by Tony Orant, a.k.a.
tonysounds on the
Keyboard Corner forum
My recently slimmed-down rig is a Yamaha S90ES [since replaced in Yamaha's lineup by the S90XS] with a Line 6 M9
effects unit and Hammond XM2 drawbar controller Velcro’ed on top. This
feeds SKB racks containing a Roland Fantom-XR and JD-990, Yamaha
Motif Rack, Muse Receptor, Hammond XM2 organ module, and Roland
M-120 mixer. Mounted in its own tray is a Ventilator rotary simulator.
This gives me the power of a complex MIDI rig, yet has spontaneity—I can play the S90ES alone just by pushing “Voice.” The M9
adds more spontaneity, with realtime control of everything from distortions to filters to delays to tremolo. I don’t run stereo—mono is
the way to go when you’re at the mercy of house sound systems.
An umbilical of all MIDI, audio, and control cables runs from the keyboard station to the rack. The drawbar cable plugs into the
front of the XM2; all others plug into adaptors I’ve dressed on the right side of the rack so they’re easy to find in the dark. I also outlined
the XLR output of my mixer with glow-in-the-dark tape.
Inside the rack at the top, I Velcro’ed the AC and audio cables for my QSC K12 powered monitor, which sits atop the rack. Other
AC cabling is fastened to the rack’s floor, with each cable in its own trough so I don’t have to disassemble the whole thing to change
something out. My pedalboard is 1/4" plywood, painted black and stapled with cheap outdoor carpet with the rubber side down to
keep it from sliding. All pedals are Velcro’ed to the board with pedal and AC cables bound in one snake. The whole rig takes less
than 15 minutes to unpack and power up.