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Monitors for gigs?


gangsu

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I've got the keyboard, the stand, and headphones. Eventually I want near-field monitors for in home, and powered speakers for the gig, as I can afford it.

 

I've decided on M-Audio BX8's. I know I know, there's a lot of monitors out there with better specs and bigger price tags, but I'm not a recording engineer. Besides, they come highly recommended. I understand the BX5s have been used to demo the Promega at trade shows. ...good enough for them, good enough for me.

 

Dumb question: has anybody used monitors for small background acoustic gigs? I'm thinking of getting tripod adaptors and giving it a shot. It would be simple to run a mic for a violin or whatever through the keyboard. I'm just thinking, the average studio monitor is capable of pissing off the neighbours, why wouldn't it be a big enough sound for a small gig?

 

Would appreciate any comments,

 

Thanks, Sue

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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I don't see any problem, other than they might not be as "road worthy" as something specifically designed for live use. But if it sounds good out in the audience, it doesn't matter what you're using.

 

I'd recommend a small $99 mixer to run multiple inputs through, rather than running things through your keyboard. You'll have much more accessible control for each sound source, it'll probably sound better, and you'll appreciate the flexibility down the road.

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I have heard Mackie studio monitors used for gigs. They can get pretty loud and sound good, but with real loud gigs you would need to go thru some PA or add an extra muscle amp.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find 700 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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I've used my alesis monitor one's for a gig in a church with a small ensemble, using mostly sampled string and orchestral sound. It's the best monitor experience in my life so far.

 

For more club oriented jobs I would prefer sturdier stuff. I tried some yamaha monitors, and it worked really good. I don't recall their names, sorry.

 

The great things about them are that you hear yourself in stereo, which is - as we all know - quite superior to mono, and a mindblowing experience if you haven't tried it before.

Think before you think before you speak
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Originally posted by dabowsa:

I'd recommend a small $99 mixer to run multiple inputs through, rather than running things through your keyboard. You'll have much more accessible control for each sound source, it'll probably sound better, and you'll appreciate the flexibility down the road.

I'm not trying to be a smartass, but what is there to mix? A violin is a violin, a flute is a flute, a singer is .. well that's anybody's guess... Wouldn't my money be better spent on a good mic? I'm more likely to equate the quality of sound with the skill of the soloist. The keyboard has a separate input control, which I assume is just volume, but what else need I concern myself with?

 

The other thing that I'm curious about, is taking a brilliant signal and compromising it with additional cables in and out of an "affordable" mixer. It's bad enough having to run a "good to 40 below" extension cord, no?

 

Aside from that, I'm encouraged to know others out there have used studio monitors live. I am selfish, and want the best sound for myself. ;)

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Well, I've thought about using my Event 20/20 reference monitors for small live situations, but never actually did. I was most concerned with how delicate they seems compared to the powered speakers or PA monitors (apparently there is a difference) designed for live use.

 

I don't know the ruggedness or lack thereof of the M-Audios you plan on using, but I can only tell you the characteristics of the Events that I thought made them vulnerable:

 

* Cabinet design: sharp square corners that you just know are gonna chip. No protective outer layer like felt, vinyl, or that truck-bed liner some amps have to protect the cab from getting scraped up.

 

* No grill on the front: damn if I want punctured woofers.

 

Maybe the M-Audio's are designed differently ... but I've realized just transporting the Event's the few times I have how careful one has to be, and that wasn't even to/from a live gig.

 

Of course, if money's an issue, you have what you have. And with those, you will probably get better sound than with some powered Mackie SRM350/450 speakers or JBL EONs. Those would be the only other thing I'd consider in your case (I use keyboard combo amps, best-sounding ones I could find, but I think they are "compressed" and contoured to cut thru in a band situation -- which is what I need to do -- at the expense of truer sound). They are expensive tho.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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Hi Geekgurl,

 

I have the same concerns about subjecting them to probable abuse. I wish optional grills were a standard accessory. M-Audio are you listening??

 

I have a carpenter neighbour who'd be only too happy to make me a box to hold both monitors. Transport's not a problem. So as long as they were secured to stands I wouldn't worry about them getting kicked in on the job. Maybe knocked over. Who knows.

 

I have used JBL Eons. I'm not crazy about any 2-way PA speakers, but what can you do. I"m less crazy about hauling around 3-way.

 

Money is no object. If you knew my lifestyle, you'd laugh, but I realize that a good keyboard is only half the battle.

 

Thanks for your thoughts!

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Originally posted by wantpromega3:

I'm not trying to be a smartass, but what is there to mix? A violin is a violin, a flute is a flute, a singer is .. well that's anybody's guess... Wouldn't my money be better spent on a good mic? I'm more likely to equate the quality of sound with the skill of the soloist. The keyboard has a separate input control, which I assume is just volume, but what else need I concern myself with?

