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Speakers/Amp for digital piano
#1961342 09/19/12 11:05 PM
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toyboy Offline OP
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Hello,
I'm a recent entrant into the digital world, albeit with still both hands firmly on my Estonia. I bought a Roland FP-7F for when I might want to play in public where no piano can be found... such as at the laundromat or hardware store. As good as this piano is, I still have a problem with the "electronic sound" of it. I've futzed around with the "Piano Designer" settings which allow you to change various resonances. But that only ameliorates things rather mildly. (I have yet to learn how to work the Equalizer settings; I have a feeling that might help some.)

What I'm mainly wondering is whether investing in an external amp and speakers will help matters. I've been told they would. I do know that when I use headphones it sounds better. Not what I would say is "much much" better, but still better, and I have a hunch a good pair of external speakers (or even just one!) would help. But I'm thinking it might just make the electronic sound just more clearly electronic. Before I take the plunge with what I suppose could be another $500 or more, I'd love to hear of any experience people might have in this regard.


"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."
- Gertrude Stein
Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
toyboy #1961357 09/19/12 11:47 PM
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Yes, good quality external speakers will help. TWO of them. The sound of most DPs suffers if you run their stereo signal into a mono setup. Audition them carefully, as some can sound boxy, colored or just plain bad. There are a number of threads about speakers on this forum that are worth checking out.

The FP-7F does have a slightly less natural tone (ironic given the SN badge) than some others (such as Kawai), but it plays so darn well that I, for one, can forgive it its sonic limitations. It should definitely brighten the laundromat and wow the hardware store! wink


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
toyboy #1961369 09/20/12 12:29 AM
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Thanks for this. Auditioning anything is difficult in my location... which perhaps might explain how I even have what I have. I bought it against specs more than anything else. I'll look around on this forum about speakers as you suggest. Thanks for the advice.


"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."
- Gertrude Stein
Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
toyboy #1961382 09/20/12 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by toyboy
Hello,
I'm a recent entrant into the digital world, albeit with still both hands firmly on my Estonia. I bought a Roland FP-7F for when I might want to play in public where no piano can be found... such as at the laundromat or hardware store. As good as this piano is, I still have a problem with the "electronic sound" of it. I've futzed around with the "Piano Designer" settings which allow you to change various resonances. But that only ameliorates things rather mildly. (I have yet to learn how to work the Equalizer settings; I have a feeling that might help some.)

What I'm mainly wondering is whether investing in an external amp and speakers will help matters. I've been told they would. I do know that when I use headphones it sounds better. Not what I would say is "much much" better, but still better, and I have a hunch a good pair of external speakers (or even just one!) would help. But I'm thinking it might just make the electronic sound just more clearly electronic. Before I take the plunge with what I suppose could be another $500 or more, I'd love to hear of any experience people might have in this regard.


I just purchased a Roland FP-7F about a month ago and am quite pleased with the action, SuperNATURAL piano and other sounds, and overall playability; but the built-in speakers leave much to be desired in that the instrument sounds like a Hamburg Steinway D being played inside a cardboard box with a wet blanket covering the open end, especially when playing with the volume turned up, so I practise with headphones most of the time (Pioneer HDJ-1500). I'm planning to add some external speakers when my circumstances allow and am giving serious consideration to the KRK Rokit 8's, which are self-amplified and go for about $500 a pair at Guitar Centre...or perhaps the KRK Rokit 10-3's, which are three-way self-amplified speakers with a 10" woofer, thereby eliminating the need for a sub-woofer...but these are $1,000 a pair and quite large in size. I've read many good reviews about the KRK Rokits working really well with digital pianos, so you may take those into consideration.

Cheers,

K.


Kevin L. Spindler
Early Keyboard Instruments
Stonington, CT
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Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
toyboy #1961383 09/20/12 01:09 AM
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I use Alesis M1Active 520USB monitors. They're clear as bells.


