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Using Controllers/Laptop/Modules on stage?


bloodsample

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Good evenin' folks.

 

Background

So here's the deal: I'm thinking of building up a setup comprised of many small units (eg 2 small controllers, a laptop and a few sound modules/desktop synths). The traditional setup is to have a few dedicated synth keyboards on multi-tier stands. But what if my setup will be comprised of lots of little (not necessarily rack mountable) devices?

 

Question

Does anyone have a similar setup and if so, how do you organize all your gear on stage? Do you use a special table? Do you put your modules on top of a controller? If so, which controller do you like for this? Do you have a custom built rack? Does anyone make a custom rack for desktop style modules? Where do you put your laptop? How easy is it to pack/unpack your gear and organize all the wires/etc? Do you wish you had gone with a standalone keyboard rig instead?

 

My setup is currently very small (laptop + controller) but I'm thinking of adding in another small controller and a couple of desktop synths (tetra/blofeld) sometime in the future. I want to see if this will be worth it in the long run or will give me headaches. I'm not gigging at the moment but there's always the possibility that I might go back, so I want to be prepared before I start collecting a bunch of little boxes. The reason I'm not getting full keyboards is that I don't want to always invest in the keyboard version of the synths as they're often twice (or more) the price of the module version. I figure if I get a good controller then there's no reason I should be tied down to one synth engine.

 

Thanks in advance folks!

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1) I'm thinking of building up a setup comprised of many small units (eg 2 small controllers, a laptop and a few sound modules/desktop synths).

 

2) I'm not gigging at the moment

 

#1 is going to cause #2 to always be true. Your proposed setup is going to be such a huge pain in the ass to keep assembling/tearing down at every gig, you're going to hate it.

 

Your setup thoughts would be fine for a semi-permanent studio setup, but is a recipe for pain and displeasure as a gigging rig.

 

The only solution that I think might have any chance of being a long-term solution would be some sort of idea like John mentions above; a table-top solution that allows you to velcro all your various pieces in place, which means you can leave everything plugged in. A pain in the ass to cart around if it's too big, but if it's small enough like a pedalboard, you might be okay.

 

As with all such things, YMMV, but you did ask for input. ;)

 

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Been there, tried that - works fine for a permanent location. For regular gigging in different locations, quickly gets to be more trouble and aggravation than worth (especially in the times, and there are many, that setup/teardown time is very limited. Also, the threshold of what is an acceptable amount of stuff to move by oneself tends to get lower as one gets older.

 

Now my rig setups are made to be scalable, with the idea of carrying enough, but not too much, to each occasion. I have four primary rig configurations (NE3, PC3, NE3&PC3, and occasionally NE3&PC3X). Amp/speaker configs: Roland CM30&house PA, QSCK10, K10&husePA, pair of K10's, Pair of K10's&housePA, All the stuff I have (very occasional, when I need to supply entire PA).

 

Add in the bunch of "little" stuff - like seat, keys stand, pedals, cables, AC extensions - it still becomes an imposing amount of stuff even when kept to minimum (always extra cables, extensions, maybe even a spare keyboard left in the van in case of equipment failure).

 

There's one person on this forum who had a sig like: We play for free, we charge for the travel and setup/teardown.

 

Also, modules are not in favor with the major manufacturers currently (don't sell enough to justify the separate SKU??). In modules, the main advantage of rack-mount is the ability to organize power amp, voltage protection, modules, auxiliary devices all in one piece that can be carried in and out and is not way to fragile to survive.

 

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."

Jim

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I'm not gigging at the moment but there's always the possibility that I might go back, so I want to be prepared before I start collecting a bunch of little boxes. The reason I'm not getting full keyboards is that I don't want to always invest in the keyboard version of the synths as they're often twice (or more) the price of the module version.

If you're thinking about gigging, apart from the price, I think a concern would be that if you got full keyboards of everything, it would take a lot more stage space. Plus the keyboard versions can be heavy.

