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Consolidating equipment to reduce setup time?


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After last nights gig I've decided I need help. My 'big rig' consists of a Kurzweil PC3, Roland V-combo, EV SXa-360, Motion Sound Pro3X and small 4U rack with an Ashley line mixer in it. Problem is from the time I start to setup until I'm ready to play is around 1:15! Far too long for my taste.


Right now everything is brought in and audio and power are wired individually. The rack is prewired with long cable runs for inputs and outputs. The Roland goes directly to the Pro3X and then back to the mixer. The PC3 goes directly to the mixer then to the EV


I am trying to come up with a way to package my amps and rack into one entity for ease of connections. Something like a rack that would also hold the EV and that I could sit the Motion Sound on top of might work. I would like the rack to be accessible from my seat, but the amps might need to be behind me slightly. I would only use this setup at larger venues where the real estate on the stage is not an issue.


Any ideas or pictures of how this could be done? I would be forever grateful.





Columbus, OH

"all generalizations are false" ~Mark Twain


Kurzweil K2000, ME-1 and (2)PC3, Casio PX-350 AND PX-360, EV sXa 360

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I know this is pricey, but look here:




Something like it with casters could house all your rack mount stuff and be a keyboard stand (or mixer satnd) on your right side. With space left over for wires, pedals, etc. I built something like this out of plywood about 30 years ago and now it's way too heavy to lift, but pre-made you should be OK weight-wise.



1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP


"It needs a Hammond"


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Do you mean a full hour and 15 minutes? I have a "similar" rig (in terms of basic number of moving parts) and I believe I currently average 17-20 minutes. A lot of time was shaved by taking seriously an article in KB Mag several years ago about this very topic.


Try to minimize your back & forth movements between the major parts of your rig. This probably means something like:


1) Locate your rack and amps

2) Locate your KB stand

3) Place all cabling runs*

4) Unpack and place keyboards last

5) power up and sound check


* Predetermine appropriate cables for audio and power runs. Place and organize cable runs in such a way that ONE trip to the back of the rack completes all connections there. Build a simple pedalboard with plywood and velcro that holds all pedals and keeps pedal cables organized.


I spent a number of days actually practicing set-up from load-in to sound check and dropped the average time from 45 minutes to the current sub-20 min.


Hope that helps some, doubtless some of the road warrior members here will have more valuable advice.



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I've saved time over the years by getting rid of all my modules and simply using one keyboard.


My 12 space (rack rails front and back) rack case holds my amp, mixer, reverb, compressor, power power protection, etc. and is wired up to go.


I get to a job and the only wiring is to hook up the speakers and plug in the piano and mic.


I get to a job 90 minutes ahead of time but that's because I like to take my time and not sweat.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.


In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.


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There are a few relatively unrelated things that can affect my setup time.


First, my setup:


  • 2 Keyboards (Alesis Fusion & Kork Triton) on a 2-tier stand
  • 4-sp rack with Sax Wireless Receiver, Boss VF-1 Guitar Processor, Radial 8-ch DI, custom space with Multi-pin Connector
  • Guitar
  • Sax
  • Various props including Giant Swatch, Rubiks Cubes, etc
  • Vocal Mic


In addition to this, 4 channels go from our drummer (electric Drums) to the Radial DI, and an 8-ch Snake goes from my rack to the Monitor Rack (splitter snake).


Generally it's an hour from the time I get there to the time I'm done with everything. However, a lot of that time is sound check (including standing there while they check drums, vocals, guitar, etc), loading setlist in my keyboard (i.e. arranging the songs/patches in order), tuning guitar and sax, setting out the email list, T-Shirts, Stickers, etc.


Actual setup/hookup time - if I was in a rush, is really done in about 20min.


On factor is familiarity with the stage layout. Each place we play, I've been there enough to have a system - know exactly where everything goes, where to throw my cases, etc.


