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#1247177 - 08/11/09 10:07 AM keyboard amp vs powered speaker
jt7747 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 10
I don't know why I've persevered so long with my roland keyboard amps...I own a roland rd300sx piano, with headphones it sounds amazing, but through my keyboard amps (two of them, in stereo, I HATE playing keys through one amp) they sound just isn't right. It's whiny and picks out all sorts of frequencies and does weird things to my sound.

I play jazz in small combos normally, where I don't need to be too loud. I'm interested in either powered speakers, or mabye even a mini PA system to give me a good sound. Has anyone got any tips for amplifying their digital piano to make it sound as good as it deserves to sound. Keyboard amps just don't seem to do it for me!

Thanks

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#1247282 - 08/11/09 12:56 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: jt7747]
jpscoey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/09
Posts: 306
Loc: Manchester, England, UK.
Originally Posted By: jt7747
I play jazz in small combos normally, where I don't need to be too loud. I'm interested in either powered speakers, or mabye even a mini PA system to give me a good sound.

I have a Yamaha Stagepas 300, which is compact, lightweight, and stereo.

It's not mega-loud, but does a pretty decent job - worth having a look at?
_________________________
John Schofield. NTC Dip. , C.G.L.I.
Professional piano tuner/technician since 1982.
myspace

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#1247311 - 08/11/09 01:40 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: jpscoey]
jt7747 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 10
I've just been looking at stagepas range online....thanks....i will check them out locally

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#1247316 - 08/11/09 01:50 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: jt7747]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Keyboard amps are the worst. If you want good sound, get a small PA head and two speakers, or two powered speakers and a mixer.

I have played and/or owned just about every keyboard amp made...a PA is the only way to go to get a good sound.

Also, a small Roland Cube Moniter CM30 is unreal great. Check it out...I use it for a monitor on stage...it is unbelievably clean and accurate.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1247617 - 08/11/09 11:25 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: rocket88]
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
I heard some good reviews about the Roland Cube amps. They seem to produce a good live sound running a pair in stereo for keyboards. It really depends on what type of gigs you are doing, the type of music, size of the room and the reproduction of the sound quality of the keyboard.

As I mentioned in a previous thread, I picked up 2 KRK Rokit 8 powered monitors, 160 watts. The bass is quite good without distortion at louds volumes. I also want to experiment with a 10-12" sub for additional bass punch. The KRK's have produced the best live digital piano samples and various SoundFonts in GarageBand. They fill the room with warm sound. I also use a Mackie 1202 mixer to hook everything into and tweak the EQ which offers other possibilities to produce the best sound. But again, these are studio monitors, mainly designed to do mixing with a flat sound spectrum. The speakers are not protected or grilled like a keyboard amp and finding cases that fit these monitors is going to be a challenge when i take them out for a live test. But to my ears, good studio monitors deliver the best and most accurate dynamic range for digital pianos and VI.

katt

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#1247730 - 08/12/09 05:39 AM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: nitekatt2008z]
jpscoey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/09
Posts: 306
Loc: Manchester, England, UK.
'
Studio monitors are so-called for a reason - they are designed to produce the best quality

sound in a studio... and if you're staying at home & don't want to use headphones

all the time, then that would be the best solution.

They are not designed for the rigours of the road, though - even if 'the road' means just

a weekly trip to your local bar, or whatever. Repeated moving about of equipment

means the inevitible knocks (&, dare I say, drops!) that happen

will take a heavy toll on gear not suited for that job.

For live work, compromise is the answer - speaker cabs that are sturdy enough to withstand

being lumped about, but obviously with a decent enough sound quality.

I have never seen a regularly gigging band using studio monitors 'on stage'.




_________________________
John Schofield. NTC Dip. , C.G.L.I.
Professional piano tuner/technician since 1982.
myspace

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#1248072 - 08/12/09 05:31 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: jpscoey]
jt7747 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 10
Thank you, there are some useful tips here. I'm going to pick up a stagepas 300 tomorrow, 2nd hand, including stands, adaptors and the snazzy yamaha suitcase thing.

I have a feeling that active monitors might yield a cleaner nicer sound for my small gigs, but I agree their lack of robustness would see them damaged in no time. I gig about once a week.

I will post my thoughts on the yamaha system, will hopefully get it in time for tomorrow's gig!

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#1248099 - 08/12/09 06:41 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: jt7747]
jpscoey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/09
Posts: 306
Loc: Manchester, England, UK.
Originally Posted By: jt7747
"I'm going to pick up a stagepas 300 tomorrow.....

I will post my thoughts on the yamaha system".....


I think you'll be happy with your decision. you can spend hundreds (thousands, even)
in pursuit of perfection, but you have to be realistic - which I think you've been.

