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Multi key live setup


SimpleWill

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Ok Im doing research for a bandmate.

Here's the scenario.

He has a rhodes, a clav, a hammond xb2 and a digital piano.

What would be the best live setup for amplification for this type of rig?

several amps? keys>mixer>pa?

We're looking for ease of use, reliability, portability, functionality.

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Well..... I can't imagine having 4 keyboards on stage with me (I can hardly imagine having two!!) But anyway, I'd probably go with a small mixer and then send the output to the PA (Assuming that you have a PA.... or will be playing places that will have one, if not you'll have to get some powered speakers or some cabs and an amp) I'd go with a small mixer over a bunch of amps because its less gear to carry around, plus you can have ALL the volume, EQ, etc controls right in front of you. From what I've seen in small mixers, I would say go for the Mackie 1202 VLZ Pro.... this way you have 4 stereo inputs for the keys, and even 4 mic inputs to spare. If you go to www.bpmmusic.com they have this mixer for $329, a marked discount from what other places will charge you..... I'm planning to buy this mixer fairly soon to sub-mix a whole band with. Just my $.02

 

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John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son; that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I use 4 keyboards on stage, and gig almost every weekend. I'm still working on my final solution for easy setup/teardown, but I'll share what I do now. My biggest issue is my monitoring. I absolutely MUST have full control over my own monitor levels, without relying on the sound guy to set my monitor levels. I also trust the front-of house guy to set the levels of each keyboard seperately, instead of sending out one final keyboard mix to the front.

 

I use a rack-mount 4 channel Direct box to serve as the splitter between the front of the house and my personal monitoring rig. (I had a local music store build this DI for me for $150) In a rack that I keep within arms reach, my personal monitor rig consists a 12-channel behringer mixer and a Crown power amp, output to an EV wedge.

 

The four 1/4" outputs from the keys go to the DI box. From the DI box, the front-of-house gets 4 mic cable outputs to the house snake, one per keyboard. The four 1/4" outputs from the DI box each go to their own channel on my mixer. My mixer also gets my vocal mic, which is also split to the front-of house via a Y-cable.

 

With this setup, I have full control over the monitor levels of EACH keyboard from the mixer (as well as my vocals!), without pissing off the sound guy by changing the levels directly from the synths. I can adjust my monitor levels all I want, and the sound guy retains full control of each synth's level for the front mix too.

 

I have elimintated some of the time-consuming cabling by permanently patching many connections, and made up looms of cables for the rest. I can get all 4 keys setup, wired, and be doing sound check within 30 minutes.

 

My next project is to build a custom patch panel to feed all keyboards to ONE multi-pin rectangular plug, and keep all keyboards in their travel cases hard-wired to a patch bacy. Then, I just plug in one or two multi-pin cables to get everything wired... :-)

 

-Gregg

-Gregg

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Greg's setup is similar to mine although I only use 2 or 3 keyboards. What some of the guys around the town I live in have started to do is use ear buds instead of wedge monitors. They plug them into their personal stage mixer. This only works if the stage monitoring system has the ability to have multiple monitor mixes. You need a separate keyboard send to the monitor system in case the rest of the band might what to hear you & transversely, you will need a send of of the other players instruments & vocals are doing, although there is usually enough blow by to hear some stuff. Some of the bands are having the guitar & bass players play into processors & the drums are triggering a synth. This elimates any stage sound, feedback, etc.

 

Yorkville makes a really nice 6 channel stereo keyboard combo amp. I think its 200 watts RMS. I use a 3 channel one.Yorkville are cheap & reliable. 2 year unconditional warranty. To get a better sound I would have to go to rack like Greg's. Stay away from Peavey.

Steve

 

www.seagullphotodesign.com

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When I played out I found that I couldn't function with less than 3 physical boards (1 of which was a controller) and 2 modules. For my mixing, I used a BiAmp Mixpack 6+, using the main outs (amplified) to drive my speaker onstage and sent the monitor out to a Radio Shack Barrel Connector 1/4 in/balanced out, which then plugged into the snake. The reason for that was I contolled the mix of sounds, I controlled the timbre of each sound (the FOH guy we had, though fabulous, only had master volume, low, mid and hi control of the keys) and what was heard was what I wanted.

 

I figured that if I spent a gazillion hours tweaking and balancing all my programs to exactly what I wanted, I didn't want the soundman muddying it up with the soundboard controls.

 

It was great for portability: 1 mixer/amp, (which was rackmounted) 1 speaker, 1 connector. it was on my left side, and I was on stage left. The speaker acted as a side throw and sent the sound across the stage to me bandmates.

Setup: Korg Kronos 61, Roland XV-88, Korg Triton-Rack, Motif-Rack, Korg N1r, Alesis QSR, Roland M-GS64 Yamaha KX-88, KX76, Roland Super-JX, E-Mu Longboard 61, Kawai K1II, Kawai K4.
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I use 3 boards on stage. 2 problems exist as I see it.

1. All the piano samples around today are stereo and sound terrible when played in a mono system.

2. If you use the organ for more than just an occasional filler pad the on board leslie simulator will never satisfy or provide the inspiration you need to perform your best chops.

