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Another stupid question: Studio monitors in live settings?


Aidan

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So here I am in my little hideaway, playing the GX through the studio monitors and it sounds as good as ever.

 

Then I remember how much poorer the thing sounds through my EON10s when out on the road and I pose myself this question: We're always banging on about our search for powered PA speakers which sound as subtle as studio monitors - are there cogent reasons why you shouldn't use studio speakers in a live situation?

 

I'm not talking a band environment here, I hasten to add. Just solo piano in small rooms. OK, so studio monitors are of course more delicate than PA speakers but that aside (which could probably be circumvented by good cases) is there a case for trying this idea?

 

The only other downside which immediately springs to mind is I guess you would need to put the piano output through a mixer first.

 

Anyway, enough - I await the brickbats of common sense!

Studio: Yamaha P515 | Yamaha Tyros 5 | Yamaha HX1 | Moog Sub 37

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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Nearfield monitors are exactly that - they're not meant to throw sound to an audience. They should sound good to you in your studio, but in the average live environment the sound (especially the top end) typically won't carry/disperse as well as a speaker designed for live use.

 

Studio monitors may not stand up to the beating (sonic or physical) that PA cabinets will, either.

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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dB nails it.

 

Even "solo piano in a small room" would have to be further defined. If it is the equivalent of folks sitting around in your studio listening to you play, nearfield monitors would be would be fine.

 

Otherwise, it takes a more powerful speaker to project over the buzz of conversation, clinking of glasses, shuffling of feet and TVs in the background.

 

A pair of 10" or more PA speakers would have sufficient power and travel well. They may not sound as great as nearfield monitors.

 

That is the compromise unless one is willing to spend more money i.e. Bose system or equivalent. ;):cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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As DB suggests, the biggest offender is the higher frequencies. That's why PA speakers use horns. They focus the sound energy into a focused area to get longer throw - but of course with some consequences to the sound quality.

 

Also, studio monitors just aren't made to be efficient and operate at high volumes. Remember, sound decays by 6dB every time you double the distance from the speaker. So what sounds like a good volume at 1 meter is going to be 18dB quieter at 8 meters (that's 18 decibels, not 18 Dave Bryce's). So in order for PA speakers to put out that kind of volume, they have to both be more efficient, and have higher cone excursions to move enough air. Again, sacrifices have to be made.

 

An alternative is to have more high quality speakers located throughout the listening area so they can be run at low volume while still covering everybody. In such a scenario, waveguides can produce better sound than horns (though still not as good as a dome or ribbon) IMO.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Would Bose L1 help? Last summer I played few gigs where these were used as PA and was really impressed. They are performing really good in smaller spaces, up to 500 people.

 

Cheers,

Ed

 

I've played through these several times when sitting in at my Friend's church. On their face, they do seem pretty impressive in terms of the sound you get for their size. And they get good coverage - my friend's church meets in half of a gymnasium and they had the whole band playing through a pair of these. They are expensive.

 

As for the sound, while impressive for what they are, certainly they don't measure up to studio monitors. My impression is that the bass is kind of boomy instead of tight and deep. They are lacking in the high end. As I recall, organs sounded decent through them. Pianos a little boomy and mid-rangey - not very articulate. Strings were decent - though again missing that sizzle. Some of this could be their particular system setup, so take my review for what it's worth. I will say though that they do NOT suffer from that harshness or throatiness you get from a typical PA horn. The mids are much more smooth.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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studio monitors don't push enough air, and they generally have a small sweet spot. What were are calling studio monitors, anyway. Little bookshelf-thingies that you buy at Guitar Center. The big sofit-mounted speakers from large studios aren't portable.

 

You'll fry them.

 

 

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Heck, I once cooked the tweeters on my Alesis Monitor Ones the first time I played with a drummer in my house/home studio. I had gotten into the habit of using them instead of the keyboard amp I had when the guitar player came over, and that had worked fine (I think I got away with it and forgot). When we added the drummer, it got lots louder.

 

It's too bad live sound just ain't as easy to get to sound as good. Too many variables out of our control I guess.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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It's too bad that we can't have that studio sound in a live environment. Everything in my studio sounds great through my near fields.

 

You can but ya gotta pay big $$$. You have to jump up to "Pro Audio"---meaning you really get what you pay for.