 

The other thing that I'm curious about, is taking a brilliant signal and compromising it with additional cables in and out of an "affordable" mixer. It's bad enough having to run a "good to 40 below" extension cord, no? ;)

I guess my point was, what are you to do when you have a violin, flute and singer all at the same time? Of course I may be way off, but I'll be willing to bet that the a $99 mixer will use better inputs/preamps than your keyboard.

 

Then again, if you're doing "acoustic" gigs, wouldn't the natural volume of the violin or flute be enough? Just keep the level of your keyboard low enough to replicate "natural" volumes.

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Did I miss something or are you thinking of running them back off the monitor mix on the PA for stage monitor use? Or are you going to power them with a stereo amplifier on stage? That's a major consideration because then you're into taking a stereo system on a gig (in effect) with all its cumbersome details.

 

For a while, I was using Yamaha MS-5 powered monitors in a little coffee shop job. I was looking for the same high fidelity stereo I had at home with them. They actually worked pretty well - and got me toying with a similar idea to yours, about putting them together for transport, or fitting them into a cabinet similar to the wedge-front to pan out the stereo effect.

 

Then I found the KP-200S - went with that because it has a 2 channel stereo amp onboard and a bunch of versitily stage-friendly features. But it's really not the high fidelity sound I truly love thru a good stereo system at home.

 

Enter the AER Compact 60. The answer. The most hi-fi (mono seems to make little difference in the superb reproduction of acoustic sound - but it's still in the honeymoon phase). I am using it almost all the time in a small room gig, or on stage as a pre-out to a PA system. The AER is extremely compact, lighweight, and simply the most astounding volume and fidelity for keyboard reproduction I have ever heard. Only problem - it's pricy, but there are folks around buying two and running them in stereo.

 

I have to say though, I'm not missing the stereo sound with this amp. If you can find one of these, do yourself a favor and try it out.

 

And you know what? If it's really all about you (like it is with most of us), you could always use in-ears for breathtaking stereo monitoring anyway.

____________________________________
Rod

Here for the gear.

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Originally posted by dabowsa:

what are you to do when you have a violin, flute and singer all at the same time?

:D that's a good question. I'd bet on the singer. I'd also bet nobody hires us.

No no, you make a good point. I suppose in that case, I'd be screwed. Hey, you know more about this than I do. Mixers instill the same fear in me as midi. Blinking lights and a million wires. I'm just not ready!!

 

Of course I may be way off, but I'll be willing to bet that the a $99 mixer will use better inputs/preamps than your keyboard.
you mean like my keyboard isn't perfect?!?!??!? Is yours?

 

Then again, if you're doing "acoustic" gigs, wouldn't the natural volume of the violin or flute be enough? Just keep the level of your keyboard low enough to replicate "natural" volumes.
Yes, in most cases the instrumentalist is un-mic'd. I just think down the road I might like to get fancy. Maybe it's gear lust, a natural consequence of hanging around here. :rolleyes:

 

..look at those quotes...impressive.

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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RE: Drawback

 

no amps please, no preamps, no single source keyboard amps, and definitely no guitar amps. That narrows down my search quite a bit.

 

However, if you say you get an incredibly realistic piano sound using the AER60, then I owe it to myself to check it out.

 

Thanks for the advice, I welcome all testimonials. But you make me wonder if you work in music retail? No offense :confused:

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Drawback, that's a good answer. Hahah.

 

Isn't it interesting, that nobody in their right mind would choose to settle for anything less than optimal performance, and yet that means something different for every one of us. I don't presume that I'm any fussier than the next guy. Glad you found what you were looking for. Hope one day soon I'll be able to say the same. ;)

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Originally posted by c4:

what about 2 bose L1 speakers? It would run you around 4 k but if money is no object well....

I'm curious about those! Has anybody heard them? I love the idea of 360 degree projection. Now we're talking.

 

There's also a weird flat panel "speaker" that looks like a flimsy screen, I forget who makes it. Total weight about 5 lbs or something ridiculous. Fascinating.

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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I've been playing my Yamaha S90 through a pair of Samson Resolv 80a powered nearfield monitors. I intended them just for home studio use, but recently played a small room with a jazz quartet.

 

With 100 watts of bi-amped power per cabinet (25w tweeter, 75w woofer), I was able to produce clean sound at a very acceptable volume. I built custom grills to protect the woofers and tweeters. The cabinets are very solid and have rounded corners and a flat black finish, so I'm not too concerned about damaging them.

 

The gear sluts might thumb their nose at me since they're not Yamahas or Mackies, but they provide very good sound, are backed by a three year warranty, and at $379 for the pair, are a terrific value imo. :cool:

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Before I can walk in and ask to listen to Bose, somebody's gotta teach me how to pronounce it. Bows? Bozie? Boss? Boos?

 

88keys4me where did you find a piece of grill to cover the entire face of your speaker? I could be convinced to go that route and save (and save and save) until I could afford the Bose (if they are in fact that natural sounding and clear from anywhere in the playing field.)