Next, Wiring! That can potentially take the longest - especially in my case where I have 8 items running to DI's, Di's running to Splitter, 3 audio for keys, plus guitar, plus sax, MIDI from one keyboard to the next to my guitar processor... The solution? Custom snakes. I have a snake to my keyboard rig that includes all audio and MIDI, and plugs into my rack via a multipin connector. Plug the fanout into the keys (everything color coded) and the multipin to the rack. I have a 4-ch 1/4 to 1/4 from the drums to my rack, and an 8-ch XLR-XLR that stays coiled up in the back of my rack to go to the Monitor Rack. Wiring goes quick that way.


My bottlenecks are loading the setlist, tuning (guitar & sax) and setting out all the other show related stuff (props, promotional items, etc.). But in a pinch, that stuff can wait till the first break.



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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My small setup consists of Yamaha p120 (bottom tier) , Hammond Xk1 (upper tier). I usually run p120 through the house PA (their monitoring too), and Xk1 goes through my leslie. Bigger setup would include additional Rhodes Mark II, KMD tube amp and 212 box.


I usually set it all up in roughly 30 minutes (I'm taking my time). From experience, the fastest way to set it all up is to assemble the stand, put all the pedals underneath, and then mount the keyboards. Cabling is easy because I only have one cable for xk1 (to leslie), and 2 cables to DI box. Ok, I have to plug in the pedals too. Micing the leslie, setting up monitors and other stuff is done by the house (whoever is doing the mix).


I don't think I could reduce my setup further, except ditching the hammond and going on a gig with only p120 (2 sounds, piano and rhodes), which I had been doing for a while, but decided it was way more fun to play hammond as well.



Has anyone noticed the gear is twice as heavy when it's time to go home than it was when you were setting it up? :)

Custom handmade clocks: www.etsy.com/shop/ClockLight
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I can't imagine a 1:15 setup time for just my keys, unless I'm moving in the B3 and leslies, plus my big rig.


If I'm using my small acoustic jazz rig, then its a breeze with the CP33 and K4 (5 minutes setup).


Big fusion rig is: CP33, Motif ES, Nord Electro 2 61 (or Hammond XK3) and the Minimoog Voyager.


I work from back to front of the stage.


1. If I'm using the big system going into the FOH, I have my mixer and outboards racked and prewired and cables going to the keyboards and speakers and FOH runs are labeled and run out.


2. Keyboard monitoring system (powered Mackie heads/subs) is placed and connected.


3. Stands are set up and keyboard accessories (sustain, expression, trigger switches, midi cables) are dropped and cables run up.


4. Keyboards are placed on stands and all final connections are made.


5. Power up and sound check.


Since everything is labled and preconnected, I never have to sort through bags or boxes to get the "right" cables.


I can usually get up and running in about 25 minutes. This is usually because I'm often first to the gig before the other guys, and have the stage to myself. It can take longer if I'm having to negotiate around others setting up. Since I like to relax and hang for about 15-20 minutes before the first note drops, its fine for me. I hate plugging in the last cable and then giving a four count and we're in.

Yamaha C7 Grand, My Hammonds: '57 B3, '54 C2, '42 BC, '40 D, '05 XK3 Pro System, Kawai MP9000, Fender Rhodes Mk I 73, Yamaha CP33, Motif ES6, Nord Electro 2, Minimoog Voyager & Model D, Korg MS10
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Is that 1:15 spent busting your butt the entire time? I have a similar rig- 2 boards, rack, 2 speakers, sends to and from house. I can set up in 20 minutes (not including load in from the van to the stage).


Part of the key is putting stuff where it goes as it comes in from the van. Don't bring it all in and pile it somewhere, then make more trips to the pile for what you need. Put everything right about where it'll go on stage. If you use a speaker stand or something to hold your rack, set that in place as it comes in, then your rack goes right on the stand. When you carry your keyboard stand in, set it up so the boards can go right on when you uncase them.


