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#2939701 - 07/26/18 02:39 PM If you must gig with just one board...
AnotherScott Offline
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Registered: 10/19/09
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Picking up from the "Studiologic Numa Compact 2x" thread, I was asked what I would use as my only keyboard in a one-keyboard setup, so I thought I'd post here rather than derail that thread. (This was also touched on in the "My search for the Dream All-in One keyboard is over" thread).

I've written too many times about the reasons I prefer to have 2 (or more) boards on a gig. But there are occasions that really call out for trying to use just one board, like...

...multi-band gigs where you have to be on and off in 5 minutes

...some rehearsals

...gigs you're getting to via public transit

...gigs where you can't get your vehicle remotely close to where you're playing and you need to try to keep the load-in to one trip

So let's assume you need the usual range of b&b sounds with some split/layer functionality, the great "middle." (As opposed to people who can do a gig with just one sound all night, be it piano, rhodes, B3; or at the other extreme, people doing prog rock requiring fast switching among a zillion sounds.) Also, while I might set up custom splits/layers in advance for some songs, I put a premium on being able to do simple 2-way splits on the fly with the ability to easily choose which sound I want for each side, and alter its volume and octave if need be. That is, if I don't have the luxury of 2 keyboards, I'd like to get as close as possible to looking at the one keyboard as if it were two independent keyboards, grabbing LH and RH sounds on the fly as I need them without necessarily having to have it all pre-planned.

Personally, I'm putting a weight limit of 30 lbs on it. Your muscles may vary.

In my case, if I'm going to use just one board, I'm usually going to stick with a non-hammer action. While I prefer the feel of hammer action for piano of course, my typical band gigs don't require a lot of nuance in my piano expressivity, and so I'd rather play piano on a semi-weighted than organ on hammer action boards. It also gives me more lower weight options. (Okay, there are some hammer action boards that aren't too horrible for organ... but I think they're all over my 30 lb limit.)

Here are the ones I like. For the most part, I'm focussing here on functionality rather than sounds, because while I have preferences, any can generally give me the sounds I need to get through a gig or rehearsal. Also, some of the shortcomings some of these boards have--both sonically and functionally--could be addressed by adding an iPad, if you can spare the setup time and don't need to simply plug in and play. Nicely, all of these have Line Inputs, so you can add iPad sounds if you want without a whole bunch of other wiring (i.e. a mixer), though they vary in how well you can call up iPad sounds from their front panels or mix-and-match those sounds with the board's own.

Nord Stage 3 Compact

+ 73 keys (and at 22 lbs, nicely light for 7x), aftertouch, drawbars, synth controls, custom samples (may give you access to some sounds you'd otherwise need a second keyboard for), seamless sound transitions (something you may not think as much about when switching from playing one board to another, but can bite you more when you try to duplicate the same kind of sound change on a single board). Good MIDI functionality to integrate iPad sounds. A weakness is the limitations on just how easily you can grab which sounds you want and toss them just where you want on the keyboard, it's not so good for mixing and matching sounds on the fly. Some combinations are easy, but many combinations require too much scrolling and/or button pushing. So you probably want to make an extra effort to have your commonly used splits set up in advance. There are also limitations on the seamless sound transitions (like oddly, working when you switch *between* programs, but not when you switch sounds *within* a program). Oh, and it's pricey.

Kurzweil Artis 7

+ 76 keys (27.25 lbs), 9 sliders that can function as drawbars, seamless sound transitions (whether switching individual programs or complete multis, though there may be fx glitches, and it won't work with most organ sounds). Good MIDI functionality to integrate iPad sounds. Button matrix provides fast access to all sounds. Very easy to do 2-way split/layers on the fly, and supports 4-way with some advance work. (ETA: possibly more if you really dig into the editing, based on the discussion in the SP6 thread.) Better than the Nord for mixing and matching sounds on the fly. Reasonably quick and easy to get any sound for either side of your split and control its volume and octave. Some of those functions aren't as quick and easy as they should be, but it's workable. Specifically, the quick Split function gives you easy sound/octave selection of your LH sound, but you can't swap the controls to do the same for your RH sound. That more commonly needed mid-song ability to change your RH sound takes more steps (and is not specifically documented in the manual), but it's not bad once you figure it out. (Alternatively, if you have splits you use all the time, you can just save them as recallable multis, and the switches will generally still be smooth because of the seamless sound transitions.) A weakness is in the real-time controls... as soon as you're splitting/layering sounds, by default, the first 4 sliders become volume controls for up to 4 sounds/zones, and the other 5 are a little unpredictable (or may do nothing), you have to know (or define) what you want them to do for the particular combination of sounds you're using. It's actually pretty flexible, but requires some advance scouting/configuration... it's not like the Nord where you can combine an organ sound and a synth sound and instantly have 9 drawbars and a full set of synth controls. As I said in the "Dream" thread, "Kurz is better at quick patch selection, and mixing and matching sounds on the fly (once you figure out how to do it). Nord is better at tweaking the sounds in real time... lots of controls, all instantly and ever-presently available with no advance setup needed."

