Studio Gear

Keyboardist love to boast about their gear rigs. It took a few years and after trying several different keyboards I’ve currently settled on the Yamaha S90XS as my main practice and DAW keyboard, a Yamaha S70XS for gig use.    The S70XS is a heavy guy so in Dec 2017 I purchased a Yamaha MOX6 and so far I’m liking it.  The MOX6 still plays the same Performance setups as found on the S90/70 XS boards.   Many of items I have were purchased used on EBAY so don’t think we have a bunch of bucks in our pockets.  A new edition to my studio setup is a used (but like new)Yamaha Motif XS6 purchased on EBAY for a third of what they cost new back in the day.   I use it to create drum arpeggio loops for the S90XS.    I’ve found if you have some patience eventually you can get what you are looking for near half of retail or less on EBAY. EBAY has a save search option where you can specify a Used Keyboard model < $$$ and EBAY will email you when one is listed.    I also have found it pays to look for items on as sometimes you can find some really nice deals there.

In June 2013 I purchased the Yamaha S90XS keyboard. The live play backing arrangement features of the S90XS are better in several ways over what I had been using. I believe someday I might even be able to reach my goal of doing one man band gigs using the S90XS. Of course the downside of programming your song set into S90XS Performances means you are stuck with that keyboard. I’ve found I really like the S90XS and would highly recommend it.   Update  2017:   I discovered the Yamaha MOX also has the XS voices and arpeggio in it making compatible with my S90XS.     I also have several drum machines, synths, DAW and other related music making apps on my IPAD but so far I’ve only experimented with them.

My current home studio DAW rig hardware setup I upgraded a bunch in Jan 2014 and I look forward to producing new songs on it. My DAW rig starts with an OnStage table stand for the S90XS with a custom riser bar(I had welded up) that I sit the computer display on. On the ends of the riser bar  sits an Behringer Istudio dock for my IPAD and my  Roland JD-Xi which is a  digital/analog synth, vocoder and drum machine.   Also on the custom built heavy duty riser bar I’ve mounted my two Yamaha MSP5 monitors.  My DAW computer is a HPZ200 with Windows 10.0.   I also use a Roland FC300 midi controller pedal with a special pine wood heel lift I made. I use a Behringer Truth subwoofer whose filtered outputs connect to the MSP5 monitors. I use a Shure SM58 microphone on a OnStage boom mic stand.     I also have a swivel lamp clamped on the riser bar with a soft 40 watt bulb in it plus a 20 inch led light strip behind the monitor that shines down on the keyboard. So yes, it looks like a big bunch of stuff but believe me when I say it’s is far less than what many other people have that are making and recording music. Last I’ll mention my new Gel-Seat cushion which is really comfortable to sit on.


The PC keyboard and mouse are located in front of the keyboard and rest on  pieces of 1/8 plywood simply shoved under the keyboard. Under the keyboard stand I have a four foot long board the power strips and wall warts rest on.

My gear rack pictured below  starts with the a power conditioner everything is plugged in to. My Shure SM58 microphone is plugged into a Cloud Lifter which is plugged into a Digitech Live Pro voice processor which is connected to channels 1 & 2 on the Focusrite 18i20 mixer which have a low-cut pad.   My Yamaha S90XS and the Behringer 1602 line mixer are also connected to the Focusrite audio mixer.  Other keyboards, IPAD and Roland JD-Xi and any thing else I might bring in I connect to the Behringer 1602 stereo line mixer.   The Focusrite can stream like 8 stereo audio tracks over USB to my Sonar Producer X3 DAW.  I can also set up a separate mix on the Focusrite to go to the IPAD. The MOTU is an 8 port midi hub which really makes connecting MIDI devices easy via a software program on the computer.   The Focusrite, Digitech, MOTU and the Yamaha S90XS keyboard all have computer software programs to help manage them.   Having everything  accessible from one seat is very handy.   Yes there is a ton of ugly cables but you learn to just not look at that mess.

Studio Rack

Most every device and keyboard these days can connect to a PC via a USB cable.  All  6 USB ports on my PC are used.   I have a 2 port USB 3.0 card in the PC.     Port 1 on the card is connected to the Focusrite mixer and the other to a 10 port 3.0 USB hub.     It is a nightmare of wires!   It sure be nice if everything just worked magically over a wireless connection somehow.

My Motif XS6 I use to build drum custom drum tracks.  Plus its fun to play. It has a complex built-in sequencer you can create whole songs with.


The Yamaha MOX6 with soft case is 21 pounds and that I can move  from the car to inside with little effort.    The S70XS  with soft case is 53 pounds.