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Speakers for Kawai VPC1
#2763332 09/04/18 11:46 AM
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For those of you who use midi-controller pianos, what fidelity and frequency range do you find acceptable from your speakers?

Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Clueless999 #2763349 09/04/18 12:18 PM
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Speakers are a matter of taste, so you may not like what what I like.

However, if you want a clear, realistic representation of your virtual pianos, I would recommend a pair of Focal Alpha 80's. They have very good bass response, but the bass is not overpowering. A pair of these will cost $1000.

A lot of composers that use these as reference monitors think these are better than the popular Yamaha HS8's.

If that's too much money for you, you could try the Focal Alpha 50's or 65's, but I can't say how good they are. They should be similar, just with less bass response.

Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Clueless999 #2763358 09/04/18 01:14 PM
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The question is: What do you expect from your setup? An experience similar to playing an acoustic piano? A setup that allows you to practice your skills? A setup that allows you to work as a professional composer/sound designer? A setup that allows you to go on stage?

The first goal is difficult to achieve with speakers, even with expensive speakers.
The second goal is much easier to achieve, and requires much less expensive speakers, the choice is subjective. Any decent nearfield monitors will do (Presonus, JBL, Yamaha, Focal and many others offer suitable options). I'd suggest active monitors, about 5'' speaker size (plus tweeter).
For both these goals, good headphones are an alternative that should seriously be considered.
If you aim for the third goal you would probably not ask here...
And if you aim for the fourth, one or two PA full range speakers is the way to go, such as EV ZXA1, QSC 8.2, or more expensive ones. But you'd probably not want to do this with a VPC1 anyway...

Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Clueless999 #2763372 09/04/18 01:52 PM
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I have the focal CMS 40 monitors. They are good also.

However, my experience with this is that unless you have a lot of experience with sound equipment … you never really get what you hope for.
You get what you get and then you begin tweaking the sound which goes into the speakers/monitors.

With the VPC1 you may be using Pianoteq and that gives you a lot of options for the tweaking stage.

Even then, you may never achieve your version of perfection.

Eventually, you begin to like what you have (hopefully) because it is a very nice sound, just not what you had imagined.

Good Luck


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used), Focus Rite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Mackie MIX 5 Compact Mixer.
Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Clueless999 #2763392 09/04/18 02:52 PM
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This has been discussed in the Pianoteq user forum (more than once). Someone's summary of "good enough" (for him):

. . . two 5" monitors, plus sub-woofer, or

. . . two 8" monitors.

Once I got the EV ZXA1, I had no wish to go any further. That's monophonic sound -- if stereo sound is important, you'd need two of them.

The lowest octave -- from 27 Hz to 55 Hz -- is very expensive.

And headphones are way cheaper than equivalent loudspeakers.


. Charles
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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Clueless999 #2763500 09/05/18 02:08 AM
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One might get a better response from the VPC and £300 monitors than from a VST - digital piano using the onboard speakers which are set up for the onboard sounds, although most here who use such monitors would suggest they outperform the digital piano set up considerably.

Using a VPC1 set up may well be easier to achieve an even sound without too much equaliser tweaking from the vst.

I use my onboard speakers with Pianoteq. It can sound very similar to an acoustic. An acoustic nobody really wants to buy . . . .


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Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Clueless999 #2763621 09/05/18 07:56 PM
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Thanks for all the excellent answers!

I was wondering what effect the amplifier I'd use for something like a pair of Focal Alpha 80 should be? Both minimum and recommended.

I will be using the speakers for every media-task I perform. Films, music, gaming, and the piano. That's one important reason a silent piano will afford me much better value, and why headphones can't be my primary choice.
An option I'm considering is the Libratone Zipp 2 (One of the top wifi speakers). https://www.libratone.com/no/products/speakers/zipp-2/product-details/

Last edited by Clueless999; 09/05/18 08:00 PM.
Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Clueless999 #2763623 09/05/18 08:04 PM
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I inherited a 320W amplifier/reciever (in one). Would that do the Focal Alpha 80 any good?



Edit:: wait a minute. Those have got an inbuilt amplifier hasn't it?

Last edited by Clueless999; 09/05/18 08:08 PM.
Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Clueless999 #2763624 09/05/18 08:10 PM
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Also, the room these will be used in is ~20m2.

Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Clueless999 #2763625 09/05/18 08:11 PM
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It would help if you could state your needs more clearly.

I don't know what you're saying when you ask "what effect the amplifier ... should be?" The obvious answer is "the amplifier amplifies ... so that you can drive speakers".
Surely that's not what you meant. So what did you mean?

