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Powered Speakers: Did I misunderstand how they work?


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A friend of mine who is a sound tech loaned me an EV powered speaker because I mentioned I might want one. Anyway I plugged my NE2 into it and it worked, but not at a volume loud enough to gig with. I assumed a powered speaker had power enough to gig with. Was I wrong?
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Powered speakers generally want line level output from a mixer. Some keyboards have enough output to drive them, and some powered speakers have wide gain ranges to accommodate many keyboards.

 

I've never owned an electro2, but I seem to remember hearing on this forum that the E2 has a lower output relative to other keyboards. The Kurzweil PC3 also suffers from that (albeit, the factory patches do before you tweak amp settings per patch).

 

Solution - use a small mixer, other similar means to step up gain to line level.

 

 

..
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Powered speakers are made to run off a mixer for live sound. +4db is the standard reference. Most mixers can output in excess of 20db. Most keyboards put out around -10db max. A keyboard with a hot output or a speaker that does not need near +4db for maximium output (like the old eon's) usually will work ok.
Nord Electro 3... Korg CX3... Leslie 145... Wurlitzer 200a... Juno 106... Roland RD170... DS88
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There are some powered PA speakers. like the QSC K10, that have a mic/line switch to compensate. If you've got a board that has a low output level, you can get more gain in the Mic mode.

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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Sounds like (as inferred by posts above) that you may not have set up the speaker correctly. You should have plenty of volume for live shows with any functional powered PA. Make sure that the knob which controls input level is turned up sufficiently.

 

What's the wattage on the EV speaker?

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.....I've never owned an electro2, but I seem to remember hearing on this forum that the E2 has a lower output relative to other keyboards.

Never owned a NE2 either, but I recall hearing this as well. Seems a lot of folks remedied this situation by using the headphone jack, IIRC.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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It's always best to use a mixer of some sort when going into a powered speaker. A simple line mixer will do nicely.

 

Depending on your keyboard, you may be able to go into the global settings and set the master output gain to reflect your needs (certainly on Motif's and Fantom's I've done this).

 

Buy a small mixer and your problem will go away, assuming you have turned the gain up on the speaker.

Yamaha C7 Grand, My Hammonds: '57 B3, '54 C2, '42 BC, '40 D, '05 XK3 Pro System, Kawai MP9000, Fender Rhodes Mk I 73, Yamaha CP33, Motif ES6, Nord Electro 2, Minimoog Voyager & Model D, Korg MS10
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My NE2's outputs are on the weak side, though not terribly so. I have to max out the patch gain on Rhodes, and back off considerably on Hammond, for them to be in the same ball park. Otherwise, the Hammond would be as hot as any other -10dB keyboard. The piano is between the two.

 

Try the headphone output, with a stereo to two mono Y adaptor cable, and use one side only. (If you use a mono cable, you'll be shorting out one side, which might not be good for the circuit.)

 

If that's loud enough, you're good; no need for a mixer.

 

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I use twin EV360's with no mixer. The outputs of the Xk3c are plugged directly into the EV's... Cleanest sound I have ever achieved onstage. Love those speakers.
'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo
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We had this exact same conversation when the new JBL Eons came out. Early users could not get them loud enough without an external mixer.

 

It's about the gain available at the line inputs of the powered speaker, and if your keyboard is hot enough to drive the speaker to full gain.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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So, if I used the headphone jack from my E3 into a K10 with the MIC switch engaged, how much approx. would I gain?

 

Probably too much.

 

If you're going into the K10 with the mic switch on, you want a mic level signal. Coming out of the headphone jack would give you more than that and would have the potential to overdrive the input.

 

With the K10 you'd want to use the line level first, then switch to mic if you're not getting enough gain. But as loud as they are, that shouldn't be an issue.

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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Doesn't that kinda negate the idea and/or advantage of a self contained powered speaker. If you have to carry another piece of gear to make a 'powered' speaker work properly anyway, why not just carry a head and speaker cabinet, or better yet, a keyboard combo amp?
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The primary advantages of a powered PA speaker, to my mind, are:

 

1) Sounds better than a combo amp. Better designed to deliver full-range fidelity.

2) Less schlep than a full blown PA (passive speakers, mixer, power amp)

 

And there are exceptions. Some boards have a hot enough output to drive a powered PA speaker. Some PA speakers provide enough gain (or an "instrument" setting) to deliver acceptable SPL for a gig.

 

Try the headphone out of your electro, but if that doesn't cut it - tie for a mixer or "clean" gain pedal.

..
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Doesn't that kinda negate the idea and/or advantage of a self contained powered speaker. If you have to carry another piece of gear to make a 'powered' speaker work properly anyway, why not just carry a head and speaker cabinet, or better yet, a keyboard combo amp?
Combo keyboard amps universally sound like poo compared to a proper PA type rig such as a quality powered speaker.
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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Powered speakers are made to run off a mixer for live sound. +4db is the standard reference. Most mixers can output in excess of 20db. Most keyboards put out around -10db max. A keyboard with a hot output or a speaker that does not need near +4db for maximium output (like the old eon's) usually will work ok.

