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#1318864 - 11/19/06 03:15 PM powered speakers versus keyboard amp
bbruno Offline
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Registered: 11/11/06
Posts: 6
I know there are a lot of related forums, but it is hard to filter out the answer to my question.

I just ordered a Roland RD700sx stage piano and am now looking for an inexpensive speaker/amp solution, mostly for (classical, pop, ...) home use, but potentially also for playing in amateur band.

Which of the following would you prefer/recommend ?

1. keyboard amp (Behringer K3000FX, Roland KC-350, ...)
2. powered speaker (Mackie SRM320, JBL Eon, ...)
3. studio speaker (Alesis M1 620, ...)
4. Multi-media speakers (Behringer MS40, ...)

Any of these completely out of the question ?
Am I missing anything ?

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#1318865 - 11/19/06 03:17 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
soundscape Offline
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Studio speakers should have the most 'accurate' sound.

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#1318866 - 11/19/06 03:23 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
GregC Online   content
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Loc: Dublin, California
so your band will have a lead guitarist ?
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#1318867 - 11/19/06 03:35 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
ITGITC? Online   happy
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Quote:
Originally posted by bbruno:


... looking for an inexpensive speaker/amp solution, mostly for (classical, pop, ...) home use, but potentially also for playing in amateur band.

You need a pair for each application:

Buy a great-sounding pair of studio monitors.

I have mine set up on stands, facing me, one one the left end of my keyboard, another on the right end. I'm really happy with this setup, and have been for a long time.

Buy a great-sounding pair of performance speakers.

Factors you should consider include size, weight, and price. However, in my opinion, great sound is still the top priority.

Unfortunately, a single pair of speakers cannot provide the best solution for both studio monitoring and performance.

Good luck. \:\)

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#1318868 - 11/19/06 03:40 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
soundscape Offline
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Registered: 03/17/06
Posts: 2313
Quote:
Originally posted by Is There Gas in the Car?:
Unfortunately, a single pair of speakers cannot provide the best solution for both studio monitoring and performance.
Sure they can (at least within the limits of using a single stereo pair for performance, which is not ideal)... big studio monitors pump out the SPL's and provide wide coverage as well as high sound quality. Whether or not they are practical (bank balance, transportable) is another matter. \:\)

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#1318869 - 11/19/06 03:49 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
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Quote:
Originally posted by soundscape:
Sure they can...
:)

Hi soundscape.

No they can't.

Give me an example of a great-sounding pair of studio monitors that one could use to critically listen in a small studio - a bedroom studio, for instance - that wouldn't be destroyed by high SPLs and the rigors of the road (with a band that includes an egomaniac, hearing-impaired lead guitarist and a drummer who thinks he's Buddy Rich). ;\)

Of course, I'm certainly not saying that I'm right and you're wrong.

Or am I? ;\) :p

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#1318870 - 11/19/06 03:54 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
bbruno Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/06
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally posted by GregC:
so your band will have a lead guitarist ?
Presumably yes \:\) .

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#1318871 - 11/19/06 04:01 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
bbruno Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/06
Posts: 6
So all I need is 2 XLR cables to go from the RD700sx XLR outputs to the (say) Alesis M1 620 XLR inputs ?

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#1318872 - 11/19/06 04:12 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
soundscape Offline
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Registered: 03/17/06
Posts: 2313
Quote:
Originally posted by Is There Gas in the Car?:
Give me an example of a great-sounding pair of studio monitors that one could use to critically listen in a small studio - a bedroom studio, for instance - that wouldn't be destroyed by high SPLs and the rigors of the road (with a band that includes an egomaniac, hearing-impaired lead guitarist and a drummer who thinks he's Buddy Rich). ;\)
Umm... maybe it's really not at all practical. But you could build them yourself...

How about:


1x JBL 2226H 15" woofer

1x JBL 2012H 10" midrange
1x JBL 2404H

(Why are the latter two discontinued? \:\( Anyway... there are 'equivalent' parts.)

(Note: this is something that an enthusiast could try... not a turnkey solution for someone who just wants to easily solve their problem. Plus it's just something I cobbled together fast... e.g., use a professional 6.5" midrange instead for smaller size/near field listening etc.)

