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Gig Backup Rig?


JimboK

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How do you guys handle backup rigs? I have a 5 year old Kronos that has worked like a charm but being a PC at heart, I am starting to get scared that it may decide to die at the most inopportune time. Of course a new Kronos 2 may be the best option but I really cannot afford the space of hauling two K's to every gig (unless I have to). Most of my gigs are within a half hour drive of my home so I could have someone bring a backup if needed and we soundcheck well before first downbeat. As I've also been battling with a second tier (small 49 key, easy controller), I considered a Yamaha MX49 as it has a basic palette of sounds. However, I shudder to think how horrific everything would sound if I actually had to play a gig with that thing. Yeah, it's nice and all but I have some combi's with 6-7 zones, tons of layers, samples loaded, etc. that would all be gone. Not sure it would be worth it. Plus the management of a second rig from a programming standpoint is... meh.

 

It seems I just need to ride the lightning and hope if the Kronos dies, it will do so at a time that allows me to order a new Kronos, have it shipped to me, and load up my pcg/seq/ksc data right? Which of course bears the question of how well with my files work going from a K1 to a K2, But I figure that's a doable proposition.

 

Thanks,

 

Korg Kronos 2 61, Kronos 1 61, Dave Smith Mopho x4, 1954 Hammond C2, Wurlitzer 200A, Yamaha Motif 6, Casio CDP-100, Alesis Vortex Wireless, too much PA gear!
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I suppose there are multiple tiers of backup depending on your needs.

 

When I was gigging with my old 80s band every weekend I considered those gigs critical - for what we were getting paid, one way or another, we had to do a top notch show every single time, no excuses. Gigs like the casinos were particularly critical - you cancel a gig, and won't ever play there again. However, most of these gigs were less than 30min from home.

 

At that time, I had a complete duplicate rig - Alesis and Fusion, 2 sets. In the middle of a set, if one would die, I could get by if we shuffles some songs around and get my backup during break. That happened actually. I texted a friend with a key to my house and he brought my Fusion backup and I swapped out during break.

 

Nowadays, using the Kronos, I just keep everything backed up on a stick. Since they are still available in stores, I figured if I showed up and it didn't work, I could run to a GC and dump my stick into a new one. If it's later, like during a show after GC is closed, I know half a dozen friends with Kronos - I'd just need to find one who wasn't playing that night to borrow from.

 

Worst case scenario, I could bring out my old Fusion/Triton rig and make it work on the fly.

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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At the lower-end in terms of sophistication... I bought a Yamaha NP30 as a low-weight rehearsal board, and I now take it to gigs as my backup. Worst case, I can get by (but I'm not doing anything complicated with my main rig).
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At the lower-end in terms of sophistication... a Yamaha NP30

 

Same here - NP30. Never had to use it.

 

I've taken a Casio home keyboard in the past and actually had to use it on one occasion (while depping).

 

The band used V Drums, the pads were working but the brain stopped - a midi cable was all that was required and the pads could trigger a GM drum map preset in my NI Kore (VST) rig.

 

I've NEVER had a hardware keyboard fail in a gig.

I'm the piano player "off of" Borrowed Books.
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When I purchased my PC3 it was to cut my k/b rig down from 2 k/b's to 1 when playing live. I did that right up until I turned it on one night and the screen backlight failed. Then I started bringing a 2nd k/b as a backup leaving it in the car. Then I figured since I was loading/unloading the 2nd keyboard into my car anyway that I might as well just use it, so I'm back to 2 keyboards. If one were to not work I just jump to the other one.

 

BTW, since that one incident, I've never had another k/b failure.

57 Hammond B3; 69 Hammond L100P; 68 Leslie 122; Kurzweil Forte7 & PC3; M-Audio Code 61; Voce V5+; Neo Vent; EV ELX112P; GSI Gemini & Burn

Delaware Dave

Exit93band

 

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I usually never bring a backup but on a particularly bad day (luck-wise), I brought my Korg Kross to a gig as a backup. It's a great sounding 9 pound board. I know another keyboard player that does this as well. He said the Kross saved him many times.

Korg Kronos, Roland RD-88, Korg Kross, JP8000, MS2000, Sequential Pro One, Micromoog, Yamaha VL1, author of unrealBook for iPad.

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>I've NEVER had a hardware keyboard fail in a gig.

 

It usually doesn't. But a Furman power conditioner screwed up an SY85 long ago. Then there was a the PC3 problem that I had for a while. Made me very nervous and happened on important gigs.

Korg Kronos, Roland RD-88, Korg Kross, JP8000, MS2000, Sequential Pro One, Micromoog, Yamaha VL1, author of unrealBook for iPad.

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I have two Kronos 61s but I don't have a backup for my weighted controller (which is a PX-350m at the moment). If that went down, I'd be in trouble. My previous rig (70s/80s rock band) was a Fantom G6 and I carried a spare one of those too.

 

I'm in the middle of migrating the Kronos rig to Mainstage but I'll keep both Kronos 61s just in case.

