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DP Dilemma (first world problems)
#2860799 06/20/19 09:45 AM
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Hi,

Long time lurker, first time poster here. Am currently stuck on the horns of a dilemma and would be really interested to get input from anyone as feel like have been going around in circles a bit.

Am what would describe as a competent piano player, but nothing more. For the past few years I have been playing entirely at home, using a hammer action midi controiller (Keylab 88) and have now a really good collection of VST via my iMac. Recently few family and friends have been trying to encourage me to play live, and also have a gigging opportunity with a local band.

The dilemma I have is whether to go with the midi controller/laptop option or invest in a stage piano - however this would need to be a faiirly expansive system - something like the RD2000 - as a lot of the piano stuff I play or will be playing is often layered with other sounds or supllementing other instrument.

The problem is I have limited budget of around £2000 and I don't currently have a laptop. So I kind of need to pick one route or the other - option a) laptop and Midi, or option b) stage piano on its own.

Pros and cons as I see it
Option A) make use of midi controller (which to my limited ability feels good to play and has loads of mapping options) and my VSTs which to my ears, sounds better (certainly on non piano sounds) than most Stage pianos have tried/heard. Plus I have Main Stage and Ableton which am OK working with as part of a set. BUT you're then relying on one device, which if goes down means you're done. And I do miss the 'hands on' feel of just turning on an instrument and jamming away. Also I don't see that many people on stage going down the Midi route which makes me feel more nervous about it, (feel my bandmates will laugh me off stage!) plus investing in a laptop doesn't satisfy my GAS!

The ideal option would be to replace the Midi controller with something like the RD2000 and hook up to a laptop for VSTs when needed - therefore having best of both worlds, but that's more than can afford at this point in time.

Any thoughts/advice would be amazingly appreciated

CR

Re: DP Dilemma (first world problems)
Crusaderrabbit #2860822 06/20/19 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Crusaderrabbit
The ideal option would be to replace the Midi controller with something like the RD2000 and hook up to a laptop for VSTs when needed - therefore having best of both worlds, but that's more than can afford at this point in time.

While I have no advice on your dilemma (whose pros and cons you seem to already have a good handle on), my thought is that maybe you can get your "ideal" option within budget. Something with good enough sounds for you to use by itself when desired but can also be used with a laptop to get the best sounds when you want to, yet still stay in budget. Could you get, for example, a Kurzweil SP6 and a laptop and stay in budget? If that's too much, you could look at less expensive boards like Casio PX-5S, Korg Kross 2 (88), Roland Juno DS-88. You can increase the number of available controls for VST control by adding something like a Korg NanoKontrol. These boards don't offer everything the RD-2000 does, but they may offer "enough" especially if you have the option of supplementing with laptop when called for. Maybe get the laptop first (to use with your Keylab), but with an eye toward replacing (at least for gigging use) the Arturia with something else that would not leave you dependent on having to use the laptop in all scenarios.

You could also think about using the Arturia AND another keyboard (which would not have to be hammer action), which could also be a sound source for the Arturia. Then you'd have all kinds of options depending on your needs at the time... Arturia+laptop, Arturia+2nd board, 2nd board alone, 2nd board+laptop, Arturia+laptop+2nd board. Since the 2nd board doesn't need hammer action, lower cost options also become more available, like Numa Compact 2X, Roland Juno DS76. You will also get the advantage of non-hammer action for times that is actually preferable. (Though I am assuming here that, if you may sometimes want to use it alone, you will probably still prefer more than 61 keys.)

Re: DP Dilemma (first world problems)
anotherscott #2860830 06/20/19 11:31 AM
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Thanks for the advice anotherscott - that's definitely food for thought. In many ways you're right in that it makes sense to go for the laptop first, with an eye on replacing the Keylab at some point. I think part of my problem is it doesn't feel as exciting a purchase to me or perhaps slightly amateurish going with the laptop and keylab but that's for me to get over!

I also have a little Minilab Mk2 which could be used as a supplementary controller so that's helpful, but I do like your idea of having a smaller 61 key non hammer unit (which would be cheaper and nice and light) but playing it using the KeyLab.
I did think about a laptop plus something like an Integra but am not keen on the interface, particulalry in a live setting.

That's a great avenue for research so thanks again.

Re: DP Dilemma (first world problems)
Crusaderrabbit #2860832 06/20/19 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Crusaderrabbit
or perhaps slightly amateurish going with the laptop and keylab but that's for me to get over!

Yes, definitely not amateurish. There are absolutely plenty of pros and semi-pros who use controller and laptop. Though they also may have some redundancy, whether usable sounds in the keyboard or some other backup sound source.

Originally Posted by Crusaderrabbit
I do like your idea of having a smaller 61 key non hammer unit (which would be cheaper and nice and light) but playing it using the KeyLab.

Cheap, nice, light 61s with usable built-in sounds include Korg Kross 2, Roland Juno DS61 and VR-09, Casio XW-P1, Yamaha MX61, all with different pros and cons... quality of particular built-in sounds, number of sounds available at once (for split/layer and/or for driving externally), amount of on-board or computer or iPad based sound editing available, availability of front panel controls that send MIDI, feel of action, ability of board to create MIDI zones with independent patch changes, etc.

Re: DP Dilemma (first world problems)
Crusaderrabbit #2860849 06/20/19 12:34 PM
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My 2 cents - Get the RD2000. You can use it right away. Add the laptop later on down the road, if you still think you need it.


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Re: DP Dilemma (first world problems)
Crusaderrabbit #2860955 06/20/19 03:59 PM
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Thanks again - this has been very helpful. Wish had posted earlier

Re: DP Dilemma (first world problems)
Crusaderrabbit #2860964 06/20/19 04:18 PM
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Like anotherscott I'm not sure if I'd be comfortable with VST only for live playback.

Sth a little more robust would give me peace of mind.

Another vote for grabbing a nice stage and adding the laptop/VST later. Esp in live performances, sample sound quality isn't that important b/c they are mixed with other instruments and/or ambient noise.


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Re: DP Dilemma (first world problems)
Crusaderrabbit #2861239 06/21/19 11:43 AM
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OK, so after some reevaluation of both the options (and my bank balance!) I think my preferred option would be to get the laptop and then a 61 key synth that I can use as an additional sound module, so as a back up or an additional sound module - either played via the Keylab or played itself as best suits the part.

If you were to buy a 61 key synth, that has the best range of high quality sounds - none of the other aspects matter - which would you go for? Theres a DS61 and an MX61 at a really good price nearby for example. Functionality is not so much of an issue as that will be taken care of in the main by the Keylab/laptop - but that just sounds really really good?

Thanks as always

CR

Re: DP Dilemma (first world problems)
Crusaderrabbit #2861253 06/21/19 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Crusaderrabbit
If you were to buy a 61 key synth, that has the best range of high quality sounds - none of the other aspects matter - which would you go for?

Are you sure none of the other things I mentioned in post #2860832 matter? But to answer your question, for sounds alone, I'd lean toward the Yamaha, at least if you're talking about acoustic instrument sounds. If you're emphasis is more on synth or organ, I'd probably pick one of the others.

Re: DP Dilemma (first world problems)
Crusaderrabbit #2866262 07/05/19 10:42 AM
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Sorry to resurrect old post - been out of the country. Someone has since offered me a Moxf8 with hard case for under £700. That seems a good price to me - but it is horribly outdated now? I know the Modx8 is its replacement but its nearly double the price here. Should I even be considering it?

Thanks as always for any suggestions

CR


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