 

But I would echo what others have said... Velcro! Maybe on a plank of wood about the size of a keyboard, that could be put on the top-tier of a keyboard stand while you play on the bottom.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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@johnchop: Thanks, looks interesting. Might be a bit overkill atm as I probably will only have 2 modules (unless I change my mind after reading this thread)

 

@Sven: I lol'd at "#1 is going to cause #2 to always be true". Very valid points. I used to gig with a controller + motif es rack and even that was annoying as I needed two sets of power cables, a midi cable and always had to find some kind of stand to put the damn rack on. Not to mention having to carry two sets of cases. All this could have been prevented if I had invested in a keyboard version of the motif es. What really made this setup annoying is that I was unorganized at the time, I would just dump all the extra cables in one big messy bag. This is why I'm asking this question and thinking into the future to see if I can somehow manage a laptop/module based setup. But in the end I think you're right, nothing beats having dedicated keyboards for each item. Ironically, having to carry only two things (full keyboards) vs a bunch of things (controller/two modules) seems like it would be more annoying, but I guess easier to setup? Looks like it comes down to # of cables/accessories VS # of big keyboards to lug around.

 

@MoodyBluesKeys: That seems like a hefty setup to maintain! I'm a lightweight rookie compared to you :)

 

So in general, you guys feels that carrying and setting up a few dedicated keyboards is easier/better than having a bunch of individually portable elements?

 

Just a little more background on my current situation:

I'm in the middle of a turning point in my keyboard style/rig/life. I've only been in more traditional bands playing traditional gigs before (eg using bread&butter rhodes/piano/organs/etc), this is why I have the motif es rack. Lately I've been transitioning into a more synth-y world. I've ditched my old bands and am in the process of making a small synth-based rig. I'm currently learning on software (soft synths) and am planning on getting some hardware synths for future gigging. So before I start spending money on things I'll regret I'd like to know whether I should invest in keyboard versions of all the synths of maybe get a few keyboards and a few modules, or some other combination.

 

If anyone else has experience with module-based rigs please continue sharing!

 

Cheers!

>BS

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@AnotherScott: Yeah that's exactly what I was thinking. Not only will they take up more space but the overall setup will be much heavier. I like the idea of getting to a gig with everything I need in one trip (I know, I dream). Oh I like the idea of having a keyboard-sized plank on the top tier! Why didn't I think of that?
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@Sven: I lol'd at "#1 is going to cause #2 to always be true".

 

Cool... that's the reaction I was hoping for. ;)

 

So in general, you guys feels that carrying and setting up a few dedicated keyboards is easier/better than having a bunch of individually portable elements?

 

No, to be clear, I'm not advocating getting keyboard-based versions at all. I'm a strong proponent to 2-keyboards and lotsa-rack modules (if you need that many disparate sound sources to accomplish your task). The important distinction here is rack modules, that way all the little bits are secured in place in a single enclosure, and all the wiring is done once and left that way, rather than having to tear down all those connections and roll up and pack the numerous cables.

 

At the end of the day, though, you need to ask yourself why you believe you need so many different modules? What is it that each one does that justifies the hassle of both transporting them as individual pieces to and from each gig, as opposed to going with a couple of multitimbral units, such as the Motif ES rack you mention?

 

Good luck!

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The important distinction here is rack modules

The reason rack modules are not a great answer for him is that some of the pieces that most interest him (Blofeld, Tetra) aren't available that way; and in fact, for good reason, as they are geared to real-time live access to their controls during performance, which is generally awkward in a rack. (Yes, one can get keyboard controllers with remappable knobs and sliders, but you lose the specifically-designed simpler and more communicative dedicated interfaces with associated LCD readouts and such.)

 

As an aside, I have also found that racks can quickly get large and heavy. For whatever reason, "desktop" style modules tend to be lighter than rack-based ones.

 

that way all the little bits are secured in place in a single enclosure, and all the wiring is done once and left that way, rather than having to tear down all those connections and roll up and pack the numerous cables.

That's absolutely a huge benefit. So I think the goal of this thread is to consider how to approach that level of convenience without necessarily having to use rack modules.

