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Finally upgrading amplification


Aidan

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The tweeter on one of the pair of DB Opera 10s I bought very cheaply secondhand some time ago is now making very odd noises (think it's blown) and the IEC socket on the other is in a parlous state, so today I took the first step to upgrading my amplication.

 

First step - better single speaker for solo gigs. I hesitated for a while but after reading comments here and elsewhere, I eventually settled for an EV ZXA1-100, plus tote bag. If it turns out to be all I hope it will, I'll then order a second to use as mains with the band, demoting the JBL EON 10G2s to monitoring duties.

 

However, I will eventually need a sub to go with the EVs. Can I get away with something a bit cheaper just for sub duties? I don't need masses of low end, it needs to be compact and light enough for one person to carry in. I don't really want to spend more than about 600UKP tops on it. One possibility is the Mackie Thump THS18 sub.

 

Any thoughts, guys?

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

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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I'm not a fan of subs for DP. I tried this one out with my TT08As

http://www.rcf.it/en_US/products/touring-and-theatre/tts12-a

 

I just don't like how they over emphasize the bass. Very unnatural sounding for piano. Maybe better suited for synth or LH bass on rock/funk stuff but for jazz or more acoustic type music I don't know anyone that likes the sound of them as part of their on stage personal monitoring system...even bass players. When I unhooked the sub from my TT08A the overall sound was less hyped and more natural. Ymmv.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

 NY Steinway D

Yamaha  AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hmm. I'm not sure about this all of a sudden. Up till now, we've gotten away with a pair of 10s (first the JBLs, latterly the DBs as they sounded less boxy to me. We play mostly jazz/swing with a bit of more upbeat soul.

 

Bass player normally brings an Acoustic Image amp, guitar player a Fender Twin. Very rarely put a bit of the guitarist into the mains mix, never the bass, drums are unmiked, so it's just vocals and piano/organ going in there.

 

One of our USPs is that we don't bring in huge amounts of PA and play at volumes which aren't going to upset your granny.

 

So, am I going down the wrong road here thinking we need to add a sub? Wanting to give the audience the best possible sound rather than us, I was thinking it was natural to run the EVs as mains, JBLs as monitors, but I was worried that going 10in to 8in might finally make a sub a necessity. What do you reckon?

 

For solo stuff, and the volumes I play, I'm sure a single EV will be fine.

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

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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Two suggestions.

 

One be the first to try out the Axl keyboard amp with the 15" and the tweeter that everyone was talking about. Inexpensive and the specs and aesthetics look yummy.

 

Two, if you've got the scratch, you can't go wrong with the Leslie 3300, a great amp.

 

D

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@Aidan

 

Popped back into this thread to see what had been added. The function band I work with just had their PA stolen on Sunday morning. They're going for a Mackie system (the 450s and whatever the matching bass thing is).

 

The Mackie brand appears to be a badge of honour where I'm now based - "we've made it look at our Mackie rig" thing. I've found that to be the case here (Dundee guys I work with) and in and around Glasgow, Edinburgh and up in Aberdeen.

 

I suspect that the two EV ZXA1s and some sort of active bass bin is a better way to go for what you're describing (portable, compact, band loading their own gear).

 

@Dave Ferris

 

You've mentioned the TT08As before. They are a bonkers price here in the UK. If the K8s are just over £600 (each) in a shop, those RCFs are priced a little under £1500 (last time I checked). I'm interested in what else you've used and how much better you find the TTs.

 

BTW - my current stage monitor is just an old Carlsbro Colt 45K. I rely on the PA (and whatever monitors are supplied) - and a little (low visual impact) Roland CM30 for the folk stuff I'm doing. Been considering the EV ZXA1 for a while though.

I'm the piano player "off of" Borrowed Books.
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I have 2 of the Mackie 1801 subs, they are pretty nice. Not too heavy, not too big. We only run them about halfway up too, they put out some decent bottom. We're not a real loud band, mostly casino and restaurant stuff, but we do use them outdoors and they work pretty well as long as you aren't looking for concert volume level.

