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Super light 2-board rigs
#3049249 06/17/20 01:44 AM
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I always like to keep my rigs light, but sometimes I really want it as light as possible. Like when a gig involves a couple of flights of stairs or other such obstacles... yet I still really want to go with two boards instead of one, for the advantages so often discussed in the past. Adan just posted about his superlight rig (with photos) at http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/3048770/re-yamaha-yc61-announced#Post3048770 -
Originally Posted by Adan
What I like about this setup:
1) 110 keys and under 25 lbs total
2) keybeds very close together
3) keys are all same shrunk Yamaha size, so no recalibrating moving one to the other keyboard
4) stand is light and needs no assembly

MX49 midi'd to YC61, not using MX sounds. The MX keybed not as good for playing, but good enough in a supporting role.
...
YC makes it easy to change the assignment of external keyboard on a per program basis. Can be a Keyboard "A" or "B," upper or lower organ manual.
Nice setup, though as I've mentioned, I find 61 a bit claustrophobic as the biggest board of a rig.

IIRC, the lightest rig I ever did, for a situation where I really needed something as light as possible, was an MOX6 on bottom and a Korg Microstation on top. 122 keys and about 21 lbs. But it was not very satisfying. As I said, 61 keys cramps my piano style, the MOX6 keys are also poor for piano playing (similar to that MX49), and I can sometimes be sloppy on the Korg's mini-keys (though sometimes they can also be kinda fun to play).

Today I'd probably choose from these:

BOTTOM...

Numa Compact 2/2X - 15.6 lbs, shallow so the two keybeds stay close, aftertouch. Shortcomings: While the action is certainly not the worst semi-weighted for piano, it's not so great, either. Patch selection is awkward... it's nice that they added the feature that you can determine which sound comes up by default for each category button, but that still limits you to 8 sounds available directly from buttons without using the scroll knob, and each must be a sound from its own category (so it's impossible to have one button for Rhodes and another for Wurli, since they're both in the EP category). I'm thinking that this could be addressed by putting a smartphone on its front panel for patch selection, if I want to pursue that.

I'm thinking about a Vox Continental 73 for this role. Compared to the Numa, it means losing 15 keys and aftertouch and the flexible split and MIDI functionality, but having finally played one recently, the action really is way more enjoyable to play, and I generally prefer its sounds, and even though it has only 4 patch select buttons, you still quickly have access to more sounds (of your choice), through a variety of mechanisms. And if you're setting up all your stuff as presets and the only buttons you really need access to are the patch buttons directly above the keys, you can cover much of the panel with your top board if you want, to maintain the advantage of having your top tier keys very close. It's a bit heavier at 18.5 lbs.

If I'm willing to move up in weight again, weighing in at 22 lbs, I have the Nord Stage Compact 3. I still have to get around to installing the alternate springs I got, but at least until then, I'd say this is a noticeable step down in key feel from the Vox. The Nord is certainly much more capable overall, but it's a mix as to which sounds I'd like better on which board. And you definitely feel its 22 lbs over the 15.6 I started with... if that's okay then one could consider, say, the PX5S at 24 lbs for an actual hammer action... drawing a line matters at some point.

If there were a 7x-key version of the YC61, that would be worth a look here, too.

TOP...

That MX49 is a good starting point here, at about 8.5 lbs. If I'm not doing LH bass, I can get by okay with 49 keys for the top board. A nice feature of the MX49 is that the 16 buttons can function to change which of 16 MIDI channels you're transmitting on. So if you connect an iOS device (negligible added weight), there's another whole source of sounds, which you can easily switch among just by clicking the channel buttons... and the MX's audio-over-USB feature means integrating the external audio is a cinch. (BTW, if you wanted to go even lighter, that Microstation can also be setup so that its 16 buttons initiate transmission on 16 different channels, even with Program Changes, for good iOS sound integration.) ETA: Korg Kross 2 is another good option here, same weight but 61 keys, and generally more flexible.

Another 49 key possibility would be the AX-Edge, at about 9.3 lbs (though awkwardly and unnecessarily long). That adds aftertouch, and the ability to actually use it as a keytar now and then for fun. The ten front panel buttons for favorites (of which there are ten banks) can also include (multiple!) MIDI Program Change (and channel) commands, so this should also be flexible for integrating more sounds from an iOS device.

TOP IF I'M DOING LEFT HAND BASS...

LHB adds another wrinkle (since, as I've discussed before, I prefer to do LHB on my top board... and in this case, none of my lightweight bottom boards are especially good at LH bass either, for one reason or another, which makes it doubly important for the top board to handle it well).

Smallest/lightest is probably the Juno DS61. Even though it's only 61, it's more flexible for splits than many other 61s because it's very easy to octave shift just one of your split sounds on the fly, which really helps address the possibility of running out of keys on a split 61. It's also easy to balance the LH/RH sounds, seamlessly switch to a different RH sound while keeping your LH sound going, and (I think, haven't tried it) pan your bass sound to the opposite side of everything else (for sending bass alone to its own channel on the band's mix board, or to send the bass sound to a bass amp, though that latter isn't something I'd be doing in a super-light scenario!). We're up to 12 lbs on this one. There are some other 61s that handle LHB splits about as well (Casio MZ-X300/500 and Korg PA700/1000 come to mind), but the Roland is the lightest, that I'm aware of.

If I'm willing to push the weight a bit, LHB is still nicer on a board with more keys. The DS76 is 15.25 lbs, or for a preferred sound and feature set, another pound (and some more $) gets you a MODX7.


For stands, I have my Invisibles and K&M 18880/18881, which are both super light.

I don't know whether anyone will find that helpful, or have some different ideas, but whatever, there it is!

Last edited by AnotherScott; 06/17/20 05:29 PM. Reason: Kross

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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049254 06/17/20 02:46 AM
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Great write up!

Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049256 06/17/20 02:49 AM
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But where will you put your Kurz?

Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049257 06/17/20 02:51 AM
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My lightest 2 board rig:
K&M 18880/18881 stand
Top: IK Keys37 Pro feeding iPhone 6 (no SIMM, only Module and iFretless Bass)
Bottom: Samson Carbon 61 feeding iPad Mini 2 (above apps and a bunch more apps)
QSC K10 (each IOS device into one channel
Expression pedals and switch pedals as needed
Cabling and power supplies/chargers.

The iPhone and all needed cabling fit into the Keys Pro case. The iPad and all needed cabling/power fit into the 61 key gig bag. I haven't really setup the 2 board rig so far, but have used each half of it for some outdoor playing.

Absolute minimal rig: iPad 5 (for larger screen), use iFretless Bass and play the virtual strings on the touch screen. Cable to amplifier.


Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's
HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2
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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049261 06/17/20 03:15 AM
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Does the Yamaha P121 (22 lbs.) have a place in your lightweight rig? I don’t own one but I’ve played it a few times and am fond of the action and AP. I’ve been itching to buy one but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Since I already have a Casio PX-S3000 and it weighs just 3 pounds more it’s hard to justify also buying a P121.

Re: Super light 2-board rigs
Al Quinn #3049270 06/17/20 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Fleer
But where will you put your Kurz?
Not in my super-light 2-board rig. ;-)

Originally Posted by Al Quinn
Does the Yamaha P121 (22 lbs.) have a place in your lightweight rig?
I haven't played or heard one, but I have an aversion to anything that doesn't have standard MIDI connections. Interesting to consider, though, that that gets you a hammer action at 22 lbs, the same weight as the Nord SW. As I said, that Nord may have already been pushing the limit weight-wise, but if 22 is okay, the P121 does provide a hammer action if that's more of a priority for someone, and if the P-121's limited sound and feature set is sufficient. Personally, I think the trade-offs are too much, unless I happened to really love the sounds and action. Though to be fair, I was looking strictly at weight, sound, and functionality, and really didn't consider the budget aspect at all. If you're trying to achieve something at a price point, that could also create an opening which the P-121 could help fill.


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049278 06/17/20 04:57 AM
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My kind of thread! ha. The YC on top of the P121 is also a good rig with lots of bang per pound. The P121 connects to IOS over USB with 2 way audio.


