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Pianist needs Help with Choosing Keyboard Live Rig/ Mainstage Questions
Old 9th February 2009
  #1
Gear Addict
 
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Pianist needs Help with Choosing Keyboard Live Rig/ Mainstage Questions

Good afternoon - I'm a pianist - now keyboard player in a band and need a live rig! I'm somewhat unimpressed with hardware keyboard sounds after having used Logic for 6 months or so with my Duet - my afternoon at Guitar Center left me fairly uninspired (tried the rd700gx, yamaha s90es, etc..) So, I'm intrigued about going the Mainstage route (vs muse receptor, another option). I want to try to spend less if possible. Here's what I own already - kurzweil sp88, Apogee Duet, 24"iMac with 3GytesRAM, LogicPro installed along with Mainstage. So, I have all that I need to run mainstage really. So, a few Mainstage questions:

(1) Would I be nuts to take my home 24" iMac to gigs? I was using Mainstage yesterday on the iMac and it was working just fine, no stability problems (I have 3 gbytes ram, intel duo, running 10.4.2). Also, THIS OPTION IS FREE - just bring the computer! Any crates/cases for iMacs that would make this safe/feasible? I could just get a 10k external drive & run Ivory and be all set. This option is very cheap and just uses what I already have.

(2) "Take an iMac to gigs??? You nuts - buy a new macbookpro!!" Of course, this costs at least $2500 more than the free "use iMac" option, but is more naturally portable. I'm concerned (based on some apple.com discussions) that I might buy a new mbp, with the newest OS, only to find that the stability I see on my iMac doesn't carry over to the new MBP! And, at that point, I would have bought a MBP for nothing - and blown my "otherwise" keyboard budget on a MBP I don't really need.

Any suggestions - I'd love to hear them!
Old 9th February 2009
  #2
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dougb415's Avatar
 
๐ŸŽง 15 years
I got one of the older Macbooks partially for this purpose. I have some gigs coming up this summer and plan on using my Macbook w/ the Duet, MOTU MIDI interface, Alesis QuadraSynth Plus Piano (used as a controller plus the internal sounds can be used in case there is some problem with MainStage) and the Arturia Analog Factory Experience w/ keyboard. I have some other projects right now so I can't play with this yet; maybe mid-March or so.

I have a 24" iMac in my studio and no way would I bring it to live gigs. The Macbook has all of the functionality of the iMac, and actually can take more RAM (6 gig vs 3 gig on the iMac). The Duet will feed a little mixer, which will have stereo feeds for my monitors and the FOH system.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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๐ŸŽง 10 years
Did you check out the Muse Receptor by chance? I've been looking into that today as well, trying to sort out the differences/value of that vs a MBPro.........
Old 9th February 2009
  #4
Deleted 1a30a04
Guest
Did you try the Yamaha CP300 by chance?

jeff
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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dougb415's Avatar
 
๐ŸŽง 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrhudson โžก๏ธ
Did you check out the Muse Receptor by chance? I've been looking into that today as well, trying to sort out the differences/value of that vs a MBPro.........
I had looked at it but decided that it cost way too much, and from what I understand you have to buy special Receptor-ready VSTs in addition to whatever software you already own. Also FWIW you can't load MainStage onto a Receptor, at least not to the best of my knowledge anyway.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Deleted User
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Sounds like your looking fro a REAL SOUNDING Piano,

Did you try the Steinway in Logic??

Go software

Ivory
Galaxy II
Quantum Leap Pianos etc
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Addict
 
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Yeah - I have a 7 foot grand at home and (being spoiled in this way!) just have a tough time with the hardware keyboard piano sounds. Ivory sounds great, the Logic pianos aren't bad at all - so, yes, I'm looking for great piano sounds, plus the ability to craft my own organ/lead type sounds. In Logic, I made one that almost combined a distorted/warped B3 with a distorted guitar, and it would just cut great in a live mix (up against the two guitarists in the band). Hate hearing their guitar solos then having wimpy sounds come out of the SP88 I'm borrowing for the time being.....

Mainstage on a MBPro would run me about $2400-$2700, plus Ivory, plus external harddrive. Over $3000 I imagine, once done. The Muse Receptor would start at around $3000 with Komplete inside, which would get me the B4 module, plus the ability to layer in three effects, etc.., layer/mash sounds. The one thing that I can see distinguishes the two (based on Muse propaganda) is the rock-solid performance of the Muse, vs varying reports of stability problems with Mainstage (or streaming Ivory from MBP). Any experience with these points/issues?

Mainstage does have some nice & easy control over module parameters, easy to map to switches, sliders, and controls on your board.....

