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Stage keyboard piano sound Studio Monitors
Old 13th July 2018
  #1
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Stage keyboard piano sound

Hi all,

I am mainly a classical and Jazz pianist and I have been reconsidering my live sound system and equipment overall.
Some of my questions and topics that I’ll be asking below have been somewhat discussed in this forum or other forums in the past but wasn’t necessarily directly addressed, or, if they were, it was couple years back. Technology has changed with lots of new good stuff out there. Therefore, I would like your opinions of what’s currently the best sound system for a live keyboard setting.
I am reconsidering my equipment due to a change in budget and also have been using my gear for a little while now and would like to get better quality.

I have a Roland RD300nx 88 and a Behringer K900fx PA/keyboard amp. I practice all the time with headphones at home for getting the highest sound quality. I used mostly the grand piano sound on it to practice and play live. I am aware that it’s close to impossible to have the same sound quality and feel/touch than a nice grand piano on a stage keyboard, but I found that the RD300nx is compensating for that a lot, even though there are better keyboards out there. Maybe worth mentioning that I had a Korg SV1 88 before switching to the RD300nx but found the touch/feel and sound quality not as good than the RD300nx. Also, I’m aware that it’s hard to achieve the sound quality of headphones using a PA system or else. But I would like to aim for the best I can get.

I am thinking in the upcoming month/year to upgrade my keyboard to a the relatively new Nord Stage 3 88 and possibly getting a real upright piano for home practice. With that being said, now we can discuss sound system.
From what I have read my best option is to go with a PA system and buy a pair to run it in stereo. I am not an expert in terms of sound system but I have been disappointed about my sound on stage or live 95% of the time I giged. It’s to a point where my playing is diminished.

I tried recently at guitar center a pair of QSC K10 in stereo, placed on the ground behind me and was surprised by the sound. I’m considering getting them but they have been out there for a while now and even the .2 version came out in 2017 I believe, I’m wondering if there are better speakers on the market, regardless of price (staying reasonable) or whether these are still the high end stuff?

My questions to you are whether K10.2 are still worth getting?
When I play live, it’s in a Jazz quartet/quintet setting, or solo piano Jazz. I recently joined a progressive rock cover band and we usually plug to the house PA, so I could maybe complement with my speakers towards me to hear myself in stereo.

Studio monitors may not provide enough power for my situation.
What do you all think? How can the best live stage sound be achieved for a clean, even, powerful when needed, keyboard (piano sound) and to practice as well as of mid-2018. I know it’s a never ending question but I’m sure you all have experiences and knowledge to share.
Old 13th July 2018
  #2
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You have described two different types of live performance but I assume both will require some sort of sound reinforcement to provide adequate FOH sonic delivery. If your jazz ensemble features back line amps and your needs are for cue monitoring only an in or over the ear system or small speaker will surffice. However in the event you are needing to provide a complete FOH system, something on the order of TT speakers (about 2K each) on poles and either a Ui24r or QUsb deck (APX 1K) will do a good job for you.
I run a Yamaha CP5 through a Digigrid/Waves LV1 to a KV2 speaker system that sounds spectacular however you do not have to spend that much $ to get a great sound!
Hugh
Old 13th July 2018
  #3
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In a jazz ensemble setting, I don’t need to provide sound for everyone. Horns don’t need it usually, bass and guitar have their amps. The Pa would be for just keyboard most of the time.
Old 13th July 2018
  #4
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jaxman12's Avatar
The sounds the keyboards put out these days have a much higher quality and are much more accurate than in the past. Their frequency range is much greater also.
The sound system therefore needs to be as accurate as possible in order to faithfully reproduce those sounds. The QSC K Series is an excellent choice. They cover the entire frequency range very well and sound much more accurate than a lot of other PA systems out there. The QSC equipment is my preferred choice when going Live.

It is disappointing to go to a Live venue and hear the sounds of keyboards sounding muddy.

