Question regarding keyboard to amp connections

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I am trying to research this on behalf of my son who is a keyboard player. He has a Casio keyboard with an 1/8 inch output. He connects it to a 180 watt amplifier, I believe it's a Behringer (he's on his way to a gig and has both with him so I can't be more specific). He is not getting the power that he would like out of this combination and is performing at larger and more demanding venues. We are wondering if it's the 1/8 inch output that is the constraint, since he feels the 180 watts should be adequate. So the issue is whether he needs a different keyboard, better amp, or both.

We are looking at the Roland KC550 amplifier, which is also 180-amps, but we believe is superior to the Behringer. However we need to understand whether or not the keyboard is the real constraint. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
 

happyrat1

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Power output is always an amplification issue. It doesn't matter if he's blowing a kazoo into a telephone handset, the output stage will determine the limits of how much sound and how cleanly it goes out.

If he's playing large venues he should be hooking up to the house PA anyway.

Also what sort of monitoring is he using on stage? The sound on stage is never the same as what the audience hears.

ideally he should be using a mixer, an onstage monitor or earbuds to hear his own piece of the mix as well as a house PA system to deliver sound to the audience.

He should also have some sort of dedicated sound engineer down on the floor controlling the mix.

Gary
 
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Power output is always an amplification issue. It doesn't matter if he's blowing a kazoo into a telephone handset, the output stage will determine the limits of how much sound and how cleanly it goes out.

If he's playing large venues he should be hooking up to the house PA anyway.

Also what sort of monitoring is he using on stage? The sound on stage is never the same as what the audience hears.

ideally he should be using a mixer, an onstage monitor or earbuds to hear his own piece of the mix as well as a house PA system to deliver sound to the audience.

He should also have some sort of dedicated sound engineer down on the floor controlling the mix.

Gary

Thank you Gary. I'll share this with my son, who'll be better able to respond intelligently. So it sounds to me that you're saying the 1/8" output is the primary constraint, which implies that getting a keyboard with a 1/4" output might more likely be where the solution lies, rather than in the amp. Am I reading that correctly? When I referred to "more demanding" venues, I was thinking of an upcoming outdoor show he has. He's not playing concert halls yet, although he's actually playing with a ska band he's part of at the Troc in Philly tonight, a pretty big space. But he's playing guitar for that. Thanks again for the help.
 

happyrat1

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No, you're missing the point entirely. It's the amps and the mixing that make the difference.

Try renting that Roland amp before you buy one and you'll be able to better see what I'm talking about.

The keyboard is fine for now.

Gary
 
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Try one more thing; connect the 1/8" output to a mixer first, then to the crappy (sorry) Behringer amp. Look for a used one of these:

http://www.amazon.com/rolls-MX22S-Mini-Rack-Source/dp/B007EY7MH4

Better yet to test the theory take his rig to a music store and try the mixer theory there and see if the output significantly improves. If not I would avoid the KC550. It sounds almost as bad as the Behringer. Look for a powered speaker like an EV ZLX12P. You will need a small mixer on the front end like the one mentioned above however the mixer and powered speaker combined will cost less, weigh less, be much louder and will have alot more clarity. I have been down this same road.

http://www.proaudiostar.com/electro-voice-zlx-12p.html
 
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Not totally surprised I missed your point Gary - that's why my son needs to see this. I'm not the musician. Thanks Delaware Dave for that input. Good stuff! I'll let you guys know the end result.
 
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Hi JB,

Maybe get your lad on the forums so he can chat to us directly. We're not scary! Both Gary and Dave have given sage advice above, however the more specific the questions, the easier it is for us to assist him.

Cheers!
 
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Thanks CowboyNQ - he will be doing that. It's been a little hectic lately. He's working full time and last night we had the great pleasure of seeing Steely Dan and Elvis Costello in Camden, NJ. Hopefully he'll get on here later today to bring some specific knowledge and understanding to our side of the matter. As evidenced here, I don't exactly hold up that end of the bargain.
 
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Thanks CowboyNQ - he will be doing that. It's been a little hectic lately. He's working full time and last night we had the great pleasure of seeing Steely Dan and Elvis Costello in Camden, NJ.
So you are from the Philly area. What is the name of his band and where is he playing?

My band went to the WMGK finals in the houseband competition 3 times ....
 
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So you are from the Philly area. What is the name of his band and where is he playing?

My band went to the WMGK finals in the houseband competition 3 times ....

Hi Dave - He is going into his senior year at UArts and he's in the Z Band there (the top jazz ensemble) and he plays with a subset of the Z Band and some grads in a group called Yellow11, an 11-piece jazz little big band, which plays periodically at Chris' Jazz Cafe in Philly. They will also be playing the end of this month in the Pinelands Jazz Festival in Medford, NJ. He's also part of several other groups, including a ska bank called Cute Girl from English.

Congrats on your accomplishments with your band! I'll check out your site.
 
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I am trying to research this on behalf of my son who is a keyboard player. He has a Casio keyboard with an 1/8 inch output. He connects it to a 180 watt amplifier, I believe it's a Behringer (he's on his way to a gig and has both with him so I can't be more specific). He is not getting the power that he would like out of this combination and is performing at larger and more demanding venues. We are wondering if it's the 1/8 inch output that is the constraint, since he feels the 180 watts should be adequate. So the issue is whether he needs a different keyboard, better amp, or both.

