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Keyboard Amplification?

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Keyboard Amplification?

Postby Rich C » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:44 am

Hi,

In the past I have rehearsed keyboards in a band but never got to the point of playing live. I have always used rehearsal studios and plugged my keyboards into the P.A. Now, I have gigs imminent and do not own any amplification. What might be best? The new band I play in have their own rehearsal space, what would be good for rehearsal and also possible use at gigs? Would a floor monitor be useful for rehearsal and possibly stage, or would I be better with something like a Roland KC-350? Would a floor monitor handle synth parts well? I have to keep up with a big bass rig, strong drummer and big guitar amp, the power of which I do not know, just that it is LOUD. Any pointers would be much appreciated.
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby Scramble » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:45 am

Modern monitors are generally better than trad keyboard amps, they're lighter, smaller and sound better (unless you're buying a really good modern keyboard amp, but they cost). Don't get a dedicated floor monitor, though, get a PA (active) speaker that can double as a floor monitor, because then you have two ways you can use it.

>I have to keep up with a big bass rig, strong drummer and big guitar amp, the power of which I do not know, just that it is LOUD. Any pointers would be much appreciated.

Get them to turn down, a loud stage sound makes everything so much more difficult for everyone, as well as risking feedback.
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby Rich C » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:03 am

I know I should get them to turn down... but I think they get over excited and turn up again, and I'm the new guy...

I suppose what I meant was, I am not sure what sort of power amp I should be looking at at all, or will most reasonably powerful units do the job? Would a 12 inch speaker be OK or should I get something with a 15 inch speaker? Do I need something with a subwoofer out? I hadn't thought of a dual P.A./monitor box - that's a useful tip, thanks.

I suppose I had considered a Roland Keyboard amp as it allowed me to mix two synths without needing a little submixer.
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby Scramble » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:14 am

>I suppose what I meant was, I am not sure what sort of power amp I should be looking at at all, or will most reasonably powerful units do the job? Would a 12 inch speaker be OK or should I get something with a 15 inch speaker?

You don't really need a 15" speaker for keyboard monitoring, 10-12 is enough (even 8 might do, I'm thinking of switching to 8). Some keyboardists like 15 because they like to hear plenty of deep bass, but that just gets in the way of the bass guitarist and you get extra bass from the back of the PA anyway, so you don't really need it.

You want at least 150-200W RMS, pref. more (esp. if your band mates play too loud on stage).

>Do I need something with a subwoofer out?

No.

>I suppose I had considered a Roland Keyboard amp as it allowed me to mix two synths without needing a little submixer.

True, but then you can't change the mix in the middle of a song because the amp controls are too far away. (But some monitors come with two inputs if you really do want that.)
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby Rich C » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:05 am

This is really helpful - thanks. Now I know what to look for: relatively small P.A. speaker 200- 300 ish watts.
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby Dave Rowles » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:08 am

Good advice from scramble there!

I'd add you may want to think about getting 2 8 or 10 inch speakers, and then you can have your keys sound in stereo :)
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby Scramble » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:15 am

Some keys players just "have to have" stereo, although I don't -- and having to carry and set up two monitors makes everything more complicated. I'd try one monitor first and see how you go with that.
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:39 am

Best value out there at the moment is probably the Alto Truesonic range, the TS112A and TS110A are £250 and £225 (approx). The TS112A would be my choice, 400 watts RMS, 122dB and two inputs (I'm probably going to buy a couple for foldback cabs in the next couple of weeks). If you want serious volume consider the Yamaha DXR12, just over £500 but 1100 watts and 132dB!
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby dickiefunk » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:21 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Best value out there at the moment is probably the Alto Truesonic range, the TS112A and TS110A are £250 and £225 (approx). The TS112A would be my choice, 400 watts RMS, 122dB and two inputs (I'm probably going to buy a couple for foldback cabs in the next couple of weeks). If you want serious volume consider the Yamaha DXR12, just over £500 but 1100 watts and 132dB!

Yes I have the Alto TS112A for this reason. I use mine as my keyboard amp for small acoustic gigs and it doubles and a great angled monitor for gigs.
I used to use the Roland KC350 and found it quite a lump to lugg around. Also, it isn't angled so you either need to wedge stuff under it or use an angled stand.
When I was thinking about switching over to a PA speaker I was a little concerned I'd be sacrificing audio quality. However, when I heard the Alto next to my KC350 I found it sounded at least as good as a keyboard amp if not better! It has two channels so you can run two keyboards through them which I do all the time. The TS112a also is a LOT lighter than my old KC350!

Another option may be the new EV ZLX12p but I haven't heard these personally.

http://altoproaudio.com/products/ts112a

http://www.electrovoice.com/product.php?id=2583

The Yamaha DXR's would be amazing (I own the DXR15's) but probably overkill!?
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby Rich C » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:37 pm

This is great - I have just been looking at the Alto range before coming back here to ask if they were any good!

