My keyboard set-up

This is my live keyboard set up. It changes from time to time, but the following generally holds true

Computer

Macbook pro, 2.66 Ghz duel core processor with 4 gigs of ram

Software

Ableton live – This is my “host” program. It holds all of my plug-ins and I use it to trigger drum and keys loops as well as run the click (metronome). Live’s audio and midi effects is probably the biggest component I use to achieve my sound

Propellerhead Reason – This is my main plug in program. I use this program from my piano sounds as well as many other synth, pad and string patches. I will occasionally create a drum loop from reason as well

Native instruments komplete 5 – Although some of the programs in komplete I rarely ever use, b4, Elektrik piano and absynth are pretty regularly used in my set up. B4 has an incredible b3 organ sound bank, and Electrik piano has outstanding rhodes patches

Spectrasonics omnisphere – This is the program I use for many of my pads and some of my synths. Omnisphere has phenomenal atmospheric sounds

Guru – In my humble opinion, the best beat-making software out there

Here’s a brief overview of all the plugins and how I set up my live scene

Hardware

Motu 828 ultralite mk3 – This is my audio and midi interface. Motu has been amazingly consistent and has pretty good audio conversion for the price.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section about anything in my set up.

 

30 thoughts on “My keyboard set-up

  1. Keagan says:

    Do you use Stylus RMX? I am getting a macbook this summer (2.30 ghz processor and 4gb of ram) and i play pretty frequently at our house of prayer in St. Louis and was wondering if you had any tips of buying accessories. Don’t have alot of money, so even interface wise what you think i should look into using. I do use propellerhead’s Reason as of now on a small windows computer, along with an M-Audio Mobile Pre usb audio interface for sound, so im looking forward for a complete sound upgrade when i get a job this summer. Thanks a bunch!

  2. I don’t use Stylus RMX, for the reason that you can’t create your own loops, you can only play back and effect previously created loops. I recommend Guru or reason for beat making programs. As far as buying accessories, if you can get a used MOTU 828 on ebay I’d say go for it, but if that’s a little out of your range look at getting the m-audio firewire 410. The drivers aren’t as solid as the motu but it’ll give you lots of channels for a little amount of money. Ultimately If you already have reason, i’d get live and an interface and go from there

  3. Keagan says:

    Thanks! That was definitely helpful. I got somewhat of an upgrade. I am still saving for a mac but for now someone gave me a windows comp with 3.5 gb of RAM and a 2.0 Ghz processor. And now I have Ableton Suite 8.1.1. Do you think you could email me some of your most used or favorite sounds in reason or ableton? That would be helpful and pretty sweet bro. Thanks.

  4. Christian says:

    Hi Caleb,

    I don’t really where to put this, but I have a completely different question ,concerning Bob Powers’ e-guitar in “Heart After You”. I saw him playing the e-guitar with a bow and I would like to know how that works.Because the stuff that you have to put on the bow, in order to produce a sound, messes up the guitar strings, doesn’t it….?

    Thanks!

    Christian

  5. David says:

    Dude! I bought omnisphere like you suggested (At ATC) and wow…. I’m blown away man. And i would recommend the firewire 410 as well. The Ultra-lite is super pricey (no offense Caleb). I do have a question regarding MIDI syncing live. I know Truman and Michael don’t MIDI sync. Do you think it’s reliable?

  6. Greg says:

    Jesus Culture keys… What program/plugin do you use for that sound that jesus culture uses in all their songs? I’ve heard you use something similar to it and wanted to use it for some songs. Any help would be great. Thanks.

  7. Ed says:

    Hey Caleb, I’m a longtime appreciater of your sounds on Cory’s team and Pas Neos (which I hope you guys come out with a new album soon, btw!). If I wanna just get started with making beats and sounds like you do but at a lower price point, what software/hardware would you recommend for starters?

  8. lee brown says:

    hey caleb, I watched your tutorials i tried to download orca and idk how to get it to show up in ableton.. also it said it installed successfully but yet i could not find out how to open it; it did not give me an icon to click?? is this normal? i believe i am using leopard idk if that has anything to do with it?

  9. John Jordan says:

    @Caleb – thanks for doing this, this rocks man.

    @David I have heard on the Ableton forums that midi syncing is unreliable for live performance unless you have something like a MOTU Timepiece that will send the clock information to both LIVE laptops as clients. Live itself puts audio performance ahead of basically everything, and can drop stuff when it gets pressed hard, making the clock potentially inconsistent. I’m not sure if there is a clock in the MOTU Ultralite that would work or not, I haven’t looked too far into that since I don’t have one.

  10. John Jordan says:

    Caleb, I’d love to hear how you feed click tracks through your avioms, and basically how you work with the worship leader and your team on running background loops, etc.

