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new rig daydreaming - recommendations? #3015511 11/10/19 09:34 PM
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So I'm daydreaming about a better live rig - I figure most of us who gig regularly do this. And I'm curious about the wisdom of this crowd and recommendations.

Current
For several years my rig is Kronos 73 (original) and Nord Wave. I've gigged the Kronos since 2011(replaced the keybed myself this year) and the Wave since 2012.

What I like: the Kronos has an enormous palette of sounds. The Wave offers easy, simple sampling. The EPs in the Kronos are awesome. The Wave cuts through just about any mix, and complements the sound of the Kronos wonderfully. The unweighted keys of the Wave do organ sim (I feed a dry organ patch through a Lester K, it's all the organ I ever use). Between the Kronos and the Wave, I have been able to come up with just about any synth sound I need to gig live.

What I don't like: the acoustic pianos in the Kronos are my least favorite of anything I own. It's heavy. Even with the new keys, it is summarily uninspiring to play. The Wave is short (49 keys). Patch navigation on the Wave is a PITA. And the Kronos is too heavy.

I play in several different bands. I'm MD in two of them, and there are a variety of jazz, funk and dance bands I play in regularly to occasionally. I need great EPs, great APs, a little bit of organ and a variety of synth sounds. I also need the occasional sample, which needs to be fast and easy to import from a computer. I use a Key Largo for mixing, mounted on a pedal board with Lester K and damper pedals. Occasionally use a keytar, vocal processer or other toys. Stand is a KM Baby Spider. Two DXR8s round out the rig. It all fits on one RnRoller cart, one trip from the SUV.

Desires
I want a lighter rig. I want to keep it as a two-board affair. I want something more inspiring to play than the Kronos. I want better APs. It all needs to fit on one Rock n Roller cart trip as it does now. I'd like some more keys on top than 49 if possible. I'm okay programming but appreciate the practicality of having a lot of sounds to start with. This rig is all about live performance - I have other toys and software for sound design, recording and other types of musical projects. I already have a dedicated stage piano for my straight ahead jazz gigs.

Initial thoughts
Some likely suspects as candidates:

Nord Stage
Nord Electro
MODX
Crumar Seven
??

Any cool ideas? Thanks in advance.

Tim


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015512 11/10/19 10:54 PM
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The Kurzweil PC4 will solve the weight problem with some great piano and classic keys, plus a passable organ if you’re not looking for cutting edge. The action is definitely a compromise for weight’s sake but many folks seem to think it’s worth it. The Virtual Analog side of things isn’t going to fool anyone, but it can cover a few needs in a pinch, and the new FM support is phenomenal. 2GB of flash memory for additional samples should meet your sampling needs. Lots of goodness in a single, versatile keyboard.

Perhaps pair it with a true poly analog like a a Prophet 6 or OB-6? Both are of the dreaded 49-key variety, but it’s one way to go.


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015514 11/10/19 11:02 PM
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One possibility:

Replace Kronos with Kurzweil PC4. Personally, I think the PC4 action works better for piano than the RH3 as implemented in the Kronos. You can send its organ out the assignable out to your Lester K. Besides the nice EPs that come with it, there's also a set of Purgatory Creek downloadable EPs. So for your purposes, this could be a 28 lb direct replacement for the Kronos. Replace Wave with Studiologic Sledge to maintain a knobby synth that works with imported samples but gives you 5 octaves and (I think) better patch recall, and is still light weight (though not compact). Disclaimer: while PC4 and Sledge both allow import of user samples, I have no experience doing it and can't speak to ease relative to the Wave. If budget isn't an issue, go for the Nord Stage 3-73 instead of the Sledge, which has the Nord simplicity of sample management, still with a good amount of knobiness and more than 5 octaves of keys, and decent (if not outstanding) patch recall facility... and good enough organ that you can skip the Lester K, and don't have to bother with MIDI to play your organ from your non-hammer action. (You may want to play its pianos from the PC4, though, which would bring MIDI back into it.)


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015518 11/10/19 11:23 PM
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If the MODX6 or 7 can handle your toughest synth requirements, then a Nord Stage or Electro with the 73 key waterfall keyboard will give you a large palette of APs an EPs and an organ with drawbars in a light two-board setup. The synth in the Stage is pretty flexible too.


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015522 11/11/19 12:12 AM
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Considering your lighter weight requirements - my first choice for the bottom board would be: Kurzweil PC4, followed by MODX8 (I would load Purgatory Creek EP's in both of them anyway).
For the upper board - Nord Stage 3 Compact if organ is important, or Novation Summit if organ is not important.

Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015526 11/11/19 12:36 AM
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I echo the PC4 idea. Its not only amazing, but amazing for the price. Its also a step in a non-Kronos direction with little risk of any truly honking lacks in the sound set. Its too new to define as fully as I know we'd like and the price is rather dear, but the Roland Fantom seems quite comprehensive. I've seen two sound-only demos that made me a believer. If the Kronos has worn thin for you, the Fantom seems to fight in the same weight class. Might be a bit of overkill for your needs. In my view, if you need a second stage piano for a 2-piece rig, the Crumar topped with a MODX makes good sense. That also partly depends on how much time it will take to get a handle on the MODX's OS. I'm a bit wary of their touchscreen, but its such a well-thought-out instrument, I wouldn't dismiss it.


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015529 11/11/19 01:10 AM
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If you're OK with the CX3 engine and like the setlist mode, consider going to a Kronos 61, paired up with your favorite weighted DP within your weight limits. Run audio and MIDI into the Kronos and you can use combi mode in the Kronos to set wheather audio of the piano gets mixed with the other sounds, or if the DP controls sounds in the Kronos, or any combination you want, all still controlled by setlist mode.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: J. Dead] #3015532 11/11/19 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by J. Dead
If you're OK with the CX3 engine and like the setlist mode, consider going to a Kronos 61, paired up with your favorite weighted DP within your weight limits. Run audio and MIDI into the Kronos and you can use combi mode in the Kronos to set wheather audio of the piano gets mixed with the other sounds, or if the DP controls sounds in the Kronos, or any combination you want, all still controlled by setlist mode.


I think Dan's on the money here. You won't have to start over with programming since you already have a Kronos. Pair a 61 key version with a PX3000, and you've got a pretty light rig that's very capable. I haven't heard it, but hopefully its piano is better than what the Kronos offers (I too am not a fan). The Kronos can certainly handle all the splits and assignments of what sounds are where on which board.

Last edited by mcgoo; 11/11/19 01:32 AM. Reason: Added a final thought

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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015537 11/11/19 01:57 AM
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A Kronos 61 plus Nord Stage 3 (76?) would be a killer rig!


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015540 11/11/19 02:56 AM
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If I were playing rock/ r&b/ funk dance band (which I'm not and probably never will again in my life .lol) - I would go with the Yamaha CP88 and Kronos 61 or the Montage 6. Historically I've always found the Korg synth/organ stuff to be more clear and present when the volume is LOUD.

You'd save 5 lbs. on the CP88, don't know if that 's enough. More if you could hang with the CP73 action , which personally I could not.

I could not deal with any weighted Fatar - Nord or Kurzweil. For Rock it's less crucial then jazz but neither one feels right for anything.

I will say, the Grandstage sound is starting to grow on me. I still hate the action, but man that #9 mono Berlin Grand (I believe it is) is as clear as a bell for the Christian rock stuff at the church . On stage I have to deal with it through the pitiful Roland KC500. Out front, they have it coming through a fairly sizable house system and it really sounds great. I hate to say - having heard the praise leader sing and accompany herself solo - it sounds as good as the CP4 (in this particular context) when I was humping that in...maybe even more clear. It would probably sound twice as good, on stage, were it coming through one of the new Motion Sound amps or your Yamaha cabs in stereo.

Last edited by Dave Ferris; 11/11/19 05:52 AM. Reason: added thought
Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015541 11/11/19 03:43 AM
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My colleague's rig seems to be pretty similar to what you are seeking: Nord Stage 3 + King Korg, through a Key Largo and out to FOH. Sounds fantastic and mirrors my own Nord Electro 5D + Mainstage rig pretty closely... in a two-keyboard band, our sounds are similar enough to blend but different enough to be separate from the other.

Another option would be Yamaha CP73/CP88 + Kronos 61 on top.


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015549 11/11/19 04:46 AM
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Lightweight rig, Electro 6 + Roland A800 + iPad

Electro = 73 keys, 20 lbs
Roland = 61 keys, 10 lbs
iPad = infinite keys, 1.39 lbs

Caveat: Roland only a controller, need to midi it up


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015561 11/11/19 09:00 AM
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Do I remember correctly that you have an OB6 Tim? Or did I made that up?

In that case getting a Nord Stage 3 and combining it with the OB6 into a keylargo would be killer IMO. But maybe doesn't help you enough in terms of weight....


