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Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
#3044413 05/18/20 05:41 AM
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Have PA speakers gotten so good, they've made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Can Keyboard Amplifiers still outperform PA speakers in certain respects or are they going the way of the dinosaurs?

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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044414 05/18/20 06:02 AM
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PAs win for high power and high fidelity.

Kbd amps win for mixer sections and convenience. A keyboard amp with stereo 2 way speakers kind of blurs the lines.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044426 05/18/20 08:10 AM
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I've got a Yamaha DXR10 - it's powerful, clear sounding, yet compact and portable. No keyboard amp I've ever used sounds as good or is as portable. Any mixing is done through the Kronos, so for me Keyboard amps are unnecessary. But then so is the DXR10 really as I've switched to IEMs.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044433 05/18/20 11:36 AM
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PA speakers have always out performed Keyboard amps. I’ve never owned a ‘keyboard amp’. But
Keyboard amps are nice and convenient all in 1 solutions. My best sounding rig is still my thunderous twin 3-way passive cabinets / mini personal PA rig. Most of my peers used similar rigs from the 70s through 90s or early 00s.

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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044434 05/18/20 11:55 AM
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I use to have a Barbetta keyboard amp I loved. A couple of friends had Motion Sound amps. As the lightweight, self-powered PA cabs became available we pretty much all switched over. After I switched, a chap in NYC drove two hours each way to buy the Barbetta from me. He had always used that brand and they were the sound he was used to. He was very pleased to add to his collection. These days, in my experience, the keyboard player is most typically using self-powered PA speakers.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044439 05/18/20 12:24 PM
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understand the fidelity advantage of PA speakers (used to haul around a pair myself with mixer etc .. kind of a pain) ... but currently using a Motion Sound MS500 (don't need the KBR-3D anymore, the internal leslie sim in my XK1c works just fine) .... the MS500 is convenient to setup up , sounds good ... XLR out to our mains PA and away I go ......don't think the average bar patron notices any diff smile


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044440 05/18/20 12:31 PM
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Small PA all the way for me.

dB

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044444 05/18/20 12:47 PM
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I recently bought the first keyboard I’ve ever liked. It’s a Motion Sound 610. It sounds very good, weight is reasonable, cost is good. I find it more convenient to just place a keyboard amp where I want it and play. I also have a pair of TT08A powered speakers. They sound wonderful, are light, but expensive. On gigs, placement is the issue. And, there’s a bit more involved with the schlep and setup/breakdown.

I posted a short comparison on YouTube for anyone who’s interested.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044446 05/18/20 12:52 PM
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2nd best thing I ever did was move from a Roland keyboard amp to an EV PA speaker. The best thing was then moving to IEMS grin

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044449 05/18/20 01:15 PM
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I have found that my KB300 keyboard amp actually sounds better for organ than my EV PA speakers; a leslie speaker is actually Lo-Fi rather than Hi-Fi and the KB300 is better at producing the Lo-Fi sound; the PA speaker is much brighter and brighter sometimes is not always better; in the case of organ the tweeter makes the sound too bright and sometimes too thin; the KB300 doesn't produce that hi-fi tweeter sound, which is desperately needed for other instrument emulations.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044460 05/18/20 02:20 PM
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Keyboard amps will always have a legitimate role as mixer/stage monitor/send source. Many players, usually on the novice end of the spectrum, used amps when they should use PA speakers. They're using a tool the wrong way, which contributes to a perception that there's something wrong with the tool. Then again, you can't expect every novice player to own both an amp and a PA system.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044463 05/18/20 02:47 PM
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There's room for both. I still keep a Barbetta keyboard amp for the gigs where I don't need much volume and don't need an external mixer. But the Barbetta doesn't project or put out enough volume for a club gig so the PA speakers are the better solution.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044470 05/18/20 03:52 PM
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Barbetta's were great amps. I've been using a pair of them for 25 years. Loud & clean... But now that they're really starting to show their age I've gone to a pair of powered PA speakers. Really happy with them.
No complaints here, especially after seeing what kind of kybd amps are on the market.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
The Real MC #3044472 05/18/20 04:07 PM
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I've learned a huge amount from forum members about improving my amplification - the last couple years I've run around town with a single EV ZLX-12p and I've been considering a Motion Sound amp on the advice of many here. But here is one thing that I have never, ever understood and that maybe folks can explain: how the hell are so many of you bringing two PA speakers plus poles/stands to gigs for your own sound? This just baffles me. What are these venues that allow you the space to set up a full PA behind you as monitors? I can think of maybe two or three venues in all of Washington, DC that have the stage space for that (the Kennedy Center?) The sound guys in the professional clubs here would raise eyebrows to the roof if I ever showed up with my own PA speakers on poles in addition to the venue's floor monitors and mains. Beyond the space issue, it'd be a big joke among musicians on the scene to play with the keyboardist who lugs a PA up on stage just for his own sound. No shade intended and I know that's only one setup of many advocated on these boards - just genuinely curious about the logistics of how this works!

For what my take is worth (very little), all of the above is why I'm looking at a Motion Sound - it's literally the only stereo amplification option that is physically possible to use for gigs in my city. Apologies for the long post - maybe I'm diving into the details because I just miss gigging..


Acuna 73 | Yamaha CP4 | Mojo 61 | EV-ZLX12P | Hammond M3
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044475 05/18/20 04:25 PM
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I have been 98% IEMs now for just about a decade. I had shifted to using powered speakers a few years before going IEM and still have QSC K10s available if needed. That said, I also really like the Motion Sound stereo amps like the KP500SN and similar (I believe the model number changed over the years). I have a 500SN in my music room that I use for playing at home and it works great. If I was doing a pick-up jam session where IEMs would be hard to logistically manage, I'd likely grab the Motion Sound and be happy with that.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Noah B #3044477 05/18/20 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Noah B
how the hell are so many of you bringing two PA speakers plus poles/stands to gigs for your own sound? This just baffles me. What are these venues that allow you the space to set up a full PA behind you as monitors?

My two-PA-speaker rig (+laptop & case), at a tiny restaurant I played a while back. No venue I've played has ever had a problem with this.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044480 05/18/20 04:48 PM
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I've only had one "keyboard amp" way back in the 80's, don't even remember the brand, not one that exists today. Never wanted another. My first GOOD amp was a Fender Bassman 135, with a 2x15" JBL Fender cab. Sounded great on both my RD Artist bass and my Prophet 600 at the time. Sadly, I did sell the amp/speaker cab. Only kept a 1x15" solid state MusicMan bass amp that was smaller, and didn't sound as good. When I returned to music in 2004, still had the RD Artist and the MusicMan.
Then I got a Kurzweil K2000VP, and picked up 2x15 Fender cab (not the JBL, the thin one) along with a British Trace Elliot amp, which was power FETs and sounded like a tube amp. Still have the head, but use now with a Trace 1x15 and 2x10+horn cabs; but it is way to heavy at my age to carry around. Does sound great on bass or synth bass.
For the general keyboard sound, I got my first Powered PA pair, couple of "DJ" low priced. Would have been OK for vocals, but had a pronounced peak about an octave and half below middle C, right where bass playing went. First quality PA was pair of JBL EON10G2 and pair of EON15G2, still in use (10's on wife's PC2X, and 15's as my monitors at church. Wanted something easier to carry, got a pair of EV SXA-100+, still in use in my shop/studio, and a pair of QSC K10, still in use for portable.
I do still have a single "keyboard amp", a Roland CM-30 Cube (6.5" speaker). Really nice for my micro-rig (iKeyx Pro 37, iPad mini, and the CM-30) for doing an "acoustic" set, not enough power for much else. It does sound good for the limited purposes that it is used on.
Also have a highly modded Fender US made Blues Jr - all tube, pair of 6BQ5 power, modded to have response like a tiny version of a Twin Reverb, used mostly with autoharp or Epiphone Les Paul guitar.
All those items that I still have were bought 8 to 10 years ago. They all still do what I need. Yeah, there are some new ones out there that might be better (defined as same sound with lighter weight to carry); but not enough to spend more money.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044481 05/18/20 04:49 PM
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I do the same thing as Reezekeys, with the exact same folding stands. No problem anywhere.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044482 05/18/20 05:04 PM
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On a concept level, this isn't complicated:

1) on stage with a band, audience hears the PA = keyboard amp because convenience outweighs sound quality

2) audience is hearing your amplification only, no additional sound reinforcement = powered speakers because sound quality outweighs convenience.
-- exception . . . sometimes event is so casual convenience outweighs sound quality regardless

3) If priority is to achieve a single point stereo effect, such as giving max effect to a leslie sim, a Space Station or Motion Sound might do that better than dual speakers.


