Need a powered speaker for live/rehearsals. 12 or 15?


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I’m fairly new to playing keys, but have just started rehearsing with a MODX6 with my band (i was the bass player).
Ive been using the studios PA, but struggling to get a decent sound. I figured I’d get my own PA cab and use it like a backline amp in the rehearsal studio, and as a monitor for live use. Possibly not needed to go through the PA, depending on how loud we are. Our gigs are quite small.

I brought a Behringer KXD15 but it was faulty so it went back. Never got to use it with the band, but it sounded quite nice at home. I wasnt too happy with the weight though so wont go there again,

At the moment I’m looking at a JBL EON612 or 615. Seems like a good speaker, and wont need a mixer when i start to use a second keyboard as it has EQ.

Sorry, now the question. I’d normally go for a 15’’, for the extra bass, but ive been reading that the smaller drivers are more even. I’m not worried about difference in perceived loudness, either will be fine, but I’m finding the piano sounds a bit boxy through the studio PA’s, and wondering if 12’’ will be more even in the lower end. I’m only playing piano/brass/organ stuff for now, and i dont need to play any bass as we have a bass player for that.

I dont see much mention of woofer sizes in these sort of discussions. Any help to make the decision easier would be appreciated. Obviously its down to the individual, I’m just looking for experiences and guidance.

Thanks.
 
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Are you just using the MODX for bass lines?

If you are not then throw away your Bassist head, the audio dynamic range from your MODX is far wider than what you had out of your Bass amp.

Hence a dedicated keyboard amp, monitors or PA system will serve you better overall.

As a trial I fed my Korg keyboard into my Fender Rumble amp and the bass sounds were very good as was the higher frequencies but these were not optimal, once fed into the pair of Behringer PA units with 8” speakers the bass was a little less dominant but overall the sound quality was superior.

The issue with speaker size is of course weight so perhaps a compromise is called for, look at a Yamaha Stagepass system or a Bose L1, both will be far easier to transport than a large cab and separate amp.
 
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Ive been using the studios PA, but struggling to get a decent sound.

What kind of PA is it?

In general, keyboard amplification does not need big drivers. Big drivers help for lots of volume (not your concern here), and for deep bass, which keyboard players typically don't do much of (they're usually trying to stay out of the way of the bass player), unless you're specicifically doing stuff with heavy deep synth (like EDM), or also covering bass (left hand bass, organ bass pedals,... situations where there's no separate bass player). I usually use 8", myself. The QSC K8.2 is a strong pick. If you want something cheaper/lighter, the EV ZXa1 is also really good. You may want to get a pair for stereo.
 
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Thanks for the replies.

As i said in the first post, I’m not playing any bass lines, as my bass player feels he should do that lol. Just the general set of pub cover stuff, so no need for low bass, but i dont want to sound thin either.

As ive also said, i brought a keyboard amp but didnt quite get on with it, and want a powered PA cab, so I’m certainly out on my bassist head already. I know a powered 1x12 or 1x15 will work fine, but the question is will the 1x12 be smoother (low to high), as i have a feeling the 1x15 might be a bit loser at the low end. I’m thinking low notes on the pianos here. I do have a small Boss 21 EQ that ill use to tweak things, but I’d prefer as flat as possible.
Not sure if you know what the EON612/5 is, but it’s certainly not a heavy cab and amp, quite the opposite.

The PA’s ive been using were cheap Peavy Eurosys stuff, 1x15 +horn. I got a half decent tone by using the EQ in the MODX, but it lacks any real depth and sparkle, which is purely down to the PA speakers.

I was 100% going for Stereo, until i found out the last room we used was a mono PA. Nothing i can do. The room is good and the mix is good. The band like it so I’m out numbered. To be fair i didnt know it was a mono PA until at the end of the night, so i dont think i need stereo at this stage. It wasn’t a bad sound, just not as lively as i wanted. The band’s PA is stereo so ill address that if and when we start to gig again. For now its just something for me to play through at rehearsals, that is close by me and not the other side of the room. I wont use the PA so it needs to keep up with the band. We arent overly loud, although it can get out of hand sometimes. Just one guitarist using a 1x12 Fender combo so no stacks to compete with. I’d like it loud enough that I could use it on a gig without a PA if i had to, but thats not a deal breaker if i cant.
Must admit ive never used a cab with 8’s in it. Not convinced I’d get away with it playing with a band, but I know i cant financially stretch past the EON615 price.

It does sound like a 1x12 will be fine, and should have a tighter low end, but maybe a 10 might also work for me. Hmmm, food for thought.

Thanks again.
 
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I have not played through the EON615, the EONs I played through were older. But the EV ZXa1 sounded better, those were the least expensive speakers I found where piano sounded good. Although I haven't tried it myself, I've heard good things about the cheaper (but heavier) ZLX-12 -- if I were on a tight budget, that would probably the first one I'd look at. It's cheaper than the Eon 615. But maybe the new Eons are a lot better than the older ones, I don't know.

