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#1313646 - 11/28/09 01:05 AM Reasonably priced external speakers for a DP
homeslice Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/09
Posts: 3
I was wondering if anybody could suggest any relatively cheap speakers to improve the sound of a digital piano (specifically a Yamaha P85). I'm on a pretty tight budget (~$100), so clearly I'm not looking for anything high-end or studio quality. The sound of the keyboard when using headphones is great, but the speakers that come with it definately leave something to be desired. I really don't know what I should be looking for when it comes to this... would a simple 2.1 system be any kind of worthwhile improvement?


Edited by homeslice (11/28/09 01:09 AM)
Edit Reason: .

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#1313694 - 11/28/09 03:00 AM Re: Reasonably priced external speakers for a DP [Re: homeslice]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California

I think the P85 comes with speakers as good as you'd get with your $100 budget. What you might do is look for used stereo hifi speakers and an amp or receiver.

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#1313698 - 11/28/09 03:27 AM Re: Reasonably priced external speakers for a DP [Re: ChrisA]
Huygens Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 217
Loc: Sweden
The P-85 is a very simple DP today.

A pair of studio monitor speakers that only color the sound mildly could be the Behringer Truth B3030A.

I haven't listened to them but I've seen people say they give the best bang for the buck even if they tend to sound like HiFi speakers (mildly smoothing out sound flaws), rather than true monitors with no smoothing.

Listen to the Truth is obviously not absolutely correct. smile
_________________________
P-85 cheap plastic imitation; not because of sound, but weight.

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#1314083 - 11/28/09 09:31 PM Re: Reasonably priced external speakers for a DP [Re: Huygens]
homeslice Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/09
Posts: 3
Thanks for the input guys! It seems like a lot of the speakers I've been looking at provide a lot more power than I would ever need (I'm just playing in a bedroom), I was hoping I could just find something small that would provide a clearer (not really lounder) sound. The sound through the built in speakers is pretty muddled, and I'm not really sure of the specs I should be looking at when looking for something external that would provide a clearer sound.

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#1314094 - 11/28/09 09:56 PM Re: Reasonably priced external speakers for a DP [Re: homeslice]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
If you want clearer sound why not go with headphones. Sweetwater is selling the AGK "K240 Studio" for $100. These are about as good as it gets for studio headphones. I just ordered a pair to replace some I've had for 20 years.

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#1314168 - 11/29/09 01:18 AM Re: Reasonably priced external speakers for a DP [Re: ChrisA]
Bob M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/09
Posts: 208
Loc: North Carolina
Homeslice,

My NP 30 has the same voice/sounds set as your P85, and sounds great in my small office thru a 2.1 system, which I have come to prefer over my good headphones. Here's a link to Cambridge SoundWorks. The system I use with my MAC is now reduced to $129. The smaller one at $99, which is hooked to the NP 30 seems no longer available, while they upgrade it. This companies products are excellent. I have bought them for about 10 years for myself and as gifts.

http://www.cambridgesoundworks.com/store/category.cgi?category=mul_spk_csw
_________________________
Bob M

Charles Walter Model 1520
Yamaha NP 30, NP 11, PSR E333

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#1314264 - 11/29/09 08:51 AM Re: Reasonably priced external speakers for a DP [Re: homeslice]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3784
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: homeslice
I was wondering if anybody could suggest any relatively cheap speakers to improve the sound of a digital piano (specifically a Yamaha P85). I'm on a pretty tight budget (~$100), so clearly I'm not looking for anything high-end or studio quality.
You budget is indeed tight. But you still could get lucky and find good equipment that makes a big difference.

A used amplifier or receiver can be had on ebay for $25-$50. Shipping adds perhaps $30.

Used speakers can be had on ebay too, but the shipping is often prohibitive (given your budget) because of the size and weight. So check out your local Craig's List, if available. Lots of speakers and low prices, with no tax, no shipping. Sellers are often anxious to unload goods and you can talk the price down.

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#1314410 - 11/29/09 01:24 PM Re: Reasonably priced external speakers for a DP [Re: MacMacMac]
limavady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 379
Loc: California
Any one have an opinion on the M-Audio AV 40 powered speakers? (20 w per channel)

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#1315078 - 11/30/09 12:52 PM Re: Reasonably priced external speakers for a DP [Re: limavady]
Coldsalmon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 41
The big problem with digital piano speakers is that they have to have an exceptionally good low end frequency response to actually reproduce a piano sound. The lowest note on a piano is 27.5hz, which cannot be produced at all by the vast majority of speakers. You will need a bona-fide subwoofer to get those low frequencies. The M-Audio AV-40 speakers, for example, only go down to about 85hz, which is about F2.

I have been looking at the Blue Sky EXO 2.1 monitors. At about $350, I think it's the cheapest thing you can buy that would reproduce a piano sound somewhat faithfully. I haven't bought them yet because they're expensive, but I'm not going to waste my money on speakers that literally can't reproduce some piano sounds at all. Right now I play my DP through Sennheiser HD555 headphones. The sound quality is excellent, and they're only around $100. The bass response is not as good as an excellent subwoofer of course, but it gets all the way down to the bottom audibly (I've tested it with sine waves). A pair of good headphones will be tons better than speakers for the same amount of money.

