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External amplifier and/or DAC for Casio PX 760 #2520614
03/13/16 03:28 PM
03/13/16 03:28 PM
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Posts: 317
Israel, Haifa
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michaelvi Offline OP
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Hello,

those who read and helped me with another my topic may think that I am flouncing between different options and don't know what I want but that not the case.

I am just trying to implement a second option of getting a better sound from my Casio PX 760 - this time without a laptop. My wife doesn't want to bother with connecting/reconnecting all those cables to laptop every time she wants to play smile

I have a very good result with Casio's headphone output connected to may very old small Panasonic stereo system - the sound is much much better than internal Casio's sound.
But this option also left a lot of room for improvement. I should keep Panasonic's amp at maximum level and then set Casio's volume somewhere at 1/3. This is two-fold problem:
1. Having amp working at max level adds constant background noise (it's not very hard o disregard it but I still want to remove it). 2. Casio's pre-amplified signal (1/3 of its maximum is a lot) adds exactly those ton that I want to avoid. Ideally, I would want to use a line out of keyboard to connect to line-in of an amplifier but PX-760 doesn't have line-out, only headphones, which means (poorly) pre-amplified, so I want to keep Casio's volume as low as possible and let a good amplifier to do rest of the work.

And here I see several options:
1. Get back my old big Sherwood ISP 2000 speakers (that have proven excellent sound) to the room and and buy a good amplifier that can accept output of Casio headphone at very low level. But am not sure I can find an amplifier that will fit tech specifications of those speakers exactly (there are from a set, which is dead, only speakers survived)
2. Buy a good speakers with built-in amplifier. But again, AFAIK, those devices want line (if not digital/optical/etc.) input and headphone signal will disturb them.
3. Buy a small external DAC to connect to Casio's USB to process MIDI commands and feed line-input of Panasonic. Does such thing exist? And probably will be very expensive (will it have built-in Galaxy Vintage D / Pianoteq or something?)

Does anyone have an experience of using Casio PX only as keyboard without computer serving as MIDI processor?
And btw even in my other option where I use laptop connected to Casio via usb, I again have only headphone analog output - not very good option for external amplifier...

Any thoughts / suggestions are highly appreciated!!!


Started 2016-01-29
Casio Privia PX-760 => Garritan CFX Lite, Ravenscroft 275 => Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 =>ATH-40mx, Sennheiser HD598, JBL LSR305
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Re: External amplifier and/or DAC for Casio PX 760 [Re: michaelvi] #2520617
03/13/16 03:45 PM
03/13/16 03:45 PM
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Raleigh, North Carolina
MacMacMac Offline
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It really depends upon what is "wrong" with the sound.

Is it not loud enough? Amplification.

Is the sound quality poor? Two possibilities:

1. Better sound system, because built-in speaker systems are VERY poor. If that doesn't satisfy then ...

2. Tough luck. You can't get good piano sound from modestly priced pianos.

You can make it louder. You can use better speakers. But you just cannot change the fundamental character of the tone that the instrument generates.

That is why so many of us use piano software.

Those who don't, but who still demand better quality sound, get an Avant Grand or similar.

Re: External amplifier and/or DAC for Casio PX 760 [Re: michaelvi] #2520623
03/13/16 04:02 PM
03/13/16 04:02 PM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,930
France
Frédéric L Online content
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External expander are generaly rather expensive (800€ for a Roland BK7m), and you will need a MIDI-to-USB converter (100€ for a Kenton model), other cheaper MIDI-to-USB cable are designed to plug a computer, not a piano (plugs are different).

EDIT: There are cheaper models like the Miditeq pianobox at 100€, but I doubt that for the price it will improve the sound.

If the problem is the sound and not the amplification, I suggest you to change the whole piano. If you have a good headphone, you can test the sound regardless of the amplification.

Note: The PX760 has only 2x8W, it is not a lot.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 03/13/16 04:38 PM.

Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: External amplifier and/or DAC for Casio PX 760 [Re: michaelvi] #2520659
03/13/16 05:45 PM
03/13/16 05:45 PM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,445
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Alexander Borro Offline
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Originally Posted by michaelvi
Hello,

those who read and helped me with another my topic may think that I am flouncing between different options and don't know what I want but that not the case.

I am just trying to implement a second option of getting a better sound from my Casio PX 760 - this time without a laptop. My wife doesn't want to bother with connecting/reconnecting all those cables to laptop every time she wants to play smile

I have a very good result with Casio's headphone output connected to may very old small Panasonic stereo system - the sound is much much better than internal Casio's sound.
But this option also left a lot of room for improvement. I should keep Panasonic's amp at maximum level and then set Casio's volume somewhere at 1/3. This is two-fold problem:
1. Having amp working at max level adds constant background noise (it's not very hard o disregard it but I still want to remove it). 2. Casio's pre-amplified signal (1/3 of its maximum is a lot) adds exactly those ton that I want to avoid. Ideally, I would want to use a line out of keyboard to connect to line-in of an amplifier but PX-760 doesn't have line-out, only headphones, which means (poorly) pre-amplified, so I want to keep Casio's volume as low as possible and let a good amplifier to do rest of the work.

And here I see several options:
1. Get back my old big Sherwood ISP 2000 speakers (that have proven excellent sound) to the room and and buy a good amplifier that can accept output of Casio headphone at very low level. But am not sure I can find an amplifier that will fit tech specifications of those speakers exactly (there are from a set, which is dead, only speakers survived)
2. Buy a good speakers with built-in amplifier. But again, AFAIK, those devices want line (if not digital/optical/etc.) input and headphone signal will disturb them.
3. Buy a small external DAC to connect to Casio's USB to process MIDI commands and feed line-input of Panasonic. Does such thing exist? And probably will be very expensive (will it have built-in Galaxy Vintage D / Pianoteq or something?)

Does anyone have an experience of using Casio PX only as keyboard without computer serving as MIDI processor?
And btw even in my other option where I use laptop connected to Casio via usb, I again have only headphone analog output - not very good option for external amplifier...

Any thoughts / suggestions are highly appreciated!!!


It's an option by all means as Frederic said, try another piano with improved sound and speakers will cost a lot to get something better IMHO, a slab/stage piano is an option too to consider.

Unless you are really looking for all in one box solution and like that, Given what I bold faced, for all that money and provided you are happy with the Casio keyboard for now.

With that in mind, you could also buy a dedicated second computer for music, an audio interface to solve all your problems, and some active monitors.

As I gathered from your previous posts, you are not afraid to get you hands dirty with tech, then you have the options of software sounds too and expand as you go with any products that may come along too in the future that take your fancy.

While I do have line outs on my Casio, I don't have to use them, and never do. Once it is midi controller and with an audio interface you have a whole new way to deal with all that anyway.

btw. I am personally fine with my AP 450 for now, same action as yours. After around 21 months I still don't feel I really need a better action. Sure, it would be nice a some point having tried some of the better models, I feel they are better, but I do not find it essential by any means to get on with it in the mean time)

In any case, good luck with the choices. smile

Last edited by Alexander Borro; 03/13/16 05:46 PM.

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Re: External amplifier and/or DAC for Casio PX 760 [Re: michaelvi] #2520660
03/13/16 05:45 PM
03/13/16 05:45 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 317
Israel, Haifa
M
michaelvi Offline OP
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Thank you MacMacMac and Frederic for your answers!

My problem is sound quality, first of all.
I understand that internal sound produced by PX-760 is worse than that produced by a good software piano.
But! I consider this as already proven fact: whatever internal MIDI-to-sound converter of PX-760 produces, internal amplifier/speakers are making it further worse. It is absolutely clear for at least 3 people (myself, my wife and my teacher) that when I route sound from headphone jack to Panasonic amp/speakers it becomes significantly better. I mean sound quality is better, not loudness.
Further, it is also well known fact, that any amplifier works best on not full load. Currently I have to turn my Panasonic to maximum volume not to just make sound louder but to get "normal" level for our living room. And all those 3 people confirmed that if I make the same level by decreasing Panasonic's volume and in the same time increasing Casio's volume (I mean that result volume stays the same but more amplifying work is done by Casio and less by Panasonic) the quality of sound drops. So I keep Panasonic at maximum and Casio on where the sum of their "cooperation" is "normal" (not very loud) level. And this point on Casio is found on 1/3.

What I want now is to tune Casio's volume even less - to a minimum possible level. And I expect that a more powerful amplifier, utilizing its, let say, 30-40% of power, will produce the same loudness level, but because it will not fully loaded it will add less distortion to sound quality.

The same logic I apply to speakers - I believe that for best sound quality they should be loaded at most for 30-40% of their maximum possible level.

So my question is actually about what is going to sound better: big old Sherwood speakers with a new amplifier of another maker and another year (20+ difference) model, or if for the same price I will buy a smaller speakers with built-in amplifier that are (hopefully) designed and tuned exactly one for another.

Another my question is if there is something like all-in-one box (preferably small) that can read Casio's MIDI commands and act (almost) like my laptop with software piano. I use my laptop and software piano with headphones only. If I will ever want to bring that sound to speakers I will have the same problem - there is only headphone output on laptop. I know some amplifiers have "line" input, but I don't have "line" output on Casio, nor on laptop.

Thank you again!


Started 2016-01-29
Casio Privia PX-760 => Garritan CFX Lite, Ravenscroft 275 => Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 =>ATH-40mx, Sennheiser HD598, JBL LSR305
Re: External amplifier and/or DAC for Casio PX 760 [Re: michaelvi] #2520691
03/13/16 06:59 PM
03/13/16 06:59 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 567
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slobajudge Offline
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People here already told you, so I must repeat. Why do you even bother with internal Casio sounds (they sucks anyway) and all unnecessary equipment. Just go with piano software, some external usb sound device (for example Focusrite SCARLETT 2i2 or 2i4 as a cheaper and small size solution) and studio monitors connected to that usb sound device and all your problems will be solved forever.

Last edited by slobajudge; 03/13/16 07:31 PM.
Re: External amplifier and/or DAC for Casio PX 760 [Re: michaelvi] #2520796
03/14/16 12:55 AM
03/14/16 12:55 AM
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Charles Cohen Offline
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FWIW --

If the built-in sounds of the Casio are good enough through headphones (that's for you to decide!):

I think the cheapest thing to do is this:

a) buy a small Behringer "Xenyx 502" mixer. There are at least 2 "line-level" inputs. Connect them to the Left and Right channels of the "Headphone" jack on the Casio. That mixer has plenty of gain - you can run the Casio at 1/4 volume, and boost the signal with the mixer's "Gain" controls.

b) buy a 50- or 100-watt-per-channel-RMS solid-state amplifier. You should find one used, cheap. The distortion on any decent amp is low enough, and the frequency range is wide enough, to handle a piano.

C) connect the "Main Out" of the mixer (L and R) to the "Aux Input" (L and R) of the amplifier.

d) If the old loudspeakers have 8" woofers, or larger, use them. "New" is not always "better".

. . . If the old loudspeakers have 5" woofers, you may want to buy a pair of used loudspeakers.
. . . In Canada and the US, good used speakers can be very cheap.

Try this out. If it sounds good, you're lucky.

If it still sounds bad, you'll have to decide if the problem is in the Casio sounds, or the amp/speakers.

If you want to upgrade the amp/speakers even more:

. . . Good "powered monitor" speakers, large and powerful enough to handle DP bass tones,
. . . are expensive.

I had other uses for the EV ZXA1, so I bought one (used). It is ugly, but sounds great. Reading many threads here, I'm inclined to agree with a post on the Pianoteq forum:

. . . Use speakers with 8" woofers, or
. . . use speakers with 5" woofers, and a subwoofer.

If the problem is with the built-in Casio piano tone (rather than the amp and speakers):

. . . buy the least expensive computer than will run Pianoteq,
. . . leave it connected and turned on ("sleep mode") all the time,
. . . and buy a copy of Pianoteq "Stage" for 100 - 150 Euros (depending on which
. . . piano models you buy with it).

IMHO, most computers have built-in sound cards (driving their "Headphone" outputs) that are good enough for piano, and are OK driving the "Line In" on an amplifier. Other people will disagree, and suggest an "audio interface":

. . . What's your budget ?

Standalone "sound modules" tend to be expensive, unfortunately. The only "bargain" in this area is Pianoteq -- _if_ you like its sound.

PS -- edit -- you can download Pianoteq, free. Some notes will be silent, but you can get a good sense of what it sounds like.

Last edited by Charles Cohen; 03/14/16 12:56 AM.

. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: External amplifier and/or DAC for Casio PX 760 [Re: michaelvi] #2520823
03/14/16 03:56 AM
03/14/16 03:56 AM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,930
France
Frédéric L Online content
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You said "Another my question is if there is something like all-in-one box (preferably small) that can read Casio's MIDI commands and act (almost) like my laptop with software piano."

I have already answer, there exists cheap models (miditeq pianobox), but I am not sure it will enhance the sound, and more expansive (BK7m at 800€)

Since the problem seems to come from the low amplification and speakers of your Casio, a pair of active speakers seems to be the obvious way to enhance the sound. (You have said "when I route sound from headphone jack to Panasonic amp/speakers it becomes significantly better. ", is it better enough?)

Last edited by Frédéric L; 03/14/16 04:01 AM.

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Re: External amplifier and/or DAC for Casio PX 760 [Re: michaelvi] #2521014
03/14/16 03:04 PM
03/14/16 03:04 PM
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Israel, Haifa
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michaelvi Offline OP
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slobajudge, thank you for your answer.
I agree with you that software solution should be much better (when I'll fix the problem with my Vintage D described in another topic), but my problem is that I have the software on laptop, which I cannot keep always connected to piano. I know that external amplifier option is not the best but still much better than internal Casio's sound. Another option could be to buy a stationary dedicated second computer for music, as Alexander suggested, but I think it is going to be much more expensive than amplifier (may be I am wrong and this could be a different topic - what are minimum requirements for dedicated computer to run Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D and possibly other software pianos?)

Charles Cohen I am not sure I understand a role of mixer between piano and amplifier. What does it do compared to direct connection of piano to amplifier? Is it for fixing the problem of piano not having line out?
Originally Posted by Charles Cohen

If the built-in sounds of the Casio are good enough through headphones (that's for you to decide!):

No, they were bad enough for me to start looking for a different ways to improve it. Currently I connect my headphones to the same Panasonic to get ACCEPTABLE sound quality but with background noise of Panasonic's amp when its volume turned to max (despite that added noise the sound produced when I press piano keys are much better)



Originally Posted by Frédéric L
(You have said "when I route sound from headphone jack to Panasonic amp/speakers it becomes significantly better. ", is it better enough?)

Not ultimate quality but worth changing amp and speakers to use them on 30-40% power instead of currently used Panasonic at max power that adds background noise.
This applies to both ways of using Panasonic - through speakers and through headphones


Started 2016-01-29
Casio Privia PX-760 => Garritan CFX Lite, Ravenscroft 275 => Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 =>ATH-40mx, Sennheiser HD598, JBL LSR305
Re: External amplifier and/or DAC for Casio PX 760 [Re: michaelvi] #2521063
03/14/16 05:45 PM
03/14/16 05:45 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,748
Richmond, BC, Canada
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Originally Posted by michaelvi
. . .
Charles Cohen I am not sure I understand a role of mixer between piano and amplifier. What does it do compared to direct connection of piano to amplifier? Is it for fixing the problem of piano not having line out?
Originally Posted by Charles Cohen

If the built-in sounds of the Casio are good enough through headphones (that's for you to decide!):

No, they were bad enough for me to start looking for a different ways to improve it. Currently I connect my headphones to the same Panasonic to get ACCEPTABLE sound quality but with background noise of Panasonic's amp when its volume turned to max (despite that added noise the sound produced when I press piano keys are much better)



(a) Yes, the only function of the mixer (in this situation) is to change the level of the Casio's "Headphone' output to match whatever the amplifier requires for its "Line In" or "Aux In".

For most people (and most equipment), that's not a problem. But it seems to be a problem for you.

(b) I think that the cheapest way to _really improve_ the Casio's built-in sound is to buy a computer and Pianoteq, and an amp and loudspeaker much better than the one in the Casio case. Other alternatives are more expensive.

I am biased -- that's what I did (I had the computer already), and it worked for me.


Last edited by Charles Cohen; 03/14/16 05:47 PM.

. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: External amplifier and/or DAC for Casio PX 760 [Re: michaelvi] #2521327
03/15/16 12:40 PM
03/15/16 12:40 PM
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michaelvi Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
the only function of the mixer (in this situation) is to change the level of the Casio's "Headphone' output to match whatever the amplifier requires for its "Line In" or "Aux In".

For most people (and most equipment), that's not a problem. But it seems to be a problem for you.


I have found similar issue discussed in another thread :

Originally Posted by Rille Stark
I've used the CLP-230 on stage and the signal from the RCA is hot and will eventually clip the input stage of your amplifier.
You should use a passive Direct Box and a mixer between your amplifier and the piano.
Peace


Rille Stark suggest using also "a passive Direct Box" besides mixer.

Can anyone suggest what it is "a passive Direct Box" and why (if at all) it is needed? Thanks!

Last edited by michaelvi; 03/15/16 01:43 PM.

Started 2016-01-29
Casio Privia PX-760 => Garritan CFX Lite, Ravenscroft 275 => Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 =>ATH-40mx, Sennheiser HD598, JBL LSR305

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