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Stereo Keyboard Amplification


Cliffk

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Yay, I've finally got sanction from my wife to go out and get an amp system :thu: , so I'm rushing out tomorrow before she changes her mind. The thing is, I've read many of the previous posts concerning choosing a suitable amp and I have some idea about what I'm going to check out, but I just wanted to get some last-minute informed opinions.

 

Firstly, are there any new developments in the amp field - I mean, what are the latest, 'good' products out there? I'm looking preferably for stereo sound, so either a pair of Roland KC-550s or a Motion-Sound KP200s seem to be the way to go. Also, does anybody have experience of the Laney CK165 amp?

 

I'm going to be doing solo gigs in small to medium sized rooms, and need at least 4 channels. Finally, my budget is £400 (slightly over $700).

 

Thanks in advance.

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Bought my Motion Sound KP200S almost three years ago. Bought the custom cover for it from Larry LeCover. Couldn't be happier with the setup.

 

I have used a Ketron XD3 arranger through it, a Fantom XR through it, my Technics digital piano through it, and my acoustic accordion. Plenty of power for everything and the stereo separation is a blast.

 

The thing is built like a tank, too. I love not having to have a mixer and using the built-in EQ.

 

The ONLY drawback I have with it is that it is cumbersome. It has a weird center of gravity and shape that makes lugging it around awkward for me. I use a rolling cart that helps but I still have to carry it up small steps sometimes or move it into my closet, etc. It's a pain. Literally.

 

The organ sounds on my Technics aren't state of the art by any means but they are simply overpowering on the 200S. They rattle my office windows and sound very deep.

 

Your mileage may vary. I am a solo act and never have to cut through a mix and I never turn it up past about 6.

 

I do wish it went up to 11, however.

 

TommyBoy

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I have found that the world of PA systems (vs keyboard amps) makes sense if one is interested in digital pianos. Stereo is essential for many piano sound (I am using a P120), and I am basically satisfied with my system: Yamaha BR12 + EMX68S.

 

It is a bit much to carry around, though, especially for

smaller venues. Anyone have experience with the

Yamaha Stagepas system?

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+1 on the Motion Sound KP-200s. Never a gig goes by that I'm not thankful I made the right choice with this amp. I also own the KP-100s for smaller gigs. And before the powered-speaker-diehards chime in - I also own a pair of powered JBL EON's which sound terrific, especially if you slave them off the KP-200s... :)
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Originally posted by The Pro:

+1 on the Motion Sound KP-200s. Never a gig goes by that I'm not thankful I made the right choice with this amp. I also own the KP-100s for smaller gigs. And before the powered-speaker-diehards chime in - I also own a pair of powered JBL EON's which sound terrific, especially if you slave them off the KP-200s... :)

Hey Pro,

 

If you had to choose between your powered speakers and the motionsound Kp-200s, which one would you choose and why?

 

aL

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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Originally posted by Music*aL:

Originally posted by The Pro:

+1 on the Motion Sound KP-200s. Never a gig goes by that I'm not thankful I made the right choice with this amp. I also own the KP-100s for smaller gigs. And before the powered-speaker-diehards chime in - I also own a pair of powered JBL EON's which sound terrific, especially if you slave them off the KP-200s... :)

Hey Pro,

 

If you had to choose between your powered speakers and the motionsound Kp-200s, which one would you choose and why?

 

aL

Well I actually own both, and using both is a blast (I play solo 98% of the time). But far more often I use just the KP-200s because it's drop-dead simple to carry in a one-piece amp, plug in and start playing with no knob-fiddling required. Setup with powered speakers requires more cartage (stuff); more cables, more power connections, speaker stands, and more time to change the settings to suit the room. Less work with the KP-200s. Also when playing with bands the KP-200s provides the direct lo-z outputs for the FOH sound system, and you can use that handy "click input" for the vocal monitor return so the KP-200s can do double-duty as a keyboard and vocal monitor.

 

Another reason I like the KP-200s is that it has a "stereo enhancer" (re: stereo phase invertor) that makes the sound seem to come from everywhere, and the effect carries all over the room. This isn't something you get with your regular PA system, although you could buy a separate effect unit and get similar results.

