Improving sound ouput on WK-220 (or others)


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I just bought a WK-220 as a starter unit for me. It was a good price but has week sound from the speakers (the headphone sound is good) but the specs say the amp has 2.5watts ea so that is not a surprise. This unit does not have ext speaker outputs or standard analog outputs (red and white) but it does have both the headphone outs and a USB out. If I feed ext speakers from the headphone out with a splitter, is that enough wattage to run them? I would think the headphones outs are run at a lower power to avoid damage. Also is there a way to use the USB directly in to a stereo amp to speakers or do I need to take it apart and find the "preamp" output internally to go to an external amp? I am a fair tinkerer but I would prefer to avoid getting into the internals if possible.
 
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Problem with most keyboards are the build in speakers anyway!
The most simple way is for you to use Headphones Out and feed that into powered speakers or an external amplifier. Don't use a splitter, you weakening the signal. If you still want to use a headphone as well feed it from the external unit. You will be surprised with the soundquality.
 

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I just bought a WK-220 as a starter unit for me. It was a good price but has week sound from the speakers (the headphone sound is good) but the specs say the amp has 2.5watts ea so that is not a surprise. This unit does not have ext speaker outputs or standard analog outputs (red and white) but it does have both the headphone outs and a USB out. If I feed ext speakers from the headphone out with a splitter, is that enough wattage to run them? I would think the headphones outs are run at a lower power to avoid damage. Also is there a way to use the USB directly in to a stereo amp to speakers or do I need to take it apart and find the "preamp" output internally to go to an external amp? I am a fair tinkerer but I would prefer to avoid getting into the internals if possible.
As per DICKR's post above. Connect the headphone output to the line input of a decent amp. Make sure you have the volumes down on both keyboard and amp beofre SLOWLY turning them up.

The Y-man
 
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OK, thanks for the responses - as far as the use of the USB - I would guess that I could run that into a computer and then into a stereo amp (not directly to an amp) but would that give a "cleaner" output than using the headphone output from the keyboard? If not it is just another item in the loop and serves no purpose, unless I want to modulate the sound through a program in the computer which is a whole other possibility but not my current desire at this early stage. The other question is, my comment about using a "splitter" from the headphone output is not to split the source into two but to separate the stereo output into its discrete lines so maybe my term was not correct. I think I would still want to direct the headphone output into the stereo channels into the amp - and for that I need to separate the stereo signal from that output and run separate lines into probably the aux inputs (R & L) in the amp correct?

Thanks again for your help - Tomas (in Arizona)
 

The Y_man

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OK, thanks for the responses - as far as the use of the USB - I would guess that I could run that into a computer and then into a stereo amp (not directly to an amp) but would that give a "cleaner" output than using the headphone output from the keyboard?
No.

The USB servers several functions but carrying sound isn't one of them.

The main uses:
  • Backing up keyboard settings/your changes to a backup file on the computer. (in case you accidentally overwrite things etc)
  • Using the keyboard as a "remote control" for other MIDI keyboards and sound generators connected to the computer
  • Using the keyboard to play "software synths" or "virtual synths" on your computer
  • Using the keybord to input notes into sequencing software ("DAW" - digital audio workshops") and playing back midi songs (that ytou can get from internet etc) through your keyboard.

The other question is, my comment about using a "splitter" from the headphone output is not to split the source into two but to separate the stereo output into its discrete lines so maybe my term was not correct. I think I would still want to direct the headphone output into the stereo channels into the amp - and for that I need to separate the stereo signal from that output and run separate lines into probably the aux inputs (R & L) in the amp correct?

Thanks again for your help - Tomas (in Arizona)
OK, get it now - yes you use a cable that has a stereo phone plug on one and and going off to 2 x RCA or "guitar" plugs on the other.

Kind of like this, but you may need adapters etc (depending on you amp)

http://www.djcity.com.au/cables-adaptors/rca-to-jack/audio-lead-2-5-metre-3-5mm-stereo-plug-m-to-2-x-rca-phono-plugs-m-106078/1558

The Y-man
 
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OK, thanks for the responses - as far as the use of the USB - I would guess that I could run that into a computer and then into a stereo amp (not directly to an amp) but would that give a "cleaner" output than using the headphone output from the keyboard? If not it is just another item in the loop and serves no purpose, unless I want to modulate the sound through a program in the computer which is a whole other possibility but not my current desire at this early stage. The other question is, my comment about using a "splitter" from the headphone output is not to split the source into two but to separate the stereo output into its discrete lines so maybe my term was not correct. I think I would still want to direct the headphone output into the stereo channels into the amp - and for that I need to separate the stereo signal from that output and run separate lines into probably the aux inputs (R & L) in the amp correct?