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6

www.bksband.com

www.echoesrocks.com

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Thanks for the contributions, guys, although I think some of you may have perhaps misunderstood my original question - perhaps I didn't put it clearly enough. Basically, the sub only needs to come into question for band gigs. I'm pretty sure a single ZXA1 will be fine for all my solo stuff.

 

To be honest, the main vector of my inquiry was really to establish whether it's easier to get away with spending less money on a sub in comparison with mains.

 

@stillgigging - thanks for that. I'll let you know how the ZXA1 works out. I did once own a pair of the original SRM450s. They were pretty heavy and total overkill for solo piano. Those jobs account for around 80% of all my gigs, so I also didn't feel I was getting much value out of them. Another reason why I'm loathe to spend a huge amount on a sub.

 

Added to which, for "band loading in own gear" read "bandleader bringing in and setting up entire PA" - that's closer to the norm! :laugh:

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

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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Bass player normally brings an Acoustic Image amp, guitar player a Fender Twin. Very rarely put a bit of the guitarist into the mains mix, never the bass, drums are unmiked, so it's just vocals and piano/organ going in there.

 

The EV ZXA1 has an 8" woofer that can go as low as 60Hz (-3dB). KLONK

 

You will have to use your ears to decide if you need a sub.

 

My guess is that, for most gigs of the type you described, you'll be fine. However, it would be nice if you could rent/borrow a sub to hear the difference for yourself.

 

Tom

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Thanks for that, Tom. Yeah, I did wonder, to be honest. Maybe I'll assemble the pair first (still waiting for the one-er to arrive) and then see how we go.

 

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

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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I think that a subwoofer could sound good is it is done right.

 

I found a Yamaha Nocturne ( in a thrift store!.... have posted about it before ) but it was missing the subwoofer that was supposed to come with it, which is built into the sustain pedal assembly.

 

So , I experimented with it. I wound up using an 8 inch home stereo powered subwoofer, made by KLH. Actually it is a fairly cheap one.

 

The KLH works well at home. I think the bass notes sound incredible and it gives an overall warmth to everything else.

 

Just to see, I tried a high powered Infinity sub woofer with a 12 inch woofer this time. It did not sound good. The larger woofer is too boomy.

 

I have heard one other keyboard amplification system that is bi amped from a company called BLUE SKY that works well. The satellite speakers are quite small. I am not sure that this one is designed for live use ( I think it is mostly for home and studio application) but it sounds very nice for acoustic and especially Rhodes type EP's.

 

In theory, bi amping should be able to provide more clarity to the mids and highs and add just the right amount of low end, but you have to have the right drivers.

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

 

However, I will eventually need a sub to go with the EVs. Can I get away with something a bit cheaper just for sub duties? I don't need masses of low end, it needs to be compact and light enough for one person to carry in. ?

 

I forgot to mention I saw this at NAMM and thought of you Aidan.

http://www.electrovoice.com/zxa1/zxa1sub.php

 

It might be off your radar now but since the ZXA1s are getting kinda popular around here I thought I'd bring it up it for anyone who wants that loooowww end..

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

 NY Steinway D

Yamaha  AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks Dave. Yeah, having acquired and listened to a pairof K10s in person, I think they're going to be fine on their own for band use.

 

The ZXA-1 will still be my first choice for solo work, however, as it's lighter and more compact, slightly more even in its response and plenty loud enough for background piano at any event.

 

Although they've given stellar service, I may eventually sell the JBL EON10 G2s and add another ZXA-1 for back-up and monitoring.

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

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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IMHO, the biggest advantage to a subwoofer for keys, is to get the bottom end out of the main speakers, so they can do their job better in the midrange.

 

This is not true for kicking bass or left-hand bass, of course, where you do want to be able to do some chest-thumping. But in general, keyboards should stay the heck out of those bottom registers.

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