Looking for live performance setup (newbie here)


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Ok, I am a classically-trained piano player who is about to form a cover band with several friends/acquaintances. We are very serious about performing and delivering a quality product on stage.

Right, now I have a 10-year-old 88-key digital piano (Roland FP-9). I need something that has way more sound capability. Many of the songs we'll be playing are modern pop favorites so it is important that I am able to mimic a lot of the sounds and effects that are in the actual recording of the originals.

Being a newbie to this, I have no idea what a typical stage setup looks like. For example, how does one switch between different sounds on the fly? I'd think newer keyboards would have one-touch programmable buttons for different sound profiles (for example, the left half of the keyboard is one sound and the right half is another). Or perhaps these different sound profiles can be controlled via pedals. I don't know. You'll have to forgive me if I'm not using proper terminology also. I hope someone can lead me in the right direction so I can buy the proper gear to make this work.

I have roughly $3000 to spend, but I have no idea what a typical average stage setup would cost.

Do I need just one keyboard that does all of what I need? Do I pair my existing digital piano with something else (a synthesizer)? How do they interface and interact with each other?

Thanks for reading!
 
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happyrat1

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Possible candidates include Nord Stage, Kurzweil Artis or the new Artis SE coming out soon or a used SP5-8.

Generally speaking most workstations and stage pianos can store user registrations and bring them back with one or two button presses as well as offering the option to program a pedal to cycle thru the sounds of your set with each footpress.

Anyway, I think any of those would get you off to a good start and if you had to, you could always add something like a King Korg to the second tier to gain additional synth sounds.

Gary
 
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Welcome aboard PBlast! Im really partial to the 88 key workstations. I use a Yamaha Motif XS8 and find it very versatile. The Roland Fantoms are another great choice, and like Gary said, the Nords are out of this world. On my Motif, I can program my presets to go from a Wurly to a lap steel guitar with 1 push of a button instead of scrolling through the sound library. Im sure most synths/workstations can do that.
Test drive a few models and get an ear for what you like. Personally...I think Kurzweil has the best piano sounds. Yamaha has the best Rhodes and Wurlitzer EPs. Great sounding pads too. I really do not have much experience with Korg products so I cannot really give an opinion about them.
The only drawback to a workstation is they are cumbersome to lug around.
Good luck and keep us posted on what you decide on!

Bob
 

happyrat1

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Actually your mentioning Korg also brought up two more possibilities.

The Korg Kross 88 and the Korg Krome 88.

Much cheaper than the others I mentioned and the Kross is extremely lightweight which makes it excellent for gigging.

I realize it's probably impossible to audition all of these in person but there are lots of good manufacturer demos online at their official websites as well as on Youtube.

Those should help you with narrowing the field somewhat.

I've been told that both Korg and Roland use Yamaha keybeds in their gear while Kurzweil uses Fatar in case you have any preferences or prejudices. Not sure what Nord uses though.

Gary
 
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Thanks for the all the responses. It's highly appreciated!

Any thoughts on the Yamaha MOXF8?

Also, I'd love to have pedals to control the switching of sounds or even on-the-fly effects. Any recommendations there?
 
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I've not used the MOXF8 but it comes up well in reviews - looks a very good 'board to me.

On the subject of using pedals to switch sounds, This is really easy to set up on Korg keyboards, I'm not too sure about other brands, but I imagine it's probably pretty similar across the board. Personally I'm a bit old school and use my fingers to push the buttons, but both my Korgs have the capability of letting you cycle through your "favourites" with the flick of a foot switch - any generic switch pedal with the correct polarity will do it. All you would need to do is set up your favourites in the correct order for your set.

Beware: Guitarists/vocalists do not understand the massive level of inconvenience they cause us humble keyboard players with "on the fly" set list changes, as their rock star whims dictate from time to time. So you either need to give them the Death Glare* to non-vocally advise them that the set list change ain't gonna be happening, or be prepared to adjust pretty quickly. This is why I prefer button pushing to foot switching, but that's just me - it's a very cool idea and leaves your fingers free to play your amazing keyboard licks.

*Death Glare should not be used without proper training and in a controlled environment, lest you reduce your guitarist to ash mid-set. Sometimes desirable but not always legally convenient.
 
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So I pulled the trigger on the MOXF8 and so far, I love it. However, I purchased this unit in mind knowing that I'd likely need a 2nd board (to fit into my $3K budget). There are some songs that I play where I would need quick access to 3 or 4 different sounds simultaneously and would prefer them not all on the same keyboard. So I need some ideas for a 2nd keyboard. It doesn't have to be 88-key. In fact, I'm looking for something in the 25 to 49 key range. I just need it for my "oddball" sounds, sound effects, etc. Many of these would need to be imported (e.g. from WAV files). I know that a midi controller + laptop & software will meet my needs, but I want to keep my setup as simple as possible and would want something I can simply "plug and play" in a live setup without having to worry about the added complexities and risk of a software setup.

Bottom line -- I need a 25 to 49 key keyboard (w/drum pads, preferably) where I can load my own sounds (WAV files), save them to the keyboard's memory (or SD card, flash drive, etc), and be able to play them on the fly.

Thanks!
 

happyrat1

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If money's no object I'd say Kurzweil PC3K6.

Money's tight though and the Casio XW-G1 may fit the bill for under $500 USD.


Gary ;)
 
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Bottom line -- I need a 25 to 49 key keyboard (w/drum pads, preferably) where I can load my own sounds (WAV files), save them to the keyboard's memory (or SD card, flash drive, etc), and be able to play them on the fly.

I know it's not precisely what you asked, but just for the sake of providing some further info, I do exactly the above in one of my bands using an iPad. Mine's an old iPad 2, and I use Sample Lab as a sample pad, and there are any number of outstanding synth apps you can get. You can easily hook your iPad up to a midi controller using a Camera Connection Kit if you wish.

I use it live and have no qualms, it is very robust and hasn't let me down yet. The iPad sits attached to a music stand. The beauty of this option is it's dirt cheap, assuming you already own an iPad.

Cheers,

Paul
 
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I know it's not precisely what you asked, but just for the sake of providing some further info, I do exactly the above in one of my bands using an iPad. Mine's an old iPad 2, and I use Sample Lab as a sample pad, and there are any number of outstanding synth apps you can get. You can easily hook your iPad up to a midi controller using a Camera Connection Kit if you wish.

I use it live and have no qualms, it is very robust and hasn't let me down yet. The iPad sits attached to a music stand. The beauty of this option is it's dirt cheap, assuming you already own an iPad.

Cheers,

Paul

I actually have an iPad 2. This suggestion is very intriguing, and yes, would be very cheap. Question -- Does the iPad stay charged via the camera connection kit to the keyboard's USB?

Thanks.
 
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Sorry for my newbie question, but ....How does the actual sound get output from either the midi controller or iPad?
 
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I actually have an iPad 2. This suggestion is very intriguing, and yes, would be very cheap. Question -- Does the iPad stay charged via the camera connection kit to the keyboard's USB?

No the iPad will not charge while you have it set up via the Camera Connection Kit. But I find that if I turn flight mode off on my iPad and ensure no other apps are running, mine gets through a three hour gig and only loses about 10-20% charge along the journey, so you should have no issues at all here. I ensure it is charged up to 100% the night before just to be sure, if I ever forget I get some charge into it at sound check.

Sorry for my newbie question, but ....How does the actual sound get output from either the midi controller or iPad?

To output the sound from the iPad, you simply plug a cable into the headphone jack on the iPad, which goes into your mixer/speakers/whatever you're using.
 

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