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Sound Shaping Devices #2703807
01/10/18 09:36 PM
01/10/18 09:36 PM
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When I play my Kawai ES8 and listen with my headphones, the sound is absolutely perfect (in my view) for jazz music.

However, it is not at that level when it goes out through my piano speakers or through my external speakers (see below) via the lineouts.

I am looking for recommendations for how I might begin to try to improve on that sound coming through my external speakers.

My choices are probably better speakers ... for which I am skeptical if that would give me the result I wish for .... or a device placed in the line from my piano to my speakers.

A mixer ? An equalizer ? Any other ideas ?

Please .... speak from experience only.

Thanks




Last edited by dmd; 01/10/18 09:37 PM.

Don

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors
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Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: dmd] #2703809
01/10/18 09:51 PM
01/10/18 09:51 PM
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Test your assumption:

Rent a pair of good PA speakers, or powered monitor speakers, for a week. Experiment to get the best placement.

At the end of the week, turn them off and go back to the ES8 speakers. See if you think they help, or not.

Report back, please.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: Charles Cohen] #2703813
01/10/18 10:09 PM
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So .... you are suggesting that the powered monitors I have may not be of sufficient quality to produce the sound I am looking for ?


Don

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors
Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: dmd] #2703829
01/10/18 11:27 PM
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You can do a ton of "sound shaping" and "EQ" with positioning...

How are your monitors positioned relative to the keyboard? Maybe they should be on stands around ear height, angled towards your head. How far are they from the keyboard and back wall? What is the distance between the speakers? You don't need to answer these questions but use them to move stuff around.

Why not try moving your system around the room. Closer to the wall, further from the wall, closer to a corner, further from a corner.

Try a rug in a few places. Try moving furniture to a few different places. Try window drapes open, half closed, fully closed.

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Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: newer player] #2703830
01/10/18 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by newer player
You can do a ton of "sound shaping" and "EQ" with positioning...

How are your monitors positioned relative to the keyboard? Maybe they should be on stands around ear height, angled towards your head. How far are they from the keyboard and back wall? What is the distance between the speakers? You don't need to answer these questions but use them to move stuff around.

Why not try moving your system around the room. Closer to the wall, further from the wall, closer to a corner, further from a corner.

Try a rug in a few places. Try moving furniture to a few different places. Try window drapes open, half closed, fully closed.




Certainly options ....

Truthfully .... I am not a fan of moving things (furniture, rugs, piano, etc ...) .... as there seems to be no end to that sort of thing.

I am hoping for a more direct solution .... better speakers, equalizer, etc ...


Don

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors
Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: newer player] #2703860
01/11/18 02:35 AM
01/11/18 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by newer player
You can do a ton of "sound shaping" and "EQ" with positioning...

How are your monitors positioned relative to the keyboard? Maybe they should be on stands around ear height, angled towards your head. How far are they from the keyboard and back wall? What is the distance between the speakers? You don't need to answer these questions but use them to move stuff around.

Why not try moving your system around the room. Closer to the wall, further from the wall, closer to a corner, further from a corner.

Try a rug in a few places. Try moving furniture to a few different places. Try window drapes open, half closed, fully closed.



I'm curious in what kind of living conditions y'all live, that this kind of moving around is an option? Dorm room student lair? Dedicated music studio room? Man cave cellar? grin

Personally, I have my piano in our living room and there's exactly one spot (maybe with a minor variation) where it can be placed. If it doesn't sound good in that spot, then tough luck!

Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: dmd] #2703878
01/11/18 04:25 AM
01/11/18 04:25 AM
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How close are you from the speakers? Experiment with placing them more than 5ft from your ears.


Kawai ES8, Roland RD2000, Yamaha AG06 mixer, Presonus Eris E5 monitors, Sennheiser HD598SR phones.
Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: dmd] #2703891
01/11/18 07:04 AM
01/11/18 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by dmd
So .... you are suggesting that the powered monitors I have may not be of sufficient quality to produce the sound I am looking for ?


Aha -- I didn't see the "Focal CMS40" note in your signature . . . They are expensive, but not perfect.

The beauty of headphones is that they only have to move the air inside the earcups. They can easily give louder sound, and better (deeper and louder) bass, than small-woofer speakers.

