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#1378717 - 02/20/10 09:14 AM An assembly of decent hardware ?
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
How do you rate this assembly ?

Macbook 13"
Kawai ES6 Portable Keyboard
AKG 240 MKII Headphones
Bose L1 Compact Stage Speakers


Anything else (hardware) missing to be able to effectively run the various software pianos ?

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#1378813 - 02/20/10 12:33 PM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: Cashley]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4343
Loc: Northern NJ
Ask anyone who builds speakers and they'll tell you Bose puts 99% of their money into marketing and maybe 1% into R&D. The bigger names like JBL, Eminence, etc. are the real deal. And I think you want studio monitors rather than PA kind of stuff - or are you planning on performing out with this setup?
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#1378824 - 02/20/10 12:46 PM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: dewster]
Glenn NK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 457
Loc: Victoria BC
Originally Posted By: dewster
Ask anyone who builds speakers and they'll tell you Bose puts 99% of their money into marketing and maybe 1% into R&D. The bigger names like JBL, Eminence, etc. are the real deal. And I think you want studio monitors rather than PA kind of stuff - or are you planning on performing out with this setup?


I have read comments about Bose that make your comments seem like a compliment.

On the AKG headphones, I suggest that you try a pair before buying. I got mine for Christmas, and they are really very good.

BUT - the ear cups are too small even for my smallish ears, and can be quite uncomfortable. The ear cups are actually round whereas my Sennheiser HD 570 are oval in shape and much more comfortable. I have stretched my AKG's a bit and they are better. Stretching is easy - using two thumbs takes about three seconds. But for large ears, they aren't ever going to fit well.

Glenn

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#1378833 - 02/20/10 01:01 PM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: Cashley]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5261
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: Cashley
Anything else (hardware) missing to be able to effectively run the various software pianos ?
There's so much information missing from your posts, that I feel that, in effect, this is what's missing to begin with! laugh

I'm not familiar with the Mac family, so can't be sure if a Macbook 13" has set settings, but if not, every little detail plays an important part (for example the size, speed and type of hard drive, the RAM, CPU speed, etc).

What is also missing is the extent of software you will be using. An older software piano (for example NI's Akoustik has relatively small requirements, while the new QL Pianos has huge requirements. Pianoteq does not need RAM but fast CPU, while Ivory needs mostly RAM rather than CPU and so on...)

What is finally missing is your goals. If it's for your own enjoynment then by all means "almost everything" should be fine (but not Bose). If you're after performance, then you need to make sure of your output (speakers, although I'm hesitant to think you will be required to bring your own speakers to a piano bar, as well as other smaller parts), and if you're going for a studio, then you need DECENT, not decent, parts, depending on your final goals (yes, again).

___________

After googling the various parts of your enquiry I saw that the Kawai is around 2000$! For such an amount of money you ARE serious!

For the 1000$ of the Bose you can get other very good monitors (for example KRKs, or the above mentioned, or even some PMC or Focal (Europe companies, so not sure, but especially the Focal have some excellent monitors for less than 1000$!)

For 999$ you can probably also get a PC laptop, rather than a Macbook 13" (please don't anyone kill me for this), with slightly better specifications, but I don't think this is a bad deal, just a matter of choice. Now if you would consider getting a desktop, then I would recomend getting a desktop PC, instead of the Macbook 13", exactly because the whole setting will be very better.

Finally for the headphones, I'd suggest (more expensive, but hey...) getting some Sennheisers Hd 600/650 or something... I've tried both the AKGs and the HDs (and some Beyerdynamics) and I largely prefer the HDs!

All the above are personal preferences and recomendations and nothing more!
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#1378849 - 02/20/10 01:21 PM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: Nikolas]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

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

I'm not familiar with the Mac family, so can't be sure if a Macbook 13" has set settings, but if not, every little detail plays an important part (for example the size, speed and type of hard drive, the RAM, CPU speed, etc).


Every Apple Mac is more than enough to play Pianoteq or any of the other virtual instruments. The slowest, lowest cost Apple MacBook has a 2.26Ghz Intel Dual Core and 2GB of RAM. Specs go up from there.


Quote:
What is finally missing is your goals.


Yes. No one can know if the speaker system you selected is properly sized to the venue. Where are you playing and is it solo or in a band. Yes, Bose does have a reputation of marketing. They somehow distort the sound and people like it. Just stay away from that brand.

You will want a stereo PA setup. Place the speaks not to far part near the keyboard. Or if you can only afford or transport one speaker then set Pianoteq to play in mono. I think you are looking for th PA system not unlike a vocalist might use. But it has to be matched to the size of the room it is used in.

