Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

What's the best KB amp


rickzjamm

Recommended Posts

I use a Roland 350 but there's gotta be something better, smaller & lighter out there that won't break the bank... any thoughts? (a buddy recommended a Phil Bass guitar suitcase but that's two channels at the most & a lot of coin).
You don't know you're in the dark until you're in the light.
Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 83
  • Created
  • Last Reply

The consensus around here is there are none. A powered PA speaker or two is what pretty much all of us use. This subject has been talked to death around here, just do a forum search. JBL, EV, Yamaha and QSC seem to be the big four.

 

Bob

Hammond SK1, Mojo 61, Kurzweil PC3, Korg Pa3x, Roland FA06, Band in a Box, Real Band, Studio One, too much stuff...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depends

 

A Roland KC550 has some strengths. The DIs are clean and that boxy, honky midrange heavy nasty tone make them easy to hear.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seriously the best KB amp I am aware of is a Traynor K4. But it aint light. But you don't need mixer or DIs.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think KB amps are great for some people I've used them as backline. They are a convenient self contained one stop solution. I use powered speakers but I also carry a rack with a mixer, 2 DI's, patchbay, etc ... plus 2-3X more cable to hook everything up for the powered speakers than you would need for a KB amp.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem is mixing "best kb amp" with "light" and/or "cheap". I use Motion Sound amps because I believe they are the best but I also believe in budgeting as much for amplification as I do my keyboards.

 

The MS KP-500sn is my workhorse amp and I would put it up against anything for power and sound quality. It weighs in at 55lbs and fits easily in the back of my Prius. And as a 500 watt stereo amp it is king of the block, easily keeping pace in band settings. It's especially good at reproducing acoustic piano tones without muddying up the bass. No compromises at all but it ain't cheap. Mine has paid for itself dozens of times over.

 

My smaller MS KP-100s is a good little practice amp that also gets used on small gigs. I blew out the stock Eminence Alpha speakers that came with it and substituted Eminence Beta's which made a world of difference. It's fairly light but not cheap, but as a small 100 watt stereo amp it's a clean and good sounding unit.

 

And yes I have powered JBL EON's too but for my money the Motion Sound amps are my first choice for easy setup and good tone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The MS KP-500sn is my workhorse amp and I would put it up against anything for power and sound quality. It weighs in at 55lbs and fits easily in the back of my Prius. And as a 500 watt stereo amp it is king of the block, easily keeping pace in band settings. It's especially good at reproducing acoustic piano tones without muddying up the bass. No compromises at all but it ain't cheap. Mine has paid for itself dozens of times over.

I fully agree with everything you said! I am pleased with the KP500SN too.

And now that I have optained a leslie 860(+HX3 organ)the Motion Sound sits on top of the leslie.(which is carefully placed several inches of the floor).The KP500SN has the ideal hight from the players perspective this way.....I am thrilled everytime I play, realising this is probably the best solution I could ever dream of (without roadies and engineers to carry around even ''better'' and bigger equipment)

For piano, organ and synth sounds I couldn't be happier.......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Traynor K4. Only downside...heavy and awkward to carry.
Legend Exp,NC2x,Crumar Seven,KeyB Duo MK111,Nord C1,Nord C2D,Triton Classic,Fantom G7,Motif ES,SonicCell,BK7m,PA1x pro,VP770,TC Helicon,Leslie 3300,MS Pro145,EV SXA250(2),Traynor K4,PK7a,A70,DM10 Pro.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

...I use a Roland 350 but there's gotta be something better, smaller & lighter out there that won't break the bank...

Many, many years ago, I thought I had to have a large keyboard amp.

 

But most of us have realized that ideally, it's best to keep stage volume low, send a signal to FOH and let the guys running sound mix your keyboards so that they sound best from the audience's perspective.

 

Many guys on this forum, who make their living playing music, are using in-ear monitors. This solution, or a pair of small high-quality floor wedges is the best way to go. And if you find yourself in a situation where your sound is not going through the PA, you can use these same high-quality wedges as your primary sound source.

 

With the current offerings of smaller, self-contained power speakers, instead of schlepping fifty-five (55) pounds of keyboard amp, you can have just 19 pounds to move. That 35 pounds makes a huge difference when you're loading out at two o-clock in the morning!