 

My current solution:

I have 2 450 Mackie powered monitors. When we use our own system I run them into 2 of the Aux. busses on the 1604 Mackie mixer and pan the aux feeds back to me in stereo. I run the piano and synth into DI's and over to the 1604.

When we use a house system I use the 1604 to mix my own eqipment and send that via DI's to the house. B3fiend, I like that split DI idea. That sounds like something somebody should be marketing.

 

For the organ, I run it into a Trek11 leslie preamp and then to a 122 leslie. I know, who wants to drag that around? But, really it isn't that bad. I have a hand cart and we put it last in the van. When you put it in or out of the van I grab one of the Marshall speaker cabinet handles I installed on each side and slide it off the back of the van right into the waiting hand truck and wheel it right in to the stage. Seldom any heavy lifting involved.

I mike the leslie with a pair of 57's and run them into DI's. If neccessary I will feed their signal back to the Mackie monitors, but since we prefer to keep the stage volume as low as possible, I tend to use the leslie alone for my organ monitor and force everyone else to adjust their volumes accordingly. This works out very well for us in keeping control of stage volume.

 

I am very happy with what I have now. I get the mix I need and don't have to be overbearing on everyone elses monitor mix. We did a small club gig with our system and a big concert with a monsterous hired sound system this weekend and both worked out great. Even with the concert situation I was able to use just the leslie for my stage monitor. JW

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BTT because I really liked this thread and would love to hear more of how the players worked out their live rigs.

 

..Joe

Setup: Korg Kronos 61, Roland XV-88, Korg Triton-Rack, Motif-Rack, Korg N1r, Alesis QSR, Roland M-GS64 Yamaha KX-88, KX76, Roland Super-JX, E-Mu Longboard 61, Kawai K1II, Kawai K4.
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Originally posted by SimpleWill:

Ok Im doing research for a bandmate.

Here's the scenario.

He has a rhodes, a clav, a hammond xb2 and a digital piano.

What would be the best live setup for amplification for this type of rig?

several amps? keys>mixer>pa?

We're looking for ease of use, reliability, portability, functionality.

 

 

The JBL EON's are nice. Powered, good sounding, not too heavy. The EON Pak 15 is great for keyboards, and if you need to be in stereo, get two.

The EON Pak 15 is a bi-amplified two-way high power compact PA and musical instrument amplifier, provides 3 inputs with individual level controls without the need for an external mixer. It also features a 4 band equalizer. It's internally bi-amplified, with a discrete 130 watt low frequency amplifier and a 50 watt high frequency amplifier built directly into the speaker cabinet.

I've used them on a few different occasions and they sound great

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Originally posted by steadyb:

The JBL EON's are nice. Powered, good sounding, not too heavy. The EON Pak 15 is great for keyboards, and if you need to be in stereo, get two.

 

...and if you want decent bass response, get the newer model, the EON G2. The original ones were kinda lacking in that area, IMO.

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

Professional Affiliations: Royer LabsMusic Player Network

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Cool thread. I was going to say that his setup of Rhodes, clav, XB, and digital piano doesn't seem to be the right start for a portable setup. But now that I'm gigging more, I'm realizing that I absolutely HATE changing programs and using modules. I use two controllers, and maybe I just really need to master every aspect of them to get the most of the quick program changes I need. But since one of them is a Roland A80 then that's out of the question. NOBODY will ever figure that out completely.

 

Anyway, I think the four keyboard setup will allow me to be more creative and spontaneous I would think, though at the price of portability. Add to that a couple of Amps...the ear monitors sound like a solution, but doesn't that block you out of the on stage energy and constant communication you need with the other musicians, especially when you're the MD?

 

Raul

Raul
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I've only done a handful of live gigs, most of which were nonsense related. For the most part I've tried to bring as few keyboards/modules/etc as possible only because I'm lazy and don't feel like setting up all that gear for a small set. If I ever did anything serious I'd probably bring all 4 of my keys, if not because I would use them, then at least because it would "look" like I was some keyboard god on stage with all of this gear.

 

In the name of all that is ridiculous,

One of a number of Kevins

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If you've got money and roadies, I would run each keyboard through its own tube amp. Otherwise, I would run them all into a small mixer, and then into one tube amp. If you've got the sense to use such fine vintage gear(rhodes, clav), you want it to sound good, so send it through the tubes. You do use it because you care about your sound, right? Then, utilize the mixer to have control over individual volumes and EQs. If you're going to lug all that great gear around, don't stop there and run direct...it sounds like shit. You might as well just use one big digital hunk of crap if you're going to run it all direct.

 

Hope this helps...

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Originally posted by flamer:

If you've got money and roadies, I would run each keyboard through its own tube amp.

 

Wow - who makes a tube keyboard amp??? I've been trying to talk a few different companies into making one for years!!!! They all tell me that no one would buy it.

 

Or, are you just saying to use a guitar amp a la Emo and Jon Lord?

 

Do you really use one per keyboard? I'm impressed!

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

Professional Affiliations: Royer LabsMusic Player Network

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