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Building a rig for live and home...


Karl B

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Hi all,

 

I'm looking at building a live keys rig to use with a pop/rock band. I plan on basing it around MainStage (3 - just bought it this morning).

 

Right now I have an old Yamaha PSR-292 with MIDI Out which I can connect to my MacBookPro via a USB>MIDI adapter (although getting a proper connection is very temperamental). Technically speaking I have an almost usable rig right now, just lacking a USB audio interface to get my 2 outputs to desk.

 

If you were in my position, would you be looking at just getting a USB audio interface and maybe a couple of AUs to use with MainStage? Or should I be looking at getting a nicer rig together? For example, the current keyboard is only a 61-key and I'm finding I'm wanting extra octaves playing at home (Clair de Lune etc), so I'd like to go 88-key in the future. I additionally have no assignable controls available on the keyboard for any of the plugins although I imagine my live playing would be a patch-per-song and have the right settings. The problem is, when I start looking at a new keyboard, I'm trying to make sure I get USB only MIDI (so I'm not farting around with the unreliable adapter), preferably a nice hammer-action although semi-weighted is fine etc, then add in the cost of a new stand with laptop holder and I'm very quickly pushing £500 before I look at the audio interface.

 

Should I just look at a £50 audio interface and see how it goes? One big negative I have at the moment is the fact I have no quick access to volume control.

 

 

Best,

Karl

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...MacBookPro via a USB>MIDI adapter (although getting a proper connection is very temperamental)...

 

What part is tempermental? This obviously would be an issue in a live setting. Normally, I'd consider DIN MIDI to be a more reliable connection than USB, so if the interface itself is the issue, maybe you should be looking at an audio interface that also includes MIDI (DIN) - then you have a more reliable connection and open up your options for controllers.

 

Note, if you controller has mappable knobs/sliders, you can assign one to CC#7 for local control of your volume.

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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I would get an audio interface. Beside tthe volume control it provides robust audio connectors. Very important for live use.

 

I would also get another keyboard. That PSR might do the job but you will look silly with it. Audience and fellow musicians will have trouble taking you seriously. It doesn't have to be very expensive.

 

Maybe a used Triton LE or something like that. Usb midi, controller knobs, robust build and pro look.

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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The PSR has no assignable controls (that I can see a way to set up) so I'm able only to send my notes and sustain at the moment.

 

 

The poor connection only seems to happen with the PSR too. It takes a few times of unplugging/plugging to get the keyboard recognised.

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One option is to get a mox6, which are being blown out for reasonable prices right now ($800 in the US). This would give you both a better controller, a built-in audio interface and a very good backup sound generator to Mainstage. However, it is unweighted and still only 61 keys. Maybe you could find a used MOX8 for a reasonable price and also get your 88 weighted keys.

Nord Stage 3 88, Korg Kronos 2 61, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Casio CT-S1, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2

www.stickmanor.com

There's a thin white line between fear and fury - Stickman

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I hate to say it, but a PSR is sub-par for anything but fiddling around at home, at best. If you're using Mainstage, you really do need to upgrade. Do some careful reading about AUs and consider Logic, if you are not already using it. It comes bundled with a healthy range of meaty synths, EPs, Clav and Hammond. I found it easy to add just a few things not covered in that group, like M-Tron Pro.

 

More to the point, I'll re-beat the old Casio PX5-S drum here as the 'board to beat. You're looking at 88 keys, a light weight, a 4-zone synth with soft-editor and a much-loved piano range you can tweak with onboard EQ & effects. It goes for roughly $1000, but consider it seriously. With that driving Mainstage (especially if you explored the next layer of possible routings), you'd have a potent, compact playing rig. Yamaha's MX line also deserves a look, but the Casio will cover many more bases for just a bit more cash, especially for an 88-key instrument.

 

 

 

"What's the password?"
"'I have bourbon.'"
     ~ Joe Hill, "Full Throttle Stories"

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I don't have this so can't vouch for it, but the Akai MPK88 is on sale for a little over $500 right now. 88 weighted keys with after touch, 8 knobs, 8 sliders, plus on board velocity sensitive pads that can trigger 64 samples, USB MiDI.

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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One option is to get a mox6, which are being blown out for reasonable prices right now ($800 in the US). This would give you both a better controller, a built-in audio interface and a very good backup sound generator to Mainstage. However, it is unweighted and still only 61 keys. Maybe you could find a used MOX8 for a reasonable price and also get your 88 weighted keys.

 

 

+1 on Yamaha MOX.

 

It's really amazing to build a laptop rig on it.

Tons of realtime control, easily mix and match internal sounds and VSTi's in master mode, built in audio interface, audio inputs (to process guitar or vocals).

 

The build quality and keyboard action is kinda subpar compared to hi-end workstations like Triton or Motif, but compared to usual m-audio midi controller keyboards, Yamaha MOX is really well built. And it's lightweight.

 

 

I got one after much research and it is just perfect for a laptop rig.

 

Just plug ONE usb cable between the MOX and a laptop. that's it. no external boxes, no messy usb cable bundles.

 

It might be a bit over the OP budget as far as experimenting with laptop rig goes, but in case the OP decides against the laptop+VSTi route, he'll still have IMHO the best mid-range hardware keyboard available today.

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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