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Rig update and mini-gig review: Priority Lounge@O2 Arena


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I have searched for many months for an affordable, not too heavy, hammer-action 7x controller:

- I dont want to spend a fortune on just a controller if it has built-in sounds, thats fine, but I wont be using them

- Im getting old and dont want the shlep

- I need something I can express myself, so the action has to be "acceptable".

- 88s dont easily fit in my car

Having finally confirmed that nothing fits the bill, Ive had to compromise. I played a Yamaha Piaggero NP32 in a store, and rather liked it. No 5-pin MIDI though, so I acquired a s/h NP30 for a fairly small sum. Last night was the first gig experience with the NP30.


First things first it fits in the car with 2in to spare, despite the speakers at the side. (A standard 88 such as a Nord Piano wouldnt fit). However, I need to get a closer-fitting case I took it in a well-padded 88 DP case that I had around, and that need to be crushed down to fit in the car. This case is on order:https://www.musik-produktiv.co.uk/soundwear-protector-25125.html


The gig was at a lovely venue a hospitality lounge in Londons O2 Arena. It was actually the Christmas party for the staff there. (Not to derail my own thread, but you can imagine they dont hire ugly people to work at that kind of venue). Complimentary food and drink, plus a cool vibe at the venue crowd very friendly and supportive. But its a long drive plus parking is a little way away (5-10minute walk). I was able to get my Nord and a stand on my trolley, the NP30 in my other hand and a bag of cables/pedals over my shoulder. Here's a pic of the rig set up:



As you can see, the front edge of my NS2 rests on the front panel of NP30 - I've stuck some neoprene there to hold everything steady. The NP30 definitely likes a light touch. Its responsive and expressive, with rather unsubtle grading that makes the lower keys heavier than the upper. (TBH Id quite like the heavy weighting all the way up and down). But it does bottom out quite hard. Ill have to see how I cope with that this was the reason for not spending too much. If I need to move it on, I can get what I paid for it.


Disaster (well, inconvenience) struck halfway through the second of three sets. One of my pedals broke (not the first time I had attempted a repair a few years ago and it broke down the same fault line). So I had no sustain on my Nord luckily my downstairs-sustain pedal still worked, which is more heavily used. But the faulty pedal did make things more difficult I do sometimes sustain e.g. a strings line upstairs to free up two hands for a piano lick, which I had to compromise on for half of this gig.



Pedal is now repaired, Im expecting a new case, and I hope to hold on to the NP30 for the inconvenience gigs with long walks to/from the stage. But Im still holding out for an expressive 7x hammer-action board at south of, say $800-$1000. Someone, make me happy...


Cheers, Mike


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