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Onstage Rigs w/ Rompler & Software....what combos work best?


surreal mccoy

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In my continued search for the best onstage rig (covering as much sonic ground as possible)I'm considering either a Yamaha S90ES or adding a Motif Rack XS to my existing Roland RD700. This will allow me quick access to decent pianos, pads, splits/layers, etc. via an 88-key controller.

 

I'm also considering East/West software for orchestral strings along with Big Fish for horns. I'd love to have a Muse Receptor 2 to manage the software, but that's not going to happen budget wise.

Keyboard mag did a nice review on a couple of other non-laptop stage options I may have to further check into.

 

For the past year, I've been using B4 via a laptop & 61 note M-Audio Oxygen controller (I have sliders for drawbar control).

Aside from this, I haven't used any other software onstage.

 

I'd like to hear any positive/ negative experience(s) from any onstage users that have setup similar rigs. :idea:

 

I'm really curious if the quality of programs like East-West cut through the mix in a live situation......or if I'd be almost as close using a quality rompler's acoustic voices?

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Depepends on what kind of music you'll be playing.

 

IMHO EastWest stuff doesn't cut through the mix too well. Shitty compressed samples from the 90's seem to do better in a busy mix, for me..

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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No experience live with software synths, but in general I would have to agree with BloodyMary. It's kind of counter-intuitive, but some of the best sounds in a live mix are kind of crappy in a studio compared to others - especially when it comes to pianos, brass, and organs, IMHO. This is going to sound bad, but I think some of the best live mixes I hsd was when I used to use a Roland Sound Canvas. Very generic sounds, but work really well live for some reason. Horrible organs, actually. Right now, my Triton Classic does pretty well in this category.

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.

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Like bloodyMary says (I feel weird everytime I type your screen name, dude), a lot of it also depends on the greater context of what else is going on too. What works in a trio setting (drums bass) is going to sound a lot different in a loud rock band w/ lead and rhythm guitars crowding up available midrange. I still remember reading that Derek Sherinian interview when he talked about getting rid of the racks of modules and going with simpler, less textured patches to cut better in the mix.
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Along those lines, another thing to consider is audience perception of the overall mix. Believe it or not, back when I was using the sound canvas, it was a duo and we sequenced the drums & Bass, and we used to constantly get accused of lip-syncing. People though we were just playing the cd or something and not really playing or singing. We removed a lot of the FX and made the sounds more raw, brought the solo parts out more in the mix, and in particular, took most of the FX off the guitar. We didn't get that anymore and we actually grew our crowd and got a better reception by adding the imperfections. I also stopped quantizing my sequences.

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.

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Excellent point re: what cuts thru the mix in certain situations....

 

I remember how my old Kurzweil PC2r really sounded "sweet" in certain more controlled sound enviroments....yet lacked the ability to translate as well via onstage projection.

I ended up replacing it with a Yamaha S90.

 

BTW.....my particular usage would be with a decent size Praise & Worship band (bass, drums, percussion, & 2 guitars). We have a pretty decent sound system (and sound guy) along with individual Aviom monitors.

 

While the software B4 I've been using has worked out fairly well...I'm now concerned about the more subtle nuances of the higher quality East West voices really being able to shine thru the live mix.

 

Do you thinkI might end up with better onstage results with the S90ES rompler strings....? :o

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Are you guys playing out or mostly at church (i.e., fixed indoor location with installed PA)? I ran a church worship ministry for over a decade and sound reinforcement for church settings is much different than for my gigging out situations. Many churches have a big investment in sophisticated systems (no guarantee they sound great, but the potential is often there), you're dealing with a particular room (which in itself is the biggest single component affecting the overall audio experience), a worship service sometimes implies a particular SPL level, etc.
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If your sound guy has chops and real ears, you should bring him into the conversation. Of course, some of the techniques that work in the studio don't work live - for instance, doing careful placement in stereo field is irrelevant in many church PA configs (that run mono - even if set up as LR arrays, not to mention center cluster). So he may have some opinions about what you guys sound like already, and how particular details may or may not sit in the mix.
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If your sound guy has chops and real ears, you should bring him into the conversation. Of course, some of the techniques that work in the studio don't work live - for instance, doing careful placement in stereo field is irrelevant in many church PA configs (that run mono - even if set up as LR arrays, not to mention center cluster). So he may have some opinions about what you guys sound like already, and how particular details may or may not sit in the mix.

 

Thanks Tim.....I appreciate your comments and advice. I'll be meeting with our sound guy this Sunday to discuss this further....

:cool:

Alan

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