www.frankwillems.com

GIG-RIG EQUIPMENT



For some time I was only taking one sound module and my wireless wind controller in a 2 U rack bag together with a powered speaker with me to rehearsals of my combo. I was tired of hauling the entire (and heavy) 6U rack case with two speakers around. Since I hardly ever play my acoustic saxes live anymore (over time the wind controller has become my main instrument), I didn't need the effects for the mics in the big rack. Next to that, I hardly ever used the Alesis S4+ sound module live. It had its use in the past mainly in the home studio and live when I played along with MIDI files. Since I'm using a software MIDI/MP3 player for that now, it has now a prominent spot in the home studio for creating backing tracks.

In my quest for a smaller gig-rig, I decided to minimize on weight and maximize on usability. I think I managed that with this current setup.

My gig-rig as of October 2006 is a 2U rack bag containing two Yamaha VL70-m sound modules, a Kenton MIDIStream Wireless Receiver, a SPL Grapevine KeyMix6 rack mixer and a switchable MIDI THRU interface. Next to that, I have two Voice Systems Shark 10 powered monitors to use on stage and a Compaq iPAQ 3850 with GSPlayer software with MIDI plug-in operating as a MIDI file player.

The gig-rig is much smaller now and usability improved; I made a 19" system from the Kenton Wireless receiver so I could fit it in the back of my rack bag, just behind the rack mixer. It doesn't need access since it has no controls other than On/Off. This leaves two rack spaces at the front occupying the full width 1U mixer and two half rack 1U sound modules. I just have enough space in the back for the power supply (I created one 12V DC power supply for the sound modules, MIDIStream wireless and MIDI THRU interface.) and some cables. The bag is cramped, but still small and I can carry it.

In the future I might go for a 3U rack bag so I can add, in case I want to use my acoustic saxes again, a small (half rack) effects processor and some other stuff. The wider opening at the back will give me the extra space to build an interface plate from a blind rack plate that will have all the connectors to the external equipment, like the speakers on stage, and to other gear in my home studio. I can also add a MONO/STEREO switch there so the rack can internally be connected all stereo and I will be able to select either MONO use with one or two powered speakers or STEREO use with both speakers.

I still have my three acoustic saxes; a Selmer SAIII soprano, a Selmer SAII alto and a Selmer SAII tenor with two Sennheiser MD441N microphones still can complete the gig-rig.
On the following pages I will explain the use of each piece of equipment.