Best setup for gigging, including weighted/unweighted for piano and organ?


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Hi all

I had posted here asking for recommendations on a gigging keyboard for piano and organ sounds and got some great ideas, thanks again to those who responded. After checking a bunch of them out, I am reconsidering trying to get all in one reasonably priced keyboard that is not crazy heavy.

It seems silly to try to play the organ with weighted keys, or piano on unweighted. Yet many manufacturers combine all these sounds plus synths and then force you to choose between models that feature weighted, semi-weighted or unweighted keys.

Unless someone can point me to a keyboard that lets you toggle between these modes (I doubt it exists) I am now thinking that two keyboards would be a better way. One would offer a real piano feel and have voices for EP, piano, clavinet etc. The second would be unweighted for organ, synth, and also offer Leslie emulation and drawbars.

The priorities are top-notch weighted keys for the first, great sounds for both (covering vintage rock pianos and organs), easy setup/adjustment for live playing, weight, and the ability to add samples/VSTs. Of course, price too - possible to get two great keyboards covering this functionality (without a lot of overlap) for $3K or less? I currently have a Casio Privia 320 which is heavy and does not have great sounds, it is dated, although I like the key action.

Thanks for ideas, would love to put this to bed and get set up with the right gear.

Bob
 
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Check out a Roland FA 07 as a one shot keyboard for you, currently c$1650 USD.

Semi weighted so good for organ, synth and at least to me, acceptable for piano.

I have played one a few times and like it very much, but do avoid the 06 model which has a synth action.

Or you could up your budget for a Korg Kronos LS, it is another with semi weighted keys and it is the King of workstations imo that is.

Going the to keys route there is the brand new Roland RD 88 at $1200 that is getting great reviews and couple it with a Roland Juno DS 76 @ $900 plus a Ferrofish B4000 organ unit @$400 and you are sorted.

There is also the Numa Compact 2x to throw into the mix.

Other members will no doubt add to the options and like me, suggest you blow the budget.
 
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I currently have a Casio Privia 320 which is heavy and does not have great sounds, it is dated, although I like the key action.
The PX-320 is about 26 lbs, which is quite light for a hammer action board. I don't think you'll be able to shave more than a couple of pounds off that.
The priorities are top-notch weighted keys for the first
...and you've made it even harder because all the truly "top notch" piano actions are in boards that are heavier.
great sounds for both (covering vintage rock pianos and organs), easy setup/adjustment for live playing, weight, and the ability to add samples/VSTs.
There are quite a few boards that let you add samples, but VSTs can't be loaded onto anything except a computer. That said, some boards are better equipped to trigger sounds from a laptop/tablet than others are, so if you do want to be able to use VSTs, you may want to pick a board that is adept an integrating with a computer.

As for adding samples to boards, as I said, many boards can do it... but the exact implementations vary a lot. A keyboard might have less than 64 megabytes available for this, or more than two gigabytes. It may be able to load samples that trigger different sounds at different velocities, or it may only support one sample per key. For that matter, some let you load samples and play them across the full keyboard, while others are designed only to trigger samples from pads. So you need to be sure that a board that lets you load samples actually lets you do the specific thing you want to do with those samples.
One would offer a real piano feel and have voices for EP, piano, clavinet etc. The second would be unweighted for organ, synth, and also offer Leslie emulation and drawbars.
Do you have much need for emulating other acoustic instruments? Like strings, brass, winds, whatever?

My first thought (allowing for the fact that I'm missing the info I've mentioned above) would be to keep using your Casio, and put your entire budget to a Nord Stage 3 Compact, which you can set up so that you use its own keys for its organ/synth sounds on one "panel" while you use your Casio to trigger the piano/EP/clav sounds on its other "panel." Or at a lower price, I believe you can do something similar by combining your Casio with a Roland VR-09.
 
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Check out a Roland FA 07 as a one shot keyboard for you, currently c$1650 USD.

Semi weighted so good for organ, synth and at least to me, acceptable for piano.

I have played one a few times and like it very much, but do avoid the 06 model which has a synth action.

Or you could up your budget for a Korg Kronos LS, it is another with semi weighted keys and it is the King of workstations imo that is.

Going the to keys route there is the brand new Roland RD 88 at $1200 that is getting great reviews and couple it with a Roland Juno DS 76 @ $900 plus a Ferrofish B4000 organ unit @$400 and you are sorted.

