Trimming down your live setup

Live patching, designs, and techniques that push the performance envelope.

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theglyph
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Trimming down your live setup

Post by theglyph » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:48 pm

Well I've played two shows with my MonoRocket Lexington and one with my Moogerfoogers but have decided it's time to make the move to a more portable setup.

Right now I've got several shows available for late June and July so I'm a bit rushed. I'm working on a small Lunetta box with a couple of Arduino based chips in the mix. This won't be as powerful and visually exciting as the Lexington but it will work and certainly sound good for the shows I'll be playing.

I suppose I'm just curious if anyone else has scaled down their live setup and how it was done/compromised?

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anthonybisset
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Post by anthonybisset » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:54 pm

From 2007-2010 my live setup was:

1 or 2 Nagra 4.2s (12-24 lb)
3-4 open frame switching power supplies (15 lb)
10 panels serge or equiv custom stuff (70 lb)
Laptop & FW interface (15 lb)
100+ pomona patch cables (10-15 lb)
Custom 606/303 (25 lb)
Modified TV (10 lb)
Projector (9 lb)
Misc stuff (4 lb)

A worst case scenario > 165lbs and never really dropping below 120lb. Doing this by cab in Tokyo was a hassle and moving it by airline was expensive (unless I flirted with the staff and got lucky).
:75:

I tired of filling cabs and missing after-parties because I was moving piles of gear home or to another club.

The last solo performance I did here in the US still used around 100lbs of gear. This summer is all about working to lose half the weight while becoming more refined and portable. I would be happy with ~70lb but I'm a fat-ass.

I have learned for an hour long solo improvisation I need ~5 panels of serge equiv and some sort of drum trigger sequencer thing. It's also important for me to have a melody generator like a Tame Machine or hacked 303 and some sort of looping system to reduce the realtime knob twiddling requirements while patching.

These gear requirements are defined by 'my sound'. Regardless of the minimal or excessive patches that can be explored I have a certain amount of chatter I expect to be accessible when needed. I have friends that work well with much less. I'm curious to hear about the smallest setups people are using and happy with.

I like the Nagra's because they add a visual performance element to the looped sound structures and let you get your hands on the tape and change the speed or do other odd things with the reels. Moving between the modular and some other sound machine/interface at a different location on stage (even just 4 or 5 feet away) keeps the audience involved. If it's just wires at one machine for more than 30 minutes it's gonna be tough for them unless you're 100% on and for an improviser that's difficult. After hundreds of shows I've developed an approach that usually keeps me in the flow but it's still a relief to switch up my attention, movements, and physical location for the audience. Sort of like a DJ moving between mixer, decks and vinyl repository in the booth.

The new setup I'm finalizing this summer should allow me to party after the party which I would enjoy as this lifestyle was getting routine and I was losing my interest (not in making music, but in gigging all the time).

An improviser in Tokyo I respect a lot, Yudaya Jazz, would randomly show up and jam with me on his PSP (running little piggy I think) and some tiny haute-couture circuit bent boxes. It was ironic to have this guy with loads of skill and almost no equipment keep it interesting and stay in the flow with the audience better than I could even though I had a serious tool edge.

:hail:

If you see the modular on the road, unplug it. Or in the case of Yudaya steal his batteries.

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suitandtieguy
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Post by suitandtieguy » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:17 am

i'm buying a trailer before my next gig.
http://suitandtieguy.com
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suboptimal wrote:... if it's music you want to make with your modular, STG should be in your system.

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igormpc
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Post by igormpc » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:43 am

i liked to read navs' experience on his blog:

http://navsmodularlab.blogspot.com/2010 ... ening.html
:tu:

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Hi5
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Post by Hi5 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:03 pm

My modular is my live rig and it is just at 6u in the doepfer suitcase. I will be going up to 9u eventually but slowly.
Then again, this concern has to be qualified with how and what type of music you will be playing. I always play with other people so I do not need to create the entire piece technically. I play monophonically as well and dont use any effects which keeps things simple. I keep the same rig when I play solo but I can see how people would want to fill in the gaps in this case with more gear.

I think it is a good thing to think about as many people bring too much shit out and I think this gets in the way of you delving into your instrument proper. However, if I was making dance music and doing it solo I would definitely need a bit more gear than just 6u. It all depends on your end goal.

