I use a software based keyboard setup. I have tried different hardware synths before and they always sound great. Unfortunately it is hard to customize the patches. Even after all of the patches are setup you still have to get it to were the gig is. With a software synths like Reason all I need is my laptop and compact audio interface. Must of the time I travel with my laptop so I always have all of my sounds with me and I can plug any controller into my laptop.
After trying different software packages and plug-ins I have found that the most flexible solution is to use Ableton Live with Reason. With flexible routing and controls Live offers it is easy to map and control my sounds in real time. I tried using reason by it self but found the interface clunky for live use. I have also tried Apple's MainStage 3. MainStage has a lot of options but I think one of it's best features is the price, $30. That is $420 cheaper then Ableton Live. MainStage doesn't have all of the features of Live but for someone starting out it is a great choice. The other reason I have stayed with Live is it's familiar. I have been using Live since version version 3. I am working on a few videos to share the way I work in Live but until then you can download my set template below. Hopefully they will help you take your playing to the next level.
- Macbook Pro 15" (mid 2014) Intel i7 Processor
- Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 Audio Interface
- Akai Professional MPK88
- Akai Professional MPK61
- Propellerheads Reason 7
- Ableton Live 9 Standard