Roland Juno DS61

+ For superquick stuff, this is the smallest/lightest (11.75 lbs) board that's well designed for splits, which helps make a 61-key board tolerable. You can easily pick whichever sound you want for either side of the split at any time, and (especially valuable on a 61) change the octave of just that sound on the fly as needed. Also there are dedicated volume sliders for the upper and lower sounds. Very easy to do 2-way split/layers on the fly, and supports up to 16-way with some advance work. It also loads custom samples, and has seamless sound transitions (whether switching individual patches or complete performances, though there may be fx glitches). No drawbar organ function, and the weakest action of the bunch, but if I'm in a situation where I need to play more than one sound at a time, I think it's the lightest board that could get me through about any gig or rehearsal without too much pain. Runs on batteries, too. Also a great budget alternative, it's cheap. Oh, and patch selection is good, with 100 Favorites (10 banks of 10), plus numeric keypad patch recall, plus the ability to set up groups of 16 sounds and switch among them with the pads. (There are only 8 pads... you hit them with the Shift button to get sounds 9-16.) BTW, I like the DS better than the FA.

and maybe Casio MZ-X300/MZ-X500

+ decent enough built in speakers that you could arguably use them for an unplugged rehearsal or super-casual gig (say, a friend's party), plus runs on batteries. 16.75 lbs. Loads custom samples. Seamless sound transitions. Very easy to do 2-way split/layers on the fly, and can also easily add layers to either or both sides of the split (or with advance work, the hexlayer function can give you up to 24(!) split/layered sounds on the 500). Good ability to switch the sounds of each side of a split and their octaves independently. Kind of has clonewheel in it, but... ehh. One thing that's a bit goofy is, if you're on the screen that lets you select your split/layered sounds and their octaves, there are no volume controls available for the various parts. That requires a click, a swipe, and another click. (Man, why didn't they at least put the Mixer tab on the first screen instead of the second??) Luckily, from there, it's only one click to get back to the other screen. But unless there's some other method I missed, quick volume adjustments of parts is a bit awkward.* Weak on MIDI functionality and real-time controls. Still evaluating this one. Overall, I'd probably take the cheaper, lighter DS61 unless I wanted the speakers, but there's a lot of cool stuff about this board, and I haven't even touched its arranger functions which are what the board is most designed for. BTW, I think its action is pretty decent, but the velocity response on the acoustic piano sounds seems jumpy. I think it may be at least as much about how Casio programs the piano sounds as about the action, because I felt the same way about the PX5S, if not to the same extent. And the EPs are better.

* = ETA: I've been playing more with this, and there are other ways to do this, with different trade-offs. It's not bad.

ETA: also Numa Compact 2 (or forthcoming 2X)

+ 88 keys, 15.6 lbs, aftertouch, plus on the 2X, drawbars and some synth controls. Pretty easy on-the-fly split/layer (2 sounds max), slightly hampered by having to use the scroll wheel to navigate to a sound, that made a little less cumbersome via category buttons and simply by virtue of the fact that, within a category, there just aren't too many sounds to choose from. Adjusting volume for each of two sounds is easy. Adjusting octave for just one sound is a bit awkward, but not prohibitive. (You also don't need to do it as often on an 88 as you do on a 61, but it's still useful.) Seamless sound transitions. No audio in like the others, though the 2X will have audio over USB. It lags in custom patch recall, which requires scrolling through your list of 100. Bonus: it's cheap!


If I wanted a weighted action single board, I'd probably look first at Nord Stage 3HP 76 and Kurzweil SP6, though I've never actually played either of them.