 

http://www.l-acoustics.com/products-108p-42.html

My friend popped for a pair of these about a year and half ago. He has Kurzweil something, an older model. Sitting in the audience, it was probably the best I've ever heard a DP sound live in a smaller, intimate club type setting.

 

http://www.eaw.com/products/NT26.html

Heavier and really expensive but what a sound! If I was rich, I'd say gimme four of these.

 

http://www.sweetwaveaudio.com/sales/meyersound/upj-1p.php

Around 3K per box. Typical great Meyer quality although if spending that kind of dough I would look at the L Acoustics 108p, lighter and less expensive.

 

http://www.rcf.it/en_US/web/rcf/products/touring-and-theatre/tt22-a

http://www.rcf.it/en_US/web/rcf/products/touring-and-theatre/tt08-a

These get rave reviews on the Pro Audio forums. More affordable than the L Acoustics, Meyer and EAW but very high quality. Talked to the rep at NAMM--they are very committed to competing with the big 3 but at a lower price point.

 

http://www.bagend.com/

These are small but built very solid--they also felt surprisingly heavy for their size. List @ $1700 per box. I used to own Bagends in the 80s and 90s, they were an older design and passive but sounded great. I was talking to Mr. Bagend (Jim W.) at NAMM about these. He left the pair he had with a local dealer friend. I think I'll be able to borrow for a few days to check out.

 

http://electrovoice.com/product.php?id=1004

Before I bought the QSC K8s, I would definitely put an ear on these little guys. Brand new at NAMM. I was talking to the EV rep, he told me they had a blind pre-NAMM shootout in one of the ballrooms with the ZXA1, QSC K8, the comparable Mackie and JBL. They played source music, some Steely dan, some Classical and some Jazz. Out of 75 people, something like 95% picked the EV. Of course this is the EV rep himself putting on his best sales face....also I never trust music being played through speakers has a benchmark, but in any case these will be out in a few weeks. They are ridiculously small and light, you could easily carry a pair with both arms. If they sound has good has advertised, they would be perfect for solo piano/vocal in some rich guy's living room. Did I mention the price ? Less than the QSC K8s, $499 street I believe he said.

 

 

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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It's too bad that we can't have that studio sound in a live environment. Everything in my studio sounds great through my near fields. I always cringe a little when hearing the same boards through my live amp.

 

aren't the in-ear monitors meant to be replacement for studio monitors in live situation? You still hear as good as in studio

and the rest or the crowd, well that's another story....

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Yeah, efficiency. Studio monitors tend to have efficiency ratings in the mid 80's (dB SPL at 1W at 1M). Live speakers tend to have ratings near 100.

 

That's 15 to 18 dB difference, which is equivalent to well over 10 times as many watts! (10 dB is 10 times the watts. 3dB is twice the watts. So, 16 dB would be 14 times the watts.)

 

Then consider power handling capacity. Smallish live speakers like floor monitors typically handle 250W continuous and up to 4 times that for peaks. Studio monitors tend to be in the 100W range. Admittedly that's not as big a difference as the efficiency -- that's just over a 3dB difference. But, people are so obsessed with wattage, I thought I'd include it.

 

Combine the two factors (efficiency and capacity) and you get about 18 to 21 dB. That's 4 times as loud -- a LOT louder. It's equivalent to 100 times as many watts!

 

And that's without taking into account the throw pattern (wide to flood the local area like floor monitors, or narrow to penetrate into the distance like FOH mains).

 

Which is why people who don't know the math but do have experience say "You'll burn them out." Experience trumps theory, but there's the theory in case you wondered. ;-)

 

There's a good reason live speakers don't sound as good as studio monitors. They trade accuracy for efficiency. There's a good reason studio monitors aren't very loud; they make the opposite tradeoff. It's real hard to do both, but if you've been listening to live gear for the last 30 years, you have to admit they've come an amazing distance in providing good sound at high volumes.

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It's too bad live sound just ain't as easy to get to sound as good. Too many variables out of our control I guess.

Musos are way more critical of their live sound, performance, gear, etc., than the listening audience.

 

I'm reminded of this whenever attend a performance, point out technical issues to my company and get the look or explanation, "I don't hear or see what you're talking about, it sounds great to me".

 

A few months ago, I was at a show and the kick drum and KBs were hardly in the PA. While I'm 2 seconds from going to the sound guy a few rows behind me, folks are dancing like crazy. Obviously, they heard enough to be satisfied.