 

What is it that each one does that justifies the hassle of both transporting them as individual pieces to and from each gig, as opposed to going with a couple of multitimbral units, such as the Motif ES rack you mention?

The timing of this thread coincidentally coincided with my own gestating thoughts about doing something similar. My "plank" of separate modules theoretically might include a Sonic Cell (multitimbral rompler), a Voce V5 (drawbar organ module), a V-Machine (VST host to be primarily used as a custom sample player, but could serve other purposes), and a Yamaha AN-200 (virtual analog synth). Total weight under 10 pounds, not counting the plank itself (or the wiring), with easy real-time access to the drawbars, synth controls, and status displays. Comparable functionality in a rack would be much heavier and much less performance-friendly.

 

The Korg M3M is also pretty tempting, despite its heft.

 

EDIT: Actually, the Blofeld (and to a lesser extent, the Tetra as well) isn't really so front-panel performance oriented.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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As an aside, I have also found that racks can quickly get large and heavy. For whatever reason, "desktop" style modules tend to be lighter than rack-based ones.

 

For the very simple reason that they're not intended to be carted around the way a more robustly constructed rack unit is. Desktop units are called that for a reason. :thu:

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I'm uncomfortable playing out with keyboards that don't make any sounds (i.e., controllers). I need at least one keyboard (preferably two) that produce their own sounds in case something breaks down....that way I know I can get through the job. Here is a picture of my gigging rig:

 

Click Here

 

Many here have a similar set-up, combining keyboards and modules. Of course, the extensiveness of one's rig can be dependent of the complexity/array of sounds needed for the material covered. The beauty of a pre-wired module rack is that it minimizes wiring/set-up time. I can comfortably have everything "ready to go" in about 20 minutes of my gear hitting the stage, less if I really busted ass.

 

Given your reported history of problems with organization, a pre-wired rack/board would put some external structure around your set-up task, and hopefully improve your situation.

 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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I'm uncomfortable playing out with keyboards that don't make any sounds (i.e., controllers). I need at least one keyboard (preferably two) that produce their own sounds in case something breaks down....that way I know I can get through the job. Here is a picture of my gigging rig:

 

Click Here

 

Many here have a similar set-up, combining keyboards and modules. Of course, the extensiveness of one's rig can be dependent of the complexity/array of sounds needed for the material covered. The beauty of a pre-wired module rack is that it minimizes wiring/set-up time. I can comfortably have everything "ready to go" in about 20 minutes of my gear hitting the stage, less if I really busted ass.

 

Given your reported history of problems with organization, a pre-wired rack/board would put some external structure around your set-up task, and hopefully improve your situation.

 

Just curious--Which Roland module is that?

Steve Force,

Durham, North Carolina

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My Professional Websites

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As an aside, I have also found that racks can quickly get large and heavy. For whatever reason, "desktop" style modules tend to be lighter than rack-based ones.

 

For the very simple reason that they're not intended to be carted around the way a more robustly constructed rack unit is. Desktop units are called that for a reason. :thu:

That answer sounds more like supposition than fact. Which of the modules mentioned here do you not consider gig-worthy due to flimsy construction?

 

My own supposition: One reason desktop modules may tend to be lighter could be because they do not have to be built with enough rigidity such that their entire weight can be properly supported when essentially "suspended" from 4 corner screws on their front panel.

 

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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@MoodyBluesKeys: That seems like a hefty setup to maintain! I'm a lightweight rookie compared to you

 

Definitely - ALL the stuff would be a very hefty setup. The PC3X has only been moved out of the studio a couple of times in two years. Most of the PA stuff has a normal resting place - my 10" EONs are in the living room for family use, my 15" EONs are at church, my 12" EV are used for studio monitors, the pair of QSCs are usually enough for most situations.

 

My whole point is to build for scalability - I am a firm believer in NOT carrying more stuff than I need (any backup stuff in the event of something breaking is usually left in the van).