Please do post those thoughts & let us know how you go on?
_________________________
John Schofield. NTC Dip. , C.G.L.I.
Professional piano tuner/technician since 1982.
myspace

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#1248504 - 08/13/09 01:13 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: rocket88]
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1074
Loc: California
I asked a question about sound systems on another forum. The Roland Cube wasn't mentioned but it sounds great, the only question I have is that when I read the specs it has a woofer and tweeters instead of a horn. One of my advisers on my thread advised to get a horn instead of tweeters for the keyboard to bring out the mid range better. Anybody have any comment on this?
It also looks like the Roland Cube could be used for vocals since it has a mike input and I'm wondering if the lack of a horn would influence vocal sound.

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#1250304 - 08/16/09 01:48 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: Nikalette]
jt7747 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 10
Really happy with the stagepas 300, played three gigs now, all bass and piano duo, nothing too noisy.

The first thing I noticed is that the top half of my roland rd300sx piano sounds SO MUCH better with the pa than with my old roland kc150 keyboard amps. I had assumed that roland's amps would sound top notch, but no such thing. I had endless problems with their horrible response, which always pushed high notes WAY too loud. The yamaha controls my dynamic range so much better, and cleaner, than the keyboard amps.

It's also nice to have a pretty decent mixer, and it sounds good to run bass through the mix as well. I have the speakers right behind my head, at head height (sitting), for lush stereo. This involved taking a hacksaw to the pa stands, but I'm never gonna use them at full height, so saved a bit of weight.

Got the stagepas 300, the suitcase thing, stands and pole mounts, and a 12v battery, charger, and ac inverter all for £400. The inverter's worth £80 alone! Quite happy with that.

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#1250847 - 08/17/09 02:58 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: jt7747]
jpscoey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/09
Posts: 306
Loc: Manchester, England, UK.
'
Nice one JT , I'm glad you got sorted! - sounds like you got

a pretty decent deal too.
_________________________
John Schofield. NTC Dip. , C.G.L.I.
Professional piano tuner/technician since 1982.
myspace

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#1251136 - 08/18/09 01:24 AM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: jpscoey]
DavidKitazono Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 65
For a really compact, great sounding sub-woofer, check out the Sunfire True-line of subs. I have used several models, and found them to be musical, with a huge acoustic output. Placement with these subs is critical, so take time to experiment with different locations. Personally, I think they work better in stereo pairs. Their very small size (approx. 14" cubes) makes them a lot easier to live with rather than huge 18" Velodynes.

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#1335701 - 12/28/09 06:22 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: jt7747]
pianopounder Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/27/09
Posts: 1
You are more experienced than I certainly. I just bought my first actual "keyboard amp" . Previously I plugged into a small pa or a bass amp or lead amp or whatever happened to be available. I expected the Roland KC550(which I just got for xmas) to "solve" a lot of the sound problems I have had in the past. I haven't played professionally in decades so I haven't taken it out to a club or anything yet. Obviously it fills up my bedroom at very low power, so it's hard to judge how it will sound later. Your complaints make me wonder if you have ever used the sub woofer output it provides either with the suggested roland unit or with anything else to increase the base response. I can't justify buying the subwoofer amp for the minimal use I have for my piano, but I DO have a Crate copy of a bassman 100W amp, and I wondered about trying to run the outputinto that. comments?

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#1335768 - 12/28/09 07:59 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: pianopounder]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1675
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
I just wrote this on another thread today:

Has already mentioned, you really want to hear the DP in Stereo if possible. Both live or at your home/studio.

Active PA type speakers I think are the best way to go. For gigging, the "keyboard amp" is the most convenient but also sacrifices on sound quality. I've tried probably every conceivable amp and speaker combination over the years to best try to optimize the sound of my keyboard/DP. People go out and spend 2-3K on a keyboard like the Yamaha Motif 8, plug into a Berinnger or Roland KB amp and wonder why it sounds like s..t I would spend more dough on the sound system personally.

Currently I use for my stuff the EV SXA 360s active speakers. It's a 2 way, 12" and horn. For its class---weight/price/sound I think they are the best thing going. Expect to pay around $1600-1900 for a new pair. I run them into an older Mackie 1202 VLZ mixer, not the greatest high end piece of gear sonically speaking, but has great build quality, is super reliable and definitely does the job. Also has mentioned, the style of music and your volume level comes into play. The EVs can cover all the bases from Jazz solo/trio piano stuff to crankin' Rock-R&B. If you can, spend the dough on good speakers--in this area you really get what you pay for.

I don't play DPs at home very often but for recording I have a pair of the Dyn Audio BM6As MKII. The few times I've run my keyboards through them they sound probably has good has they will sound. Has mentioned you can't use studio monitors live though. You'll probably blow them up by overdriving them trying to compete with the drummer or bass player. They aren't meant for that purpose.