What's complicated is that most of us can't have 3 or 4 different amplification configurations, so we decide what to buy based on what we think our most common scenario will be. That doesn't mean we disagree on the concepts, it just means we have different priorities for investment in gear.

For me, it's mostly scenarios #1 and 3, so I've got a Space Station + sub. So far, #2 scenarios haven't been frequent enough to invest in powered speakers.


Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Subsequent 37, Roland VR09, Yamaha P121
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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Reezekeys #3044484 05/18/20 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Reezekeys
Originally Posted by Noah B
how the hell are so many of you bringing two PA speakers plus poles/stands to gigs for your own sound? This just baffles me. What are these venues that allow you the space to set up a full PA behind you as monitors?

My two-PA-speaker rig (+laptop & case), at a tiny restaurant I played a while back. No venue I've played has ever had a problem with this.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

That is a very cool and compact setup! Really dig those foldout box stands - I can see how they allow you to set up stereo in clubs or restaurants, though some of the tighter bar stages I've played might be trouble. I do know a lot of people here use poles and stands that lean back, though - those are the options that I wonder about, spacewise.


Acuna 73 | Yamaha CP4 | Mojo 61 | EV-ZLX12P | Hammond M3
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044487 05/18/20 05:20 PM
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I will try to find a picture of how I used powered speakers at gigs, though it has been a while. I would have them on either side of me or behind me on the floor, tilted back as monitors, with lines sent to FOH for keys. I did not use my monitors to supply sound to compete with multiple guitars, horns, etc.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044489 05/18/20 05:26 PM
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But who is number 1 ? ...
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My $0.02: Yes. Yes they have.

I gigged on a Roland KC-500 for years and appreciated the built-in mixing and XLR outputs. The sound was terrible — boxy midrange scoop bookended by ear-bleed treble and flatulent bass. I used it from the mid-1990s until 2000, and the problem is, keyboard combo amps really haven't improved all that much since. By today's standards, they're heavy and underpowered. Powered stage monitors OTOH have made leaps and bounds, thanks largely to lightweight class-D amp topology. A pair of 10-inchers like the QSC K10.2 or Yamaha DXR-10 will easily double as your stage monitors and the main source the audience hears, the sound quality is pristine, they can get loud AF, and they're easy to schlep. Compare the current stuff to predecessors such as the original Mackie SRM-450 or JBL EON15, and it's a night and day difference.

I would be curious to see a company like QSC take on a true stereo keyboard amp with the same production values as their K series speakers. Three or four channels of stereo analog in plus USB, high-quality mixer circuits, XLR outs with ground lift. I think this would end up being a very niche product, though, because keyboardists who are that serious about their sound quality onstage have mostly already gone the powered P.A. route.

Last edited by Stephen Fortner; 05/18/20 05:27 PM.

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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044490 05/18/20 05:34 PM
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As far as I'm concerned, they both are obsolete due to in-ears and easy-to-control monitor mixes.

The only times I ever use a speaker or amp is at practice or when we don't run sound ourselves, and those are the times I don't look forward to because I can't hear myself as clearly as I normally do. We run no amps on stage except for those gigs and even those sometimes we all go direct.

But between those two: speaker all the way. It can double as a monitor or PA speaker if needed. In either case, the cheaper amps/speakers I've tried struggle with piano in particular. Best I've personally tried is a QSC 10.2.

Last edited by Stokely; 05/18/20 05:40 PM.
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044492 05/18/20 05:39 PM
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Though I'm a proponent of keyboard amps in some situations, I have to add that I wouldn't come near the vast majority of keyboard amps on the market. Roland? Behringer? No and no. For my money, only Motion Sound is even worth considering. But they're expensive, and they're heavy compared to powered speakers.

I did have a Barbetta back in the day. These days I'd only get a stereo amp.

Does the Space Station even count as "keyboard amp"? Maybe not.


Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Subsequent 37, Roland VR09, Yamaha P121
Traveling: Yamaha MX49, Reface CP and CS
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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Noah B #3044493 05/18/20 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Noah B
I've learned a huge amount from forum members about improving my amplification - the last couple years I've run around town with a single EV ZLX-12p and I've been considering a Motion Sound amp on the advice of many here. But here is one thing that I have never, ever understood and that maybe folks can explain: how the hell are so many of you bringing two PA speakers plus poles/stands to gigs for your own sound? This just baffles me. What are these venues that allow you the space to set up a full PA behind you as monitors? I can think of maybe two or three venues in all of Washington, DC that have the stage space for that (the Kennedy Center?) The sound guys in the professional clubs here would raise eyebrows to the roof if I ever showed up with my own PA speakers on poles in addition to the venue's floor monitors and mains. Beyond the space issue, it'd be a big joke among musicians on the scene to play with the keyboardist who lugs a PA up on stage just for his own sound. No shade intended and I know that's only one setup of many advocated on these boards - just genuinely curious about the logistics of how this works!

For what my take is worth (very little), all of the above is why I'm looking at a Motion Sound - it's literally the only stereo amplification option that is physically possible to use for gigs in my city. Apologies for the long post - maybe I'm diving into the details because I just miss gigging..

I hear ya, Noah B, but it seems you're assuming many venues have their own PA and monitor systems. Most of my gig locations do not, thus I have to bring something, and it has to be stereo. Please also note that I do NOT bring the speaker stands anymore. (I used to, but you are right, they just take up too much space, and one looks kinda weird setting up their own PA system just for their keys.) After trying out (& returning the Motion Sound KP610), I found that if I simply place my 2 Yamaha DXR-10 PA speakers on the floor with a "V" angle between them (one facing slightly left, one facing slightly right), I can get the same stereo effect as the KP-610! And they take up no more space! So far, that has served me as a pretty good solution to the small stage space and stereo problem. YMMV.


Portable Rig: Yamaha MOXF8 (used mostly for acoustic piano); (2) Yamaha DXR-10 powered speakers
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044494 05/18/20 05:43 PM
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I wish PPA speakers included the mixer sections that keyboard amps have; that would eliminate the need for a mixer; that is one convenience piece that I miss. The KB300 also has channel EQ'ing, not just a global EQ, but individual channels each have a 3-band EQ, individual channel reverb and an effects loop as well.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Reezekeys #3044496 05/18/20 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Reezekeys
Originally Posted by Noah B
how the hell are so many of you bringing two PA speakers plus poles/stands to gigs for your own sound? This just baffles me. What are these venues that allow you the space to set up a full PA behind you as monitors?

My two-PA-speaker rig (+laptop & case), at a tiny restaurant I played a while back. No venue I've played has ever had a problem with this.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Wow, Reezekeys, great setup! Can you please advise what are / where did you get those short stands you are using to slightly raise your QSCs? They look perfect.... I think they would eliminate the floor "boominess" that can happen, just slightly raise the speakers for better close-up sound, yet avoids the need for stands!

Last edited by cassdad; 05/18/20 05:46 PM.

Portable Rig: Yamaha MOXF8 (used mostly for acoustic piano); (2) Yamaha DXR-10 powered speakers
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Noah B #3044498 05/18/20 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Noah B
how the hell are so many of you bringing two PA speakers plus poles/stands to gigs for your own sound? This just baffles me. What are these venues that allow you the space to set up a full PA behind you as monitors?
I put mine on a black milk crate. This gets them off the ground, which is closer to ear level and the additional schlep factor is about zero. So poles and stands to schelp don't exist for me. Mine also tilt back so you could put one on both sides of you on the floor slanted up and they could act like ear cups projecting from the floor


57 Hammond B3; 69 Hammond L100P; 68 Leslie 122; Kurzweil PC3; GEM Equinox; Voce V5+; Neo Vent; EV ELX112P; GSI Gemini Desktop Module;
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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044499 05/18/20 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Noah B
I've learned a huge amount from forum members about improving my amplification - the last couple years I've run around town with a single EV ZLX-12p and I've been considering a Motion Sound amp on the advice of many here. But here is one thing that I have never, ever understood and that maybe folks can explain: how the hell are so many of you bringing two PA speakers plus poles/stands to gigs for your own sound? This just baffles me. What are these venues that allow you the space to set up a full PA behind you as monitors? I can think of maybe two or three venues in all of Washington, DC that have the stage space for that (the Kennedy Center?) The sound guys in the professional clubs here would raise eyebrows to the roof if I ever showed up with my own PA speakers on poles in addition to the venue's floor monitors and mains. Beyond the space issue, it'd be a big joke among musicians on the scene to play with the keyboardist who lugs a PA up on stage just for his own sound. No shade intended and I know that's only one setup of many advocated on these boards - just genuinely curious about the logistics of how this works!