Edited by AnotherScott (07/27/18 10:18 AM)
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#2939717 - 07/26/18 04:07 PM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: AnotherScott]
llatham Offline
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Registered: 02/06/11
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I"m not like you guys - I only own 1 good synth per decade - or more years so I often only have but 1 synth.

I was using a 2 Tier setup with an old D-5 and SC88 with a controller and when the D-5 finally gave up, got an FA-06.

The primary reason was it was actually quicker for me to switch "manuals" to change sounds in some songs than it was to press some remote button on the keyboard.

In fact, I'm playing one of those songs right now so I actually have to drop out a beat in order to change in time. It's like a page turn with both hands going - you can't do it so easily with your nose.

I also play guitar mainly, so keys is always a secondary thing for me.

I just joined a new band and I swore that I was going to KISS. Single keyboard only, 1 tier stand only.

I have, Stand, Keyboard, Power Supply, Sustain and Mod pedal (I got an expression pedal but not going to use it all the time), instrument cable, and direct box and let the PA guys handle it from there (though it they have a better direct box - and they probably do - I'll use theirs).

For my guitar rig, I pared it down to 2 guitars, one in drop D that I can also use as a backup to the main guitar (few drop D songs), cables, pedalboard with only 2 pedals, amp, amp stand.

Oh, and 2 guitar stands and my stage fan.

That's all I'm carrying without making consistently over $300 a show.

I also swore when I started this - like guitar where I usually use 3 different drive types, with 3 different amounts of saturation each, and a multi-fx pedal with 3 delays, chorus, flange, phase, wah, leslie, and a special effect (varies per patch) but I pared that down to 1 OD with two settings and one boost (Clean, Dirty, Distortion, boost all) I would do the same for keys.

I picked 1 piano sound worked, 1 organ sound that worked, 1 EP sound that worked, 1 clav sound (the latter 2 of which I use rarely) and a few synth patches, strings pad, brass pad, etc. that get used on specific songs.

I wasn't going to do like before where I have 4 or 5 organ sounds alone just to get them closer to the record.

I've got one Studio Set with, at this point, only 12 of the 16 pads used for sounds (I used the pads to switch sounds live because they're easier to see and not miss when changing quickly).

2 of those are the exact same piano just in a different octave.

This got rid of:

2 tier stand (harder to lug)

Controller

Sound module

Associated power supplies, cables, and setup time.

But I was in a spot where it took me about 45 minutes to set up both my keyboard and guitar rig, and tear it all down again.

And yeah - you get those gigs where you have to be on and off in 15 minutes while the other band is trying to get off or on in the same 15 minutes (I hate those).

The first gig I played with this band was like that and I was able to set everything up in record time (I was able to stage stuff to be ready to go though).

Honestly, I think a DS-61 would be fine for what I'm doing.

I do like the 16 pads to get to sounds quickly though but I could manage with the DS61.


There is the possibility I might have to trigger some samples in this band, but again, I'm not really going to go there if the pay is not there. So far it has been but that just got me to play both Keys and Guitar when initially I was only going to play guitar.

Also, what we're doing doesn't really demand more than just "the basics" but I'm really on the KISS track.

The FA handles it fine, and since that's what I have, that's what I have to use.

But if we had to use backline, I could probably get by with anything that had Basic GM sounds on it in modern samples.

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#2939719 - 07/26/18 04:31 PM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: llatham]
EricBarker Offline
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Registered: 07/25/18
Posts: 139
Yeah, I've always been primarily a one-board guy. I come from a piano background, so 88weighted always feels best to me, even for synth stuff. With an 88 key, you can do any kind of splits or patch changes to get multiple sounds at once, so for the way I work, I've never had much use for having multiple boards. It takes a little more setup behind the scenes but it means less equipment to haul, and it keeps everything together in one neat package. I like really bonding to my instrument, not having a bunch of different ones for every specific need. With switching to laptop and software, I've been able to take things even further.

That said, I totally get alternate controllers. I also have a Seaboard, a keytar, and just ordered a Mojo. But they're all optional, and I can strip it down to just my main board for smaller gigs.

For many years, Jordan Rudess was a one-board player. I really came into the scene in the late 90s, and that workflow made sense to me then, I got many of my workflow ideas from reading his Dregs and early Dream Theater articles. Not my favorite keyboardist (even in Dream Theater), but a lot of his workflow ideas made sense to how I like to operate.