Gigging: Yamaha YC61, Crumar Mojo 61, Moog Subsequent 37, Yamaha P121
Traveling: Yamaha MX49, Reface CP and CS
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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049285 06/17/20 06:14 AM
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If you're considering the JUNO DS61, maybe also consider the Korg Kross 2. I use it for my top board - weighs in at 8 lbs. You can set it up to octave shift the way you described if needed.

Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049288 06/17/20 06:55 AM
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My lightest rigs have been either an SK-1 or a FA-06 on top of a Yamaha MODX7, with a lightweight stand I can carry the whole rig...

Re: Super light 2-board rigs
Adan #3049290 06/17/20 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Adan
My kind of thread!
Mine too. My record is a NS2 compact on top, and a Yamaha NP31 (bought secondhand, as its successor NP32 has no 5-pin MIDI) - for a prestigious gig at London's O2 Arena (well, the VIP lounge thereof). A longish hike across from the car park on my trolley. IEMs for light weight too. The Nord brings a lot of sonic capability, and the NP31 is just a controller (no mixer needed = more weight saving). It has a graded keyboard - and I really like the feel of the "heavy" bass notes. If only they could match that feel up the whole keyboard...

Originally Posted by Adan
The YC on top of the P121 is also a good rig with lots of bang per pound. The P121 connects to IOS over USB with 2 way audio.
The P121 has been on my radar for a while, but (like Scott mentioned) the lack of 5-pin MIDI rules it out at the moment. If Yamaha give the YC the ability to be a USB host, then P121+YC61 sounds pretty amazing.

Cheers, Mike.


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049292 06/17/20 08:54 AM
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Mine is light:

- DMC-122 with Gemini module for backup (sorry only 61 keys)
- Mac Book Pro 2015 15" i7 running mainstage
- 3 unit rack with RME Fireface UCX and all cables connected to UCX and power.
- Enough room in rack for iPad, MBP, pedals and in-ear/headphones
- X-stand

With clothes bag it takes me two runs from the car to stage, without clothes bag it can be done in one run.
Setup time: 5 minutes, take-down time: 3 minutes


DMC-122, Macbook Pro 2015/i7/16GB, Mainstage, RME Fireface 400 (Backup on stage: Gemini board | backup in car: Dr. Synth)
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049302 06/17/20 12:27 PM
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My thinking with the P121 is that it would handle AP and EP (I regret that I haven’t tried its EPs yet but feel optimistic since I usually like Yamaha EPs) and the top board would then handle everything else. So, no need for Midi. I’m drawn to the simplicity of it.

Re: Super light 2-board rigs
KeyboardEric #3049304 06/17/20 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by KeyboardEric
If you're considering the JUNO DS61, maybe also consider the Korg Kross 2. I use it for my top board - weighs in at 8 lbs. You can set it up to octave shift the way you described if needed.
Kross 2 is a nice board, and I love the weight. If playing a 2-way split (bass + whatever), I'd be curious to know if there is indeed a way to quickly shift the octave of just your right-hand sound up or down, and also a way to change your right hand sound without glitching your LH bass playing, and also to quickly adjust the volume of your bass and RH sounds individually. It was not immediately apparent to me that these things would be possible, but I've spent very little time on one.

Originally Posted by Analogaddict
My lightest rigs have been either an SK-1 or a FA-06 on top of a Yamaha MODX7, with a lightweight stand I can carry the whole rig...
My issue with a MODX7 on bottom is that I can't get on with its action for piano work. I wonder if it might be better to use the SK1 to trigger the MODX' pianos, I think it might have your most piano amenable action of the bunch?


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049305 06/17/20 12:36 PM
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My lightest rig ever was a Nord electro (ironically, a metal and wood keyboard) and a Yamaha modx7. I sold the electro and was going to get a Nord stage compact for one-keyboard gigs but the virus halted that for now at least.

My ultimate plan was to maybe sell the modx7 as well--as much as I like it--in order to fund a knobby synth as my interests have gone back to synth big-time. A nord stage 3 + a prophet rev2 or hydrasynth smile Wish the hydra was 61 keys though.

I was thinking maybe to get a Stay stand even though I love my spider pro--that thing is heavy and doesn't match well with a "light rig".

Last edited by Stokely; 06/17/20 12:37 PM.
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
Al Quinn #3049315 06/17/20 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Al Quinn
My thinking with the P121 is that it would handle AP and EP (I regret that I haven’t tried its EPs yet but feel optimistic since I usually like Yamaha EPs) and the top board would then handle everything else. So, no need for Midi. I’m drawn to the simplicity of it.

Al, the P121 AP is plenty good enough for me, but the EPs don't make the grade. I'm pretty obsessed about having a good EP sound, and in my current bands I use EPs far more than APs. Someone else might find them good enough. But the P121 EPs are not close to the quality of those on the YC.

Using Neo Soul Keys with the P121 is easy, so the onboard EP sounds are a non-issue. I can switch between Neo Soul for EPs and the onboard AP sounds by turning local control on and off, though that's not a superfast switch, it's fast enough for doing between songs. Or use an AP app.

Rig ergonomics -- an ipad mini in its propriety apple folding case, which is magnetic, will stick firmly to the speaker grid on either side of the P121. That's a nice way of supporting the ipad if your top keyboard allows for it. The YC does allow for it if it's moved a few inches off center. Or just use an ipad stand.

Yes, it's a bummer the YC is not a USB host. I'd love it if the P121 could play YC sounds.


Gigging: Yamaha YC61, Crumar Mojo 61, Moog Subsequent 37, Yamaha P121
Traveling: Yamaha MX49, Reface CP and CS
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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049317 06/17/20 01:50 PM
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I see. Thank you Adan.

Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049325 06/17/20 03:15 PM
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For a 2-board rig, I am also in the traveling light camp. Depending on the gig (when there were gigs), I use any combination of NS3, MX49 or SK1 along with an ipad on a K&M 18880/18881 stand. I wish I bought that stand years ago, it can't get any lighter.

Has anyone tried one of these - https://www.midi-store.com/Kenton-MIDI-USB-Host-MkII-p/sku44975.htm . These are supposed to work with any of the Yamaha P series or new Casio's that do not have a 5-pin MIDI jack.

Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049346 06/17/20 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Kross 2 is a nice board, and I love the weight. If playing a 2-way split (bass + whatever),

I'd be curious to know if there is indeed a way to quickly shift the octave of just your right-hand sound up or down, and also a way to change your right hand sound without glitching your LH bass playing, and also to quickly adjust the volume of your bass and RH sounds individually. It was not immediately apparent to me that these things would be possible, but I've spent very little time on one.

Easily solved by creating a Combi, then copy it to the next user bank and change the octave thus a simple switch from one Combi to the next but remember the Kross 2 does not have SST.

On the fly individual volume changes in a Kross 2 Combi is not easily possible.

Last edited by Biggles; 06/17/20 05:00 PM.

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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049348 06/17/20 05:00 PM
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Even when I don't go super light, I'm still usually very focussed on weight. There has been the occasional gig where I've used the SV1 (about 38 lbs IIRC), but on the vast majority of my gigs, the bottom board has been in the 24 to 28 lb range (usually the latter). So my focus in my post was for when even that is more than what you want to deal with... which is also why I'm lukewarm on a 22 lb NS3 or P121 compared to the availability of some other reasonable possibilities that are even lighter by a noticeable amount. The question for me then is ultimately how low can I go and still really enjoy playing the gig and not feel like I'm hitting barriers, despite whatever shortcomings.


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
Biggles #3049353 06/17/20 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Biggles
Easily solved by creating a Combi, then copy it to the next user bank and change the octave thus a simple switch from one Combi to the next but remember the Kross 2 does not have SST.
Yes, that's how I did it on the Microstation (which, yes, I have even used for LH bass). The problem is that you have to use that method to set up every RH sound you want to switch to, which is time consuming to set up, limiting in performance (you can't choose a non-prepp'd sound on the fly and have octave switching available), and uses up your patch select buttons quickly (i.e. you'd have to use up two of your Favorite buttons for bass+strings instead of one, if you want the strings available to you in two octaves). What I'd hope for on the Kross (and maybe there's a way to do this?) is to program its front panel Octave switch to affect one timbre of a combi but not another (which almost duplicates the Juno DS behavior), or for there to be a very quick way to get to the screen where you can shift the octave of the sound you picked for one side of the split. That kind of change would make it more viable for the role we're talking about, though you can still get bit by the lack of easy on-the-fly volume adjustments for your two parts as you say, or possibly the problem of cutting out a held bass note if you're switching from one RH sound to another, unless there's some workaround for that. or some operational mode where that won't happen.

