DP speaker W values: what's the difference?

Posted by: marimorimo

DP speaker W values: what's the difference? - 10/14/09 02:53 AM

I am totally ignorant of speaker technology, so please enlighten me. It seems logical that the higher the number of watts(?) indicated, the better the speakers are, is that right? (20w x 2 is better than 8w x 2). But what are the apparent advantages of the higher wattage? Do higher wattages make the speakers louder? Lessen the distortion? I always play my PX-720 with the 8w x 2 speakers on and it is plenty loud enough for me. But I do notice the sound is clearer when I put my headphones on.

I've read around here that even the higher-end DP speakers can't match the sound through headphones or a decent monitors. So the bottom line of my question is, do the higher wattage ratings in DPs matter? What significant advantage can I get if I spring for a DP with 20w x 2 speakers instead of 8w x 2?
Posted by: kevinb

Re: DP speaker W values: what's the difference? - 10/14/09 03:16 AM

All other things being equal, more watts equals more volume (provided that the amplifier can deliver enough power to exercise the speakers fully). Speakers rarely perform well when driven to their extremes, so high-power speakers (and amplifiers) are an advantage even for quiet listening. Of course, this can be taken to extremes -- you can make a case for 100W amplifiers and speakers for home use, but it's hard to justify 1000W.

The problem is that other things are not equal. Manufacturers tell fibs about the power capacities of amplifiers and speakers -- they do this by exploiting the fact that there are numerous different ways to express power, even when measured in watts.

On the whole, it's probably safe(-ish) to assume that a DP that claims 20w x 2 will give you more volume than one that claims 8w x 2, and better quality at low volumes. But unless they're from the same manufacturer, I wouldn't like to guess how much more or how much better. Only listening, I think, would give you that information.
Posted by: FogVilleLad

Re: DP speaker W values: what's the difference? - 10/14/09 04:10 AM

A set of studio quality 'phones will let you experience the true quality of the included sounds and the sounds of any software pianos that you might buy. Those 'phones are also great for playing without disturbing the neigbors.
Posted by: Auggiedoggy

Re: DP speaker W values: what's the difference? - 10/14/09 07:22 AM

I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of speaker/sound technology either. Just hooking up your DP to an amp, isn't going to do much for sound quality as I found out. Get the proper cable. I bought myself an instrument cable. It turns out that what I really needed was a stero "Y" cable. The amp I have is a Roland KC60 (40W), which is what someone recommended to me. Would a Bose, Logitech or Panasonic sound system have been a better choice? I want to get the same sound quality I get from my headphones.
Posted by: Victor25

Re: DP speaker W values: what's the difference? - 10/14/09 07:36 AM

Also its important to notice that a quality 20W amplifier is plenty enough to deafen any person (and I don't mean deaf in a fun way, I mean really deaf)
Posted by: kevinb

Re: DP speaker W values: what's the difference? - 10/14/09 07:42 AM

Originally Posted By: Auggiedoggy
I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of speaker/sound technology either. Just hooking up your DP to an amp, isn't going to do much for sound quality as I found out. Get the proper cable. I bought myself an instrument cable. It turns out that what I really needed was a stero "Y" cable. The amp I have is a Roland KC60 (40W), which is what someone recommended to me. Would a Bose, Logitech or Panasonic sound system have been a better choice? I want to get the same sound quality I get from my headphones.


The problem here is that to get the same quality sound from an amp+speaker combination (especially an integrated one) as you do even from modest headphones, you have to spend a lot of money. Integrated units like the KC60 have design constraints in addition to sound quality -- they are intended to be sturdy and robust, primarily. That doesn't mean they sound bad, of course -- just not as good as a system which favours sound quality over everything else.

But if it sounds really bad, possibly you're cabling it wrongly? The trick is to take a line-level signal from the keyboard to the line-level input on the amp (the KC60 has 1/4-inch and RCA line inputs, and either should be OK). Not all DPs have a proper line-level output, and the results obtained by connecting a headphone output tend to be variable. Connecting a DP's external speaker output to an amp is likely to give poor results.

In my experience, for home use a decent home theater or hi-fi amp setup will work better with a DP than a combo amp. But some people discourage this because many budget hi-fi systems can't cope with the workload of a DP played rather loud. Good quality stuff should be OK.
Posted by: Auggiedoggy

Re: DP speaker W values: what's the difference? - 10/14/09 10:53 AM

Originally Posted By: kevinb
Originally Posted By: Auggiedoggy
I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of speaker/sound technology either. Just hooking up your DP to an amp, isn't going to do much for sound quality as I found out. Get the proper cable. I bought myself an instrument cable. It turns out that what I really needed was a stero "Y" cable. The amp I have is a Roland KC60 (40W), which is what someone recommended to me. Would a Bose, Logitech or Panasonic sound system have been a better choice? I want to get the same sound quality I get from my headphones.


The problem here is that to get the same quality sound from an amp+speaker combination (especially an integrated one) as you do even from modest headphones, you have to spend a lot of money. Integrated units like the KC60 have design constraints in addition to sound quality -- they are intended to be sturdy and robust, primarily. That doesn't mean they sound bad, of course -- just not as good as a system which favours sound quality over everything else.

But if it sounds really bad, possibly you're cabling it wrongly? The trick is to take a line-level signal from the keyboard to the line-level input on the amp (the KC60 has 1/4-inch and RCA line inputs, and either should be OK). Not all DPs have a proper line-level output, and the results obtained by connecting a headphone output tend to be variable. Connecting a DP's external speaker output to an amp is likely to give poor results.