Again, since you do not need great volume and you do not need deep bass out of the keys, the question isn't really so much about whether one woofer size is better than another, even 12 is not necessary. Rather it's about which speaker sounds best, most neutral over the entire needed frequency range. PIano is the trickiest thing to get sounding good. (You also may find that some piano patches sound better in mono than others.) Point being, I would take the 8" EV over plenty of 12" and 15" speakers. Woofer size will not tell you which speaker in your budget will sound best.
 
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I use an EV PPA with a 12". I can play Hammond left hand bass lines and get sufficient bass, so a 15" speaker is not necessary at all. In fact, a 10" like the QSC K10 or K10.2 would provide sufficient bass as well. I recently used the JBL Eon 612 and I would say that the EV I use (model #: ELX112P) outputs more bass than the Eon 612. Check ProAudioStar; they have pretty good pricing on blemished/refurbs that mechanically are in excellent condition, the cabinet itself might have a mark or two; if you're going to gig with the speaker it is eventually going to get marked up anyway.

The one comment you mentioned I personally would disagree with: "..wont need a mixer when i start to use a second keyboard as it has EQ..". Even if you don't use a 2nd keyboard, i.e. even with one keyboard, a mixer is preferable in between the keyboard and the PPA in order to get the gain staging correct and get the maximum output out of the speaker with the least distortion. Generally the PPA's need a mixer in order to boost the input to the proper level so that you aren't driving the speaker's input and output controls to maximum to get the volume needed on stage. This often results in distortion. To understand what I'm talking about read this:

Gain Staging
 
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Thanks again.
So far ive only played my MODX through two PA’s at 4 rehearsals, 10 mins with the Behringer at home, and about the same with one of our db Opera PA speakers, also at home, so what i think i want is based on limited knowledge and experience.

I do new get the point that i don’t need a 15, and appreciate at this price range none are going to be fantastic. Coming from Bass ive always thought 15’s for a deep low end, 10’s for clarity and crispness. 12’s for middle ground (which i what i was using for bass).
What i havent got my head around yet, is that a 1x12 or 1x10 can fill a rehearsal room (or keep up with the band at least) with decent, clean tone. I have no doubt anything will get me heard, but I don’t want to end up sounding harsh and thin, especially the Brass patches.
I guess i can still run a cable to the PA and use that at a low volume, just as reinforcement to my own cab (which will be higher quality)

Ok, so now i have eleimited the 15, its down to a 10 or 12. I really cant get my head around an 8, and cant afford a high end one like a QCS. With so many options in the £200-£400 range, and the lack of gigs its just not practical to spend more, especially when the PA can take care of FOH. Plus I’m now out of work, so need to be careful with money.
Some good suggestions though. Ill look at the EV’s you both mention, and ive also been looking at a Yamaha DBR12 or 10 which gets good reviews. All in the same price range, which makes it much harder to chose.

The mixer comment was a bit daft. I didnt mean I wouldn’t use one, just that i dont have to think about getting one at the moment. I’m sceptical about the EON system anyway, at least as a min EQ system. I wanted the EON really for the EQ, as i couldnt find anything i felt was suitable (tried a few, none really worked as i wanted), but i found an old Boss 21 band half rack EQ at home, and that sounds great (30 years old this year), so i wont bother with on board DSP for that side now. This does mean I’m stuck with mono for the time being though.
My MODX has 3 output settings, going up to +12 db, so plenty of adjustment to get the gain stage balanced.
 
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I've been playing in rock bands since .... well let's just say many many years and leave it at that. I play in three now although recently idled due C-19. One band is a large venue and we only play in places with built in sound; another we tote our own sound system and everyone is mic'd; the 3rd we only use the sound system for vocals so it is a turn it up situation. The last band mentioned has two guitars, one with a 100 watt Marshall head into a 4x12 and the other a Blackstar that is just as loud as the Marshall. My ELX112P actually keeps up for the most part. 1000 watts of power with an output level of 132 dB, i.e. it is LOUD, however the EV still doesn't distort because it is stage gained correctly to get the most out of it. I run the master about 3/4 volume so there is actually some reserve power. It's about the loudest band I've ever been in from a stage volume perspective; the bass player uses a 700 watt bass stack. The drums get lost thanks to the guitars. I would find it hard to believe that your situation could have any louder stage volume then ours. Even other bands that come to see us can't believe how loud we are; once again, thank the guitar players for that honor. My point is that the keys can certainly fill a medium sized room using a single PPA; I'm certain mine does.

