgets to hardware controls on my Akai MPD226 giving me physical control over the volume balance between the two virtual keyboards whilst performing.
I love being involved in this community and the possibilities GigPerformer has opened for my live performances. I can’t wait to see what new features and possibilities turn up in the future!