Kawai MP11SE and monitor speakers


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But not convinced about monitor speakers. They have to be calibrated, placed in exactly the right position or they might not sound right. Seems like a hassle, if you ask me. I know that you only have to do it once (in theory, anyway), but still.
Would be great to have something that you just put down or mount on a stand, switch on and Bob's your uncle.
You can be as fanatical as you'd like about setting up whatever speakers you get. Out of the box just sitting on a stand, the monitor will sound more faithful to the original signal than will the CM30. Bob's only your uncle on the CM30 because nobody expects much out of Bob to begin with. Maybe you'll be perfectly happy with the CM30, but I wouldn't use "less hassle to set up" as a factor, because really almost nothing has to be a hassle to set up.
 
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Forget speakers ...... buy a top quality pair of headphones.

All the talk of quality speakers is rubbish.

Sound is not only heard but it is felt and it is the combination that gives the enjoyment.

This is only achieved by being played at a volume that will have the neighbours complaining.

There is no point in buying monitor speakers without adding a parametric Eq, a sub-woofer and ensuring their correct placement and crafting the acoustics of the room where all the equipment is located.

If you are not prepared to spend thousands of Euros on the room acoustics then you are only playing at getting the sound quality right for you.

So yeah, stop faffing around and use a set of top quality headphones.

OCD is a bitch.
 
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Already have good headphones... and I get the sarcasm.

But as you say, I don't want annoy the neighbours (or the neighbourhood for that matter) so it doesn't have to get very loud. Small speakers would be enough, then, even 3 or 4 inch size, but then you'd be sacrificing on bass. That's why I said that I prefer to have bigger speakers which I can use at about a quarter of their capacity (or even less) but still get that nice low-end. I hate having no bass, that's why I have a car with a Bose sound system, not to drive around with my windows down and look like a jerk, but to enjoy a warm and full sound at normal volume.
My Laney AH150 can blow out my windows if I open it all the way but that's not the point : it's powerful enough to give me a nice warm sound with a good bass at lower volumes. That's also the reason why I'm looking at amps, although I would prefer true stereo output.

Everyone keeps recommending studio monitors. Ok, then.
Which brand will offer me warm sounding piano and EP sounds with a good low-end at low volume. Don't think that 5 inch monitors will do that. From reviews, the Yamaha HS8 comes out on top. Will that be worth the price ? And what will they sound like ?
Truthfully, I've never actually heard what studio monitors sound like, and I don't know what they're supposed to sound like, but since there's so much fuss about them, I assume they sound very different from your normal high quality hifi speakers.
I'm not all that demanding, really, nor do I have a trained ear, and I sure as hell don't know what a properly mixed recording in the studio is supposed to sound like. I even think that the sound coming from a JBL Charge or Extreme sounds good, so go figure. So I might be disappointed with the 'quality' sound coming out of decent monitor speakers because it might not be what I expect it to be.

Also, where I will be playing now, for the next 12 months, is an open space. It's sort of like a loft and there's not really a lot for the sound to bounce off of. So in that respect, I think that calibrating studio monitors in that kind of environment is going to be nigh-on impossible.
Next year, when I move to my appartment, my keyboard(s) will be in a small room and it'll be a studio/office which I'll be sharing with my girlfriend. Monitor speakers will probably be more appropriate in that kind of setting but the fact is that it'll never be really completely quiet when I'm playing ; there's always going to be some kind of background noise, as there will be in the house now, with the kids and all that. So I guess monitor speakers will be wasted on me because I'll never hear a proper 'clean' sound when playing without headphones. And to be honest, that's not what I'm looking for, either.
Give me a warm and enjoyable kind of sound, like I'm used to hearing, from all kinds of sources. As long as it's not muffled and it's got good base, then I'm a happy camper.

Sigh...
Still, going to keep my options open and see if I can have a listen to some of those infamous studio speakers...
 
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Give me a warm and enjoyable kind of sound, like I'm used to hearing, from all kinds of sources. As long as it's not muffled and it's got good base, then I'm a happy camper.
I think this is the essence of it here. With everything else you've written, I really get the feeling you are over-complicating the simple and have lost sight of the big picture - making music.

