Dave Boulden

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!

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I believe that every music magazine dreams to have an article as quality as this!

Thank you very much. :beers:

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Thankyou, Nemanja!

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That was my first synth as well, bought in high school.

That CZ-101 moved with me a dozen times to six different states. I sadly had to put it out with the trash a year or so ago. During my latest move it sat in a storage unit for two years and I neglected to remove the batteries before putting it away. They ruptured and leaked all over and it became a corroded mess.

Little did I know at the time that they sell for more today than when I bought it.

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Luckily, I never ran mine on batteries. These days it sort of lurks ominously on the corner shelf in the studio

I’m adding this as it’s pertinent to mention I have now stopped using the Fantom as the audio device in my setup and now use a Motu M4 (as favoured by more than one person in this forum).

The Fantom was performing just fine as the audio interface, but it (currently) has no way of routing the mic input to any USB output other than the main L&R and the MIC Input On/Off settings cannot be stored and recalled per scene or be changed via MIDI CC or sysex.

That being the case I am now using the M4 so that I can freely route the Mic input (input 1) as desired. I have the Fantom plugged into inputs 3&4 with the monitor mix knob set to halfway. I run the whole mix from outputs 1&2 into our PA and get a stereo feed back (I monitor in stereo) to run into my 2 stage monitors so I can mix in any other of the band’s instruments or vocals into my foldback signal.

For times when we aren’t using our own PA, likes festivals etc., I am using the main outputs 1&2 to feed my onstage monitors so that I have a volume control on stage and will use outputs 3&4 to send to FOH. This will mean routing the Fantom signal through GP and mirroring the overall mix to outputs 1&2 and 3&4 and will likely make this widget driven in the global rackspace to be able to switch it on and off… unless, of course, anyone knows of a way to send direct monitoring to both output stereo pairs within the M4?

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Do you know this?

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Yes, thank you, I have watched all the MOTU videos. So far, though, there doesn’t seems to be a way to direct monitor to both sets of outputs. It doesn’t matter too much as I can always mix it in GP and send the overall mix to both sets of outputs with just a little bit more latency.

Wow. Great setup. Just great

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Make sure to check out Dave’s interview here:

A massive well-done to both of you :slight_smile:

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This was a tremendous episode. Thanks @DaveBoulden for the earlier post and for taking the time to do this interview.

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I’m answering a question from a related thread, but putting it here as it is more appropriate.

@FouxVentur asked:

I have a Lenovo M920q, but I have modified it to bring it up to the same spec as an M920x. It involved swapping out the CPU cooler for one from the M920x that I picked up as a spare part on eBay. I then swapped the CPU from an Intel Core i5 8500T to an Intel Core i9 9900, but most compatible Core i7 variants would have done the job also, I just saw a good deal on an i9. The most important spec of a CPU for GigPerformer is the single core frequency - multiple core may be useful depending on which plugins you use as some can utilise multiple cores. The ThinkStation P360 Tiny you mentioned would also be a good selection.

It has 32Gb ram and I have recently upped storage to a 2Tb NVMe SSD (Crucial CT2000P3SSD8).

I had to hunt for the screen I use. The brand name is WiMaxit. I was originally using a 10" screen (I had to import it via AliExpress) but am now using a 14" WiMaxit screen I picked up on Amazon (it is listed as 14", but I think in reality, the screen area is 13.3"). You might find a 7" a bit too small for the GigPerformer UI - I certainly did. Here’s the link for the 14" one I am using now:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08JPR1YL5/

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Thank you for sharing. Much appreciated! I’ve switched to Mac a couple years ago but your setup made me think twice…I should probably go back to PC! Small form factor, touch screen monitor, etc…etc…I think it’s a fantastic platform for GigPerformer. I also loved the setlist system you made where you can recall songs instantly. Fantastic! You rock!

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If you prefer the Mac environment, don’t discount using a Mac Mini in the same way I am using my SFF PC.

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Just to note a couple of changes to my live rig.

I no longer use the Donner StarryPad. Whilst it worked perfectly initially and had all the features I needed, the reliability started to fade after about 8 months of gigging. I am now making the switch to an Akai MPD226. It’s physically quite a bit bigger than the StarryPad, but is much more bomb-proof in build quality.

The second change is that I stopped using Thomann’s The Box Pro DSP-108 speakers as I simply could not get them to sit at the correct angle when placing them on the floor. I have now taken the plunge and spent more to get a pair of Alto TS408 speakers that I really cannot rate highly enough… the sound quality and SPL capacity without sounding harsh is immense!

I’m going to update my original rig description in the thread with these changes.

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Since the question is likely to pop up on this thread: I have now released example code that forms the basis of my set list extension. Full details in this linked thread:

New Song Selector extension: Basic Song Chooser

Dave’s Advanced Song Chooser Demo

@ Dave,
You can also add this link: Advanced Song Chooser extension

In the description of this YouTube video if people want to post comments (I find YouTube comments extremely inflexible).

Another interview! :slight_smile:

[ I found a typo! :smiley: ]

image

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Oh, there’ll be more than one typo in my Gig file data!!! :laughing:

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Hi Dave, absolutely loved watching your latest video about advanced song chooser. Superb idea. Is there a way when queuing songs to make it be the trigger for predictive loading?