For what my take is worth (very little), all of the above is why I'm looking at a Motion Sound - it's literally the only stereo amplification option that is physically possible to use for gigs in my city. Apologies for the long post - maybe I'm diving into the details because I just miss gigging..

Here in LA, most live gigs have limited set up space as well. I like Rob's folding footstool as stands idea although I've never used them.

I have smaller speakers - RCF TT08As- and either place them on the floor in wedge position or bring one short speaker pole like this :
https://www.directproaudio.com/pro-...ks-02b-extra-short-tripod-speaker-stand/

and do a combo of floor wedge and speaker pole.

At the time I switched over from the standard speaker poles, the Yorkville was the only one on the market. Now it appears other brands have come on the market - Gator, On Stage , K&M.

Yes, regular speaker poles take up WAY too much room and do look imposing. Also they place the speaker at an uncomfortable , ear level height for a bass player standing right next to you. The shorter poles place the speaker or speakers at a more optimum height. I wouldn't go over 35 lbs. speaker weight on the Yorkvilles though...and even that's pushing it imo.. And I'd probably stay at an 8" size speaker as well.

In Al's video with the CP4, basically my set up - I like the MS amp and it compares favorably with his TT08As. If I were gigging more, I would probably make an investment in it. But as it is, I've had the RCFs for 10 years and being picky about piano tone, I'd have a hard time going down in sound quality from them.

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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Noah B #3044501 05/18/20 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Noah B
Originally Posted by Reezekeys
Originally Posted by Noah B
how the hell are so many of you bringing two PA speakers plus poles/stands to gigs for your own sound? This just baffles me. What are these venues that allow you the space to set up a full PA behind you as monitors?

My two-PA-speaker rig (+laptop & case), at a tiny restaurant I played a while back. No venue I've played has ever had a problem with this.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

That is a very cool and compact setup! Really dig those foldout box stands - I can see how they allow you to set up stereo in clubs or restaurants, though some of the tighter bar stages I've played might be trouble. I do know a lot of people here use poles and stands that lean back, though - those are the options that I wonder about, spacewise.

I think it all boils down to the types of gigs you do & the venues you play. First of all those are not really stands – they're folding footstools that you get at most hardware stores. Cheap, very light and they fold flat. I've heard of folks using the "lean back" stands normally for guitar amps, I just tried these footstools first and they worked fine, cost less, smaller, lighter etc. My setup works for me because I need to not have the speakers' horns at my ear level for obvious reasons – but having them on poles wouldn't really work because the sound would be "above" me and I would feel disconnected from it. Having the speakers where they are is what works best for smaller gigs. The speakers can push the sound out to the bandstand and audience without blowing me out since they're not directly at my ear level. It's not perfect – sometimes the volume I set to hear myself well is not 100% right for everyone else, but those instances are exceptions. For the most part it's worked fine to do it like this.

There have been some occasions where I need to set the speakers up very close to each other, and I actually put my SKB case with the laptop on top of one of the speakers! This happens rarely though. It's not ideal, as I like the two speakers to be on either side of me but sometimes you have to roll with things and do the best you can.

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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
cassdad #3044504 05/18/20 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by cassdad
Can you please advise what are / where did you get those short stands you are using to slightly raise your QSCs? They look perfect.... I think they would eliminate the floor "boominess" that can happen, just slightly raise the speakers for better close-up sound, yet avoids the need for stands!

Folding footstool (Amazon)

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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Stokely #3044506 05/18/20 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Stokely
As far as I'm concerned, they both are obsolete due to in-ears and easy-to-control monitor mixes .

That works for pop or rock 'organized / rehearsed band' contexts - although I know many people that prefer speakers and feel the in ears are a disconnect from live sound- but definitely not for Jazz. smile

Also on freelance/ pickup gigs where you might not have ever have met some of the other musicians and you just show up and play - read charts or call tunes- I've never heard of in ears being used in those contexts. Unless of course it was a high profile awards show type gig.

Last edited by Dave Ferris; 05/18/20 06:32 PM. Reason: added thoughts
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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Al Quinn #3044511 05/18/20 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Al Quinn
I recently bought the first keyboard I’ve ever liked. It’s a Motion Sound 610. It sounds very good, weight is reasonable, cost is good. I find it more convenient to just place a keyboard amp where I want it and play. I also have a pair of TT08A powered speakers. They sound wonderful, are light, but expensive. On gigs, placement is the issue. And, there’s a bit more involved with the schlep and setup/breakdown.

I posted a short comparison on YouTube for anyone who’s interested.


FWIW, the MS amp sounded warmer to me, I preferred the sound.

I had the KP 500s for a short time. A bit heavy and not what I needed at the time, but you make a good point about it being easy to setup and takes relatively little space.

It's interesting that you can still buy the KP 500s for the same price as the 610, $1,399! Yikes. To buy it again, I'd definitely want to shave down the weight from 48 pounds to 43, and I like the idea of 10" woofers instead of 12" and the bump of RMS power from 500 to 650.

So, given a choice in your home setup, would you rather play keys thru the MS or the TTs?


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
MoodyBluesKeys #3044519 05/18/20 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by MoodyBluesKeys
I've only had one "keyboard amp" way back in the 80's, don't even remember the brand, not one that exists today. Never wanted another. My first GOOD amp was a Fender Bassman 135, with a 2x15" JBL Fender cab. Sounded great on both my RD Artist bass and my Prophet 600 at the time. Sadly, I did sell the amp/speaker cab. Only kept a 1x15" solid state MusicMan bass amp that was smaller, and didn't sound as good. When I returned to music in 2004, still had the RD Artist and the MusicMan.
Then I got a Kurzweil K2000VP, and picked up 2x15 Fender cab (not the JBL, the thin one) along with a British Trace Elliot amp, which was power FETs and sounded like a tube amp. Still have the head, but use now with a Trace 1x15 and 2x10+horn cabs; but it is way to heavy at my age to carry around. Does sound great on bass or synth bass.
For the general keyboard sound, I got my first Powered PA pair, couple of "DJ" low priced. Would have been OK for vocals, but had a pronounced peak about an octave and half below middle C, right where bass playing went. First quality PA was pair of JBL EON10G2 and pair of EON15G2, still in use (10's on wife's PC2X, and 15's as my monitors at church. Wanted something easier to carry, got a pair of EV SXA-100+, still in use in my shop/studio, and a pair of QSC K10, still in use for portable.
I do still have a single "keyboard amp", a Roland CM-30 Cube (6.5" speaker). Really nice for my micro-rig (iKeyx Pro 37, iPad mini, and the CM-30) for doing an "acoustic" set, not enough power for much else. It does sound good for the limited purposes that it is used on.
Also have a highly modded Fender US made Blues Jr - all tube, pair of 6BQ5 power, modded to have response like a tiny version of a Twin Reverb, used mostly with autoharp or Epiphone Les Paul guitar.
All those items that I still have were bought 8 to 10 years ago. They all still do what I need. Yeah, there are some new ones out there that might be better (defined as same sound with lighter weight to carry); but not enough to spend more money.

Hmmmmm.... given your forum name and your past gear, you seem likely to have some opinions on the value of tube driven amps, as well amps that were originally used for guitars. I know some of the Rhodes keyboards had Fender amps built into the case, and I've heard and experienced it myself that some speakers that are absolutely not that well suited for piano, do better than OK with EPs and Organ, possibly even better than clean, more multi-purpose amps.

