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Roland CM30 cube monitors revisited


Napster

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About a year ago these monitors were recommended to me by a Sweetwater salesman for use at small venues like coffee houses. I bought something else for home use, but I am ready to begin gigging again playing solo at a small restaurant. The only customer reviews I have been able to find were not by keyboardists and I was wondering if anyone has tried a couple of these on a small gig. The stores near me don't handle them, so I can't try them out. I was hoping that these could do the job considering their price.
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I've got one which I use for my keyboards when on vacation and in extremely small venues. I've also used it when gigging with a small quire.

 

It's not loud enough even for rehearsal using live drums in a more rock setting.

 

If I were you I would go for a KC350 or 550 instead which is bigger but also got a fuller sound.

 

/Fredrik

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fjzingo,

Thanks for your reply. I'm an older guy that plays mostly standards and some jazz. I don't need much volume for solo work and when I play with a trio, I use the drummer/singer's PA system. I was wondering if using two of these for stereo would do a keyboard justice concerning sound quality, rather than volume in small venues.

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I think they are ok for very small venues playing, possibly a bit weak if it's a talking audience. I've tried them together with p90, p120 , rhodes mark 1 and nord electro. Compared to the KC350 I think they lack mid range and bottom(not so strange thinking of their size). I think the kc350 is also more well defined.

Sound quality whise they are ok for the p90 and added a bit to the p120 sound when they were used together with the internal speakers. But they don't even come close to for example my cheap tannoy active speakers in my studio. For rhodes they are useless. I would definitely try them before I by them, the taste for piano sound is so personal.

 

/fred

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At one point I was thinking of getting one to use as a personal monitor but it really couldn't get loud enough low enough - they are very easy to bottom out with the left hand. For their size they work well, but if you play left hand bass they won't cut it
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I've heard 30 or 40 watt amps that are plenty loud for these kinds of venues, sometimes way too loud.

 

If there is a problem with an amp like this is that one 6" speaker just can't get enough air moving to keep up. From a physics perspective there isn't enough area on a speaker that size for the range of sound going in. I have seen situations where someone has taken an amp like this and used an external cabinet with a pair of decent 12" speakers and had a dramatic difference in volume.

 

John

GP sacred cow of the year: Jimmy Vaughan
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I have a Kawai ES4 with internal speakers and I was hoping these would do the job, but you all have made good points, especially about splitting the keyboard with a left hand bass. As usual, it probably is the case of you get what you pay for. I guess the only way for me to know would be to get them and ship them back if they didn't cut it. I have back and neck issues, so I was looking for something light that was meant to be transported. However, if they take a good digital piano, and make it sound like a toy, I wouldn't be able to tolerate that.
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Check out this article from Fletcher at Mercenary Audio that explains how to match up amplifier power with various speakers.

 

CLONK HERE

 

The takeaway here is that it's better to have more power than less, as speakers overheat and are weakened or destroyed by distortion components generated when a power amp clips.

 

When playing solo piano gigs with an electronic keyboard, you've got to have a clean, clear sound with dynamics and a broad, smooth frequency response, even at low volumes. Piano music involves lots of soft and loud passages. If your sound system compresses those dynamics, you'll sound much less realistic. Any emotion that you put in your performance will be quashed.

 

I realize I'm repeating myself. But you can get a 13 lb. QSC power amp and a couple of small speakers and sound so much better than with one Roland CM30 cube monitor. Why sacrifice your reputation as a musician on a keyboard amplifer that doesn't deliver what you're trying so hard to communicate?

 

We talk often about various keyboards and the quality of softsynths on this forum costing thousands of dollars, but it's rare that anyone wants to admit that amplifier and quality speakers are just as important to achieve a realistic sound when playing solo (or in a trio) in a small room. Again, it's not about sustained loudness. It's all about dynamics.

 

Other guys buy golf clubs and boats. They pour lots of money into this stuff. If, like me, you put your money into sounding good onstage, don't buy a great-sounding keyboard only to wimp out on your amp & speakers.

 

Tom

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Back and neck problems are very real concerns too.

 

In addition to investing in a quality amp/speaker as recommended, also get a dolly to transport your equipment. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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C Why sacrifice your reputation as a musician on a keyboard amplifer that doesn't deliver what you're trying so hard to communicate?

