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Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

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Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby MarkyC » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:37 am

So looking for the best way to carry around synths and looking for your brilliant advice as always.

I’ve been to quite a few open mic synth nights, doing a bit of research, I see loads of people spending ages getting synths out of bags, ages plugging them all in and often things not working! This is not for me!

I want to put everything pre-plugged in on a pedal board type case, remove lid, power up and go. This would have to be a custom made case so asking for thoughts or advice.

My setup would be (Bass station 2, Peak, TR8, Key-Largo to mix + orico usb powered hub to sync everything + plugs). On my table, after connecting everything, the foot print comes to about 90cmW x 70cmD x 9 cm high.

I have been looking at these cases https://www.swanflight.com/case-designer/pedalboard/

But have a concern that they won’t offer enough padding/protection, would just asking them to add extra foam on the sides and lids be enough? If so what type would be best?

I note that another option would be to get some sort of cut out inserts https://www.swanflight.com/cnc-routed-insert-case.html would this be a better idea?

Or am I going completely over the top and researching the death out of this one!

Many thanks for your help as always

MarkyC
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby AlecSp » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:50 pm

Good for you wanting to be the good citizen that can just walk on, plug in, and play :thumbup: Better still is at the end of the set, you unplug and walk off quickly. All good!

At one end of the spectrum, you could do worse than to get a piece of plywood, paint it black, attach all your kit to it (cable ties through holes in the board, or strong velcro). Doesn't offer protection, but keeps the configuration in place.

Otherwise, yes, use a flight case solution like you've shown, but you've still got to keep everything in place inside. The Swann cases use velcro, but you could always make a board (as above) and keep it in there.

Padding - if you've done a decent job of fixing your kit to the base, why do you need extra padding - everything should stay in place anyway.

Cabling - much like a guitar pedalboard, take the opportunity to get (ideally make) cables of just the right length and of decent quality. That way, you won't have a rat's nest of cables flopping around in your case.

Weight - don't underestimate the additional weight of the case which, along with the fact that *everything* is inside, can easily add up. Think about adding castors and an end handle - or getting a collapsible trolley - can make transport so much easier.

Good luck with your project - you'll be so chuffed with it when you've done it.
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby MarkyC » Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:56 pm

Thanks Alec,

Yep - it’s not good for anyone watching someone plug in kit for 10 mins, hit a note, looks awkward, 5 mins more go by then by the time they start everyone’s happily chatting amongst themselves. Even worse the poor sound person has been running around trying to help and is now so knackered/worried about the next person who has turned up with two suitcases to do anything more than control the volume. Mean time the previous act has just about managed to get off stage…. (I did say I had done some research!)

Yes, I guess you are right if it stays in place it should not need more padding, I guess that's just me being paranoid about the synths moving around in transit. Probably just add some bubble wrap in any gaps in case something does come loose.

Weight, hmm yes good call – trolley type thing would be good, I’ll get the case first…
Next thing to will be nerves – but that’s a whole different thread!

Thanks for the thoughts!
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby Music Wolf » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:28 pm

That's a pretty big, and heavy, case you are talking about. I'm a big fan of simple set up and pack away but I suspect that you may be running into other problems.

I had a big flight case for pedals (it actually contained multi fx + amp switch), I think by Swann. Not quite as big as you are proposing. The pedal case was well made but it was just too big. The design / shape lends itself to single handed carry but it's too heavy and you have to lift your arm up to clear the ground. It's also a bugger to get into a family car.

I'd be thinking of two cases with some simple hook up between the two?
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby MarkyC » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:52 pm

Ah you see it's these types of insight that make this forum so good! :thumbup:

Thanks Music Wolf hmm this weight thing I had not thought about.

I just looked at one of my fender bass cases 48inx16inx6in and thought it would way about the same.

This seems to be a mistake,

OK keep thinking.....
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby MarkyC » Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:42 pm

Oh my word (and other such sayings!)

I did a bit more working out and that is over two stone in case :blush: :blush: :blush: :blush:

OK now my head really hurts :frown:
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby AlecSp » Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:34 pm

MarkyC wrote:I did a bit more working out and that is over two stone in case
Yup, the total package weight can kill you if you go all "pro" - my guitarist did this with a massive case he didn't need, and always regretted it, until he gave up on it.