I'll repeat my earlier advice: Go to a decent audio shop and audition a few speakers. I'm sure Belgium, being a first-world Western European country, has plenty of stores you could visit. None of us can tell you what YOU will like. We can only give suggestions based on our preferences and understanding of what you're trying to achieve. There's no need to rebut them all - if you want to go a different way, do so. All good. No-one here is working on commission.

If it sounds good to you, it sounds good to you. Job done. You can always upgrade later when you get more permanently settled if your acoustic taste or environment changes.

While you spin around in circles suffering from "paralysis by analysis", not a note is being played.
 
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Already looked at the JBL 305P mkII, reports of quite a lot of hiss...
My guess is, the LSR305 has less hiss than your Laney or the CM30. You're unlikely to hear complaints about a little hiss on those because nobody expects super high quality sound out of that kind of speaker to begin with, they're not designed to be used as monitors. Though I understand you still might prefer something with a different mounting option. So I'm not pushing the JBL, I'm just saying you also should look at reports of a product's shortcomings in a fuller context of who the reviewer was, i.e. what they were using it for, and what ideals or other products they were comparing it to, rather than possibly assuming the comparison is valid compared to something primarily designed for a different user and for a different purpose.

I've never actually heard what studio monitors sound like, and I don't know what they're supposed to sound like, but since there's so much fuss about them, I assume they sound very different from your normal high quality hifi speakers.

I'm not all that demanding... I might be disappointed with the 'quality' sound coming out of decent monitor speakers because it might not be what I expect it to be...Give me a warm and enjoyable kind of sound, like I'm used to hearing, from all kinds of sources.
Yes. it's possible that you'll find monitors disappointing. The main conceptual difference between nearfield monitors and even quality music playback systems is that most stereo speakers derive some extra presence and warmth from the reflections of the sound in your room, whereas nearfield monitors try to minimize the effects of room reflections, which gives you greater accuracy but may seem sterile by comparison. It's similar to the effect of what happens if you take your home stereo speakers that sound great in your living room and move them outside for a party. They don't sound as pleasing. The problem isn't merely that you've put the speakers into a bigger space per se, but that you've eliminated the effects of having things for the sound to bounce off of. More on this below.

where I will be playing now, for the next 12 months, is an open space. It's sort of like a loft and there's not really a lot for the sound to bounce off of. So in that respect, I think that calibrating studio monitors in that kind of environment is going to be nigh-on impossible.
Again, studio monitors have no need to be calibrated any more than any other speaker. It's just that people who buy studio monitors are more likely to care about getting the very best sound out of them, so they are more likely to bother taking more steps to optimize their sound, via calibration or room treatments. An LSR305 on a stand with no calibration will still sound more faithful to the source than a CM30 will. And getting back to what I said above about the effect of having things to bounce off of. the real benefit of nearfield monitors in particular is that they are designed to sound best just a few feet from your ears (and away from any walls), and if placed that way, that helps assure you hear more direct than reflected sound, meaning the need for calibration or room treatments is reduced.

Which, just as an academic point, brings me to your room with "not really a lot for the sound to bounce off of." Having nothing to bounce off of is ideal, but probably not what you have. If you clap your hands in the room, do you hear any "reverb" or "echo"? That's the sound bouncing off the surfaces of the room. To hear what it should sound like if there was really nothing to bounce off of, clap your hands outdoors. Calibration and room treatments are primarily about getting rid of the effects of putting speakers in a room with surfaces for the sound to bounce off of. So the problem with a loft-like space isn't that there's nothing to bounce off of, but rather the locations and reflectivity of the bouncing surfaces that are there.