 

A good example is the Electro Voice ZXA1. A pair of these has a street price of less than a thousand bucks.

 

If cost is no object, the RCF TT08-A is only 25 pounds.

 

If you need a larger monitor, the QSC K 10 should be on your list. It weighs only 32 pounds.

 

The Yamaha DRX series should also be considered. This is the speaker forumite Jim Alfredson uses (and loves). He wrote a great review of the DRX10 that you can find HERE. In Jim's review he states, "Im using two DXR10 speakers as my monitors for my current touring rig supporting blues singer Janiva Magness. Ive always preferred powered speakers to dedicated keyboard amps." Again, you're only looking at ~32 pounds with this model. Why would you want to carry something heavier to every gig?

 

rickzjamm, this question gets asked a lot. However, it remains pertinent because new technology offers us better-sounding, lighter-weight solutions at more affordable prices all the time.

 

Take your time. Do your research. Use your ears. I'm sure you will find something that will best fit your needs within your price range.

 

Good luck!

 

Tom

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought the question was "what is the best KEYBOARD AMP?". My definition of a KB Amp is a single unit designed primarily for keyboards. For my own use, I would always prefer a pair of good-quality powered monitors, but that was not the question. Since most modern KB's output a stereo signal which is essential for certain KB sounds (and organ sims), that leaves very few single, standalone units that can process and produce or simulate a stereo sound. Within that group, I felt the Traynor K4 did the best job.

 

chas

Legend Exp,NC2x,Crumar Seven,KeyB Duo MK111,Nord C1,Nord C2D,Triton Classic,Fantom G7,Motif ES,SonicCell,BK7m,PA1x pro,VP770,TC Helicon,Leslie 3300,MS Pro145,EV SXA250(2),Traynor K4,PK7a,A70,DM10 Pro.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I carry a pair a pair of EV powered monitor but it is a compromise. My best sounding rigs will always be back when I carried 2 or 3 bigass passive 3 way cabinets, a mixer and a power amp or 3. LOL. That is how everyone did it .... plus maybe a leslie and sometimes a guitar amp for EPs and/or clavs.

 

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem is mixing "best kb amp" with "light" and/or "cheap". I use Motion Sound amps because I believe they are the best but I also believe in budgeting as much for amplification as I do my keyboards.

 

The MS KP-500sn is my workhorse amp and I would put it up against anything for power and sound quality. It weighs in at 55lbs and fits easily in the back of my Prius. And as a 500 watt stereo amp it is king of the block, easily keeping pace in band settings. It's especially good at reproducing acoustic piano tones without muddying up the bass. No compromises at all but it ain't cheap. Mine has paid for itself dozens of times over.

 

My smaller MS KP-100s is a good little practice amp that also gets used on small gigs. I blew out the stock Eminence Alpha speakers that came with it and substituted Eminence Beta's which made a world of difference. It's fairly light but not cheap, but as a small 100 watt stereo amp it's a clean and good sounding unit.

 

And yes I have powered JBL EON's too but for my money the Motion Sound amps are my first choice for easy setup and good tone.

 

Interesting. Thanks for your thoughts.

Steve Force,

Durham, North Carolina

--------

My Professional Websites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought "Keyboard amp" to be synonymous to how you "amplify" your signal. For that I consider it more of a verb and more open to discuss the source(s) of it. Especially in the age of powered speakers and porta mixers. Now ten/fifteen years ago...a different world indeed...ouch! My back!! :laugh:
"A good mix is subjective to one's cilia." http://hitnmiss.yolasite.com
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lol, yeah... to my mind the QSC K10 is the best "Keyboard Amp" I've ever used (outside of specific electromechanical pairings like Hammond/Leslie and Clav/Deluxe).

 

I've been playing in mono for a few years now (that's a whole different debate), but even when I played stereo I usually monitored in mono, using a mixer to send to the PA. But these days my rig is smaller-- two keyboards directly into the K10 which has two XLR outputs so no direct box is needed.