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#1315106 - 11/30/09 01:25 PM Re: Reasonably priced external speakers for a DP [Re: Coldsalmon]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: Coldsalmon
The big problem with digital piano speakers is that they have to have an exceptionally good low end frequency response to actually reproduce a piano sound. The lowest note on a piano is 27.5hz, which cannot be produced at all by the vast majority of speakers. You will need a bona-fide subwoofer to get those low frequencies. The M-Audio AV-40 speakers, for example, only go down to about 85hz, which is about F2.


You are right, those small speakers can't reproduce the lowest note on a piano but yet that key is not silent and you do hear it. Many people's ears can't detect sounds below 30Hz and many of use can't hear below 50Hz. But even those people can hear the low sounds on a piano. At first this seem imposable.

What happens and the reason cheap speakers work at all is because we humans perceive pitch indirectly. The brain reconstructs the fundamental frequency from the spacing of the harmonic sequence. This allows us to perceive sounds that are physically blocked or masked by the environment.

When the fundamental frequency is present (you'd need a physically large speaker for 27Hz.) we perceive the bass as being more powerful but we can "hear" it even if it's not there at all.

One more thing: The spec on the speaker reads that the low end is "85Hz" but only the 3db cutoff. The speaker may well be able to reproduce 40Hz but maybe at 15db level

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#1315119 - 11/30/09 01:42 PM Re: Reasonably priced external speakers for a DP [Re: ChrisA]
limavady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 379
Loc: California
In the time it took me to go check (wikipedia) which key was actually F2 (now i know how that works) Chris replied with some of the same details that i'd been wondering about based on Coldsalmon's answer. I wondered how you could hear the lowest notes on the relatively chintzy speakers that are in most, if not all, DPs. Now I'm not exactly sure i understand the mathematics or theory of Chris' answer especially the second paragraph but maybe the last thing he mentions about perhaps being able to actually hear the note but only up to a certain decibal helps to fill in the gap in my...for lack of a better word stupidity!

Anyway i think that does help answer it although i wasn't expecting the original answer of what i construed to mean 'you won't even be able to hear anything below an F2 with those speakers, and thought 'how can that be when even the crummy onboard speakers can be heard?' So i took a leap of faith yesterday and based on 200 something decent reviews and a lightning deal (sold out in 4 minutes) price of $99. with free shipping on amazon, bought those speakers to compliment my P155.

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#1319573 - 12/06/09 01:44 PM Re: Reasonably priced external speakers for a DP [Re: limavady]
Coldsalmon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 41
Sorry if my reply was confusing -- I was indeed referring only to the fundamental frequencies of the pitches. The lower notes of a piano are always audible on any speakers because of the strings produce higher partials in addition to the fundamental tone, according to the harmonic series. And speakers are indeed able to reproduce tones below their published frequency response, but without reliable test data, there is no way to know how well they do this. My JBL Creature 2.1 system, for example, states that it can get down to 50hz. I have tested it with sine waves (tones with no upper partials), and I can hear it down to about an F1, which is 43.64hz. Beyond that, it produces no sound when tested with a sine wave.

I am very interested to hear how the M-Audio AV40 speakers work out. I was looking at them myself but decided against them. Please let us know whether they are a significant improvement over your DP's internal speakers.

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#1319576 - 12/06/09 01:50 PM Re: Reasonably priced external speakers for a DP [Re: Coldsalmon]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Shamelessly, and lazily copied from my post on another thread.

You can get the Logitech 2.1 Z-2300 for $126.95 - $175.62 depending on where you buy. Prices are in USD.

I first heard about them on several keyboard forums I was on, and although I was skeptical at first, I bought them, took them home and hooked them up to my Tyros.

I fired up a style, hit synch start and played a chord...the opening guitar riff sounded crunchy and clear, with the sub-woofer offering subtle and smooth low-end accompaniment.

The drums kicked in and the bass guitar followed, the bass never detracted from the speakers' excellent clarity in the mid-to-high frequencies, even at maximum volume. All the while, the set provided the kind of thump and low-end resonance most would associate with a great PA system at a live show.

Unlike those on many 2.1 setups, the Z-2300's sub-woofer seemed capable of providing stellar sound at both moderate and extreme bass levels.

I then plugged in my P-85 Piano.

The clarity of the high notes, and no tubbiness in the mids and lows, convinced me this 2.1 stereo speaker system, although originally designed for computers and home theatre, is an awesome system for amplifying your keyboards at home.

I wouldn't gig with the system, as the speakers are short throw, and are best in a medium sized room, but what an incredible sound! The bass notes of the P-85 had that "clank" you get when playing a real grand's lowest notes.

So, the bottom line is, that at around $150, the Logitech Z-2300 speakers are an excellent investment. My minor gripes were about the wiring and the nonadjustable angle of the speakers but they are truly minimal when weighed against the audio's superb power and accuracy.

Simply put, they sound magnificent...I have several other monitor speakers and the Logitech are simply better for keyboards. They are not flat response like studio monitors...they are designed to enhance the sound, but not disguise it.

I went out and bought two more systems right away...haven't regretted it for a second.

They even have a remote control...how cool is that!

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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