 

Bottom line is the like the way the KP-200s makes my keyboards sound and the time and worry they save me. They are built like tanks too... I see mine lasting for a long time.

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Originally posted by cliffk:

Yay, I've finally got sanction from my wife to go out and get an amp system . . . .

WHIPPED !

 

I've had a KP200s for about 2 years now and it's been a big disappointment. For one thing there is just no way to achieve a true stereo separation with two speakers coming from essentially the same point. Worse, my P120 sounds awful through it. The piano actually sounds better coming from it's little speakers. The KP200s just doesn't have good fidelity. I'm still looking for something to replace it. I will probably go with a pair of EON 10s. I've heard lots of good reports about them in the Electro forum. The ffact that the stereo separation will be better is a no brainer. The good points of the KP200s are that it's a simple to operate, all in one package and it's loud enough.

I'd rather have good fidelity.

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Originally posted by Steve in KS:

Originally posted by cliffk:

Yay, I've finally got sanction from my wife to go out and get an amp system . . . .

WHIPPED !

 

I've had a KP200s for about 2 years now and it's been a big disappointment. For one thing there is just no way to achieve a true stereo separation with two speakers coming from essentially the same point. Worse, my P120 sounds awful through it. The piano actually sounds better coming from it's little speakers. The KP200s just doesn't have good fidelity. I'm still looking for something to replace it. I will probably go with a pair of EON 10s. I've heard lots of good reports about them in the Electro forum. The ffact that the stereo separation will be better is a no brainer. The good points of the KP200s are that it's a simple to operate, all in one package and it's loud enough.

I'd rather have good fidelity.

Wow, Steve! I have had the absolute opposite experience. Weird thing is that I have heard other users say that there was no "true" stereo separation either so you are not alone.

 

I will have an Electro 2 in about two weeks and let you know what I think. I do know that my crappy Technics organ ROCKS through the KP200S. Although admittedly, I might not know what rocking really is.

 

TommyBoy

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OK, here are my top three powered speakers:

 

1. JBL EON 15 G2 $700

Clonk Here

 

2. Mackie SRM 450 $700

Clonk Here

 

3. Mackie SA 1521 $800

Clonk Here

 

I wouldn't complain using any of these.

 

Comments?

 

What else is out there that sounds better for $700 - $800?

 

Frankly, I'd like to have a routing switch to send the output of my PC2X in B3 mode to a real Leslie.

 

I'd have the powered speakers for piano sounds & then switch to the Leslie for organ sounds.

 

What's wrong with that?

 

The only thing better is a nice 3-way speaker and a power amp that won't give out. I like my eaw fr153. They sound like stuio monitors, but are PA speakers. They can handle up to 500 watts at 8 ohms continuous power. So, the rule of thumb is to get a power amp that can do not 500 Watts, but a lot more, so it never goes into clipping.

 

I don't need that much power. My Hafler XL280 does just 145 Watts of clean MOSFET power. When it does distort, it sounds like tubes with more even-order than odd-order harmonics. It's very sweet.

 

For me, the ideal is to find some great-sounding speakers and, if they're not active speakers, get a decent power amp.

 

My point is that I really don't think you can do better than having a real Leslie at your side, plus some good-sounding stationary speakers for piano and sounds that don't need the Leslie effect.

 

Just my $50.... (inflation) :rolleyes:

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Originally posted by Steve in KS:

Originally posted by cliffk:

Yay, I've finally got sanction from my wife to go out and get an amp system . . . .

WHIPPED !

 

I've had a KP200s for about 2 years now and it's been a big disappointment. For one thing there is just no way to achieve a true stereo separation with two speakers coming from essentially the same point. Worse, my P120 sounds awful through it. The piano actually sounds better coming from it's little speakers. The KP200s just doesn't have good fidelity. I'm still looking for something to replace it. I will probably go with a pair of EON 10s. I've heard lots of good reports about them in the Electro forum. The ffact that the stereo separation will be better is a no brainer. The good points of the KP200s are that it's a simple to operate, all in one package and it's loud enough.

I'd rather have good fidelity.

