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need advice on getting started as a live keyboard playe

nice subject, eh?
i've been switching gears into electronic/dance/club/disco/trance/etc. music within my studio. now i've been asked to play keyboards and do my studio thing with an interesting rock band.
also, another group more electronic/loop related is getting formed with gig ptoential.

so my burning question now is... what to use?
i use a Mac with Pro Tools now- not very portable or tough for transporting around. i also have a Fatar controller+MRRack sound module.
i'm thinking a laptop with certain software and a firewire type i/o interface(or built-in audio outs to start).
i have some soft synths like B4, Absynth, Unity, Koblo...
i've heard Recycle is good.
what do looper/dj/sampler maestros use?
what's a good place to start?


Nate Tschetter Wed, 03/27/2002 - 06:37
Hi Felix

Although computers are better, cheaper and faster these days than they used to be, _I_ still can't fathom taking one out to a gig. But that's just me. If you're touring with a tech and backup, sure, no problem. Without that, things that have the potential to go south, will...eventually.

When I play, I bring two keyboards. The main one is a Yamaha S80. The second one depends on the gig. When I'm doing jazz gigs and I know I'll be soloing, I bring a Yamaha VL1. For my funk, R&B and Latin gigs, I'll bring a Yamaha EX5. I like having the weighted action for playing piano and the unweighted for synth, organ, clav, etc.

For amplification, I've been using a single JBL G2 EON. If we need more monitoring, I'll bring two or one G2 and a single 10" EON. I've also used the Yamaha MS150s although I've pretty much beat the living shit out of mine. Motion Sound has a nice (and expensive) amp with a rotating horn and a stereo cabinet - useful if you're doing organ gigs and no B3/Leslie is around. There are other manufacturers of keyboard amps like Roland, Barbetta, etc.

In your situation, I would get a decent sampler and record the sound of the softsynths into that. Then you can play them without having to have your computer there. E-mu has a pretty cool system where if you have an E4 or 5000 you can burn your own custom ROMs and stick them into any of their keyboards/tone modules. That's really not a bad way to go. Then you don't even have to worry about someone puilling the power plug on the sampler and losing your RAM contents.

Let us know what you end up getting.

Member Thu, 03/28/2002 - 10:20
my advice is to get a synth workstation with a sampler like the triton. Load all your samples set up multiple splits and then put everything else on a minidisc and feed the drummer with a mix with a click in his monitor. Also play live as much as you can. there is no need to bring computer based daw's on the road unless you have a tech and it is a major gig. Like madonna. You only need one keyboard with a module these days.

Member Fri, 03/29/2002 - 06:42
ok, so i'm dropping the computer idea.
what is a good cheaper sampler to get started with? i have a keyboard controller already.
EMU and AKAI look great. there are many models, some in the $1000 or less range, esp. when used.
i need a list of the prime candidates to run through to make the search a little easier. also, knowing the key features to be aware of...
one nice thing i'd like for studio use is digital i/o.
(i'm still in heavy debt for the last batch of "world-class" studio gear i bought a year ago. for now, i need to find a sampler that is economical!) - the RNC of samplers, the SM58 of samplers, the Distressor of samplers....

Nate Tschetter Fri, 03/29/2002 - 07:50
Hi Felix

You're already hot on the chase. I'd recommend either the Emu or the Akai. Both seem to be the survivors of the "sampler wars". As I said earlier, if you have an E4 (mb the 5000 does this too, not sure) you can burn your own ROMs and put it in one of the cheaper new keyboards (like the PK6). Then the sampler can always stay put and you just lug the keyboard around for gigs.