Rudy

Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015565 11/11/19 10:58 AM
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I like Dan's idea of a Kronos 61, which means minimal reprogramming/learning curve, and a lightweight DP. If you like the Casio AP sounds (and action) then the lack of 5-pin DIN MIDI on the latest range isn't a problem. You keep strong patch navigation (set list) on the Kronos, five octaves (vs 4 on the Wave), and the whole rig is a lot lighter. Or if 88 notes is too much, Yamaha P121 gives you 73 hammer-action keys downstairs.

Otherwise, my thoughts turned to a MODX6 or 7, provided its mediocre organ is sufficient. Again a lightweight DP underneath (do I remember that the latest OS update allows USB MIDI host ability? If so, cheap Casio/Yamaha is an option). Strong piano, plus FM.

Kurzweil PC4 seems nice if you can connect with the action and overall size. It's a bit heavier than the Casio 88, but not unbearably, and organ is better than MODX. Personally, if I've got that much firepower in a board, I'd want it upstairs where I can easily reach all the controls. YMMV.

Cheers, Mike.


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015566 11/11/19 11:09 AM
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Let me offer caveats to my suggestion. Since I often complain that people on here often offer suggestions that only consider their own narrow world, I don't want to do the same.

My suggestion requires setting everything up ahead of time and is not good for "on the fly" setting up sample splits and what-not.. the Nord stuff is WAY better for that. You've used both so I assume you already understand the difference and I'm speaking of the Kronos being the sort of control center. Other people may not like doing it that way. Just wanted to be clear.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015576 11/11/19 01:00 PM
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Never replace the Kronos. I also have a Forte and CP88. I love the new CP88. They can all stand up to the Nord, no problem.


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015632 11/11/19 06:03 PM
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I play in maybe 5-6 semi-regular groups that cut across a broad spectrum musically, using only a Nord Stage 3 Compact to generate sounds. I tend to rely a whole lot on APs, medium on DPs and organ, and tend to use the synth sparingly, except when we're playing more modern stuff. Half the time I can get away with a synth sample, the other half of the time I dive into the NS3C synth section, which although fun can make time magically disappear.

I'm sure you are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the NS3C, but one of the things I've come to deeply appreciate is its inherent simplicity: both the board itself as well as the rig that supports it.

For example, I have each and every group's setlist programmed sequentially into my NS3C. I just go from song to song, and it's all there. Realtime tweaking when needed isn't something I need to think much about as all the relevant knobs are right there and I know where they are. Easy to skip and jump around as well.

There's something like 500 slots in Song Mode. Band #1 has the range 1-99, Band #2 has 100-199 and so on. Editing and re-arranging the regular changes doesn't take much time once it's all entered for the first time. Behind that, there's maybe a universe of 50 or so patches I've come up with.

I run a single pair of stereo out from the NS3C, zero external effects needed. For example, my Vent II stays home as it's just not worth the bother. If its a gig where I'd prefer a weighted board, I bring one and use the A/B panel feature so it's just a single Nord making all the sounds. Many gigs I'm using only my trusty CPS SSv3 on stage, and hand the mono out to sound person. Very often, no need for an external mixer so the Key Largo stays home as well.

Just about as simple as it gets with no serious compromises. Two boards, two pedals, three cables, the SSv3, seat and stand and I'm good to go 95% of the time. And for the fill-in gigs, the weighted board stays home, so even simpler.

I haven't spent any time seriously considering the newer boards (PC4, MODX, Fantom) because -- well -- the NS3C meets all my needs across an incredibly wide range of gigging situations. I always seem to have the right sounds in the right combination at the right time.

Best of luck!


Life is too short to be playing bad music.

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Home: Bosie 200, Yam AG N3
Amps: FA 12acs, RCF TT08as, QSC K.2s, EVOX J8, SSv3
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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: stoken6] #3015643 11/11/19 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by stoken6
Personally, if I've got that much firepower in a board, I'd want it upstairs where I can easily reach all the controls.

The choice of keyboard stand can make a big difference here, With a stand like my oft-mentioned K&M 18880 with the top tier arms flipped backwards, or the old Invisible stands, you can easily access all your bottom board's controls.

As a related aside, I prefer shallow bottom boards because I like to keep the keys of the two boards close together, but it's not a deal-breaker, and at the moment I've sacrificed that to put a PC4 on bottom. I actually considered using PC4 on top and putting a shallow non-hammer board on bottom, but the height of the PC4 chassis (i.e. from bottom of chassis to top of keys) created a significant distance between the two keybeds anyway, just in a different direction, I still wasn't close to the "two manual Hammond" kind of feel, so it didn't buy me any real benefit, it merely greatly restricted my choice of second boards!

