best live rig for yamaha digital grand

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hello -

new member here, I imagine this topic has been covered in the past, so please excuse redundancy...

I have been a touring musician for years and have always struggled with properly amplifying my digital piano on stage. I have had good results going direct through the PA, but not every venue has the ability to give good monitoring for the stage. I prefer to be in control of my sound in any case.

I have currently have a P-80 and got an old Roland JC-77 amp. I think the speakers are probably tired, but the rig doesnt sound that good. The piano sounds great through ear phones, where I get a stereo image. The JC-77 has two inputs but is not a true two channel amp so I dont get a stereo representation. Cant I get an even, realistic piano sound in mono or do I have to run it stereo?

For those of you with similar situations (gigging live with digital grand p120, 140, 60, 80 etc), who has a solution to this rig dilemma?!

do I have to get a small powered PA head or something? or should I just put some better speakers (like peavey scorpion ultras) in the JC-77?
 
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Welcome to the forum.

I’ve seen these questions come up on another keyboard forum
a number of times and there is a lot of opinion over there.
Topics about “stereo vs mono”, “amp vs PA speakers” , and “what,s the best solution”, seem to be sensitive on that forum because those are very subjective, and everyone pretty much has their own preferences and ideas.

That said, I’m happy to offer some thoughts here if for no other reason than to give you some things to think about.

When I was playing for a living (long ago), it was hard to pay the bills and afford to buy high dollar gear. So, I mostly had to shop around and find decent used equipment rather than pay top dollar for new amps and speakers. So , I understand money can be a large factor in those decisions.

I’m not a fan of keyboard amps, especially the older Roland and Peavy keyboards amps. My keyboards never sounded decent through them. I owned an older Peavey KB model, but the cabinet was subsequently modified and loaded with a PA speaker and a bullet horn to improve the sound. (That helped, but those speakers would probably cost $600 or more to buy new). Still, I rarely used it except for rehearsals. Looking back, I wouldn’t invest in typing to upgrade the speaker in that amp.

I’ve also had a small Yamaha PA, and currently own a Motion Sound KP 200S stereo keyboard amp.

I am most satisfied with my stage sound using two pro series 3-way concert monitors, run in stereo with the cabinets on the floor shooting the sound up at me. But, they are bulky and heavy and require me to have a rack with an amp, mixer, etc. (I suppose they are the rough equivalent of a small PA). All of my patches/samples (piano, organ, strings, horns, etc) sound great through that set-up. It’s just too much to lug around for practice or local pick-up gigs. (I used to work with a group that had a large truck and road crew when I used that set-up).

My compromise (weighing size, weight, sound quality, and ease of transportation) is to use the Motion Sound stereo amp. It isn’t overly powerful but makes a good stage monitor and has a bright clean sound. Unfortunately I don’t like the way my piano sounds through it, but my Hammond clone and horn patches sound great. The Motion Sound also has built-in direct out s for the left and right sides, so no direct boxes are needed to send the keys to the FOH.

Here is some of the amps/speaker gear other keyboard players have said they are using
Amps - Motion Sound KP500sn, 200sn, Traynor K4.

Powered Speakers - JBL Eons G2-15s JBL Eon 510's QSC K10 Mackie SRMs
Yorkville NXP 55s

Unpowered Speakers - Acme B1's, Acme B-2, Accugroove (QCS amplifiers preferred)

There are so many possibilities, so some research is the best way to see what might fit your needs and budget. If you want good piano sound , I would look at a using three-way
speaker and a good clean power amp. Stereo would depend on your preference.

B3
 
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b3 -

Great response! thanks for taking the time to address the question from so many angles (old v new; PA v amp; piano patches v. others).

I can see better the complexities of the issue. Namely, budget, "luggability" and the sound or sounds you are trying to reproduce. In other words, you could satisfy one of these three and completely whiff on the others (like you could have several rigs, each optimized for a certain sound, but who would want to pay for and then haul several rigs?)

I am intrigued by some of the amps you mentioned and still feel that a modern but small PA setup (even with one 2 or 3 way speaker, like a good jbl stage monitor) is likely to give a better shot at good sound than finding the "needle in the haystack" amp.

So maybe an initial point to take away is that, like drummers, a keyboard player who wants to get good reproduction of several sounds simply has to have a good deal of stuff to haul (keys, stand, seat, cables/pedals, then the reinforcement which may well come in 2 - 3 pieces itself) uggh... the things we do for love! (like walkin in the rain & the snow...)

oh, and could you give me a heads up to other discussion forums so I can see how they are addressing this? My goal is to find the best amp for digital piano. Even modern rigs tend to give unreasonably pronounced highs and lows that are just too digital.

So a true stereo (2 channel) amp with very good EQ and then who knows about what kind of speaker array?? (I was always of the mind that a really well made cone speaker can be surprisingly good, regardless of the size or type). So that's really my quest at the moment. What amp is this! Since finding a satisfactory sound in an AMP package would reduce the chances of "whiffing" on the other two criteria above (a bunch of cr*p to haul, and paying for all that cr*p!!)
 
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You're most welcome.
For me, my pianos sound best (to me) through two (very good) three-way speaker cabinets. That is the best point I can offer from my personal experience.
The stero is problably lost on the audience, but when my keys sound great to me I know I play better. [I did not clarify that I only run stereo on stage for my monitoring, and the FOH is run in mono.]

There are a couple of other keyboard forums that you can find pretty easy with a google search. Out of courtesy for the operators of this forum, I had rather not give
the perception that I am recommending other forums over this one. I would suggest
searching old posts at the other forums before you ask about amps or speakers. These questions come up pretty often and some of the other forum members tend to
get aggrevated when someone creates a new post on those topics.

B3
 
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JC77 is a guitar amp, it will not reproduce the full spectrum of sound of your keyboard as well as a kybd. amp or (even better) a powered PA spkr. cabinet.

I have a Motion Sound KP200S kybd. amp - nice stereo sound but a bit underpowered if you play in a full-sized band at a typical "more than a whipser" volume... used to use a pair of JBL EON15 G2's (active/powered speakers), powerful but the horn is a little harsh, the Motion Sound KP200S is a warmer sound. Motion Sound now makes a more powerful stereo kybd. amp that must be awesome, though I haven't heard it - the KP500SN... not cheap but worth a look.

I recently got a pair of QSC K12's (active/powered PA cabinets) - extremely powerful and clear sounding... was getting them to use as stage monitors but will probably use them as PA mains and sometimes as a killer keyboard rig, my Yamaha S90ES sounds incredible thru them! :cool:
 

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