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#2602284 - 06/07/14 11:46 AM Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back
garnermike Offline
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The background (my understanding only, and I apologize if y'all know this or if someone's already posted on it):

GrooveTubes developed their SFX technology for keyboard stereo amping, selling the SFX 100 and SpaceStation products. Then Fender bought out their technology, using it in their SFX acoustasonic guitar amps, but not doing anything keyboard amp-wise----except when, in a special deal with sweetwater.com back in 2010, they sold off a last supply of 100 SpaceStations.

I bought one of those, and it's been a great keyboard amp, especially loud and very effective in delivering rotary effects. Small, 35 pounds, and built to last (I have used it in over 350 gigs, and it's never had a single issue). If you do a search on the KBC, you'll see I'm not alone in liking it.

To the point: I opened my new sweetwater.com catalog, and low and behold, a new company called Center Point Stereo (centerpointstereo.com) is now selling a updated SpaceStation version through sweetwater.com. It looks identical to what I own, although it has a few more tweeking dials. I went to that company's website and the product's Fender pedigree is duly noted.

I called Sweetwater, and they do not have these amps in yet, nor have their staff received their tech briefing on it yet. There is no product ad on their website yet, just in the paper catalog.

The price is twice ($599) what I paid in 2010. I don't need another, but knowing what I now do about the amp (again if it's the same thing), I'd opine that it's well worth the price.


Edited by garnermike (06/07/14 11:50 AM)
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#2602304 - 06/07/14 02:16 PM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: garnermike]
16251 Offline
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Very interested, thanks
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#2602320 - 06/07/14 05:10 PM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: garnermike]
HSS Offline
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Thanks for the heads-up.

I wonder if the low-end frequency response is improved over the original GT Spacestations.

I have the SFX100 model with the mic line in, sub line out, and reverb. The stereo field effect is really good but IMO it could use more low end so that one doesn't have to bring a separate sub when playing at moderate to loud volumes.

IMO it would also be useful if the new "Spacestation" had a normal mono line or stereo lines out for running a signal to FOH.

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#2602326 - 06/07/14 06:09 PM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: HSS]
mate stubb Online   content
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Never got the appeal of these.
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#2602338 - 06/07/14 07:56 PM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: mate stubb]
Mike Martin Offline
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I heard a prototype of the new one at NAMM. I can confirm that the new one sounds remarkably better than the original.

The appeal is that the sound field is quite remarkable and while I don't know the technical term for it, maybe it is omnidirectional?? Unlike traditional speakers which are directional, and pairs of speakers which only provide stereo for those being in the "sweet spot".

This thing fills a room in a way that a leslie speaker does but this speaker can be used for just about anything. They claim very even sound throughout an entire room.

It's quite impressive.


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#2602340 - 06/07/14 08:40 PM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: Mike Martin]
Dave Ferris Offline
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I heard the *old one* next to a Motion Sound KP-100 ,
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/KP100S/

For piano, the MS sounded way better. Nice concept, the Space station, and I'm always "ears" for anything ultra- light , portable and less patch cords to deal with. But after I heard it, it was off my radar real quick. wink

I'm curious about this Acoustic Image Flex system that was reviewed in the Keyboard issue of June. I can't find the KM link, but here's something geared towards Ac. Bass - at least it gives an overview.
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#2602347 - 06/07/14 09:29 PM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: Mike Martin]
miden Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mike Martin
...............The appeal is that the sound field is quite remarkable and while I don't know the technical term for it, maybe it is omnidirectional?? Unlike traditional speakers which are directional, and pairs of speakers which only provide stereo for those being in the "sweet spot".
...........



Line Array
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#2602348 - 06/07/14 09:35 PM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: mate stubb]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: mate_stubb
Never got the appeal of these.

Sounded great for organ. The sound is thrown outside the box, so whatever Leslie sim you used sounded more authentic, you got much more a sense of real motion, rather than hearing a kind of "recording" of a leslie effect coming out of a box. It did not sound good for piano, though. I'll be curious to see if the new one does any better.
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#2602372 - 06/08/14 03:10 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: AnotherScott]
16251 Offline
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My litmus test would be hearing a Rhodes sound with stereo vibrato. I had recently bought (and sold,) a Lucas Nano 300, cause of its small size. The stereo vibrato was not effective and I assume it was due to the sub woofer getting both signals and only the small satellite speakers to offer the stereo image.


Edited by 16251 (06/08/14 03:11 AM)
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#2602380 - 06/08/14 05:28 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: miden]
Dave Bryce Administrator Offline
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Originally Posted By: miden
Originally Posted By: Mike Martin
...............The appeal is that the sound field is quite remarkable and while I don't know the technical term for it, maybe it is omnidirectional?? Unlike traditional speakers which are directional, and pairs of speakers which only provide stereo for those being in the "sweet spot".
...........



