If you have ever wondered, do I need a backup?

Yesterday was an object lesson in preparedness. As the keyboard player I am often the butt of the joke, more keyboards than I use, two Macbooks, extra pedals, spare cables, tools etc . Yesterday getting ready for a gig when I powered on my Macbook, just a blank screen. I did the usual resets of PVRAM etc. still nothing, it sounded like it was booting. So with out hesitation, I just swapped out the Macbook, and everything was up and running again with only minutes of lost time.

Although I have a preferred setup, every rehearsal I swap at least one component in my rigs, and every change to my gig files, plugins and patches is propagated across my main studio Mac and my two laptops, so that everything stays in sync (almost impossible on MS). This ensures that whatever rig I lash together on a gig night has a sporting chance of working.

The band didn’t even know I had an issue until after the show.


We also want a video :wink:


I will see if one surfaces from last night.


Do you update all of this manually (copy/paste) or you use cloud services, sync tools over ethernet, or something else? :slight_smile:

Yes, videos, photos, everything :slight_smile:

Did you determine what was the culprit?
Was it an older Mac?

Gandalf on Drums?


I simply use Dropbox. All folders for patches, backing tracks, scripts, gig files are mapped into my dropbox space on each machine (including a windows machine). The only issue I have with this that on my old Mac Pro, Dropbox has recently stopped supporting the OS and it is a manual sync from that one machine (drop a folder into the web page). I am so confident in the process now that I sync the Studio Mac Pro to the laptops and go to the gig or rehearsal. Previously I would run each laptop up and check all the songs on each one. I think there is a bios update for my old G4 to get it to a G5 that will allow me another OS upgrade and Dropbox will work again.

The trick was getting all the plugins to exactly the same version number. If you add something to one, it is added to all three. If you update a plugin, you update all three. I have been caught in the past with a plugin that was a very minor version number different and refused to load. Going up the version number worked fine, but on one occasion I was bringing in some changes made at rehearsal, that’s when I found the problem. I loaded the gig file saved from the laptop into the Mac Pro, things that had always worked suddenly stopped working. Eventually tracked it down to the version numbers of one plugin were not exactly the same across the machines. Cannot remember if it was GP didn’t load it or a patch didn’t load on just one machine.

Did you determine what was the culprit?
Was it an older Mac?

The MacBook was a 2011 MacBook Pro with an i7 in. It went to be repaired this morning, so I don’t yet know what the issue is, I am waiting for a call back with the bad news, initial thought was graphics chip has died as there was no secondary monitor out either.

That is a standing quip in the show, as Marillion derived their name from Silmarillion (their original name) which is a Tolkien collection of myths and stories.

Just to be sure I understand your concept;

Does this mean that you have installed GP so that the Gig Performer folder and your folder for VSTs are placed inside the dropbox folder?

Not the VSTs they are installed separately, but I save my gig files and patches directly into Dropbox folders. My main gig file is “MSH Master Gig.gig” once this is synced to the two laptops. When I load this into GP (at a rehearsal or a gig), I immediately “save as”, “MSH Master Gig i7.gig” or “MSH Master Gig i5.gig” depending on which of the two MacBooks I am working with. This allows for any changes I make that come back from a rehearsal or a gig via a sync, I can load the i7 or i5 file into my main Studio Mac Pro without destroying the original file synced out to the laptops. If I am then happy with the changes I can then overwrite the master.

The other thing that I work with is GIT, so I can go back to previous versions. So between Dropbox and GIT, I can safely move my gig files round without fear of losing anything.

VSTs are placed inside the dropbox folder?

This sounds like a good plan, except that I have a windows PC that receives the files as well.

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I don’t have a backup laptop just now, but I have a friend that has two identical Lenovo Yoga laptops that he probably will offer me at a good price. Have to take a closer check if their spesifications are up to it :slight_smile:

That would give me the possibility to check out effective backup scenarios.

My MacBooks are different specs and OS versions, but maxed out on RAM. Both are old and run GP without issue. I would not focus on getting an exact match. Just keep tabs on the VST installations to make sure exactly the same version is on both machines.

You’re right. Maybe I’m to hung up on that.

I have a one man business, doing IT support and repairs for the private market, so I often get old laptops to keep when I install new ones. Some of these are more than good enough, at least when you install a SSD and some extra RAM.

I’ll have to think more of using one of those.

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Hi Spav

Is that Marquee Square Heroes? We were mentioning you guys in soundcheck yesterday! Singer, keys and I are keen to catch you sometime. Keys (Dave) and I both worked for the Academy and kind of know Robin, and Mark is in Credo with our ex bandmate Mully.



It certainly is. It is a small world. We may have already crossed paths I did study with the Academy a few years ago. I assume that you are Swindon (ish) in that case, if you want a tour round my GP rig I would be happy to walk you through it, there are a number of scriptlets that I use that are just downright difficult to achieve any other way. Swindon is our next gig 30th March.

Your virtual pedal board looks pretty cool as well. I watched the video ages ago and just re-watched it nice work with the fonts.

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Not even ish, really. More like Southampton… and the singer is nearer Brighton!
Always interested to check out someones rig, thanks for the offer. Really looking forward to catching the band, I loved that music growing up and it was part of my influences when I was starting to play bass.
I’m keeping an eye on your FB page to look out for dates nearby when we’re not out with one of the shows ourselves.

The virtual pedalboard is a piece of work - great fun to make and play around with, useful for sound design, but for a gig it’s just silly. My live rig(s) are much more focussed.

Yeah, that’s why I have two rack mounted computers in my rig box.
I transfer any new or changed rack files to the spare CPU before each gig.
I also alternate using them, every other gig or so, so I’m (hopefully) never surprised with an inoperative spare.

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Just like a boy scout, always prepared. You’ve earned your “Disaster Preparedness” badge with this story.

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LVDS port apparently, I was asked if I had had a spill on the Mac, but to my knowledge no. So zero parts, just labour and a 12 months warranty. It’s all back exactly as it was, I think I got off lightly.

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At last a video has surfaced with reasonable audio. This is from last Sunday in Southamption. The ending section of Grendel thanks to Simon Bondsfield for sharing this. SimonFacebook