Pre wire your rack with everything you can. Label all the wires so you know what is what. Snake together everything that runs in a common direction. Set up your rig at home, and then zip tie or velcro everything together with the appropriate lengths you need to reach each board. Leave it all plugged in in the back of your rack, and zip tie it to something sturdy to provide strain relief (my amp has some rear brackets you could use to support it, they have screw holes in them, so I tie off all my cables to those so they can't get yanked out.


I have one power strip that has the power cords for my boards plugged in, I have the power cords zip tied together, and then that whole thing gets rolled up and put in my gig bag.


My speakers are hard wired to my amp, and snaked together for as far as they can go until they need to split off to go to each speaker.


The only thing I don't have streamlined is my pedals, since I have gigs where I don't use both boards and don't want to haul a pedal board around if I only need one pedal, etc. But that takes about 2 mins to plug in, I take the suitcase that holds my stuff, go around to the front of my rig, sit on the floor, and run them all.

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6



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1. Custom wiring snakes, as mentioned above.

2. Custom prewired pedalboard for pedals, with wires harnessed

3. Setting up a single stack is going to be faster than an L setup.

4. Go from the bottom up. I put up stands, pedals, run main power, speakers and racks, then keyboards last. Keyboards stay in cases until needed.

5. Rack is prewired, direct boxen mounted inside.



"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker


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A little Adderall should do the trick.




NO WAY it should take an hour+ for your rig.


My usual rig: an A90 or S90es, Hammond XK1, Invisible Stand, 8space rack or 2space rack, QSC K12 (yes Kanker, been going mono!), 1 or 2 guitars, pedal board, Ventilator and Line6 M9, cable case, Mic/stand; sometimes a Speakeasy RocBox leslie.


As the above posters have already given you good tips, I can tell you this solution should not require money, and if it does, I wouldnt spend it on a giant rack to hold your speaker and modules, Id just replace that MotionSound with a Ventilator pedal.


My rig takes less than 30 minutes from pulling up to the door of the club to power up. It takes two trips to get in, using a wheel tray (36x24x1/2 piece of plywood with 4 heavy duty casters): Trip #1: both keyboard cases put on the tray, my mic stand on top of the shorter keyboard, and my acoustic 12string on top. Wheel it to the stage, unload the tray. Trip #2, my 8space rack on bottom, 2 pedal board cases (one with pedals, the other with cables and stomp boxes), then K12 on top of that, Invisible Stand either on top, or worn like a back pack, or left in car and carried in after I park.


Put rack on stage, put K12 on top of rack, open back of rack (which is prewired inside), and pull out the inputs and AC to K12 and plug in. (The 2 wires to K12, and its power cord, are wired inside my rack and at the end of the gig are velcroed to the top inside; I line the top and bottom and sometimes the sides of my rack with fuzzy side Velcro just for these purposes.) Set up my Invisible Stand, grab pedal case with cables and put it on (stand now works as a table), open it, and grab the snake (all midi/audio cables bound together with tie-wraps from Ace or Home Depot, 100 for $4.99) that runs from rack to keyboards, plug into rack, push rack into place on stage, plug rack into AC, run cable snake to my keyboard stand, and drape into place up the left side, and Im already halfway done. (Elapsed time from lifting rack onto stage, 6 minutes.)


Remove pedal board from the open case, and put in place at bottom of stand, and pull that pedal snake up the left side of my keyboard stand and draped into place (all the expression and sustain pedals are mounted on a ¼ piece of plywood painted black that fits in that cheapo pedal case from Sam Ash *$40* and all the cables from same are bound together with tie wraps). Pack up case, and open big keyboard case and drop A90/S90es onto bottom tier of stand. Plug in appropriate pedalboard cables, and appropriate snake cables. Open smaller keyboard case, and put XK1 into place. Close both keyboard cases, and open last pedal board case and place Ventilator on top of Xk1 (held in place by Velcro), and the M9 onto S90es in front of XK1, plug in the patch cable for each, plug in the expression pedal into my M9, the remnants of the rack snake into those pedals, and grab my pre mounted (on the pedal board) AC/cable snake for the keyboards and stomp boxes and plug those 4 connections in, and hit power on everything. Turn on K12, call up a performance that has everything engaged (all modules and keyboards making a sound), and play a chord to test, and since it works, I put my cases away. (Elapsed time from lifting rack onto stage, 21 minutes.)