In my experience, for home use a decent home theater or hi-fi amp setup will work better with a DP than a combo amp. But some people discourage this because many budget hi-fi systems can't cope with the workload of a DP played rather loud. Good quality stuff should be OK.



So my Roland amp is basically usless for a DP that doesn't have a proper line out? Both the P85 and P60 from Yamaha are lacking stage outs. Perhaps I should just sell the amp and invest in a good hi-fi system. Any suggestions? Keep in mind that this would be for home essentially. I just want great sound (don't we all). wink

p.s. One last thought, would I be better off in terms of sound quality to buy a true stage piano and use my KC60 with it?

Thanks.

Rob
Posted by: kevinb

Re: DP speaker W values: what's the difference? - 10/14/09 11:02 AM

Originally Posted By: Auggiedoggy

So my Roland amp is basically usless for a DP that doesn't have a proper line out? Both the P85 and P60 from Yamaha are lacking stage outs. Perhaps I should just sell the amp and invest in a good hi-fi system. Any suggestions? Keep in mind that this would be for home essentially. I just want great sound (don't we all). wink


I think the specific issue of the P85 headphone/line output has been discussed here before: wink

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...ite_id/1#import

It maybe that the P85 headphone level is _too low_ to drive the Roland amp well, so you have to have the P85 volume turned right up, and its own amp distorts. Or it might be that the P85 headphone level is _too high_, in which case you probably have to turn the headphone level down on the P85 and the volume up on the Roland (in which case you'll possibly get hiss instead :/).

A hifi system won't help, I think -- it will almost certainly expect the same signal level as the Roland amp does, give or take a bit.


Quote:

p.s. One last thought, would I be better off in terms of sound quality to buy a true stage piano and use my KC60 with it?


That depends on the piano smile You'd probably do better putting that in a new thread so it attracts the attention of people who are more familiar with the market than I am. Sorry.
Posted by: bitWrangler

Re: DP speaker W values: what's the difference? - 10/14/09 12:24 PM

First it's important to understand the terminology. When you see something like 2x20w it's not the speakers rating you are seeing, it's the rating of the amp that is powering those two speakers. There was a longish thread a while back with more details if you're interested.

As mentioned by others, trying to attain results akin to decent headphones requires a reasonable investment in gear. Getting a 1" driver to move the tiny amount of air between a headphone and ones ears in a controlled fashion is much easier than getting a 8" driver to properly move the air in the room. Remember that there are a minimum two components to any system, the amplifier and the speakers and the proper combination of the two is key (self powered speakers have done some of the hard work for you). So pairing a good amp with crumby speakers will not yield good results.
Posted by: Martin C. Doege

Re: DP speaker W values: what's the difference? - 10/14/09 12:51 PM

Originally Posted By: kevinb

It maybe that the P85 headphone level is _too low_ to drive the Roland amp well, so you have to have the P85 volume turned right up, and its own amp distorts. Or it might be that the P85 headphone level is _too high_, in which case you probably have to turn the headphone level down on the P85 and the volume up on the Roland (in which case you'll possibly get hiss instead :/).


I think a level of 7 or 8 would work well. But even if you set it to maximum I don't think it would distort. (I'm recording the headphone out of the P-85 on the Line In of the laptop.) Of course if you set it too low (2 or 3), you might get hiss. But overall the level on the headphone out seems to be in a good range to me on the P-85. If there were distortion issues or anything I would surely have returned the instrument.
Posted by: Auggiedoggy

Re: DP speaker W values: what's the difference? - 10/14/09 01:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Martin C. Doege
Originally Posted By: kevinb

It maybe that the P85 headphone level is _too low_ to drive the Roland amp well, so you have to have the P85 volume turned right up, and its own amp distorts. Or it might be that the P85 headphone level is _too high_, in which case you probably have to turn the headphone level down on the P85 and the volume up on the Roland (in which case you'll possibly get hiss instead :/).


I think a level of 7 or 8 would work well. But even if you set it to maximum I don't think it would distort. (I'm recording the headphone out of the P-85 on the Line In of the laptop.) Of course if you set it too low (2 or 3), you might get hiss. But overall the level on the headphone out seems to be in a good range to me on the P-85. If there were distortion issues or anything I would surely have returned the instrument.


In my case I was connecting a P-85 to a Roland KC60 k/b amp but not with the stereo "Y" cable, which I was recently told I would need. The sound was crap (basically sounded weak and tinny). I had the volume at the source, the P-85, turned down low. This was suggested in the user instructions for the Roland amp. confused I'm hoping the proper cable will remedy that problem.

Rob
Posted by: Martin C. Doege

Re: DP speaker W values: what's the difference? - 10/14/09 02:06 PM

Originally Posted By: Auggiedoggy

In my case I was connecting a P-85 to a Roland KC60 k/b amp but not with the stereo "Y" cable, which I was recently told I would need. The sound was crap (basically sounded weak and tinny). I had the volume at the source, the P-85, turned down low. This was suggested in the user instructions for the Roland amp. confused I'm hoping the proper cable will remedy that problem.

Rob


The sound for the left and right speakers interferes with each other if you use a mono plug I think. You might have tried the Grand Piano 2 voice (which is mono only), to see if this was the problem. But I would definitely give a stereo plug a try.

I think the volume on the P-85 should be turned higher, otherwise there's too much noise. These are probably just the "safety tips" Roland gives for this situation, i.e. start at low volume and then increase it. They don't want users frying their equipment and then suing them. smile