I've owned mine for over two years, and it's well.... just ok. It's fine for small to small/medium venues, but if you ask it to really put out, it craps out quickly, and the sound is ugly when it hits its limit. The damn thing is pretty heavy too, despite its size and only having 100 watts per channel. Probably has a lot to do with the particle board used in the cabinet construction. They should spend the extra money and use real plywood like the quality manufacturers use.

 

The fidelity is ... well... just OK. Sometimes it sounds pretty good (in small clubs), but overall... I'll give it a B-. Both of the bands I play in use the P.A. strictly for vocals, so at times, our stage volume needs to be at a pretty aggressive volume. I just don't understand keyboard amp manufacturers. When will they realize that keyboards require significant watts and speakers that can take it? Keyboards can elicit very 'spikey' volumes within a wide frequency range - so the amps and speakers need the headroom to take it without crapping out.

 

My Barbetta amp cranks compared to the KP200S. Plus, it is extremely light for its sound and power, but it's only mono which is a huge drawback.

 

I'd probably go for the 10" Eons, or what tonysounds posted above. The ideal keyboard amp for me would be a stereo amp *like* the KP200S, but with Barbetta-like weight, sound quality and volume, with (4) 10's and two tweeters. 400 watts RMS per channel minimum.

 

For larger gigs where we're either playing outdoors, or a large indoor room, I use a Crown 1000 watt per channel amp with (2) Avatar bass cabinets that have 2 10's and a horn in each. That combo rocks, but it's a pain in the ass to move, load and set up.

 

my $.01

 

guz

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If I had to it all over I would have bought powered speakers and perhaps just bring along a mixer (with reverb) for singers. I use two Bose 802s and a rack case with an amp, mixer, reverb, power conditioner, etc., etc.

 

Just using powered speakers really seems the best way to go.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I use two Mackie SRM350's (not the first run models with the buzzing problem), and I really can't fined anything that might work better for my purposes. I play in a blues/rock band, and most of the time we run everything through the house PA.

 

The Mackies are light in weight, loud enough for stage volume (or small clubs), and my S90/VK8m set up sounds good through them. I use them on tripod stands, which makes for more to haul around and set up, but the overall sound is better if I go through the trouble.

 

I recently used them at a blues fest in Madison, Wi, on an outdoor stage, and even though the two guitars were cranked up more than usual, they worked just fine. We had the option of running the keys through the monitors with the vocals, but didn't need to do do this.

 

Though they work fine, I'm always looking for something better, so I always read the posts on keyboard amplication. I'd really like to try out some Electro Voice SXa360's sometime. They are about 10 pounds heavier, twice as powerful, and really expensive, so I don't know if I'd buy them even if they sounded great.

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The horse is dead, but I beat him anyway... ;)

 

Small speakers.

 

I just can't get over NOT having a strong foundation. I need bass.

 

I'm talking about playing solo or where I use my amplification instead of sending a signal to a PA system.

 

OK, I'm not planning on stepping all over the bass player's toes. But in a jazz trio for instance, piano/bass/drums, where there's minimal amplification, I want a piano that has enough bass to sound convincing. That means a woofer bigger than 10 inches.

 

I'm thinking that it's best to use the G2 or SRM450, or smaller speakers and a sub to sound OK.

 

I'd like to carry the sound of my studio monitors to the gig. But when I crank 'em up, they won't handle my volume needs. Drummers. :rolleyes: So, I look for a powered speaker that has as sweet of a high/mid response as my studio monitors, but can put out a lot more volume.

 

The word on the street is the SRM450 has a smoother-sounding high/midrange response, but the JBL G2, with its 15" woofer has a deeper low-end. Right? Isn't that what YOU'VE heard?

 

So, for a trio, two of these speakers might sound better than two smaller speakers and a sub.

 

Of course, I'd still like to have a Leslie by my side and switch to it when I use the B3 emulation. :) Who says we shouldn't spoil ourselves? (If only I had a dependable roadie.) :rolleyes:

 

Comments? Rebuttals? Laughter from the back of the room? :rolleyes::P

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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The is another aspect to our sound that people tend to overlook. To me, if my on stage sound is not great, then it effects my playing. Unless I can hear the sound I want I feel like I am not getting that sound across to the audience. I just can't convince myself that the FOH sound is better if I dont hear it that way myself.

