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Author Topic: Keyboard Setup Suggestions  (Read 778 times)

Tom Roche

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Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« on: June 10, 2019, 04:27:01 pm »

A friend of mine asked for help to achieve a few goals for her keyboard setup.  Her goals are to reduce gear weight, improve sound, and reduce setup and tear-down time.  This is primarily for bar gigs. 

Currently, she runs her main keyboard through a small pedal board and out via 1/4" TS to one side of a power amp.  When the band plays as a 3-piece she runs a second keyboard to handle the bass, which is run direct to the other channel of the same power amp via 1/4" TS.  The amp powers two Carvin monitors (15" x horn), one for the main keys and the other for bass.  Both monitors serve as backline; neither keyboard goes through FOH.  The monitors are very heavy, and because of the angle sound bounces off the ceiling before leaving the stage.

She borrowed a Fender Rumble (12", 100w) combo amp and really liked it.  It's loud enough and the perfect weight at 22 lbs, so that's my suggestion for the bass keyboard.  The volume on her main keyboard was anemic until I inserted a DI and mixer in the path.  So for the main keyboard, I suggest:  Keyboard --> Pedal board --> DI --> small mixer --> powered speaker.  I suggested the Yamaha DXR12.

Your thoughts/suggestions?
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Chris Grimshaw

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Re: Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2019, 05:03:00 pm »

With an active speaker with a mic-level input, there'll be plenty of gain.

Keyboard > pedals > powered speaker.

Simplify, simplify.

Chris
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Tom Roche

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Re: Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 12:22:42 am »

With an active speaker with a mic-level input, there'll be plenty of gain.

Keyboard > pedals > powered speaker.

Simplify, simplify.

Chris

That's one of the goals.  I tried it first with my QSC HPR122i, which does not have a mic level input; hence, the mixer.  Next time I will try it with the Yamaha DXR, which does have mic level inputs.
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Mal Brown

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Re: Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2019, 10:20:11 am »

At least in my limited exposure.. the Rumble series is not to be trusted.  Has seen 2 cr@p out in my rural area...  a decent powered speaker would be a far better choice from a durability/ reliability standpoint.

I have played bass through a K12 in restaurant, lounge, small rooms and it waorked great. Has the ability to mix 2 XLR’s plus RCA’s ... though personally I would never, ever rely on temporary (not strain relieved) RCA connectors on a gig.
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Brian Adams

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Re: Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 07:36:00 pm »

Maybe I'm just not seeing the obvious, but is there any reason she doesn't want a keyboard amp? Most of them have 2-4 inputs, and will handle bass duties just fine. Seems like one keyboard amp would solve all her problems. Unless I'm missing something.
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Barry Reynolds

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Re: Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 07:50:57 pm »

Maybe I'm just not seeing the obvious, but is there any reason she doesn't want a keyboard amp? Most of them have 2-4 inputs, and will handle bass duties just fine. Seems like one keyboard amp would solve all her problems. Unless I'm missing something.

Over at the keyboard corner forum, many users greatly prefer PA speakers over keyboard amps, especially for flatter response, which is most obvious on acoustic piano sounds.  For many, the difference is huge.  Some of the powered speakers come with multiple inputs and eq. 
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Bill Hornibrook

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Re: Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2019, 08:17:25 pm »

She borrowed a Fender Rumble (12", 100w) combo amp and really liked it.

As a keyboard player who plays key bass at times, I completely understand this. Using a dedicated bass amp is the most accurate way to sound like there's a bass player up there when there's not. I've played Precision Bass samples from a keyboard through both GK and Hartke bass amps, and it's pretty convincing - with even bass players asking how I was doing it.

You lose some of that authenticity by running key bass though powered speakers, but is the bass amp worth it? That's the question she needs to ask. When I was playing key bass all night it was - not so much anymore. I ended up giving my last bass amp (the Hartke) to one of my kids.

