How to protect Macbook 14" at gigs?

Hi all

Played my first full length gig (33 songs) in a lively city centre pub at the weekend. It went well - Gig Performer didn’t skip a beat (as usual) - and everyone was impressed with the range and quality of keyboard sounds it was able to provide.

One thing that was of concern though was security and safety of my MacBook Pro M1 14". It currently sits atop my Keylab 88 on the little metal shelf, but I ended up unplugging it and carrying it around with me for both breaks - not ideal. And one guy nearly poured his pint over it.

What do other folk here do? I’m thinking of moving over to using Gig Performer with OSC and hiding the laptop away in something hard and secured. Rackmount unit? Armoured case with ventilation holes? Any recommendations would be very welcome.

That is why I am reasonably satisfied with my set up of having my laptop around bench level (I play seating) to my left on a laptop/projector stand. That way it is behind my keyboards and somewhat protected (although there could be an issue on my left flank). (Frankly, it was the only place that worked anyway).

I try to keep eye contact with it during breaks.


Thanks Jeff, that sounds like a good solution.

Unfortunately, I play standing up - and in the sort of places where fights regularly break out, so I need to go further down the protection and security route I think. Whatever enclosure I end up with, it would probably need to be chained to something heavy like my keyboard or a chair to stop it going walkabout.

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You’ve been to one of my gigs then :rofl:

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What I use

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I hope they pay you a lot to put up with that. Also, consider music gear insurance policy

Do you have any videos? :slight_smile:

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They do not pay much I’m afraid, but we’re a new band so are not too choosy about venue just yet. Hadn’t considered insurance, will investigate!

I’ll record the next one and post a clip. GP4 in action!

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What about hiding the laptop away but using as remote touchscreen instead of going down the OSC route? There are plenty of USB-C touchscreens available that are quite a bit cheaper to replace than your MacBook Pro and you connect it using a longish USB-C cable… or possibly even swap to a cheaper Mac Mini with the aforementioned touchscreen?


I use this:

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That’s another idea I hadn’t thought of, and could be the perfect solution if I can find a screen small enough. I’d like to use the Thunderbolt/Alt Mode which sends both power and video to the screen, so that only one cable is required. Trouble is, they all seem to be minimum 15.6 inch. There are some 7" screens but they seem to be only compatible with the Raspberry Pi ecosystem.

Sturdy, I like it. And when the next fight breaks out perhaps I could hide inside. Joking aside, that sort of tough outer casing that allows the laptop to run in a ventilated context is going to be vital.

I’ve seen some 11" ones:

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Thanks Dave.

Another option that just occurred to me is just to use AirPlay or something similar to mirror my MacBook to my iPhone.

Would just need to make sure that I can configure Gig Performer to provide a simple screen that would be legible when viewed on an iPhone. I really just want to see: 1) The current song, 2) The Song Parts assigned to that Song, and 3) The active Song Part.

That should be feasible with some widgets. If not, maybe @rank13’s HUD extension might be of use.

Here’s the link to that extension:

Thanks again.

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Casting my MacPro screen to iphone/iPad required the purchase of an expensive app called Duet Display. This performs well when connected via usb but less so when connected wirelessly. It’s almost the same price as gig performer itself, so I decided against finishing the free trial in the end.

Oh and I needed to configure the Mac via terminal to not go to sleep when closing the lid. A feature that has been removed via GUI by Apple recently.

More complicated than I’d hoped!

As was finding a reasonably priced flight case that could hold my MacBook and be secured and have cables plugged in during the gig. I also found out that MacBook Pro M1s don’t have Kensington locks!

In the end I’ve bought a laptop bag with shoulder strap. During breaks I’ll just unplug it and carry it with me.

I’d be concerned about battery life during breaks. And I do not want to shut off GP because it takes a while to load my Gig file.