Vintage Galaxy D
Korg SV-1 88
Fender, Gibson, ESP electric guitars
Pignose acoustic
Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
toyboy #1961385 09/20/12 01:26 AM
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Toyboy,

Our FP-7F sounds better with our Yamaha monitors than with the built-in speakers. However, it still sounds crappy compared to Ivory II, which we use whenever we need a good piano sound. We like the FP-7F action and the triple pedal, but the sound ... well, it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Good luck.


Regards,
Bob

NY Steinway A 1907, FP-7F wi RPU-3
HW: GA-X58A-UD3R, i7-930, 6GB & 2ea WD2002FAEX, 1ea WD1001FALS1TB, UA1000, Yamaha 2.1 HSM80M/HS10W, DPA SMK4061, Mackie LM3204
SW: Win7 Pro x64, Sonar PE 8.5.3, NI Komplete 8 Ult, Ivory Grand Pianos II
Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
toyboy #1961793 09/20/12 08:49 PM
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Toyboy, A caution. The speakers mentioned above are STUDIO monitors. Great if they can be aimed at one person, but not what people who play in public use. What is in favor for "gigs" are powered PA speakers, which have a wide pattern of sound distribution. Avoid old-fashioned "powered keyboard speakers" which have only a small piezio tweeter and a big bass cone. In small settings stereo is better for keys--two are more expensive than one, but you will also use them at home. I don't think you have to go overboard on power. Read some of the threads on "powered PA speakers".


Bob M

Charles Walter Model 1520
Yamaha NP 30, NP 11, PSR E333
Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
toyboy #1963916 09/24/12 08:10 PM
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thank you everyone. and thanks for the clarification bob m


"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."
- Gertrude Stein
Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
toyboy #1964116 09/25/12 08:17 AM
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Well, thanks to this and other threads I have perused, I have made a decision for my effort to get to the next level with my audio equipment.


Scarlett 2i2 - Portable USB Audio Interface

Mackie 402-VLZ3 Compact Audio Mixer

(2) Electro-Voice ZXA1 Powered Speakers

Sennheiser HD 380 Pro Collapsible High-End Headphones


None of these are set in stone yet so any comments or cautions are welcome.






Don

Casio PX-S1000, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used), Focus Rite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Yamaha MG06 Mixer
Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
toyboy #1964124 09/25/12 08:54 AM
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I had a great laundromat gig last week. No food but the perks made it worthwhile.


AG N2 | ES 110 | REFACE CP | GK MK & MP amps
Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
36251 #1964144 09/25/12 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by 36251
I had a great laundromat gig last week. No food but the perks made it worthwhile.


Some of the more attractive customers decided to clean the clothes they wore in??? thumb

Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
dmd #1965489 09/27/12 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by dmd
Well, thanks to this and other threads I have perused, I have made a decision for my effort to get to the next level with my audio equipment.

Scarlett 2i2 - Portable USB Audio Interface

Mackie 402-VLZ3 Compact Audio Mixer

(2) Electro-Voice ZXA1 Powered Speakers

Sennheiser HD 380 Pro Collapsible High-End Headphones


I thought I would update the results of all of this in case someone else is trying to make decisions about this stuff.

I found the Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface to be worthwhile over my Behringer UCA202. Things are more clear and quiet between notes.

The Mackie mixer is not appreciably better than the Behringer 502 but I am keeping it because it might be just a tiny bit cleaner sound mixer and everyone tells me it is better.

The (2) Electro-Voice ZXA1 Powered Speakers were certainly advertised as much better than my Yamaha Powered Monitors but I did not find that to be the case. They transmitted a softer sound but I did not find that to be desirable for piano playing ... lost some of the bite in the sound. So those went back.

I decided against the Phones because they turned out to be closed and I do not believe I want closed phones.

Which reminds me ... I would swear another user indicated to me that they were closed in THIS THREAD and now that comment seems to have disappeared. Is that possible ?

Anyway ... No major improvement but some.

Yamaha phones have actually started to short out the sound so now I have to find a set of phones.




Don

Casio PX-S1000, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used), Focus Rite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Yamaha MG06 Mixer
Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
dmd #1965658 09/28/12 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by dmd
The (2) Electro-Voice ZXA1 Powered Speakers were certainly advertised as much better than my Yamaha Powered Monitors but I did not find that to be the case.

