For those who have interest, here's a little info on my personal keyboard rig. Obviously, as a Nord person, I am very keenly interested in repopulating my rack with all Nord gear, but I've only been handling Nord duties for a few months and am still working on it. Thus far I have acquired a Micro Modular (what a wicked little piece of gear!) and a G2 Engine (bought this week on eBay; haven't received it yet!). My favorite acquisition target at the moment is the Nord Wave, which to my way of thinking just might be the most radical/versatile instrument on the planet right now. In coming months I hope to re-emerge with an ALL-NORD rack with the exception of my midi router/patchbay and my foot pedal.
Personally, I prefer to keep all of my sound-producing devices in a rack and address them remotely from a midi controller. For two years now I have been using a custom-built dual manual controller which I fashioned out of Fatar parts, a Phil Rees 2>1 midi merge unit and some scrap wood from the shop. Specifically, I used a Studio 610+ for the lower manual; the "+" designation indicates that it has aftertouch, a feature that seems to be fading from the marketplace unfortunately. Don't know what I'd do without aftertouch to easily add expression to horn lines, etc. The upper manual is a generic cheapo Fatar 49-key model with NO added features; it transmits on Midi Channel 1 only.
This project was my first (successful) attempt at modifying circuit boards and turned out to be a pretty happy experience. I desoldered and removed all the midi connectors from both the keyboards and also the merge box, and then hard-wired them together appropriately.
Designing the box so that it would take both the electronics and the keybeds in an absolute minimum of space was the hardest part. I sawed off the portion of the 610+ case which housed the PB and mod wheels to recycle it in my new design and then installed a midi out connector and a power connector onto that casing along with switches for access to some of the programming functions (which I almost NEVER use except to change the midi channel of the lower manual).
This unit is usually powered by a 9.6v Ni-Mh battery intended for R/C cars (I keep a wallwart waiting for backup) and connected to my rack via a pair of CME midi wireless units for a completely untethered existence. And, yes, I play it on a strap. It's a bit on the heavy side at 18lbs, so when one of our sets approached the 2-hour mark my shoulder usually starts to feel it, but mostly it's all good and I LOVE the freedom of movement it affords me, ESPECIALLY for sound check. I can wander around the house and really know how it sounds out front instead of having to guess.
For the time being I am using Fantom and Motif rack units for sound; they are both versatile and adequate to the task, and take up little space, but for ear-pleasing sound I'd still be happier with my old D-550, MKS-80 and M3R setup, but these days those dinosaurs reside in the relative comfort of my home and don't get around much any more, to borrow a line from the Duke.
For a line mixer I am using an 8-channel 1U unit from Ashly which gives good quality sound but doesn't quite have the ideal feature set -- sure would like to have independent volume controls for both sides of the stereo feed instead of just one volume and a pan control. I split different instruments to different sides, left and right, so that would be very useful.
The "heart" of my rack is a Digital Music Corporation MX-8 midi router/patchbay. With six inputs, eight outputs, and two independent processors (if you don't use the unit for merging -- you sacrifice one processor if you do), it is a real "swiss-army knife" that can do almost anything you could ever want done midi-wise. I won't bore anyone with the details right now, but if someone drops me a note with the subject line "bore me with the details" I will gladly augment this listing.
The "brain" of my setup is my trusty Lake Butler RFC-1, also called a Mitigator. It is the finest midi foot controller ever made and if it were not for the Achilles' Heel of having no computer program for programming, would be 100 % perfect in every respect. I could gush about these things for hours on end, but suffice to say that I use it to tell my MX-8 what to do and when to do it, along with various volume control functions addressing my midi modules. Here too, anyone who wants more info on these, just ask and I'll probably tell you more than you want to know.
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