I guess I'd say that, for me, the Kross probably won't address the LH bass scenario, but if you don't need LH bass, it is definitely a viable alternative to the MX49/AX-Edge in my OP... it's actually ties with the MX49 for lightest of the bunch, while providing 61 keys instead of 49. I'll update the OP accordingly.


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049358 06/17/20 05:57 PM
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A related question to the forum as I am trying to simplify my rig also. I want to run the Korg Module Pro and IK B-3X on my IPAD. Between these 2 apps I can get all the sounds I need.

I am looking for 2 controllers to run this set-up but ................ one of the controllers needs to have internal sounds I can use as a backup in the event my IPAD fails during a gig.

I would want 88 or 73 on the bottom and 61on the top. Want to keep the $$$$$$ reasonable also.

What does everyone suggest?

Will I be able to run both the sounds from the Korg Module at the same time as the B-3X sounds? How would I wire this?

Thanks, Mike


My Rig: Stage Piano: Korg Grandstage 73 - Organ: Hammond SKx - Amps: Motion Sound KP-500s - Mixer: Yamaha MGU10
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
motomike1961 #3049363 06/17/20 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by motomike1961
A

Will I be able to run both the sounds from the Korg Module at the same time as the B-3X sounds? How would I wire this?

You might first try to confirm that Module Pro and B3X will run at the same time on your Ipad with enough reliability for a gig. Doesn't work on mine. One or the other will inevitably crash. I suspect it's the B3X that's the problem using so much CPU, but that's just my theory. It could be something about how I've set the whole thing up, so I wouldn't assume everyone will have the same problem (thought I've heard reports of others having the same problem).


Gigging: Yamaha YC61, Crumar Mojo 61, Moog Subsequent 37, Yamaha P121
Traveling: Yamaha MX49, Reface CP and CS
Home: Vintage Vibe 64
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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049366 06/17/20 06:30 PM
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Oops, I must have jumped to page 2 of this thread, I thought Mike had started it. FWIW, this post should still be relevant.

Just yesterday I was on the Pianoworld forum with a thread I addressed to Kawai James. I recently bought the Kawai ES110, and have been thrilled with the action, you really fly and can be expressive with this board, esp if you like lighter touch. I LOVE this board, but am really stymied and frustrated that they didn't include an aux in for iPad use. MAJOR SHORTCOMING for such an easy inclusion by Kawai! What a fantastic weighted controller board it would make!

Anyways, I looked at mostly SW but also GC (Casio exclusives) for boards under $700 that DID include the aux in. Altogether there are:
------ 31 boards, most of them under $300, that include an Aux in
------ 5 weighted action boards that include an aux in:
>> Casio CDP-S100 and S300, PX-S1000
>> Korg B2N
>> Kurzweil SP1 88

You up the budget to $1000 and I imagine you'd double this number of weighted boards with aux in.

Last edited by RandyFF; 06/17/20 06:35 PM.

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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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Numa Compact 2x on the bottom
MODX7 on top

A lot of capability, and checks a lot of boxes for under 32lbs


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
RandyFF #3049373 06/17/20 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by RandyFF
Mike, I hope you get a lot of input on this question!...I recently bought the Kawai ES110...I LOVE this board, but am really stymied and frustrated that they didn't include an aux in for iPad use. MAJOR SHORTCOMING for such an easy inclusion by Kawai! What a fantastic weighted controller board it would make!
Aux in (or better yet for iPad integration, the more rare audio in over MIDI) has two advantages I see:
1. If the board has internal speakers, you can hear the external sounds over those speakers.
2. If you are using a board with internal sounds, and you intend to actually use those sounds (less important if you'd only use them for emergency backup), it could obviate the need for a mixer (and if using the USB method, run fewer cables as well)
So I can see where this would be a nice addition to the ES110, though maybe not so much benefit if the board in question doesn't have speakers and/or you're not really using the board's own sounds.

The thing I'd most like in a board for iPad control would be front panel buttons that let me send MIDI program change and/or change the MIDI transmission channel, so I can freely select from among numerous iPad sounds directly from front panel buttons.


Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
motomike1961 #3049416 06/17/20 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by motomike1961
I want to run the Korg Module Pro and IK B-3X on my IPAD...
I am looking for 2 controllers to run this set-up but ................ one of the controllers needs to have internal sounds I can use as a backup ...
I would want 88 or 73 on the bottom and 61on the top. Want to keep the $$$$$$ reasonable also.
I don't know if you'd consider the price reasonable for this purpose, but I had the thought that if you used the Dexibell J7 with its moving drawbars as a B3X controller, you should be able to set up patches that recall a drawbar registration of your choice internally (which, even if you keep the Dexibell volume off, will still put the drawbars at the right places) while also sending a Program Change command to B3X for a program you could define to have the same drawbar registration. If it all works the way I think it would, you could then call up whatever organ preset you wanted from the Dexibell's front panel and immediately have the B3X provide the desired sound AND have the drawbars in the right place for the sound for any further real time tweaking you might want to do. (The Vox Continental might be able to work similarly with its LED drawbar equivalents, though it lacks the dedicated additional C/V and percussion controls.)

Does your bottom board need to have hammer action? Do you care whether it is your top or bottom board that has pitch/modulation controls (assuming it's important for you to have them at all)? Do you want buttons on one/both of the boards that you can program to call up particular sounds from your iPad?


Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
MoodyBluesKeys #3049425 06/17/20 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by MoodyBluesKeys
My lightest 2 board rig:
K&M 18880/18881 stand
Top: IK Keys37 Pro feeding iPhone 6 (no SIMM, only Module and iFretless Bass)
Bottom: Samson Carbon 61 feeding iPad Mini 2 (above apps and a bunch more apps)
QSC K10 (each IOS device into one channel
Expression pedals and switch pedals as needed
Cabling and power supplies/chargers.

The iPhone and all needed cabling fit into the Keys Pro case. The iPad and all needed cabling/power fit into the 61 key gig bag. I haven't really setup the 2 board rig so far, but have used each half of it for some outdoor playing.

Absolute minimal rig: iPad 5 (for larger screen), use iFretless Bass and play the virtual strings on the touch screen. Cable to amplifier.

I'm fine with my normal Stage 3/Kronos for my regular gigs. But I have considered something like above for a very light weight rig for pop-up street things:

- iPad Mini 5
- Casio CT-S300 (7 lbs, has a non-weighted action that is unusually playable for piano sounds and also internal sounds if there are technical problems with iPad)
- iRig iKeys 49 I/O (5 lbs - has audio interface for ipad and has mic input with phantom power)
- USB hub to merge midi input to iPad
- Aspen Pittman Spacestation
- A few cables

Stand would be TBD. I tried it in my office and it all seemed to work fine with some audio routing provided via AUM app (to avoid a hardware mixer for mic). Pretty sure I could carry that in one-trip from car with the right bags.

Sam

Last edited by Sam Mullins; 06/17/20 09:10 PM.

Nord Stage 3 88, Korg Kronos 2 61, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2
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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049429 06/17/20 10:02 PM
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My standard rig is relatively lightweight, even when I lug the whole thing. Granted, I almost never have to bring speakers or an amp...

- Nord Electro 5D73
- Novation Launchkey 61
- MacBook Pro 15" + Ultimate Support Hyperstation QR + Radial Key Largo (all in a backpack with the requisite cables)
- single tier X stand that has stood the test of time (shhhh...) or Ultimate Support AX48 Pro if I need both keys/both tiers.