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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I had a Bose PAS system and got rid of it. I did not like the sound for digital piano, it was thin, yes I had the Bose subwoofer.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find 700 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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If money is no object, than you want MEYER SOUND powered speakers. They come in 12", 10" and even 8" cabinets. They are the finest in the world.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find 700 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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Originally posted by Jazz+:

If money is no object, than you want MEYER SOUND powered speakers. They come in 12", 10" and even 8" cabinets. They are the finest in the world.

Ok, I better clarify. I'm willing to spend up to the price of the keyboard itself.

 

It's a funny thing, buying merchandise. You acquire loyalties along the way that colour your preferences. For example, when I was a kid, my dad wanted a Rolex, and therefore so did I. Still do. No good reason.

 

I'm hooked on M-Audio. So, they're the best for me.

 

As far as PA speakers go, I'm open-minded (up to 3k, absolute limit :cool: )

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Before I can walk in and ask to listen to Bose, somebody's gotta teach me how to pronounce it.
say "bow" (like bow and arrow) and then make it plural like "bows and arrows" and that's how BOSE is pronounced. as far as I've ever heard it pronounced that is.

"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."

-- Ernie Stires, composer

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thankyou mound! Nothing like misprounciation as a dead giveaway that you don't know what you're [i'm] talking about. (add to that the GEM keyboard and it's hard getting a salesman to take me seriously)

 

[and nothing like a forum to leave you wondering how you're - read I'm - being read] :rolleyes:

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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One Bose L1 does not cut it for digital pianos because of the stereo issue. But I can tell you that 2 of them are heaven. 2 makes all the difference in the world and you probably don't even need to go through the main system unless you are playing for a huge crowd.

 

Having said that, with my other gig I use a pair of EV near fields. They have and 8" and a little horn and are very road-worthy. I drive them with a 150 stereo Carvin amp which only weighs about 2 or 3 pounds. On smaller gigs I use a pair of Mike stand-mounted Carvins that work well, although they don't have the bottom end of the EVs.

 

That band is 6 piece and we do a lot of outdoor concerts and the EVs have always been sufficient. I use a Mackie 1604 because I play a bunch of other instruments besides keys. But when I do piano gigs I run the piano direct in the amp and it works fine. Of course I can Eq on-board with my Triton, but I seldom have to make any adjustments.

 

The EV's were around 400 for the pair and the Carvin amp is 250. That's a pretty inexpensive stage rig and is a workhorse.

 

You would want to have the house system feed you a wedge for the drums and bass though. Those little near fields won't take that kind of abuse.

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Are you using 2 L1s plus the sub? Some of those Cathedral Organs on the PM3 really shake the floor.

 

I couldn't find EV near-field monitors. Found floor monitors with this to say ..."The Eliminator Monitor, like all other vented systems, experiences rapidly in-creasing cone excursion below the box-tuning frequency, while the acoustic out-put decreases rapidly. Therefore, to protect the Eliminator Monitor and maximize the power output of the system, it is necessary to insert an active 45- to 80-Hz high-pass filter into the circuit. The filter should have a slope of at least 12 dB per octave."

 

ok, tell me quick that's not what you're recommending :eek: because I don't know as I'm capable of inserting a filter or setting a slope.

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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BTW, if I could buy monitors based on looks alone, (and I'm a girl, I suppose I could do that) it would be KRK for sure. I'm really really attracted to those yellow cones.
"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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One of the biggest drawbacks of a conventional PA speaker is that the horn assembly - the part that is connected to the compression driver used for the higher frequencies - produces a honk. It is anything but flat.

 

Compare that to studio monitors. Many, if not most, studio monitors use dome tweeters. A few use horn assemblies. JBL comes to mind; among others. In most cases, any type of tweeter design is going to sound better than one that uses a standard horn assembly. Obviously, some are better than others.

 

When I first heard the EAW FR153 speakers I was astounded at how smooth the high frequencies sounded. One of the reasons was that instead of using a compression driver and horn assembly, the earlier models used a dome tweeter and a wave guide plate. They sounded much more like studio monitors than most PA speakers I was familiar with. The current models use a compression driver with a wave guide.

 

http://www.eaw.com/images/products/FR153z.jpg

 

I don't work for EAW, nor do I endorse them. But I think that the FR153 speakers sound great, and one of the primary reasons that they do is that they are designed without a horn. They are designed to be used in nearfield applications. Without a horn assemby, they don't throw the high frequencies out very far. But for reproducing piano programs, they are some of the smoothest-sounding PA speakers I have heard.

 

Some horn designs are better than others. Manufacturers are certainly making them sound better now than in previous years. For a PA speaker you need a tweeter that is efficient and loud, while at the same time it must be strong enough to handle a lot of power, including distorted signals, without failing. Small studio monitors may sound great in a small room, but they can't hold up to the demands of live sound, especially SPL peaks. If you want to use a small pair of studio monitors in a live setting - like a coffee house - where you KNOW that you will never get too much louder than conversation volume, you might be OK. Otherwise, the safe thing to do is to use a speaker that is made specifically for live sound purposes.

 

Here is more information on the EAW FR153z.

 

Is There Gas In The Car? :cool:

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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