Renting a pair of speakers -- larger and louder than the CMS 40's -- is an inexpensive experiment.

CMS40 Specs (from Focal):

Quote

System
• Frequency response (+/- 3dB) 60Hz - 28kHz
• Maximum SPL 97dB SPL (peak @ 1m)


Assuming that you have the speakers about 1m from your ears, pointing toward your head, that's just about loud enough for "live piano" sound levels. And the bass response is deep enough.

If they're much further than 1m away, or you're one of the people sensitive to the lowest octave of sound from the piano (the fundamental frequency of the lowest A is around 27 Hz), you might benefit from higher-powered, larger-woofer loudspeakers.

Or, you might consider adding the Focal "CMS Sub" subwoofer, with an 11" woofer and 300 watts. There's a review here:

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/focal-cms40-cms-sub

Or you could use a smaller subwoofer -- you shouldn't _need_ an 11" woofer to handle piano music. There are lots, designed for "home theatre" systems, that should be OK, without breaking your back or bank account. Yamaha makes the HS8S subwoofer -- 8" speaker, 150 watts -- that might be a good match to the CMS 40's.

The specs of a Yamaha HS8 monitor ( 8" woofer):

Quote

Frequency response:47 Hz - 24 kHz, +/- 3 dB

Power: 75 watts woofer, 45 watts tweeter

SPL: not specified (!!!)


If you want to play with "sound shaping", the easiest way to do it is to get a "stereo graphic equalizer" like this one (a DBX 231s):

https://www.amazon.com/231s-Channel-31-Band-Graphic-Equalizer/dp/B004NDHZTY

There are lots of alternatives from DBX, Behringer, and others -- check the Guitar Center and Sweetwater catalogs. An equalizer goes in-line, between the DP's "Line Out" jacks and the speakers "Line In" jacks. (Some stage pianos have built-in multi-band EQ; I don't know about the ES8.)

An equalizer will let you change the "sonic signature" of the CMS 40's, to match the headphone sound that you like. It _won't_ make them into 8"-woofer speakers with 150 watts per channel.

I can't see any use for any other outboard "pro audio" gear. If you like the ES8 over headphones, you don't need a mixer, a compressor, or anything else in the signal chain.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: Charles Cohen] #2703908
01/11/18 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
I didn't see the "Focal CMS40" note in your signature

also JBL LSR305

Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: dmd] #2703912
01/11/18 09:46 AM
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Thanks for the replies ....

My first effort is going to go in the direction of a graphic equalizer.

The DBX option suggested by Charles seems to be a good place to start.

Perhaps a single channel will be enough.

I see some mention of "noise" within some of these equalizers so I will want to minimize that element.

Cost is not a significant factor (within reason) in my decision for a product but "noise" is.

I will be working with an on-line store representative to help with this.

Any suggestions from first-hand personal experience is always helpful.

Thanks again for your help.


Don

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors
Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: dmd] #2704122
01/11/18 10:02 PM
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Quote
. . .
Perhaps a single channel will be enough.


Probably a mistake.

The ES8, almost certainly, uses _stereo_ (2-channel) samples, and expects stereo (2 channels, left and right) speakers.

. . . So you'll lose something -- a sense of "physical presence", probably -- if you only have one channel going through the EQ, into one speaker, or both speakers.

I suggest either (1) a 2-channel EQ (31 independent frequency bands per channel) (I think that's what I pointed to, above),

. . . or (2) an EQ that has two channels, and one set of 31 sliders that controls the EQ of both channels.

I don't know if (2) exists. Talk with the guys in the store.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: dmd] #2704123
01/11/18 10:07 PM
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I agree with Charles... you'll almost certainly feel the loss going down to mono.

Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: dmd] #2704136
01/11/18 11:22 PM
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I did order the 2-Channel equalizer.


Don

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors
Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: dmd] #2704157
01/12/18 03:28 AM
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Good ! Let us know how it works out.

Thanks in advance --

One more thing:

Depending on how your room is set up, one problem could be that your speakers are exciting "room resonances", and the sound you hear has "coloration" - some frequencies come through louder than others.