Last edited by jaxman12; 13th July 2018 at 10:20 PM..
Old 14th July 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxman12 View Post
The sounds the keyboards put out these days have a much higher quality and are much more accurate than in the past. Their frequency range is much greater also.
The sound system therefore needs to be as accurate as possible in order to faithfully reproduce those sounds. The QSC K Series is an excellent choice. They cover the entire frequency range very well and sound much more accurate than a lot of other PA systems out there. The QSC equipment is my preferred choice when going Live.

It is disappointing to go to a Live venue and hear the sounds of keyboards sounding muddy.
It is indeed. Especially knowing that so much better can be obtained.

I'm surprised that the QSC K series are still the best on the market after more than 10 years being around ... granted they released the .2 a year ago. No others?
Old 14th July 2018
  #6
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IMO my yamaha dsr is better and louder. Qsc k is plastic and harsh when pushed.
Old 14th July 2018
  #7
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Two points of interest to be considered;
1. You are describing a FOH system if the amplification is to carry a sufficient db level to be compatible with back line amps. Also jaxman12's comment pursuant to the wide HZ coverage in play with piano is spot on.
2."Best" is a nebulous term and IMO it is a reach to put QSC K gear at that level. Various elements including price, sonic quality, predictable pattern coverage, dependability and tech service are all important and need to be considered. Brands such as Meyer, KV2 and a few others have earned the "best" rating in most of the qualities I have raised except price. Small incremental differences generally produce substantial price inflation.
QSC K gear arguably may well be the best value available: but that alone does not put them in the "Best" category.
Hugh
Old 16th July 2018
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1jordyzzz View Post
IMO my yamaha dsr is better and louder. Qsc k is plastic and harsh when pushed.
The 10" of the QSC K series is what I would be looking at. The 12" will probably be too much for what I'm doing. Wouldn't that therefore put the Yamaha DSR112 out of question? Maybe the DXR10 would be more of what I'm looking at?
Old 16th July 2018
  #9
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whether a keyboard is getting played solo or in a band, i like it to go through a combo/active speaker for monitoring purposes under the control of the musician (as with bass and guitar combos/stacks).

i'm having great success using bass combos (if they have a hf tweeter or horn) or any active speaker that goes low enough to reproduce the left hand.

compare and chose what suits your needs best - maybe you have some money left for a decent pair of (passive) di's if you just rent a pa when you have to go louder/project further - if this is the standard situation, i'd still opt for an additional monitor; could then be smaller and less powerfull.

(and check out some newer turbosound and ev active speakers)
Old 23rd July 2018
  #10
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I'm going to give a pair of QSC K10.2 a try and return them if I'm not happy with them. Thank you all for the advices.

I have seen couple bundle pack out there where they include supports, bags, cables, and even a mixer. For example, QSC K10.2 Powered Speaker COMPLETE AUDIO BUNDLE | KraftMusic.com

Regarding the price, it's worth it. However, I don't want to have the extra item to be cheap quality. Especially, everything that could affect the sound such as the mixer, or possibly the cables. Do you all think that these sort of bundles are worth it? Or should I rather try to buy items separately.
I need everything that is in that bundle anyway, but I don't want to loose audio quality due to the mixer for instance. What are your thoughts on this Mackie mixer?
Old 28th July 2018
  #11
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Up.
Anyone knows about the Mackie Mix8 and its sound quality? Would I be better off with a Yamaha? It would be a shame to get such a good sound quality and have it ruined by a mediocre mixer.
Old 28th July 2018
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexMagnam View Post
I need everything that is in that bundle anyway, but I don't want to loose audio quality due to the mixer for instance. What are your thoughts on this Mackie mixer?
Do you need a mixer?

If this is just for one keyboard, what's stopping you running straight into the speaker? Even if you had two instruments, the speaker has 2 balanced inputs with separate gain controls.

Having a separate mixer adds "stuff" and additional (albeit minor) complexity to your setup.