Yeah, I remember the transition from passive speakers to powered! Viva la revolucion! As far as I'm concerned, I was really glad to leave passive speakers behind. Having a speaker optimized with all kinds of DSP by factory engineers is so much better than carrying heavy amps and rack gear to safely run passives.

Guitar players have also come over to PA speakers in droves. With such quality DSP available today, they can recreate the sound of a Marshall stack using lighter, smaller, more powerful speakers. They're called FRFR speakers, full range, flat response, basically a PA speaker as opposed to more mid-range centric special-purpose guitar amps.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Dave Ferris #3044520 05/18/20 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Ferris
Originally Posted by Stokely
As far as I'm concerned, they both are obsolete due to in-ears and easy-to-control monitor mixes .

That works for pop or rock 'organized / rehearsed band' contexts - although I know many people that prefer speakers and feel the in ears are a disconnect from live sound- but definitely not for Jazz. smile

Also on freelance/ pickup gigs where you might not have ever have met some of the other musicians and you just show up and play - read charts or call tunes- I've never heard of in ears being used in those contexts. Unless of course it was a high profile awards show type gig.

Fair enough, my world is small-time rock cover band and 95% of our gigs use our PA.

Certainly any time we aren't using our mixer I am very leery of in-ears. So yes in that kind of walk-in situation even in the rock cover band scene (let alone jazz) I'd have an "amp" and be self-contained.

I personally think the disconnected feel/sound is definitely a drawback of in-ears--but it is outweighed by all the benefits.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
cassdad #3044524 05/18/20 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by cassdad
Originally Posted by Noah B
After trying out (& returning the Motion Sound KP610), I found that if I simply place my 2 Yamaha DXR-10 PA speakers on the floor with a "V" angle between them (one facing slightly left, one facing slightly right), I can get the same stereo effect as the KP-610! And they take up no more space! So far, that has served me as a pretty good solution to the small stage space and stereo problem. YMMV.

So, you don't stack the DXRs on top of each other in a V, just on the floor in a V angle facing you. How close do you place them to each other? IIRC, the DXRs will accept a stereo input, and they're designed so that you can run a cable from it to a 2d DXR and get stereo. Nifty feature, esp. in your application.

Besides the cost, why else did you return the KP610s? I suppose you already had the DXRs.

Last edited by Randelph; 05/18/20 07:19 PM.

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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044526 05/18/20 07:39 PM
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Am curious how many people use the SS V.3 and like it, with an extra speaker for bass or not.

I have limited experience with mine, but never got the full effect that many people swear by. I've mostly played it outdoors, which Aspen assured me would still work for the 3d effect, and at home in my living room, which has 8' ceilings, approx 12' x 16'. With a fireplace creating all kinds of weird audio effects, it's not an ideal space.

Was tremendously excited at the prospect, achieving 3d sound is always the goal, and I contributed to the feeding frenzy of the longest thread ever on this forum. But I don't find it to be very hi-fi, piano esp suffers, and I never really heard much of the 3d effect in my settings, even with trying many different ways of positioning the speaker.

I chalked it down to needing a larger space to realize the effect, and of course, using that amp outdoors is counter-intuitive. If I was a major Organ player I would give it another go. I'm selling it if anyone is interested. Am in the SF bay area at the moment, moving soon to SoCal.


For smaller settings like home I just LOVE my speakers on the Korg Pa1000. Some of the most powerful speakers on a keyboard, 2 ways with 66 watts, it gets pretty loud and deep for keyboard speakers. At the very least, I get perfect stereo sound right in my ears, and if more volume is needed I use my K8.2.

In many ways this is my ideal. In-your-face stereo with some bass added. I've often thought that there ought to be a 2.1 system for keyboards. One way of doing that would be to get several vocal monitors, like the
Vocal monitors
mount them on mic stands (they weigh under 7 pounds) on either side of your board, and then run another speaker for the bass. With 6.5" speakers these'll put out some sound, and of course your get good vocal amplification. However, that'd be a lot of setup (mixer, cables, 3 speakers). Mounted on mic stands the footprint would be negligible and the sound divine!

A guitar player friend of mine loaned me a wah pedal- what fun!!!! I run the pedal thru the K8.2, and the normal keyboard sound coming from the onboard speakers is unaltered. Seriously addicting!

Last edited by Randelph; 05/18/20 08:07 PM.

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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Al Quinn #3044528 05/18/20 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Al Quinn
I recently bought the first keyboard I’ve ever liked. It’s a Motion Sound 610. It sounds very good, weight is reasonable, cost is good. I find it more convenient to just place a keyboard amp where I want it and play. I also have a pair of TT08A powered speakers. They sound wonderful, are light, but expensive. On gigs, placement is the issue. And, there’s a bit more involved with the schlep and setup/breakdown.

I posted a short comparison on YouTube for anyone who’s interested.
Wow, thanks for the nice comparison, Al!
The 610 sounds really good to my ears. On repeated listens, I can hear that the TT08A is clearly superior reproduction wise, but the EQ may not be optimal (to my taste).
To be honest, at first I wasn't totally sure which was which until I saw your annotation at the bottom of the video.
No doubt the 610 would be great for gigging with a great solution to the AP amplification problem!


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044529 05/18/20 07:49 PM
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To the OP's question , Absolutely.......

Keyboard amps were dead once powered PA speakers became affordable. Before that when they were passive and y9u needed a power amp - it made sense for a keyboard amp, but not now. PAs are more compact, more powerful, FRFR (at least relatively close) which keyboard amps definitely arnt. To top is off - if its for monitoring (as usually the keys will go to FOH) your hearing pretty close to what the audience is and can taylor EQ to match.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
JazzPiano88 #3044530 05/18/20 07:53 PM
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The TTs for me were head and shoulders better. Warm and natural. The 610s were overly hyped in the top end and quite harsh actually.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044533 05/18/20 08:16 PM
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Good full range powered speakers are better to me, but it all depends on what your feeding it and how much control of what your feeding it you need or want. Powered speakers for the most part are just that a convenient package of a power amp and speakers in one cab for large PA systems. Then companies started adding a simple mixer for use and small PA system. So what are you sending to the powered speaker and how much do you need to tweak it. This is one of those "it depends" questions as answer depends on what your doing and how much do you need to tweak the sound before and during the event.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044535 05/18/20 08:22 PM
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Powered speakers were the best option until Motion Sound started making great amps, now it's all about your needs and chances are one of the MS amps will beat the PS setup every time.

PS are designed to throw the sound out for public address, not great at near field dispersion, so those standing right in front of a PS will get a full sound, those behind and to the sides won't hear much at all, this sucks for monitoring on stages without a great PA, the MS amps have big wide sound fields and some are even 360.

And PS don't take a keyboard out well, you'll get a slightly weak signal, which is why a mixer works so well, but who wants to setup all that crap? a single MS amp will sound hotter and hence better straight up compared to a PS without a mixer. You need two PS and a mixer to compete with the single MS box, and even then the MS will probably sound better.

The only need I would still use a PS for these days is self-monitoring on stage, with a direct out for the monitors and house, otherwise the MS amps win.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044536 05/18/20 08:24 PM
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An abundance of bad sounding keyboard amps have made them obsolete.


This post edited for speling.
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
RABid #3044544 05/18/20 08:36 PM
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Most PS now have 170 deg spread (or close to) so the "those at the side wont here) hasnt been the case for a while.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044548 05/18/20 09:08 PM
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I think the new generation of small battery powered PA systems may become game changers in this area.

I was considering 2x RCF TT08 or MS KP408 until I read about Bose S1 Pro.

https://youtu.be/S6y5zHUiwWg

They include a mixer, easy to handle and install and promising sound (still need to hear them live on my CP4)

Any thoughts ?

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
paulmapp8306 #3044549 05/18/20 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by paulmapp8306
The TTs for me were head and shoulders better. Warm and natural. The 610s were overly hyped in the top end and quite harsh actually.

When you're at the level of the TT08As and you have a discerning ear for piano tone - because often you have spent a lot of of time on a quality acoustic piano- an amp is simply a compromise.

Yes I applaud the convenience of plug in two instrument cords and end of story. What long time gigging guy wouldn't ! And how many times, especially in close quarters, have I agonized over the set up with extra patch cords, placement, etc.