I do wonder about the mysterious loading of receptorized versions of plugin process...........need to read some more......
Old 2nd March 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
๐ŸŽง 15 years
I'd be very curious how your decision turns out. I've had a Korg Triton ProX for about 8 years and its time for an upgrade in pianos for live work. I did drag my dual G5 tower with all the lcd mouse 3 external drives and keyboard to play Ivory, atmosphere and digis Velvet in a live band setting at a church but having to lug all that crap was a deal breaker that and having to grab the mouse to switch patches along with the main fact that Protools doesn't seem to allow you to play more then one virtual ins. At any one time?!?!
I'm contemplating a new 17 inch macbook pro or a Nord Stage EX or possibly a muse receptor after watching some vids last night on it. But I don't want to rebuy the soft synths I own and muse won't play Velvet which is the best rhodes wurly I could get without the real thing.

I guess I need to look and see if I can reWire ableton through PT to get at Velvet and Ivory at the same time. Latency issues anyone? And yes, I use external E-sata drives for separate soft synths
Old 3rd March 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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synthoid's Avatar
 
๐ŸŽง 15 years
I've seen iMacs at gigs; admittedly, pretty big gigs with a lot of other gear. I have a Pelican case that I've shipped my iMac in, and aside from the fact that it's pretty big, I wouldn't hesitate to take it to a gig. It's no more likely to get damaged than a laptop, really.

Mainstage is great. My preference, though, is to use it with very lightweight instruments. Best of all is EXS24, which is customized and well-integrated with Mainstage. So if you happen to be able to find a piano that you are happy with in a format that EXS24 can import, that would be my recommendation. The danger with this kind of setup is that the software instrument will stall or hiccup or whatnot when you go to use it on stage. This is unlikely to happen with EXS24.

hth,

-synthoid
Old 3rd March 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Here for the gear
 
๐ŸŽง 10 years
I have a Muse Receptor with Komplete, Ivory, Scarbee's Ep's, Zebra, and Chameleon 5000 installed.

The system is incredibly stable and the performance of Ivory surpasses my Mac Pro in that it never clicks or pops, even with over 60 voices of Ivory playing and layers of the other instruments. This is the Receptor revision C that was released before the latest generation of Receptors. Their linux based operating system is extremely efficient and allows for higher voices and more stable operation than most computer systems with dramatically better specifications.

The only downside is the additional hassles with regard to installations of software and the learning curve on setting up controllers. Once both of those are tackled, it's pretty amazing to carry around a 2 unit device and feel confident that it won't crash during a gig. Plus, it avoids the hassle of setting up and worrying about the safety of a laptop.

At home though, I never use it because the ease of interfacing with my Mac Pro and changing things around for recording is so much easier than dealing with a midi instrument. Perhaps I'm just lazy. I'm now thinking about selling my Receptor since I have a hearing injury and can't gig any more.

So my .02 would be that if you really need a stable live setup, the Receptor buys you peace of mind and rock solid performance. But if you only gig rarely, you might find that the Receptor's slight bit of extra work results in it not being used at home.

Oh and the receptorized plugs are free if you own the regular software instrument and I believe they've made standard installations a part of their new operating system.
Old 3rd March 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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dan p's Avatar
 
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by musiklov3r โžก๏ธ

At home though, I never use it because the ease of interfacing with my Mac Pro and changing things around for recording is so much easier than dealing with a midi instrument.
There's nothing like looking into a nice big screen when your sequencing or editing,as opposed to any rack mount module lcd screen.


Dan P
Old 3rd March 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Addict
 
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Well, you can attach a monitor to the Receptor and dodge using the little LCD screen on the front or whatever it is - so that can be tackled - at least I think so!

At this point, I'm looking at either (a) the Nord Electro 3 ($2000-ish once available, great for vintage keys, some effects control, covers my primary bases, etc..) vs (b) Receptor Pro with Komplete, with Ivory added in. That latter set-up, plus a MIDI controller and Ivory cost, would run closer to $3500-4000. (gulp!) (the $500 spread depends on the Pro2 version - Max or not. Max has larger harddrive (1TB vs 500 GB) and 3.0 processor instead of 2.53)

Regarding laptops, I've heard enough about "laptop pauses and hiccups" that it would leave me wondering or worried "if this was the gig where things finally go wrong!" So, even if things seemed stable over a period, I'd find myself waiting for the thing to hiccup. Maybe I'm just too skittish, but that's just me..........

I'm just trying to justify in my mind the extra $1500-2000 for the Receptor rig and what that gets me relative to the Nord. Most of the sounds that I would tend to use right now are found in the Nord, but the Receptor can probably top those sounds (EPs=Scarbee, LLizard, Piano=Ivory, Organ=B4). Easy splits/layers in the Receptor, none on the NE3. More future flexibility. Could use Kontakt orchestral stuff live where called for. I wouldn't have to buy an external hard drive for at home use of Ivory (or any other samples that can reside on the Receptor) - that alone might be worth $500 or so. More effects flexibility on the Receptor. But, less intuitive and more complicated.

Anyway, someone was curious about an update - maybe not the authoritative view but that's where I'm at right now thought-process-wise......
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