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Nord Electro 5D, Novation Launchkey 61, Logic 9, Mainstage 2, Kontakt 5, AAS & Arturia stuff, fingers, pencil, paper.
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
Sam Mullins #3049477 06/18/20 02:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Sam Mullins
Originally Posted by MoodyBluesKeys
My lightest 2 board rig:
K&M 18880/18881 stand
Top: IK Keys37 Pro feeding iPhone 6 (no SIMM, only Module and iFretless Bass)
Bottom: Samson Carbon 61 feeding iPad Mini 2 (above apps and a bunch more apps)
QSC K10 (each IOS device into one channel
Expression pedals and switch pedals as needed
Cabling and power supplies/chargers.
I have considered something like above for a very light weight rig for pop-up street things:

- iPad Mini 5
- Casio CT-S300 (7 lbs, has a non-weighted action that is unusually playable for piano sounds and also internal sounds if there are technical problems with iPad)
- iRig iKeys 49 I/O (5 lbs - has audio interface for ipad and has mic input with phantom power)
- USB hub to merge midi input to iPad
- Aspen Pittman Spacestation
- A few cables
Those board pairs may win the award for lightness... but those amps? An EV ZXa1 would knock off at least a dozen pounds of schlepage.


Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049480 06/18/20 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Those board pairs may win the award for lightness... but those amps? An EV ZXa1 would knock off at least a dozen pounds of schlepage.

True...19 lbs vs. 33 lbs would be nice. Was just working with what I already had. The spacestation does give “stereo” so that’s a tradeoff (and why I didn’t put one my QSC 10.2’s in there.)


Nord Stage 3 88, Korg Kronos 2 61, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2
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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
Biggles #3049517 06/18/20 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Biggles
Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Kross 2 is a nice board, and I love the weight. If playing a 2-way split (bass + whatever),

I'd be curious to know if there is indeed a way to quickly shift the octave of just your right-hand sound up or down, and also a way to change your right hand sound without glitching your LH bass playing, and also to quickly adjust the volume of your bass and RH sounds individually. It was not immediately apparent to me that these things would be possible, but I've spent very little time on one.

Easily solved by creating a Combi, then copy it to the next user bank and change the octave thus a simple switch from one Combi to the next but remember the Kross 2 does not have SST.

On the fly individual volume changes in a Kross 2 Combi is not easily possible.

SST? is that the same as patch remain?

you can program the KROSS 2 to pretty much do whatever you need it to do. For volume control you can assign one of the splits to the Mod wheel to control it's own volume while the main volume can control both levels. Or you can assign one of the splits to a volume pedal if it's necessary to have completely independent controls. It takes time and not very "on the fly" but I've found a way to do everything I need to do on this board. It's very pliable - but it takes a little effort to get under the hood (not for everyone I realize). I'm on a budget so I don't mind spending the time.

You can assign octave switches easily to the SW buttons on the KROSS 2. Switching patches, like you said, can be done by saving 2 combis next to each other. There are other ways it can be done that I know of (not off the top of my head) but I saw a couple tutorials where someone was able to switch sounds within a COMBI. So again, this board is a crazy little beast for the $$$, and lightweight :)))

Re: Super light 2-board rigs
KeyboardEric #3049533 06/18/20 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by KeyboardEric
SST? is that the same as patch remain?
Yes, Korg calls it "smooth sound transition." As is so often the case, companies have their own names for things. Yamaha uses SSS ("seamless sound switching"). Roland has multiple names, patch remain in some boards, tone remain in others. Some boards from other manufactures can also do it to some extent or another but may not have specific catchy names for it. It is a weakness of the Kross, though. All the other boards in my OP except the Numa Compact 2X have some ability to switch sounds from front panel buttons without the previous sound cutting out. Korg's Microstation can do it, but not Kross. (Numa Compact 2 can do it--albeit from within a very small selection of sounds--but not the 2X.)

Originally Posted by KeyboardEric
you can program the KROSS 2 to pretty much do whatever you need it to do. For volume control you can assign one of the splits to the Mod wheel to control it's own volume while the main volume can control both levels. Or you can assign one of the splits to a volume pedal if it's necessary to have completely independent controls. It takes time and not very "on the fly" but I've found a way to do everything I need to do on this board. It's very pliable - but it takes a little effort to get under the hood (not for everyone I realize). I'm on a budget so I don't mind spending the time.
The Juno DS is about the same price (a little cheaper, actually) and is much better for this. (Of course, the Kross is much better for other things, like its sequencer and MIDI functionalities.) The problem with the mod wheel or pedal solutions mentioned are (a) unlike on the Juno, you'd lose the ability to then use the mod control or expression pedal for something else, and (b) you have to set this up in advance for every possible combination of two sounds you might ever want, as opposed to just being able to pick any two sounds at any time, split/layer them, and have instant front panel control of the volumes of each of the sounds. ETA: though for the latter, I suppose you could call up the one combi you'd initially set up this way, and edit which sounds are in it, to pretty quickly have the same assignments apply to a different pair of sounds. I'm not sure how feasible that is to do within a song (or even just between songs) at a gig, though...? But as you kind of say, not everyone needs these kinds of facilities on the fly.

Last edited by AnotherScott; 06/18/20 12:50 PM.

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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049536 06/18/20 01:15 PM
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Folks,

there is a lot of info here and I thank everyone for weighing in on my question. I have lots to think about and will probably have some additional questions.

Thanks, Mike


My Rig: Stage Piano: Korg Grandstage 73 - Organ: Hammond SKx - Amps: Motion Sound KP-500s - Mixer: Yamaha MGU10
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049566 06/18/20 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Originally Posted by KeyboardEric
SST? is that the same as patch remain?
Yes, Korg calls it "smooth sound transition." As is so often the case, companies have their own names for things. Yamaha uses SSS ("seamless sound switching"). Roland has multiple names, patch remain in some boards, tone remain in others. Some boards from other manufactures can also do it to some extent or another but may not have specific catchy names for it. It is a weakness of the Kross, though. All the other boards in my OP except the Numa Compact 2X have some ability to switch sounds from front panel buttons without the previous sound cutting out. Korg's Microstation can do it, but not Kross. (Numa Compact 2 can do it--albeit from within a very small selection of sounds--but not the 2X.)

Originally Posted by KeyboardEric
you can program the KROSS 2 to pretty much do whatever you need it to do. For volume control you can assign one of the splits to the Mod wheel to control it's own volume while the main volume can control both levels. Or you can assign one of the splits to a volume pedal if it's necessary to have completely independent controls. It takes time and not very "on the fly" but I've found a way to do everything I need to do on this board. It's very pliable - but it takes a little effort to get under the hood (not for everyone I realize). I'm on a budget so I don't mind spending the time.
The Juno DS is about the same price (a little cheaper, actually) and is much better for this. (Of course, the Kross is much better for other things, like its sequencer and MIDI functionalities.) The problem with the mod wheel or pedal solutions mentioned are (a) unlike on the Juno, you'd lose the ability to then use the mod control or expression pedal for something else, and (b) you have to set this up in advance for every possible combination of two sounds you might ever want, as opposed to just being able to pick any two sounds at any time, split/layer them, and have instant front panel control of the volumes of each of the sounds. ETA: though for the latter, I suppose you could call up the one combi you'd initially set up this way, and edit which sounds are in it, to pretty quickly have the same assignments apply to a different pair of sounds. I'm not sure how feasible that is to do within a song (or even just between songs) at a gig, though...? But as you kind of say, not everyone needs these kinds of facilities on the fly.

Yes, sounds like the JUNO DS is the better choice in this situation. I actually really like those boards - we have them at the music school I work at.

Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049567 06/18/20 04:54 PM
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Great thread, folks!
I'm using the Electro 5D to handle the piano and most organ stuff (I have a ton of organs in MainStage including the B3-X...for when I need a heavy, overdriven sound).
The additional samples in the 5D are also useful, though I much prefer the sounds I get from MainStage. So, I'm looking for a lightweight top board (49 keys pref) to handle synths and samples (and occasional organ duties) from MainStage.
It would be so nice if I could get both boards really close to each other.
Your thoughts?