There is also the Numa Compact 2x to throw into the mix.

Other members will no doubt add to the options and like me, suggest you blow the budget.
Thanks much!
 
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The PX-320 is about 26 lbs, which is quite light for a hammer action board. I don't think you'll be able to shave more than a couple of pounds off that.

...and you've made it even harder because all the truly "top notch" piano actions are in boards that are heavier.

There are quite a few boards that let you add samples, but VSTs can't be loaded onto anything except a computer. That said, some boards are better equipped to trigger sounds from a laptop/tablet than others are, so if you do want to be able to use VSTs, you may want to pick a board that is adept an integrating with a computer.

As for adding samples to boards, as I said, many boards can do it... but the exact implementations vary a lot. A keyboard might have less than 64 megabytes available for this, or more than two gigabytes. It may be able to load samples that trigger different sounds at different velocities, or it may only support one sample per key. For that matter, some let you load samples and play them across the full keyboard, while others are designed only to trigger samples from pads. So you need to be sure that a board that lets you load samples actually lets you do the specific thing you want to do with those samples.

Do you have much need for emulating other acoustic instruments? Like strings, brass, winds, whatever?

My first thought (allowing for the fact that I'm missing the info I've mentioned above) would be to keep using your Casio, and put your entire budget to a Nord Stage 3 Compact, which you can set up so that you use its own keys for its organ/synth sounds on one "panel" while you use your Casio to trigger the piano/EP/clav sounds on its other "panel." Or at a lower price, I believe you can do something similar by combining your Casio with a Roland VR-09.
Great tips, thanks!
 
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Here is a Casio light weight gig rig using PX5S 88 weighted key action (lower board) and upper board is a Casio XWP1 synth. The XWP1 is synth action keys which includes a pretty good organ set-up, especially if you run it through a Neo Ventilator leslie modeling pedal. The PX5S weighs about 25 lb and the XWP1 is about 11lbs. I gigged this rig for 6 years and will still use it on certain jobs. My other set-up is a Yamaha MOXF8 lower board and MOXF6 upper board. Both have additional memory which can be loaded I with different samples when desired. Good luck with your quest ! Don aka B3
 

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Here is a Casio light weight gig rig using PX5S 88 weighted key action (lower board) and upper board is a Casio XWP1 synth. The XWP1 is synth action keys which includes a pretty good organ set-up, especially if you run it through a Neo Ventilator leslie modeling pedal. The PX5S weighs about 25 lb and the XWP1 is about 11lbs. I gigged this rig for 6 years and will still use it on certain jobs. My other set-up is a Yamaha MOXF8 lower board and MOXF6 upper board. Both have additional memory which can be loaded I with different samples when desired. Good luck with your quest ! Don aka B3
Great tips, thanks!
 
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An alternative could be Macbook plus Main Stage, hence a software solution.

If you have an iPad then you could also download some of the free Apps and audition the sounds.

To my ears many are very good and since I have just bought a Yamaha P121 I have connected my iPad to it and this afternoon I have been playing many of my installed Apps in particular Music Studio (includes a host of vsts) and Galileo Organ 2 all were played via the keyboards speakers and then via my PreSonus powered speakers and I am more than happy with the sound quality.

Also do checkout the Ferrofish B4000+ organ module that may provide a solution to your organ requirements since finding a keyboard with drawbars is limited and potentially costly.
 
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Depending on the sounds that you need in the keyboard, if you purchased a midi module or something that can run from a ipad/tablet (if you're comfortable using that type of setup) then you might want to consider a keyboard who's keybed meets your needs, then the sounds would be sourced midi through the module and the keybed would be whatever keyboard has a keybed that you are comfortable with. As an example, the Gemini module (link), for me, has every sound that I need except for saxophone. So as long as I don't need a sax I could take that module and use whatever keyboard I wanted to use to trigger it. I could even have a couple of different controllers, one that has full weighted keys (for piano centric gigs); a different keyboard that has an action for organ playing (organ centric gig); a semi-weighted controller for gigs where I might use a combination of all sounds.

Something to consider.....
 
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Always 2 boards. One weighted, one semi/synth.

With midi you can normally play sounds from either board, on either keys.

I use an fa07, but cant play piano on it, hence having a stage piano as well.
 

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