 

Doh! That explains why my volume level was so low at our band's gig in Pittsburgh. I got it within range of audible by cranking my EV ZXA's output to 4db. But no doubt sticking my mixer into the signal chain would have helped a lot.

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Doesn't that kinda negate the idea and/or advantage of a self contained powered speaker. If you have to carry another piece of gear to make a 'powered' speaker work properly anyway, why not just carry a head and speaker cabinet, or better yet, a keyboard combo amp?

 

You're using a PA speaker as a keyboard amp... if you can't hear the difference between a PA speaker and a combo amp, then you might as well just use the combo amp. :snax:

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The primary advantages of a powered PA speaker, to my mind, are:

 

1) Sounds better than a combo amp. Better designed to deliver full-range fidelity.

2) Less schlep than a full blown PA (passive speakers, mixer, power amp)

 

And there are exceptions. Some boards have a hot enough output to drive a powered PA speaker. Some PA speakers provide enough gain (or an "instrument" setting) to deliver acceptable SPL for a gig.

 

Try the headphone out of your electro, but if that doesn't cut it - tie for a mixer or "clean" gain pedal.

 

Let's not forget that any keyboardist who uses more than one board (or several rack units) in his touring rig usually has his own on-stage mixer anyway, so it's not like we're talking about a piece of gear no keyboardist ever uses....

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I've been a proponent of the PS for an amp for a long time. I just retired my rack/power amp/passive speakers in favor of a single powered PA speaker, the QSC K10. My old rig blew away any combo amp I've tried. Tonight at rehearsal, my guitar player commented about how much better my rig sounds compared to my old PA.

 

You're not going to get that sonic quality out af a combo amp.

 

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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....

You're not going to get that sonic quality out af a combo amp.

 

Oh, I totally agree. Altho I got a pretty good sound out of a borrowed bass combo amp, I absolutely LOVED the sound I got thru some JBL Eon's at a festival gig. I was just unaware of how a powered speaker actually works. You would need a mixer if you were going to use two boards, anyway, so I just have to adjust my thinking.

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Doesn't that kinda negate the idea and/or advantage of a self contained powered speaker. If you have to carry another piece of gear to make a 'powered' speaker work properly anyway, why not just carry a head and speaker cabinet, or better yet, a keyboard combo amp?

 

I simply don't understand this "anti-mixer" sentiment.

 

It's not like you have to carry a large format mixing board. A simple small line mixer or even a two channel pocket mixer will do just fine (assuming two keyboards are the max).

 

Why carry a "gain pedal" instead of a mixer? You're saving nothing. Some keyboards have gain output settings, some do not. Using a small mixer makes this a non-issue.

 

Why carry a "head and speaker" or a combo amp? Because they sound inferior, weigh more and they sound inferior (in case anyone missed that the first time).

 

Even a $29 two channel mixer from that "B" company everyone hates will be do the job and it will fit in your pocket!

Yamaha C7 Grand, My Hammonds: '57 B3, '54 C2, '42 BC, '40 D, '05 XK3 Pro System, Kawai MP9000, Fender Rhodes Mk I 73, Yamaha CP33, Motif ES6, Nord Electro 2, Minimoog Voyager & Model D, Korg MS10
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Doesn't that kinda negate the idea and/or advantage of a self contained powered speaker. If you have to carry another piece of gear to make a 'powered' speaker work properly anyway, why not just carry a head and speaker cabinet, or better yet, a keyboard combo amp?

 

I simply don't understand this "anti-mixer" sentiment.

 

It's not like you have to carry a large format mixing board. A simple small line mixer or even a two channel pocket mixer will do just fine (assuming two keyboards are the max).

 

Why carry a "gain pedal" instead of a mixer? You're saving nothing. Some keyboards have gain output settings, some do not. Using a small mixer makes this a non-issue.

 

Why carry a "head and speaker" or a combo amp? Because they sound inferior, weigh more and they sound inferior (in case anyone missed that the first time).

 

Even a $29 two channel mixer from that "B" company everyone hates will be do the job and it will fit in your pocket!

 

I used a Behringer for a few years before upgrading to a Mackie. The Mackie fits easily into a backpack.

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Could it be because some people don't realise that a tiny mixer will work? I tried my little Rolls Mini Mix 6 and it seemed to do to job fine. It's about the size of 2 packs of cigarettes. I have a strip of velcro on each flat top end of the E3 for whatever, be it this mixer, Ventilator, etc. That helps a lot too.

 

I bought a couple of short 1/4" cables and hooked them to the mixer to make my 2 board hookup even quicker...it is a minor annoyance at best.

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