Line Array

A line array is a set of speakers mounted in a line and fed in phase. I believe the Space Station uses a mid/side configuration.

dB
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#2602384 - 06/08/14 06:51 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: Dave Bryce]
Adan Offline
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I had one that I picked up when they were blowing them out. For me, it was only good at one thing -- to be used with a leslie sim -- but for that, it was very good. Bass response is weak, so I always ran a sub out. In that configuration, I thought it was remarkably good at simulating how sound feels like its being thrown around a room from a leslie. If I was still doing those kinds of gigs, I would still be using it, no question.
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#2602399 - 06/08/14 08:06 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: Adan]
cphollis Online   content
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The web site shows a MAP of $595, which makes it more than a toy.

I'm thinking of it as a potential "enhancer" to my existing amplification: richer Leslie effects, more convincing chorus and pans for my EPs, etc. Doesn't look like it would do well for APs, nor do well standalone for most situations -- unless it was a very small venue, and even then ...

Looks like they're having their challenges getting it into production and into the channel -- no evidence of it on the Sweetwater site, or anywhere else.
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#2602400 - 06/08/14 08:15 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: garnermike]
Al Coda Offline
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Watch that vid ...


It seems they took the old idea but rebuild the cab that way itīs very improved over the old mkI and mkII Spacestations.

The front speaker is dual concentric w/ 1" midrange horn, the driver mounted to the rear of the speaker and woofer and horndriver now using dedicated magnets and amplifiers as well.
In addition thereīs the HF tweeter and the separately powered side speaker.
Itīs now a tri-amp stereo system, 100W low/center, 40W mid and 40W HF,- 100W side/full range.
Thatīs more power and control than the SSmkII offered.
I think itīs very promising as a keyboard monitor box and because you now can adjust the mid- and hi-level to your taste and have control over the stereo width, it might work for digital stage pianos and synths too.
For leslie sims it seems to be a no-brainer.

A.C.


Edited by Al Coda (06/08/14 08:59 AM)

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#2602409 - 06/08/14 10:56 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: garnermike]
HAM&EGZ Offline
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Originally Posted By: garnermike
T

GrooveTubes developed their SFX technology for keyboard stereo amping, selling the SFX 100 and SpaceStation products. Then Fender bought out their technology, using it in their SFX acoustasonic guitar amps, but not doing anything keyboard amp-wise----


Fender did have a keyboard amp

http://www.graceworksmusic.com/Fender%20Keyboard%20200%20SFX.htm



Edited by HAM&EGZ (06/08/14 11:04 AM)
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#2602410 - 06/08/14 10:58 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: HAM&EGZ]
mate stubb Online   content
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I'm assuming with only a couple hundred watts or so available, these are only for quiet gigs, correct?
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#2602413 - 06/08/14 11:19 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: mate stubb]
Al Coda Offline
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Originally Posted By: mate_stubb
I'm assuming with only a couple hundred watts or so available, these are only for quiet gigs, correct?


Iīd use it only for me, not for the audience,- and preferable w/ a small active sub-woofer in addition for some occasions.
I donīt need it loud in my rig, it runs thru stage monitor system and PA anyway.

As a comparison, when I go w/ my Bryston 3B amp (120W into 8Ohms/ 200W into 4Ohms) and use 2 passive speakers, there are also not more watts in the ballpark, but itīs LOUD and clear.
When I used Fender tube amps in the past,- these delivered 100W and it was loud enough for me.

These 1000W digital class D amplification build into small plastic speakers donīt impress me too much.
1000W peak power are possibly also not more than 250W in real and depending on measurement method.

A.C.

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#2602417 - 06/08/14 11:53 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: mate stubb]
garnermike Offline
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Mate What Mike said. I've tried several set-ups with my SK1, including: 1. using two Traynor K1s set up in their so-called stereo linking arrangement; 2. two Motion Sound KT-80s, one for left out and the other for right out; and 3. the SpaceStation, with the subwoofer line out (for more bottom end) to either the Traynor K1, the MS KT-80, or a small bass amp.

My room-filling and rotary effect sound with the SpaceStation is vastly better.


Edited by garnermike (06/08/14 12:02 PM)
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#2602419 - 06/08/14 12:01 PM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: garnermike]
garnermike Offline
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Mate Can't speak for this new CPS unit, but my Fender/GrooveTubes-made unit is unbelievably loud. I've never gone over midpoint on volume. The mid and high frequencies cut through things like no other kb amp I've ever played through with generally similar wattage rating (about a dozen different brands) Mine's rated at 100w.
Here's the specs on the older version that I have (scroll down on the page): http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SFXSSmkII
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#2602423 - 06/08/14 12:27 PM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: HAM&EGZ]
S_Gould Offline
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Originally Posted By: HAM&EGZ

Fender did have a keyboard amp

http://www.graceworksmusic.com/Fender%20Keyboard%20200%20SFX.htm



Yep - I bought one when it first came out, and I'm still using it today. It's plenty loud for medium-sized bar gigs. I use a MotionSound Pro3 on top.