My vote would be to get rid of the power amp and Carvin monitors, and get either a bass amp and powered top or two powered tops. DXR12s are good.  I do not see the need for a mixer or DI if she isn't plugging into FOH.
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Tom Roche

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Re: Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2019, 08:19:46 pm »

Maybe I'm just not seeing the obvious, but is there any reason she doesn't want a keyboard amp? Most of them have 2-4 inputs, and will handle bass duties just fine. Seems like one keyboard amp would solve all her problems. Unless I'm missing something.

She used a Roland at one time.  I don't know the specifics, but apparently she wasn't too happy with it.  I think she likes the idea of separate small and lightweight speakers for the two keyboards.  Keyboard amps—at least quality ones—appear heavy and costly.  She plays bass on another keyboard only when the band plays as a 3-piece, so her gear requirements change and she doesn't want to bring more than necessary.

She may end up with the Fender Rumble 100 to handle the bass.  It's small and weighs only 22 lbs, and for her gets loud enough for bar gigs or as backline for larger gigs where sound is provided.  She'll demo my Yamaha DXR for her other keyboard.  Small powered speakers seem to be popular with keyboard players of late.
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Bill Hornibrook

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Re: Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2019, 08:26:29 pm »

Small powered speakers seem to be popular with keyboard players of late.

+1
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Mark Scrivener

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Re: Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2019, 02:57:03 am »

In the guitar world with modeling processors becoming mainstream (Fractal, Kemper, etc), the trend is to use Full Range Flat Response powered speakers (referred to as FRFR on guitar forums). Makes total sense that with a modern electronic keyboard you would want the same thing (a FRFR powered speaker). Presumably the keyboard already makes great sounds and can shape an sculpt the sounds however you like. You just need something to amplify and project those sounds, not color them further. Any good quality powered PA speaker that fits her size/weight/cost/volume/quality requirements should do the trick.

Chris Grimshaw

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Re: Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2019, 04:07:01 am »

What about running the bass sounds through a bass amp simulator? - I know you can get a Fender Bassman pedal, and I bet others are available.

Chris
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David Winners

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Re: Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2019, 09:03:03 am »

If I were to do this, and I wanted to be able to shape the bass tone separately from the keyboard, I would use a Line 6 Helix product. It would offer tremendous flexibility and programming options, great bass sound, built in expression pedals on the larger models, independent processing paths for the bass and keyboard inputs,

I would then use either a single powered speaker or an 8 over a small sub depending on how much volume I needed.

This wouldn't be cheap, but it would be incredibly powerful. The larger Helix units have a full midi commander that could do anything on the keyboards. It would take some setting up, but once it was dialed in, it would be very easy to set up and operate.
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Tracy Garner

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Re: Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2019, 09:32:31 am »



I hear many talking about a 12" but I would go with a 15" powered if they are also running keyboard bass. The weight difference isnt much but it does get you to down to those bass frequencies the keyboardist is probably looking for.
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Matthias McCready

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Re: Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2019, 07:06:20 pm »

Your thoughts/suggestions?

Run a laptop, with Ableton and software instruments (Trillian, KOMPLETE, Omnisphere, etc etc etc) these almost always sound better than native keyboard patches in my experience. Using a DAW she can use plugins. Skip the pedal board. Most any keyboard will have midi (and thus can work as control for the computer). There are lots of cool gig friendly add ons such as Korg Nano controllers.

Next a small interface. If she needs something small and gig worthy I suggest a Radial USB-PRO, which offers two channels, should she need more than two channels there are other options, although it should be noted most cheap interfaces break fairly quickly after being tossed around a backpack for several gigs.

Finally, get a small pro audio speaker.

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A note on bass amplifiers. I don't play bass a whole anymore however if I were not using IEM's I would rather use a pro audio speaker rather than a bass amp. With some judicious processing, it will sound as good or better, and it is lighter and more reliable. As far as speaker size you are probably fine with a 12". My 15" Ampeg doesn't go below 60-70hz! It is simply doing a lot of harmonics. Having used an SRX812P as a "bass amp" a few times it handles bass synthesizers and 5 string bass with more authority than most bass amps I have used.
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Re: Keyboard Setup Suggestions
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2019, 07:06:20 pm »


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