Last edited by analogman1; 06/18/20 04:56 PM. Reason: additional info

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Nord Electro 5D, Yamaha upright piano, numerous plug-ins
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
analogman1 #3049570 06/18/20 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by analogman1
I'm using the Electro 5D to handle the piano and most organ stuff (I have a ton of organs in MainStage including the B3-X...for when I need a heavy, overdriven sound).
The additional samples in the 5D are also useful, though I much prefer the sounds I get from MainStage. So, I'm looking for a lightweight top board (49 keys pref) to handle synths and samples (and occasional organ duties) from MainStage.
If it's strictly to play sounds from Mainstage (and doesn't need any sounds of its own), maybe the Samson Graphite 49. Decent synth action with aftertouch, compact/light, lots of definable controls, well-priced. Its big limitation is that you can't program its 16 buttons to do the things I'd want them to do (AFAIK)... send a definable program change, and/or change which channel the board is transmitting on. There are ways to send program changes and change channels, of course, but not as conveniently. Might that work for you?


Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
analogman1 #3049572 06/18/20 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by analogman1
Great thread, folks!
I'm using the Electro 5D to handle the piano and most organ stuff (I have a ton of organs in MainStage including the B3-X...for when I need a heavy, overdriven sound).
The additional samples in the 5D are also useful, though I much prefer the sounds I get from MainStage. So, I'm looking for a lightweight top board (49 keys pref) to handle synths and samples (and occasional organ duties) from MainStage.
It would be so nice if I could get both boards really close to each other.
Your thoughts?
I hear you. I have a NE 5d 73 as well and would like to add a second small board for synth. Unfortunately there's no room on top of the NE5d to put a second, even small board so I would have to continue carry a two-tier stand which kind of defeats the objective of maximizing portability and minimizing set-up time.


Gigs: NE 5D 73, Kurz SP4-7, HS SK1, NC 2x, Yam MX88, Casio CGP700, QSC K12, Yam DBR10, JBL515xt(2)
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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
HSS #3049575 06/18/20 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by HSS
there's no room on top of the NE5d to put a second, even small board so I would have to continue carry a two-tier stand which kind of defeats the objective of maximizing portability and minimizing set-up time.
That's what's nice about a stand like the K&M 18880/18881...super light, moves and sets up as one piece even in its two-tier configuration.


Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049576 06/18/20 05:47 PM
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I'm obsessive about getting boards close to each other in a 2-board rig. I want them as close as possible, ideally so it feels like playing a Hammond console (regardless of what sounds I'm using). In part this is because I like my gigging ergonomics to be the same as my practicing ergonomics. In a gig there's enough adrenaline that having hands farther apart doesn't feel unreasonable. But practicing that way can be super annoying.

If you have to use controls on the bottom board then that's obviously a limiting factor. The type of stand you use is also a limiting factor. The best "off the shelf" stand I've found for this is the Invisible, which is no longer made. I used to have 2 of them. Selling them was one of the worst decisions I've ever made.

Aside from the Invisible stand, the On Stage WS stand with the Tony Orant mod can be great for getting boards as close as possible. If you read the post Scott references at the top of this thread, you already saw my pics. But I'll post them again below. Whether and how this approach works is going depend on the boards you're trying to stack. Might be necessary to rest the front of the top board on some kind of improvised support like what I've used here. Because the MX is just a midi note source, it doesn't matter that the controls are completely covered.

Attached Files
YC1.jpg (41.64 KB, 406 downloads)
YC3.jpg (38.88 KB, 405 downloads)

Gigging: Yamaha YC61, Crumar Mojo 61, Moog Subsequent 37, Yamaha P121
Traveling: Yamaha MX49, Reface CP and CS
Home: Vintage Vibe 64
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049577 06/18/20 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Originally Posted by HSS
there's no room on top of the NE5d to put a second, even small board so I would have to continue carry a two-tier stand which kind of defeats the objective of maximizing portability and minimizing set-up time.
That's what's nice about a stand like the K&M 18880/18881...super light, moves and sets up as one piece even in its two-tier configuration.
Yeah, I'm familiar with that K&M stand set-up but its pretty expensive and I'm "thrifty" (i.e. cheap). I may have to just nut-up, spend the bucks, and buy it. I'm too old to be messing with heavy gear, including stands.


Gigs: NE 5D 73, Kurz SP4-7, HS SK1, NC 2x, Yam MX88, Casio CGP700, QSC K12, Yam DBR10, JBL515xt(2)
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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
Adan #3049585 06/18/20 06:39 PM
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Yes, Adan, I like keeping the keys close when possible too, which is why I've stuck with the Invisibles, and the K&M 18880 with the 18881 stacker flipped backwards which very much simulates the layout of the Invisible., though a little modification could be in order depending on the height of your bottom board. It also gives certain bottom boards and advantage in their lack of deep control surfaces that you need to maintain access too. This works in favor of the Numa Compact 2/2X. most if not all of the Casio 88s, Korg SV1/SV2, for example.


Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049587 06/18/20 06:55 PM
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I'm another one that has always wanted my keyboards as close together as possible. Since day one, (which was a long time ago) I've always built my own stands to custom fit whatever I was using at the time, because I could never find anything that was exactly what I wanted. Some have been metal, some wood, and some a combination of the two. (I've always played standing up.)

Most 2 or 3 tier stands position the top board(s) at a downward angle as well, which is bad. Really, they should slant the other way so your wrist is relaxed. Building stands eliminates all those issues.

Re: Super light 2-board rigs
Konnector #3049588 06/18/20 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Konnector
I'm another one that has always wanted my keyboards as close together as possible. Since day one, (which was a long time ago) I've always built my own stands to custom fit whatever I was using at the time, because I could never find anything that was exactly what I wanted. Some have been metal, some wood, and some a combination of the two. (I've always played standing up.)

Most 2 or 3 tier stands position the top board(s) at a downward angle as well, which is bad. Really, they should slant the other way so your wrist is relaxed. Building stands eliminates all those issues.
Cool, please share photos and approximate amount of time and money it took to roll your own.


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
RandyFF #3049604 06/18/20 08:24 PM
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[Linked Image]
Originally Posted by RandyFF
Originally Posted by Konnector
I'm another one that has always wanted my keyboards as close together as possible. Since day one, (which was a long time ago) I've always built my own stands to custom fit whatever I was using at the time, because I could never find anything that was exactly what I wanted. Some have been metal, some wood, and some a combination of the two. (I've always played standing up.)

Most 2 or 3 tier stands position the top board(s) at a downward angle as well, which is bad. Really, they should slant the other way so your wrist is relaxed. Building stands eliminates all those issues.
Cool, please share photos and approximate amount of time and money it took to roll your own.


Well, most of them don't exist anymore as I keep changing things up as my gear changes.

One that I still have is a lightweight "shell" that holds two 61 key controllers. It's sitting on my main desk right now, but it can easily be placed on top of any portable stand. I made that when I was primarily using a few rack mount synths.

I'm planning to build something one of these days to hold 3 boards. Right now they're grouped together using two stands. The front stand is just a basic X stand. Behind that is a steel stand I made that's holding up the other two. It's made out of 1/2" rigid steel electrical conduit and fittings. It's seen a lot of use in various configurations as I threw that together over 35 years ago!

Other than paint, I've generally managed to build everything with material I've had laying around. I built my main desk as well. (Had to buy wood and rack hardware for that.)

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Img 1.jpg (140.35 KB, 397 downloads)
Last edited by Konnector; 06/18/20 08:54 PM.
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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3049642 06/19/20 01:10 AM
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Great ideas and suggestions, folks!
I'd love to be able to keep my K & M Spider Pro...and try to fabricate something to hold the second keyboard up behind the first.
I'm going to bounce between the Gibraltar site and Home Depot (hahaha) and see what I can fabricate...
If nothing good then I will sell my SpiderPro and get the other one that K & M make.
One other option would be to find an older 2 manual organ clone and relegate it to the role of MIDI controller...
But they seem to be very rare, and when you find one it's usually overpriced...

Last edited by analogman1; 06/19/20 01:14 AM. Reason: additional comments

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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
analogman1 #3049648 06/19/20 01:59 AM
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Originally Posted by analogman1
One other option would be to find an older 2 manual organ clone and relegate it to the role of MIDI controller...
But they seem to be very rare, and when you find one it's usually overpriced...
A 2-manual clone is a nice way to get a 2-keybed rig with well-placed keybeds and that will fit on a single-board stand. But they tend to be kind of heavy themselves. You also have to be sure that you can set the keys to send velocity, which an organ-only unit might not do, especially an older one. You could also look for a GSI DMC-122.

