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Hey guys! I would love your opinions on this matter. I have been using a Traynor K4 for my amplification for many years. It was the first amp I had ever used, prior to that I had been using computer monitors. I've liked it well enough for a while but then I started getting exposed to different amps and eventually getting studio monitors. Now that I have heard all my gear through my monitors I realize how off the K4 actually sounds. So I want to upgrade to something new. I am not a gigging musician...for now. I play for enjoyment at home. That being said I still take my sound and my gear seriously. When I want to jam with the volume up I turn to my amp so I'm not blowing out my monitors.

 

Currently my setup consists mostly of synths, with a Rhodes and a Cp70. I plan to be adding a clone wheel of some kind. The only thing that sounds halfway decent through the K4 is the Cp70 but I get the feeling it could sound better. Everything else sounds really muddy compared to my monitors. So I'm looking for something that has strong, clean sound. I'm not opposed to tube amps but my suspicion is that they will color the tone too much. My current contenders are the Motion Sound KP500S, The Spacestation XL, Roland JC120 or a pair of QSC K10/12s. I'd prefer something similar in size to my K4 that way something new takes up the same footprint, so in that sense the pair of K10/12s is less appealing because I'd have to rearrange for two speakers, but I always do hear great things about them.

 

What do you guys think? Anything I should consider in addition? Also open to vintage options.

 

Thanks

1974 Rhodes, CP70B, Polivoks, Dominion 1, Behringer D, Mother 32, DFAM, MS20 Mini, Folktek Mescaline, Nord Lead 2x, KArp Odyssey, Jv1080, Digitakt, Hydrasynth,
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I have a K4 I've been using for many years. I have never been happy with it on it's own. It's okay at lower volume levels but Acoustic Piano sounds in particular become muddy at higher levels. At most gigs I run a line to the PA and it is acceptable as a stage monitor at lower volume levels. On some gigs I have run a powered speaker from the K4's Subwoofer output which vastly improves the overall sound and volume level. I use a QSC K12 but many other less expensive choices have become available since I got the K12. If you use a powered speaker by itself most have a very limited input options so an external mixer may be needed.
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
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QSC K8.2. A pair will cost you less than either the Motion Sound or the Spacestation XL. The footprint will be smaller than the MotionSound and weigh less than the Spacestation. The K8's will have plenty of sound and power for home use. The Spacestation is designed for live gigging where you want the audience to hear the stereo sound. Reports are that if you're near the Spacestation, you don't hear the stereo very well. It may not be ideal for home use, but I don't own one so I would check and see if someone does like it for home use. The Roland is a guitar amp. Forget it.

 

Full disclosure: I gig with a pair of QSC K8s (the old ones). I like them.

These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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Another vote for the QSC K8.2s. Love mine. A pair would be a huge upgrade from the Traynor K4. Most people are startled when they hear the bass response. Bass roll-off starts at 60 Hz, so you'll notice that your lowest octave isn't as energetic as the other ones. There is a "deep" setting that adds boost down there, but I don't like the way it colors acoustic pianos. If deep bass response important to you, consider a small sub. If budget isn't an issue, consider a pair of RCF TT08-a units.

 

I would not consider a Spacestation for home use, but it works well for certain gigs. Some people like their Motion Sound KP500S but it's not my thing. As mentioned above, the JC120 is a guitar amp. I'd suck it up and go for a pair of self-powered PA units. You'll love the stereo sound.

Life is too short to be playing bad music.

 

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If it's only for home use, then there's no reason to accept the compromises of a keyboard amp. Go with a pair of powered speakers.

 

In my opinion, keyboard amps are for gigging, and should only function as a stage monitor/mixer/line out. Ideally, the audience would not be hearing your keyboard amp.

 

The exception is if you're trying to recreate the swirl of a Leslie speaker, which is where the Space Station holds a unique position. But since you don't (yet) have a clone, I doubt you're going to be that fixated on the swirl.

 

On the rare occasions when I fire up speakers in my home, I'm running through Space Station with sub into a 12" amp. It sounds much better than the K4 I owned long ago. But I'm going for that swirl.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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I've said many times here, my old K8s have more than enough bass â and I do a fair amount of LH bass playing. I never use the "deep" setting, I actually roll off bass. Having said that, I don't do loud gigs playing organ pedals or EDM with sub-30Hz stuff, but for most any other kind of music where super-deep bass isn't a requirement I'm sure you'll be happy. Also don't forget we're talking a pair of 8"s, not one â you're moving more air. I got my pair a little over ten years ago and I'm 100% happy with them to this day. The .2s are more powerful with more user-adjustable DSP functions (EQ-wise I think) but I'm sure even a pair of used K8s will bring a smile to your face.
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If it's only for home use, then there's no reason to accept the compromises of a keyboard amp. Go with a pair of powered speakers.

 

In my opinion, keyboard amps are for gigging, and should only function as a stage monitor/mixer/line out. Ideally, the audience would not be hearing your keyboard amp.

