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Synth for stage/touring - help!
Old 22nd January 2013
Here for the gear
🎧 5 years
Synth for stage/touring - help!

I play in an indie pop band, we tour a LOT.
We have a bunch of new songs that were written using virtual synths (Massive, Absynth, Arturia, etc). Our keyboard player is currently using a Nord Electro 2 (decent piano sound, great wurli/organ sound) plus a microkorg, but neither instruments has the sounds we need.

We're looking something in the $2000-$3000 range that we can take on tour and is VERY customizable, as we'd like to be able to mimic those v-synths as closely as possible. Also, something with easily switchable presets is a huge bonus, as there are lots of times we need to switch sounds between a verse and a chorus. If this could act as a replacement for the Nord that would rule, so something with at least 73 keys is fairly important as a lot of our songs call for a simple piano sound.

One caveat: I know we could just use a midi-controller and run the sounds we want that way, but we'd really rather not have a laptop on stage with us.

Any suggestions?
Old 22nd January 2013
Lives for gear
🎧 5 years
Jupiter 50 ?
Old 22nd January 2013
Lives for gear
was silents's Avatar
🎧 5 years
FWIW I used to tour (c. 2006) with a Nord Modular Rack and Nord Electro 2 Rack in an SKB popup mixer case (plugged in with an extension cord so everything was ready to go) and used an Alesis QS 6.1 (the 7.1 is the 73 key version) as a controller (with an extra as backup).

I don't know how hard you guys "rock out" but I always went with rack units and a controller because if you bust the keyboard then the synth engine is still good. I used the QS 6.1 because of the bend/mod wheel location, its compact size, heavy key action, four assignable midi sliders and very durable metal chassis. There may be better choices now but that was a very flexible system back then. As a keyboardist for a rock band, precisely ideal tones were less important than many of the logistics associated with being an a small time touring band: like fast setups and breakdowns and making sure that my parts were not buried in the house mix. On that note, do not rely on the house PA for amplification.

More to the point of your question...that Nord Modular rack was great; flexible, tiny, reliable and can get you close to most synth tones.
Old 23rd January 2013
Gear Addict
🎧 5 years
+1on the Jupiter 50. Mine does almost anything I need it to do and is a great live board. I am getting an electro-hamonix super ego polyphonic synth pedal to send it over the edge for ambient goodness. I heard it on a Sweetwater video demo. It was very much like a Fizmo--Z1 sort of sound.

Now the JP-50 does has some V-synths, D-50ish sounds, Jupiter 8 emulations, along with tons of bread and butter sounds. Also check out the new sounds from Roland on their site. There are emulations of some of their most famous vintage synths

The JP-50 takes some tweaking though: more effects on the patches, detuning of the 4 tones in a patch, making the patch volumes louder on some sounds and softer on others, so you are not riding the volume knob all night. 16 slots for show edited patches that save all the real time settings, and finally a good control over LFO's, arps, layers, splits, env's and filters.

I upped the over all output of the synth by 1db to give it a fuller--punchier sound. Would not advise more than 1db or you may get distortion from your outputs.

3 multi effects; I usually use EQ, multiband compression, and reverb or delay, depending on the patch.

also recommend a pedal delay to run after the electro-harmonix, and a chorus pedal to run before it, like shown in the demo at Sweetwater. It will be ready to handle anything and may even inspire you to write new things,

FYI, On your Electro if you raise the 2 band EQ to full level and save it that way, the piano is much punchier. The E2 also needs reverb to make the pianos really shine.

If you run a 2 keyboard set up with the NORD on the bottom and JP-50 on the top with all my pedal recommendations, you should have a killer rig.
You could even run an L configuration if preferred. I run an L configuration and put my QSC K10 on a speaker pole between the 2 keyboards and it works great.

One more thing, Roland makes a keyboard stand designed for the Jupiter 50 and it is rock solid, the coolest stand I've ever seen--almost a work of art, folds up and sets up easy and fast, is portable, but expensive.

Sell the Microkorg, you don't need unless you use the vocoder.

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