 

I've never had anything fail on me either, but I could never take that chance.

Korg Kronos 61 (2); Kurzweil PC4, Roland Fantom-06, Casio PX-350M; 2015 Macbook Pro and 2012 Mac Mini (Logic Pro X and Mainstage), GigPerformer 4.

 

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That's one of the reasons I have stayed with a two-keyboard rig (the other reasons being diversity of sounds and having both weighted/unweighted keys.)

 

All my live gigging these days is with a duo. In a typical evening, about half of the songs require complicated splits among the two keyboards and the other half are typically just piano/epiano/organ. What would I do if one of the keyboards failed? I would replace the songs with complicated splits with songs that use only piano/epiano/organ. Obviously, the variety of music would suffer...but I could still fill the set lists. That's not a solution for every person, but it works for me. Thankfully, it hasn't happened.

Yamaha CK88, Arturia Keylab 61 MkII, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Casio CT-S500, Mac Logic/Mainstage, iPad Camelot, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2, JBL EON One Compact

www.stickmanor.com

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

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I've thought about replacing my lower tier controller (an A70) with something with bread and butter sounds in case of a mid-gig failure of the Kronos. I could just move the 1/4" cable and have SOMETHING to play. But so far (knock on wood) I haven't had any issues and I've been gigging with this rig for around 4 years.

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 love having a clonewheel and an 88 for this very reason, among others. I once had a dead mainboard on a Nord Electro 2 when I plugged it in at a gig.

 

But my worst dead at the gig story occurred when the band AH mixer took a tumble in its road case during load-in to a wedding. Didn't turn on, so we ended up with no mixer, used two lead singer mics directly into powered speakers. Low volume without a mixer, but the audience couldn't tell the difference AFAIK!

 

Everyone initially loses 20 IQ points when equipment fails AT THE GIG (just breathe and be creative). When I got home, I discovered that the tumble of the AH mixer caused its power switch (hidden in the rack) to toggle to the OFF position. Nothing was wrong with the mixer!

 

Still, I now always bring a 6 channel 1-rack-space mixer as a spare. Monitors can serve as mains in a pinch, bring lots of extra mics, yadda-yadda-yadda.

 

Being the keyboard player and the guy with the PA just intensifies the need for duplicate equipment. (and I keep my minivan in top-flight mechanical condition while it looks like crap on the outside).

 

Weddings are a worse scenario for equipment failure than other gigs cause it is "their only biggest day."

Barry

 

Home: Steinway L, Montage 8

 

Gigs: Yamaha CP88, Crumar Mojo 61, A&H SQ5 mixer, ME1 IEM, MiPro 909 IEMs

 

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Another time we did a 4th of July show 100 miles from home. 10,000 people in a minor league stadium. Bass player's bass is totally dead. Turns out, the SUBSTITUTE female lead vocalist happened to have her son's bass in her car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! because the kid was too lazy to bring his bass into the house, I guess, or he had a lesson the next day, or whatever.

 

Talkin' about dumb luck or good karma or random atom placement or diety smiles.

Barry

 

Home: Steinway L, Montage 8

 

Gigs: Yamaha CP88, Crumar Mojo 61, A&H SQ5 mixer, ME1 IEM, MiPro 909 IEMs

 

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I played my backup rig at a rehearsal last night for the first time in roughly two years.

 

It took my an hour to get it working right -- forgot how -- and never did get comfortable. It was awful.

 

Wes

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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I also had a pc3 die on me during a gig not long ago. I have two boards anyway for flexibility so it wasn't a disaster, but my other board is closer to a clonewheel (it's a VR700) and especially suffers doing synth parts. Fortunately we don't have many synth parts in the classic rock stuff we do.

 

So my backup is a second board, though with something like the Kronos it would be pretty tough for a second board to do all that it does. Just keep in mind a disaster for us is playing an organ gig on a Motif ( from the recent thread :)) but nobody else is likely to notice a problem especially in a rock setting. Where it would get tough is if you were sequencing and had elobarate synth parts doing 80s pop or something. For me, I could probably just play piano and organ and get by if I had to with our songs. We'd have to drop Too Much Time on My Hands and Working for the Weekend, in fact we did just that the night my pc3 went down...

 

I also have my backup mic and an assortment of cables (power, mic, some adapters and an extension cord). About the only thing that would kill me would be if my stand died, I haven't gone so far as to lug an extra (but could easily throw a single x-stand in the car I guess...)

 

Edit: also considering the Behringer powerplay wired headphone thing (stereo; doesn't have to use batteries) so that would mean I'd have a backup if my IEM pack went out on me. I also have some decent earbuds and probably should bring those too!

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Well, I think all your replies told me what I needed to hear. And specifically Stokely nailed it with: "Where it would get tough is if you were sequencing and had elobarate synth parts doing 80s pop or something". Some (a lot) of what I do is Piano, EP or Organ work but lot's of it is complex synth stuff with a few sequenced songs and lots of custom stuff (the female laugh at the beginning of Hungry Like The Wolf as an example).

