External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos

Posted by: Amaruk

External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/04/12 07:02 PM

I am thinking of adding a pair of studio monitors and perhaps even a subwoofer to my digital piano. One combo I am thinking of is a pair of KRK Rokit 5 and a KRK 10s subwoofer:

http://www.krksys.com/krk-studio-monitor-speakers/rokit/rokit-5.html
http://www.krksys.com/krk-subwoofers/10s.html

Since I can't easily "try before I buy" could anyone tell me what I can expect from a system like this if we compare to pianos with built-in audio? In other words, what DP would have an audio system that would be similar to these speakers? Thanks!
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/04/12 07:16 PM

Those speakers will be quite different from any built-in audio systems I've encountered. I used to own the RP8's and the 10s. Like many studio monitors the sound is very clean and very direct (forward?). People sometimes talk about piano sound being muffled or sounding like there's a blanket between you an it. With those monitors that will definitely not be the case.

On the other hand, it's easy for those monitors to reveal issues with the sound, make them sound harsh or sterile if the sound has a tendency to be that way. The other downside is that they, like other studio-style monitors, are very directional. So you have to point them right at your head to get the full effect. Placement is a critical issue for this type of speaker, perhaps more so than for ordinary speakers.
Posted by: Amaruk

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/04/12 07:32 PM

Great points gvfarns!

With regards to directivity, do these speakers (on stands) need to be behind the piano pointing towards the player or would it be OK to have one on each side and pointing in a 45 degree angle towards the player instead?
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/05/12 11:59 AM

The manual that came with them said the best thing to do is to have them and your head at the three corners of an equilateral triangle. That's basically what I did. They also say not to be too close to a wall, but in many rooms that's not really an option. In fact my setup at the time had my piano in the corner of a room.

We see lots of pictures of setups on here with the monitors closer to the edge of the piano and pointing in more directly. That way you can still put your DP pretty close to the wall and not take up a whole room. I guess we all do what we can.
Posted by: piRround

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/05/12 02:30 PM

Amaruk, perhaps try the KRK5s without the sub first. I have the same monitors and several synths and keyboards with very bassy tones and haven't felt like I've missed the subwoofer too much, particularly given the cost.

Also, I, too, have the monitors triangulated with my ears. I have tried them simply pointing straight out from the keyboards and the sound is indeed very directional.

As gvfarns said (maybe in other threads) the KRKs give a very clean crisp sound. If you're looking for a richer, warmer sound you may have to think of an altogether different sound system.
Posted by: dmd

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/05/12 03:35 PM

Originally Posted By: piRround
If you're looking for a richer, warmer sound you may have to think of an altogether different sound system.


For example ... ?

I would love to hear about such a system.

Any suggestions ?
Posted by: piRround

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/05/12 04:43 PM

dmd, my first venture with using external speakers (I had a Casio PX330 then) was a Logitech 2.1 system that I simply plugged into the headphone jack. With the piano sounds, it was great. With other synthy sounds -- not so much. I'm one of the few that loves to play around with organs, horns, loud guitars, etc etc from my keyboards and modules and for those, the 2.1 system couldn't handle them, they'd be all distorted sounding like the speakers weren't powerful enough.

My next try was with my old stereo floor speakers and a tuner. Same thing -- piano sounded fabulous, organs would crackle.



I gave up the tuner and tried a small amp and promptly blew it out.

So now I have the KRKs and they're powerful enough so I can play the organs from 2 keyboards and 3 modules all at once if I want. It's just that the sound isn't warm like it was with the old speakers.

I keep hoping someone here will figure it out.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/05/12 04:55 PM

Originally Posted By: piRround
I keep hoping someone here will figure it out.


We all do, but it's a complicated problem without a unique solution, unfortunately. It's also a problem that's expensive and difficult to experiment with. I have bought and sold (or returned) several sets of monitors at significant expense and trouble unfortunately.

One can go to a piano store and try lots of different pianos in one trip. I'd love to go to a store with a ton of monitors and speakers and try them out with a CD of myself playing or something, but I just don't seem to run across that kind of store.
Posted by: emenelton

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/05/12 05:40 PM

The KRK 6s' would be a good place to start. 6" vs 5" woofers always seem to produce a better dynamic slam and better bass. You can add a sub for more warmth if you need, down the line.
Posted by: spanishbuddha

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/05/12 05:59 PM

One of the problems is your own environ, room, studio, whatever.
Posted by: dmd

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/05/12 06:19 PM

Originally Posted By: emenelton
The KRK 6s' would be a good place to start. 6" vs 5" woofers always seem to produce a better dynamic slam and better bass. You can add a sub for more warmth if you need, down the line.


Here is an area where I may have a misconception.

With my DP I have the sense that my Bass notes are overpowering my treble notes so I strive to reduce the volume of my Bass notes.

So, when someone discusses adding subwoofer I think ... whoa, not MORE bass. I think adding a subwoofer will increase the bass sound which I am trying to reduce.

Maybe what a subwoofer does is add more bass sound to the entire range of sounds and will, infact, soften the sound throughout the entire range of sounds on my DP.

Any thoughts on that ?
Posted by: piRround

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/05/12 06:51 PM

Absolutely. My stuff is in a quite small 2nd bedroom and it's kind of crammed next to a window besides. My living room is somewhat larger and maybe it would all sound a little better there--but then where will I put the Christmas tree?!
Posted by: dmd

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/05/12 07:17 PM

Originally Posted By: gvfarns
I'd love to go to a store with a ton of monitors and speakers and try them out with a CD of myself playing or something, but I just don't seem to run across that kind of store.


I may have an opportunity to do something like that soon.

I will be getting my Kawai ES7 this week and if the sound is not what I would like, I should be able to take my "slab" to the Stereo Shoppe and have them outfit it with a sound system and if I like it ... well, then take it home and see if I still like it in my environment.

Ah ... again ... hope springs eternal.
Posted by: Amaruk

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/05/12 09:15 PM

dmd,

That is fantastic that might try out different systems like that! Please share your experiences with us as it would be interesting to hear what you think sounds best with your ES7.
Posted by: Amaruk

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/05/12 09:41 PM

Originally Posted By: gvfarns
I have bought and sold (or returned) several sets of monitors at significant expense and trouble unfortunately.


Which combinations have you tried and what were the reasons you didn't keep them? Just curious.
Posted by: emenelton

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/05/12 10:20 PM

When I used to gig with 10" 2 ways, there was a upper bass hump but no actual bass. I turned down the bass eq dial a notch or 2. With the 12" 2 ways, there wasn't an upper bass hump but there was deeper bass.
In general, I feel, the 6" studio monitors are a very flexible all in one full range solution that the 5" models can't quite meet.
Posted by: Possum SP280Krome

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/05/12 10:42 PM

For me in a smaller room 11x11 I use the KrK5's with myJuno Gi and love them. I got a second pair that I will use for the pianos.

Speakers should be as said earlier perhaps ear height if not a tad higher and triangle.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: External audio vs built-in audio in digital pianos - 12/06/12 12:34 AM

Originally Posted By: emenelton
The KRK 6s' would be a good place to start. 6" vs 5" woofers always seem to produce a better dynamic slam and better bass. You can add a sub for more warmth if you need, down the line.


I have heard this in many places as well and it coincides with my experience (though I have never played both a 5 and 6 of the same make). If I were looking at the KRK's I'd grab the 6's and sub.