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Author Topic: Stereo Keys, is it just me?  (Read 2108 times)

Robert Lunceford

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Stereo Keys, is it just me?
« on: July 11, 2019, 03:21:19 pm »

I have never understood keys players wanting stereo output in a live performance, especially outdoors where the people on the far left have no chance of hearing what is coming from the speaker on the right. It seems there is a very small “sweet spot” for stereo yet I continually get keyboard players wanting their instrument panned hard left and right.

Is it just me, am I wrong about this?
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Milt Hathaway

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Re: Stereo Keys, is it just me?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2019, 03:53:31 pm »


Is it just me, am I wrong about this?

No, and no. IMHO stereo sources from on-stage instruments are a form of public masturbation. Stereo tracks and stereo reverbs are okay, as I can generally move the two track channels closer together in the stereo field, and running reverbs in stereo doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the audience unfortunate enough to be on the far sides of the auditorium.

(Yes, I mic Leslie cabs in mono also. I believe that the effect of the horn(s) close-miced with two mics is completely artificial and unnecessary 99% of the time.)
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Douglas R. Allen

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Re: Stereo Keys, is it just me?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2019, 03:55:02 pm »

I have never understood keys players wanting stereo output in a live performance, especially outdoors where the people on the far left have no chance of hearing what is coming from the speaker on the right. It seems there is a very small “sweet spot” for stereo yet I continually get keyboard players wanting their instrument panned hard left and right.

Is it just me, am I wrong about this?


Depends on what the keyboard is used for. I know some players "split" the keyboard for bass lines on the left and the right out has the "normal" keyboard notes. This requires 2 channels and to mix them as 2 different sources.  Take that out of a Left/Mono out and you'll could have quite a mix.


Douglas R. Allen
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Bill Hornibrook

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Re: Stereo Keys, is it just me?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2019, 04:04:53 pm »

This is endlessly discussed in keyboard forums, but to boil it down...

Primary concerns with keyboard players about summing to mono are pianos. The flagship pianos in most boards are sampled in stereo, and summing to mono *can* introduce phasing issues - depending on the particular board.

There are other sounds that can work better in stereo in some situations like houses of worship (which often have theater-like sound systems). These include leslie sims, chorusing effects for pads, and such.

Having said all that, most keyboard players are prepared to give the house a mono out when needed - because it still comes up at times. But (since we're in the lounge) most guys run their MI level systems in stereo because that's the way they're set up out of the box.

It would be interesting to poll the big guys and see how many are still running in mono - which used to be the standard but I'm detecting a tilt towards stereo even with them.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 04:45:31 pm by Bill Hornibrook »
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Steve Litscher

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Re: Stereo Keys, is it just me?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2019, 05:14:39 pm »

I was running a festival stage a few years ago, and a keyboard player for one of the bands arrived with five keyboards, all of which he insisted be run in stereo... he didn't have any DIs, nor instrument cables with him. 45 minute set...

That was not a fun day.

And, after we finally got him all patched and programmed in, he ended-up playing one of the keyboards about 99% of the time, and I'm fairly certain he didn't play two of the keyboards at all.

John L Nobile

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Re: Stereo Keys, is it just me?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2019, 05:31:26 pm »

I was running a festival stage a few years ago, and a keyboard player for one of the bands arrived with five keyboards, all of which he insisted be run in stereo... he didn't have any DIs, nor instrument cables with him. 45 minute set...

That was not a fun day.

And, after we finally got him all patched and programmed in, he ended-up playing one of the keyboards about 99% of the time, and I'm fairly certain he didn't play two of the keyboards at all.

When you have that many keys, you should be bringing your own submixer, do your own monitor mix and just send a stereo feed to FOH. That's what I used to do.

But that was the 80's. If you have 5 keys on stage, it's for show. I'd think 2 are all you need. 3 if you have a real Hammond.
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Jeffrey Knorr - CobraSound.com

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Re: Stereo Keys, is it just me?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2019, 05:44:30 pm »

I have never understood keys players wanting stereo output in a live performance, especially outdoors where the people on the far left have no chance of hearing what is coming from the speaker on the right. It seems there is a very small “sweet spot” for stereo yet I continually get keyboard players wanting their instrument panned hard left and right.

Is it just me, am I wrong about this?

If your system and audience layout is conducive to it, run it in stereo.  Most modern keyboards/synths sound far better this way.  If not, pan to center or run with one channel (noting that you could not receive the full sound that way depending upon how the patch is setup).

Jeff
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Dave Pluke

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Re: Stereo Keys, is it just me?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2019, 08:30:38 pm »

When you have that many keys, you should be bringing your own submixer, do your own monitor mix and just send a stereo feed to FOH. That's what I used to do.

That's all well and good if those keyboards are set to the same levels.  I just went through this and set levels for one keyboard (piano-ish).  When the player switched to his "horns" keyboard, it nearly melted the joint.  What I don't get is, he had the same mix in his monitor, but never bothered to even them out.  I had to ride that fader all set long.

Dave
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Stereo Keys, is it just me?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2019, 10:29:12 pm »

I have never understood keys players wanting stereo output in a live performance, especially outdoors where the people on the far left have no chance of hearing what is coming from the speaker on the right. It seems there is a very small “sweet spot” for stereo yet I continually get keyboard players wanting their instrument panned hard left and right.

Is it just me, am I wrong about this?

Who said you have to pan them hard left AND right?  You can give them limited width and still use their "stereo".  A grand piano is not the width of the stage, after all...

On the show I'm doing this Saturday the keyboard player will be on SL, and I'll pan his Left just right of center and his right I'll pan way shy of hard right.  He's still in the left side of the PA but will have "more space" to the right.  If there is only 1 guitar I'll patch the input to a second channel and delay it 20-30ms and pan that to the left.  Then I'll push both instruments -6dB under the singers.

Great band, one time the warmup tunes were Herbie Hancock, George Benson, and a little Jaco Pastorius.
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Geoff Doane

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Re: Stereo Keys, is it just me?
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2019, 12:06:29 pm »

I'll have to respectfully disagree with the mono fans here, and state that I will take keyboards in stereo if time and the input count permit it.

I think a Hammond/Leslie sounds great in stereo if you're in the sweet spot, and even if you aren't, the worst you get is mono.  The effect is generated by phasing, so both outputs are essentially the same, just not at exactly the same time.

Even with piano patches, they are not two discreet mono signals, although perhaps full width panning is not desirable.

The other advantage of taking them in stereo is that if one cable/DI/mic pre happens to fail during the performance, you still have a backup.

GTD
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Re: Stereo Keys, is it just me?
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2019, 12:06:29 pm »


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