Poll: Controllers Only, Hardware Synths as Controllers, or both?

I’m curious as to what you other heavy gig performers count on in your rigs for sound generation. I’ve gone back and forth from one controller keyboard combined with a hardware workstation to two hardware workstations over the last 7 years. In both cases, I am using a virtual host (first Forte, now GP) as well with all these combinations. I know some of you use controllers only, however for whatever reason, I just can’t commit to having no workstation on stage just in case of a computer failure.

Currently I use a Korg Kronos 73 as my weighted controller workstation and a Roland Fantom X7 workstation as my semi-weighted on top. I’m preparing to revamp my rig this year, going back to a NI Komplete Kontrol S88 on the bottom and a Roland FA07 on top and offloading most of what I did with the Kronos back to GP with my array of plugins. As I’m working through this, it made me curious as to what the rest of you use?


I turned to full software few years ago. When there will be chances to play live I will have gigs with my bands. It will be with one Studiologic SL73 and one NI Kontrol S 61.
New MacBookPro (M1 based), GigPerformer and many VST.
Once a year there could be a big benefit concert with two jewels I own just to show them to friends: Viscount Legend and Korg MS20 (real vintage version from the 70s)

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I used to tour with an 88 note Kronos and three lightweight controllers but now I only use controllers and I replaced my Kronos with a studio logic sl88. It’s a nice keyboard except for the joysticks but I can use the wheels on any of the other controllers so it’s not a big deal.

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Controllers only since over 15 years. First Forte, now GP.

My main controller is a Korg Wavestation, now in it’s 27th year under my fingers. I absolutley like it’s keybed. Same as M1 and DX7II, anyone remember?
Second is a Edirol PCR-300. MIDI goes from the WS to the PCR, connected to my Windows laptop via USB. Audio is RME Babyface Pro.

In the first years with laptop on stage starting from 2004 I used some of the Wavestation sounds, but my setup is much more slick with software only, no audio cables or mixers in my rig. Well, two XLR cords to the stage box and FOH.

I have two of these rigs, one for my home studio, and one for the band rehearsal studio and for gigs.

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Full software rig with kurzweil forte as controller for gp and as backup if needed. I also supplement with nano kontrol and launchpad pro.

Yes, it is better, in case the Kurzweil fails :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Yes this is probably more than likely lol

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I am using a S88 II and a Roland Keytar with MIDI Beam for midi connection.
All sounds are coming from Gig Performer.

My backup in the past have been a LMK4+ from Doepfer and an older Mac Book Pro.

But this is like taking with you an umbrella just to make sure that it will not rain :wink:


My main gigging setup has been a Roland RD700 + GP and a FCP1010. Due to lack of enough midi control from the RD, I’m looking at controller replacements. Haven’t decided yet.

I’m also a bit afraid of using only controllers, but that’s the way I’m going to go :slight_smile:
Except that I have a Prophet rev2 + an Expressive Osmose E (well not yet !!).
A minilogue has a controller (I think) for Omnisphere 2 (with Hardware Integration), and a Kawai ES110 in midi.
I’ll have normally also a Novation Launchpad but that’s many things to learn to craft !!

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This one is not bad I think: Arturia KeyLab 88 MkII…


My problem with that controller is the location of the sliders, if you’re doing Hammond solos with your right hand, you do not want to have to cross over with your hand to reach the sliders, particularly awkward if you’re playing low on the keyboars

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playing low on the keyboards…

Don’t do that :wink:


For Hammond stuff I don’t like so much the faders which are not drawbars, so I have this one in top of my VPC1, it is an organ waterfall keyboard and the drawbars are in front of me equally accessible from the left and right hand:

I’ve been looking at that one. I kind of agree with @dhj about the sliders. But I do like the abundance of buttons, knobs & sliders!

My VPC1 has no control surface so I added one with motorized fader and LCD to my setup, it is the Icon Platform M+:

I have a long history of using keyboards live on stage, from Mini Moog, Korg CX-3 with Leslie 147, Roland JX8P, Yamaha DX 7, Korg M1, Ensoniq KS 32, Quasimidi Raven, Yamaha EX 5, Korg Trinity, Nord Electro, Doepfer, Kurzweil, certainly I have forgotten something.

My last setup without MacBook was a Korg Kronos 61, Kurzweil PC3K6, a HX 3.5 Organ Modul and a Aspen Pittmann Spacestation V3.

When we decided to use IEM in our band, I tried my Korg Kronos 61 with a MacBookPro and Mainstage, but soon I changed to GigPerfomer and a lot of VST’s … really a lot. :wink:


Can you assign those drawbars on the studiologic numa coz i dont think you can with the roland vr series keyboards

Yes I can. I have only 9 drawbars, but there are three selection switches to control upper, lower or bass.

Any experience with the keybed? I tested MkI, and it was a terribly loud click-clack-style keybed …
Controller-wise it would be perfect for a single-keyboard controller setup for me.
However, I’m quite satisfied with my 61 keys (Wavestation) + 31 Keys (PCR-300) dual-keyboard rig.
4 more keys than a 88 controller :crazy_face: