Ruggedizing a MacBook Pro and Mainstage for Live Shows in the Wild

Do you ever feel fawn over your MacBook Pro like Gollum does over his preciousssss Ring? You're not alone, and this article will help you keep your MBP safe - and there's no riddles here!  

The MacBook Pro is a beautiful piece of design and engineering. It's so sleek, so silver, and so.... slick.

It would be nice to keep it that way when using it out in, say, the desert. More and more music festivals are taking place in locations that aren't very Macbook-friendly. A student of mine showed me how to survive when using Mainstage in the wilderness. Here's what I've learned:

Step 1 - Get the Hardware

Here are the main ingredients that you need to ruggedize your Macbook Pro:

Painter's tape

Painter's tape.

Painter's tape.

The blue stuff works great, but be sure to get '

David writes music for all media including advertising, branding, movies, television, and games. He works for such clients as Sega, LucasArts, Microsoft Game Studios, Landor and Associates, Beyond Pix, Rich Pageant, and Nextel. He also teaches at an Apple Certified training facility in San Francisco called Pyramind and has long bee... Read More


Magic Fingers
Great Tip! I've survived quite a few outdoor shows with my Blackbook, and luckily I haven't hit any sandstorms yet, but this is a great idea that I will soon be taking advantage of!
Thanks David for the great tips and videos.

I am wanting to use logicX for a live set. My primary reason over MainStage, is that I want to have automation controls going on and off during the set so I don’t have to mess with any foot pedals. I will have a dedicated New Macbook Pro 500GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive with 4gb of RAM as my system ( just strictly used for live show so it won’t be cluttered with other files or apps) and I will only be using about 6 audio tracks, and a 2 software instrument track with some plugins. the set would probably consist of about 10-15 projects/songs which I would probably put into 1 project and just skip around as needed, or use an app like onstage to immediately go into the selected project.

I’ve read in a lot of articles and forums that people when talking about this topic say "DONT DO IT" and that it is not reliable where as MainStage for live use is, but again the main reason I want to go this route is so I can automate plugins without having to trigger them on and off with an external controller.

1st question:
why is logic considered unreliable for live use? Especially if I use a strong enough dedicated computer. And a minimal to moderate number of tracks and plugins. Other DAWs like Digital Performer are used (even promoted as being stable live) in major live concerts, and never have issues of crashing. Why not Logic?

2nd question
Most people who have used logic for live use talk about logic pro 9. Do you know of anyone who has tried using logic X in a live set if so How did it go?

3rd. question
at this point if I go this route do you think it would be wiser to use logic pro 9 rather than X, as X is still new and kind of in the early development/ perfecting phase and logic 9 has had plenty of updates to make it run more flawless.

Thanks for all your help and wisdom

Want to join the discussion?

Create an account or login to get started!