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#1318873 - 11/19/06 04:27 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
burningbusch Offline
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Registered: 10/22/00
Posts: 6157
Loc: Ghost Planet
I've been experimenting with the idea of using near fields as well as more traditional speakers in live performance. Note: my need is for modest SPL. This is for playing in smaller venues or where there is a real need to keep the volume down.

Here's what I've tried recently:
Motion Sound KPS-100
Roland SA-300
KRK V4
JBL SRX712M (pair)
JBL SRX715 (pair)

Here are some random things I've concluded:

Stereo is pretty much a requirement. I'll take a mediocre stereo setup to a single great sounding speaker any day.

The KRK V4 is a tiny speaker and two of them just about fit in a 19" rack when placed on their sides (which would be cool).

The KRKs barely put out enough volume for my needs. They have a limiter and I was pretty consistently hitting it. I normally roll off bass alot and this is critical when running small nearfields without a sub. Certainly larger nearfields would do a better job, but then their weight and size is not very much of an advantage.

When the two nearfields are placed close together they get to sound boxy, much like what you get from stereo keyboard amps like the Motion Sound.

The Motion Sound doesn't have great high-end or low-end but it does a really good job with certain sounds. It has a character to it which I don't get with the more "accurate" speakers. It projects well on stage and the other guys in the band prefer it.

Accurate can sound sterile. If you run full program music through a guitar amp, it sounds like crap. Put a guitar through it and it sounds just right. Keyboard players have a real challenge in this area due to the vast range of sounds we're trying to cover. Certain sounds, like Rhodes, B3 and Clav, just sound better to me through cones then through a full range speaker.

The JBL SRX are terrific for most sounds but are very expensive and require tons of power (800 watts MINIMUM per speaker).

I wish someone like EAW, JBL, etc. would design a compact stereo keyboard amp using high quality components.

Bottomline for me, I don't know how you're going to pull off both functions with one set of speakers.

Busch.

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#1318874 - 11/19/06 04:28 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
ProfD Online   content
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Registered: 05/11/06
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soundscape, you took the cat from Guitar Center to an authorized JBL parts distributor and Home Depot. ;\)

Gas is right in that studio and stage require different boxes.

Are your recording, mixing and mastering at home?

If not and you can only affford one set of speakers, look at a pair of 12" powered PA speakers.

It is not the best studio solution but they do make good subs if/when you do buy studio monitors.

Otherwise, nobody says you have to turn them up that loud when playing at home. \:\)
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#1318875 - 11/19/06 04:39 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
burningbusch Offline
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Registered: 10/22/00
Posts: 6157
Loc: Ghost Planet
I do have a pair of JBL 4412s over in our rehearsal space. I run keyboards and vocals through these. They would function for ME completely adequate as both studio and live speakers. They are a three way with 12" woofers, midrange and tweeter. They weigh 50 lbs each, are encased in a very nice wood veneer, and have a soft front cover that would be easy to perforate--not really designed for the road. They are not powered and are not cheap.

Busch.

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#1318876 - 11/19/06 04:56 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
soundscape Offline
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Registered: 03/17/06
Posts: 2313
Quote:
Originally posted by ProfD:
soundscape, you took the cat from Guitar Center to an authorized JBL parts distributor and Home Depot. ;\)
LOL... yep. ;\) Sorry... I thought it was pretty cool though.

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#1318877 - 11/19/06 04:59 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
ITGITC? Online   happy
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soundscape, I see your point. But I still enjoy debating the issue. \:\)

I figured that you were going to give examples from Westlake Audio\'s website , or Meyer Sound Products . Maybe there are speakers out there that can do double-duty - and that you can buy off-the-shelf, preassembled. But I don't know of any that would be superb at both critical monitoring as well as live sound applications.

I know that the poster is considering something inexpensive. And you can get some good-sounding, inexpensive small (bedroom) studio montiors. But don't try to use them in performance where high SPLs are needed.