I also still have the Motion Sound KP-200 stereo keyboard amp. It sounds very good for "keyboard sounds" such has Rhodes, Clav, Organ and misc. synth stuff but it really doesn't make it for AP sounds---very harsh and srident. If you really hate patch chords and plugging stuff in plus like to get in and out of the venue has quickly has possible, this way can't be beat, although has mentioned , you are sacrificing sound quality especially on the AP. Then again some people aren't has picky has I am and the amp suits them fine.

So to sum it up--for live a good pair of active speakers and a small mixer.
For home/studio--a good pair of active studio monitors.

Second post:

I was just checking the price on those EV SXA 360s. Someone on the Keyboard Mag Forum mentioned EV dropped the price on those. Evidently that's the case because the advertised "street" price is now $1600. I paid just under 2K out the door a few years ago and I shopped that deal like a madman.

A few brands I've owned or tried:
Barbetta amps
JBL Eons 10"s & the 15"s
Mackie SM-450s and SM350s
Acoustic Image Coda/Corus/ and the new Ten2
The older QSC--the HPR 122i I think it was. Haven't tried the newer QSC K series--the 8", 10" or 12"s. A lot of people on the aforementioned Keyboard Corner Forum own these and really seem to like them. Many threads over there on this subject.
http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/ubb/postlist/Board/18/page/1
_________________________
_________________________
http://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D, Nord Piano 2

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#1335798 - 12/28/09 08:50 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: Dave Ferris]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
...
Active PA type speakers I think are the best way to go. For gigging,....
People go out and spend 2-3K on a keyboard like the Yamaha Motif 8, plug into a Berinnger or Roland KB amp and wonder why it sounds like s..t I would spend more dough on the sound system personally.



I agree but I wonder why you like powered speakers rather than passive. Is it just having less gear to tote?

I think you get better versatility with passive speakers. You can maybe afford two sets of passives, have the option to bi-amp or not and so on. Maybe you just don't like options and prefer "simple" or is it the sound of the active speakers you like?

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#1335822 - 12/28/09 09:34 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: jt7747]
Psalm23 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/05/08
Posts: 71
Loc: Boston
Originally Posted By: jt7747
I don't know why I've persevered so long with my roland keyboard amps...I own a roland rd300sx piano, with headphones it sounds amazing, but through my keyboard amps (two of them, in stereo, I HATE playing keys through one amp) they sound just isn't right. It's whiny and picks out all sorts of frequencies and does weird things to my sound.

I play jazz in small combos normally, where I don't need to be too loud. I'm interested in either powered speakers, or mabye even a mini PA system to give me a good sound. Has anyone got any tips for amplifying their digital piano to make it sound as good as it deserves to sound. Keyboard amps just don't seem to do it for me!

Thanks


I just got a Traynor K4 stereo amp. I thinks it sounds amazing. I am very happy with it.

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#1335892 - 12/28/09 11:00 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: Psalm23]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
I've used the Traynor K4 as well, with excellent results.

Stereo separation is very good for on stage amplification/monitoring.

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1335909 - 12/28/09 11:25 PM Re: keyboard amp vs powered speaker [Re: ChrisA]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1675
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
Originally Posted By: ChrisA
Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
...
Active PA type speakers I think are the best way to go. For gigging,....
People go out and spend 2-3K on a keyboard like the Yamaha Motif 8, plug into a Berinnger or Roland KB amp and wonder why it sounds like s..t I would spend more dough on the sound system personally.



I agree but I wonder why you like powered speakers rather than passive. Is it just having less gear to tote?

I think you get better versatility with passive speakers. You can maybe afford two sets of passives, have the option to bi-amp or not and so on. Maybe you just don't like options and prefer "simple" or is it the sound of the active speakers you like?



For simplicity and schlepping sake, I've gone over to the actives the past 10 years or so. I like the sound of the EV SXA 360s a lot for DP. They have a very clear, focused sound close to a studio monitor in a 35 lb. box. In this price range I haven't found anything I like more---and I've looked a lot. I've A/Bd them with another popular choice over at the Keyboard Corner. A pair of these
http://bass-guitars.musiciansfriend.com/...GB&ZYXSEM=0

powered with something like this:
http://www.qscaudio.com/products/amps/plx2/plx1104_specifications.htm

This combination was excellent has well, probably equal just different than the EVs. At this level it's very subjective and what your ears are used to though. I've carried many a power amp in my day so the active's are just so much more appealing from a schlepping point has already mentioned. It's one less piece to fit on the equipment dolly.

I've been told that with active speakers, the box, crossover and components are better matched up or tuned to optimize the sound has opposed to passive speakers and a separate power amp . I'm not all that into the technical side of things, I use my ears more. Either way with a high quality box/amplifier you are going to get very good results. I don't play that loud has I'm primarily a Jazz player so the bi-amping thing is a quite bit overkill for my simple purposes.
_________________________
http://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D, Nord Piano 2

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