For that reason I always go with a personal PA setup and dual power amps. We do a lot of outdoor work so I need the volume to get the right on stage sound I want.

Steve

A Lifetime of Peace, Love and Protest Music

www.rock-xtreme.com

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What ever you do GO STEREO..... I am using the Roland KC500 with a KC300 and it works well. I was about to replace the KC500 with EON G2 10 when I ran across the KC300 cheap.

 

I have put off buying a system for now and will eventually spend the money but I like my sound now.

Jimmy

 

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho

NEW BAND CHECK THEM OUT

www.steveowensandsummertime.com

www.jimmyweaver.com

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I think any keyboard player that gigs alot, and is serious about their sound should seriously look and try the Bose PAS. I've owned one tower and one sub for 18 months now and it's awesome.

 

It is expensive but if you play enough to justify the cost (and you can offset the cost some because you may not be needing some gear you're currently using,) it just might solve alot of these problems.

 

It's very powerful, good clean sound that does not seem to drop off as fast with distance as quickly as conventional speakers. It breaks down into four pieces. 2 towers(16lbs each, the base(35lbs), and the sub(32lbs)

 

Its got 4 channels, two of which are controlled by a remote unit with volume and 3 band eq.

 

I use it for solo piana gigs. Duo, trio band type situations and as a main keyboard amp in bigger band situations.

 

I sometimes us a small Rolls line mixer and an Alesis Microverb with it for the duo, trio band type gigs because we use it as the PA, monitors and keyboard amp, plus many times I'm playing left hand bass!

 

Sometimes when playing with my 5 piece band (classic rock, R and B, Motown)I'll use it for my keys and take a monitor signal off our main board. Then i shoot it kinda sideways across the stage and it's all were using for on-stage monitors. When I do this I send a direct signal to the mains FOH.

 

I guess my point is that it sounds awesome, sinfully easy to carry, set up and tear down, is very versatile and is very expensive.

 

But as I said, after 18 months of use, probably averaging about 10 gigs a month if lost or stolen, I would cry! Then call my insurance guy, because it's covered. lol

 

http://www.bose.com/controller;jsessionid=ABgoSW9pLTDWMN3VmJ6Ra4A7JmQYxiyRVVRjsNa2J1La8227WDFW!1614356927?event=VIEW_PRODUCT_PAGE_EVENT&product=live_music_subcategory&linksource=ri ghtnav_img_products&pageName=/musicians/index.jsp

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I find the bass from my Mackie SRM350's to be fine for my purposes. I rarely play in the lowest half octave on my S90.

 

Consider that some bass amps use 10 inch speakers (though usually 4 of them). And I get whopping bass out my 8 inch monitor speakers. Ever hear Mackie HR824's?

 

I sometimes wonder if I want to replace my SRM350's just because they "look" so small and wimpy sitting up on the stands in the midst of what the rest of band uses for amplication.

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I went back to using my KBR -3D after gigging with a pair of JBLG2-15 Eons this summer . I like both,but sometimes stage space is very limited with an 8 peace band and trying to find room for 2 cabinets is impossible, As long as I can send a feed to the FOH my amp of choice is for my listening pleasure anyway.

However stereo is the only way to go.

If it sounds good to you then it seems you play better.

 

Gary

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Originally posted by Is There Gas in the Car?:

Frankly, I'd like to have a routing switch to send the output of my PC2X in B3 mode to a real Leslie.

 

I'd have the powered speakers for piano sounds & then switch to the Leslie for organ sounds.

 

What's wrong with that?

 

Not a thing! I am doing something very similar. I use an A/B switch to select between organ and other sounds on my PC2X. Since I use a Motion Sound KBR-3D, I can get Leslie sounds and piano sounds out of one unit.

If I wanted to spent more money, I would use the KBR-3D as my Leslie and buy a pair of powered speakers (like the EONS) for the keyboard side or get an organ/module with a killer sim (and I am the type that would rather push air) and just go with two powered speakers.

