I firmly believe that the sound of a musician is more about the way they play than the equipment they use, nonetheless for those interested, I gig with the following equipment –
This I adopted as my main board in the summer of 2015. It has so far been even better than I’d hoped it would be providing the blend of flexibility and breadth of sounds at the right price. It has all the bases covered – the EPs are fantastic, there is a very usable organ simulation… and above and beyond my expectations it has the most fabulous collection of horns, strings and winds along with enough synth sounds to cover most modern pop. It’s left me hungry for one of the top of the shelf models so favoured in the West End.
M-Audio Prokeys 88 SX, running through a Behringer Bass V-Amp Pro.
The trusty 88 SX I’ve had for many years… I’ve had to conduct a few repairs on it, including replacing one board of sensors. It’s a shame it wasn’t popular enough to have lasted – it is no longer available and M-Audio didn’t replace the model. For me it’s perfect – light enough not to break the back, cheap enough not to break the bank and just the right selection of a palette of decent quality sounds – a couple of pianos, three electric pianos, a clav and an organ. The only short coming was a lack of rotary speaker emulation for the organ… this led me to running it through the Bass V-Amp, which has a pretty good one with a nice transition from slow to fast.
The Bass V-Amp is one of those controversial beasts, an amp emulator. I ended up getting hold of one when I was doubling up on bass and keys at gigs and wanted cut down my gear list. It came with a great selection of over the top presets but I have built a few to augment the keyboard sounds, making the 88 SX a lot more versatile.
Warwick Pro Serie Corvette 5 string fretless
I have started (in 2016) gigging this as my first choice bass. It feels great to play, sounds great… and to my surprise I found that with a little work, in a short time I had great enough facility on the fretless that a rare intonation slip was far outweighed by the benefits of being able to pick my notes and blend in with a band over a gig where guitars or horns might go sharp.
Westone DX Spectrum Bass, running through a Behringer Bass V-Amp Pro.
I’ve grown more and more attached to this bass over the years… and it suits my fingerstyle funk down to the ground. One thing that has made a difference to my sound is adopting DR Hi-Beam strings, round wound on a round core… I tried a few different brands and gauges, chanced upon these and now swear by them. I use the Bass V-Amp through a clean amp – either a 180W PA/keyboard amp for smaller gigs, or a great big 1600W power amp through an 800W PA speaker. Purists will shake their heads in bemusement, but in one box I then have most of the sounds I could want… not a pedal in sight, and the sound through an unstretched PA amp working well within itself is a fine thing. I originally started out with this setup thinking I would replace it with a more conventional head and cab… but in the end I never felt the need to.