Thanks again for your help - Tomas (in Arizona)
Hi Tomas,

Personally I don't see the point to go trough a computer if you only want to feed the soundsignal into an amp. I don't think you will gain anything from it.
The output from the headphones is an analogue signal anyway so only useful to feed it in a PC if you want to record WAV or MP3 or so.
If you want to use a computerprogram for 'editing' MIDI (BTW if you don't know, midi is not sound but a sort of computer-language) you can use the USB-B connection on the keyboard with a simple (printer)cable into a PC. You need however to download for free from Casio the 'datamanager' software to be able to communicate between keyboard and pc.
Yes of course you can use a splitcable (you most likely need it) to seperate the stereo signal. A splitter is indeed something else.
 
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Is the WK7500 a big improvemet over the lower ones (ie 6500)?

OK, I am actually thinking about going another direction and possibly opting for either the WK6500 or WK7500 for several reasons. I have started to consider the 7500 not so much because of the added features i.e. the drawbars etc, but because in reading more about it, it appears to be a whole new platform, not just added features to the earlier WK versions. The polyphany is increased from 48 to 64, plus the keypad uses a tri-sensor instead of a dual AHL version, and I heard comments that it makes possible more subtle control of the key sounds especially with "expressiveness" in pure piano work - an item which is strongly discussed regarding the advantages of a real piano touch compared to any digital ones. My question is, has anyone really tried that aspect (on a 7500) and is it really that much better to tell the difference? If you have one, are there other big reasons that the 7500 is that much better than the 6500 and lower models to make the extra cost worth the investment? In searching more on the net, it looks like I can get the 7500 for around $400us with shipping, and the 6500 is running around $270us as a comparison. I don't want to spend the extra money if it is not a significant improvement but I also am aware that if the 7500 is a breakthrough model, it will also be worth more on resale or trade further into the future, so that is also a consideration.
 

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the keypad uses a tri-sensor instead of a dual AHL version, and I heard comments that it makes possible more subtle control of the key sounds especially with "expressiveness" in pure piano work - an item which is strongly discussed regarding the advantages of a real piano touch compared to any digital ones. My question is, has anyone really tried that aspect (on a 7500) and is it really that much better to tell the difference?
I must say I have never tried it, but I did test play a CTK6000 (same platform as WK6500) and a CTK7000 (same platofrm as WK7500) side by side and coudn't really pick the difference in quality of sounds....

The Y-man
 
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Y_Man (and others) in keeping with my last minute shopping habits - I bought the WK7500 on Saturday -(yea the day before Christmas!) It was on sale at GC for $400 plus tax which is about the same as mail order minus tax. Again the motivation was not really at all about the huge amount of features. I actually started this search after seeing a CDP220 on sale at the local Costco (full piano feel and weight but a lot less music manipulation and production features). But after trying a lot more units in person at various stores, I came to the conclusion that the lighter weight keys on some of the better workstations or other advanced machines were actually preferable to me especially if I want to expand beyond true piano work. I just felt more comfortable with the action. It is a LOT different than the older "organ" type keys that were out for years. I was also considering something like the Yamaha YGP235, which has a good sound and nice keyboard, and actually felt more solid to the touch than the WK7500 but the other capabilities of the latter overcame that difference. The interesting thing is, when I got my unit home and tried it out, they keys were quite a bit "tighter" than the same unit in the store, so either they lossen up with use, or they may have changed the design slightly with the one I got - which I like better. I also can't tell the difference in the "sound" per say of the unit with the same voice used (Stereo Grand Piano was mostly my test), but I do think there is some difference in the expressiveness available in playing with the variance in the volume of hitting the keys in the range from soft to harder. The graduation seems broader and that is what I think I had read about between the Tri-sensor and Dual Sensor AHL. I had also read that the 7500 shares some of the Privia sound engine but I have not compared them enough to tell if that is true. I do know that the speakers and amp are quite a bit better than the 6500, so I think together it is worth the cost difference for now. Time will tell more as I delve into it more.
 