Something not too pricey or heavy might be to use the Crumar Mojo61 Lower Manual under your Electro. Check the thread at http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbth...manual-of-crumar-mojo-61-as-a-controller - no pitch/mod wheels, but you don't typically get that with a dual manual clone, either.


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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Originally Posted by AnotherScott
A 2-manual clone is a nice way to get a 2-keybed rig with well-placed keybeds and that will fit on a single-board stand. But they tend to be kind of heavy themselves. .
That's exactly why I sold my SK2. The board was 35 lbs. and by the time I put it in its 25 lb. hard case with accessories, the load was 65 lbs. I threw my old back out hauling it up to a second floor gig. I got rid of it for that reason. Despite the fact that I really liked the SK2, it simply was not practical as a gigging solution for me.

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Folks, in the interest of not derailing this thread, I'm creating one regarding 2 manual organ clones.
Feel free to chime in if you wish...


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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Due to a forced change into a smaller motor vehicle, my previous 2 keyboard rig wont fit. So in an effort to reduce size of rig and minimize purchases, im going to use my Roland FA08 with a very old MAudio 61key midi controller i have lying around. My only concern is not having a backup in the unlikely event of the FA08 dying at a gig. Am thinking an ipad with Korg module just to scrape through a gig should be enough.

Last edited by gino; 06/26/20 06:44 AM.
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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Originally Posted by gino
Due to a forced change into a smaller motor vehicle, my previous 2 keyboard rig wont fit.
Yeah, physical size is another different-but-related consideration to light weight, whether its for vehicle size or public transport or constrained stage spaces. Numerous people over the years have posted about wanting 7x-key boards simply because 88 is too wide for them.


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Originally Posted by Analogaddict
My lightest rigs have been either an SK-1 or a FA-06 on top of a Yamaha MODX7, with a lightweight stand I can carry the whole rig...
My issue with a MODX7 on bottom is that I can't get on with its action for piano work. I wonder if it might be better to use the SK1 to trigger the MODX' pianos, I think it might have your most piano amenable action of the bunch?
I thought you had replied to me about being able to adapt to the MODX7 for piano, but I guess that comment was from someone/somewhere else. Regardless, I was motivated to see what I could do. I chose the S700 patch and played with the velocity curve settings (ending up with Offset 83, Depth 44)... now very workable for me, completely got rid of notes either jumping out or disappearing. It doesn't feel quite as nice as the Vox Continental, but it's good enough, and much more versatile (both in terms of what it can do, and in the variety of scenarios where I'd make use if it), and it's even lighter, and I already own it. ;-) And it's only .7 lbs more than the Numa Compact 2X. I lose the aftertouch, the 88 keys, a couple of other things, but it's so much better overall.

In terms of what to put above it, from my original list, the MX49 doesn't make much sense, providing no new sonic territory. But the others mentioned remain good potential matches... Kross 2 (lightest), AX-Edge (aftertouch, keytar fun, and almost as light), Juno DS (more suitable for LH bass), and I have to admit the VR09 tempts me a bit again, with all the tricks the CTRLR editor adds... it specifically provides the clonewheel and VA the MODX7 lacks, at only about 12 lbs. One compromise of the MODX7 is that, as a bottom, its deep control panel would prevent me from getting the top board as close as I'd like... though I think that could be addressed somewhat by putting it on top even though it is servicing the typical purpose of a bottom. Especially with the AX-Edge underneath, I should be able to get the two actions pretty close.

Last edited by AnotherScott; 06/30/20 05:35 AM.

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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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I've also been considering something compact for 2nd tier of a light rig, and the VR09 is a possibility. Even used it's a little more than I'd want to spend though. Bottom tier is a Stage 3, 76; that covers a lot of territory, but it would be useful to have something else to grab for extra parts (vs always splitting the Nord). A used UltraNova would also cover well (especially with the bread 'n butter samples onboard), though I'd miss the additional clonewheel section - which would be helpful when not wanting to split LH org/RH piano on the NS3 (which often causes too much, " Where am I at on the keyboard? " thinking, while playing). Might be workable to assign the UN keyboard to control one of the NS3 sections, though the 37 keys could present other part limits. I wish there was a cheap, 49 key option with a versatile, built-in sound set (including at least several passable drawbar organ patches).

I had access to a VR09 for the past couple of years, and did a bit of programming for it - all courtesy of my church music directing gig, but that ended this past Sunday. With the Covid-19 situation forcing the church down to one service, and my being one of two on the music staff, I lost the seniority battle. So no use of a VR-09. And my new, church accompanying gig does have a synth, but it's a Kronos 88 laugh.
Last VR-09 I saw on Reverb was in the mid $600s, though I made dig around a little more now and see if there are any other deals to be found.


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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Originally Posted by allan_evett
I've also been considering something compact for 2nd tier of a light rig, and the VR09 is a possibility. Even used it's a little more than I'd want to spend though...I wish there was a cheap, 49 key option with a versatile, built-in sound set (including at least several passable drawbar organ patches)...Last VR-09 I saw on Reverb was in the mid $600s
Allan Evett might recommend a Casio XW-P1.

http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbth...-roland-vr-09-vs-casio-xw-p1#Post2874647

There's one on Reverb for $360+$20 shpg.

That's a board that also deserves mention in this thread, too bad it appears to have been discontinued. As a top, at under 12 lbs, it's lighter than any of the 61s I mentioned except the Kross. It's a capable 4-zone MIDI controller, it has 9 sliders that send MIDI cc, some really nice synth abilities (the solo synth section and hexlayers), and a convenient place to put an iPad. Its drawbar organ is "passable" as long as you stay away from the overdrive. (Or add an iPad and B3X... and you can still make use of the 9 sliders on-board.) When looking at the other lightweight tops I mentioned originally, its advantages are in organ/synth/MIDI, while others are likely to beat it on many of the acoustic instrument tones. But the MIDI functions along with the convenient iPad placement could address that. (As for the left hand bass variable I mentioned, I'm not sure how the Casio acquits itself there.)

Back to comparing it to the VR09, the Casio's 100 user patch locations are all button-selectable (instead of just the first 16), and IIRC can also be recalled over MIDI, which you can't do on the Roland. The Casio is also better at splits/layers (of both internal and external sounds) and has on-board synth editing (as well as available editors). I think it also lets you pan sounds to one output or the other. OTOH, VR09 beats XWP1 sonically on organ and most (all?) acoustic sounds, and has some more pleasing aesthetics/ergonomics... e.g. drawbars instead of sliders (albeit ones that send sysex instead of CC), more modern display, button sizing/layout/labeling that is a bit more "musical instrument" and a bit less "computer". The Casio would be lower priced.... unless you have to factor in the cost of an iPad or similar to beef up the acoustic/organ sounds to at least VR calibre. Of course, lots of people already own an iOS device. I'm not sure how the availability of the CTRLR editor would affect the pros and cons of VR09 vs XWP1, but if the VR is out of budget, that's moot.


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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Allan - why not just run a controller and drive the Nord sounds via MIDI (Dual Keyboard)? You've obviously considered that, so where is the Nord lacking for you?

Cheers, Mike.


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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Thanks for the input, guys!

I did have use of a XW-P1, 2011-12, when the manufacturer's rep I worked for was the Casio rep in the Rockies. Yep, great synth section; the rest being average to above average. Likely wouldn't go that route now.
I have a 61-key controller that I use for teaching - connected to an older MacBook Pro. The controller only sends MIDI via USB, and so far I haven't found a simple solution for getting a USB B port to connect to 5-pin MIDI In. I might look at 49-61 key controllers with 5-pin MIDI connections though. But I'd also thought it would be useful to have a separate sound source as a back up for the Nord, which believe it or not did go down live once, then resisted rebooting.


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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Originally Posted by stoken6
Allan - why not just run a controller and drive the Nord sounds via MIDI (Dual Keyboard)? You've obviously considered that, so where is the Nord lacking for you?
Besides what Allan said about his specific situation, just in general, I'd prefer something with its own sounds AND the ability to drive a sound from the Nord as called for. The Nord is not the most accommodating host. It's multitimbral capabilities are limited (two organ, 2 piano, two other synth/sampled sounds), and there are restrictions as to what you can do in dual kb mode. As you may know, the Nord has two panels, each with a max of one each of those three families of sounds. Dual KB mode allows you to use the remote keyboard to play an organ from its second panel, a piano from its second panel, a synth/sampled sound from it's second panel, or the entire second panel (consisting of 1, 2 or all 3 of those sounds).