 

The exception is if you're trying to recreate the swirl of a Leslie speaker, which is where the Space Station holds a unique position. But since you don't (yet) have a clone, I doubt you're going to be that fixated on the swirl.

 

On the rare occasions when I fire up speakers in my home, I'm running through Space Station with sub into a 12" amp. It sounds much better than the K4 I owned long ago. But I'm going for that swirl.

 

My setup is a pair of studio monitors and they have more range than a instrument or powered PA speaker. If I go out to play then I'll get a pair of 10" powered PA speakers.

 

To that post about a 8" speaker.....

 

As for a single 8" speaker in a cabinet I can only say as a Jazz guitarist a single 8" didn't have enough low end even in a high end ported cabinet. I then got a 2x8" cabinet and having two 8" speakers in single cab' made a world of difference and low end and volume. But for keyboard a pair of 10" would be my choice. 10" speakers are very punchy, easier to hear on stage, and the really cut thru in a band situation.

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OK I'm seeing a lean towards the QSCs so far. I notice there are two versions, the CP series and the K series. Anyone have any experience with both? Is the quality of the K series worth the extra price?

 

Its always so interesting to me how different speakers can sound. I admittedly don't know a lot. But when it comes to solid state speakers, on the face of it a keyboard amp doesn't seem much different to me than a PA. What makes a KB amp a "compromise" vs a PA. And why do studio monitors...which are also a collection of speakers in a box with an amp...so much more accurate than amps and PAs? (I know this is a bit off topic)

1974 Rhodes, CP70B, Polivoks, Dominion 1, Behringer D, Mother 32, DFAM, MS20 Mini, Folktek Mescaline, Nord Lead 2x, KArp Odyssey, Jv1080, Digitakt, Hydrasynth,
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Those of us who play acoustic piano material tend to be a bit more picky on keyboard amplification as it can be very hard to reproduce accurately. Based on your post, you don't have APs in your rig, so take all of this with a grain of salt.

 

First question -- meaningful differences between QSC CP8 and K8.2? Probably not for your at-home situation. I use the K8.2s in live situations, not only for my keys amplification but also vocal monitors and sometimes FOH mains. I appreciate the additional power and increased EQ control.

 

If you call around and ask for "B-stock" or "customer returns", you can save a bunch off of the advertised price.

 

I own the K8.2s and have heard the CP8s. Both are great units. Maybe a few minor differences with nuanced AP material, but nothing bothersome. I could easily switch from the K8.2s to the CP8s and not miss the K8.2s.

 

Second question -- why not a keyboard amp? Mostly personal preferences. The higher end keyboard amps (MS KP500S comes to mind) can reproduce APs quite well, and put out some serious power. However, they are expensive, they only point in one direction, they are heavy, and although they have a "stereo" circuit it isn't the same as a pair of PA units separated by some distance. I gave up on keyboard amps a long time ago, and appreciate the flexibility of having two discrete units.

 

That being said, you'll find people on this forum who love them some MS KP500S. Good for them.

 

Third question -- what makes studio monitors different? Studio monitors are for near field work. They don't project sound at a distance well at all. They also don't need to get all that loud, and aren't transported that often. Not knowing your setup, you could have a nice pair of monitors in front of you (or behind you) and you'd be a happy camper as long as you stayed in the sweet spot. Move your head a bit, and you'll lose the stereo imaging. I know a number of digital AP players that love this approach at home.

 

If you play live (or might do so in the future), studio monitors will not work for you.

 

Best of luck!

Life is too short to be playing bad music.

 

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SVR,

I've got the K10 as well as the K8.2. I can hear the extra bass oomph of the K10. Not huge, but noticeable none the less. But as someone else said, once you've got two K8.2s working for you, there's an increase in bass presence right there.

 

You've got to love the K8.2s, or the CP8s for that matter, these look like tiny speakers, have a very small footprint, and yet will put out a loud, deep sound.

 

I'd dis-recommend the Space Station for home use unless you have large spaces. Even in my living room I had trouble getting the space to "bloom", it needs a good sized space for the magic to happen, and you need to set it up about 6' away from yourself to get the magic. Also, most people end up pairing it with another speaker to make up for the bass that it doesn't have. And personally, I don't find it a very hi-fi speaker at all.

 

Studio monitors- they are designed for near-field monitoring, not made for the extra spl and projection of live performance speakers- they also aren't typically designed with limiters to protect the speakers from excessive levels. That said, many people have pressed studio monitors into service for smaller gigs.

 

The only knock I have for the K.2 series is that it's controls/mixer is not bluetooth controllable. It has many settings to explore, so you end up going back and forth between listening in the room and then going to the back of the unit to adjust it (EQ for example), the back and forth of it is a huge hassle and makes it hard to contrast one EQ setting from another. The K8.2 has dozens of potential parameters to adjust. I don't get why all the manufacturers haven't adopted BT apps for controlling the extensive EQ/Limiting/Volume parameters available on these speakers. I know Turbosound has a BT app for their iQ series.