But I'm a computer geek. I'm totally cool spending a lot of time behind the scenes pre-setting my setup so I'm cool with that. I can understand a lot of musicians aren't into that.
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#2939731 - 07/26/18 05:29 PM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: llatham]
AnotherScott Offline
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Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 12815
Originally Posted By: llatham
I"m not like you guys - I only own 1 good synth per decade - or more years so I often only have but 1 synth.

Yeah, I'm a junkie, I own all those boards. But guess in a way the point of the post was that any *one* of those would be adequate for me to get through most of my gigs.

I had an FA-07 briefly. It's a perfectly good board, and it would work, just not as ideally (from my perspective) as the others. In my case, almost everything I needed it to do, the Kurz did as well or better, except for the travel weight, where the Kurz added 9 lbs. For me, the 9 lbs got me 9 sliders (and related percussion controls, etc.) for organ, an action I preferred, better patch remain, wheels instead of lever (personal preference). Internal power supply is a nice perk as well, though not as important to me as it is to some other folk here. And while each had some sounds I preferred over the equivalent sound in the other, overall the Kurz sounds were better for me (EP, organ, and mellotron come to mind). But I recognize that the FA-07 has its advantages as well, besides lower weight (and lower price)... built-in sequencer, trigger pads, aux out, on-board editing (with it's nicer big, color screen). Those just weren't as important to me (i.e. I've never used sequences or trigger pads in my gigs).

But I still wanted something super-light, so I started looking at the 61s to see if any could do what I wanted, which is what brought me to the DS. The FA has a ton of stuff the DS does not, but the DS had a few advantages of its own that outweighed the others, for my use. i.e. better patch remain (works on all sounds, including when switching performances, which are its equivalent of the FA studio sets), custom sample loading (which I admit I have yet to use!), and better two way split facility, between the ability to easily switch the octave of one side of a split on the fly, and the dedicated sliders for the two sounds of a 2-way split or layer. There were also some other more minor ones, like preferring its method of number pad entry (it's a quick toggle repurpose of the Favorites buttons, as opposed to having to change the mode of the pads), more elaborate vocoder/vocal processing, and an effects structure that I think is preferable for live performance (the FA has 16 effects units whereas the DS has only three, but the FA permits only one effect per sound while the DS lets you gang up its three effects... the FA approach makes more sense for sequencing, and of course, the FA has a sequencer, but the DS gives you more to work with when you're playing just one or two sounds at a time, as is more typical when gigging).

I think the DS often gets overlooked because people may see it as a cheaper, lesser version of an FA, but there are so many differences underneath, each really does a whole bunch of things that the other doesn't. I mean, it's easy to look at them and say, "oh, 16 pads vs. 8" but that misses the point that the pads on the two boards largely do entirely different things! Even the sound sets are different, i.e. the DS sound set is not a subset of the FA sound set. (Though the non-Supernatural FA (XV-5080 based) sounds are also available for the DS from axial, whereas the DS sound set is not available for the FA!) Anyway, they're both good, but have significantly different feature sets, and the DS made more sense for me.
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#2939749 - 07/26/18 07:30 PM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: AnotherScott]
ProfD Online   content
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My all in one single KB solution would be a Nord Stage 3 (NS3).

IMO, the NS3 is perfect combination of electromechanical emulations, VA synth and real-time control in an 88-note KB.

As some of you already know, I'm not a fan of this aspect of it but otherwise, the NS3 definitely has the right features and functionality. cool
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#2939750 - 07/26/18 07:42 PM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: ProfD]
Cower, Boy! NQ Offline
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I have used and still occasionally use a Krome 61 for one-board shows.

I prefer to use at least two 'boards so I can have a decent action to play piano on, but the one-board option is sometimes necessitated by:

- having a smallish set (45 min or less) combined with a lightning fast changeover requirement, as already suggested by Scott in his OP.

- the need to use very little real estate to fit in the performance space.

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#2939760 - 07/26/18 08:32 PM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: Cower, Boy! NQ]
Synthaholic Offline
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I appreciate the thread, Scott. My criteria differs a bit. Iím looking for very light weight, 76 or 88 keys, top notch synth action or semi-weighted, extensive MIDI control of rack modules, lots of user memory for Multi/Combi stuff. Good sounds are a plus, but not the priority.