Think this might be the way to go: cheap enough to experiment with, without committing lots to something deeply expensive. I don't think I need to have stereo, at least not yet.
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby Rich C » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:39 pm

The Alto has two input connectors - so could I put my main keyboard in one and my second keyboard in the second input, so that I don't necessarily have to get a submixer for just two keyboards?
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby dickiefunk » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:57 pm

Rich C wrote:The Alto has two input connectors - so could I put my main keyboard in one and my second keyboard in the second input, so that I don't necessarily have to get a submixer for just two keyboards?

Yes the Alto has a 2 channel mixer!
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby pag123123 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:48 pm

For keyboard monitoring, I've been using a pair of the little Thomann 8" powered speakers (The Box PA108A) for the last 5 years. Economical, and sound OK for piano/synth monitoring if bass is turned down a bit, and treble up a bit :-) 2x130 watts is mostly enough for the bands I play with (150W bass amp, 50W valve guitar amp, acoustic drums behind perspex screens)
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:22 am

Rich C wrote:This is great - I have just been looking at the Alto range before coming back here to ask if they were any good!

I'm another person that uses those Alto's, for the money they're hard to beat and the sound quality is reasonably good. I have 3 of the 12" versions, they double up as stage monitors and foldback, and occasionally I'll use them as side-fill too so they're really flexible.
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:22 am

Sam Spoons wrote:Best value out there at the moment is probably the Alto Truesonic range, the TS112A and TS110A are £250 and £225 (approx). The TS112A would be my choice, 400 watts RMS, 122dB and two inputs (I'm probably going to buy a couple for foldback cabs in the next couple of weeks). If you want serious volume consider the Yamaha DXR12, just over £500 but 1100 watts and 132dB!

I've done some more research since I posted this and listened to lots of speakers, conclusions here http://www.soundonsound.com/forum/showf ... =1#1052247
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby Scramble » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:26 am

Just remember, if you're on a budget, that you don't need amazing sound quality for your own personal stage monitoring. You just need to hear yourself. FOH is where you want the quality. (But get as good as you can afford, it's nicer having a good monitor, just not vital).
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:34 am

Scramble wrote:Just remember, if you're on a budget, that you don't need amazing sound quality for your own personal stage monitoring. You just need to hear yourself. FOH is where you want the quality. (But get as good as you can afford, it's nicer having a good monitor, just not vital).
Spot-on, that man!
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby James Perrett » Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:03 pm

Scramble wrote:Just remember, if you're on a budget, that you don't need amazing sound quality for your own personal stage monitoring. You just need to hear yourself. FOH is where you want the quality. (But get as good as you can afford, it's nicer having a good monitor, just not vital).

I know one PA guy who uses budget Thomann speakers for monitors. He works with some fairly big names too. His secret is to make sure the monitor mix sounds right to the performers before working on anythng else. It doesn't matter how good your monitor system is, if the person driving it doesn't understand what the performers want.
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby damoore » Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:37 pm

I believe you need to sound good to yourself if you are going to play well. So I would avoid just getting any old thing. I am using a Mackie thump at the moment and am seriously thinking of upgrading to something nicer.

I believe it is much better to have a small mixer on top of your rig where you can get at it rather than relying on a mixer back on your amp. Even a cheap standalone mixer will probably be better quality than the mixer in a typical keyboard amp. It also, with a suitable choice of mixer, allows you to provide a FOH feed via an aux send so you can turn yourself up on stage without turning up your FOH feed.

Keyboard amps tend to be heavy and underpowered compared to modern powered PA speakers, and often don't tilt or pole mount. Its important to have at least one of those options in a stage monitor, especially if you ever play standing up, unless, of course, you are lucky enough to have ears in your knees. You can stick your amp way behind you next to the bass or guitar amp but then without more power than most keyboard amps give you, you won't hear yourself, and if you can hear yourself the bass or guitar player will complain you are too loud.
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Re: Keyboard Amplification?

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:49 pm

James Perrett wrote:
Scramble wrote:Just remember, if you're on a budget, that you don't need amazing sound quality for your own personal stage monitoring. You just need to hear yourself. FOH is where you want the quality. (But get as good as you can afford, it's nicer having a good monitor, just not vital).

I know one PA guy who uses budget Thomann speakers for monitors. He works with some fairly big names too. His secret is to make sure the monitor mix sounds right to the performers before working on anythng else. It doesn't matter how good your monitor system is, if the person driving it doesn't understand what the performers want.

You talking about me?!! :bouncy:

I bought a couple of THESE a few years ago as a temporary stop-gap and for ease of portability. I was surprised at the positive response I got from people who have been performing for years and earn their crust through their music. So much so that I now have four of them. They go surprisingly loud, but remember that I work almost exclusively with acoustic-based acts. That said, a few weeks ago I was working with a full-on synth man who was more than happy - despite me wondering beforehand if the little boxes would cut it.

One band I work with regularly now talk about "Mike and his amazing monitors". I think what they mean is that they have a monitor sound that is easy for them to work with. But then I do take some time getting the balance and EQ right for each performer...

Meanwhile, back at the topic.... (sorry!) :D
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