One more thing: How you hook the MacBook to the PA. IS the cable a long run? And will this be used very freuently? If so get a USB aduio interface. If for no other reason the conectors it uses are more robust then the 3.5mm audio out jack on the macbook. 1/4" TRS outs to you speakers are much more reliable. That 3/5mm jack really can NOT take a beating and will fail.

I like my K240s bUt I just if they don't fit you you'd have to get something different. But I'm sure they fit 99% of the population


Edited by ChrisA (02/20/10 01:27 PM)

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#1378859 - 02/20/10 01:31 PM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: ChrisA]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
Originally Posted By: ChrisA

One more thing: How you hook the MacBook to the PA. IS the cable a long run? And will this be used very freuently? If so get a USB aduio interface. If for no other reason the conectors it uses are more robust then the 3.5mm audio out jack on the macbook. 1/4" TRS outs to you speakers are much more reliable. That 3/5mm jack really can NOT take a beating and will fail.


The salesman who did a demo for me, he used a MP3 player and plugged a cable from Bose system to the jack of his MP3 player.

I don't know what TRS is.

But not to worry. PA system will come at the very last stage. As for headphones, the choice seems to be between AKG and Senheisser.

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#1378868 - 02/20/10 01:42 PM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: ChrisA]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5261
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: ChrisA
Quote:

I'm not familiar with the Mac family, so can't be sure if a Macbook 13" has set settings, but if not, every little detail plays an important part (for example the size, speed and type of hard drive, the RAM, CPU speed, etc).


Every Apple Mac is more than enough to play Pianoteq or any of the other virtual instruments. The slowest, lowest cost Apple MacBook has a 2.26Ghz Intel Dual Core and 2GB of RAM. Specs go up from there.
Just need to make something clear.

QL Pianos, at their full are 270 GB and require a VERY strong computer (on CPU only (for Macs only): Minimum Requirements for Mac

* Dual Core G5 1.8GHz, 2GB RAM, Mac OS 10.4 or newer

Recommended Mac System

* Mac Pro Quad-Core Xeon 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM
) taken from here

The latest pianoteq pro, (3.5.1.something anyways) might have slight issues with high polyphony on slow duo core computers.

All I'm saying is that the words "Macbook (pro)" are not enough for me to place judgement on the computer. Plus I couldn't find any info on the apple site, on the actual hard disk (and I use, for example, Caviar Black drives and Velicoraptors for samples).

Anyways, I'm not against Macs, not by a million. smile
_________________________
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#1378870 - 02/20/10 01:42 PM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: Cashley]
LesCharles73 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 739
Loc: Denton Texas
I heard a saying once that I found hilarious. I'll never forget it...

"No highs, no lows; must be a Bose!"


Edited by LesCharles73 (02/20/10 01:43 PM)
_________________________
Les C Deal





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#1378875 - 02/20/10 01:49 PM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: Cashley]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

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

Quote:
I don't know what TRS is.


Of course a 3.5mm jack will work. The problem is that they are not mechanically robust. If you bump the plug while it is plugged in you can damage the jack. Those 1/4 inch plugs are stronger and make better connections. It's purlely machanical, not electrical. When the little jack on a notebook computer fails it is a very expensive repair. It's common for those line out jacks to fail so that's why I said to think about the cables runs and so on. and maybe not use the computer's line out


TRS is "Tip Ring Shank". That means a plug with three conductors and two insulating bands. Some people call it a "stereo" connector. But stereo is only one use of that kind of plug. TRS can be either 3.5mm or 1/4" diameter. Your iPod uses a 3.5mm TRS plug. The larger headphone jack on most DPs is 1/4" TRS.

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#1378883 - 02/20/10 02:05 PM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: ChrisA]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
I believe I raised this question in another thread. I have always had this headache over the connection of the jack and plug.

After a prolonged period of plugging it and out, the connection tends to become faulty. And I'm not sure if it's the fault of the jack or that of the plug.

In any case, how does one remedy such a problem ? Like what ChrisA said, "when the little jack on a notebook computer fails, it is a very expensive repair."

Actually there is a central theme in opting for the above hardware components. I want to keep everything as simple as straightforward as possible. The Mac seems to be a natural choice, and I wouldn't want extensive wirings for speakers system and amplifier.

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#1378920 - 02/20/10 02:53 PM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: Cashley]
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Re the AKG's being too small for extended playing, the Sennheiser HD600's are comfortable for extended playing. They're pricey, but worth it.

If you decide to investigate the Senn's, it'd be a good idea to get a model who's sonic characteristics match those of the 600's. Those 'phones have a "flat" response - no frequencies exaggerated - and outstanding fidelity across the audio spectrum.