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Post by Just me » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:35 pm

I re arrange my cabinets to only the modules needed for the songs for the gig. Then I don't have to carry as much modular. Always try for a max of 44 spaces of MU. All my effects are in one rack. (Gotta make them easy to steal.) Then one or two keyboards and a stand. If I have to bring my own sound system, it gets really heavy.
With no roadies and an open truck, theft is my biggest worry. So far, I've only lost a power strip. Pretty damned lucky. One of the keyboards in a Nord G1 and many of my patches get re written to it to save time and weight. But these are limited to only 16 knobs assigned and 1 EP and FS. Trying to remember knob assignments is the hardest part. The modular ends up being predominately sequencing and I make several simple patches rather than one or two complicated ones. Last gig was under 300 lbs of gear.
If I have water in my ear, is it safe for me to listen to electronic music?

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Hi5
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Post by Hi5 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:51 pm

300lbs!! I cannot even imagine this. Granted you are bringing a PA with you as well. And I always thought drummers had the heaviest gear set.

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Post by bar|none » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:18 pm

The new Tip Top is definitely the most compact 9U I have ever seen. I have this filled specifically for travelling.

The depth can be a challenge, but actually, I was able to get everything I needed in there as some spaces are bigger than others and you can tweak it a bit.

If you modified the bus boards a bit, you could even get more depth.

Thing is so small folded it's incredible.

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Post by KyleEasterly » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:49 pm

I really wish that TipTop case was around when I was gigging!

Just did a couple of shows, but this was my setup:
- Doepfer monster base case (equivalent of 2 6U cases) with dual AFGs, quad ADSR, PlanB Tap Clock, 2x PlanB DTG, Harvestman Malgorithm, Zorlon, Hertz Donut, Polivoks, and Stilton Adapter. Lots of other utility modules (clock divider, some mults, lfo, etc.) With a Doepfer ribbon controller velcro'd to the bottom edge of the case. I occasionally had a Boss DD-7 delay pedal with tap tempo pedal, Devi Ever Bit pedal, and a Teaspoon pedal sitting on top of the case.

That beast was on it's own keyboard stand, typically on my side. Between the 2 stands I had a 6U flight case with a laptop tray on top. Inside the case I had my power supply, and 2 8x8 audio interfaces. All of the synth main outs and power was all pre-wired in the case, and I just stashed the extra cable in the back of the case. Just pull out the bundle of cables and hook it up!

On a double keyboard stand in front of me, I had a Novation Remote 61SL on the bottom, and a JazzMutant Lemur on the top. For some stuff I had a Max patch running where I could use the Lemur to control the analog synth (this is where the dual audio interfaces came in - one was for sound, the other one, a MOTU 828, was for DC output only)

I have no idea what the entire setup weighed, but it was somewhat rediculous! The synth case had pretty much every module I owned in it, and I didn't really ever use every single one (was playing in a band, not going crazy improvising stuff) - I could probably have slimmed that down a bit and gotten rid of the monster base case (but it was sooo cool!!) Nowadays an iPad with TouchOSC could have done what I was doing with the Lemur, and I definitely wish I had a smaller keyboard for gigs than the 61-key. Having the laptop on top of the 6U case at shin-height between the 2 keyboard stands was also a pain whenever I needed to do anything with it.

My ideal setup would be something I could fit onto a tabletop... Small synth case with only necessary modules, laptop running with ONE audio interface, maybe a 25-key or 49-key MIDI keyboard, and/or an iPad for any TouchOSC stuff.

One thing that was nice was having Ableton Live sets on the Mac for everything... There were a few samples that I was able to play from there, and it allowed me to mix the output of my synth and whatever soft-synths(pianos) I was using on the computer.

I'll have to dig around and see if I can find any pictures of the setup...

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Post by suitandtieguy » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:28 pm

Hi5 wrote:300lbs!! I cannot even imagine this. Granted you are bringing a PA with you as well. And I always thought drummers had the heaviest gear set.
no. organists win in the weight competition. 300 is just the organ with bench and pedalboard:

Image

Leslies add another 100+ pounds per:

Image

btw, pictures of how your gear is packed is also really cool to post. i should start a thread for that actually.
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http://stgsoundlabs.com
suboptimal wrote:... if it's music you want to make with your modular, STG should be in your system.

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Post by Just me » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:53 pm

I used to hump a B3 and 122, 2 arp 2600, and a Memory moog. I know what heavy is! At least I never had to haul a piano with it!
If I have water in my ear, is it safe for me to listen to electronic music?

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Post by megaohm » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:03 am

Last gig was under 300 lbs of gear.
no. organists win in the weight competition. 300 is just the organ with bench and pedalboard
I used to hump a B3 and 122, 2 arp 2600, and a Memory moog. I know what heavy is! At least I never had to haul a piano with it!

This should be in the weight lifting thread!
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Will work for pistachios

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Post by kindredlost » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:57 pm

STG and JustMe are manly men. You guys are the only ones I know that take the ol' large format modulars out regularly.