 

I just don't see myself being 1) Able to pull off this much varied stuff with a simpler rig and 2) Willing to put in the time to keep 2 rigs current.

 

I love the Barryjam quote about everyone losing 20pts of IQ when equipment fails at a gig. SO TRUE!

 

Time to just nut up and buy another Kronos as a backup. The next issue with be with managing the K1 vs. K2 differences...

 

Korg Kronos 2 61, Kronos 1 61, Dave Smith Mopho x4, 1954 Hammond C2, Wurlitzer 200A, Yamaha Motif 6, Casio CDP-100, Alesis Vortex Wireless, too much PA gear!
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I believe in plan B. But affordability is factor.

I keep my Kawai K1 in a soft case in the car if I'm doing a 1 keyboard gig. If I'm doing a two keyboard gig, then that's all I bring. If one dies I'll get by with the other using generic sounds, AP, EP, synth pad, etc. Makes for some heads up think ahead patch changing for the night.

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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I will say this: after my pc3 was getting looked at, I got much more familiar with the VR-700 non-organ sounds! Not a deep board but I did find a piano (#3) that was ok. Our singer had a Juno D that she wasn't using, I still tote it around as a backup (weighs absolutely nothing) and leave it in my car like Mr. Fudd mentions...never did find out why my pc3 wigged out, but after booting from the system menu it's seemed fine--but you never know.
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It would be interesting tonight if my Kronos AND PX-5S went out and I had to do the rest of the gig on the JP-8000 - hope that never happens!

Korg Kronos, Roland RD-88, Korg Kross, JP8000, MS2000, Sequential Pro One, Micromoog, Yamaha VL1, author of unrealBook for iPad.

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Well, I think all your replies told me what I needed to hear. And specifically Stokely nailed it with: "Where it would get tough is if you were sequencing and had elobarate synth parts doing 80s pop or something". Some (a lot) of what I do is Piano, EP or Organ work but lot's of it is complex synth stuff with a few sequenced songs and lots of custom stuff (the female laugh at the beginning of Hungry Like The Wolf as an example).

 

I just don't see myself being 1) Able to pull off this much varied stuff with a simpler rig and 2) Willing to put in the time to keep 2 rigs current.

 

I love the Barryjam quote about everyone losing 20pts of IQ when equipment fails at a gig. SO TRUE!

 

Time to just nut up and buy another Kronos as a backup. The next issue with be with managing the K1 vs. K2 differences...

 

Yeah, that's why I had 2 exact duplicate rigs for that 80s band, same thing - complex sounds and setups with a few sequences.

 

I don't think the K1 vs K2 thing should be to bad, although that being said, why not get another used K1 so they are identical? It would be cheaper and easier to maintain.

 

 

I'll add: there are levels of acceptability. Given my 80s band as an example, generally I'm going to want to use my backup rig to make sure it's top notch. I got by with issues like the backlight out and another time my outputs went out so I ran the SPDIF through my laptop audio interface to conver to analog, along with some annoying latency, but it was abetted than another time when I rerouted everything to the aux outs and had no effects or volume control.

 

The set when my fusion crapped and my backup showed up the next break, we finished the set my moving in more of the guitar oriented stuff and skipped anything with a sequence.

 

Once we had back to back gigs to where we set up at the SECOND gig first, then went and did the first gig with a different rig all around - acoustic drums instead of electric, different guitar amp, etc, I set up enough patches on my XP50 to get through at. That limited the songs we could do, but it was a short gig. Threw the stuff in the car and walked onstage at the second gig in time to start.

 

So there are levels - complete backup, get by temporarily in an "oh shit" scenario, do a limited set "good enough" for the situation,. When I injured my hand we had to cut any sax songs, I didn't play guitar, which was fine since I was rhythm, and we cut songs that were impossible to cover with one hand. Quite a few patches I modified to play chords with one finger and things like that until I could play again. You do what you gotta do.

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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Another "plan for the worst, hope for the best" keyboard player here.

 

My usual rig is simple: 88 key weighted board below, clonewheel up above. If either one dies, the other could do 90% of what's required in the set list.

 

Since I've somehow turned into the sound guy, I'm now bringing plenty of self-powered PA gear for FOH and monitors. If my amp dies in the middle of the gig, one of those monitors becomes mine.

 

Spare cables, pedals and wall warts go without saying. Thinking about a spare small mixer, though.

 

BTW, can I rag on guitar players for a moment? They NEVER seem to bring spare gear, and act totally surprised when the inevitable happens.

 

An amp failure means they're now running through my keyboard rig. A simple cable or pedal failure becomes an immediate crisis.

 

Change strings on a regular basis? Why do that and miss the fun of breaking strings when playing? And not having a replacement?

 

Sheesh.

Want to make your band better?  Check out "A Guide To Starting (Or Improving!) Your Own Local Band"

 

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Once we had back to back gigs to where we set up at the SECOND gig first, then went and did the first gig with a different rig all around

 

I once had back to back gigs with no time in between to move gear, so I did the entire first gig on a keytar. :sick:

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