 

Yes, but if the tiny amp works for you, its really cool to have a small footprint and still sound good. I have seen acoustic duos (guitar/harmonica) play a room through one of these and sound real good. But a guitar doesn't have the bass of a piano because the sounding board is smaller.
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Thanks again for everyone's replies. I had a mono keyboard amp that didn't get the sound I wanted and so I thought maybe using 2 of these for the stereo factor would possibly get the job done in a small room and not cause more back problems. I figured the small 6" speakers would be a problem since I use mostly acoustic piano, acoustic bass, and layered piano/strings sounds from my ES4, but I thought it was worth a shot to find out if anyone had actually tried using 2 of them with a digital piano similar to mine. I have retired and unretired 3 times because I am addicted to playing, and I am trying to find some way to keep playing. I really appreciate your advice.
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Originally posted by Napster:

I have retired and unretired 3 times because I am addicted to playing, and I am trying to find some way to keep playing.

I'm recently back to playing after being away from live music for a long time. I'm equally amazed at how far technology has come in 15 or 20 years, and how far it really hasn't changed in some areas. I agree with Tom that you probably have more options than just a second amp with a small speaker and the big backbreakers. Keep looking, if you can't get your hands on the hardware then at least check out the user reviews on harmony-central.com, etc. You can learn a lot from others experiences.

 

Oh, and +1 on "finding a way to keep playing". :D

 

John

GP sacred cow of the year: Jimmy Vaughan
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Well, aside from the advice from everyone on this forum, the fact is that I haven't found 1 person on this or other sites that have said that using 2 of these would be a great idea for any kind of gig. I guess that tells me something right there! I guess I stuck with this idea because of the the advice from the Sweetwater guy who has given me good advice in the past. I think however he knew I needed something light and not too expensive. So I guess it's time for me to start searching for something more expensive that will give me a good sound and still not be a backbreaker, but that would be a new topic. ( By the way, I now know that I need to do a search before posting a new topic)
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Here's another take.

 

You have one, another one would be $175, and Sweetwater has a 30 day +/- return policy (less shipping). They recommended it, maybe give them a chance for you to try it in the real world.

 

Then you could report back if we were wrong about them.

 

John

GP sacred cow of the year: Jimmy Vaughan
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b3,

 

Maybe I miscommunicated in one of my posts, but I don't have one. I had a Peavey keyboard amp which I sold. The only thing I have right now is the Kawai ES4 with onboard speakers, which are good for practicing only. Three years ago I had a Peavey PA head with 2 fifteen inch passive speakers. I sold those when my back and neck issues became a real problem. At this point, I need something for solo work in small venues as I don't play in a band anymore. Buying 2 and sending them back is an option, but I feel now that if these things were so great, the word would have gotten around by now. I know a common goal for most folks is to find the best sound with the least weight to cart around.

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While I am not a fan of 8" speakers, considering your health issues, check out the Yamaha MSR100. It only weighs 24 lbs.

 

Also, there are the following self-contained PAs:

 

Passport 250

 

STAGEPAS 300

 

As Byrdman suggested, look at a subwoofer too. Paired up with one of these suggestions, you might be cooking with gas. Good luck. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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those mackies look extremely interesting. I've been looking for a more portable version of my 2 x 200W Active Wharfedaleo monitors.

 

The specs really shine. However, how could you arrange 2 of them (for stereo) so that it was cosmetically pleasing? With the mixer on the right side of the front you'll never be able to get it symetrical. ok, a minor point but nevertheless you have to look at the things every day if you use them for your home rig.

hang out with me at woody piano shack
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Originally posted by konaboy:

those mackies look extremely interesting. I've been looking for a more portable version of my 2 x 200W Active Wharfedaleo monitors.

 

The specs really shine. However, how could you arrange 2 of them (for stereo) so that it was cosmetically pleasing? With the mixer on the right side of the front you'll never be able to get it symetrical. ok, a minor point but nevertheless you have to look at the things every day if you use them for your home rig.

Ha! Well I'm glad that I'm not in the business of selling them! But to answer your question, how about getting some speaker grill cloth and making little matching bags or "socks" for them?

 

Hmmmm...... You know, if I did this, I'd make a third "sock" for my head!

 

This would be very symmetrical. And I wouldn't have to worry about combing my hair!

 

Like I said, I'm glad that I'm not selling these things!