Also, I use one of these (it belongs to the drummer) Headrush for our practices in one of our bands; it is FR-FR (Full Range, Flat Response) and it sounds surprisingly good. The reviews on them are also very good. Two of them can be obtained fairly inexpensively. At an outdoor gig this summer our bass player's rig went tits up right at the end of the set. We were using the headrush as a side fill vocal monitor and the bass player finished out the night using it.
 
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Outside of bass frequencies, there is no reason an 8" speaker can't fill a room as well as a 15" speaker can. Remember that, regardless of the size of the woofer, a whole lot of the sound is coming out of a high frequency driver of maybe something in the 1" to 2" range, and it fills the room just fine. Room filling per se has nothing to do with the size of the driver, it depends on the frequencies you're talking about.
 
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Thanks Dave, I’m feeling very confident that whatever i get will be fine. Just so many choices. I’m still very, very close to ordering a DBR12, as its a nice price, and ive hardly seen any negative comments. I like the descriptions I’m reading. The same can be said for the EV ZXa1 though. There doesn’t seem to be much in it soem like one, soem like the other, some dont like any. Hard to really pick the right one without trying, but i cant see that any in this price range wouldn’t work as expected.
No , we arent loud as such, just noisy sometimes. Bass player plays quietly a lot of the time, and guitarist is just using a 1x12 so not really any high pressure sound levels there. Even the drummer only uses a small kit (but loves his bloody cymbals a bit too much). Our gigs are never mic’ed up and we use a vocal PA.
I’m aware of the Headrush gear. I almost got one when i was using a Helix on bass. I did have a Fearless F112 which is FRFR, but didnt get on with it with Bass. Should have kept hold of it.
Its funny but I’m slightly scared of getting something clear and crisp. Having had a shock when i first used my Syth through a PA, i worry about the upper mids/top end being too sharp and piercing. This is why I’m got to have to use my Graphic EQ as a front end to it.

While i cant disagree about 8’s with keyboards, as i dont have the experience doubt they have the clout to sound big and full out in the room. Certainly you could hear the top end, but a full on brass section sounding realistic from a 1x8?. If not the drivers, the box would limit what can emanate from it. Still, i have no experience with one so ill take your word.
 
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Decision made, ive just ordered a Yamaha DBR12. I saw one at a good price so thought I’d give it a shot.
Thanks for all the help and advice.
 
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I’m fairly new to playing keys, but have just started rehearsing with a MODX6 with my band (i was the bass player).
Ive been using the studios PA, but struggling to get a decent sound. I figured I’d get my own PA cab and use it like a backline amp in the rehearsal studio, and as a monitor for live use. Possibly not needed to go through the PA, depending on how loud we are. Our gigs are quite small.

I brought a Behringer KXD15 but it was faulty so it went back. Never got to use it with the band, but it sounded quite nice at home. I wasnt too happy with the weight though so wont go there again,

At the moment I’m looking at a JBL EON612 or 615. Seems like a good speaker, and wont need a mixer when i start to use a second keyboard as it has EQ.

Sorry, now the question. I’d normally go for a 15’’, for the extra bass, but ive been reading that the smaller drivers are more even. I’m not worried about difference in perceived loudness, either will be fine, but I’m finding the piano sounds a bit boxy through the studio PA’s, and wondering if 12’’ will be more even in the lower end. I’m only playing piano/brass/organ stuff for now, and i dont need to play any bass as we have a bass player for that.

I dont see much mention of woofer sizes in these sort of discussions. Any help to make the decision easier would be appreciated. Obviously its down to the individual, I’m just looking for experiences and guidance.

Thanks.
Also check out the ALTO line.
There are two "classes"... Go with the PRO (2000 Watt peak).
The 8" street around $200... cant beat the price... we use the 8's for vocal monitors... 12's for Bass & Electric drum sidefills
 
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Also check out the ALTO line.
There are two "classes"... Go with the PRO (2000 Watt peak).
The 8" street around $200... cant beat the price... we use the 8's for vocal monitors... 12's for Bass & Electric drum sidefills
Lol, i cant really check anything else out as ive ordered the Yamaha.
I did look quite a bit at ther Alto range though. That was top of my list about a week ago.
 
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I’m fairly new to playing keys, but have just started rehearsing with a MODX6 with my band (i was the bass player).
Ive been using the studios PA, but struggling to get a decent sound. I figured I’d get my own PA cab and use it like a backline amp in the rehearsal studio, and as a monitor for live use. Possibly not needed to go through the PA, depending on how loud we are. Our gigs are quite small.

I brought a Behringer KXD15 but it was faulty so it went back. Never got to use it with the band, but it sounded quite nice at home. I wasnt too happy with the weight though so wont go there again,

At the moment I’m looking at a JBL EON612 or 615. Seems like a good speaker, and wont need a mixer when i start to use a second keyboard as it has EQ.

