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Backing Up Your Live Sets

By bagginz - Posted on 25 September 2009

"Should I make a backup of live sets....what's the best way to do it...?" 

If you are getting paid to play your music at events it's important to do your best to make sure that you take a working backup of your set with you on the road in case of computer/hard drive failure or some other unforseen circumstance.

So here's a great tip for you...

I used to lug around an external USB drive with a drive image and boot cds which did the job ok, but needed some time to set up and restore the system drive if ever there was a problem. Thankfully there hasn't been up to date...

More recently been using a fast 8 gig USB 2 memory stick as a complete backup system for my live shows. I'm using the SanDisk Cruzer Contour USB Flash Drive U3, 8GB but there are several others around that will do the job. (tip: check data throughput before you buy)

Read throughput is reported to be just over 25 M/B sec which is easily enough bandwidth to simultaneously stream 10 stereo tracks @ 16 bit, 44.1 khz

The stick is a much better situation as it has no moving parts,therefore is less prone to failure in stressful, damp gig situations, it also has a much faster seek time than a physical disc and is fraction of the weight and size.

I use Ableton's Live as the software from which to play my live electronic sets so in addition, I have a copy of Ableton Live installed on the memory stick as well as the complete set which is kept in a seperate folder.

Because Live allows me to load and play a set in it's unregistered state or "demo" mode, it means that I can install it and run it from the stick. Of course for this to work properly my set has to be created in my fully functioning copy of Live) The only limitation in Live's demo mode are lack of a save function - which you don't need in this context anyway.

In a worst case scenario it's even possible to borrow a random laptop or PC and run Ableton Live and your live set from the USB stick, without copying any new files onto the surrogate machine.

It's a great solution for a backup.

Billy Cosmosis

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