Then again, the benefits of everything connected and mounted in one case are huge. The question is what negative impact it has on logistics. Do you use a car to travel to gigs? If so, then a heavy case shouldn't be a problem - like I mentioned, a cheap £25 folding trolley will make transport a snip. If you use public transport, then you might need to think again.

A case that's *just* the right size is best - but that relies on you not later deciding to add more stuff. Also, some cases are much lighter then others. You'd be shocked at how heavy a full touring spec case would be for what you're trying to do.

Another option would be back to the simple kit mounted on a board suggestion I made earlier, with a soft case/bag for protection.

And, if you think this makes your life tricky, spare a thought for drummers and bass players...
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby MarkyC » Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:19 pm

Thanks for all the advice guys,

Was hoping to take trains and taxi's and on a few occasions planes (The latter I can pack it all in carry on and then construct latter).

Hmm started looking at a couple of options, the soft bag looks a good idea (only downside is the cable ties as I would want to get stuff on and off at regular intervals)

Also looking at the two smaller case notion and really try to keep the size down unfortunately Swan seem to have a minimum of 36 w where I could shave it down to something like 28x

Can you get lighter cases?

Cheers

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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:35 pm

I think whether you go one case or two there will be a compromise either way and you'll need to figure out which is the smallest PITA.
By way of personal experience (guitar-based rather than synths), I have two smallish boards that connect together via two cables (see image below). The pros are that they're both easily portable and relatively cheap. The cons are that I'm still messing around with multiple power adaptors etc because I've run out of room and power points on the board - so no future expansion options without buying a whole new case.
Our guitarist, by contrast, has one HUGE* case. The pros and cons are exactly the same but the other way round. :)

two boards:
Image

* He misread the size on ebay!
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby AlecSp » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:15 pm

MarkyC wrote:Was hoping to take trains and taxi's and on a few occasions planes (The latter I can pack it all in carry on and then construct latter).
OK, public transport - you need something you can carry easily.

MarkyC wrote:Hmm started looking at a couple of options, the soft bag looks a good idea (only downside is the cable ties as I would want to get stuff on and off at regular intervals)
Why are cable ties a problem? Just cut them and use more. They're the ideal solution to this problem.

MarkyC wrote:Also looking at the two smaller case notion and really try to keep the size down unfortunately Swan seem to have a minimum of 36 w where I could shave it down to something like 28x
cm or inches? As soon as you go to two cases, you're back to the ball-ache of more stuff to connect together. Ideally, you want one mains lead to connect, and then outputs for FOH, and nothing more.
Would some of these guitar pedalboards work for you? Effectively, a customisable floor board, with a soft case to fit.
https://www.andertons.co.uk/brands/pedaltrain/terra/pedaltrain-terra-w-soft-case
Image

https://www.andertons.co.uk/brands/rockboard/rockboard-cinque-53-with-gig-bag
[urlhttps://www.andertons.co.uk/brands/rockboard/rockboard-cinque-53-with-gig-bag]Image[/url]
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby MarkyC » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:23 pm

Thanks for sharing Drew, Kind of helps me visualise on of the options.

Drat I had targeted middle of next month to get going but I think I'll have to sit and stare at my setup and figure out what the best compromise will be before going forward.

Cheers all,

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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby MarkyC » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:39 pm

OK!

Alec you are correct, don't know why cable ties would be an issue (for some reason I was thinking of sliding them off and on - stupid sorry)

Yep one power supply one set of balanced xlrs out was my initial goal.

OK this looks interesting and light, going to check these out.

Thanks for all the help once again!