Back to the point, you might be perfectly happy with the CM30... especially in the context of shifting from wanting an accurate sound ("speakers that will make the MP11SE sound like a real piano") to wanting a pleasing sound ("I'm not all that demanding...Give me a warm and enjoyable kind of sound, like I'm used to hearing" similar to your Laney). You said you have high quality headphones. If they are indeed high quality, then the difference in the overall sound of the piano between a CM30 and an LSR305 (or similar) will probably be roughly similar in effect to the difference between how the piano sounds in your Laney vs. in your headphones. My guess is that you like the sound in your Laney, but find the piano to sound more authentic in the headphones. But if the Laney quality is good enough, you may be okay with the CM30, whereas if you find yourself wishing the piano sound in the Laney were closer to what you hear in the headphones, you should probably be looking at monitors.
 
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@anotherscott
Well, I must say that that last paragraph made things a bit clearer for me. Guess I had the wrong idea about studio monitors. Thanks !

Going to take matbe another look at those Yamaha HS monitors. They look awesome and I assume a pair of HS7s will have enough bass to satisfy my needs. The HS8 models are sure to deliver but they’re maybe overkill.
Another question : studio monitors always seem to overlap the base plate they’re standing on, judging from pictures or youtube videos. Is that the norm or is it better to make sure they don’t overlap ? i’m still a bit unsure about the stability of such a setup with floor stands...
 
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Another question : studio monitors always seem to overlap the base plate they’re standing on, judging from pictures or youtube videos. Is that the norm or is it better to make sure they don’t overlap ?
Boundaries near the speaker negatively affect the sound. If the speaker is on a "shelf" such that there is a flat surface immediately below and in front of the woofer, that will reduce sound quality. So for acoustic purposes, you want the front of the speaker to overlap and extend beyond the stand surface it is sitting on.
 
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p.s. - to get an idea of what surrounding boundaries do to a speaker, cup your hands around your mouth and see how that changes the sound of your speaking/singing voice. Even if you just put the back on one hand under your lower lip (kind of like sitting a speaker on a surface that juts out in front of it), you'll notice the change in the sound of your voice.
 
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You're a incredible source of information, @anotherscott
But I think I'd better go and have a listen in a store when I can find the time next week.

Also, explain these to me :

They're full range speakers. Any idea how these might sound in a normal living room ?
Reviewers say they sound 'bad' but give them 5 stars because they allow them to hear the imperfections in their mixes. How does that translate to my situtation.

What about something like this ?
or
 
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They're full range speakers. Any idea how these might sound in a normal living room ?
Reviewers say they sound 'bad' but give them 5 stars because they allow them to hear the imperfections in their mixes. How does that translate to my situtation.
Single full-range speakers sound bad, period. Engineers found these kinds of things useful so they could make sure their mixes would still sound okay when played on a cheap boombox or car stereo. But no one who cares about sound would listen through these out of choice.
 
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Rayblewit

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Too much emphasis on the bass!

Go ahead and buy your big bassy speakers.

They will drown out the strings, woodwind, brass and piano sounds.

But then you can return them I guess.

 
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Great advice from Scott but you are only going to achieve the precise sound quality that you seem to desire if you choose correctly and locate the kit in its best position.

If said kit does not include a parametric eq and a sub woofer then you will severely limit the ability to customise the sound profile to the natural acoustics of the room where the kit will be located.

Getting acoustics right is not a one size fits all in that only using a pair of monitors will be a compromise setup.

Give the company you buy from a break and buy correctly first time to avoid returns which must be costing the companies you use quite a fair bit since they cannot sell returns as new.
 
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My listening choices are headphones or FRFR Yamaha DXR powered speakers for rehersal and live stage monitors.
Speakers04.jpg
 
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In a nutshell, the advantage that both monitors AND powered PA speakers have over most things sold as guitar/bass/keyboard amps is that more attention is generally paid to flat frequency response (i.e. to more accurately reflect the sound that is sent into them, without introducing additional coloration). It's most easily noticeable on acoustic piano sounds. Monitors are best for a single listener at close range, powered PA speakers are best to cover multiple listeners at greater distances (and are more ruggedly built to survive a gigging environment).