Of course, then I thought that you might suggest the Bose PAS . Maybe those can sound OK as bedroom-studio monitors, plus produce decent SPLs without destroying themselves. However, I'm still unconvinced I'd buy a pair. Not at the price they're asking for them. Plus, as far as I'm concerned, you still need two for stereo - plus two subs.

After living with my new QSC amp, I just can't see giving consideration to a 'keyboard amp'. And really, I'm not trying to sound like a snob here. But once you've heard the dynamics that 600 Watts (8 ohms) of power per channel can offer, going back to anything less is truly a let down.

So, to answer the poster's question, I'm thinking that for studio monitors, the ADAMs would be my first stop for an audition. For a pair of performance speakers, the EAW and Meyer Sound products are going to be hard to beat.

Down the list, I'd consider the JBL EON and the Mackie SRM450... but I'm thinking the wooden Mackie SA1521z is going to sound better than a plastic box.

As far as keyboard amps, I've just never heard one that I'd spend my hard-earned money on. None of them are very transparent - they all impart quite a bit of coloration to the sound, and are pretty useless if you're going for a realistic piano sound. Plus, for the money you can get much more power and a much cleaner sound by matching a decent pair of speakers to a robust power amp and a little Mackie 1202 mixer.

But that's just my opinion. OK?

Disclaimer: I haven't heard all the amps/speakers/and keyboard amps on the market. Therefore I could be mistaken. I reserve the right to change my mind. \:\)

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#1318878 - 11/19/06 05:02 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
soundscape Offline
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Registered: 03/17/06
Posts: 2313
Quote:
Originally posted by burningbusch:
Accurate can sound sterile. If you run full program music through a guitar amp, it sounds like crap. Put a guitar through it and it sounds just right. Keyboard players have a real challenge in this area due to the vast range of sounds we're trying to cover. Certain sounds, like Rhodes, B3 and Clav, just sound better to me through cones then through a full range speaker.
Well there are two issues here: one is the idea of the speaker as an 'extension' of the instrument, colouring the sound in ways that you may or may not consider integral to its sound (as in guitar amp, etc.), the other is using speakers for 'monitoring' purposes and general use. Accuracy is generally important for monitoring; many sound reinforcement speakers throw away accuracy, and not in the 'musical instrument' way but in ways that really don't sound good, trading off quality for higher SPL's--it's very expensive to do both well. There is nothing wrong with 'colouring' the sound to taste even when it's supposed to be more 'accurate,' but that's I really think the job of playing around with equalization or 'sound enhancers' such as BBE, Aphex, etc. In other words, 'off' buttons for the sound colouration.

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#1318879 - 11/19/06 08:26 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
Jazz+ Offline
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Registered: 05/15/04
Posts: 4650
Hey Busch,

What are your impressions of the Roland SA-300 ?
_________________________
Roland FP-4 digital piano, 2 EV SXa-360 powered speakers (36 lbs each). WS-550 stand. Mason & Hamlin acoustic piano.

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#1318880 - 11/20/06 12:24 AM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
midinut Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 08/18/03
Posts: 1097
Loc: North Carolina
I have to agree with Tom (and the sheep)...

I use studio monitors (M-Audio Studiophile BX8s but heh!) at the house and a borrowed pair of Mackie SRM450s out on gigs. Even if Mike Garson does use the BX8s on stage I figure they are all using IEMs as well. I can't even imagine having enough gain with the monitors to be able to compete in a band with 4 other musicians onstage (and TWO guitars). With the Mackie's I can rip their heads off if they get too far out of line ... and they make the keyboards sound great. As clean as the studios? No ... but we're on stage playing for a bunch of drunks ... like THEY can tell the difference! Just my two cents worth!
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#1318881 - 11/20/06 01:15 AM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
Hytanon Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 60
Loc: Metro Detroit
I would go with the Mackie SRM-450s for a general use speakers. You can use them at home, although they might be a bit over kill, and they're great to use as a monitor wedge, or even mains.

the 450's are leaps and bounds better than the 350's, and I wouldn't touch the Eon's with a 10 foot pole.