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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:52 pm

Splitting into two cases means, at most, an extra mains lead, two midi leads and two audio leads, all connected at one end in 'case 1' and needing connecting to 'case 2'. Many years ago (40 in fact) I made the mistake of buying a flight case for my beloved Les Paul Custom. After a couple of years bashing the car to bits and avoiding hernias I sold it and bought a standard case........
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby BigRedX » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:18 pm

The keyboard player in my band has his keyboards in cases with wheels at one end and a handle at the other (similar to some drum hardware cases). Might something like that be a possibility?
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby The Elf » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:18 pm

The cases are one thing, but for me the things that REALLY speed up set-up are the connections and the preparation. The less gear you need to connect on stage, the quicker you will be able to be up and running - and the more prep you do in terms of setting up easily recallable levels and patches then the less you will need to soundcheck.

I speak from many years of bitter experience!
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby MarkyC » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:45 pm

Yep I think a board, cable ties and a soft case type thing is the way I'll go.
Get as much patched up as possible prior to setup.

Yep Elf, I'm very rusty at this stuff but I am that type of sad individual that I plan to book a rehearsal space, not to rehears playing but just setup, break down etc. over and over. Also the shock of hearing things loud for the first time can be very phasing! so I need to get over that one as well...

Ok so now for the next unforscene hiccup, whatever that may be :oops: :oops:
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:33 pm

MarkyC wrote:
Yep Elf, I'm very rusty at this stuff but I am that type of sad individual that I plan to book a rehearsal space, not to rehears playing but just setup, break down etc. over and over...
I think the term you're looking for is 'professional' not 'sad'... ;)
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby Music Wolf » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:02 pm

My guitar rig requires a little patching. I have to link my Helix to my VoiceLive via both audio and MIDI then there are outs to the PA and my 'back line' monitor. Of course all the connections are at the rear, Helix is on the floor (and my reading glasses fall off when I bend down) and it is invariable dark when we're setting up.

I have resorted to sticking coloured dots next to the appropriate sockets

Image

Same colour at either end. All the inter-connecting cables are in the pocket of the Helix soft case.
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby tomas » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:25 pm

For my Nord Stage 3, I was looking at a board to hold the volume pedal, a program up/down pedal, the Nord triple pedal and a pedal for the Leslie rotor speed. A guitar pedal board wouldn’t be optimal as I want my pedals on the floor. I solved it an aluminium bar supplied from a regular hardware store. I think it’s 30mm wide and 3mm thick; reasonably stiff and light weight. I sawed two lengths of the bar and rounded the edges with a metal file. I put nonslip pads on the undersides of the two strips. I mounted all the pedals with velcro tape. This stuff is great https://www.thomann.de/intl/thomann_pedal_board_tape.htm and I got a suitable softbag also from Thomann. Then I made a loom of the cables using wire ties. I used small pieces of heat-shrink tubing to colour code the cable ends near the plugs (I changed all plugs to matching 90 degree Neutrik plugs) and used matching coloured pieces of electrical tape just above the sockets on my keyboard.

My setup time is minimal and it looks very tidy as the loom goes along the ‘spine’ of my K&M Baby Spider stand. It’s a low cost & relatively low weight solution. I know this doesn’t directly correspond with what you want to do, but maybe it gives you some ideas?

MarkyC wrote:Also the shock of hearing things loud for the first time can be very phasing!

That it can be, indeed. Good luck! :)
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Re: Synth Cases for Live Setup and Transportation

Postby DanR » Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:36 pm

AlecSp wrote:
At one end of the spectrum, you could do worse than to get a piece of plywood, paint it black, attach all your kit to it (cable ties through holes in the board, or strong velcro

Weight - don't underestimate the additional weight of the case

I ordered a sheet of 5mm black acrylic Perspex to attach my six keyboard pedals to from these guys:
https://www.theplasticpeople.co.uk/
I sized it so it would fit between my keyboard stand feet. Pedals are 2x Yamaha FC7, 2x Piano type sustain and 2x basic FX on/off.
Have used Velcro but the piano type pedals don’t grip so well due to the small rubber feet.
Also looking for a suitable bag/case for it. Certainly speeds up setup though having all pedals together.
I did look at PedalTrain for a solution but, as mentioned here, pedals need to be on the floor so not suitable.

Regarding weight, I’ve had quite a few cases made by Flightcasewarehouse and chose the lighter Astroboard option for a mixer case and Korg Triton case. Very strong and much lighter than hex ply
type.
Well pleased with mine.
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