 

And I do use soft-synths some - I've got NI PRO-52 for Prophet 5 emulation, I've setup a more or less permanent older notebook computer at church with VB3, so the PC2 that I leave there has a better Hammond sound (and I use it sometimes for running sequences). If I can get it working well enough, I won't carry my Electro with me any more.

 

If I were to add a pure synth with bunches of knobs, it very well might wind up being a desktop module. I just think that a substantial number of such modules becomes a nightmare to hookup and unhook each time. U don't think your plan with only two modules will be a large problem.

 

 

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."

Jim

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"Just a little more background on my current situation ...I've ditched my old bands and am in the process of making a small synth-based rig."

 

Can you describe the sort of gig/show you might be doing? In particular

 

(1) what'll be providing the pulse, the rhythm - will there still be a live drummer (or percussion)?

(2) how much of what you'll play on the night will you know in advance? How much improv (sounds and notes)?

 

Lastly, would there be a vocalist or are the synths (or ?) the main focus?

I'm the piano player "off of" Borrowed Books.
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1) I'm thinking of building up a setup comprised of many small units (eg 2 small controllers, a laptop and a few sound modules/desktop synths).

 

2) I'm not gigging at the moment

 

#1 is going to cause #2 to always be true. Your proposed setup is going to be such a huge pain in the ass to keep assembling/tearing down at every gig, you're going to hate it.

 

Your setup thoughts would be fine for a semi-permanent studio setup, but is a recipe for pain and displeasure as a gigging rig.

 

 

This is precisely why I still haven't switched to all-software rig. Too much stuff to pack, unpack, connect, get stolen or lost.

Currently my rig requires one trip from the car - rolling keyboard case in one hand, stand in the other, keytar in a guitar gig bag behind my back, and a cable bag on the shoulder. Sets up under a minute.

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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As an aside, I have also found that racks can quickly get large and heavy. For whatever reason, "desktop" style modules tend to be lighter than rack-based ones.

 

For the very simple reason that they're not intended to be carted around the way a more robustly constructed rack unit is. Desktop units are called that for a reason. :thu:

That answer sounds more like supposition than fact. Which of the modules mentioned here do you not consider gig-worthy due to flimsy construction?

 

My own supposition: One reason desktop modules may tend to be lighter could be because they do not have to be built with enough rigidity such that their entire weight can be properly supported when essentially "suspended" from 4 corner screws on their front panel.

 

I'm not sure what you're having a problem understanding in my post that would lead you to post my exact same point (albeit in terms that would be completely obvious to anyone that knows what "rack mount" means) and think we're talking about different things.

 

:confused:

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Interesting points all around..

 

@Sven: You're right about not needing so many modules. At the moment I have no need for more modules but I'm just trying to think ahead because I've made some purchases in the past that I now regret (motif es rack).

 

I think I should maybe first figure out what kind of gear I want and then figure out what kind of configuration would be best based on that.

 

@stillgigging: I'm not currently gigging but the kind of keyboard player I want to be is more of an 'accessory' player than a 'necessary' player. By that I mean I won't be doing bread and butter song filler stuff, but more synth based sounds that compliment the songs. I have the motif just in case I need the basics, but the whole rompler thing is not something I'm terribly excited about at the moment. Namely the dullness of these sampled sounds that seem to get dated very quickly and lose their inspiration factor.

I guess it might be half known half improv? Again, as I'm not in a band I don't know for sure, but these are my goals. I'm not in a rush to get back to gigging but it's something I'd like to do eventually.

 

After some thinking and reading the comments in this thread I've come up with a revised dream rig (emphasis on 'dream') :) :

My ideal setup would be a single station, so something that fits on a single stand (and not one of those big NASA command center stations with 3-tier keyboards on each side). I'd want something humble, yet diverse. I'm thinking maybe two smaller synths that will act as base sound sources and controllers (currently considering Moog LP S2 and the Mopho keyboard). I don't think I'll go with pure controllers this time as it's a waste of space and is not very reliable (as Moonglow mentioned). Then on the module/extras front I'd have a laptop running some VSTs and maybe a tetra expanding the mopho so that I have at least one analog polysynth.