Also, bear in mind these bundles will hardly give you the best quality cables. They'll all sound the same, but it'll come down to quality of construction = reliability. Buy your cables separately and buy the quality and length you want.
Old 29th July 2018
  #13
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I would like to plug my laptop, turntable, and xbox as well on it. I think there is only 1 RCA available on them.
But I see your point and I may try to directly plug the keys to avoid any loss in sound quality. But there may be occasions where I would need to plug a singer and/or a bass on the PA
Old 29th July 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexMagnam View Post
I would like to plug my laptop, turntable, and xbox as well on it. I think there is only 1 RCA available on them.
But I see your point and I may try to directly plug the keys to avoid any loss in sound quality. But there may be occasions where I would need to plug a singer and/or a bass on the PA
Fair enough - that wasn't clear originally.

The K10.2s don't have any RCA inputs, by the way - they have 2 XLR/jack combos and 1 3.5mm input.

Probably not worth getting too hung up about the mixer you use with them, just make sure if features all the I/O count you think you could reasonably need. From what you've described, you don't need sophisticated EQ, monitor mixing, or on-board effects - so stick to something simple. A&H Zed mixers are nice, but Mackie, Behringer and many others really won't do you any harm for this use case.
Old 29th July 2018
  #15
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QSC K10's are good as are the Yamaha DXR10's. I used a pair of HPR122's for years on keys and vocals until they were stolen from our storage locker...

For mixers, avoid the lower end, like Mackie's Mix 8. Their VLZ series would be a safer bet, and something like the 1202 or 1402 would work great. I've owned a 402, 1202, 1402, 1642 and now a DL1608 and had zero problems with any of them.

Avoid the Yamaha MG mixers - they're inexpensive for a reason, and when I've had to use them, I've been disappointed.
Old 1st August 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlecSp View Post
Fair enough - that wasn't clear originally.
Yes sorry I didn’t make that clear.
I guess I can just plug my keys straight to the PA when on a gig. And at home during practice I can have my laptop, turntable, and the rest on the mixer. Aren’t there more appropriate devices than analog mixers for plugging laptops, turntables and xbox? I guess I’m analog so maybe not....

Something else I’m wondering is whether the pair of k10.2 will be good for home practice? Can I match the sound quality I could achieved with studio monitors?
Old 2nd August 2018
  #17
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For connecting a handful of sources to a single set of speakers, a small analog mixer is hard to beat. I suppose you could use a simple switch box of some sort if you preferred, basically a home stereo preamplifier or a studio monitor control box, but I don't see where there would be any advantage in terms of use, sound quality, or price these days. I have a Zed 10fx that I use mainly for "swiss army knife" things at home, routing various things to the monitor and computer. It may not be ideal for you as it lacks a phono preamp/RIAA equalization circuit, but is an awesome and quite adaptable little mixer in general (for the price and market it's in).

Decent dedicated studio monitors would give better sound for practice than K10.2's (at least for some definitions of better)--more precise imaging, flatter frequency response (though in a few cases perhaps not as deep bass), less coloration--and would perhaps be easier to put where you want them due to being smaller in size. The K10's would in my opinion be more than adequate for practice, though, and certainly can be loud enough and then some should you care to annoy your neighbors.
Old 2nd August 2018
  #18
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teamsterjim's Avatar
I use QSC KW153/K12 and recently 8.2s.
Great cabinets for Piano sounds.
I also use Spacestation vrs 3 for certain rooms.
You should check that little gem out.
Horn players will love that set up.
Old 6th August 2018
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewE View Post
Decent dedicated studio monitors would give better sound for practice than K10.2's (at least for some definitions of better)--more precise imaging, flatter frequency response (though in a few cases perhaps not as deep bass), less coloration--and would perhaps be easier to put where you want them due to being smaller in size. The K10's would in my opinion be more than adequate for practice, though, and certainly can be loud enough and then some should you care to annoy your neighbors.

Would you say that a pair of yamaha hs5 or hs8 would significantly improve the sound quality vs. the QSC K10.2 for home practice?

I'm wondering if I shouldn't get both a pair of QSC and a pair of studio monitors...
Old 6th August 2018
  #20
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jaxman12's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexMagnam View Post
Would you say that a pair of yamaha hs5 or hs8 would significantly improve the sound quality vs. the QSC K10.2 for home practice?