 

Also, have you looked at some of the column speakers that have a sub at their base, like the new EV Evolve 30m?

It's not stereo, but can be a very pleasing, not so directional sound as individual boxes. For smaller settings, these column/subwoofer systems can be both the monitor for yourself as well as sound for the audience. They're known for their diffuse sound getting further into the room without 'beaming', and reportedly there's few problems with feedback.

Electro Voice Evolve 30 M

This particular system has a 10" woofer, six 2.8" tweeters/mids in the column, weighs a total of 44 pounds, has BT music streaming as well as a BT mobile app for controlling everything, including reverb, an 8 channel mixer, etc. With just this system, you could provide sound and mixing for a duo or trio.

Kawai ES110 & ES920 /// Casio CT-X5000

Yamaha Melodica and Alto Recorder

QSC K8.2 // JBL Eon One Compact // Klipsch KMC 3 // Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB

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I've used both a pair of QSC K8.2 speakers and a pair of JBL 305p MKII monitors as nearfield monitors. While the JBLs are clearer, tighter an quieter as you would expect, other than some noticeable fan noise once they were running for 10-15 minutes, the QSCs did surprisingly well with its monitor EQ setting on short poles in front of me.

 

If you want the ability to have the power and throw of a real PA, then the QSC's are the best of both worlds. The only reason I sold mine was because I switched to IEMs and didn't need them as stage monitors or as a PA.

 

For great, affordable nearfield monitor sound (at 70-80% less cost than the QSCs), I would recommend a look at the JBLs. There are 5", 6" and 8" options available and you'd have extra money to spend on a sub if needed.

Nord Stage 3 HA88, Nord Stage 3 Compact, Casio CT-S1, Radial Key Largo, Westone AM Pro 30, Rolls PM55P, K&M 18880 + 18881, Bose S1 Pro, JBL 305p MKII, Zoom Q2n-4K

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I personally really like my Spacestation v3, and its loud enough for playing with a 17 piece big band and still sounds good at home. If you're gigging, it's also great because it's compact and doesn't weigh much. That Roland JC120 will be great for the Rhodes, but it's a heavy beast and you won't be excited to carry that around.

 

The Spacestation made the acoustic pianos in my Korg SV1 sound great live, and the APs of that board are generally considered poor sounding and were unsatisfying through my Leslie LS2215. It gives good stereo separation to tremolo and phaser effects for the rhodes, and the leslie sim on my Crumar Mojo 61 sounds great through it. The only knocks I have for it are (1) only one set of inputs; (2) single summed output to sub or main, so I also have a run a DI box to take stereo out to the mains; and (3) it's not completely quiet--there's some swirly sounding white noise that comes out of the amp when I'm not playing--I notice it at home, but don't notice it at gigs (although with point 3, I'd probably run a DI box anyway to avoid sending any noise to the mains).

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My suggestion is to use a pair of Yamaha DXR-10 cabs. Lightweight, clean full-range sound, and plenty loud when needed. I have directly compared them with the QSCs, and versus the Roland KC-500's, as well as recently a side-by-side comparison with the new Motion Sound KP (which is close to the sound quality of the Yamaha's, but the one unit is heavier and bulkier). Yamaha also has the new "DZR" line, which should be pretty darn good. In my personal opinion, the QSC's simply had a harsher edge sound than the Yamaha's. Just personal preference.

Ludwig van Beethoven:  “To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.”

Portable Rig: Yamaha MOXF8 (used mostly for acoustic piano); (2) Yamaha DXR-10 powered speakers

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I personally really like my Spacestation v3, and its loud enough for playing with a 17 piece big band and still sounds good at home. If you're gigging, it's also great because it's compact and doesn't weigh much. That Roland JC120 will be great for the Rhodes, but it's a heavy beast and you won't be excited to carry that around.

 

The Spacestation made the acoustic pianos in my Korg SV1 sound great live, and the APs of that board are generally considered poor sounding and were unsatisfying through my Leslie LS2215. It gives good stereo separation to tremolo and phaser effects for the rhodes, and the leslie sim on my Crumar Mojo 61 sounds great through it. The only knocks I have for it are (1) only one set of inputs; (2) single summed output to sub or main, so I also have a run a DI box to take stereo out to the mains; and (3) it's not completely quiet--there's some swirly sounding white noise that comes out of the amp when I'm not playing--I notice it at home, but don't notice it at gigs (although with point 3, I'd probably run a DI box anyway to avoid sending any noise to the mains).

 

Much as I like my Spacestation at a gig, I wouldn't recommend it for at home. The noise is just too noticeable in a pristine environment. If I were looking for both home & stage, then it would definitely be two powered 8's, the best I could afford.

____________________________________
Rod

victoria bc

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