If you compare that to the typical multitimbral board where you might drive some sounds externally using a MIDI channel you are not triggering from the board's own keys, there are some significant differences/limitations here. One is that whatever sections you're playing from the controller (a second organ part, a second piano part, a second synth/sampled part, or a combination of the three) become unavailable on the Nord itself (so for example, if you use the remote board to play one of the Nord's synth/sampled sounds, the Nord itself--having just one synth/sampled sound left--loses the ability to split/layer any two sounds unless one of them is an organ or piano). Another is that the remote board can't send Program Changes to alter these sounds, they can only be changed in conjunction with a patch change on the Nord itself.

Basically, it comes down to the fact that the Nord is not designed as a multitimbral workstation. Its dual-kb functions are more for specific application, like playing a Nord piano sound with an external hammer action or playing a Nord organ sound with an external non-hammer action (depending on which Nord you have), or playing a dual manual organ configuration. It can do some other things, but it's really not ideal as a simultaneous general purpose sound source for another board.


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
allan_evett #3051934 07/01/20 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by allan_evett
The controller only sends MIDI via USB, and so far I haven't found a simple solution for getting a USB B port to connect to 5-pin MIDI In.
There are a number of companies that make those adapters, they're all about the same, and pretty simple... USB from controller to adapter, MIDI cable(s) from adapter to your other board, plus a wall wart to power the adapter. There is a consideration, though, that you are introducing numerous new possible points of failure.


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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Originally Posted by AnotherScott
I'd prefer something with its own sounds AND the ability to drive a sound from the Nord as called for.
I can understand that. I just wondered whether Allan needed the range of capabilities that you do. Allan's post suggested a relatively simple application - an extra playing surface to avoid splitting (with clonewheel capability).

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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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Originally Posted by stoken6
Allan's post suggested a relatively simple application - an extra playing surface to avoid splitting (with clonewheel capability).
Yes (and your solution was even kind of mentioned when he said "Might be workable to assign the UN keyboard to control one of the NS3 sections")... though he also said "but it would be useful to have something else to grab for extra parts (vs always splitting the Nord)" which is where a controller alone approach may be a weakness with the Nord's architecture in particular, because assigning a sound to be played from the controller still means, essentially, splitting the Nord. That's basically what I was trying to say there, except in too many words. ;-)


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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I love my VOX Continental 73 as a bottom board on my K&M 18880/81 stand. For heavy organ gigs a NE 6D goes on top...if I want to travel lighter it’s an MOXF6. Everything in soft bags - road cases stay home.

(Love everything about the VOX but the organs. Usable, but not great.)

Of course with the B3X app now configured for VOX drawbar control, this will be my new light gig rig when gigging resumes. The NE or MOXF will remain in the case as backup.

Last edited by ShadowMan; 07/01/20 05:08 PM.
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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Originally Posted by HSS
Originally Posted by AnotherScott
A 2-manual clone is a nice way to get a 2-keybed rig with well-placed keybeds and that will fit on a single-board stand. But they tend to be kind of heavy themselves. .
That's exactly why I sold my SK2. The board was 35 lbs. and by the time I put it in its 25 lb. hard case with accessories, the load was 65 lbs. I threw my old back out hauling it up to a second floor gig. I got rid of it for that reason. Despite the fact that I really liked the SK2, it simply was not practical as a gigging solution for me.

I had the opposite experience with the SK2. For me, it replaced a piano slab and a clonewheel, each of which weighed more than the SK2. And I lug the SK2 in its Hammond softcase with backpack straps, so I entered the realm of hands-free!

Last edited by Morrisseysixman; 07/01/20 05:15 PM.
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I use a Yamaha MX49, it’s very light, maybe the MX61 is a bit high priced, but it’s light. I also have a Minilogue for analog stuff.
My lightest solution would be a Yamaha MX49 and an old Yamaha PSS or CasioTone of some sort on the top. Maybe a PSS-480 or PSS-470 or Casio MT-65/68 or HT-700.

Last edited by Music Bird; 07/01/20 06:55 PM.

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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
Dilo #3052070 07/01/20 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Dilo
Has anyone tried one of these - https://www.midi-store.com/Kenton-MIDI-USB-Host-MkII-p/sku44975.htm . These are supposed to work with any of the Yamaha P series or new Casio's that do not have a 5-pin MIDI jack.

Yes - I use one of those between my Yamaha P.105 and my YC61.
Allows me to use the YC61 AP and EPs from the P105 keyboard, whilst still using the organ from the YC61 at the same time.
(There is a cheaper version of this type of device from Miditech -- https://www.dv247.com/en_GB/GBP/Mid...amp;ProgramUUID=glvAqJar8tEAAAFoxv.P7Dz2 but I haven't actually tried that unit.)

All works well enough, but you do need 2 x wall warts -- one for the P105 and one for the MIDI host converter - so the connection set up is a bit messy.

I still don't understand why Yamaha decided to not include standard MIDI connectors on most P series pianos -- can't be cost, surely?


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Originally Posted by rogs
I still don't understand why Yamaha decided to not include standard MIDI connectors on most P series pianos -- can't be cost, surely?
It's cost. At this budget price point, a few cents saving makes a difference.

Cheers, Mike.


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I have the Midiplus which looks like is the same unit as the Miditech and 10 bucks cheaper. Mine works . At least with roland, alesis and korg things I've tried. And nektar, samson. The cool thing is the DIN and usb inputs work simultaneously so 2 inputs and 1 output merged.

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Originally Posted by stoken6
Originally Posted by rogs
I still don't understand why Yamaha decided to not include standard MIDI connectors on most P series pianos -- can't be cost, surely?
It's cost. At this budget price point, a few cents saving makes a difference.

Cheers, Mike.

Crazy thing is the earlier and cheaper P35 did have standard MIDI connectors! (Although no USB )

Using it to control the YC61 AP and EP voices, it might be worth looking for an older P series? (Same GHS keybed, and you're not bothered about the internal piano voices)


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Originally Posted by Morrisseysixman
I lug the SK2 in its Hammond softcase with backpack straps, so I entered the realm of hands-free!
Cool, I didn't know the case had backstraps. I could see that making a big difference... I just checked and was surprised to see that not mentioned on Hammond's site (or Sweetwater's). I wonder if any other dual manual organ carry case has these straps (or whether there are any other dual manual options that would fit into the Hammond's). I could actually see the ability to backpack it being a factor in choosing one of these organs over another.

I'd even say that, being backpackable, the SKX would qualify as one of the most portable 2-board rigs. While 37.25 lbs makes it nowhere near as "super light" as what we've generally been talking about here, it is another approach to the underlying goal of easiest-to-carry rigs. An SKX on your back, an EV ZXa1 or similar in one hand, a K&M 18880 in the other, looks like a one-tripper. (You can find some way to add a small bag with pedals/cables/iPad etc.). The usual attempt at a one-tripper involves a cart, but they are often more trouble than they are worth. The loading into and out of the cart adds time, and putting everything on wheels doesn't always solve the issue, when there are stairs involved or when you need to get your gear across a lawn or beach for an outdoor gig. And the better carts tend to be pretty heavy to deal with themselves, and are something else big to find room for. Now I'm a thinking about the idea of finding a backpackable case into which I could put two keyboards with some foam protection between them... (or there must be a backpackable solution for the powered PA speaker...?)

The SKX would also be faster to setup and wire up than two boards would be. Fewer power cords, audio cables, pedals, and cases to deal with. And I really like having my upper and lower tier keys so close to each other. The MIDI zoning of the SKX and the improvements made to the way you can use its number pad for patch selection would help facilitate integrating additional sounds from an iPad if need be. Trade-offs include having only 61-keys for your "piano" board, no pitch/mod controls, losing the flexibility of quick independent patch selection for each "board," and having instant backup for disaster. But I can see this being an attractive option, especially if your work is organ-heavy to begin with.