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#1378930 - 02/20/10 03:09 PM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: Glenn NK]
CruelStrings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 138
Originally Posted By: Glenn NK
Originally Posted By: dewster
Ask anyone who builds speakers and they'll tell you Bose puts 99% of their money into marketing and maybe 1% into R&D. The bigger names like JBL, Eminence, etc. are the real deal. And I think you want studio monitors rather than PA kind of stuff - or are you planning on performing out with this setup?


I have read comments about Bose that make your comments seem like a compliment.


Glenn


Thanks Glenn, I had to laugh when I read that lol!

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#1379033 - 02/20/10 06:11 PM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: Cashley]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

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

A
Quote:
fter a prolonged period of plugging it and out, the connection tends to become faulty. And I'm not sure if it's the fault of the jack or that of the plug.

In any case, how does one remedy such a problem ?


In a home environment I'd not worry about it.

But in a less well proected environment just use a USB audio interface. You might even be able to reduce the cable mess with one of these. BUt if allthe audio and MIDI cables plug into the interfacebox and then just ne USB cable goes into the computer. You just have to make a diagrma and count the cables. Maybe the audio interface works best.

One thing I want to look into and have not is "wireless". I've heard about both wireless MIDI and wireless USB. Both sound potentially usfull but I don't know much about either. I think it would be great to mount an audio/MDI interface under the DP (maybe with velcro) and then have wireless USB gong back to the computer.

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#1379341 - 02/21/10 02:15 AM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: FogVilleLad]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
Originally Posted By: FogVilleLad
Re the AKG's being too small for extended playing, the Sennheiser HD600's are comfortable for extended playing. They're pricey, but worth it.

If you decide to investigate the Senn's, it'd be a good idea to get a model who's sonic characteristics match those of the 600's. Those 'phones have a "flat" response - no frequencies exaggerated - and outstanding fidelity across the audio spectrum.


Thanks, Fog.

Will look out for Senn 600 when I go for my pro audio shopping.

It seems that 'a flat response' is deemed ideal for listening to software pianos. Does that mean the same flat response headphone is not suitable for MP3 songs ?

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#1379343 - 02/21/10 02:17 AM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: ChrisA]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
Do you mind recommending USB audio interface that will match a Mac ?

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#1379348 - 02/21/10 02:21 AM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: Cashley]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5261
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: Cashley
It seems that 'a flat response' is deemed ideal for listening to software pianos. Does that mean the same flat response headphone is not suitable for MP3 songs ?
The better your listening output is, the more flaws it will show from your tracks, samples, piano, mp3s, everything.

While I can't say I mind listening to mid quality mp3s (128 kbits for example) on an mp3 player with small headphones, the same does NOT apply in my studio. There, the differences and compression of the mp3 is amplified enough to spot it. Not that I have the super ears to spot 256kbit mp3 vs wav files, but anyhow the mp3s around me are kinda detectable.
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#1379477 - 02/21/10 10:24 AM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: Cashley]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3816
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: Cashley
After a prolonged period of plugging it and out, the connection tends to become faulty.
Some possible fixes ...

Make the phone-plug connection semi-permanent. Run the cable around to the back of the laptop. Take one of those long thumb-screw posts (used in video connectors). Take that bare screw/post and screw it into the video jack. Tie the audio cable to the post with a plastic tie-wrap. This way, when the cable gets tugged, the force is taken up on the video jack, not on the audio jack.

Alternate possibility ... Use the tie-wrap to tie the audio cable to the hole intended for a security cable-lock. This might be better than the first solution because the security latch/hole is built to take some abuse.

Is this discussion limited to laptops? Or are we talking about desktops, too? On a desktop, there's a better solution. Open the computer, and wire a proper pair of RCA jacks to the sound card, in parallel to the phone jack. Mount the RCA jacks on one of the unused metal card-slot covers (drill two holes). Now you have a more rugged installation.

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#1379510 - 02/21/10 11:34 AM Re: An assembly of decent hardware ? [Re: MacMacMac]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
I think some have misunderstood my point about poor connection.

I'm not worried about 'securing' the plug to the jack. As all items are portable, it's likely that nothing is permanent. I have to move my laptop to another place without at the same time moving my keyboard or headphone. In the process of plugging in and out of the jack, I'm not sure if it's the plug that gets worn out or the jack. But in the event that it's either one, what am I supposed to do ? I can't possibly buy a new set of headphone just because the plug has worn out ? Or change the computer or keyboard because the jack is no longer sensitive. This is a recurring problem.


Edited by Cashley (02/21/10 11:35 AM)

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