Best keyboard Amplifier

Posted by: AMC58

Best keyboard Amplifier - 10/17/12 05:29 AM

I have a Yamaha PF-500. I absolutely love the way it sounds through a pair of Bose QC-2 headphones (these are expensive to buy, but not really all that high-end - got 'em free from American Airlines.) The piano sounds okay, even decent, when played through the built-in internal speakers/amp but, doesn't approach the gorgeous sound in the headphones. Are there any amps that will make it sound this good? Or are headphones just always going to sound way better? I've tried playing it through a Yamaha PA and a cheap no-name bass/guitar/keyboard amp (that hums!) I can get more volume, but the sound isn't as good as the headphone sound.
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: Best keyboard Amplifier - 10/17/12 05:34 AM

How much are you willing to spend?
Posted by: pv88

Re: Best keyboard Amplifier - 10/17/12 05:35 AM

@AMC58,

Try these speakers, with a dedicated subwoofer:

http://www.klipsch.com/promedia-2-1-computer-speakers

Nice clear treble and midrange sounds through the two satellites, and, solid bass with the subwoofer.

Definitely a high quality package at a low price.
Posted by: AMC58

Re: Best keyboard Amplifier - 10/17/12 05:44 AM

If it sounded as good as the headphones? Maybe as much as $2000. To be honest, I have no idea what these things cost. I have an electronic drum amp from roland that was $700 or so, that sounds pretty good, but it's probably not as beefy as what is required to produce the range of PF-500 sounds.
Posted by: MacMacMac

Re: Best keyboard Amplifier - 10/17/12 07:51 AM

If you play in a small room and you don't need to project so that other can hear, a pair of bookshelf speakers might do nicely.

If you want to fill a living room (or larger space), you really need bigger speakers.

I need the latter, so I have a pair of 34" tower speakers on either side of the piano, and a pair of bookshelf speakers on stands behind the piano. And an A/V receiver/amplifier to drive all four. This fills the room with sound. Excellent results.

Purchased new the equipment would have cost just under $800. But I bought it all used on Ebay and Craigs List for $175.
Posted by: Kbeaumont

Re: Best keyboard Amplifier - 10/17/12 09:45 AM

At home I am using a Roland CM-220 system with my MOX8. It has a 10 inch sub that puts out 100 watts and two 4 1/2 inch, 50 watt satellite speakers.

LINK


I was using a pair of KRK Rokit 6 studio monitors and a sub. The Roland sounds much better to me because the studio monitors pointed out any little flaw in the sound and seemed to exaggerate it. The Roland system just gives me great piano sound. I now am using the KRK speakers only for mixing my recordings as they were intended.

I even used the CM-220 system to play a wine tasting event indoors with about 150 people. They worked great.
For loud gigs with my band I am using a powered mixer and two Mackie 10 inch PA speakers just for monitoring my keys. The guitar and drums can get rather loud!
Posted by: RafaPolit

Re: Best keyboard Amplifier - 10/17/12 03:54 PM

In order for better sound through speakers, you need to move larger volumes of air. I am a firm believer that while newer speakers save tons of space, they are good at 'simulating' good sound, instead of producing it. In order to really have good sound, you require large bulky monitors/speakers.

That is why almost any system of the 70s and 80s hooked to newer HiFi systems sound much better than the 5 smaller ultra expensive Bose tweeters placed all around a house frown (I'm sure others will disagree here, but I have never heard a two inch speaker with a separate sub-woofer sound as good as two well placed 3 feet tall speakers).

So, being in your same situation, I went with the larger, best Monitors that where within my budget. Had I had a bit more, I would have gone for these: M-Audio BX8 D2 . They are good value for the money, they won't empty your bank account, and they sound leaps and bounds better than computer 2.1 speakers IMHO (even the most expensive ones like JBL or the likes).

That is, of course, only my opinion,
Rafa.
Posted by: MacMacMac

Re: Best keyboard Amplifier - 10/17/12 04:53 PM

That's the story, Rafa. Physics doesn't change. If you want to move a lot of air, you need a lot of speaker.
Posted by: Duke LeJeune

Re: Best keyboard Amplifier - 10/25/12 04:40 AM

Even very expensive speakers probably will not duplicate the degree of inner detail that you get through a good pair of headphones at a far lower price, in large part because the speaker elements in headphones only have to play at very low output levels because your ears are so close, so the moving parts can be extremely lightweight and optimized for conveying nuance. On the other hand, good speakers can interact with the room in a way that is somewhat reminiscent of how an actual piano behaves. The top priority in this regard, in my opinion, would be a radiation pattern that is fairly uniform across as much of the spectrum as is feasible, so that the reverberant energy in the room has approximately the same spectral balance as the first-arrival sound.

