Using Computer Samplers and Synths in WGI

This is not a VDL topic, but it’s somewhat relevant.

Does anyone have any experiences or thoughts on using computer based samplers and synthesizers in Winter Percussion ensembles?  I noticed a lot of laptops being used in Dayton this year with drum machines and midi keyboards.  I’m considering using a similar setup with an ensemble I teach.  The software I have in mind is Propellerhead’s Reason.  Reason has a couple synth modules, a drum machine, a sampler, and mastering and effects modules built in.  That’s about all I could see myself needing.  Plus it comes with presets for almost every midi keyboard and controller on the market.

Have any of you tried this with any luck?  What hardware and software have you used?
Last year's Champlin Park show had two synthesizers in it.  On was just using a Kurzweil Sound Module and one was hooked to my iMac G5 and was using garage Band 9becasue it is easy for the students to understand).  In GB I opened Kontakt 2 as the generator for some sounds and so technically we were using Kontakt 2 as well.  I am going to be trying to use some more complex things this winter with Bidule and other VST with my laptop.  It was great last year.  I am glad I did use my computer last year.  I think GarageBand was a huge bonus for the show in using those types of sounds.  the interface is soo much more user friendly if you have students that aren't ";Synthesizer Inclined"; - if you know what I mean.  ;)
As you mentioned before, Reason is pretty great. You could also look at runnig a whole slew of different types of sounds from Kontakt or Gigastudio, though that may boost hardware requirements. I haven't used Reason for quite a whlie, but there's a lot you can do with it.
Thanks for the advice.  I bought a Creative Audigy 2 zs PCMCIA sound card for the laptop which seems to be working fairly well.  The computer is a little underpowered, compared to my desktop, but I think it will get the job done.

How about software?
I've never done this with a live performance setup, but I would think it'd be pretty straight ahead. Just be sure to optimize the system for rock solid performance. If running off a laptop, i'd recommend NOT running off the battery, and disabling the various energy saver settings for performance. It would be adviseable to attach a better audio interface than the simple built-in audio-out that probably comes with the computer as well. Once you've done this, the computer is essentially operating like any other hardware sound module. Pretty cool!
Good question and I too am curious to hear if anyone else has any experience with this sort of set-up...
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