 

 

There has been some very good points brought up in this thread. I agree with a previous post that the keyboard sound quality of the MS stuff is a B- (but their Leslie sounds are great-IMHO). I got spoiled listening to my keyboards through my studio monitors (or a good set of headphones) and WANT that sound quality on stage. Maybe that is wishfull thinking. It can be done but at what cost or how much gear to set up, etc. I even go so far as to RTA the keyboard side of the KBR through an EQ just to improve the sound quality on stage but this just adds more setup headache. I quess its all about trade-offs. :)

Kurzweil PC3, Hammond SK-1 + Ventilator, Korg Triton. 2 JBL Eon 510's.

 

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Originally posted by pursuitboy:

I went back to using my KBR -3D after gigging with a pair of JBLG2-15 Eons this summer . I like both,but sometimes stage space is very limited with an 8 peace band and trying to find room for 2 cabinets is impossible, As long as I can send a feed to the FOH my amp of choice is for my listening pleasure anyway.

However stereo is the only way to go.

If it sounds good to you then it seems you play better.

 

Gary

That's the ticket. Room is at a premium in many of the restaurants that I play in... one gig has a grand piano and practically no room at all for speakers (I use MP3 backing tracks on a laptop for that gig) so there's just enough room for my little KP-100s on a small amp to the left of the bench stand tilted up towards me, and my client loves the sound.

 

But then there are occasions when I play solo outdoors (got some fall music festivals coming up) and in those situations I use my KP-200s behind me on an amp stand and use it's lo-z direct outputs to send the stereo signal to a pair of powered JBL EON's w/subs on either side of me facing forward. The effect from where I sit to play is a very satisfying quasi-surround-sound.

 

So scalability is also important to consider when investing in a sound system... you want to be able to cover situations large and small. It makes sense to start with something like the KP-100s or KP-200s keyboard amp and then add powered speakers later for total versatility.

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I think that it would be cool if Keyboard Magazine did a review of keyboard amplifiers that incorporated some comparisons using objective data, like freguency response and SPL levels.

 

I see a similar pattern appearing in this forum: Everybody expresses a personal opinion (including me!) that is largely subjective.

 

For example, it seems that most people "hear" more or better bass from 15 inch speakers. I have a Roland 500 keyboard amp, and in a side by side comparison with my Mackie SRM350's (with paltry 10 inch speakers), in my unfortunately subjective opinion, the Mackie's come out slightly better than the Roland.

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Originally posted by Billdar:

For example, it seems that most people "hear" more or better bass from 15 inch speakers. I have a Roland 500 keyboard amp, and in a side by side comparison with my Mackie SRM350's (with paltry 10 inch speakers), in my unfortunately subjective opinion, the Mackie's come out slightly better than the Roland.

Howdy Billdar. :wave:

 

When you compare the Mackie SRM350 with the Roland 500 Keyboard amp, you're comparing apples to oranges.

 

Why, you ask? :rolleyes:

 

Simply because the SRM350 is using TWO amplifiers, one for treble, another for bass. Before getting to the driver, the signal goes through a bit of signal processing.

 

There's some nice variable EQ going on with the SRM350 to guarantee the bass is going to make the most of that little woofer. The woofer is small enough to respond quickly, so it can do a good job of any bass/low-mid transients that come along.

 

The low end also has a limiter tied into the signal to protect the woofer from peaks. This lets you crank it up without the fear of tearing up the woofer. The limiter kicks in before you get that chance.

 

Same for the treble. There's some EQ magic going on there too. Plus, the design of the horn is aided by lots of computer models. With *ITS* own amp, if the bass distorts, you won't hear it in the horn - because, chances are, the peak only existed in the bass and didn't come close to touching the amp driving the treble driver.

 

Long story short, the SRM350, design-wise, has it all over the Roland 500 and its passive speaker/crossover design. Therefore, Mackie gets a lot more out of a 10" woofer by applying intelligent design in the electronics as well as the horn and the cabinet.

 

And because of that, it just sounds better.

 

The Roland's got a 15" woofer. Not bad. But I'm not surprised that you say that the Mackie comes out 'slightly better'.

 

For the fundamentals, a sub is still a nice thing to have in the trunk, should you need to pull it out. :) A cold beer could make a good substitute in a pinch though. :thu:

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