Sorry, now the question. I’d normally go for a 15’’, for the extra bass, but ive been reading that the smaller drivers are more even. I’m not worried about difference in perceived loudness, either will be fine, but I’m finding the piano sounds a bit boxy through the studio PA’s, and wondering if 12’’ will be more even in the lower end. I’m only playing piano/brass/organ stuff for now, and i dont need to play any bass as we have a bass player for that.

I dont see much mention of woofer sizes in these sort of discussions. Any help to make the decision easier would be appreciated. Obviously its down to the individual, I’m just looking for experiences and guidance.

Thanks.
Hey sir: As a keyboardist playing live for many years, I would say you would get a much better and tighter sound with the 12 inch speakers, esp if you're not playing bass synth. However, I recommend going all out in terms of the quality; spend the extra money and get something top of the line like EV, JBL, QSC, Yamaha. You'll be glad you did. Otherwise, your tweeters will go rather quickly and you'll be pissed. Don't be afraid to get two of them...The sound will knock your socks off.
 
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Hey sir: As a keyboardist playing live for many years, I would say you would get a much better and tighter sound with the 12 inch speakers, esp if you're not playing bass synth. However, I recommend going all out in terms of the quality; spend the extra money and get something top of the line like EV, JBL, QSC, Yamaha. You'll be glad you did. Otherwise, your tweeters will go rather quickly and you'll be pissed. Don't be afraid to get two of them...The sound will knock your socks off.
Thanks for the reply. I doubt ill need top of the range to do the job though, just a good respected brand.
 
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Many decades playing guitar and bass and best thing to me is having an assortment of speaker cabinets so you can choose right size or combination for any gig or rehearsal. These days I alway go for smaller speakers for bass because they are easier to hear on stage and if I really need more low end then add a 15" sub. Another reason for smaller speaker is they are punchier sounding and multiple small speaker can push more air than a single large speaker. Keyboard goes lower than you bass so depending on the type of music you're playing. If weight is an issue think about using a amp head and speakers instead of powered speakers. Using an amp head and speakers you can mix and match speaker cabinets easier. Where amp head is less desirable is if you're running your keyboard in stereo, then powered speaker are less costly.

Bottom line build up a section of speaker 2x10, 2x12, 1x12, 1x15 and maybe a sub if doing things like Yes and lots of bass is needed. Having options gives you the flexibility for any size gig from a coffee house to club.
 
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Ive been playing bass for about 30 years, with 100’s of gigs under my belt. Never needed a huge rig, but always bene happier with a 2x12 (still got my Bergantino CN212). I like 2x12’s as they cover all the covers, and having the upper driver closer to my head means i can hear myself better than one of those small cabs down by my ankles. All my gigs are where the backline carries in to the room, so i cant get away with anything to small.
All my gigs will be small gigs, so no need for more than one speaker for monitoring on stage. Ill still go through the PA anyway. Main priority is rehearsals at the moment. Soemthing loud and decent quality so i can avoid using the studio PA. I might not do more than a hand full of gigs next year, so spending a fortune isnt worth it. We arent a pro band, and stages are very small. Soemthing that can sit right in front of me, or behind, facing up, is more preferable to a speaker cab that fires at my ankles.

Thanks for the continuing replies guys, but please read the post where i said ive ordered a Yamaha DBR12. Its due here tomorrow. No point making any other recommendations at this stage.
 
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I've been using 2 QSC K-10s for years. I wouldn't even consider anything else because I don't see how it could get better. Clean at any volume and covers all the lows and highs you're looking for. Light weight also. It took me years to finally figure out how to not have a boxy piano sound: play in stereo. Don't know why but that's what does it. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative than QSC, try the Alto TS-310. $250 vs $750 and they sound great.
 
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Mono was something I reall hoped to avoid, but i can get around that by feeding the bands PA a stereo signal from a small desk, and running mono to the DBR12. For now ill just use the DBR12 while rehearsing. I might send a feed from that to the studio PA, just to ensure the others can hear me, as thats just a mono.

Boxy pianos were a real issue for me at the start, but I’m getting there. Everythings so much better in my headphones, but even then soem are better than others. I know i cant expect the Headphones to sound anywhere near the speakers, so I’m going to go over all the sounds and adjust them the best i can though the DBR12. Even then i know once i turn up it will change, but ill have a 21 GEQ to help with that.
 
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I've been using 2 QSC K-10s for years. I wouldn't even consider anything else because I don't see how it could get better. Clean at any volume and covers all the lows and highs you're looking for. Light weight also. It took me years to finally figure out how to not have a boxy piano sound: play in stereo. Don't know why but that's what does it. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative than QSC, try the Alto TS-310. $250 vs $750 and they sound great.
Sorry, I meant to ask, do you also go through a PA or just use the QSK’s for FOH?
 

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