 

I'd then like to experiment with some effects modules, either guitar pedals or some moogerfooger boxes. Few.. that's a lot of gear. Obviously this won't happen over night as I'd be broke. But currently that seems like a decent end goal to have. I'll definitely start small and maybe gradually add components as I start to need them. I definitely don't want to be overwhelmed with menus/features/sounds as I think it'll take away from making the actual music. This is why I'm getting turned off by the blofeld, but we'll see. I'm sure this current dream rig will be revised with time so this is more rambling than anything. Incidentally what kind of stands do people use for smaller keyboards (eg 25 keys)? Most stands I've seen have their legs too far apart. My ideal stand would be a kind of a foldable table with carpet-like fabric on top. And on this single surface I could place two synths in the front and some smaller modules behind so that everything is in one place and at arms reach. Does anyone make such a stand (ok, I'm flexible on the carpet part)?

 

Thanks all, some very useful tips/comments on here so far!

 

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I'm not sure what you're having a problem understanding in my post that would lead you to post my exact same point (albeit in terms that would be completely obvious to anyone that knows what "rack mount" means) and think we're talking about different things.

 

:confused:

I thought you were implying that rack units are built to be rugged enough to travel with but desktop units are not, and that that's why they were heavier. Sorry if I misunderstood.

 

Yes, we agree that the very nature of rack mounting will tend to lead to a heavier piece. As does the fact that they need to be 19" wide, and often have built in power supplies, and need to be designed such that they can cool with things above them... numerous reasons. For whatever reason or combination of reasons, the things just tend to be heavier, that was my original point, and it could be one more factor in why someone might want to assemble the kind of alternative we're talking about.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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After reading all the suggestions, why don't you try the setup you have in mind see how you like it, either go with or get dedicated boards.

I did the controller software thing, it worked OK, but dedicated boards really worked better because I was able to get the sounds quicker. The less equipment to carry the better. I played drums too and went from a fifteen piece playing Rush to a four piece playing country. I was torn down and on the way home before anyone else. I carried my own and didn't want help, didn't want to owe anyone. Musicians can be a bit crappy about that sometimes. Most of the time not, I've never had a problem helping with anothers stuff.

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Yeah I guess I should just give something a shot and see how it goes. Thanks for the suggestions. I've probably beaten this thread to death anyways.

 

One last thing, I was on youtube and came across this guy's setup which looks pretty cool. Basically he has a single stand setup with laptop/mixer/keyboard in a modified case. It's more of a DJ type setup, but it's an interesting idea that can be modified to fit synths.

 

 

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bloodsample - the description of your proposed rig makes me think more of a DJ/electronica rig than a keyboardist's. I worked with a bunch of those acts here during the Olympics as stage manager for a series electronic music presentations. They'd request a table that they'd set up their various tabletop modules on. You'd be surprised how quickly some of those guys can set up, even with lots of little boxes. I was bewildered by the ergonomics of it but they seemed to be able to control it and make music. It's worth a try. You might just like it.
Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
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Just curious--Which Roland module is that?

 

Looks like a D-550 to me. Wonderful module, wish I still had mine.

 

Yep, it's a D-550 alright... I snagged one of these off Craigslist a few months back (relegated my D-50 to storage due to lack of space). Couldn't be happier! :thu:

For sure. My entre in the "Favorite vintage keyboard that you still use regularly" thread. Don't leave home without it.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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As an aside, I have also found that racks can quickly get large and heavy. For whatever reason, "desktop" style modules tend to be lighter than rack-based ones.

For the very simple reason that they're not intended to be carted around the way a more robustly constructed rack unit is. Desktop units are called that for a reason. :thu:

That answer sounds more like supposition than fact. Which of the modules mentioned here do you not consider gig-worthy due to flimsy construction?

 

My own supposition: One reason desktop modules may tend to be lighter could be because they do not have to be built with enough rigidity such that their entire weight can be properly supported when essentially "suspended" from 4 corner screws on their front panel.