I thought the Numa was going to be it, except the MIDI control looks lame. But I may just have to adapt to limited splits. Or wait for the NumaCompact 3.
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#2939761 - 07/26/18 08:37 PM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: Synthaholic]
cphollis Offline
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Well, if I had to pick only one board to do battle with, it'd be the NS3 88. I play 60% piano, 30% organ and 10% other stuff. The live situation for me is very fluid, so being able to tweak stuff, dial up new patches, create new in real time -- yeah, that'd be my board.

If I could ever learn to play soulful piano passages on an unweighted board (highly unlikely) I'd do the NS3 compact. Which I play now with a weighted controller.

There is a very good chance that I score the new Prophet-X in a month or two. My goal is not to have it be the do-all board, but it's got the specs. I'll let you know.
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#2939772 - 07/26/18 09:08 PM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: cphollis]
J. Dan Offline
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The title reminded me when I dislocated my thumb and had pins inserted. The very next weekend I played one-handed. Redid lots of patches. There are pics floating around somewhere.
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#2939775 - 07/26/18 09:19 PM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: J. Dan]
Grave Bryce Administrator Offline
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Either the Kronos (61 keys) or the Forte (76), depending on the gig.

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#2939776 - 07/26/18 09:28 PM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: cphollis]
Moonglow Online   content
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+1 for the Nord Stage 3 88. I prefer to play organ on weighted keys than piano on non-weighted keys. I would also need an iPad for more robust strings, brass, etc., to get through the gigs I do (e.g., Korg Module with Triton expansion).
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#2939777 - 07/26/18 10:25 PM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: Moonglow]
MaskOfInsects Offline
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I own my "just one board" board: the NS3 Compact.
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#2939781 - 07/26/18 11:22 PM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: MaskOfInsects]
CountFosco Offline
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Posts: 44
How would the DMC-122 + Gemini fit into this mix? (does it count as a single board?) OK it misses the weight spec, but right now I'm wavering between it and an Artis 7 as an all in one solution for my second band (funk covers).

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#2939792 - 07/27/18 03:02 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: CountFosco]
stoken6 Offline
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I play in a classic rock/soul covers outfit, and have had to play festivals (45m set, 10min load-in, 5m tear-down, 200 yard walk across a field to the stage), and Nord Stage 2 (SW) was perfect.

The other band I play in is a disco/soul/funk covers band and I think I'm simply covering with them too much to be able to do it with just one board. I need a full 76 downstairs (usually EP, some AP) plus a little split+layer upstairs (strings, brass, synth, bells, harmonica etc.) I've done festivals with these guys, but needed two boards - my Yamaha Piaggero NP30 (controller only) gives me just enough extra to get through the gig.

Cheers, Mike.
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#2939793 - 07/27/18 03:11 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: stoken6]
CountFosco Offline
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Registered: 05/28/18
Posts: 44
Originally Posted By: stoken6
The other band I play in is a disco/soul/funk covers band and I think I'm simply covering with them too much to be able to do it with just one board.


Exactly. Which I can manage with an Electro plus synth, the two keyboards are almost obligatory. But having one rig to cover two bands, with the constant breaking down and setting up is getting a bit much. I'm happy enough to stay semi weighted for all sounds, I have a weighted option if it's really necessary, think I might just get by with 2x 61 keys (never tried before), but that DMC-122 seems like a pretty good compromise.

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#2939794 - 07/27/18 03:27 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: CountFosco]
Beethree Offline
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Registered: 05/20/05
Posts: 1658
Forte 7 for me, with Ventilator pedal for organ.
Much better pianos and electric pianos than Nord to me. Organ not as good, but with the Vent, pretty solid. Bells and whistles all covered.

That said - for my standard (2 keyboard) small rock rig, which is an electric piano (either VV or Wurly, depending on the gig) with a digital organ-centric board on top, I may replace my Mojo 61 with a Nord to cover more non-organ ground. I also like for the top board to be Wurlitzer 7300 combo organ, but again, depends on the gig.


Edited by Beethree (07/27/18 03:28 AM)
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#2939795 - 07/27/18 03:29 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: CountFosco]
bjosko Offline
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Loc: Denmark
I think the DMC/Gemini combo are a great board as a one board soloution, have done it myself a couple times.