As for how far back you have to put a second board over a PC4 witout obstructing access to its controls, a nice surprise benefit of the PC4 is that it's control panel is not particularly deep. Of course, it's not super small like a Privia, but among boards with more extensive control surfaces, the PC4 only requires about 5 1/2" accessible between the back of the keys and the rear-most controls. Not only is this far less than many other hammer action boards, it's actually even noticeably less than numerous NON-hammer boards, including the Artis 7, Nords Stage 3-73, Kronos 61, MODX6/7.

As an aside... some people have suggested pairs of boards where neither has a hammer action. That certainly can keep the weight minimal, but my impression is that may be a bridge too far for the OP, who wants to change in part because of dissatisfaction even with the hammer action he has. But if that's a possibility, yeah, there are some other ways to go...


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015725 11/12/19 03:20 AM
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Thank you all for so many good suggestions and food for thought.

I'd not really had Kurzweil previously in consideration. While I fell in love with the sound of the K-series back in the K2000/K2500 days, and still have a K2600XS sitting right by me, my love affair with Kurzweil and VAST soured considerably with the PC361, primarily due to reliability issues. Then when Kronos came out, there was no reason to consider going back to them. I understand things have changed with Forte and PC4, may behoove me to reconsider the brand.

I'm tempted to say i could live with two unweighted boards in this rig - but I think Scott is right. It's a bridge too far as I'm still a piano player at heart.

I just tried something up in my office - the Casio PX-S3000 on the bottom run to my Kronos 73 on top.

It's a joy to play the Kronos sounds from the Casio keyboard. Even the uninspiring acoustic pianos of the Kronos are much more enjoyable from the Casio. And yes, as a result I've fiddled with all the velocity map settings on the Kronos - but the Casio is just a superior piano keybed to the RH3, I mean, head and shoulders to my fingers.

So yeah, I could run the Casio audio out into the Kronos, and see how the Casio's concert grand sounds relative to the Korg. The difficult thing is the Kronos Rhodes are still far superior (and to my ears, the Yamaha CP88/73's are quite superior to the Kronos').

And then to run the config Dan is suggesting means I need to rethink how I set up combis, etc.

And this setup still has me schlepping the Kronos 73 around, which is quite a substantial beast. I wish the Casio had a native best-in-class Rhodes to accompany what to my ears is a first-rate acoustic piano experience. Then I could go unweighted up top (Kronos? MODX?) and be back to a simple two-board, unconnected rig of light weight.

Still mulling over all your great suggestions....

Tim


"I'm not just untalented. I'm multi untalented."
Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015728 11/12/19 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by timwat
this setup still has me schlepping the Kronos 73 around, which is quite a substantial beast. I wish the Casio had a native best-in-class Rhodes to accompany what to my ears is a first-rate acoustic piano experience. Then I could go unweighted up top (Kronos? MODX?) and be back to a simple two-board, unconnected rig of light weight.

Casio PX5S and PX560 probably have their best Rhodes (between the ones that come with them, and the ones you can download from the casio forums). Kawai ES110 and the already mentioned MODX8, CP73, and PC4 would be other potential lightweight piano+EP boards you could put under a Kronos 61 or whatever...


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015731 11/12/19 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by timwat
So I'm daydreaming about a better live rig - I figure most of us who gig regularly do this. And I'm curious about the wisdom of this crowd and recommendations.
Tim
My recommendations:
Piano: Yamaha. No other piano can cut through. CP300 or CP4.
Organ : SK1 with Leslie or effects.

Everything else can be handled within these two. EP is killer on the CP's with editing but you could buy the Seven for the Rhodes.

I would never allow a Korg product near my house (worse allergic reaction than Cat Piss).

Last edited by JazzPiano88; 11/12/19 04:33 AM.

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Yamaha C7D | Montage8 | CP300 | CP4
Hammond SK1-73 | DSI OB-6
Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: AnotherScott] #3015732 11/12/19 04:31 AM
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I’ve been contemplating a similar change. I guess for OP, I wonder how important it is for you to have analogue knobby synth?

This is what I’m thinking for myself, if the PC4 has a good weighted keyboard feel to me, I’d consider getting the PC4 as a lower board and the MODX7 as the upper board. Well, another “if”, not sure I’d be satisfied with the KB3 sound for B3 and I might miss the Kronos?

These two boards are light at 28 and 16 lbs and would give a wide range of options, with the possible exception of a great organ sound.

Some interesting thoughts on this thread...


