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What are your thoughts on hardware effects in your keyboard rig?


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I got to check out the Electro-Harmonix Lester K recently (here's the review, if you're interested) which is the little brother to the Lester G meant for keyboard players (it lacks the compression circuit that's meant to alter the attack of a guitar string). It got me thinking that keyboard rigs don't typically include physical effects given how much processing is digital/sampled anyway. Does anyone here use hardware effects in their live rig (or even for recording)?

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I generally rely on the built-in effects in my Korg M3, Roland V-Synth, and others. However, sometimes I'll run a synth through an Eventide Pitchfactor or Lexicon delay to create a special effect in my ambient music soundscapes.

Edited by Karma1
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I used to use an SPX90 with a DX7 but that was a long time ago.

 

Now that I use modern digital pianos I don't use external effects and find that I am turning off the built in effects as well for live work. When I am recording anything goes.

Edited by onelife
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Personally, right now, I have a lexicon mx400, and sometimes I use the effects on my synth. Special occasions I use my echoplex, but I don't want to wear it out so only recording or special events.

When I can afford it, I will use products from Sonuus, and reverb from Vermona.

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As far as digital versus analog or software versus hardware, I am all about analog hardware. Recording I use a Mutronics Mutator. But I try to stay away from effects if I am recording on separate tracks; I'll add them later. Room or live recording is anything goes

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I think one of the reasons why keyboardists don't use a lot of pedals and rack gear is that they have a tendency to expect the sound generation to be handled by the keyboard itself, along with any desired modification. And that's not without good reason. A synth will usually have its own powerful filter built-in, making an outboard filter pedal redundant. And of course many modern keyboards have rather extensive effects processing onboard, so they can take care of their own reverb, delay and chorus needs.

 

How many of you use the onboard effects on your keyboards?

 

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I generally don't use outboard effects. Back in the day though usually an electric piano (rhodes suitcase) into a pedal board with several boss & electro-harmonix pedals and into a guitar amp. I had chorus, phaser, delay etc. Right now the only outboard effect I use is a ventilator on my Roland VR-09, the vent has much better leslie effect and distortion. The distortion on the VR-09 is almost useless, its either off or full bore, no subtle overdrive. With all the effects on board its really not efficient to carry outboard effects. I do have an tube pre-amp and a BBE exciter that I used to use in a rack. But I have since stopped using a rack for keys preferring instead to use a laptop. I like to have all the patches programmed before the gig. The last thing I want to do is have to adjust effects from song to song.

 

Even playing guitar I have a Line 6 rack, its much simpler to program your patches well in advance for each song and not worry about outboard effects.

Edited by kbeaumont
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Currently live I'm using a Ventilator II on a Roland VK7 for organ sound. This is my second vent and the VK7 is my favorite clone. (Have 3 of them)Absolutely swear by the Neo products. Also, there is one song that I do a guitar type lead on where I use a Roland Lucina guitar sound through a tc electronics Flashback and an MXR micro flanger... Great sound and I have received a lot of compliments.

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Currently live I'm using a Ventilator II on a Roland VK7 for organ sound. This is my second vent and the VK7 is my favorite clone. (Have 3 of them)Absolutely swear by the Neo products. Also' date=' there is one song that I do a guitar type lead on where I use a Roland Lucina guitar sound through a tc electronics Flashback and an MXR micro flanger... Great sound and I have received a lot of compliments.[/quote']

 

Welcome to HC. :wave:

 

Did you have one of the first-generation Ventilators? How do they compare with each other?

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Anymore the only outboard effect I use is a Ventilator Leslie sim (1st gen) on my SK1, and that is only with my Floyd tribute. I have it mounted in my rack that I use for that band. For other projects that only use 1-2 boards I don't need a rack and the built in sim on the Hammond does the job. Everything else I use the built in effects. When I was using my Moog LP live, I used a Boss stereo delay pedal on it because it has no built in effects.

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I think the main use would be for legacy synthesizers. For instance, I usually like the sound of an actual FM synth more than I do rendered samples of an FM synth, but most FM synths or midi modules are most convenient to use with a hardware reverb unit, due to menu diving on the synth for a builtin reverb effect that isn't that great anyway.

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I use some hardware effects with all my keyboards. But they're particularly important with my Rhodes and Hohner clavinet. Why? Because - in my experience - you can't get the classic sounds of those keys without adding some effects. For my clav, I use Empress Effects Tremelo and Fuzz pedals, a Catalinbread overdrive, a small stone phaser, a Boss chorus, an electro-harmonix reverb and a crybaby wah. For my Rohdes, I use an overdrive pedal, a phaser, a Moogerfooger ring modulator, a Moog delay and an Earthquaker reverb. I can get some very classic sounds and effects with those pedals.

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