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Thanks for the suggestions. The STAGEPAS 300 and the new Mackie looks really interesting for my purposes. I wonder what the price for the Mackie is? I googled it but came up with no information concerning the price. I assume it has just been introduced. If the Mackie could handle a digital piano and was reasonably priced, I would get two for stereo. So far, my ES4 has not sounded good through any mono amplification that I have tried.
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I read a review of the Yamaha StagePass 300 (Keyboard Player, UK) and there is one drawback. It seems there is a global reverb setting and each channel has just an on\off switch for that reverb. If it's just you going through the system it wouldn't appear to be a major issue though.

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 love Mackie's mixers.

 

But I learned long ago not to trust what you read in an advertisement.

 

That goes for just about anybody's advertisement; not just Mackie's.

 

And I don't trust a single magazine review. I need to read three or more reviews to get a fair idea of what the product is about.

 

Even then, it's best to continue to be cynical.

 

There's only one way to judge a speaker system - listen to it and compare it to others in its class with CDs, your own keyboard, or other sources that you're familiar with. They all sound different. It's not Rocket Surgery. :rolleyes:;)

 

Napster, take my advice or leave it. However, if you need something light and portable that can still make you sound good, your best bet is separates. Get a separate power amp and then audition small, lightweight speakers until you find some that fit your needs.

 

With that said, I'm still recommending the QSC PLX1804 amplifier at 13 pounds matched with a pair of JBL MRX512M at 33 pounds each.

 

Whatever you decide, good luck. :thu:

 

Tom

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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I own one Roland CM30 Cube. While it makes a pretty hand monitor for keys or voice when set close to your head even 2 of these would not work well as your main amplification. I tried using it a couple times on a cocktail hour with my Roland RD300SX as if I had a digital piano with built in speakers. It worked ok once at a smaller quiter party but another time in a larger room and then once again outside on a deck, it did not cut it.

 

If you want to go a step up from them why not 2 used Roland KC 60 amps from Ebay. There's tons of them listed and you could probably end up getting both for around 300.00

 

If you can spend more and want stereo check out the Yamah StagePass 300 or the Motion Sound KP100S. I have the KP200S. I love it but it's heavy. Ewall

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Well, as it turns out, I have more time than I thought to find something as the restaurant gig I thought I could get went down the drain. I have a GC and a Sam Ash store relatively close to me so I can investigate the suggestions that you guys have given to me. As I said, I really appreciate your help. I know you all understand the passion for playing and why I keep searching for solutions to be able to continue even with physical problems. If nothing else, it has been very helpful just to communicate with all of you.
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I'm a little late to this thread .... Spend more money than you have to and buy a great sound system.

 

I learned my lesson many years ago. I bought a cheap guitar amp that actually blew up on a job. Buy a power amp and passive speakers (like Tom suggested) or buy powered speakers.

 

You can always get money back for your sound system when you are the guy supplying the sound for the rest of the band - you simply ask for more money. I use the same set up whether it's just me or a four piece group with a singer. I always sound great and the singer always sounds great.

 

Don't go cheap on a sound sytem - that's the final link between you and your audience; spend more and make it a one time purchase.

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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Dave,

 

I can appreciate what you are saying about not compromising on a sound system. I have been gigging since the mid 80's with keyboards starting with a Kurzweil K1000 and always went through a PA head and fifteen inch speakers. Now with this chronic back and neck issue, I need to compromise in terms of weight. So now my quest is to find a system that will not make my Kawai sound cheesy, but yet is light and transportable. My reason for this thread is I didn't know if that was a realistic expectation. Now with the suggestions from everyone, I can start shopping with some idea of what to look for. I respect the opinions of folks on this forum alot more than salespeople I have run into lately at either my local GC or Sam Ash.

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Napster,

 

Sorry to hear about your back and neck problems. I also have back problems and have been religiously doing exercises just about every day to avoid future problems. I of course can not speak about your problem but exercise has helped me and I have no intention of stopping my daily routine.

 

Regarding a sound system - I bet that new Bose system is light enough for you to consider. I still use those Bose 802s and they are quite manageable.

 

I'm 56. If I reach a point where I can no longer move my own sound equipment, I'll simply pay some kid to move it for me. (Of course I'll charge the folks hiring me extra money to compensate for the moving expenses. ;) )

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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