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#1318882 - 11/20/06 01:42 AM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
jimmymio Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 09/05/02
Posts: 754
Loc: petaluma, ca
I've used a Mackie 450 for several years and just purchased a pair of RCF ART 325s whcih cost a little more but sound so much better. IMHO the RCF series is the king of the hill in the Mackie/Eon category.
JP

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#1318883 - 11/20/06 02:10 AM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
Jazz+ Offline
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Registered: 05/15/04
Posts: 4650
Why get those Chinese 52 pound Mackie SRM450s when you can get 36 pound EV SXa360 speakers that sound smoother? I sold my Mackies after I AB-ed them with the EV Sxa360s.
_________________________
Roland FP-4 digital piano, 2 EV SXa-360 powered speakers (36 lbs each). WS-550 stand. Mason & Hamlin acoustic piano.

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#1318884 - 11/20/06 02:17 AM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
Jazz+ Offline
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Registered: 05/15/04
Posts: 4650
POWERED SPEAKERS:

EV SXa360
http://www.electrovoice.com
12 " LF driver woofer
2" HF driver
60hz-18khz at -10db
350 watt RMS LF power amplifier
150 watt RMS HF power amplifier

126 spl
129 dB maximum output capability
23.1" x 16.9" x 12.3"
36 lbs.
$897

JBL EON15 G2
http://www.jblpro.com/eong2/eon15g2/eon_specs.html
15" LF driver
2" HF driver
39 Hz - 18 kHz (-10 dB)
300 watts LF power amp
100 watts HF power amp

129 dB max output
27 in x 17 in x 17.5 in.
46 lbs.
$600

Yorkville NX550P
http://www.yorkville.com/products_main.asp?cat=22&id=257&type=29&show=
2-Way Bi-Amplified Active
450-watt LF amplifier
100-watt HF amplifier

12 B&C woofer, 1 Compression driver
45Hz to 18kHz frequency response
124dB peak SPL output
13.25 x 16.5 x 27.25 x 8
Treble/Bass EQ
47 lbs.
$699

Mackie SRM450
http://www.mackie.com/products/srm450/index.html
12" woofer two-way powered system
1.75" HF driver
45hz-20khz at -10 db
300 watt LF power amplifier
100 watt HF power amplifier

127 dB maximum output capability
26 x 15.4" x 14.8"
"Contour" (Loudness switch), "Low Cut" switch
51 lbs
$650

FBTMaxX 4A
http://www.fbt.it//sito/Inglese/pae/speaker/FBTMaxX/FBTMaxX-4A/index.asp
12" B&C woofer, two-way powered system
1" B&C high frequency driver
50hz-20khz at -6db
300 watt LF power amplifier
100 watt HF power amplifier

123 dB maximum output capability
25.3" x 16.25" x 13.2"
Treble/Mid/Bass EQ
35.2 lbs
$600


Yamaha MSR 400
http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/CDA/Cont...ID%253D,00.html
12 " woofer, two-way powered system
1.75" HF driver
50hz-20khz
225W/ 4Ω LF power amplifier
75W/16Ω HF power amplifier

121 dB maximum output capability
16" x 25-3/4" x 13-7/8")
2 band EQ
51 lbs.

$ 549

RCF ART 322 A
http://www.rcf.it/
12 inch woofer
2 inch HF driver
400 watt RMS
128 dB max SPL
Weight: 50.72 lbs
$929
_________________________
Roland FP-4 digital piano, 2 EV SXa-360 powered speakers (36 lbs each). WS-550 stand. Mason & Hamlin acoustic piano.

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#1318885 - 11/20/06 06:20 AM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
ITGITC? Online   happy
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Registered: 12/18/02
Posts: 16543
Loc: Raleigh, NC, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by jimmymio:
I've used a Mackie 450 for several years and just purchased a pair of RCF ART 325s whcih cost a little more but sound so much better. IMHO the RCF series is the king of the hill in the Mackie/Eon category.
JP
Sweetwater just sent me a flyer (they want my money - imagine that).

In it was a big article (ad) for the RCM speakers. They're more expensive than either the Mackies or the JBLs, but I'd like to hear them.

Still - they're plastic speakers.

