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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.

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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
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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.


Yamaha: Motif XF8/YS200/CVP-305/CLP-130/YPG-235/PSR-295/PSS-470
Korg: Krome 61
Kurzweil: PC3
Roland: JV-1000
Casio: CT-370
Kimball Valencia/Broadway/Conn 465/WCOC Reed Organ/Allen ADC-220/Accordions
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.

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