It are great with two manuals with different sounds so close together.

A few minor issues:
You will not get the best AP, but fully workable in a rock/blues band. EP, organ, strings, brass and so on are great.
You will need to take your time to set up and program the patches and effect-layout( and memorize it), since there are no visual feedback of what you are doing.
A real time display that shows you what program or effect you're in would be amazing.
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#2939801 - 07/27/18 04:01 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: bjosko]
Al Quinn Offline
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Registered: 08/13/14
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Loc: Center Moriches, NY
Great write up Scott! Thanks.

Do you have any tips on how to try out keyboards? I canít find a store with a good selection and the online try and return if I donít like it approach gets expensive. Do you know of a store with a good collection of keyboards?
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#2939809 - 07/27/18 04:36 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: Al Quinn]
hardware Offline
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I always liked the challenge of covering parts with a single controller.
D70 and 4 x Roland S760s was my 4 Zone single board rig pre Gigastudio PC/Scope DSP Cards.
Been using several 2 and 3 tier rigs since then.

Just recently went to single tier rig, 8 zone 4 scene set up.
Loving it.

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#2939812 - 07/27/18 05:05 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: hardware]
DanL Offline
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For me it really depends on the gig. The only band I'm in that 1 board could cover doesn't need any complex sounds, so a NS3 would be perfect. Everything else I need capabilities the Nord can't handle. Complex splits and layers. Sample playback. Sounds that the Nord can't do well. Etc.

If I didn't play a lot of organ in my party band I might be able to get away with my FA08 or another workstation type board. A Kronos could cover the organ to a degree, but then it's a matter of real estate with splits.
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#2939815 - 07/27/18 05:12 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: bjosko]
Mighty Ferguson Offline
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Originally Posted By: CountFosco
Exactly. Which I can manage with an Electro plus synth, the two keyboards are almost obligatory. But having one rig to cover two bands, with the constant breaking down and setting up is getting a bit much. I'm happy enough to stay semi weighted for all sounds, I have a weighted option if it's really necessary, think I might just get by with 2x 61 keys (never tried before), but that DMC-122 seems like a pretty good compromise.

I'm in a similar situation... I switched from a rig made up of a Kronos on top of a 76 key controller for a more modern/mainstream cover band to just a DMC-122/Gemini for a funk/soul band. It's working really well for me, and the setup is much easier. I've never had a real two manual organ before, so it's a lot of fun to play. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions, as it sounds like a similar use case.

Originally Posted By: bjosko
A real time display that shows you what program or effect you're in would be amazing.

I agree with this... the UI on the DMC-122 is the weakest part of it, so I'm driving all DMC setup changes and Gemini patch changes from an iPad with the Setlist Maker app. It's working really well for me.

So if it counts as an answer to the question, the DMC/Gemini combo as a single board is working really well for me. If it doesn't count because of the dual manuals, I feel like I could sufficiently cover any gig with the Kronos.
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#2939816 - 07/27/18 05:23 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: Mighty Ferguson]
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#2939818 - 07/27/18 06:03 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: ITGITC?]
Delaware Dave Offline
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Kurz PC3. That's the specific reason I made the purchase is because I wanted to gig with one keyboard. After evaluating several alternatives including the Nord E3 at the time (7 years ago) I decided the Kurz was the way to go. Today I'd probably go with a Forte 7. If Guido ever comes out with a 7x key controller, with 9 drawbars and with the Gemini built in THAT will be the one for me but I don't see this ever happening in my lifetime hitt
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#2939843 - 07/27/18 08:00 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: Delaware Dave]
Stokely Offline
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I'm down to one, my pc361. I don't do much in the way of splits (though I probably should)--I just put things in the setup menus that make it easy to switch patches on the fly. We don't do exact covers anyway.

The issue I have with one board is: what if it dies on you. My pc361 (the same one!) refused to boot at one gig and I'm sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop now (don't feel right selling it for any $ either and having it happen to someone else). It has a screen flicker which may or may not be related as well. Anyway, for peace of mind our singer lets me tote her little Roland juno D to gigs, I leave it in the car generally. Worst case, I'd run out, grab it and set it up and limp through the gig with that thing.