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#1318886 - 11/20/06 11:16 AM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
jimmymio Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 09/05/02
Posts: 754
Loc: petaluma, ca
Quote:
Originally posted by Is There Gas in the Car?:
QB] [/qb]
Sweetwater just sent me a flyer (they want my money - imagine that).

In it was a big article (ad) for the RCM speakers. They're more expensive than either the Mackies or the JBLs, but I'd like to hear them.

Still - they're plastic speakers. [/QB][/QUOTE]

Yeah. Its hard to get around plastic if you are looking for the lightweight option. I use the RCFs on poles as PA mains and I wouldn't want to do this with 100 lb. 13-ply Baltic Birch cabs.
Bottom line is they sound great even though they cost a bit more than the competition.
JP

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#1318887 - 11/20/06 11:22 AM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
ITGITC? Online   happy
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Quote:
Originally posted by jimmymio:
I use the RCFs on poles as PA mains and I wouldn't want to do this with 100 lb. 13-ply Baltic Birch cabs.
Bottom line is they sound great even though they cost a bit more than the competition.
JP
Yep. I agree. It's a trade-off between weight and better-sounding speakers.

Everything's a compromise. :rolleyes:

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#1318888 - 11/20/06 11:34 AM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
soundscape Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/17/06
Posts: 2313
Quote:
Originally posted by Is There Gas in the Car?:
In it was a big article (ad) for the RCM speakers. They're more expensive than either the Mackies or the JBLs, but I'd like to hear them.
RCF have a very good reputation for quality drivers. (Then again, so does JBL, and that doesn't stop them from making junkheaps.)

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#1318889 - 11/20/06 12:11 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
Legatoboy Offline
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Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 2616
Loc: Huntington Sta., New York (LI)
BBRUNO,

My advice is to go with the EV sx360's over the Mackie SRM450's if it comes down to those 2. I find the EV's are more natural sounding! At least for piano!

The Mackie SRM 450's weren't very good for me
for organ(CX-3 new) either if that's important to you. I had 1 that I paired with a MS pro-T3 and it colored the low end quit a bit and it seemed the sim. sweep got weird on the low rotor, even taking into account the mono channel out from the Pro-3 low end. Plenty of raw power though w/450's, I think they can be good for more synth oriented material though I would say.
the Ev's are a nice sounding speaker for keys I think.
lb
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#1318890 - 11/20/06 12:12 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
MikeT156 Offline
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Registered: 06/27/04
Posts: 7650
Loc: Central PA, USA
For those of us that grew up "in the old days" when all speaker cabinets were made from plywood, or in some cases....hardwood, plastic speaker cabinets are pretty hard to swallow for full range cabinets. I suppose you could get by with plastic speaker cabinets for vocals only, or soft full range applications.

I still carry around wooden cabinets for live use. Mfg.'s are making Baltic Birch cabinets with internal reinforcement for sturdiness, while making the total weight of the cabinets lighter, and that works for me. "Have handtruck, will travel". ;\)

Mike T.
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#1318891 - 11/21/06 12:43 AM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
jimmymio Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 09/05/02
Posts: 754
Loc: petaluma, ca
Quote:
Originally posted by MikeT156:

"Have handtruck, will travel". ;\)

Love that handtruck. The one part of my rig that hasn't changed in decades.
JP

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#1318892 - 11/21/06 08:45 AM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
burningbusch Offline
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Registered: 10/22/00
Posts: 6157
Loc: Ghost Planet
Quote:
Originally posted by Jazz+:
Hey Busch,

What are your impressions of the Roland SA-300 ?
I've got to do more of a direct compare against the Motion Sound some time. The SA300 isn't bad sounding, but it doesn't really knock my socks off either. The definitely have more bass than the MS.

I would like to try out the EVs but I can't find a dealer around the Seattle area with them in stock.

Busch.

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#1318893 - 11/21/06 12:33 PM Re: powered speakers versus keyboard amp
DafDuc Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 11/20/03
Posts: 1792
Loc: Da Thumb
I use a Peavey powered speaker. 3 inputs. great, clean uncolored sound. IIRC, I paid under 3 bills. 12" though, not 15".

For larger gigs I have a pair of Yam BR 12" PA speakers, a Behri UB12 mixer, and an old Crest power amp.
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