 

If I were shopping for one now, I would look at whatever new monitors have arrived since the K10 (presumably improving on it). The EV and Yamaha mentioned in this thread are pretty intriguing.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm using 30 year old Gallien Krueger MK/MP keyboard amps. Back in the late 80's I sold my first pair. A couple of years ago I missed them and began searching for a replacement pair. I ended up finding them on eBay and after some TLC have them working like new.

 

They're not perfect, especially using them as GK envisioned. The mixer on the main unit is not truly stereo except it has a stereo chorus. I use them as separate units and could of used two MK's or MP's.

 

Anyway, they have a 12" speaker, which I like for keyboards and it has coaxial design with a small tweeter speaker. After selling first pair, I kept checking in on GK to see if they would ever bring them back. With a better designed mixer, I think GK could of had a winner but they choose to focus on stringed instruments.

 

Back when I played multikeys I tried speakers smaller than 12" and never thought the bass response was good enough. I'm sure the newest powered pa cabs are better but I just don't play enough high paying gigs to justify the expense at this time.

AvantGrand N2 | ES520 | Gallien-Krueger MK & MP | https://soundcloud.com/pete36251

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought the question was "what is the best KEYBOARD AMP?".

:facepalm:

 

Yup. If you want to go strictly by the literal meaning, then...

 

that leaves very few single, standalone units that can process and produce or simulate a stereo sound.

Oooops! :o:)

 

In my experience, people often state what they want in a sentence or two, but when pressed to describe their needs, they realize that the best solution may be one they haven't considered. It would be a disservice to ignore offerings that sound better, are less expensive, and weigh less when offering a solution.

 

Don't you think, chas?

 

Keyboard amps don't have the sonic refinements that powered speakers do. Unless you are looking for the amp to impart a particular quality to your sound, like a Leslie does for a Hammond organ, it is preferred that a speaker system adds no coloration at all. Of course, studio monitors come closer to meeting this criteria than any live sound reinforcement speaker. But studio monitors aren't designed to project the sound for any considerable distance or endure the punishment that live sound reinforcement speakers do night after night.

 

I've heard Motion Sound keyboard amps. They sound fine for many synth-related sounds. However, I don't think anyone on this forum will tell you that they compare favorably to powered speaker offerings in tonal neutrality.

 

The acid test being, of course, acoustic piano sounds.

 

If you want to argue that keyboards have a stereo output that is essential for certain keyboard sounds, I will ask that you search the forum. Although many of us prefer to hear our keyboards in stereo, the opinion of many, if not most of the professionals here, is that if you are sending a signal to FOH, mono is preferred.

 

So if you're dead-set on buying a stereo keyboard amp, get the Motion Sound (with its short 90-day warranty on its speaker, horn, or diaphram) or a K4 (which is a compromise because it sums your stereo signal into one 12" woofer.)

 

However, if you're after the most accurate-sounding, lightest-weight, cost-effective solution for reproducing modern keyboards, it's not going to be an all-in-one MotionSound or Traynor K4 keyboard amplifier.

 

So, to answer your question, chas:

 

I thought the question was "what is the best KEYBOARD AMP?".

..it doesn't take a lot of research to conclude that in 2013 there is no best keyboard amp.

 

From the many offerings on the market, it's simple to buy one or two (your choice) powered speakers instead.

 

Tom

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For a several years I played keys through two JBL MRX515 speakers powered by a Crown XTi4000 amp. This sounded great but I wanted something more compact. I purchased a Traynor K4 a few years ago and was not happy with it. I thought maybe it wasn't working properly so I had a tech check it out. I was assured it was working right. It sounds passable for Organ/Synth-type sounds but Piano sounds are really dull. After seeing all the raves for the QSC K series I bought a K12. I didn't really get the kind of sound I was looking for with this either. Then I hooked the K12 to the subwoofer output on the K4 and the combination sounds fantastic. I now carry two pieces but it's worth it to me for the sound I get. On gigs where I play left-hand Bass I also have to carry a Bass amp as neither the K4 or K12 cut it for Bass.
C3/122, M102A, Vox V301H, Farfisa Compact, Gibson G101, GEM P, RMI 300A, Piano Bass, Pianet , Prophet 5 rev. 2, Pro-One, Matrix 12, OB8, Korg MS20, Jupiter 6, Juno 60, PX-5S, Nord Stage 3 Compact
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...