But when the gig starts I usually forget about all that and dig the sound enough that I forget about the schlep and setup. I'm already compromising playing an electronic keyboard that attempts to emulate an acoustic. I don't need more compromises.

Also I don't go direct into the active speakers. I've tried and the tone sounded thinner to me. I started with the inexpensive A&H ZED 10 and then made a heftier investment a few years later with the fabulous sounding JMK Audio JM-110 di/pre amp.

https://jmkaudio.com/jm-110

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
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I have a peculiar way that I like to orient my PA cabs.

Check it out:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

dB

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044559 05/18/20 09:28 PM
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I switched from guitar amps for guitar to keyboard amps in the late 60s, and then switched to PA amps in the late 90s. Never looked back.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Randelph #3044565 05/18/20 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Randelph
Originally Posted by cassdad
Originally Posted by Noah B
After trying out (& returning the Motion Sound KP610), I found that if I simply place my 2 Yamaha DXR-10 PA speakers on the floor with a "V" angle between them (one facing slightly left, one facing slightly right), I can get the same stereo effect as the KP-610! And they take up no more space! So far, that has served me as a pretty good solution to the small stage space and stereo problem. YMMV.

So, you don't stack the DXRs on top of each other in a V, just on the floor in a V angle facing you. How close do you place them to each other? IIRC, the DXRs will accept a stereo input, and they're designed so that you can run a cable from it to a 2d DXR and get stereo. Nifty feature, esp. in your application.

Besides the cost, why else did you return the KP610s? I suppose you already had the DXRs.

Right, Randolph, I already had the DXR10s. I do not stack them vertically simply because I would hear the top box (channel) much louder than the lower because the upper box would be closer to ear level. But I suppose I would stack them if ever I found myself with so little space that that was my only option. I was indeed very happy with the amp and sound of the Motion Sound KP610, for the record. But I simply preferred 2 relatively light-weight boxes (that I have bags for with wheels, so they are VERY easy to transport), rather than the weight and awkwardness of the one box. I separate them if I can, but, like the Motion Sound KP-610, I have found that if I put them even right next to each other, if I angle them 30-degrees, they yield pretty good stereo effect.


Portable Rig: Yamaha MOXF8 (used mostly for acoustic piano); (2) Yamaha DXR-10 powered speakers
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Dave Bryce #3044567 05/18/20 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
I have a peculiar way that I like to orient my PA cabs.

Check it out:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

dB

Wow, interesting...what do you find the advantage is of this, besides maybe floor space? Those are the L2T's, right? Still liking the sound for keys this many years later? Probably too high-priced/rather heavy for my use, but I'm curious.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044569 05/18/20 10:11 PM
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Yes, those are L2Ts. I do it that way because I like the height and width of the image that comes from behind my back, and the projection into the room I get from it.

I do the same thing with my QSCs, except I use a K8 on the stand and a K12 on the floor. It's pretty great.

dB

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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044573 05/18/20 10:19 PM
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I've never played through a Motion Sound keyboard amp, but I've tried out several different Roland models and a few old Peavey models. I mostly play piano when doing solo gigs, and often accordion too. I haven't found any keyboard amp that sounded that good for either.

I've actually gigged with a single Yamaha MSR-100 for years. Mono, but I like the sound quality and it's small and not overbearingly heavy.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Dave Bryce #3044576 05/18/20 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
Yes, those are L2Ts. I do it that way because I like the height and width of the image that comes from behind my back, and the projection into the room I get from it.

I do the same thing with my QSCs, except I use a K8 on the stand and a K12 on the floor. It's pretty great.

dB

So it's not a straight stereo field then, interesting. Must sound really good for organs with leslie sim I would think.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Dave Bryce #3044579 05/18/20 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
I have a peculiar way that I like to orient my PA cabs.
dB
Do you feed the forward cab with L+R and bottom cab with L-R?
Just kidding. Kidding! laugh


J a z z P i a n o 8 8

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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Dave Bryce #3044588 05/18/20 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
Yes, those are L2Ts. I do it that way because I like the height and width of the image that comes from behind my back, and the projection into the room I get from it.

I do the same thing with my QSCs, except I use a K8 on the stand and a K12 on the floor. It's pretty great.

dB

Are you sending them a mono or stereo signal?


This post edited for speling.
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044589 05/18/20 11:51 PM
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Stereo. Don't tell Kanker. duck

dB

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044594 05/19/20 12:13 AM
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Great question.

Self-powered PAs certainly impacted the market for keyboard amps, but didn't eliminate them. And, as others have pointed out, a great pair of IEMs in the right situation can best even the most expensive self-powered PA units.

My "keyboard amp" experience includes a Roland JC-120 (great for rhodes), a MS KBR-3D (gathering much dust) and my trusty CPS SSv3. There are certain situations where the SSv3 is just freaking perfect, and can't be touched by a pair of PA speakers. Mine has a certain gritty, enveloping character that I like on occasion, e.g. small sweaty dance gigs. If I lost it, I'd immediately turn around and buy another.

Since these days I'm the sound guy for my band, we have the benefit of kicking FOH and as many as six monitor feeds on stage. I will swear by a pair of EVOX J8s and my X-Air 18. I take my mix through IEMs, others prefer a physical monitor.

But, yeah, as far as keyboard amplification goes, a decent self-powered PA brings game, even with added schlep. A pair of QSC K8.2s will open your eyes and ears. And IEMs bring game over self-powered PAs for monitoring purposes. Get the ambient type, much less isolating.

I guess direct brain implants are next in line ...


Life is too short to be playing bad music.

Keys: NP4, NS3C
Home: Bosie 200, Yam AG N3
Amps: FA 12ac, RCF TT08a, QSC K.2, EVOX J8, SSv3, Westone IEMs
Stuff: Stay stands, Key Largo, Vent II, X-Air 18
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Randelph #3044596 05/19/20 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Randelph
So, given a choice in your home setup, would you rather play keys thru the MS or the TTs?

At home, if I had to pick between just the MS or TT's I'd pick the TTs. But, at home what I actually do is play my keys through studio monitors (pair of JBL LSR4326P plus subwoofer). They're already setup and sound great. That is, unless I'm preparing for a gig. Then I'll setup the speakers I plan on using along with the keyboards I'll use.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Randelph #3044598 05/19/20 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Randelph
Am curious how many people use the SS V.3 and like it, with an extra speaker for bass or not.

I have an SS V.3. I use it on jazz organ gigs along with a MarkBass bass amp for LH bass. Sounds good to me on organ gigs but I don't like AP through the SS V.3. The fidelity just isn't there. I also use the SS V.3 face down with a TT08A on top connected to the SS V.3 sub out (which is a full range signal). This combo has a small footprint and does everything well (e.g., high fidelity and omnipresent effect), but it's not good if a bandmate is in the line of fire of the side speakers. The sound messes them up.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Al Quinn #3044602 05/19/20 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Al Quinn
it's not good if a bandmate is in the line of fire of the side speakers. The sound messes them up.
The drummer in one of my bands hated the SSv3 because of that.

dB

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044618 05/19/20 01:32 AM
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The band requested that I play Moog Taurus pedals in my rig. Because they pump out deep bass I initially brought the equivalent of a small biamped PA for my stage monitor to handle the pedals, but quickly decided they weren't necessary when I could feel the pedals radiate through the subwoofers in the PA. Fortunately our soundman appreciates keyboards.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044623 05/19/20 02:25 AM
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2 old QSC K8's. A pro sound guy said to me that he doesn't like QSC's for PA. But I think they're great as a keyboard amp for small venues. When there's FOH sound, I use the QSC's as my personal monitors and FOH takes direct either from the Nord in stereo or off one of the QSC's for mono. One sound guy has me place the QSC's in front of me and facing back at me. He doesn't want ANY of the sound from the QSC's in his FOH mix, not because he doesn't like them but because he wants ultimate control over the sound. If he's got the keys direct in his board, that's all the keys sound he wants to deal with. I've never used in ears and I never want to. I hate having things in my ears. If it came to that, I'd use over the ear cans before I'd put anything in my ears. I don't care what it looks like. I hate ear buds.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044641 05/19/20 04:44 AM
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I started with a Peavey keyboard amp. It sounded horrible. I never missed it. For a while I didn't play out and just used studio monitors. Then I used IEMs. Now I have IEMs and PA (Fulcrum Acoustic). I wouldn't buy a keyboard amp.