I don't know where your info came from, but even though I am a big fan of the ZXa1, I would not have suggested them as upgrades to your HS80Ms. I haven't heard those Yamahas, but they are nearfield studio monitors, not PA speakers. It's just a matter of the right tool for the job. If you were going to be performing on stage or other large room (or outdoor) public performance, the HS80Ms would be virtually useless, that's when you'd pick the ZXa1. But if you're listening at moderate volume in your home studio with the speakers positioned for your listening position, sure, I would expect a comparable studio monitor to sound better.

Originally Posted by dmd
I decided against the Phones because they turned out to be closed and I do not believe I want closed phones.

Again, it's a matter of right tool for the job. A lot of people prefer the feel or the sound of open-air phones, or may find that, in order to get comparable sound quality out of a closed phone, they need to spend more money. But if you're recording vocal tracks, closed phones will prevent the backing tracks you're listening to from bleeding into the recording of your vocal track. They will also be useful for critical listening in a non-quiet environment, so if you are working somewhere where there tend to be various background noises, then the closed phones do a better job at keeping out the unwanted sounds. (Some people also buy them to prevent other people nearby from being disturbed by what they're listening to.)

Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
anotherscott #1965710 09/28/12 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
if you're listening at moderate volume in your home studio with the speakers positioned for your listening position, sure, I would expect a comparable studio monitor to sound better.



Well, that is what I am finding out. You hear all sorts of things about these things but until you experience it yourself, you (I, anyway) do not know what the truth is.

Now, I know.



Don

Casio PX-S1000, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used), Focus Rite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Yamaha MG06 Mixer
Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
toyboy #1965738 09/28/12 11:38 AM
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Hate to complicate @dmd's investigations any further (though it sounds like he's making steady progress), but it might be instructive to experiment with placement and orientation of the HS80M's before checking out any more monitors, if he hasn't already done so.

Near-field monitoring is GREATLY affected by placement and orientation of the speakers, as well as by their distance from nearby walls and console surfaces, and acoustic coupling with whatever furniture the monitors are sitting on.

This is a mighty complicated subject, but IMO minimal good practice for near-field monitoring includes:

1. Listening position at the apex of an equilateral triangle formed by monitors and listener's head, with speakers slightly toed in towards listener;

2. Monitors very close to ear height;

3. Monitors isolated from desk or console surface by means of monitor stands or pads like the Auralex MoPads;

4. Monitors at least a couple of feet away from the wall in front of the instrument console or stand.

I'd suggest setting all the EQ and roll-off switches on the HS80M's to flat while experimenting with monitoring parameters as above. These things can make a surprisingly big difference in the sound that reaches your ears!

Regards,

B.

Last edited by slowtraveler; 09/28/12 02:15 PM.
Re: Speakers/Amp for digital piano
slowtraveler #1965854 09/28/12 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by slowtraveler
This is a mighty complicated subject, but IMO minimal good practice for near-field monitoring includes:

1. Listening position at the apex of an equilateral triangle formed by monitors and listener's head, with speakers slightly toed in towards listener;

2. Monitors very close to ear height;

3. Monitors isolated from desk or console surface by means of monitor stands or pads like the Auralex MoPads;

4. Monitors at least a couple of feet away from the wall in front of the instrument console or stand.

I'd suggest setting all the EQ and roll-off switches on the HS80M's to flat while experimenting with monitoring parameters as above. These things can make a surprisingly big difference in the sound that reaches your ears!

Regards,

B.



BINGO !

I have all those factors in place.

With my new external audio device and new mixer ... and having tried a pair of "fantastic" powered speakers ... I am now pretty much at peace with my sound. It is actually pretty good.

I am sure I will continue to fuss with it because that is what we do but it is now pretty good.

I may take another swing at powered speakers with a local shop. Maybe add them to the setup I already have.

Thanks for your help.


Don

Casio PX-S1000, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used), Focus Rite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Yamaha MG06 Mixer

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