I'm not sure what you're having a problem understanding in my post that would lead you to post my exact same point (albeit in terms that would be completely obvious to anyone that knows what "rack mount" means) and think we're talking about different things.

 

:confused:

If your point was the same as his, he made it better than you did. I interpreted your post to mean that rack modules were meant to be carted around, whereas desktop units weren't.

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Looks like a D-550 to me. Wonderful module, wish I still had mine.

 

I feel w/ ya !

 

I have one, incl. Musitronics Speed Kit, RAM Xpansion & Multimode,- and it died some weeks ago.

 

OT now, but,-

 

I´m looking for a rare part which is unavailable for me here:

Roland Part No.:RL-15179266

D78312G-022 - MASK ROM CPU

for Ser.No. 15179266 or up

 

Any ressources welcome.

Roland germany is unable to deliver or order.

 

I ordered @vintage planet.nl, but even it was listed, they´re out of stock and removed the part from their site.

 

thx

 

A.C.

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If your point was the same as his, he made it better than you did. I interpreted your post to mean that rack modules were meant to be carted around, whereas desktop units weren't.

I didn't mean to be making the same point. And I guess I did a bad job because you got my opinion about desktop units exactly backwards. I interpreted his comment to mean that desktop units were not meant to be carted around, which is exactly what I was disputing. But I may have misunderstood what he was trying to say.

 

It's obvious, of course, that rack units are meant to be carted around. The disagreement (I thought) was about desktop units. I was suggesting that the typically more rugged build of rack-based units comes from things like the design considerations necessary for front panel weight support, rather than out of a need to address a desktop unit's inherent unsuitability for live performance. If he didn't mean to imply that desktop units should be left at home, then my post was superfluous, but I did think that's what he was implying with phrases like "Desktop units are called that for a reason" and "not meant to be carted around..."

 

Meanwhile, people gig with laptops, which are less road-safe than any of these things! :-)

 

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Okay, for those of you who have difficulty understanding that rack units are meant to be affixed to a rack with screws, and withstand the rigors of being hurled about by roadies into the backs of large trucks with total disdain, there.... I've made that point clear (I hope... you'll let me know, right Jeff? :thu:).

 

Now, if you believe that a Blofeld (for example) is able to withstand the same treatment, you're more than welcome to hold that belief. I'll be happy to watch you buy multiple units as they keep coming apart at the seams. :thu:

 

So, my point, in as clear a fashion as I can make it, is that a rack unit is heavier precisely because it's meant to be affixed in a rack and be able to withstand the rigors of touring and the abuse (intentional or otherwise) that such activity entails, whereas a desktop unit is intended to be put in place on a desktop and used there.

 

This is not about the road-worthiness of desktop units, it is an explanation as to why rack units weigh more than desktop units, nothing more, nothing less.

 

Yes, desktop units have benefits over rack units, most notably access to realtime control knobs/sliders/doohickeys... this is not about that.

 

So, hopefully that has helped clear up this off-tangent discussion, and thanks to Learjeff for helping point out the unclear nature of my post. My bad for making the assumption that people understood how a rack unit is traditionally used. :facepalm:

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whereas a desktop unit is intended to be put in place on a desktop and used there.

 

This is not about the road-worthiness of desktop units

I guess the juxtaposition of those two sentences gets to what was the source of my confusion.

 

From the first sentence, I got the sense again that you thought that desktop units should only be used on the desktop, and that's the only part of anything you said (or that I thought you said) that I disagreed with. But since you follow that by saying you're not talking about their road-worthiness, then maybe we do agree, and you meant that desktop units are designed to be more easily used on a desk than rackmount units are. Though sure, rack-based stuff is generally more ruggedly built, for reasons we've both mentioned.

 

And just to be clear, of course traveling with desktop modules (read: anything non-rackmountable) would still require they have some sort of protection, especially if they will need to "withstand the rigors of being hurled about by roadies into the backs of large trucks with total disdain"!

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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