You can ameliorate that situation with an equalizer, cutting the frequencies that resonate. I went through that process to eliminate feedback with a headworn mic, and the sound system in my synagogue. Some of the EQ corrections were -8 dB, which is _a lot_ of correction, and I didn't want to believe them. But the feedback problem is gone.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: dmd] #2704276
01/12/18 01:37 PM
01/12/18 01:37 PM
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I think you have underestimated the equipment necessary to produce the equivalent of your headphones.

This is especially important when considering the acoustic power necessary for reproducing low frequency notes with low harmonic distortion, e.g. less than the 1% level of perceivable distortion even if the volume is raised.

Forget equalizers, visit a shop that sells used audio equipment and buy used speakers with larger diameters and either a separate used amplifier with double the individual speaker r.m.s wattage, or a used active speaker designed for keyboard reproduction.

You will be amazed at the performance of such a system, e.g. 100W r.m.s stereo amp with e.g.

https://www.keyboardmag.com/gear/powered-speakers-that-make-great-keyboard-amps

Ian


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Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: dmd] #2704292
01/12/18 02:23 PM
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That's a good point... you generally have to spend a whole lot of money to get speakers that sound as good as high quality much more reasonably priced headphones. For reference, it would be interesting to listen to some high quality CDs (perhaps with some piano performances) through your headphones and through your best speakers and take note of that difference. The issue here is likely to not be specific to your DP reproduction at all.

Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: anotherscott] #2704314
01/12/18 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
it would be interesting to listen to some high quality CDs (perhaps with some piano performances) through your headphones and through your best speakers and take note of that difference. The issue here is likely to not be specific to your DP reproduction at all.


Agreed

Originally Posted by anotherscott
you generally have to spend a whole lot of money to get speakers that sound as good as high quality much more reasonably priced headphones.


Headphones can provide excellent performance for low price. Much less room acoustics to worry about, low driver excursion, no messy crossover networks, low power amp needs, nifty stereo separation lowest latency playback, etc. Plug-and-play.

But for audio reproduction via speakers, I still think physical positioning and room acoustics still "trump" everything by a "huge" margin. Measuring and expermenting takes a good bit of time and effort. EQ maybe able to help a little but I think it is more useful as a tool for measuring and expermenting.

As long as your audio gear is "decent" I don't think more money improves audio performance. To "step-up" your nice JBL & Focal monitors will cost a lot of money and I don't think you will see much, if any, improvement.

As mentioned above, one or two inexpensive subwoofers might help but they do take time and effort to place optimally.

Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: Beemer] #2704335
01/12/18 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Beemer
Forget equalizers, visit a shop that sells used audio equipment and buy used speakers with larger diameters and either a separate used amplifier with double the individual speaker r.m.s wattage, or a used active speaker designed for keyboard reproduction.


Well, that may be good advice for someone fluent in the electronics genre. That is not me.



Is this website presented as confirmation of your postion or as a suggestion of products one might consider ? (or Both)

Last edited by dmd; 01/12/18 04:56 PM.

Don

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors
Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: dmd] #2704351
01/12/18 05:52 PM
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The speakers shown at that web site are quite good. They're also quite expensive.
Those are for larger venues.
They're gross overkill for a piano in the home.

dmd: Advice for using an equalizer is valid. They're available for cheap on Ebay.

Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: MacMacMac] #2704366
01/12/18 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
The speakers shown at that web site are quite good. They're also quite expensive.
Those are for larger venues.
They're gross overkill for a piano in the home.

dmd: Advice for using an equalizer is valid. They're available for cheap on Ebay.



Well, I will find out if the equalizer is the solution .... soon enough.

If that fails .... it appears I need a serious upgrade with my speakers/monitors.

I will hope for the best.


Don

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors
Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: MacMacMac] #2704395
01/12/18 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
The speakers shown at that web site are quite good. They're also quite expensive.
Those are for larger venues.
They're gross overkill for a piano in the home.


+1.

I own an EV ZXA1 (one of the speakers in that "Keyboard Magazine" report):

. . . It sounds very good;
. . . It's expensive (and rather large and ugly, for home use)
. . . It's overkill for home use.

OTOH, with a pair of those, nobody is likely to tell you:

. . . "You should consider a loudspeaker upgrade."

See how the EQ works. If it gives you what you want, consider yourself lucky (or blessed).