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Congratulations on your new keyboard Tomas.

Re the speakers, feed the signal into external powered speakers or an amp and than listen to the various piano's. You will be surprised with the quality!
Also, I say this.... on some expensive Yamaha's the pounding of the onboard-speakers seemed to have ruined the display!!! I don't know if that has ever happened with a Casio but the onboard speakers are not at all the greatest thing on earth anyway also not in the WK7500.
I have one and feed it with my other (Yamaha) keyboard trough a small mixer into powered speakers and I'm quite happy with the result.

Also you can adjust the tones (voices) to your liking and safe them in the user-area or in the memory-banks.
Lots of fun!

DickR
 
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Dick and Yman - thanks for the responses. Did either of you (or anyone else) notice what I found as the difference between the store demo keyboard feel (being lighter) and the one I bought (being stiffer). It is definitely noticible, and it is not a sound issue, just the feel that I was discussing on this topic. I was wondering if there might have been a change in the design or materials used, or if it is just that the demo's had a lot of use in the past year and they will all end up that way. Have any of you noted a change in the feel over months of use?

The more I dig into this the more interesting it gets, so I am sure I will have more feedback as the exploring gets deeper. I could probably skip about 80% of the voices but the rest are pretty interesting which still leaves a lot to play with. I can tell this will take time to get the value of it by just staying with it. I have a tendency to play the same things over and over so I have to break that habit to open up the possibilities of what it can do. I will try an external sound set up when I get it back to my home. I have a couple of interesting options to use - one is a powered Klipsch promedia GMX D.5.1 computer soundsystem which feeds the signal into the small subwoofer and then sends the signals to the speakers. It is small but puts out some great sound for it's size. It also has a real interesting "retro" look. The other involves using an older stereo amp and a set of larger Klipsch K series home theater speakers as a stereo system - but that makes for a large setup and I already moved them out of our main room as my wife thought they were to "intrusive" to the living room layout. But both are available at least to experiment with. I'll let you know if I get to either or both of them with the results. I really don't want to buy a set up powered speakers since I already have too much money tied up in the others which are in storage anyway, especially I will probably use the headphones a lot of the time as it is.

I'm really liking more of the "world beat" drum and other sounds - such as the sitar, tabla and other different drum effects which, to me, are quite natural sounding. Maybe because they are not enveloped with a lot of that synth sound which I don't care for as much as it sounds too busy and overproduced for my taste - much like so much of today's pop music is where the vocals get drowned out but the electronic productions. Pink Floyd had the right balance of that in my opinion which was quite a breakthrough for the era they were in - and I don't think they got the credit for how innovative that style was. But all of that to me is part of seeing what is out there and how it fits with your overall creativity.
 
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I didn't tried my keyboard on the store, and it's a different model Casio WK-3800.
Anyways, the keys feel light from the 1st day 'till now.
Sometimes I would want the keys to be hard weighted, because with some tones, hitting the key, the sound is too loud from the start.
 
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Same for me, I can't compare because I had to order the WK7500 and couldn't try the keys before. I do not feel much difference with my Yamaha if one can set that as a standard.
 

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I found the casio has a longer travel than my old Yamaha PSR500 and other synths I have, but not much stiffer.

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OK, thanks again for the responses - In a similar vain - I read in one review of the WK7500 that the keys were 1/2" shorter than "standard" piano keys and the reviewer said that it caused him fatigue after playing which he did not feel with his other setup (either a real piano or a keyboard with full length keys I guess). Has anyone experienced that? Some people responded to him that yes there is a difference but for them it caused no problem so it sounds like it affects people differently.
 
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Well Tomas,
We call this crap at home!
I play and teach every day and write on and off for various fora. Reading this about 'shorter keys' on the Casio WK7500 I NEVER noticed it and went straight to my keyboards with a messuring tape.
Yes...... they are 3 millimeter shorter than on my 2 Yamaha keyboards!
That is not even a quarter inch...... AND they are the same size as the keys on my Yamaha accoustic piano!!!
If people get problems playing on these 'short' keys.... They have problems anyway or can't play.
In my humble opinion, total nonsense.
Happy new year.
 

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