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#2602457 - 06/08/14 04:52 PM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: Al Coda]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: Al Coda
These 1000W digital class D amplification build into small plastic speakers donīt impress me too much.
1000W peak power are possibly also not more than 250W in real and depending on measurement method.

All these low cost high power amps we're seeing aren't what they seem. The typical "1000 watt" amp is a biamped system with 500 watts to the LF driver and 500 watts to the HD driver, because it is cost effective to manufacture it that way. But in reality, that 500 watt amp driving the HF component probably does nothing more than a 50 watt amp would.

Also, wattage means nothing without knowing the efficiency of the speakers. 100 watts can be as loud as 400 watts if it's being use to drive a speaker that is 6 dB more efficient.
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#2602503 - 06/09/14 04:03 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: AnotherScott]
Al Coda Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott

All these low cost high power amps we're seeing aren't what they seem. The typical "1000 watt" amp is a biamped system with 500 watts to the LF driver and 500 watts to the HD driver, because it is cost effective to manufacture it that way. But in reality, that 500 watt amp driving the HF component probably does nothing more than a 50 watt amp would.

Also, wattage means nothing without knowing the efficiency of the speakers. 100 watts can be as loud as 400 watts if it's being use to drive a speaker that is 6 dB more efficient.


Thatīs all true, but I meant I donīt trust these measurement methods of the manufacturers at all.
These changed over the decades too much, last but not least to fool the customers.
You read watts defined of peak-power, continuous program, average, RMS, AES and sine wave power.
When you read 1000W RMS / 2000W Peak (Mackie DLM p.ex.) thatīs unbelievable when you know the power input for such system is "only" 250Watts.

I simply donīt believe you can make 4x the RMS power from 250W current.

Class D technology isnīt a wondermachine.
You can amplify power.
Electrical voltage and electrical current can be amplified,- but not that much IMO.

The SpaceStation v3 is more realistic.
It takes 1.5 amperes @230V which is 345W input to produce 280W AES (100W woofer/ 40W midrange/ 40W supertweeter/ 100W side-speaker full range).
Iīve rarely seen an amp delivering more power than it takes.

Anyway, Iīm interested in a single cab stereo system for practising and rehearsals as well as monitoring my keys on gigs and if itīs loud enough for ME,- thatīs o.k..

I had large backline rigs in the 70s and 80s,- since the 90s and even when performing in large locations or outdoor,- I always used very small monitor speaker/amp-systems and it always worked.

A.C.

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#2605038 - 06/19/14 08:42 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: Al Coda]
drawback Offline
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Bump.

I've been in touch with Aspen and asked for information on what a V.3 would do to a digital acoustic piano sample. Here's the reply, and ahem… "short" demo.

"Regarding a good piano demo, funny you should ask. Here’s a video we did with the legendary synth player Michael Boddicker, finished just last week. Michael also plays a mean piano and talks about that in this video...be sure you have a decent stereo system or earphones on to hear the recording, which is an actual room recording of the CPS V.3 speaker...it sounds lik a direct recording, but it is live!"

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#2605047 - 06/19/14 09:01 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: HAM&EGZ]
simajanpa Offline
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I had an SFX200 for several years. It was pretty loud and decent sounding. It also had stereo DIs built in so if you needed to go to the FOH it was there. Had three channels and Ok digital effects. Front facing 12" with a small Piezo tweeter and a side firing 10" speaker. Two 80w amps if I remember correctly. A little on the heavy side, but a nice all in one unit. But two EV ZLX12Ps are lighter and sound way better.

Paul

GrooveTubes developed their SFX technology for keyboard stereo amping, selling the SFX 100 and SpaceStation products. Then Fender bought out their technology, using it in their SFX acoustasonic guitar amps, but not doing anything keyboard amp-wise---- [/quote]

Fender did have a keyboard amp

http://www.graceworksmusic.com/Fender%20Keyboard%20200%20SFX.htm

[/quote]


Edited by simajanpa (06/19/14 09:14 AM)
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#2605061 - 06/19/14 10:25 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: simajanpa]
16251 Offline
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I wrote Aspen cause I want to hear what a Rhodes with stereo vibrato sounds like through amp. He wrote me back and thought it was a great idea, so I'm anxiously waiting.