If the stage is REALLY tight and I cant put the keyboard rack in a place that makes hearing the K12 possible, I have a speaker stand that I place near me, and the rack can go anywhere; this may take an extra 5 minutes, running extension cables from my rack to my speaker. Bringing the leslie only takes one more trip and 5 minutes more as it will either sit on top of my 8space rack, with the K12 on top of the leslie, or the 2space rack will go between the leslie and the K12. The 2space rack has all keyboard snakes to keys and to leslie prewired and fastened inside that rack (including speed switch), and are stored inside that rack. If the 2space rack comes instead of the 8space (depends on the band; most leslie gigs I dont need a lot of midi sounds and extras), set up time is reduced as the cabling is prewired for everything.


Granted, this expedited set-up time came through years of gigging, but Im a big believer in not wasting time futzing around on stage when I can be talking to people and friends in the crowd; plus with 4 or 5 or more guys in a band, its just hard to work around one another, so I like to get up, get set and get off and get out of their way. Plus with a sound guy going on with his business, its just easier and less stressful.


I suspect you can see a lot of problems solved for your rig in the posts you have seen already, and youll find your set up time should NEVER be 30 minutes or more. The biggest hurdle is your Pro3t, and in the case of that, I think youll find the Ventilator a fantastic upgrade in terms of set up AND tone.






Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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all great responses, thanks for all the ideas and for a forum to post this on.


The 1:15 was from the time I parked at the club until I was done. Too many trips to and from the van which included returning the kb cases to the truck due to lack of storage space inside.


I need to prewire and harness a lot of stuff. I wasn't as organized (pun intended) as I should have been. I do have a pedalboard.


The Pro3X was purchased one week before the ventilator came out, it figures. It would simplify things considerably and Christmas is coming!


Thanks for all the help. It's great to hear how others do it.






"all generalizations are false" ~Mark Twain


Kurzweil K2000, ME-1 and (2)PC3, Casio PX-350 AND PX-360, EV sXa 360

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I'm another two keyboard guy, also 20 minutes max setup time. Amp (Motion Sound KP200S) on stand, keyboard stands up, cable bag open, AC cables up, custom snake and power from amp to stands, keyboards on stands, audio plugged in, pedals plugged in, cases away.


The 1:15 was from the time I parked at the club until I was done. Too many trips to and from the van which included returning the kb cases to the truck due to lack of storage space inside.

Do you know about Rock n Roller carts? :thu:


I use this one (R2, $99):







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That's the one I own but don't generally use. One more thing to carry. I find it cumbersome to get over curbs etc. but it might suit me better now. I'll give it a try. Thanks for reminding me

"all generalizations are false" ~Mark Twain


Kurzweil K2000, ME-1 and (2)PC3, Casio PX-350 AND PX-360, EV sXa 360

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I bought the RockNRoller R10 (wish I had spent the extra for the R12 - it should move better on non-paved surfaces) - long enough for a 61-key board in case. I carried it to a welder friend, he added some length, now fits my 61-key, 76-key, and 88-key boards. Kbd in case on bottom, one JBL in bag above at the ends, a bag with stand, seat, pedals, extension cords, etc. in the middle. I can load in fully on a one-kb setup in one trip. Have a custom triple-pedal assembly, volume pedal, cables are all packed with the gear that they fit.


Could do it with a 2kbd setup except the weight is heavy enough I can't lift each end to put them in the van by myself. Easier to just carry the 2nd kbd in separately.


I can usually set up or tear down from van to stage in about 20 minutes.


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

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."


