Just wondering about the synth / keyboard (what's the difference in the terms then ?) players here who play live. Say you're doing a cover of a song - do you strive to get the synth patches identical to the original, or do you just tweak out something 'close enough' and concentrate on the actual playing more ? It's just that I have to find some patches for our keyboard chap for several of the songs in our covers band. He's really a pianist and hasn't had any exposure to synths, whereas I have always played about with them & now VST instruments etc, but my fingers work better on a fretboard rather than the blacks & whites. ...and is it considered lazy to post in the new 'Synthesis & Sound Design' section here with stuff like "This is what I need, how do I get it ?"
Well, he uses a Korg SP200 electric piano with weighted keys (does that make a difference ?) and I was planning on just taking the midi-out into my laptop to play VSTi's (B4 / Lounge Lizard / Pro-53 / sampler / whatever). It would be a bit fiddly audio-wise as he likes several of the internal patches on his piano and would still need them, but I can sort that out with a little mixer so he still has volume control over both.
In all the bands I've been in, including the current one the keyboard player has always had some kind of synth workstation, Korg M1 or Roland D50, Triton etc. The actual presets in these things are generally close enough to what what's on the record in terms of covering general soul, rock and indie. Maybe your keys player could get a double stand and take a midi out from the piano into a common workstation. That way he gets the weighted key action on the synth sounds and he can just pull down the volume on the piano unless he wants a pad of both sounds.
There's loads of older keyboards on Ebay for peanuts, a Korg M1 with hardcase only makes about £180 these days. Something fat sounding like that might be less hassle than laptops and virtual sounds.
There are some synth sound that make (and date) the track, and these are often worth simulating closely. At other times something in the general area will do.
When we used to play the Dido number "White Flag" I found the exact synth sound for the intro on the GR-33, and it used to set the scene for the rest of the song. Whereas on Bille Jean I just use an electric piano patch.