Originally Posted by Jr. Deluxe
I have the Midiplus...The cool thing is the DIN and usb inputs work simultaneously so 2 inputs and 1 output merged.
Nice tip!

Originally Posted by rogs
Crazy thing is the earlier and cheaper P35 did have standard MIDI connectors! (Although no USB )

Using it to control the YC61 AP and EP voices, it might be worth looking for an older P series? (Same GHS keybed, and you're not bothered about the internal piano voices)
Yeah, it is unfortunate for many of us that USB has replaced standard MIDI on many of the low-cost boards. But there are still some options if you don't want to look for the older Yamahas/Casios. Today, if you want a lightweight low-cost hammer action board with standard MIDI to drive the piano sounds from your other board, there's the Kawai ES110 and the Kurzweil SP1. (Or if you don't need its sounds at all, there are some soundless controller options.)

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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
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Scott,
Just checked SW's site, they have the SKX on sale until July 7 for $600 off! So $2400 instead of $3000.

Yes, the ES110 has MIDI in and out din sockets, but it also has no USB, which is no bigee, there are translator cables for that. It's #1 shortcoming, esp given what an excellent controller it would make, is that it has no aux in for iPad/laptop use. Major fail for Kawai!


Randy
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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
ShadowMan #3052114 07/02/20 12:14 AM
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ShadowMan,

Can you elaborate on what you mean "now configured for VOX drawbar control"? I looked everywhere and could not find this information.

Please advise. Mike


My Rig: Stage Piano: Korg Grandstage 73 - Organ: Hammond SKx - Amps: Motion Sound KP-500s - Mixer: Yamaha MGU10
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3052130 07/02/20 02:31 AM
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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
RandyFF #3052141 07/02/20 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by RandyFF
Yes, the ES110 has MIDI in and out din sockets, but it also has no USB, which is no bigee, there are translator cables for that. It's #1 shortcoming, esp given what an excellent controller it would make, is that it has no aux in for iPad/laptop use. Major fail for Kawai!
The aux in would be nice if you're using its internal speakers, or to possibly obviate the need for a mixer if using external amplification. It is a nice thing to have, though I wouldn't consider its absence a major fail. I don't think any of the competitive Yamahas have it either.

Originally Posted by motomike1961
Can you elaborate on what you mean "now configured for VOX drawbar control"? I looked everywhere and could not find this information.
I assumed he did it himself. B3X is designed to let you easily adapt any board that sends MIDI CCs to control it.


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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3052144 07/02/20 04:53 AM
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Another Scott is right, Mike. I mapped the B3X to the midi messages coming from the VOX midi drawbars - and it has become a gamechanger. While I love the VOX, the CX3 sounds are a bit less than inspiring. But the Hammond Ipad app just rocks!!!

When the gigs start up again I’m really looking forward to trying this out. And maybe not have to drag out a second organ-centric board in smaller venue.

Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3052145 07/02/20 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Originally Posted by RandyFF
Yes, the ES110 has MIDI in and out din sockets, but it also has no USB, which is no bigee, there are translator cables for that. It's #1 shortcoming, esp given what an excellent controller it would make, is that it has no aux in for iPad/laptop use. Major fail for Kawai!
The aux in would be nice if you're using its internal speakers, or to possibly obviate the need for a mixer if using external amplification. It is a nice thing to have, though I wouldn't consider its absence a major fail. I don't think any of the competitive Yamahas have it either.

True, the P125/121/P45 do not have it. The P125 has something even better, USB host to audio and MIDI. That is a killer feature, and an aux in, while a poor cousin in comparison, is a miniscule addition. What a wasted and easy opportunity for Kawai to get more of the controller market.

I did a little survey to impress upon Kawai James the importance of this feature, and found there are 5 weighted boards under $700 that do have it:
- Korg B2N
- Kurzweil SP1 88
- Casio PXS1000 / CDP-S100/350

The point is, esp in this thread, to minimize weight and hassle. The ES110 has an exemplary keybed, and using it with an iPad/laptop/keyboard is a hassle unfortunately. So yeah, in my book it was a major fail! (can you tell I'm a little bonkers in love with this keyboard?)


Randy
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QSC K8.2 // Klipsch KMC 3 // Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB
Re: Super light 2-board rigs
RandyFF #3052225 07/02/20 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by ShadowMan
Another Scott is right, Mike. I mapped the B3X to the midi messages coming from the VOX midi drawbars - and it has become a gamechanger. While I love the VOX, the CX3 sounds are a bit less than inspiring. But the Hammond Ipad app just rocks!!!
I think the Vox might be a particularly good controller choice for B3X. Besides being a lightweight 9 "drawbar" controller with a great feeling action and other good sounds of its own. I *think* this should work...

When you select a Scene (which can include an organ registration on the Vox itself), it should also send out a MIDI Program Change. B3X lets you select saved user presets with MIDI Program Change. So let's say you set up scenes 1-4 on the Vox with your four favorite Hammond registrations, but with the organ volume set to zero; and then also set up those same four favorite Hammond registrations as the first four recallable presets on B3X (or otherwise loading them into the Program locations that correspond to the Program Changes sent out with Scenes 1-4 on the Vox... but it will presumably be programs 0-3 or 1-4 on both, depending on numbering conventions). Then when you select one of these four scenes, you should immediately hear a B3X sound that visually corresponds to the Vox' LED "drawbar" positions, AND manipulating the drawstrips in real-time should immediately alter your B3X sound perfectly, with no jumps or other oddities from the board's drawbars being out of sync with those of B3X. (And if you need more than 4, the Vox gives you up to 64 storable scenes.)

Besides the Vox, the only other boards that I think could probably do similar tricks would be the Nords that have LED "drawbuttons" (though they have their limitations), the Dexibels that have motorized drawbars (probably the best solution, albeit a pricey one), and to a lesser extent, Yamaha YC61 which could have the LED indicators where you want them, but there will still be a jump when you physically move a drawbar. (ETA: Kurzweil Forte would probably be similar.)

Originally Posted by RandyFF
True, the P125/121/P45 do not have it. The P125 has something even better, USB host to audio and MIDI. That is a killer feature
Ah, but they don't have MIDI jacks. To me, that's a worse omission than lack of audio in! It depends on your needs.

Originally Posted by RandyFF
I did a little survey to impress upon Kawai James the importance of this feature, and found there are 5 weighted boards under $700 that do have it:
- Korg B2N
- Kurzweil SP1 88
- Casio PXS1000 / CDP-S100/350
B2N is not a weighted board (not a hammer action). Maybe the B2 can do it? Though even then, the B2/B2N also lack a line out separate from the headphone out, and the MIDI jacks. Significant trade-offs.

SP1 doesn't have speakers (which not only makes it less comparable, but also eliminates one of the two reasons you'd want the audio in in the first place).

The Casios all lack MIDI ports, and the CDP-S100/350 also lack a line out separate from the headphone out.

For a hammer action board with audio in (whether via line or USB), and speakers, and a proper audio out, and MIDI jacks, under $700, there's the Kurzweil KA90. If you stretch the budget (but still under $1k), there's the Casio PX350 ($900), and Korg SP280 ($800, but about 40 lbs). As to which if any of these sound or feel as nice as the ES110, that's a whole other conversation. ;-)

Last edited by AnotherScott; 07/03/20 01:49 AM.

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Re: Super light 2-board rigs
AnotherScott #3052257 07/03/20 01:41 AM
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Great input, AnotherScott - thanks! I actually hadn’t thought about the mapping w/volume settings, but was just real time controlling the Ipad and potting down the Vox audio on my mixer. Gotta go try this.

Re: Super light 2-board rigs
ShadowMan #3052259 07/03/20 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ShadowMan
Great input, AnotherScott - thanks! I actually hadn’t thought about the mapping w/volume settings, but was just real time controlling the Ipad and potting down the Vox audio on my mixer. Gotta go try this.
I'm eager to hear how it goes!

An extension of this idea is to program 000000000 drawbars on any Scene where you do not want to hear organ from B3X. Now you can leave the B3X and Vox volume up all the time and seamlessly switch between the B3X organ programs and the Vox pianos/EPs/etc. and each will be silent when you want to hear only the other.


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