I also have a friend who was able to recreate the same technology and it's not the same experience as the sweet spot of stereo, but it does create a cool sound, where ever you listen from.
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#2605134 - 06/19/14 02:33 PM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: simajanpa]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: simajanpa
I had an SFX200 for several years...A little on the heavy side, but a nice all in one unit. But two EV ZLX12Ps are lighter and sound way better.

The thing about the Spacestation--and they allude to this in the video--is that it creates a large spacious soundfield that is not particularly location specific. Using a pair of speakers for stereo don't generally yield a good stereo soundfield except for people who are near the sweet spot.
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#2605138 - 06/19/14 02:53 PM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: AnotherScott]
HAM&EGZ Offline
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I wonder if the subwoofer out is a true lo pass or is it full range like a line out for FOH
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#2605219 - 06/20/14 05:16 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: HAM&EGZ]
Al Coda Offline
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Originally Posted By: HAM&EGZ
I wonder if the subwoofer out is a true lo pass or is it full range like a line out for FOH


Thatīs what I wonder too and I also wonder why they didnīt make the stereo inputs BALANCED ... confused

In fact, it would be cool to have the sub-out switchable between full-range and, letīs say, 125Hz LP (for subs not offering a x-over).

With a subwoofer offering itīs own passive frequency deviding network, you could use that output fullrange to PA or a recording facility because most (if not all) subs offer a pass-thru connector.
When you donīt want a sub, you want that output fullrange anyway.

And, when I want to connect my keyboardmixer to that cab,- balanced line inputs would be a professional feature IMO.

A.C.

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#2605237 - 06/20/14 07:43 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: Al Coda]
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I have a MkII, though we've gone all IEMs and don't use it anymore. The sub-out is full spectrum; I used it to go to FOH through a DI. On stage, nothing could sound better for Leslie except a real rotating horn. It does have weak bass, but I heard bass from the PA that I'm always behind. It has mid-range boost that makes APs sound "boxy" if you don't EQ for that. Great, light speaker that never failed me for years.
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#2605247 - 06/20/14 08:45 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: AnotherScott]
JeffLearman Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
Using a pair of speakers for stereo don't generally yield a good stereo soundfield except for people who are near the sweet spot.
True, but if you're not interested in accuracy of image, there are a lot of options that work surprisingly well. For playing commercial CDs, you generally want an accurate image, so that stuff the engineer put on the left is on the left, etc. But for the kinds of effects that I use (and that most of us use) on keyboards, image accuracy isn't as important as richness.

For example, the image of a Leslie speaker is way different depending on where you put it in a room, but many different locations can all sound great. We're not trying to recreate one specific thing, but rather, the lovely spread and liveliness of the beast. A Leslie sounds better in a nice live room than in a controlled sound studio with minimized reflections!

One of my favorite setups for some locations is one speaker on the floor, vertical, facing front, and enough behind me that I can hear it. The other pointed up and bouncing off a back or side wall, and often on top of the other one (especially when space is tight). This works great for Leslie sim, and also sounds remarkably good for stereo piano or Rhodes stereo vibrato -- though admittedly, the nature of the image varies dramatically around the venue. It spreads the sound and the image nicely in the stage too. And in a venue where I'm sending to FOH, it doesn't interfere in a negative way with the mains (though most of these venues have stages big enough that I don't usually use this particular trick.)

Another one I used to use, where I was right against a brick wall on one side of the stage, was to put one speaker on a barstool behind me and another in front of the snare/hihat, both vertical. I was up front enough that I got nice image from the far one, and the front of the audience got a nice image too. Biggest problem was it was a jam and a lot of guitarists would stand aside their amp and right in front of my speaker, or even sit on it. Morons.

Regardless, I get your point about the SpaceStation. With a pair of speakers, you have to work at it. With the SS, it just happens.

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#2605276 - 06/20/14 10:36 AM Re: Head's-up: SpaceStation keyboard amp is apparently back [Re: Al Coda]
DanL Offline
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Originally Posted By: Al Coda
Originally Posted By: HAM&EGZ
I wonder if the subwoofer out is a true lo pass or is it full range like a line out for FOH


Thatīs what I wonder too and I also wonder why they didnīt make the stereo inputs BALANCED ... confused

In fact, it would be cool to have the sub-out switchable between full-range and, letīs say, 125Hz LP (for subs not offering a x-over).

With a subwoofer offering itīs own passive frequency deviding network, you could use that output fullrange to PA or a recording facility because most (if not all) subs offer a pass-thru connector.
When you donīt want a sub, you want that output fullrange anyway.

And, when I want to connect my keyboardmixer to that cab,- balanced line inputs would be a professional feature IMO.

A.C.


Depending on your sub, you could run L/R outs of your mixer to the sub, then take the high pass outs of the sub and feed those into the SpaceStation. That way you'd get the crossover built into the sub instead of running in reverse.
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