 

When the guy finally turned up the kick drum and KBs, I get the, "oh, I see what you mean, it sounds a lot better now". :rolleyes::cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Dave, thanks for that very informative run-down. I'd seen the new EVs mentioned before (perhaps by yourself) and they do look quite interesting - seem to have that compactness while still being able to run angled as floor monitors. That's the first reference to a potential price I've come across, and now I'm even more interested.

Studio: Yamaha P515 | Yamaha Tyros 5 | Yamaha HX1 | Moog Sub 37

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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http://www.bagend.com/

These are small but built very solid--they also felt surprisingly heavy for their size. List @ $1700 per box. I used to own Bagends in the 80s and 90s, they were an older design and passive but sounded great. I was talking to Mr. Bagend (Jim W.) at NAMM about these. He left the pair he had with a local dealer friend. I think I'll be able to borrow for a few days to check out.

 

 

On that link, the specific cabinet didn't pop up...it's the PTA1200-R.

 

 

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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When we added the drummer, it got lots louder.

 

Yes. I was going to write a one-word post regarding why you can't use studio monitors on the stage:

 

 

DRUMMERS!

 

(Can't live with 'em... can't shoot 'em.) :eek:

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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No mention of the Accugrooves? I know they haven't really come up in the past year, but that's another sweet system that'll get you great sound live. They are also comparably light.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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Dear Aiden,

 

I don't frequent this or other forums, [but I see now I did so several years ago!!!] but surfing brought me here, and I did not want to remain silent on this issue.

 

With so many VST sampled pianos that are now finally quite musical, your question is more than relevant. Without reservation, you are most definitely on the right track if you want to simulate the sound of a slightly sound reinforced acoustic piano, in venues up of 50-100 people.

 

I usually play acoustic grand piano - you know, that antiquated keyboard. But there are some fairly high level professional, intimate situations, for which a promoter can not or will not rent one, let alone a good one.

 

A few years ago, I struggled with your question very seriously. I also threw into the mix the issue of bringing stereo reproduction of piano into the field. (This without doubt is an uber-critical component of piano reproduction.)

 

I experimented with the original LSR25 (actives) by JBL. These are really small devils (maybe 9x8x5"), but encased in a tank-like metal casing, with a steel grill over its 6" woofer, and a partially protected tweeter. These put out a mere 125 W into 8 ohms each. No mixer is required.

 

I have never had to compensate for lost highs. And if needed for a heavily absorbent room, this can be done in software or by EQ trims. They've never blown even when pushed to the max. [When you hear distortion, back it down]

 

The sound of these combined 250 watts (125x2), not only projects remarkably, but naturally, and delivers a sound more than aesthetically gorgeous. (How do I know, you ask? Basically, put in a MIDI sequence, and then step out into the room. The first time I did this at a performance, there was an audience. They were amused when I told them exactly what I was doing.) No, it will not be the same as in your studio space. But, it is the best thing going. I also tried the experiment with tiny Bose cubes (maybe 4x6) and their subW. It worked also, but was a drag for anybody to assemble, and were a tad more fragile.

 

My experience should not be generalized to other monitor brands, or to situations in which Elvin Jones playing full out is on the gig (unlikely these days), or to situations that require more than light sound reinforcement. However, your three best friends in overcoming this limitation are 1) the one at the left 2) the other on the right just below your temporal lobes, and 3) a retailer or fellow gear junkie who will encourage your experiments. [i'd put a smiley in here, but that I'm told denotes weakness.]

 

Good luck. Your question is highly intelligent. Hold true to your ears, your mind, and your heart. Your hands will thank you.

 

Best regards,

Mark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I also threw into the mix the issue of bringing stereo reproduction of piano into the field. (This without doubt is an uber-critical component of piano reproduction.)

 

 

:snax:

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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We could certainly drag out some high-powered studio monitors (as was mentioned, at a high cost) or we could buy high quality PA speakers... but we've no intention of buying even somewhat upper-level PA speakers for clubs, let alone go for that kind of expense.

 

I was surprised that no one mentioned Tori Amos, who has a pair of studio monitors on stands to her left and right..... but what no one pays attention to is the semicircle of large high power slant monitors behind her at her feet...a staggering amount of air being pushed there. (best I can figure out is that she is deaf or close to it.)

