Gear Thoughts: Assembling a Live Performance Rig

For the edification of any passing strangers in a similar position

(Pictured: My current home recording station)


It’s easy to be a headless chicken researching potential purchases. I had to remind myself that I’m trying to put forth a distinct creative vision and so need to set goals from that standpoint: what tools will get me there.

I’m not a synthpop artist – my compositions are often built on a foundation of acoustic (or seemingly acoustic) sounds, and that’s like the beauty and intimacy part. But then I like to do stuff to distort that beauty, to smear on a layer of grit and grime. So I need both those components.

Thinking about a travel-sized keyboard known for a decent piano tone to fill the former and a versatile mini synth to fill the latter requirement. I may change my mind but I don’t think I’m ready to return to a DAW quite yet.



-Casio CT-S1 (for decent piano sounds while still being lightweight and highly portable). Still considering other options for this piece, though
-Arturia Microbrute (to add violence)
-Akai MPC One (to build and call up prearranged parts, and can also expand/adapt as need and confidence evolves)

Now to figure out how I would both store this stuff amidst my current home setup AND arrange it for live performance.


Leaving the weekend, after additional investigation, intended gear selections pretty much the same, but strategy better firmed up.

Looked into a Yamaha alternative but ultimately sticking with the Casio CT-S1 for the portable keyboard piece. Admittedly I’ve always liked the sounds of Yamahas and I know Casio has a kind of cheap-and-trashy rep, but they are also having a revival where they are being appreciated for the quality they can offer at their price range, their lightweight portability, and their simplicity. And in any event, embracing cheap and trashy in a deliberate manner is kind of my thing.

Lots of competing opinions from the MPC subreddit about One versus Live 2, as you can imagine, but I think for my relatively simple needs at this juncture, the One should be be fine… as long as I hold off on getting the newest firmware which is apparently hella buggy.

As for the MicroBrute, totes gonna get it, but since the MPC and live performance logistics alone are gonna require a hell of a learning curve, I am going to hold off on it…

…mainly so I can invest straight away in a K&M Spider Pro stand. Point being to let me erect my live rig in back of/overhanging my home recording setup, so I can stand up to practice on it and just kind of pluck it out of place to perform somewhere (leaving my heavy-ass S90ES and TASCAM recorder rooted in their usual places).


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