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#2007443 - 01/01/13 12:00 PM Best setup for the casual gigging musician??
staric Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/28/12
Posts: 4
This may not be the forum for this sort of inquiry but I thought I'd give it a stab. I play part-time for fun in a cover band - mostly classic rock and party tunes. I've been using a Yamaha s80 (straigh into the amp/PA - no other sound sources, effects, etc.) for about the last 8 or 9 years and have been pretty happy with it but it is getting a bit beat up so I'm thinking about getting a whole new setup. Problem is, I'm not much of a gearhead and don't even know where to start, or even if I should be looking at just a new keyboard, more of a software solution, or some kind of mix.

My priorities are probably:
1. Good sounds, of course. I mostly use piano and organ. Some brass and strings. I have no use for the hundreds of odd-ball sounds on my s80.
2. Ability to split/layer sounds easily, and the capacity to have a bunch of saved split/layer combinations, as well as the ability to access them very quickly (my band is horrible about sticking to a setlist and I constantly find myself fumbling around for the right patches, settings, etc.). I don't need to be able to do the splitting/layering on the fly mid-gig, of course.
3. User friendly. Quite frankly, I don't have time and am not interested in spending a lot of time creating sounds, fussing with all sorts of stuff. I need a good bank of sounds and to be able to set up the keyboard the way I need it for a song pretty quickly and easily - see #2 above.
4. I am partial to a weighted action. Doesn't have to be fully weighted but I am not interested in a real light action.

It seems to me that the initial question is whether I should simply replacing my keyboard, or if I should be considering other solutions - like a controller with one or more external sound banks, or a controller and some sort of computer setup, or something else I might not even be thinkig of. Then the quesetion would turn to specific recommendations.

Would really appreciate any guidance anyone might offer.

FYI and FWIW, I don't really care at all about being able to record myself, I don't need (or need to be able to create) drum rhythms, etc. Anything like that that is very simple to use might be a nice bonus - but still nothing I would miss if I don't have it.



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#2007453 - 01/01/13 12:38 PM Re: Best setup for the casual gigging musician?? [Re: staric]
peterws Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 6051
Loc: Northern England.
Sounds like you need one with a good and accessible memory so you can store settings you regularly use, and access them easily. If you find one, let me know . . . at the moment, about 8 banks of 4 easily accessible seems as good as it gets on a self contained piano keyboard.
"I am not a man. I am a free number"


#2007459 - 01/01/13 12:55 PM Re: Best setup for the casual gigging musician?? [Re: peterws]
Charles Cohen Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 3514
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
at the moment, about 8 banks of 4 easily accessible seems as good as it gets on a self contained piano keyboard.

The Casio PX-350 allows 96 "registrations" -- combinations of tones, layers, splits, reverb, etc. There are 4 "areas" (each one has a button), 24 "banks" (scroll through the banks with up/down keys, and 10x up-down keys).

I don't know how that compares to other keyboards in its class. And I don't know whether it would be a good choice for a frequently-moved keyboard.

But what you're asking for, isn't hard to find. Technology has improved, and memory is really cheap.

. charles
. Charles
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker

#2007477 - 01/01/13 01:33 PM Re: Best setup for the casual gigging musician?? [Re: Charles Cohen]
peterws Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 6051
Loc: Northern England.
Thanks for that Charles. Sounds good . . .
"I am not a man. I am a free number"


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#2007479 - 01/01/13 01:46 PM Re: Best setup for the casual gigging musician?? [Re: staric]
knotty Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 3041
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Gotta try the Kawai MP6. Setting up splits and layers is easy and the action's great.

#2007572 - 01/01/13 05:04 PM Re: Best setup for the casual gigging musician?? [Re: staric]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3934
What's the budget?

#2007621 - 01/01/13 06:51 PM Re: Best setup for the casual gigging musician?? [Re: staric]
fizikisto Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 1532
Loc: Hernando, MS
Obviously I'm a fan of the Nord Stage 2. It may be out of the range of your budget, but it can definitely meet all the things you need.

It has some wonderful sampled pianos (grands, uprights, electrics, etc..) and the great thing about the board is you can download different pianos from nord's website to replace the ones that come with the board. You're not limited to the sounds the board ships with. For example, nord just released a new sample of a Fazioli Grand piano that is beautiful.

It also has your organ needs covered. Arguably the best hammond B3 emulation available on a digital keyboard with full drawbar controls for shaping the sound, rotary emulation, etc.. You can easily split the keyboard to simulate an upper and lower manual with different drawbar settings, etc... Oh, and it also has a full vox continental emulation (also with drawbar support) and a farfisa organ (with all the tone switches emulated).

The synth section has very good brass and string samples available among other things. Again you can download lots of different samples from nords website, and all the samples can be tweaked by running them through the synth engine. You can also use the free software that comes with the Nord to create keymaps for your own samples and load them onto the instrument.

Splits and layers are incredibly easy to set up, and there are tons of available slots for storing preconfigured patches. It's very easy to use to access all the patches you need.

Also, the 88 key Hammer action model (the heaviest) only weighs about 40 pounds. Nords are all hand made, and built like tanks.

They're designed with gigging musicians in mind, all the controls are directly accessible (no need to go digging around through sub menus to find what you want). Therefore there are a lot of knobs and buttons on the thing which can be intimidating, but if you spend an hour going through the manual following along with the directions to set up splits and such, you'll find that it's a very intuitive keyboard to use.

Anyway, if it's in your budget, might be worth looking at. smile
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

#2007676 - 01/01/13 09:02 PM Re: Best setup for the casual gigging musician?? [Re: fizikisto]
PossumES8SP280 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/23/10
Posts: 726
What about looking at the Korg Krome either 73 or 88?
Now, the action, their Natural Hammer one is not for everyone but the sounds are superb.

Although I enjoy my PX350, I would not totally endorse the B3 sounds.
Roland Juno Gi
Casio PX-130
Korg Krome 61
Korg SP280
Kawai ES8
Rokit KRK 6 monitors
MXL V67G microphone

#2007694 - 01/01/13 09:30 PM Re: Best setup for the casual gigging musician?? [Re: staric]
Dr Popper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/09
Posts: 1722
Loc: Hancock Park LA (not again)
Lets see ...from a s80 .... the current model of your board is the s90XS and nothing at all wrong with it. In fact it's pretty damm good and can be had quite cheaply these days. That said it's nearly 4 years old and technology has moved along. The latest is the Korg Krome, Yamaha have the MOX series which only has 64 poly but it's pretty good. Roland have nothing to report at the moment but that will change. On the high end there are the proper stage pianos, Roland RD-300/700NX, Yamaha CP-50/5, Kawai MP-6 but you will be giving up some sounds (although the CP-5 has a lot of your s80's sounds) or the Workstations (Motif XF, Kronos). The we have the Nord Stage 2 which is probably the best current all rounder performance board out there (and would do a great job fitting every single one of your criteria perfectly) but its $$$$ ! (but worth it). At the top of the performance board heap is the Roland Jupiter 80 ... but the interface is a steep learning curve and it only has 76 keys and a synth action but it is THE best sounding keyboard on the market (the Brass and strings are simply the best ever in any board and the SN AP's are state of the art). If it was up to me considering you currently play a s80 I'd be looking to get a s90XS .... forget the $2k plus list prices... they can be had MUCH cheaper (or a Korg Krome 88 if your willing to relearn a lot of stuff) and adding a Roland Integra 7 rack module which would give you essentialy a Jupiter 80 (plus about another 7000 sounds) as well. Setting up the Integra 7 using master mode on the s90xs is a fairly straightforward exercise and your live rig would then be able to handle anything you can throw at it in a reasonable fashion. Of course if your willing to splash the cash the Nord Stage 2 /Integra 7 combo would be about the best money could buy.

Edited by Dr Popper (01/01/13 09:44 PM)
"I'm still an idiot and I'm still in love" - Blue Sofa - The Plugz 1981 (Tito Larriva)
Disclosure : I am professionally associated with Arturia but my sentiments are my own only.

#2007890 - 01/02/13 10:17 AM Re: Best setup for the casual gigging musician?? [Re: anotherscott]
staric Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/28/12
Posts: 4
This is all really great advice - super-helpful. Please keep it coming! Seems like the general consensus is just get a new keyboard, and the specific recs are most appreciated.

Originally Posted By: anotherscott
What's the budget?

I should have mentioned in my original post, my budget is probably in the $1500 to $2500 range.

#2007947 - 01/02/13 12:24 PM Re: Best setup for the casual gigging musician?? [Re: staric]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3934
Originally Posted By: staric
I should have mentioned in my original post, my budget is probably in the $1500 to $2500 range.

For a fully weighted action, the aforementioned Kawai MP6 would be worth looking at. Also, I think, the forthcoming Kurzweil SP5-8. Since you're also open to a non fully weighted action as long as its not too light, I would consider the Roland VR-700 and Roland Jupiter 50. Both have unweighted actions that are more usable for piano than most unweighted actions are. The Jupiter 50 is far more flexible, and its lower weight and bulk make it easier to carry around, but the VR-700 is a bit simpler, has better organ functionality, and possibly the better feeling keybed.

You also might want to consider a pair of keyboards. This can give you a weighted action for piano and an unweighted action for organ, more total flexibility (essentially being able to "split and layer" over far more keys), and backup at a gig in case one fails or gets damaged. Total price and total carrying weight can still be very manageable.

For example, a Casio PX-350 combined with a Casio XW-P1 might do what you need. Or a Yamaha P-35 combined with a Hammond SK1.

#2007999 - 01/02/13 02:01 PM Re: Best setup for the casual gigging musician?? [Re: staric]
Kbeaumont Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/10
Posts: 424
Loc: Virginia, USA
I would suggest a MOX8 combined with a Casio XW-P1 both are light and the two put you at about $2k together. The CASIO has a lot of versatility in that it has 3 sound engines. Combined with a ventilator the organ is very useable in the XW-P1 and the synth sounds are really good. That is the combination I currently use. Though I also swap the MOX8 for my Korg SV1 73 when space is tight.
A long long time ago, I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile....

#2587485 - 11/15/16 01:49 PM Re: Best setup for the casual gigging musician?? [Re: staric]
Please don't capo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/14/16
Posts: 1
What did you end up getting?


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