Having one board is soooooo easy, no mixer needed and my setup is literally like 2 minutes smile


Edited by Stokely (07/27/18 08:01 AM)

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#2939884 - 07/27/18 10:54 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: Stokely]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: CowboyNQ
I have used and still occasionally use a Krome 61 for one-board shows.

I've never tried a Krome. I did look at the Kross when I was evaluating the DS61 (liked that it was smaller/lighter), but it really falls down on on the fly splits. I could not find an easy way to select a different RH sound while continuing to play the same LH sound, or easily adjust the volume or octave of the RH sound. Maybe Krome could handle this better. (Also, even the workaround of setting up your most commonly needed splits ahead of time was hampered by the lack of patch remain, i.e. you couldn't switch from one LH/RH saved split to another mid-song without an audible glitch.) But if you don't care about splits (i.e. aren't even trying to maintain some of your "two board" functionality), tons of boards can work well. Playing one sound at a time is something every board is pretty adept at. ;-)

Originally Posted By: Synthaholic
I appreciate the thread, Scott. My criteria differs a bit. Iím looking for very light weight, 76 or 88 keys, top notch synth action or semi-weighted, extensive MIDI control of rack modules, lots of user memory for Multi/Combi stuff. Good sounds are a plus, but not the priority.

I thought the Numa was going to be it, except the MIDI control looks lame. But I may just have to adapt to limited splits. Or wait for the NumaCompact 3.

Kurzweil Artis 7 comes closest to what you want. What you lose compared to the NC2X is aftertouch, full 88 keys, super light weight (but not too heavy), speakers, USB power, and of course, it's pricier. But in terms of your wish list, you do get the much more extensive MIDI functionality (including full 4 zones and a greater number of programmable controls), and 512 User memories (256 Program, 256 Multi) vs 100 on the Numa (and you can get to them with direct button access instead of a scroll knob). I think the lighter FA-07 and Krome 73 support 16 MIDI zones, but you lose the 9 sliders.

But you reminded me about just how capable the NC2 is, and I edited my OP to include it. As for waiting for a NC3, I wouldn't hold my breath. They haven't even shipped the NC2X yet. No idea if or when a 3 will come or what features it would have. Specifically regarding your wish for more than two zones, their entire interface/control scheme is based on 2 zones, more zones would mean a complete redesign.

Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
Either the Kronos (61 keys) or the Forte (76), depending on the gig.

Kronos 61 doesn't work so well for me in this case, because it's weak at on-the-fly splits. Even with the new(ish) Quick Split feature, that's really designed to help you more easily set up Combis in advance of the gig, and isn't really a great live performance tool, because seamless sound transition doesn't work on that screen, i.e. changing your RH sound will glitch your LH sound.

Originally Posted By: CountFosco
How would the DMC-122 + Gemini fit into this mix? (does it count as a single board?)

I don't know, but I have also thought about how a Gemini module could enhance a one-board rig at very little additional travel weight.

Originally Posted By: Beethree
Forte 7 for me, with Ventilator pedal for organ.
Much better pianos and electric pianos than Nord to me. Organ not as good, but with the Vent, pretty solid. Bells and whistles all covered.

Forte vs. Nord is similar to my comparison up top between Artis and Nord. Forte is nice, I stuck with Artis 7 because of weight.

Originally Posted By: Al Quinn
Do you have any tips on how to try out keyboards? I canít find a store with a good selection and the online try and return if I donít like it approach gets expensive. Do you know of a store with a good collection of keyboards?

I wish. In-store selection just keeps getting weaker. And yeah, UPS has gotten a lot pricier for keys than it used to be, with dimensional weight. But I guess having to buy and expensively ship back is the price we pay for not buying more at the brick and mortar stores in the first place. But it is nice to have weeks to play with a board and really decide if it's what you want. You kind of have to look at the UPS as a rental fee.

Originally Posted By: DanL
A Kronos could cover the organ to a degree, but then it's a matter of real estate with splits.

Kronos LS?

Originally Posted By: Stokely
The issue I have with one board is: what if it dies on you.

Yes, that's one reason I prefer to have two boards. Especially on a gig that would really be a disaster if you had to bail. I also like the added real estate for more sounds with less switching, not worrying about crossing split points accidentally, etc. And more often than not, different actions for piano and organ. But as I said up top, sometimes one can make sense.
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#2939891 - 07/27/18 11:29 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: AnotherScott]
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The hypothetical is what would be ideal *if* you had to gig with one KB only.