Keyboard amps and PA speakers have the same basic design goal: full range, flat response. (Motion sound has some thing that are different, obviously). But for Full range/Flat response, there is an ocean of difference between the choices and engineering that goes into a modern PA speaker and a traditional "keyboard amp" (especially the ones with built-in DSP). The volumes sold also play into this. Also, a PA also gives two speakers. Every keyboard I've owned (except the Minimoog!) puts out a stereo signal and sounds better doing so.

My PA can be used for FOH or for me. I've used it both ways. I prefer my IEMs and PA as FOH, but options are good! "Keyboard Amp" just says, low quality speaker to me. Even for PA speakers, I have a list of what I want, and no keyboard amp meets the spec. I don't play Hammond, so rotary isn't part of what I use.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044887 05/20/20 07:24 AM
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I've only ever used PA type monitors for keys - excluding a real leslie for organ....all the way back to my beginnings in the late 70's. I've never even tried a "keyboard" amp. Part of that was due to the fact that so many stores would have Roland KC's on the floor to demo through, and they always sounded really bad.

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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Nathanael_I #3044938 05/20/20 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
Keyboard amps and PA speakers have the same basic design goal: full range, flat response.
QFT.

There are exceptions for electromechanical keyboards (Rhodes is lovely through a Fender Twin or Roland JC120, Clav and Wurly like some distortion, and Hammond organ is a completely different animal in itself). But in general, for amplifying modern digital keyboards, a flat response across the frequency range is desirable.

However, companies that market products branded as "keyboard amps" don't seem to take as much care with that design goal as companies that market "PA speakers". You can't just throw a cheap 12in guitar speaker and piezo tweeter in a box with a solid state power amp and assume it will sound good for keyboards. However, if you take the time to design a box that performs well with accurate full-range music reproduction, chances are it will sounds good when amplifying (digital) keyboards.

Cheers, Mike.


AX48.PM351.FC7.VFP2
One or two keyboards.
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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044948 05/20/20 04:44 PM
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I never heard a KB amp that was worth wasting money to buy, even for a practice amp. I have read good reports on the Motion Sound boxes, but I never had a need for any kind of KB amp. Since I went solo back in the seventies, I always carried a small PA to most jobs. Occasionally, I had gigs where I was playing outside and needed to carry a larger PA. My best jobs were corporate and private parties where they "Didn't want LOUD music". People wanted softer background music during "cocktail hour" and dinner, then wanted music they could get up and dance. Still, nothing loud. So I had to "learn" how to play soft in my ripe old age.

For years I used a set of JBL KB cabinets when I was on the road doing the hotel circuit. Great clean sound, with a HF horn that could fry your ears if I turned the speaker toward me. But alas, as I got older, my back told me those hardwood cabinets were too heavy to move around anymore, so I invested in a set of Peavey SP2's that have 1/2 plywood cabinets that were reinforced so they wouldn't fall apart, and were less than half the weight of the JBL speakers. Black Widow 15" bass speakers with 4" voice coils, and a clear HF horn that did the trick. I still have both sets of speaker cabinets in my music room.

My last setup was with my Yamaha ES8 workstation with sequencer songs that I played and sang along with, a one man band. A lot of folks on this forum never cared for players like me, but in a small market area and playing for small groups and parties, they were not going to pay a full band what they charged for parties, and it was difficult to find a rock band that actually had dynamics and kept the volume down. So, I had a niche. Classic rock songs,from fifties to early eighties. I'm retired from active playing, most of my audience is in the cemetery. frown


Mike T.

Last edited by MikeT156; 05/20/20 04:56 PM.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044958 05/20/20 05:35 PM
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I liked my Traynor K4 quite a bit in hindsight. Been on my EV powered speakers a good 5+ years, still a fan.


Steinway L, Yamaha Motif XS-8, NE3 73, Casio PX-5S, iPad, EV ZLX 12-P ZZ(x2), bunch of PA stuff.
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3044972 05/20/20 07:02 PM
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I've been playing since the late 70's, and for the most part played through the PA. The only keyboard amps I remember were the Peavey ones, and there weren't many of these around my neck of the woods. In the late 80's I bought a GK "keyboard amp", the 200MK like this:

https://reverb.com/item/601636-gallien-krueger-200mk-100-watt-keyboard-amplifier

It wasn't awful, but not great. But I essentially used it as a monitor; it was a nice small footprint that had lines out on the back.

In the 90's I bought the now infamous Roland KC-500 to play my Wurlie and Alesis synth through; it was used and I purchased without even trying it out. I figured, it's a Roland product, it must be good. Needless to say, I was appalled at how crappy it sounded when I took it into the rehearsal space. But I continued to use it as monitor amp.

My world completely change when I joined the forum! If I were to say the single biggest thing I learned about here was amplification! That and how universally loathed the Roland amps are...:)

Although I have and like my QSC K10's and SSv3 amp, I'm intrigued by the new Motion Sound stuff. I'd really like the ease and convenience of a single box getting stereo, and by all reports it's darn close to a PPA cabinet. And certainly in a rock band scenario would check all of my boxes.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
zxcvbnm098 #3044979 05/20/20 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by zxcvbnm098
I bought a GK "keyboard amp", the 200MK like this:

https://reverb.com/item/601636-gallien-krueger-200mk-100-watt-keyboard-amplifier

It wasn't awful, but not great. But I essentially used it as a monitor; it was a nice small footprint that had lines out on the back.

I had the same GK amp back then and felt the same way about it. I was able to play cocktail hours and wedding ceremonies with it but otherwise used it just as a monitor.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
zxcvbnm098 #3044980 05/20/20 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by zxcvbnm098
If I were to say the single biggest thing I learned about here was amplification!

Absolutely agree.


Acuna 73 | Yamaha CP4 | Mojo 61 | EV-ZLX12P | Hammond M3
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
MikeT156 #3045011 05/20/20 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeT156
My last setup was with my Yamaha ES8 workstation with sequencer songs that I played and sang along with, a one man band. A lot of folks on this forum never cared for players like me, but in a small market area and playing for small groups and parties, they were not going to pay a full band what they charged for parties, and it was difficult to find a rock band that actually had dynamics and kept the volume down. So, I had a niche. Classic rock songs,from fifties to early eighties. I'm retired from active playing, most of my audience is in the cemetery. frown


Mike T.

I do music from an older era than that, but that's pretty much my gig. I don't sing, but I add accordion and Native American Flute to solo piano and other instruments, sometimes with sequenced tracks on my XF.


Yamaha: Motif XF8/YS200/CVP-305/CLP-130/YPG-235/PSR-295/PSS-470
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Casio: CT-370
Kimball Valencia/Broadway/Conn 465/WCOC Reed Organ/Allen ADC-220/Accordions
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Al Quinn #3045021 05/20/20 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Al Quinn
Originally Posted by zxcvbnm098
I bought a GK "keyboard amp", the 200MK like this:

https://reverb.com/item/601636-gallien-krueger-200mk-100-watt-keyboard-amplifier

It wasn't awful, but not great. But I essentially used it as a monitor; it was a nice small footprint that had lines out on the back.

I had the same GK amp back then and felt the same way about it. I was able to play cocktail hours and wedding ceremonies with it but otherwise used it just as a monitor.

Dah! I still use the GK amp. I also have the slave but use them as separate amps for stereo. I must have a bigger tolerance for sub-par amplification. I like the sound of keys through 12" speakers.


AG N2 | ES 110 | REFACE CP | GK MK & MP amps
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Al Quinn #3045036 05/20/20 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Al Quinn
Originally Posted by zxcvbnm098
I bought a GK "keyboard amp", the 200MK like this:

https://reverb.com/item/601636-gallien-krueger-200mk-100-watt-keyboard-amplifier

It wasn't awful, but not great. But I essentially used it as a monitor; it was a nice small footprint that had lines out on the back.

I had the same GK amp back then and felt the same way about it. I was able to play cocktail hours and wedding ceremonies with it but otherwise used it just as a monitor.
Same here. Small and served as monitor. It had stereo effects, but not very good (reverb/chorus) . It was nice having the XLR line outs in the back but I made the mistake of not knowing the issues associated with phantom power.
Neat piece of history!