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Wow! All this sounds so over-complicated! I use an S90 and XK-1. I have a rack with QSC amp, EQ and mixer. Everything within the rack is prewired and stays that way. So set up consists of 1) uncoil speaker cables from rack and plug in 2 speakers 2) Put two boards on the stand 3)uncoil line cables from rack and plug into boards. 4)Plug in pedals and arrange under stand. 5) The rack has a power strip inside as well so there are only 3 power cords one from rack, one from each keyboard. Done. 15 minutes, tops.


Gig Rig: Yamaha S90 XS; Hammond SK-1; Rehearsal: Yamaha MOX8 Korg Triton Le61, Yamaha S90, Hammond XK-1

Retired: Hammond M2/Leslie 145, Wurly 200, Ensoniq VFX

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I use a two keyboards and a rack setup as well. Actual rig setup time (i.e., not counting the time it takes to schlepp it in from the car) is a liesurely 8 minutes. Add whatever time is needed to schlepp it in - and strike cases/rack covers for total setup time. My process is simple:


1. Put pedalboard on floor - place Z stand over it.

2. Place keyboards on stand

3. Place rack and speakers (2 floor wedges) in desired location

4. Place AC Quad box next to rack and connect to power

5. Connect AC Power cables to keys, connect to quad box mounted on pedal board (custom length cables - so there's no excess)

6. Open rack, connect to power.

7. Extend speaker cable (stored in rack) and plug into speakers

8. Extend Pedal board snake and plug into boards (all connections are color coded)

9. Extend rack snake (stored in rack) and plug into keyboards

10. Dress cables by securing to stand with attached velcro loops


If you prewire everything possible, use snakes (or bundled cables), design cabling to use "right" length cables (eliminating excess length) wherever possible - you can really simplify setup, reduce setup time required and improve the overall aesthetics of your rig.



The SpaceNorman :freak:
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Incidentally, tear down is much faster - 10-15 min from the last note til everything's in the car and I'm waiting to get paid.


As far as number of trips - you need to have a system for that as well, and sometimes how your package things can make a big difference - rolling racks that you can pile stuff on, backpacks or gig bags with shoulder straps.


My load-in goes something like this... park next to the "load-in" or Stage door (which is usually locked when you get there). Grab the small stuff (giant swatch & t-shirt bin w/email list, stickers, etc) and walk around to open the door and make sure the path is clear.

Trip 1: Backpack (w/cables, Guitar & Sax Stands, mic, etc.), Sax, & guitar

Trip 2: 2 X-Stands and my Rack

Trip 3: 2 keyboards.


Usually just dump the stuff on the dance floor or on the edge of the stage. Go park the car, come back and start setting up. Unlike the others, I set the big stuff in place first because I usually have to gauge my spacing. So 2 stands - rack goes on one, 2 KB's on the other, Power, Pedals, Snakes in that order, then Guitar and Sax.


Get a system and stick with it.



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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I have the Standtasic 60" 2 Tier stand. It umfolds, comes in a shoulder bag and is fast.

2 x 88 note controllers, 2 x Barbetta Sona's, Pro 3t, and a 16U SKB ATA Shockrack.

I have a Rock & Roller cart, roll everything in one trip and wear the shoulder bag/stand.

Several footswitch/expression pedals and 2 x snakes in flexcoil.

I am ready for a soundcheck in 25 minutes and I take my sweet time too.

After the first night set up is 15 minutes.

Use ATA cases if possible, they stack well, provide protection and all internal wiring is a piece of cake.

I have a 6" circle cut in the side for emergencies, and a long gooseneck light that can be brought around the front of the rack to the 1U KVM QWERTY when not needed inside the rack.

Just break down and buy what's needed unless you gig once every couple of weeks or something. I do 5 days and 6 nights so I can roll in a heartbeat. Pulling doubles I still only work 32-48 hours weekly.

Below is the older pic from a ears ago, but I still use the same rig w/ a 16U that is packed front and back.




Magnus C350 and a TV Dinner Tray Stand



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