If you're really worried about a single KB dying, keep a spare Yamaha PSR or some type of Casio in the trunk (boot) of your vehicle. laugh cool
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#2939893 - 07/27/18 11:36 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: Grave Bryce]
Outkaster Offline
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Registered: 02/25/06
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Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
Either the Kronos (61 keys) or the Forte (76), depending on the gig.

dB


This
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#2939899 - 07/27/18 11:51 AM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: AnotherScott]
Synthaholic Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott

Nord Stage 3 Compact

+ 73 keys (and at 22 lbs, nicely light for 7x), aftertouch, drawbars, synth controls, custom samples (may give you access to some sounds you'd otherwise need a second keyboard for), seamless sound transitions (something you may not think as much about when switching from playing one board to another, but can bite you more when you try to duplicate the same kind of sound change on a single board). Good MIDI functionality to integrate iPad sounds. A weakness is the limitations on just how easily you can grab which sounds you want and toss them just where you want on the keyboard, it's not so good for mixing and matching sounds on the fly. Some combinations are easy, but many combinations require too much scrolling and/or button pushing. So you probably want to make an extra effort to have your commonly used splits set up in advance. There are also limitations on the seamless sound transitions (like oddly, working when you switch *between* programs, but not when you switch sounds *within* a program). Oh, and it's pricey.


Even at $3600, no user-defined split points. See what I mean?

Sound On Sound:

Regrettably, and in common with previous models, there are only 10 pre-determined split positions so, if you want to play a synth bass sound from the bottom of the keyboard to G3, and a piano from Ab3 upward, you canít. The best you can do is select the nearest split point at either E3/F3 or B3/C4, which might be acceptable, but equally may not
.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/clavia-nord-stage-3
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#2939902 - 07/27/18 12:07 PM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: Synthaholic]
Adan Offline
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I've never really looked at the Roland DS61, but Scott's writeup makes me think I may have overlooked a good rehearsal/backup keyboard. I had a VR09 for awhile but the limitations on effects in multi-timbral setups was, for me, a fatal flaw. Maybe the DS61 doesn't have those same problems.

I have a gig coming up soon that's one of these one-off public festival multi-band 45-minute slot thingys. There can be so much chaos and slop associated with those gigs, trying to do it with more than a minimal rig can feel not worth it. I'd love to have my best keys for sounds and feel, but having been through this so many times, I know I'll probably be more satisfied overall if I bring one lightweight board.
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#2939903 - 07/27/18 12:11 PM Re: If you must gig with just one board... [Re: Synthaholic]
MotiDave Offline
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I single-board gig with either my ol' Motif XF7 or its baby brother travel substitute - MOXF6. Good all around board, MOXF6 has a quick split function though I don't use it - as I pre-program a performance (multi) for every song.

If MOXF had been out when i bought XF7, i probably would not have XF7. sonically equivalent in live use - biggest drawback is smaller screen requires more menu-diving to get to the same function or parameter. The element, voice, performance, song editing is otherwise identical. It has the Motif XF waveform soundset, with a few added. Its right there in price to feature (value) with Krome, FA-xx, etc - the $1500-ish all purpose segment.

It is good at AP (many 3rd party library options with flash board expansion for differing taste and need), EP, natural instruments such as brass, wind, string, mallet/perc. etc. Decent at synth though not very editable (with my skills) but there are plenty of 3rd party synth samples and voices that get you close to somewhere you're going if a preset can't get you there. I've been able to replicate any synth sound I have needed, and I did a Cars band for awhile. People universally commented all of my tones were spot on. Lots of arps etc if thats your thing. Built in sequencer, that I don't use.

MOXF6 comes in at a tidy 16 lbs, you're looking at $1600-ish to add the Flash card (highly recommend). I put my MOXF6 in a Skb4214w case and it flies for no over-size/weight charge.

key caveat is it is not good at B3 if thats a primary need. I get by on a few songs without problem, nobody complains or cringes as in a live context they can't comparing A/B/Z ... but the experts here all know. not the choice for a B3 blues player. there are 3rd party libraries that improve preset B3 options significantly from poor to passable. passable is really the upper limit imo.

i read alot are perplexed by the Yamaha interface. i have it down pat to the level i use it and I don't have another board to compare learning curve slope - so I don't know better.
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