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Live keyboard mix headache!! Please help!


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Hi Folks, I'm new to the board and I'm looking forward to doing lots of reading as there seems to be a lot of great stuff on this board :)


This said I've got a problem and I would need some advice. I come from an Industrial background, it was all electronics so the live mix was fairly simple to pull off, but now I play in a gothic metal band, I have to play nice with the four other players in the mix....


I have a fairly simple set-up for this band;


MacBook w/ Korg KONTROL49 controller running various software synths and a KORG Trinity.


Sometimes I run sequences, sometimes it's straight up keyboards, sometimes I'm playing pads, sometimes I'm playing the lead hook and it's been a nightmare to manage my levels live...


I would like a small mixer (Only need 2 to 8 channels for now) that I could use and preferably save my settings for each song. Would a small unit like the Alesis IO|2 allow me to save mix settings for each song individually for the laptop/keyboard?


I would REALLY REALLY appreciate any tips on how to manage my keyboards and levels on stage in a way that the soundman wouldn't have to touch anything at the board as long as he keeps my level the same as my rythm guitarist (our agreed uppon baseline).. I've got a few other 'boards I may work in the rig, a kurzweil K200R and a few others.. but for now it's only the above listed...


Thanks in advance folks, I'm on a bit of a budget too...







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I first want to welcome you to KC and apologize for your first post not getting a response until now. First off I am not sure I understand what your looking for but I will take a stab at it.


You might be talking about needing a digital mixer where if I understand them correctly you can set up scenes but don't quote me on that. I have no idea how many scenes you can set up but I think what you do is you get the mix where you want it and then save all your settings. I also don't know if it would work in a live setting where you are going from one tune to the next. In the studio you would use it for each song your recording and if it takes a few seconds to a minute to set up no big deal. Only one that comes to mind is the Mackie Onyx series.


OK, my first idea for you however, would be to go into each patch on each board and edit your output levels so they are the same. I have often wondered why a board will have a string patch that you can't hear (without cranking up) and then a horn patch that blows you off your stool. This is what I would do first, though time consuming it cost nothing and you learn more about your boards which ALL of us likely need.


Hope that helps.... Maybe someone else will jump in.






Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho




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+1 to what Jim said. This is really one of those things that requires your time offstage to set up all your sounds to have similar volume levels, so you are not jumping all over the place looking for faders during the gig. I don't think a mixer will solve it, necessarily. Do you really want to be fussing about with a mixer while you're playing? I recommend that you program all your patches to have the same output and then practice your live gig to test it. If you need to have a lead sound that jumps out, then simply program that sound to be louder.


It also helps to simplify as much as you can and provide a easy way to do quick adjustments on the fly.


No matter how good your patches are programmed in advance, the soundman is going to have to touch your FOH fader from time to time.




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I second the other responses, in terms of single-board mixes. Over time, you'll get good at recognising which blends work best in a variety of settings so that you don't have to tweak them live and can just deal with having FOH EQ-ing a submix to the room.


In a single-board setup, this is best done by creating Performances, Multis, Mixes, or whatever terminology your synth/keyboard manufacturer uses for splits and layers vs. single voices. When working this out at home, remember that higher frequencies cut through, so err on the side of "too much bass" and "not enough treble" (as a gross generalisation), as a starting point.


In a multi-board setup, I recommend a simple line mixer with no EQ or other controls, just to match levels between your keyboards and rack modules before sending the submix to FOH. I tried a couple that were loaned from friends before settling on a wonderful Ashley LX308B. I have "Golden Ears" and so was not satisfied with the audio degradation from the Rolls or Behringer offerings. I didn't get a chance to try the Rane SM82, which is probably as good as the Ashley and has slightly different features. The Ashley at least is totally transparent.

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I use a Mackie 1202VLZ on stage. This works well to get the basic balance between the boards. Then I make any other adjustments through technique, or a control boost, or an expression/volume pedal. I've already done as the others have suggested and balanced the sounds within the synth. Jim & Eric are right that you have to take some time off stage to balance everything out. Remember that what sounds balanced at home through headphones is not always balanced live. Be ready to do some on the fly tweaking.


Oh, and welcome to the forum.


"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.


Now everybody's got the blues."


Willie Dixon






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