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I don't frequent this or other forums, but I see now I did so several years ago!!!]but surfing brought me here,

 

Mark-

 

Good to see you here. Mark is a great Jazz pianist and an incredible engineer. You should post a few examples of your Steinway B...that trio thing w/Eddie Gomez, great sound!

 

Mark was one of the first people who steered me in the direction of the DPA 4011s for my piano. I wish I could afford to fly him out here and record my D.

 

I just saw Bruce Meyer at NAMM, he said you and Rich Breen are glowing examples of his mics at work.

 

 

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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OT has this doesn't really pertain to studio monitors but I thought a few people would be interested in hearing this. Hopefully Mark won't mind if I post this very short clip has I originally found it on another recording forum from a few years back.

 

Mark on piano, Eddie Gomez on bass and sorry I didn't get the Drummer's name.

http://www.thejazzmall.com/pianochain.mp3

 

 

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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As DB suggests, the biggest offender is the higher frequencies. That's why PA speakers use horns. They focus the sound energy into a focused area to get longer throw - but of course with some consequences to the sound quality.

 

So employ a great sounding set of home speakers with horn-loaded tweets (Klipsch comes immediately to mind) and your problem is pretty much solved.

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So employ a great sounding set of home speakers with horn-loaded tweets (Klipsch comes immediately to mind) and your problem is pretty much solved.

 

I don't know that I'd take home Klipsch on the road, but they made a professional series just for PA that pretty much blows away anything usually mentioned on these forums (but cost it, too....) CB,I had a dozen pairs of the Heresy Professionals, a half dozen Heresy Pro Slants and their larger 15 inch slant (don't remember the number...), 4 LaScalla Pros, 6 or 8 CP-1s and another half dozen CP-301s.... all the way up to the MCM system and the 600 and 650 systems. Not as delicate a sound, but the drivers will take the abuse of live work. Not popular, so used ones should be pretty cheap.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Is it just me, or does anyone else imagine the voice of Jeremy Clarkson (from BBC's "Top Gear") narrating Aidan's postings?

 

Carry on.

Muzikteechur is Lonnie, in Kittery, Maine.

 

HS music teacher: Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Chorus, Music Theory, AP Music Theory, History of Rock, Musical Theatre, Piano, Guitar, Drama.

 

 

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Aidan,

 

You won't know until you try it for yourself. I have used my Yamah MSP5 studio monitors live a few times for wedding ceremonies in combination with my FP4 speakers and it was plenty loud enough. I don't have paded slip covers for them so I don't like moving them.

 

http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Yamaha-MSP5-STUDIO-Powered-Studio-Monitor?sku=600116

 

Often times I don't know ahead of time how loud I will need to be. My solution is a pair of EV SXa360 powered speakers (36 lbs each). They sound better than any powered speakers in their class (weight & price). Ask Dave Ferris.

 

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." 

Harry teaches jazz piano online using Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, or Google Meet.

 

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Yeah, for the active speakers I've heard for AP simulation on a DP, I think the EV SXA 360Ss sound the best to my ears in that price range. The Accugrooves are very cool too, just a different sound.....maybe a little more weight and richness to the tone where the Evs to me tend sound lighter and more focused. Could be attributed to ( I borrowed Bobby's AG/QSC system for the weekend) one cabinet was a 15" and the other was a 12". I'd be curious to hear a pair of their 10"s myself. Remember though, the AGs are passive so you have one more piece (power amp), no matter how light, to schlep or put on the equipment dolly.

 

I don't know if you caught my post in the NAMM thread but the 360s have been discontinued has of Jan. 1. EV told me at the show they would continue support for 5 more years though. Also has previously posted the new ZXA replacement will be available late spring. In the meantime you could probably find some great closeout prices on the already discounted (reduced to $800 street last year) SXA 360s.

 

Personally I thought in the short time I had the RD700GX, the Superior Grand sound on the Roland and the SXA360s were a very nice match for each other, very smooth sounding. Especially in the higher registers where my P120 and sometimes even the CP300 could get a bit harsh or brittle sounding in some rooms.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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Well, I have a fairly leisurely set up time today, so I'm going to try it. I've bagged the Reveals in the JBL carriers to protect them, and I'm using XLRs to maximise the levels. Oh, and I've got the JBLs with me as back-up. I'll let you know!

 

Oh, and I don't sound like Jeremy Clarkson - for which, much thanks.

 

 

Studio: Yamaha P515 | Yamaha Tyros 5 | Yamaha HX1 | Moog Sub 37

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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