    • John Jordan says:

      clarification: I understand how to feed a click out a channel, I’m more interested in who hears the click, and how you work with your team.

      we have avioms at HHOP but basically they’re a straight 16 channel feed and we don’t have room for even a talkback. I’m trying to figure out how to free up aviom channels for stuff like this.

  11. Melvin Kim says:

    Hey I think what you’re doing is awesome and terrific, I was wondering what kind of in ear monitors you use. Thanks and blessings!

  12. Philip Yoo says:

    Hey, thank you so much for the info you have given.
    This helped me so much, but there’s one thing i still don’t understand,
    Where does all the cables and outputs go?
    Do you go keyboard midi to motu and use stereo outputs?
    or go keyboard’s stereo output into motu’s input and output?
    I’m not quite getting how all things are plugged in.
    Which leaves me with a last question, is all the instrument/sound you’re making
    midi? If it’s not how are you making those sounds?
    Thanks again, I greatly appreciate your information and videos.
    Hope you make more in the future.

  13. Will Wojczyk says:

    Hi Caleb. Thanks so much for putting these videos on your blog, they have helped me to get started using Ableton Live in our prayer room. I would love to see more videos in the future. I especially would like to see some detail on how you go about creating a specific clip, both audio and midi clips. There you go, that’s my vote…love what you do and keep up the great work. I love to hear you in the prayer room also! Thanks.

  14. Chris Bailey says:

    Hi Caleb, Thanks for sharing your set-up with us.
    I come from a djing background, when i started going to church instead of nightclubs, most of my record collection became somewhat redundundant, as musical taste changed to listening to Christian Music. I like your stuff as it brings the electronic side of things into Worship.
    I would like to try and do the same somehow at my church, regretably i haven’t learnt to play an instrument or keyboard, which i know doesn’t help. How would you recommend incorporating the electronic with live instruments without being able to play an instrument? I suppose i would be limited to drum loops and sound effects??
    Any thoughts would be helpful, I can mix records on turntables and use serato scratch no problem. Can use cubase at a very basic level, have a demo-version of ableton live but haven’t really gone into that so far. My set-up is very much old-skool in nature, like me, Im 37ys old and need an update.

    Thanks Chris.

    set-up
    2 x technics 1200′s turntables
    Serato Scratchlive SL1
    Vestax VMC-185XL MIXER
    M-Audio Delta 1010 soundcard
    Samson Resolv 40a monitors
    Ableton Live lite version 4 for M-Audio (4.0.4)
    Cubase SX V1.01

  15. Jeremy Moore says:

    hey caleb,
    it would be cool if i could get my hands on on an Ableton set used in the prayer room, just to get an idea of what’s going on. I have Ableton Live suite 8, reason 5, and logic 9. i’m pretty sure i can get some sounds but the live samples sound so hip hop or dance, i need pointing in the right direction for some prayer room beats.

  16. Caleb, – so helpful! I really need to dig into your stuff again. Great tones. How do you switch/layer your plugin sounds on stage? The APC? The Mac mouse?
    Patrick SW Florida Worship guy

  17. Austin Haynes says:

    Hey bro,
    the house of prayer I play for is letting me use their mac to play synth with, but I don’t know anything about programs or what to run them through. I know they have Ableton live and I’m still learning my way around that. What do you recommend?

  18. Any chance I could get a list of the synth voices used on “One Thing Remains”? I’m assuming they are from Omnisphere… did you have to tweak it a bunch or did you create it from the ground up?

  19. Tyler says:

    Hey, I play keys at my church using ableton live and Omnisphere. I was wondering what presets you prefer on Omnisphere, there are so many I just wanted to get another opinion.

  20. Hello Caleb! I am a worship leader at Freedom Fellowship in Magnolia, Texas for congregational services on Sunday mornings and Youth services on Wednesday nights. For a while, I have been wanting to expand, develop skill, and gain a broader knowledge and variety of ways to to expand my playing abilities on stage and off. A friend of mine told me that the best way to do this would be to become more familiar by using a laptop while performing. After doing some research, I realized this is something that I would be absolutely interested in doing. My question for you is where would be some of the best ways to by equipment, what type of equipment is needed(laptop,cables,etc.), and where would be the best place to find tutorials.

  21. Jeff Diltz says:

    Hey Caleb, The pads you create are absolutely fresh and the best Ive ever heard… I’m currently using Abelton 8 and Reason 4… I wonder if you could steer me in the right direction for creating some amazing pads? Thanks man, Jeff Diltz

  22. Hi Caleb – can you advise please if you think dedicated graphics are necessary for live work. Considering to go for 13″ mbp with dedicated graphics only or 15″ mbp with NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M – thank you for any advice. David

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