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: dmd] #2704433
01/12/18 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
The speakers shown at that web site are quite good. They're also quite expensive.
Those are for larger venues.
They're gross overkill for a piano in the home.

dmd: Advice for using an equalizer is valid. They're available for cheap on Ebay.



Well, I will find out if the equalizer is the solution .... soon enough.

If that fails .... it appears I need a serious upgrade with my speakers/monitors.

I will hope for the best.



At some point ‘get out your umbrella’, eq’s start sounding better when bypassed.

Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: emenelton] #2704440
01/12/18 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by emenelton

At some point ‘get out your umbrella’, eq’s start sounding better when bypassed.


I do not understand the .... "get out your umbrella" ... phrase.


Don

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors
Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: dmd] #2704444
01/12/18 11:02 PM
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It means ‘sorry to rain on your parade’.
Improving your speakers, especially because both of your monitor sets have small woofers, makes more sense.

Re: Sound Shaping Devices [Re: emenelton] #2704446
01/12/18 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by emenelton
It means ‘sorry to rain on your parade’.
Improving your speakers, especially because both of your monitor sets have small woofers, makes more sense.


Do you have a suggestion for "Improved" speakers/monitors ?

Or .... just get more expensive ones.


Don

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors
Re: Sound Shaping Device [Re: dmd] #2704451
01/12/18 11:34 PM
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I was foretelling a possible future of eq use.
I have been playing through a radial jiso direct box into t40 gigaworks computer speakers.

Sounds real natural. The direct box cost a lot more than the speakers.

Re: Sound Shaping Device [Re: emenelton] #2704461
01/13/18 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by emenelton
I was foretelling a possible future of eq use.
I have been playing through a radial jiso direct box into t40 gigaworks computer speakers.

Sounds real natural. The direct box cost a lot more than the speakers.



Doesn't sound (no pun) like a road I wish to travel down.


Don

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors
Re: Sound Shaping Device [Re: dmd] #2704472
01/13/18 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by emenelton
I was foretelling a possible future of eq use.
I have been playing through a radial jiso direct box into t40 gigaworks computer speakers.

Sounds real natural. The direct box cost a lot more than the speakers.



Doesn't sound (no pun) like a road I wish to travel down.





It’s just what I use, they’re not in a much different class than the 305’s, but really nice, balanced mid-range. Great for piano.

It’s low cost, you asked if all alternatives were more expensive, not really, but it’s easy to think from your complaint that you could get into a nice set of 6.5” 2-ways or add a sub , just have gone down that eq road before.

Re: Sound Shaping Device [Re: dmd] #2704482
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Posts: 667
Europe
Even though the CMS40 are really nice, they definitely lack low-end and no amount of eq-ing will compensate for that. The LSR 305, while in a significantly lower class, have decent low frequencies for piano, but they get a little boxy for the lower octaves.
Up until recently, I had the 305 and I don't think something significantly better can be had close to their price.
I tried upgrading to presonus eris e8 and they gave me a slight upgrade in frequency response and a more natural sound, but they wouldn't go significantly lower than the 305. Also, they were a slight downgrade concerning imaging, sweet spot, phantom center. I haven't tried the 308, so don't know how much of an improvement they are.
However, meanwhile I have sold the erises at no loss, and got a pair of Focal Alpha 65 and can honestly say they're in another league. They have a very wide sweetspot, great imaging (significantly above the LSRs) and a very linear response which goes lower than the Erises. I would've went for the 80 if I had the space to place them, but I keep them on top of the piano on auralex pads and these are already large enough. I know this hurts acoustics a little, but it's impossible for me to place them any other way. At least the tweeter' s at ear level and the sound is fantastic.
I recommend you consider upgrading the speakers rather than sound shaping devices, because your speakers are the limiting factor and no sound shaping will cross that limit. The alpha 65 already sound much better and give me a natural, full piano sound, not the thin (radio-like) sound that I got from monitors with poorer frequency response, or the boxy sound I got from monitors that were over-trying in the low-range.
Let us know which way you go and your impressions smile

Re: Sound Shaping Device [Re: dmd] #2704485
01/13/18 03:40 AM
01/13/18 03:40 AM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,007
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emenelton Offline
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emenelton  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
E
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,007
6.5” 2-ways have better dynamic character than smaller woofers too

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