Yamaha C2, Kurzweil PC3, Hammond SK1, Korg Kronos 2 61, Yamaha CP4
Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015756 11/12/19 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by timwat
What I don't like: the acoustic pianos in the Kronos are my least favorite of anything I own. It's heavy. Even with the new keys, it is summarily uninspiring to play.


This is what struck me in your post. I had a Kronos 73 and replaced it with a MODX8 for reasons of weight and piano sounds. So I think in your shoes I'd go for a Kronos 61, familiar interface and you don't throw away all those patches you've programmed or set up, and a DP that is inspiring to play.


Keyboards: Hammond SK2, HX3 (for blues gigs), Hammond SK1, Korg Vox Continental
Amplification: Line6 L3T, Yamaha DBR-10, Presonus Air 10
Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015758 11/12/19 10:13 AM
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I had the Kronos 73 and sold it about 6 months ago. I loved playing it. Even liked the action but it was too heavy. I got an MODX8. Sure the action isn’t a good as the montage or cp series but i use it on 90% of gigs now. I don’t feel like I’m settling for a lesser action on the modx. It’s more than fine for me and I’ve been pretty picky over the years about keybeds.

I also have the Casio px s3000 as I see you have. This sounds palette on this could get me through a lot of the gigs but the interface is very fiddly and I don’t find it works well for editing on the fly in live situations. However seeing as you have an s3000 would you consider that as your main board and a MODX 6/7 as your second board? The 6/7 series are very light and you still have all the faders and touch screen to work with if the Casio can’t do sufficient midi stuff. Only issue is the Casio is quite narrow so not much space to rest the modx on top so you’d have to have it on stand extension. Alternatively you could use an iPad Pro with the Casio?


Casio PXS3000, MODX8, Hammond SK2.
Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015780 11/12/19 02:16 PM
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I think you should consider a simple, bullet-proof laptop rig with a true analog synth on top (OB6/Prophet 6?) and a simple controller piano which inspires you (Stage Compact 73/Yamaha CP73?) on the bottom. If 61 keys on top are truly important, you could consider a Rev2, but I'd say give the discrete synth a chance.

It's time brother. rocker

Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015797 11/12/19 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by hookie
I’ve been contemplating a similar change. I guess for OP, I wonder how important it is for you to have analogue knobby synth?

This is what I’m thinking for myself, if the PC4 has a good weighted keyboard feel to me, I’d consider getting the PC4 as a lower board and the MODX7 as the upper board. Well, another “if”, not sure I’d be satisfied with the KB3 sound for B3 and I might miss the Kronos?

These two boards are light at 28 and 16 lbs and would give a wide range of options, with the possible exception of a great organ sound.

Reply moved to the Kurzweil PC4 thread.


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3015915 11/13/19 12:00 AM
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I agree with a Kronos 61 up top as a familiar workflow and to preserve continuity.

A MODX8 on the bottom would reduce the weight and provide a wide palette of sounds/performance features too.

KB rig reconfiguration can be fun and inspiring. Good luck. thucool


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: timwat] #3016083 11/13/19 11:41 PM
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Lately I've been using a Stage 3-76 on the bottom, and Kronos 61 up top. It's a relatively lightweight rig with a lot of firepower. Seems that's a popular combination here for a few other folks as well. I've moved away from using MIDI and a computer/tablet-based rig, and just play the two instruments.

Another on-top option for you could be an FA-06/07 or Fantom 6/7. And I do find the PC4 suggestions for bottom keyboard intriguing.


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: JazzPiano88] #3016113 11/14/19 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by JazzPiano88
I would never allow a Korg product near my house (worse allergic reaction than Cat Piss).

Hilarious. I felt the same way for a couple decades before I bought my Korg SV-1. laugh

IMO, the Kronos is the best ROMpler/workstation Korg has produced.

Still funny to read the quote above. grin cool


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Re: new rig daydreaming - recommendations? [Re: allan_evett] #3016115 11/14/19 01:18 PM
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[quote=allan_evett]Lately I've been using a Stage 3-76 on the bottom, and Kronos 61 up top. It's a relatively lightweight rig with a lot of firepower. Seems that's a popular combination here for a few other folks as well. I've moved away from using MIDI and a computer/tablet-based rig, and just play the two instruments.

Insert Forte 7 in place of Stage 3-76 and that's my live rig. It covers EVERYTHING I need. The Forte 7 keybed is excellent. With the recent Forte update, it just got even a little better.

All my other keyboards are for "specialty" use, giving me a specific tools for a specific project/gig.


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