Last edited by JazzPiano88; 05/20/20 11:02 PM.

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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Mighty Motif Max #3045224 05/21/20 09:46 PM
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[/quote] Mighty Motif MAX

I do music from an older era than that, but that's pretty much my gig. I don't sing, but I add accordion and Native American Flute to solo piano and other instruments, sometimes with sequenced tracks on my XF.[/quote]

In addition to sequenced songs, I used a rack mount Digitech Vocalist Pro for adding harmonies to my lead vocals. I started using harmonizers when they first came out and my knowledge of how to use them increased as the technology improved. The early models sounded more like chip monks if you set the harmony part more than a 1/3 above your lead vocal. As the technology improved I was able to add three more harmony voices to my lead voice, and record the key and when the harmonizer should move to the next bar by anticipating the vocal change onto one of my sequencer tracks. I spent YEARS programing songs and vocals, as well as refining guitar/bass/drum parts in order to be as accurate as I could make them. I took a lot of time creating string parts that sounded realistic for classic rock songs as well as some of my original songs. Lots of fun. I certainly put a lot of time into it, and spent years building a song list that had a lot of variety.

My Yamaha ES8 16 track sequencer and the USB flash drives were my best resources. That Yamaha KB sounded great and NEVER failed to work on a job. I always carried spare USB thumb drives but never had even a hick up. Amazing.

I'm retired from active playing and have been for years. The area I played has a lot of college kids and they can have what they call "music".

Last edited by MikeT156; 05/21/20 09:49 PM.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3045257 05/22/20 12:31 AM
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I love the small PA sound, but have been using a Motion Sound 612 for the last year. The sound is awesome, even for AP (using a Nord Stage 3). Load in/setup/strike/load out soooo much better. One keyboard one cabinet! Who could have imagined that 30 years ago! Now all I need are gigs to go to again. Ahh well. All in good time!

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3045311 05/22/20 01:11 PM
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Powered PA speakers have one HUGE advantage over keyboards amps, expected sales. Keyboard amps have such a small market that I am surprised that anyone is making them anymore. This affects research, price and components. PA is a very competitive and high volume business. More competition means better quality, sound and price.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3045337 05/22/20 04:20 PM
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I got the Motion Sound KP408s over a year ago. I like it a great deal and my musician friends are very impressed with it's sound. However, my current gigging keyboards (CP73, Roland RD-64 with HX3 module) sound much better mono than the ones I previously used, so most gigs I'm happy with my Alto powered speaker with a 10". I mainly use(d) the 408s for solo piano/duo gigs. For that I like the quickness and ease of setup with less cabling- one 1/4" stereo to dual mono cable, two ac power cords and I'm done. The sound is just as good and it's a much neater appearance.

When I band gigged with a Nord E5d, however, I wasn't enamored of how it's Bright Grand sounded through the 408s. By far the best match for that was a friend's QSC K10.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3045506 05/23/20 06:54 PM
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Maybe the 8” versus 10/12” effect as other people seem to be satisfied with Motionsound 610/612?

Personally, I would like to achieve similar sound experience when playing AP as with headphones on.
Focus on the richness of the carefully designed sounds, more than on volume.
I think that should be possible with smaller speakers than 10/12”.

I will check out Bose S1 Pro soon.
They can also be operated by battery, eliminating power cables.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3045520 05/23/20 07:48 PM
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For me the answer is yes - i don’t like the sound out of keyboard amps I have tried. Confession - I have not tried them all.

It brings al question though - why hasn’t any keyboard amp mfg designed an amp that is comparable to the flat broad frequency response of the typical modern PPA? something about the expected form factor prohibits this? Its not like keyboard amps only sell cheap, they often cost more than a pair of PPAs. A nice sounding stereo kbd amp that created flat unbiased response across the spectrum would perhaps interest me.


The baiting I do is purely for entertainment value. Please feel free to ignore it.
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
MotiDave #3045525 05/23/20 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MotiDave
For me the answer is yes - i don’t like the sound out of keyboard amps I have tried. Confession - I have not tried them all.

It brings al question though - why hasn’t any keyboard amp mfg designed an amp that is comparable to the flat broad frequency response of the typical modern PPA? something about the expected form factor prohibits this? Its not like keyboard amps only sell cheap, they often cost more than a pair of PPAs. A nice sounding stereo kbd amp that created flat unbiased response across the spectrum would perhaps interest me.

As mentioned a few posts above, I think it's the relatively small market a manufacturer can expect. Now, slice that small market even thinner: how many people would pay a premium for a better sound from their keyboard amp? You're left with what's essentially a boutique market.

By comparison, the market for portable PA units is order-of-magnitudes larger. So, more can be spend on R&D, volume brings costs down, and so on. As a result, you get more for your money.


Life is too short to be playing bad music.

Keys: NP4, NS3C
Home: Bosie 200, Yam AG N3
Amps: FA 12ac, RCF TT08a, QSC K.2, EVOX J8, SSv3, Westone IEMs
Stuff: Stay stands, Key Largo, Vent II, X-Air 18
Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3045541 05/23/20 11:32 PM
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What semi-surprising is why one of the makers of a PPA speaker cabinet hasn't repurposed one of their models to make a keyboard amp? Essentially one of their existing models with a built out mixer section? Seems like that would be easy to do...

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
MotiDave #3045544 05/24/20 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by MotiDave
why hasn’t any keyboard amp mfg designed an amp that is comparable to the flat broad frequency response of the typical modern PPA? something about the expected form factor prohibits this? Its not like keyboard amps only sell cheap, they often cost more than a pair of PPAs. A nice sounding stereo kbd amp that created flat unbiased response across the spectrum would perhaps interest me.
I am much happier shlepping two 27 lb PPAs (my QSC K8s) than one heavy stereo "keyboard amp." I know that Motion Sound amps are between 40 and 50 lbs, less than the 54 lbs of my two K8s but still – the possibility of screwing up my back lifting a 27 lb speaker is much less, in my view – even if I have to do it twice!

The only thing I might miss from a PPA like my K is to have an input, and controls, on the front or top rather than in back. There have been quite a few times I've had to get in back to adjust something, or check the position of the switches, etc. On a dark & cramped stage that can be a real drag.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Reezekeys #3045591 05/24/20 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Reezekeys
Originally Posted by MotiDave
why hasn’t any keyboard amp mfg designed an amp that is comparable to the flat broad frequency response of the typical modern PPA? something about the expected form factor prohibits this? Its not like keyboard amps only sell cheap, they often cost more than a pair of PPAs. A nice sounding stereo kbd amp that created flat unbiased response across the spectrum would perhaps interest me.
I am much happier shlepping two 27 lb PPAs (my QSC K8s) than one heavy stereo "keyboard amp." I know that Motion Sound amps are between 40 and 50 lbs, less than the 54 lbs of my two K8s but still – the possibility of screwing up my back lifting a 27 lb speaker is much less, in my view – even if I have to do it twice!

This is honestly the main reason I haven't pulled the trigger on one of the new Motion Sounds. Due to back and shoulder issues, I've found that lifting 40j+ lbs is risky. It's why I sold my MS500 which was otherwise stellar. An amp like the Motion Sound requires you to hoist its weight pretty far off center from your spine. The 33 lb and slimmer SSD is a different story. It seems like a fine line but I've learned through trial and error it's real.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
zxcvbnm098 #3045593 05/24/20 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by zxcvbnm098
What semi-surprising is why one of the makers of a PPA speaker cabinet hasn't repurposed one of their models to make a keyboard amp? Essentially one of their existing models with a built out mixer section? Seems like that would be easy to do...
The closest thing I know of would be the Yamaha STAGEPAS 400BT/600BT. Built-in mixer, sound quality similar to my MSR-100 (so kind of like a DXR8/10 depending on which size you get).


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3045629 05/24/20 02:02 PM
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My KB300 is 81 Lbs. It sounds shitty but is very convenient from a setup perspective. 4 input channels each having their own 3 band EQ and each having an independent reverb control, all on the front of the cabinet. 150 watts is pretty loud and is a good monitor. It also has an effects loop and putting a 16 band EQ through the loop will provide better sound as it can tame the mids and raise the highs though hiss becomes more prevalent. It decreases setup time in this area 10x. For quick gigs or if we have minimal setup time or breakdown time I will still break it out. To speed up my setup time on my PPA I have velcroed my mixer to my PPA. Even doing this I cant match he setup time as I still have to connect power cords of the mixer and output jacks to input jacks of the PPA. The PPA doesnt have wheels while the KB300 does. I also put the PPA on a crate to get it off the ground.

