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#1335179 - 12/28/09 03:49 AM Minimum requirement for amplification of keyboards
genemusic111 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/08
Posts: 42
Loc: L.A., CA
Hello everyone!! I hope everyone's doing well, I haven't been on the site in a while!

What would you say is the minimum requirement when looking at keyboard amps/loudspeakers/whatever amplification for use with playing on stage for small club shows, rehearsals with drums, electric guitar, electric bass, etc; practicing at home.

I'm hearing to get amps/loudspeakers with speakers no smaller than 12's. Is the general consensus to get 15's? What's up with drivers, horns, wattage?

. . . What MUST these speakers/amps have?

I need the pro set up!

Suggestions are appreciated

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#1335404 - 12/28/09 11:23 AM Re: Minimum requirement for amplification of keyboards [Re: genemusic111]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4332
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: genemusic111
What would you say is the minimum requirement when looking at keyboard amps/loudspeakers/whatever amplification for use with playing on stage for small club shows, rehearsals with drums, electric guitar, electric bass, etc;

In a club you will probably want to plug into the PA, and therefore are looking more for a monitor to have near you so you can hear yourself play. You might be able to use in-ear headphones instead, which would bypass the hefty amplification needs. A small mixer between your line-out and the mixing board would be useful in that scenario.

Playing with drums and other very loud instruments without a PA, I would say you need PA type equipment. My wife has played a few gigs with this setup in a small dining hall and full band (drummer, singer, horn, etc.):



The drivers are 10" Eminence with concentric horn tweeter. The amplifier is 150 watts RMS per channel, though you might be able to get by with 1/2 this depending on the type of music and how loud the drummer plays.

Originally Posted By: genemusic111
practicing at home.

Here I would recommend powered nearfield monitors, like those used in recording, possibly with a subwoofer.

If you use unpowered monitors, you will want to buy an amplifier that either has no fan (studio type amplifier) or has a very quiet fan.

Originally Posted By: genemusic111
I'm hearing to get amps/loudspeakers with speakers no smaller than 12's. Is the general consensus to get 15's? What's up with drivers, horns, wattage?

. . . What MUST these speakers/amps have?

I need the pro set up!

Suggestions are appreciated

For nearfield monitors without a sub, the smallest I'd go is 6 1/2" woofer, though 8" might be preferable. With a sub the bass response of the monitors is much less of a factor, so you could probably go smaller than 6 1/2".

For PA without a sub, 10" is the smallest I would go, and you might have to place the speaker on the floor to get sufficient bass response. Horns are more efficient for the high end, which is why they are used in PA situations. They can generally handle more wattage than dome or cone tweeters, and have much more controlled directivity.

At home I would highly recommend you go stereo, not mono. In PA scenarios whether you want stereo or mono kind of depends.
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#1335425 - 12/28/09 11:52 AM Re: Minimum requirement for amplification of keyboards [Re: dewster]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
The Traynor K4 Keyboard amp is a great stage system for monitoring your piano/synth/workstation/clonewheel. I have used one several times and it provides more than adequate volume on stage, and also it is stereo, so those great stereo piano patches and stereo effects are produced in all their glory.

Here is review from Steve Fortner of Keyboard Magazine.

http://www.traynoramps.com/default.asp?p1=3&p2=0&p_id=14&id=20


His only complaint, and mine too, is that it's hard to get an uncolored sound, although I must say, the sound I did hear was astonishing.

Highly recommended.

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1335435 - 12/28/09 12:10 PM Re: Minimum requirement for amplification of keyboards [Re: genemusic111]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: genemusic111
...for use with playing on stage for small club shows, rehearsals with drums, electric guitar, electric bass,...


In a bigger venue it would be easy, you send Line Out to the sound guy's mixer. BUt assuming you don't have a sound guy or a mixer....

You said the magic word "drums".

Those guys telling you about smallish PA speakers may be thinking about solo piano playing. What happens with drums is the bass player wants to be heard over them so he shows up with a 500W amp head and a 4 x 10 cab (at least) Same for the guitar except he is likey to "only" need a 100W amp for has half stack cab.

The first thing you want is a good mono piano sample but I bet you don't have that, not for every sound you'd want to play. So you want stereo. That means two amps two speakers, two stands.

Unlike a guitar oe a bass the piano covers the full range. You will need "full range" speakers. Yes 12" is right and they will also have horn drivers. 100W per side should do it. But more is better, even if you never turn it up past "3" you want all the head room you can get. Look for PA speakers with senitivity rating in the high 90's

When you are shopping play some solo piano music over the speakers and listen to them in the store from 30 feet back. Do they sound like a piano or like speakers? Just keep going up the line until they stop sounding like speakers.

Buy a portable rack mount road case with more space inside then you think you need. Put in the two amps (left and right) and also a graphic equalizer. Never set up without an EQ. Put the piano on some demo or recorded MIDI and go out in the audiance and listen. Almost certainly the room will suck up some ranges and make others ring out. Fix this with e EQ. That can maybe peak the mid range so you stand out in the mix. Working the EQ can be better then simply being louder, a lot better. Whare to peak the mids depends on how the guitar player is set up and what you play. Every instrument needs it's own "space". I assume you pay above the bass and below the guitar kind of close to middle C? I'm guessing but you get the idea, Find a space rather then simply being loud. You will need an EQ in the rack.

Except to pay at least "low four figures" for a stereo sound system that can be head over live drums, bass and guitar.


Edited by ChrisA (12/28/09 12:20 PM)

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#1335503 - 12/28/09 01:49 PM Re: Minimum requirement for amplification of keyboards [Re: ChrisA]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1727
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
Everyone has already made good points thumb thumb but I'll throw in my 2 cents.

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. People go out and spend 2-3K on a sythn/DP 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 but 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.
_________________________
http://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D, Yamaha CP5, CP4, Nord Piano 2
RCF TT08A & TT22A speakers


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#1335538 - 12/28/09 02:23 PM Re: Minimum requirement for amplification of keyboards [Re: Dave Ferris]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1727
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
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 QSCs--the 8", 10" or 12"s. A lot of people on the aforementioned Keyboard Corner Forum have and seem to really 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, Yamaha CP5, CP4, Nord Piano 2
RCF TT08A & TT22A speakers


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#1335545 - 12/28/09 02:32 PM Re: Minimum requirement for amplification of keyboards [Re: genemusic111]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: genemusic111


What would you say is the minimum requirement when looking at keyboard amps/loudspeakers/whatever amplification for use with playing on stage for small club shows, rehearsals with drums, electric guitar, electric bass, etc; practicing at home.



Genemusic111,

Could you narrow it down or tell us what your price range involves.

You can sneak in pretty good with a great stereo stage amp like the Traynor K4, or go all out with a bigger stereo system.

Any ballpark figure?

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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