I'm wondering if I shouldn't get both a pair of QSC and a pair of studio monitors...
For mixing in a home Studio, the Yamaha HS Series is very good. For live performance, the QSC.
Old 6th August 2018
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexMagnam View Post
Would you say that a pair of yamaha hs5 or hs8 would significantly improve the sound quality vs. the QSC K10.2 for home practice?

I'm wondering if I shouldn't get both a pair of QSC and a pair of studio monitors...
Sorry, but the person who recommended studio monitors doesn't know what he's talking about.. Studio monitors are meant for studio use only and have a very narrow sweet spot - power wise, they can't keep up with a Jazz band.

Stick with PA speakers like the QSCs.
Old 7th August 2018
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama View Post
Sorry, but the person who recommended studio monitors doesn't know what he's talking about.. Studio monitors are meant for studio use only and have a very narrow sweet spot - power wise, they can't keep up with a Jazz band.

Stick with PA speakers like the QSCs.
I guess I'm that person who doesn't know what I'm talking about. The key words were "for home practice," which I assumed (perhaps a bad thing to do) was a generally solitary activity, sitting at the keyboard. That usually doesn't involve much straying from a single position, provided one isn't impersonating Victor Borge.

For gigging with a group, of course the PA speakers are much preferable.
Old 7th August 2018
  #23
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Either yamaha dxr or qsc k2 series will work great. They sound good and are a great value, and would be fine for home practice.

Proaudiostar.com often bundles mogami gold cables with their packages which are great cables and somewhat pricy too.

Personally went with yamaha dxr. I have 12s, 10s & dxs15mkii subs. I do a solo funk project keyboards and drum machines and it bumps! Good warranty too, 7 years. Only thing i wish they had locking xlr inputs. Not a big deal. Little cheaper than k2s.

I think the k2s are much better than the original k series...

I use my dxr10s more in my home studio than my hs7 monitors. Something about the punch i really like that studio monitors dont give you. Plus them im hearing it pretty much same as i will live.

A guy with alot of speaker experience said the k8.2 is the best speaker for piano reproduction out of the series and speakers 3x the price. food for thought.

You’ll probably be pleased with whatever you get. Ditch that amp!!!!
Old 7th August 2018
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewE View Post
I guess I'm that person who doesn't know what I'm talking about. The key words were "for home practice," which I assumed (perhaps a bad thing to do) was a generally solitary activity, sitting at the keyboard. That usually doesn't involve much straying from a single position, provided one isn't impersonating Victor Borge.

For gigging with a group, of course the PA speakers are much preferable.
Drew - my apologies if I came off a little harsh.

Owning both studio monitors, PA cabs and a Roland KB550, if I were practicing at home and didn't own any of those I'd still buy a PA cabinet since it will work at home, and work on gigs. Studio monitors also have a very narrow sweet spot by design and are made to be on flat stands up at ear level, whereas a PA cab can be on a stand behind you, or on the ground as a wedge monitor.

Since the OP needed it for both stage and live, the studio monitors wouldn't be a good fit if he needs to buy one.

FYI - buy the best single PA speaker you can afford - if you can only afford one K10 at a time, get that. Mono is fine for playing live, although I do admit stereo is great for practice at home.
Old 9th August 2018
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewE View Post
I guess I'm that person who doesn't know what I'm talking about. The key words were "for home practice," which I assumed (perhaps a bad thing to do) was a generally solitary activity, sitting at the keyboard. That usually doesn't involve much straying from a single position, provided one isn't impersonating Victor Borge.

For gigging with a group, of course the PA speakers are much preferable.
Yes, here I meant for home practice in front of ly speaker, just myself.

I understand that for home practice, the difference in sound quality when sitting in front of a pair of hs8 vs a pair of k10.2 will not be worth spending $700 extra to get both studio monitors and the a PA.

That helps a lot, music equipments are going to ruin me haha. But getting that nice sound is definitely worth it.
I’m looking forward to plug a nord stage 3 on a pair of k10.2.
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