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RE: Using a laptop onstage: Dominic Frasca's take is misguided

Yeah, a vintage compressor will probably still work and sound great in a
decade (and the "obsolescence calculus" is probably different for a
recording studio - whose entire raison d'etre these days is to spread the
cost of very expensive equipment, like vintage compressors - than for the
average composer/performer) but this misses the main points about
obsolesence, which for me is the difficulty of recreating your older 

For instance, I have a wonderful piece I composed in 1987, with much 
for Takamine nylon-string MIDI controller, GTM-6 guitar-to-midi converter
(with built-in midi looper, which I used), TX-7 and Ensoniq
something-or-other (ESQ-1?). Now I can't play it because the Ensoniq 
working and was irreplaceable (or not worth replacing, which is not much
different), the GTm-6 is on the junkheap of history, and who knows what
happened to the TX-7. Yes, I could re-mount the whole thing on a
software-based platform, and someday I will, but it's a heck of a lot of

Then later, I based some stuff on having the very sophisticated programming
of the PMC-10 footcontroller available to me. That was great until mine 
and it was out of production.

So much for the lack of obsolescence in hardware. The concept is pure BS,

OTOH, when a Mac or PC dies, the software is backed up (mine almost always
is, at least). As long as I don't have to transition to a new OS, I can
recreate the piece. When a new OS comes out, there's a long window (at 
several years) when I can still run the old OS. After a few years (4-5 for
me, but I pound on my computers 75 hours/week between work and play) the
original computer will break down and the old OS will no longer be
available. But the audio and midi interfaces I use to connect to the
computer are generic - they can easily be replaced with other interfaces,
should the need arise. And the software that I base my music on now
(MAX/MSP, Java and my own looper built in those languages) are
cross-platform and will certainly be available for new platforms. Any VST
plug-ins that I might use (to recreate that TX-7, for instance) will no
doubt be generically adapted to the next generation of OS.

You tell me which platform is more likely to obsolesce. I'm sticking with

BTW - when I buy a vintage compressor, I get 2 channels of great
compression. If I buy a really great compressor plug-in, I get as many
channels as my computer can handle. And when I upgrade my computer, I get
more channels of really great compression automatically. Can a digital
compressor be as good as an analog one? I haven't auditioned by ear, 
I usually don't have any reason (or maybe don't know that I have a
reason...) to be that picky about compression quality, but it seems that at
least in theory, digital compressors can be far better because they can 
ahead in time, while analog is still bound by reality.

Best wishes,
Warren Sirota

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Travis Hartnett [mailto:travishartnett@gmail.com] 
> Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2006 3:59 AM
> To: Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com
> Subject: Re: Using a laptop onstage: Dominic Frasca's take
> I'm sure that at least the battery, hard drive and flat panel 
> display will be ailing long before 20 years have passed, 
> particularly if the machine is being moved around a lot to 
> various bars and whatnot.  If you've got a dedicated music 
> computer, then you can "freeze" it at a certain point and 
> stop updating the software, but part of the appeal of 
> computer-based solutions for many people is that the hardware 
> can be used for many tasks (email, word processing, etc.), 
> not just as a dedicated piece of audio hardware.
> TravisH
> On 1/4/06, Todd Pafford <calenlas@gmail.com> wrote:
> > This brings up a good point about hardware obsolescence.  
> That $3000 
> > laptop will (barring hardware failure) perform exactly the same 20 
> > years from now as long as you don't keep upgrading the 
> software.  It's 
> > the increasing bloat and new features of newer software that puts a 
> > hurting on hardware.  Somehow the software industry has 
> convinced us 
> > all that we must perpetually have the latest, greatest versions.
> >
> > Just a thought.  I'm a sucker like everyone else for needing the 
> > newest toys. :) Todd
> >