Live performance set up...

Hey dudes,

First off sorry if this is posted in the wrong category, couldn’t see another one that might be relevant, I’ve spent a while searching and couldn’t find a similar thread. In addition to this I’d like to make it clear I am very much a total noob when it comes to using anything electronic in a musical setting so I will need very simplistic instructions… :wink:

I’ve got some string arrangements loaded on cubase on my laptop that I can trigger using some drum pads connected to an Alesis io midi unit. All works fine, I tap whichever pad I want and it starts the selected string or keyboard sample no problem, plays through the laptop speakers fine. Would anyone know how / what I need to do to use this in a live performance?

The best way I can explain it is I want the sound that comes through my laptop speakers to come through a PA instead. I’ve been told I need to use a D I box…not sure how true that is or what a D I box does, where I’d need to hook it up to or anything…

Any help would be massively appreciated


Looks like you’re not using an audio interface but your laptop’s integrated audio. For live use, it’s latency is too high, which means that samples start with something like a 100ms delay from when you hit the MIDI controller to when you hear the sound. If you’ve learned to compensate this (as in trigger slightly in advance), then fine, all you need is a cable that connects your laptop’s headphones output to the PA system (you’d need a Y cable: stereo mini-jack on one side and two separate 1/4" jacks on the other.)

If you want a more responsive system, however, you’d need to buy a decent audio interface, which hooks up to your laptop via USB. In that case, you’d connect the audio interface’s stereo out to the PA system.

A DI box is advised if you are on stage with your laptop and the mixing desk is in the back of the room. To cover a large distance you’re much better off using a balanced signal which is what a DI will give you. In your case if you need a stereo signal, you’ll need a 2channel DI with the Y-cable Indigo mentioned.
Check with the mixing engineer, they probably have extra DI’s. For short distances(<10m) you can get away with plugging that y-cable right into the mixing desk.

If you are indeed not happy with the latency using your onboard soundcard and decide to get an external audio interface like Indigo suggested, these usually have balanced outputs already so you won’t need a DI.

Thanks both mush appreciated :slight_smile:

I’ll look into the audio interface thing. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a Y cable lying around so I’ll try that first then if thats no good I’ll give the audio interface a go

Thanks millions :mrgreen:

Sorry one more question, currently the way i’ve got it connected is:

drum pad -> midi unit -> laptop.

Do you know if I’d have to connect an audio interface to the midi unit then to the laptop? Like this?

drum pad -> midi unit -> audio interface -> laptop?

Virtually all audio interfaces nowadays come with MIDI I/O, so the MIDI interface would no longer be needed.

drum pad -> MIDI in on audio interface -> USB on laptop