Just want to add my thoughts to some of those here with regards controllers and stands…
I was in Holland for a gig a few months ago and I was saying that I needed to get rid of my ancient A-frames and I was interested in the Spider stands. One of the guys there runs a music tech shop and said that he found that the Spiders suffered from metal fatigue and he wouldn’t trust them (despite being able to supply them to me). That very night (a remarkable coincidence!) I witnessed a player have his Spider stand collapse mid-song, with some of the audience having to rush forward to prevent him and his keyboards from plummeting off his riser! I bought Ultimate Support Apex stands instead!
The thing I hate about the Apex stands is the lack of any ability to angle the support arms. I created a design for an angled wedge support and had it made in acrylic by a plastic fabrication company. That solved the problem.
I loathe weighted keyboards. They are fine for piano, but for the thousands upon thousands of other sounds in my synths?.. I’d rather have synth action. For me that meant hunting out at least one long (76 notes plus) non-weighted board, and they are not thick on the ground.
I now have two keyboards - an Alto Live88 (88 notes) and a Roland A800 ‘Pro’ (61 notes). This combo are great. The A800, in particular, is close to perfection. I would prefer a longer key length, since they are a little tough to trigger on fast licks, but I can mostly manage. I would also prefer wheels to the Roland bender, but I do prefer the bender for some parts, so you can’t have everything. The connections sticking out of the side, instead of the rear, is an annoyance. The A800 is my main controller; its controls send out on a separate virtual MIDI port from the keyboard, which makes it ideal for controlling Cantabile - I created all my bindings in the Background Rack and leave it to get on with the job. The A800 will not output data from any of its controls unless I specifically ask it to, which makes it a very safe machine to entrust to the task. It’s really like having a separate control surface.
If only the A800 could act as my audio interface too, like my Roland System 8… Sigh…
The Alto Live88 is, I suspect, semi-weighted, but it’s light enough to be considered ‘non-weighted’ to my way of thinking - similar to the Roland JP-80, but less smooth. I want to find another of these boards for my second stack for later gigs, but mine is the only one I’ve ever seen. It only has one pedal input, for either sustain, or control, which is its biggest weakness.
An old Digidesign MBox2 is my audio interface.
Both keyboards, and the MBox2, take power from USB, so no PSUs needed, other than for my laptop and my monitoring system. I like that. If I get a power failure mid-gig then at least my rig stays put.
This is the first time I will have entrusted my entire rig to virtual synths, with no hardware backup, but Cantabile has given me the confidence to do this. Gone are my days of hefting Kurzweils around! It’s taken me quite some time to become comfortable with Cantabile, and I still think I haven’t created the optimum environment in there, but I will do better next time around. There are many ways to do some tasks, and it takes time to understand the consequences of choosing one approach over another.
Anyway, hope something here is of interest.