All that said, I also want to say that I may have come off too harsh on the CM30. It is in Roland's category of PA gear (as opposed to their keyboard amps), and it does have a reputation as being one of Roland's better sounding amps. But to me, the reason to choose it would be if you wanted it not just for home, but occasionally to take it elsewhere, since it's in a travel-worthy enclosure. Otherwise, I think you could do better for the money.
 
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All that said, I also want to say that I may have come off too harsh on the CM30. It is in Roland's category of PA gear (as opposed to their keyboard amps), and it does have a reputation as being one of Roland's better sounding amps. But to me, the reason to choose it would be if you wanted it not just for home, but occasionally to take it elsewhere, since it's in a travel-worthy enclosure. Otherwise, I think you could do better for the money.

I still believe that those CM30s might be great. You were right about the hiss from an amp like my Laney AH150 : there is a noticable hiss but since I place it on the floor, it's not that apparent. I expect the CM30 to have less of a hiss, although they are not studio monitors, but amps. Still, I haven't found any studio monitors without 'cons', whereas the CM30s get nothing but overly positive feedback, and out of about an hundred reviews (professional and user) I've watched and read, not one has complained about 'hiss'. In fact, there aren't any complaints about anything as far as these speakers are concerned...
I'm still considering the iLoud MTM speakers, though (not the Micro ones, they're a bit disappointing, I think),but will have to wait to have another listen since they seem to be sold out everywhere for the moment.

But I hear you, taking your advice into account. But as you say, monitor speakers are best for a single listener at close range, but what if I want to play something for the other family members, sitting at several feet away ? How would studio monitors sound like to them ? I honestly believe that those CM30 would be the sweet spot and the best compromise for both individual and 'family' listening. Not planning on gigging, really, but not ruling anything out. But if I ever do plan a small family gig, I suppose the Laney AH150 would do more than fine.
Still, I just have a good 'gut' feeling about those Roland CM30s. They don't exactly look elegant, but they seem to tick a whole lot of boxes.
 
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Talking of looks.

If you want to hide ugly kit then acoustically transparent material is available so you could hide said kit behind an acoustic curtain.
 
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I would expect audible hiss from a CM30, and it could be that there are no complaints about it because people buying CM30s aren't buying them as studio monitors, and aren't expecting them to be silent in the first place. Again, it will be harder to find a moderately priced studio monitor without "cons" because they are often being bought by more demanding people for more demanding applications. It gets back to what I said in post #26 about context.

If you have family members in the room with you and they are not in the optimum position for your nearfield monitors, it's not like the sound will be so bad that it will send them screaming from the room (well, maybe depending on the calibre of your playing ;) ). It just won't be as good as it is at its optimum position. Whether that lesser sound quality will be better or worse than what everyone would hear out of a CM30, I don't know, but my guess is that the monitor will still sound better. What I would do in that case is angle the stands slightly, so that instead of having the speakers aimed at the player's ears, have them aimed straight out.

Another speaker to consider as an alternative to the CM30 is the Berhinger B208D. Being an 8" bi-amped system, it should beat the CM30 in bass and headroom, though there may be a tradeoff in that horns can sound harsher (they're great for projection, but that's not an issue for close range use). That would be an interesting A/B comparison to make.
 
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I think what I need would be an alternative to the Nord Piano monitor speakers. They’re supposedly designed specifically for making acoustic and EP’s sound like they’re supposed to sound...
 
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Why an alternative? If you like them, why not just buy the Nords?

Really, it's all going to come down to taste. If your credit card can stomach it, and you have nowhere nearby to try them, you could consider buying them all (i.e. CM30, Nord, HS7), and evaluate them yourself, and keep what you like and return the others.

I don't have Biggle's aversion to returns. True, they cannot sell the returned product as new, and will probably mark it down 10%-15%. But by offering that discounted product, they are appealing to a different customer... someone who doesn't care about new-in-box and would rather get a discount... but who still might like the security of buying from a major dealer vs. something used on eBay where there are many more unknowns. So rather than "losing money" when they sell a returned piece, they could be getting some incremental sales (albeit at less than usual profit margin) from someone who likely otherwise wouldn't have bought from them at all.
 

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