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Surface Pro for a musician

Hi guys,

My Macbook is nearly 4 years old and I'm looking around for a replacement. Considering I also want a tablet and haven't got one yet, the Surface Pro line has caught my eye.

One of the reasons I want a tablet is the fact that I play guitar in a band. All the guys in the band use OnSong on their iPads. I would love to replace my set of papers with a sleek tablet!

The other bandmembers sync the OnSong app with Dropbox. They have all our songs at their fingertips and can transpose songs on the fly (for when we play a different key or if you want to use a capo).

Does anyone here use their SP4 as a musician? Which app do you use? Do I even want to combine my working computer with my gig tablet?

Thanks for your replies in advance!


StaffPad is for sheet music etc. What I need is something that uses the Open Song format. Usually those just have text and chords.

Appreciate the suggestion though. Why did your friend choose a Surface over an iPad?


New Member
Hi Arachas

If this is the Open Song you refer to then it is available for windows too,
here is a link to check it out, OpenSong | Download
I bought a Surface Pro3, because it is near the end of its time they are getting
scarce, but, Microsoft have any problems ironed out, and I wanted something
stable so this fits the bill for me. I got the i5 with 8gb ram and 256gb drive, and
it cost me if I remember correctly almost €560 less than the same in a sp4.
My one has Windows 10 pro, which allows the user more access to stop updates
being sent to your device, though I updated it as soon as I got it, and it has not
missed a beat.
I run a DAW called Reaper, and it is excellent, I will just add for anyone who might be adding Reaper to their pro, that you need to use VLC 64 bit in order to be able to import
moives into Reaper, which is a DAW that can handle movies so one can edit the audio to suit.
I have the keyboard which I find is a must, though I tend to use the touch at the same time.
I will probably get in trouble for expressing my opinion, but I would have an ipadPro if it had a full operating system that would run all the apple desktop apps, but that does not seem to be in the pipleine, as if apple did this, no one would need their air range of laptops at all.
Don't get me wrong, the surface pro is a good device, very powerful, but it is open to the elements in that there are ducts for the cooling that let in as well as let out so one has to be careful, as compared to the ipadPro which has no such openings.
I still use my laptop and surface pro 50 / 50. If you have the funds why no go for the Surface Book, or perhaps its too big to be as mobile.

In any event, these are only my opinions, based on my experience and needs,
I encourage you to settle on what suits yourself.
Regards, john


Staff member
StaffPad is for sheet music etc. What I need is something that uses the Open Song format. Usually those just have text and chords.

Appreciate the suggestion though. Why did your friend choose a Surface over an iPad?
The musicians I know wanted to write the music (replace staff sheets) and wanted a machine powerful enough to produce as well using various industry standard applications suck as Cakewalk, etc. . But as Sp3 says, there is a x86 application that supports the format you are looking for.


New Member
I use Studio One v3 DAW on my SP3 but I create electronic music, playing a MIDI keyboard and/or editing MIDI notes. The program is touch-enabled and implements keyboard macros so it works really well with the SP pen.

It's almost certainly not what the OP is looking for, but I expect a number of musicians to read this thread at some point in the future and want to let them know what's possible.


Yeah, the problem with the x86 applications is their crappy support for touch interface. If you're going to be using it on stage, it needs to work fast and easy. At least the iPad app does that.


Active Member
I don't want to be an ass or anything... But if everyone in your band uses an iPad and OnSong that has a touch friendly interface....why don't you do the same thing? Buy yourself an iPad and the app!

For rehearsing I have a knock off Behringer guitar interface plugged in my desktop PC at home. Combined with Guitar Rig and Guitar Pro or Tux Guitar it is great!
When I go rehearsing with the band I just use my Boss GT Pro. And the stuff that I have rehearsed at home I have written down if needed. No need for tooling to transpose on that moment.


New Member
Musician (and new, used Spro3 owner here), but wanted to add to this thread a couple other application suggestions that might be of interest:

- Cantabile 3 is a touch-ready VST host allowing you to load several VSTi to perform live with. Pretty easy to use, geared for performing musicians. I've been enjoying the hell out of the portability factor.
Forte is another like option.

- If you use Bluestacks you can use the (android/apple ready) iRealB which has TONS of downloadable songs in chord. Super easy to use.