We are looking at the Roland KC550 amplifier, which is also 180-amps, but we believe is superior to the Behringer. However we need to understand whether or not the keyboard is the real constraint. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

I own a Behringer Ultratone K1800FX amp myself. In most cases with an electric blues and classic rock band it was adequate. But it sure didn't have any breathing room. I place it on an amplifier stand to get it closer to me on stage. But I have real skepticism about that 180 watt claim. If you are planning an upgrade I would strongly suggest you look at something in the 300 watt range or better. Although it is always better to just find a way to decrease the stage volume. I have had to wear earplugs with some bands (mostly because of exuberant drummers). And that doesn't make it any easier to hear an amplifier that is close to its limit. If I was to join a band that was a bit louder, I would probably buy another K1800FX. They can be connected together. That doubles the power available and makes them a stereo amplifier system.

I don't think the keyboard is the only constraint. I play Casios on stage as well. I have used the WK7500, XW-P1, and XW-G1 in various combinations. And the mixer in the K1800FX has had no problem with whatever I wanted to play that night. Except for competing with the drummers. LOL
 
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I am trying to research this on behalf of my son who is a keyboard player. He has a Casio keyboard with an 1/8 inch output. He connects it to a 180 watt amplifier, I believe it's a Behringer (he's on his way to a gig and has both with him so I can't be more specific). He is not getting the power that he would like out of this combination and is performing at larger and more demanding venues. We are wondering if it's the 1/8 inch output that is the constraint, since he feels the 180 watts should be adequate. So the issue is whether he needs a different keyboard, better amp, or both.

We are looking at the Roland KC550 amplifier, which is also 180-amps, but we believe is superior to the Behringer. However we need to understand whether or not the keyboard is the real constraint. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
I'm going to make a wild guess that this 1/8 jack is a headphone out. If that is true it is a very low impedance connection and you are trying to feed it to a line level input on the amp. That mis match is where you are losing your volume. I'm amazed that there is no regular 1\4 inch line level output on the keyboard. 180 watts is more than plenty for a keyboard amp. For volume levels higher than it is capable of you should be going into the house mains. The Roland KC550 is an excellent amp but it is heavy as lead and also a bit of overkill. The goal should be to keep stage volume to a manageable level and boost main volume to whatever the venue needs. As an aside, I play lots of relatively smaller venues and I have shifted to a Bose mini. It is not all that expensive and I have the advantage of not needing a monitor. You might consider that also. I often use a very small mixer to feed it - especially if I'm doing vocals also. That way I can add effects to the house that I might not want in my own mix.
 
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since he feels the 180 watts should be adequate..


Here is your problem "watts" in not a measure of sound output level. It is the amount of power consumed by the electronics.

The key is speaker efficiency. This is measured in "dB per watt". Sound level is measured is decibels or "dB". Every 6dB the sound level is doubled. So is 80dB is loud, than 86dB is twice as loud.

Some speakers can produce 83dB from one watt of input power, other speakers can produce 105dB from one watt of input over. So you can see that changing the speakers can have more effect than doubling the watts in the amplifier.

What he needs for a larger venue is a separate amp and speaker setup. A simple PA amplifier and a couple big PA speaker and speaker stands and some cables. This is a modular system. He can take small speakers for prices and small venues and more gear if he play a 2,500 seat venue

Stay away from anything called a "keyboard amplifier".

He should invest in a small to medium size equipment rack, a rack mounted amp and a few PA speakers. Later maybe he adds more equipment in to the rack mount case

Another is to run the entire band through a big mixer panel then out PA amps and speakers but this usually requires a "sound man" to set it up for you as it can get complex with mic'd guitar amps, vocal misc and what not. You need a technician with both technical skills and a "golden ear" to run it.
 
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The size of the output jack makes no difference. And really, neither does the output level from the keyboard; almost anything can be amplified.

As has been mentioned above, he should be going through the board into the house mix.

For an amp, I recommend a JBL EON612. It can be placed as a wedge on the floor, or set on a pole, and has a balanced out for the P.A.
 
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Amp selection is always a matrer of "personal choice" (and $$ restrictions of course).... For the money, I dont think you can bead a good powered monitor for keyboards. I run the Elecrovoce 12" active monitors (zlx series I think)....
Lightweight are relatively cheap (B stock @$319 delivered).
Plenty of power (1000watts).... you can daisey chain them AND they do have an 1/8 input.
I run theae as my mains) and a QSC k12 for my monitor.
like somebody here suggested. .... try before ya buy...
(And DONT under any circumstances buy a guitar amp.
 
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I am trying to research this on behalf of my son who is a keyboard player. He has a Casio keyboard with an 1/8 inch output. He connects it to a 180 watt amplifier, I believe it's a Behringer (he's on his way to a gig and has both with him so I can't be more specific). He is not getting the power that he would like out of this combination and is performing at larger and more demanding venues. We are wondering if it's the 1/8 inch output that is the constraint, since he feels the 180 watts should be adequate. So the issue is whether he needs a different keyboard, better amp, or both.

We are looking at the Roland KC550 amplifier, which is also 180-amps, but we believe is superior to the Behringer. However we need to understand whether or not the keyboard is the real constraint. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
i setoff used alto poweredspeakers and have them hooked up to my casio 7600 keyboard what herberginers I bought difference from. each speakers is 200 wqats wih 140 undistoreted and they handle the accompaniment base and the melodies just fantastic for me there lite fit on speaker stands and gosd to go they are 100 looke at sa110 very good speaker
 

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