Over the years I’ve played hundreds of shows as a keyboardist using my trusty Apex column with various hardware synths. In late 2009 I had a vision to create a new Ableton Live laptop-centric rig using only virtual synths running in Live.
While I wanted to play some keys, I was really excited to add alternative visual, tangible, and spatial controllers and selected Percussa AudioCubes, Tenori-On, a Novation Launchpad. I went with my trusty Remote SL 25 for keys as it also doubles as a controller for Live. In the 11th hour I added a Moog Ehterwave Theremin which was clearly necessary to play “They Walk Among Us” live :^).
I’ve played enough shows to know that you can’t always count on basic lighting and P.A. to be adequate, so I added these elements to my requirements as well – just in case. My goal was to be able to run a room of 80 people if needed with just my rig. My other goal was 4 trips from the car load-in max with a 15 minute setup time or less.
The sketch above shows all this on paper (click the image to see a larger view). After months of slowly building up gear, the reality – sans lighting – is shown in the fun little time-laps video embedded video below.
Here is a list of what's in the rig:
- Laptop: Windows 7 32-bit, HP DV6t-1200 Pavilion w/Core2 Duo P8700 @ 2.53 GHZ, 3G memory, 7200 RPM Drive (Update I now use an HP Envy 14 I5)
- Soundcard: Novation NIO 2|4
- DAW Software: Ableton Live 8 Suite
- Primary Controllers: Novation Remote SL 25 (updated to MKII), Launchpad | Tenori-On | Percussa AudioCubes
- Primary Virtual Synthesizers: Tone2 Gladiator 2| Native Instruments Absynth 5 | Camel Audio Alchemy | U-He Zebra 2, ACE | Ableton Sampler, Operator… | SonicCharge Synplant | Lennar Digital Sylenth1 | reFX Vanguard, Slayer2 | Image-Line Harmless, Toxic Biohazard | Cakewalk Dimension Pro | FAW Circle | DCAM: Synth Squad…
- Hardware Synthesizers: Moog Etherwave Theremin, Waldorf Blofeld (not pictured)
Links to lots of the software I use here:
Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO