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Digital piano and monitor placement #2692410
11/27/17 05:12 PM
11/27/17 05:12 PM
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I'm currently using a pair of KRK Rokit 6 monitors with my MP11SE. I have them in the traditional position around ear height, spaced to the right and left slightly in front of my piano forming a triangle with my head.

I'm wondering if anyone has ever tried positioning monitors to more resemble internal speakers? For example, I can construct inexpensive stands to place the monitors more level with the piano and positioned with an upward angle to try and resemble sound emanating from the instrument (similar to a real piano).

Has anyone experimented with this or are you currently using monitors in this position? Thanks for the help.

God Bless,
David

Last edited by David B; 11/27/17 05:14 PM.

Kawai MP-11SE
Mac mini 2018/Focusrite Scarlett 2i4/KRK Rokit 6 G3 Studio Monitors
Duane Shinn 52 Week Crash Course; Lessons 1-33 Completed
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Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: David B] #2693370
12/01/17 06:30 AM
12/01/17 06:30 AM
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I guess I'm a pioneer in this area. cool Unfortunately, it was a bust. Bottom line is my monitors sound the best when the ear-line splits the woofer and tweeter, which is how I had them setup originally.

[Linked Image]

Here is the longer story. I went to Lowes and spent $20 on wood and screws. Then I built some nice monitor stands to position the monitors exactly where I wanted to try them.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

The stands came out really nice and are very solid. Unfortunately, the monitors don't sound good in the lower position. The tone sounded muddy, like it was lacking clarity. So I tried flipping the monitors upside down and moving them away from the piano.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

It was a slight improvement, but still kind of muddy sounding. So, back to where they were originally. Up by my ears, clear with a full range of tones heard.

[Linked Image]

I'm out 20 bucks and several hours of work. Bummer.

God Bless,
David

Last edited by David B; 12/01/17 06:37 AM.

Kawai MP-11SE
Mac mini 2018/Focusrite Scarlett 2i4/KRK Rokit 6 G3 Studio Monitors
Duane Shinn 52 Week Crash Course; Lessons 1-33 Completed
Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: David B] #2693374
12/01/17 07:07 AM
12/01/17 07:07 AM
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David, the results of your experiment make sense. Your optimal placement has your tweeters aimed at your head, which seems to get rid of the muddiness for me, too. When I gig, my speakers are behind me, positioned about a foot behind my bench, each one even with the ends of my piano and turned slightly toward me. I really hear the difference when I can’t set up this way.


Yamaha CP4, Kawai CA93, Kurzweil SP6, EV ZXA1
Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: David B] #2693380
12/01/17 07:50 AM
12/01/17 07:50 AM
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Thanks for sharing your experience David.

I really like the look of your setup, however I would love to see the room made a little more inviting with some wood flooring, and painted walls etc.

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
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Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: David B] #2693381
12/01/17 07:56 AM
12/01/17 07:56 AM
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Interesting. I have my monitors for my mp11 on an angle as well, except mine are placed on the floor right next to the mp11 by my feet, on either side of the piano stand. I 3d printed a few large "doorstop" blocks for them to sit on (though your wooden stands look really nice!)

From your pictures, it looks like your angled speakers are pointing way above your head? As I'm sure you're already aware, studio monitors are short throw speakers and there's a pretty narrow sweet spot, so I would take care that they are positioned precisely. When you are in playing position, you should be able to look straight down the cones dead on, no matter where they are in the room. For that angle and position, I would think they should be much shorter than they are now.

Here's an experiment: while playing back a recording, try standing straight up and see if the tonal quality changes. If it improves, it likely means they aren't in an optimal position.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50 || Kawai NV-10, MP11
Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: Kawai James] #2693421
12/01/17 10:50 AM
12/01/17 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Thanks for sharing your experience David.

I really like the look of your setup, however I would love to see the room made a little more inviting with some wood flooring, and painted walls etc.

Cheers,
James
x


It's an 1150 sq ft, unfinished basement. The walls are made using a material called "Smart Block," an insulated concrete form. The portion (that is above grade) on the outside of the house has a stucco finish. However, as you noticed, all the interior basement walls have not been finished. I'd have to hang drywall before I painted them. I haven't had a desire to finish the basement mostly because of my finances. If I finished the basement, I might not be able to afford an MP11SE. smile

That's why I hung up sheets where I play. It's a poor man's way of improving my playing space.

God Bless,
David


Kawai MP-11SE
Mac mini 2018/Focusrite Scarlett 2i4/KRK Rokit 6 G3 Studio Monitors
Duane Shinn 52 Week Crash Course; Lessons 1-33 Completed
Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: Gombessa] #2693425
12/01/17 11:01 AM
12/01/17 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa


Here's an experiment: while playing back a recording, try standing straight up and see if the tonal quality changes. If it improves, it likely means they aren't in an optimal position.


I tried that and the sound was indeed better. I'd have to go with the position you have yours in (or keep them as they currently are, level and in straight alignment with my ears). I can shorten the legs on my stands before scrapping the whole idea of repositioning the monitors. Is is possible to get a picture of how yours are setup to give me a better idea?

God Bless,
David

Last edited by David B; 12/01/17 11:02 AM.

Kawai MP-11SE
Mac mini 2018/Focusrite Scarlett 2i4/KRK Rokit 6 G3 Studio Monitors
Duane Shinn 52 Week Crash Course; Lessons 1-33 Completed
Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: David B] #2693428
12/01/17 11:07 AM
12/01/17 11:07 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 501
Mountain Time, USA
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David -

I applaud your focus and energy on getting the best sound out of your monitors. Looks like you did a superb job on those homemade monitor stands!

The reason one often sees monitors angled and closer to the floor (like your home-brew stands) is that, on stage, this avoids competing with the live mics (less feedback risk) and keeps them out of the way of the line-of-sight of the audience... otherwise, it's not an ideal arrangement acoustically speaking, to say the least.

Yes, ear level for monitors - especially for mid/high end (tweeters) - is the best place to enjoy whatever your speakers can produce.

A subwoofer is a totally different story. That can (should) be placed on the floor off to either side, since low frequencies travel and penetrate far better than mid/high frequencies in a room.

I've got several powered monitor/subwoofer combinations in use for various instruments and can attest that ear-level within reasonably close physical range is always best for stereo monitors - whether in front or behind the musician - and a subwoofer off to the side on the floor - makes for the best audio experience with the least loss in fidelity.

As for that "solitary confinement/prison cell" theme you've got going in your room, anything you might do to soften those hard surfaces (hang up textiles, foam sheets, etc.) would likely reduce the harshness of the sound reflecting back from your speakers. Those are nice powered monitors you've got there... it'd be a shame to have your ears soaking up too much of those brittle cement after-tones.

Enjoy - OneWatt

Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: OneWatt] #2693432
12/01/17 11:27 AM
12/01/17 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by OneWatt


Enjoy - OneWatt


Thank you for the feedback and analysis. What you are saying makes perfect sense (your entire post). Also, you actually gave me a good idea about hanging some textiles. Besides some cheap carpeting, any other suggestions. Most marketed acoustical material seems way too expensive. Thanks

God Bless,
David


Kawai MP-11SE
Mac mini 2018/Focusrite Scarlett 2i4/KRK Rokit 6 G3 Studio Monitors
Duane Shinn 52 Week Crash Course; Lessons 1-33 Completed
Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: David B] #2693456
12/01/17 12:33 PM
12/01/17 12:33 PM
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Mountain Time, USA
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Originally Posted by David B
... Besides some cheap carpeting, any other suggestions. Most marketed acoustical material seems way too expensive...


Yes indeed, those acoustic studio treatments are grossly overpriced for what they are.

Wall carpeting would do the trick but that tends to be pretty heavy and - while not as costly as those specialized studio tiles - it's still more expensive than need be.

Since the basement is unfinished, I'm assuming that cosmetics isn't high on your requirements list, so consider getting basic lightweight foam and/or batting stuffing - lighter weight, the better - from a craft store. An "army/navy surplus" type store, if there's one around you, is also a great place to find this sort of thing on the cheap.

If you wind up with batting sheets and feel it's too loose and flimsy as a surface, consider picking up fabric remnants at a Joann/Michaels store for a cheap covering.

Then there's always Walmart/Target for such things in the sewing/crafts department. And eBay might be your friend on a frugal search like this.

The key is to keep it simple and cheap. You're just looking to soften up the surface. In the old days, folks would use egg cartons stapled to the wall... of course that takes a while to accumulate unless you're a natural hoarder wink

Given your craftsmanship skills seen on those speaker stands, you would likely find any one of these solutions to be a fun project to spruce up the acoustics in that music room of yours.

- OneWatt

Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: David B] #2693462
12/01/17 01:07 PM
12/01/17 01:07 PM
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Those are nifty DIY angled speaker stands. You also have good financial priorities.

I generally like your studio setup but think you can improve sound quality a lot for free. You might try experimenting with positioning of the speakers and room:

* Move speakers and piano from the back wall another metre (or more)

* Move speakers and piano away from the left wall

* Move that nice reflective wood table away from piano area

* Maybe add some sound difusion in the area (like a bookcase or some boxes particularly on the back wall but also side wall). Hanging heavy curtain or rugs might help

* Try one or more cheap area rugs on the floor

* Try stuffing the speaker ports with socks to see if you like the change in sound

* Finally, the nice monitor & sheet music stand are interfering with high Fq. Can you put stack them so the monitor is behind the sheet music stand then simply remove the sheet music stand when you are using the monitor. Another alternative would be to separate the speakers more.

Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: David B] #2693467
12/01/17 01:22 PM
12/01/17 01:22 PM
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To OneWatt's post, subwoofers can imporve sound a lot. Before going that route, try our free tweaking suggestions as that might get you there with no cost and virtually no effort.

Subwoofers can be expensive and difficult to set up.

- Fortunately for us the home theatre boom is in freefall and you can find a ton of powered subwoofers being sold very cheaply on craigslist. I see plenty for 30$ - 50$. Offer less than asking. Just make sure they work.

- Setting up subwoofers is a bit painful. Getting them to integrate seamlessly with the speakers is more difficult.

> But if you get two they will sound much better and be much easier to set up. Two help neutralize room acoustical issues

> There is a crawl-around method to setting up subs you can find on the internet; takes 10 mintues. Also Harman Group has a good white paper (of course they recommend filling your room with subwoofers lol).

> Maybe it would be nice to have a left and right sub about the same distance from your ears as the speakers are (with the better sub on the left side). But that is not primary.

> To set the volume, listen to music and adjust so you barely notice the subs. Then reduce the volume MORE. You really don't want to hear them or notice them so they blend in with your speakers.

Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: David B] #2693478
12/01/17 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by David B
Originally Posted by Gombessa


Here's an experiment: while playing back a recording, try standing straight up and see if the tonal quality changes. If it improves, it likely means they aren't in an optimal position.


I tried that and the sound was indeed better. I'd have to go with the position you have yours in (or keep them as they currently are, level and in straight alignment with my ears). I can shorten the legs on my stands before scrapping the whole idea of repositioning the monitors. Is is possible to get a picture of how yours are setup to give me a better idea?

God Bless,
David


Warning - my "setup" isn't exactly elegant. But I'm happy with the little corner of the room that I've been granted by the CFO, and I'm just happy I don't get complaints about ugly wires and stuff. Otherwise I'd have to relocate to the crawlspace.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50 || Kawai NV-10, MP11
Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: Gombessa] #2693484
12/01/17 02:25 PM
12/01/17 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by David B
Originally Posted by Gombessa


Here's an experiment: while playing back a recording, try standing straight up and see if the tonal quality changes. If it improves, it likely means they aren't in an optimal position.


I tried that and the sound was indeed better. I'd have to go with the position you have yours in (or keep them as they currently are, level and in straight alignment with my ears). I can shorten the legs on my stands before scrapping the whole idea of repositioning the monitors. Is is possible to get a picture of how yours are setup to give me a better idea?

God Bless,
David


Warning - my "setup" isn't exactly elegant. But I'm happy with the little corner of the room that I've been granted by the CFO, and I'm just happy I don't get complaints about ugly wires and stuff. Otherwise I'd have to relocate to the crawlspace.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]




IMO, You'll ruin any sense of reasonable stereo image that way, and also severely colour the bass mid treble balance of your monitors.

Now, one smart one may say, well, does a real piano project in stereo ? no, it doesn't, but presumably the samples in your mp11 and most VSTs as far as I aware are optimised for stereo output. To get the best stereo image and sound stage, that precise placement is needed to replicate accurately the sound queues you need to tell you where sounds are coming from. As said, monitors, always work best with tweeters at ear height, not even at a slight angle tilted upwards, but there is a little leeway where you'll not notice too much. Personally, I find it rather immersion braking when monitors are setup anything other that is too far from the ideal setup.

You can easily check this out with sound demos, on youtube you'll find plenty sound demos where objects are moved above below left right etc. When monitors are placed correctly that illusion works, but you will soon hear that illusion stops working as soon as you move too far away from the sweet spot or at an angle above or below, though some monitors have more forgiving wave guides than others, like the JBL LSR 305, ( as ugly as they look IMO ) but that waveguide is quite forgiving towards off-axis listening.compared the M audio you own, and the KRKs of which I also own a pair.

If you got an extra pair of monitors you can start thinking about filling out the sound in other ways, I've done that and it can be fun as an experiment, but to be honest, I am happy with just 2 for the piano and use the other two on the desktop.

Last edited by Alexander Borro; 12/01/17 02:29 PM.

Selftaught since June 2014.
Books: Barratt classic piano course bk 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various...
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Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: newer player] #2693488
12/01/17 02:29 PM
12/01/17 02:29 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 501
Mountain Time, USA
OneWatt Offline
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Originally Posted by newer player
To OneWatt's post, subwoofers can imporve sound a lot. Before going that route, try our free tweaking suggestions as that might get you there with no cost and virtually no effort.

Subwoofers can be expensive and difficult to set up.

- Fortunately for us the home theatre boom is in freefall and you can find a ton of powered subwoofers being sold very cheaply on craigslist. I see plenty for 30$ - 50$. Offer less than asking. Just make sure they work.

- Setting up subwoofers is a bit painful. Getting them to integrate seamlessly with the speakers is more difficult.

> But if you get two they will sound much better and be much easier to set up. Two help neutralize room acoustical issues

> There is a crawl-around method to setting up subs you can find on the internet; takes 10 mintues. Also Harman Group has a good white paper (of course they recommend filling your room with subwoofers lol).

> Maybe it would be nice to have a left and right sub about the same distance from your ears as the speakers are (with the better sub on the left side). But that is not primary.

> To set the volume, listen to music and adjust so you barely notice the subs. Then reduce the volume MORE. You really don't want to hear them or notice them so they blend in with your speakers.


Some great suggestions above from newer player about how to get a subwoofer on the cheap.

But I would respectfully caution about getting two subwoofers or about putting one anywhere near one's ears.

- Two subs would double the expense and add nothing to the overall sound.
- Using two sources of deep low frequency invites standing wave interference in your room, which would then cancel the benefits of using a sub.
- One's enjoyment of such low frequencies is non-directional ... those deep lows are meant to be felt in your gut.
- deep low frequencies bounce off of room surfaces (walls/floors) beautifully and so one decent sub is plenty.

Besides, there's a good reason they're sold as singles even with the most high end gear; that's all that's needed. Like salt in your food ... just a touch is perfect and too much tastes like too much.

One final thought: for solo piano you don't really need a subwoofer to any great extent given size/wattage of the powered monitors you already have in place.

While I use subs in my speaker setups for acoustic-to-electronic converted drums (bass kick and low tom sounds great) and for a Hammond/VPO setup (to ensure those low bass notes are deeply felt), I never bothered incorporating one into my Kawai MP7 speaker setup ... even when playing a left-hand acoustic bass patch the powered monitors at ear level more than suffice.

Food for thought - OneWatt

Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: David B] #2693497
12/01/17 03:30 PM
12/01/17 03:30 PM
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I say give this guy a break.

This is Piano World.
Not Wallpaper World.
Not Drywall World.
Not Carpet World. smile
Originally Posted by KJ
I really like the look of your setup, however I would love to see the room made a little more inviting with some wood flooring, and painted walls etc.

Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: David B] #2693531
12/01/17 05:39 PM
12/01/17 05:39 PM
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Those basement walls are the inside of the styrofoam forms not exposed concrete, so they shouldn't be very reflective.
I agree with Macx3; spend your money on music gear not interior decorating. :-)

Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: jarobi] #2693607
12/02/17 12:02 AM
12/02/17 12:02 AM
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David B Online content OP
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Originally Posted by Gombessa

Warning - my "setup" isn't exactly elegant. But I'm happy with the little corner of the room that I've been granted by the CFO, and I'm just happy I don't get complaints about ugly wires and stuff. Otherwise I'd have to relocate to the crawlspace.


Thank you for sharing.

Originally Posted by OneWatt

One final thought: for solo piano you don't really need a subwoofer to any great extent given size/wattage of the powered monitors you already have in place.


I've been tempted to get the KRK subwoofer, but it's too expensive. I'm curious to see if I'd notice an appreciable difference in the low end or if the gain would not be worth the pain.

Originally Posted by jarobi
Those basement walls are the inside of the styrofoam forms not exposed concrete, so they shouldn't be very reflective.
I agree with Macx3; spend your money on music gear not interior decorating. :-)


That's correct. It's really not that bad down in the basement. The celling is exposed insulation, the walls are concrete, but enshrouded in styrofoam and of course the floor is concrete. I actually crank of the reverb on my MP11SE to small concert hall, because there really isn't much reverb down in the basement. However, I'm sure any acoustical treatment would improve the experience,

God bless,
David


Last edited by David B; 12/02/17 12:04 AM.

Kawai MP-11SE
Mac mini 2018/Focusrite Scarlett 2i4/KRK Rokit 6 G3 Studio Monitors
Duane Shinn 52 Week Crash Course; Lessons 1-33 Completed
Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: MacMacMac] #2694101
12/04/17 12:41 AM
12/04/17 12:41 AM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Offline
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I say give this guy a break.

This is Piano World.
Not Wallpaper World.
Not Drywall World.
Not Carpet World. smile
Originally Posted by KJ
I really like the look of your setup, however I would love to see the room made a little more inviting with some wood flooring, and painted walls etc.



Yeah, you're right Mac. I didn't intend for my comment to come across as a criticism - my apologies to David if that was the case.

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
Re: Digital piano and monitor placement [Re: Kawai James] #2694130
12/04/17 03:53 AM
12/04/17 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James


Yeah, you're right Mac. I didn't intend for my comment to come across as a criticism - my apologies to David if that was the case.

Cheers,
James
x


No worries. I wasn't offended. I agree with you, I also would like to see the basement fixed up a bit. Perhaps I should start a Go Fund Me page. smile

God Bless,
David

Last edited by David B; 12/04/17 03:53 AM.

Kawai MP-11SE
Mac mini 2018/Focusrite Scarlett 2i4/KRK Rokit 6 G3 Studio Monitors
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