I wonder just how many 5U setups are really used live anymore. Purely conjecture, but I'd guess most are single 22 space minimoog style setups.

I have 6 portable cabs because I wanted to keep everything movable but I haven't gigged in years. The idea of the Moog modular style setups just seem so daunting. I know people like Free Systems Projekt, Terje Winther, and a few others use these beasts live but not many in the USA that I know of.

Just wondering.

My main thing anymore is the venue. I live in a region that is not very friendly to variety. Mostly R&B and C&W. :sadbanana:

I need to visit the area where you guys play. How about a promo thread here? It would be fantastic to take a weekend trip to see some of my favorite Wigglers live. :cloud: Hell, I'd even help lug that Hammond Suit.

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Post by richard » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:37 pm

since reading this

aalto is beginning to sound much better :mrgreen:
Bastard Science Vol.1 and 2 (Hordik, Buchla, Serge, EMS, Oberheim) https://soundanatomy.bandcamp.com/album ... ence-vol-1
https://soundanatomy.bandcamp.com/album ... ence-vol-2

Tales from the Voodoo Box (EMS Synthi A solos) https://soundanatomy.bandcamp.com/album ... ynthesiser

Richard Scott - Several Circles https://cuspeditions.bandcamp.com/album ... al-circles

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Post by Just me » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:27 pm

Well, I play at least once a month at Revolver in Phoenix. Do some 5U busking at art fairs. Am trying to get some gallery work.
If I have water in my ear, is it safe for me to listen to electronic music?

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ersatzplanet
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Post by ersatzplanet » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:06 pm

I started building my modular rig with portability in mind. I used to own a Oberheim 4-voice and played with it and 3 Pro-Ones at one time. Even with custom normalized patch bays and snakes it was a PITA to move and carry. The Obie was like carrying a coffin around.
The way for me is smaller cases and as many as I need. I now have 4 Doepfer portable cases and some homemade skiffs. I will probably be getting my 5th case sooner or later since I have modules laying without a home. I take whatever cases I need for the gig. They are laid out to be basically useful on their own so I don't need to take all of them. They stack nicely in whatever arrangement works well at the venue and lay flat on tables as well. I made super cheap "kickstands" for them that allow them to tilt back on a table (for less than $10 each). If I need to take them all to a gig or jam - all four fit with powered Mackie speakers in the back of my VW beetle - no problem. Even though the Doepfer cases are air-flight carry-on friendly, the time I had to take gear on the plane was to NAMM and I needed two cases. Luckily more than one person from Synthwerks was going so they took the other one. Six U plus skiffs (carried in my laptop bag) is just about too minimal now without re-arranging the case for that purpose. The new Gorillabox 12U box looks pretty sweet and cost less than two doepfer cases.
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Red Electric Rainbow
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Post by Red Electric Rainbow » Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:31 pm

suitandtieguy wrote:i'm buying a trailer before my next gig.
Like.
TOO FAR GONE

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ssilk
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Post by ssilk » Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:37 pm

Just me wrote:Well, I play at least once a month at Revolver in Phoenix.
what? I'm in PHX, fire over some d33ts! would love to come check you out some time

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Steevio
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Post by Steevio » Sat Jul 02, 2011 3:04 pm

compared to lugging;

4 x marshall 4X12's
2 x marshall 100W heads
three guitars
pedal box
flightcase full of leads

up fire escapes in and out of clubs when i was in a band -

my 36 U case is a piece of piss.

if you cant handle it, get down wiv da laptop boyz

lightweights y'all :bananaguitar:

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Hi5
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Post by Hi5 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 3:17 pm

Steevio wrote:compared to lugging;

4 x marshall 4X12's
2 x marshall 100W heads
three guitars
pedal box
flightcase full of leads

up fire escapes in and out of clubs when i was in a band -

my 36 U case is a piece of piss.

if you cant handle it, get down wiv da laptop boyz

lightweights y'all :bananaguitar:

Maybe your right. Some of us are capable enough to get by with only 9u I guess. Plus our cocks are big enough already :hihi:

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Post by dogoftears » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:27 pm

I have a lot of fun re-arranging my little Goikes boat to get as much capability as possible out of a small space for live performance. Right now it is basically a dedicated vactrol-bongo-woggle machine with pressure points on the right to play it. this plus the octatrack is basically all i need-- and it is more than enough to make people look.

i like this skiffy era of modular gear, i've always wanted my modular gear laying DOWN in front of me instead of towering above...
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Steevio
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Post by Steevio » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:20 am

Hi5 wrote:

Plus our cocks are big enough already :hihi:
no need to brag about it :hihi:

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