Why cant a PPA add two more input channels, independent channel EQing and an effects loop and put the controls on the front? The keyboard amp has a better functional design but lacks the sound quality and the light weight.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3045663 05/24/20 05:54 PM
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Speaking of excellent features that aren't making to it to stereo keyboard amps or PPA speakers, I don't understand why BT mixing hasn't caught up with them. You wouldn't need the mixer to be mounted on top for easy access. After using BT for mixing of amp controls, it's hard to go back. And, with a BT mixer included, a speaker will include more controls, like 2 or 3 band eq per channel, sometimes reverb, etc. The convenience of mixing your amp from your phone is considerable, even if just for volume.

As much as I like my K10 and K8.2, I don't think I'd buy another amp that doesn't have BT mixing. The K8.2 has quite a few eq adjustments that can be made, but it's such a hassle without BT. And being able to stream music using BT to an amp is a big bonus, by many people that's used a lot.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3045672 05/24/20 06:48 PM
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This JBL Eon One Compact has BT mixing

https://jblpro.com/en/products/eon-one-compact

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Kurzfan #3045694 05/24/20 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Kurzfan
This JBL Eon One Compact has BT mixing
https://jblpro.com/en/products/eon-one-compact
Oh damn. Now I've got GAS.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Randelph #3045703 05/25/20 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Randelph
Speaking of excellent features that aren't making to it to stereo keyboard amps or PPA speakers, I don't understand why BT mixing hasn't caught up with them. You wouldn't need the mixer to be mounted on top for easy access. After using BT for mixing of amp controls, it's hard to go back. And, with a BT mixer included, a speaker will include more controls, like 2 or 3 band eq per channel, sometimes reverb, etc. The convenience of mixing your amp from your phone is considerable, even if just for volume.

As much as I like my K10 and K8.2, I don't think I'd buy another amp that doesn't have BT mixing. The K8.2 has quite a few eq adjustments that can be made, but it's such a hassle without BT. And being able to stream music using BT to an amp is a big bonus, by many people that's used a lot.

The Yamaha above has Bluetooth streaming, but not mixing at this point.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3045820 05/25/20 08:05 PM
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Only keys amp I liked was back in the 90s. Heavy but sounded warm and could get loud. Yamaha KS531.

Had the misfortune of using Peavey KB100 and 300, and the dreaded Roland garbage, so used to carry a couple of Yamaha Club series speakers and a Peavey CS1200 hah. Again, not light but passable. The Peaveys worked and worked with an all manner of noise put thru them - can't fault 'em for that. And, those CS amps are all probably still working now.

A resident gig I did for a couple of months had a more modern Peavey maybe 8yrs ago? Possibly a KB5(?) which sounded ok until it gave in with not much stress.

Since then for club/pub/restaruant gigs - gimme my JH Audio IEMs. Used with pleasure RCF TTs, Yammy DSRs, EVP115s in stereo or properly powered passive stuff (D&B etc.) for bigger gigs.

I did play second keys for the Supremes show early this year in Dubai with a single SRM450 as a monitor :-( but the gig was so much fun, they made noise enough to hear, but not pleasant.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Adam Burgess #3045832 05/25/20 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Adam Burgess
Only keys amp I liked was back in the 90s. Heavy but sounded warm and could get loud. Yamaha KS531.

Had the misfortune of using Peavey KB100 and 300, and the dreaded Roland garbage, so used to carry a couple of Yamaha Club series speakers and a Peavey CS1200 hah. Again, not light but passable. The Peaveys worked and worked with an all manner of noise put thru them - can't fault 'em for that. And, those CS amps are all probably still working now.

A resident gig I did for a couple of months had a more modern Peavey maybe 8yrs ago? Possibly a KB5(?) which sounded ok until it gave in with not much stress.

Since then for club/pub/restaruant gigs - gimme my JH Audio IEMs. Used with pleasure RCF TTs, Yammy DSRs, EVP115s in stereo or properly powered passive stuff (D&B etc.) for bigger gigs.

I did play second keys for the Supremes show early this year in Dubai with a single SRM450 as a monitor :-( but the gig was so much fun, they made noise enough to hear, but not pleasant.

Wow, I don't even remember that Yamaha KS531? Looks like it would have been decent for the day.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
zxcvbnm098 #3045863 05/26/20 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by zxcvbnm098
Wow, I don't even remember that Yamaha KS531? Looks like it would have been decent for the day.

It was a great big beast. Quite rare (in the UK) for sure.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3045868 05/26/20 05:49 AM
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I bought a Peavey KB5 many years ago when I first started playing keys in my band. It weighs a ton and has a built-in extending handle and wheels. It's a total dud. The dullest, deadest sound of any amp ever made. It's still in the back of my gear closet. I tried to sell it and no takers. I can't even give it away.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Groove On #3045909 05/26/20 02:28 PM
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Am I remembering wrong or didn't some of those Peavey amps have a non-defeatable limiter that squashed your sound when you had to turn up past a certain point?

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Reezekeys #3045920 05/26/20 03:33 PM
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I think the bigger issue, these days, is that covid has made PA speakers obsolete.

Originally Posted by Reezekeys
My two-PA-speaker rig (+laptop & case), at a tiny restaurant I played a while back. No venue I've played has ever had a problem with this.
I've thought about using those little stools too. I wish they were set up so you could permanently attach them and just fold up the legs, I wasn't able to find one that worked that way.

Originally Posted by Delaware Dave
I put mine on a black milk crate.
That's another good solution, especially if you use the milk crate to carry stuff, too... so you're not schlepping anything extra AND don't have to worry about where to toss the empty milk crates during the gig. ;-)

Originally Posted by Kurzfan
I was considering 2x RCF TT08 or MS KP408 until I read about Bose S1 Pro.
I haven't heard one, but I would not expect the Bose to give you nearly the volume and bass response of the others.

Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
So it's not a straight stereo field then, interesting.
With two speakers behind and on either side of the keyboard player, almost no listener experiences a straight stereo field anyway.

Originally Posted by MotiDave
why hasn’t any keyboard amp mfg designed an amp that is comparable to the flat broad frequency response of the typical modern PPA?
I tried the Motion Sound KP-408S. I think it's sound quality was on a par with the EV ZXa1. The one-box solution (compared to a pair of EVs plus a mixer) is a nice convenience (if not necessarily a money saver), but even its reasonable 40 lbs is still a bit of a bear to move for me.

Originally Posted by Kurzfan
This JBL Eon One Compact has BT mixing
I think the EV ELX200-12P does as well.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Reezekeys #3045935 05/26/20 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by El Lobo
I bought a Peavey KB5 many years ago when I first started playing keys in my band. It weighs a ton and has a built-in extending handle and wheels. It's a total dud. The dullest, deadest sound of any amp ever made. It's still in the back of my gear closet. I tried to sell it and no takers. I can't even give it away.
I tried one, it sounded awful and actually the KB300 I had in comparison actually sounded 100% better.

Originally Posted by Reezekeys
Am I remembering wrong or didn't some of those Peavey amps have a non-defeatable limiter that squashed your sound when you had to turn up past a certain point?
Yeah, they did have the built in limiter but mine actually got pretty loud before the limiter kicked in.


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Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
AnotherScott #3045942 05/26/20 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Originally Posted by Kurzfan
This JBL Eon One Compact has BT mixing
I think the EV ELX200-12P does as well.
It looks like the JBL EON610 does too.

Re: Have PA Speakers made Keyboard Amplifiers obsolete?
Reezekeys #3045971 05/26/20 07:50 PM
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You are remembering correctly. I still have an old Peavey with a spring reverb unit built in. I have it set up in a rehearsal space where I never have to move it but a friend often borrows it for his uke! It sounds fine and I really appreciate the 4 band parametric that’s really makes it solid in any room. The only time it fails is when the band is playing really loud and I’m wondering why I can’t cut through and I look over and see that little yellow light flashing with everything I play.

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