I thought that it was about time to show my new Rig and its current work in progress status now that it is coming together
With thanks to everybody who contributed for all of the suggestions when we were discussing it earlier in the thread around May this year. It’s taken longer than intended to get to this state due to a really hectic work year.
So from bottom to top you have
- Roland FC300 MIDI foot controller (and extra pedals/switches) - this is fully programmable in what the controllers are doing and it means you can keep both hands on the keyboards whilst switching patches, changing Leslie speed, controlling lights/haze, triggering some sound samples, etc. I tend to use the left most pedal (the extra one) for Organ swell, then the 1st one on the FC300 itself for Fades or general part volume, and keep the rightmost one for Leslie speed or other modulations.
- Yamaha Montage 7 (new toy that has replaced my aging EX5, it sounds great and fulfils my desire for a 76 note semi weighted master keyboard)
- Korg Kronos X 61
- GeChic touch monitor for the computer in the gig rack to the right, located in the perfect place to keep an eye on Cantable, make use of the touch screen, etc. Whilst I will carry a wireless mouse and keyboard with me, they are only for emergencies. I can startup and control everything from the touch monitor (a great recommendation from Neil earlier in the thread)
From the rear view, to secure the monitor and also my Mic (I’m fed up of trying to get a boom mic hanging over the keyboard, which usually makes them top heavy and unstable!) I have used Quick-Lok accessories that simply attach to the top tier tubes. I did a bit of metal work to cut the tubes to size to get the snuggest and closest fit to the back of the Kronos. On the floor to the left you might be able to see that I have actually loomed all of the cables between the keyboards, monitor and foot pedal to the rack into one loom, which makes setting up and tear down much easier, and avoids the usual tangled mass of spaghetti!
Onto the rack itself
From bottom to top
- Focusrite 2i4 USB sound module to the left and Intel NUC computer to the right for the Cantabile host
- Shure Wireless transmitter for In Ear Monitoring (output 3 of the 2i4 wired direct internally)
- Behinger 8 channel line mixer (six channels in use)
- My beloved Nord G2 Engine (go faster stripe) - the modular synth in a 1U rack. It doesn’t look much, but it is very powerful. I haven’t used this for a while, but added it in as it adds very little weight and is a great sound source.
The computer itself is an Intel NUC “Skull Candy” from Ambrose, quad core i7 (3.5GHz from memory) with 32GB memory and 512 GB SSD. So very fast and well suited to CPU hogs like DIVA and also sample streaming VSTis like Omnisphere.
Inside the rack itself are:
- MIDISPORT 2x2 to give me extra MIDI Ports
- DMXIS module for driving DMX lights (using DMXIS VST plugin driven from Media MIDI file)
- Seven port USB hub and PSU
And around the back…
All designed so you are not fumbling around inside the back of the rack for making connections. All connections are made via bulkhead couplers, other than the MIDI connectors, as I could not find any couplers for those, so they are panel connectors with MIDI leads cut and soldered to them.
Here are some pictures of the work in progress inside the rack. You can see how using couplers assists in ease of maintenance. The panels themselves are pre-punched and available from ESR Electronics (I can dig out details if people are interested) and the couplers come from either ESR Electronics or Studio Spares.
And everything labelled using a Brady hand held Cable Labeller (available from RS).
The big change for me whilst doing this is that previous to this work, I have used Cantabile mainly for backing tracks and DMX lights (in the Pure Floyd days I also ran NI B4II for organ duties), and in this context the gig laptop was at the end of the MIDI chain which was during Welsh Floyd
FC300 ==> Yamaha EX5 ==> Krog Kronos ==> Laptop
Earlier in Pure Floyd it was
FC300 ==> Yamaha EX5 ==> Novation Remote61 ==> Yamaha Motif Rack ES ==> Nord G2 ==> Yamaha FS1r ==> Yamaha A4000 ==> Laptop
So the laptop was always at the end of the chain. I avoided the use of MIDI routers/mergers on stage because the EX5 and Novation had the capability built in to do this (and the Novation would also hold notes whilst changing patches!) in that they could be set to “echo” MIDI in to MIDI out whilst also merging with their own data. But no keyboards seem to have this very handy feature any more.
In the new setup I have now moved to Cantabile being the hub in a “hub and spoke” model. The FC300, Montage and Kronos all connect to the computer. This will give me a lot more flexibil in that I can now use Cantabile to set up all sorts of routes between the units and VSTis.
So now the hardware is done, all soft synths are loaded, I now need to get programming Cantabile! As mentioned in another thread, my first aim was to get my Welsh Floyd setlist back in action (was 98% Kronos with EX5 as a master keyboard and a few sounds where it still trumped the Kronos). I have achieved that, which has taught a lot about how to setup Cantabile as a hub, so I am ready to take take the next step and get some VSTis in the mix