The fundamental principle at play here is "beaming". As we go up in frequency, a given driver (woofer, midrange, or tweeter) will have an increasingly narrow radiation pattern. And at a given frequency, somewhat counter-intuitively, a large-diameter driver will have a more narrow radiation pattern than a small-diameter driver (I can explain why if you'd like). The effects of beaming are most audible at the very top end (where the high treble almost always beams), and less obvious but stil quite audible in the crossover region where we go from a beaming woofer to a wide-pattern tweeer. The net result is usually excess off-axis energy at the lower end of the tweeter's range, 2-4 kHz ballpark, causing the speakers to sound somewhat louder in this region than they should be because the ear integrates the reverberant energy with the first-arrival sound when computing the perceived timbre.

Two possible solutions are, speakers with a horn or waveguide that forces the tweeter to have approximately the same radiation pattern as the woofer in the crossover region, and adding a relatively small-diameter midrange driver so that we no longer have significant radiation pattern discontinuities in the crossover regions. If done right, the net result is a more realistic presentation because the reverberant energy works with, rather than against, the first-arrival sound - something that happens naturally with an acoustic piano. I'm not saying that this is the only thing that matters in speaker design, but I believe it to be important, and often overlooked, and of some significance if we're trying to approximate the sound of a real piano.
Posted by: pianonewb

Re: Best keyboard Amplifier - 10/25/12 08:02 AM

I got great results running through my home stereo system. If you have a decent system, Radio Shack sells adapter cables to route the signal from your DP to an aux channel of your reciever. Assuming you have a good stereo, I'd try that first. The only cost would be for the adapter cable.
Posted by: fiatlux

Re: Best keyboard Amplifier - 10/25/12 08:38 AM

Speaking of speakers... I understand monitor speakers are highly directional and may not be ideal to convey the sense of volume of a piano sound.

What about using a pair of reasonably large dipole rear surround speakers? Those are designed to fill the room, and should you wish to add a subwoofer, there will typically be a matching model.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: Best keyboard Amplifier - 10/25/12 01:39 PM

Originally Posted By: AMC58
I have a Yamaha PF-500. I absolutely love the way it sounds through a pair of Bose QC-2 headphones (these are expensive to buy, but not really all that high-end - got 'em free from American Airlines.) The piano sounds okay, even decent, when played through the built-in internal speakers/amp but, doesn't approach the gorgeous sound in the headphones. Are there any amps that will make it sound this good? Or are headphones just always going to sound way better? I've tried playing it through a Yamaha PA and a cheap no-name bass/guitar/keyboard amp (that hums!) I can get more volume, but the sound isn't as good as the headphone sound.


There is a lot of variety in speakers, both in design and in price (some products being truly outrageously priced). Some speakers will sound better than others, but I doubt that you will find any speakers that will sound as good, detailed. and clear as a nice set of headphones in a normal room (not sure if the QC-2 really count as nice headphones, though, as you point out).

There is something nice about having the sound all around you and coming from the piano, but in my experience you usually you have to compromise on the sound to get it. Possibly the situation changes if you have a room with excellent design and acoustic treatment and a very high-end system. I've never been in a room like that so I wouldn't know.
Posted by: Duke LeJeune

Re: Best keyboard Amplifier - 10/26/12 08:02 PM

Originally Posted By: fiatlux
Speaking of speakers... I understand monitor speakers are highly directional and may not be ideal to convey the sense of volume of a piano sound.

What about using a pair of reasonably large dipole rear surround speakers? Those are designed to fill the room, and should you wish to add a subwoofer, there will typically be a matching model.


I agree with the general direction you're headed here, but not sure about the specifics of using dipole surround speakers. Just don't know enough about the sort of sound quality you can expect. Personally I would prefer bipole rather than dipole configuration, so that you're getting reinforcement rather than cancellation in the low end.