You mentioned the Alpha 80 monitors. These are fairly expensive. And good. But they don't require an amplifier. It's built in. So I'm puzzled even more about that first question, above.

Finally, you mention the Zipp 2. How can you be considering a high end Alpha 80, and then a moment later entertain a mere portable bluetooth speaker? It makes no sense!
Or perhaps there's some aspect of your use case(s) that you have not yet revealed.

Count me puzzled.

Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
MacMacMac #2763634 09/05/18 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
It would help if you could state your needs more clearly.

I don't know what you're saying when you ask "what effect the amplifier ... should be?" The obvious answer is "the amplifier amplifies ... so that you can drive speakers".
Surely that's not what you meant. So what did you mean?

You mentioned the Alpha 80 monitors. These are fairly expensive. And good. But they don't require an amplifier. It's built in. So I'm puzzled even more about that first question, above.

Finally, you mention the Zipp 2. How can you be considering a high end Alpha 80, and then a moment later entertain a mere portable bluetooth speaker? It makes no sense!
Or perhaps there's some aspect of your use case(s) that you have not yet revealed.

Count me puzzled.


Regarding the Zipp, it's about the cable-clutter. That said I don't have enough insight to judge one as high-end and the other as a mere portable. The reviews for the ZIPP all point out excellent audio-quality, but non says anything about what they compare to. Which is why I mention it. Thanks for the heads up. But how can I tell a high-end speaker without asking?

Regarding the amplifier. Lets say I have two speakers without inbuilt amplifier require max 150W each, would a 320W amplifier suffice, or be good? If they ranged from 150-1500W, would the same amplifier suffice? What properties should I look for if pairing a 320W amplifier with a couple of high-fidelity speakers?

Last edited by Clueless999; 09/05/18 08:41 PM.
Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Clueless999 #2763637 09/05/18 08:51 PM
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What reviews?
Originally Posted by Clueless999
The reviews for the ZIPP all point out excellent audio-quality, but non says anything about what they compare to.
Your linked web site says that the product is "coming soon". So how can there be any reviews? (And even when the reviews appear they, like all reviews, will reveal little of value, and even less that's honest.)

Anyway, bluetooth speakers aren't known for quality sound, especially when compare with real speakers. They're meant for convenience and portability. Your piano is neither. So skip the Zipp.

Just get the powered monitors. And skip this needless analysis. You won't need an amplifier ...
Quote
Lets say I have two speakers without inbuilt amplifier require max 150W each, would a 320W amplifier suffice, or be good? If they ranged from 150-1500W, would the same amplifier suffice? What properties should I look for if pairing a 320W amplifier with a couple of high-fidelity speakers?

Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
MacMacMac #2763638 09/05/18 08:57 PM
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@Mac
Zipp2 is based on Zipp. Zipp has stellar reviews. They are wifi-speaker not bluetooth, which is quite different. Some say cable is better than wifi, other say the difference is inaudible to the human ear.

But yeah, after your remark Zipp 2 is more or less out the window.

Would you say these are high end?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPbPLJmMaJs

Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Clueless999 #2763642 09/05/18 09:21 PM
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Another question, why should I chose studio monitors if I'm not composing music? Would you say the learning-outcome will be less if I use audiophile-speakers instead?
I saw this, what do you think about it?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcbHJg5aFgQ

Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Clueless999 #2763655 09/05/18 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Clueless999
Another question, why should I chose studio monitors if I'm not composing music? Would you say the learning-outcome will be less if I use audiophile-speakers instead?
I saw this, what do you think about it?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcbHJg5aFgQ


One of the comments to that video:

Quote
Very disingenuous, hes disguising the truth, which is that monitors offer a flat response, and hifi speakers deliberately colour the audio for pleasurable listening, I don't know why he can't just say this, rather than wrap it in sales patter.


IMHO:

That's probably right. Everything the presenter says, is bafflegab.

What the presenter calls "sterile" -- that's what you want, to reproduce the signals the DP sends out. The same is true for headphones.

Good-quality hi-fi speakers will probably work fine. They may have some coloration (bumps in the frequency-response curve). But if the high- and low-frequency response is OK, and there's enough power driving them (something around 100 watts, for "live piano" sound levels), they'll do the job.

But you'll get more sound per dollar, from "powered studio monitors". They have cheaper cabinetry, and looser constraints on how they look,

A pair of Focal 80's will cost around $1,000. I suspect you don't need to spend more than that, even if you have very demanding ears. They'll do everything else you need to do with them.


. Charles
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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Clueless999 #2763659 09/05/18 11:03 PM
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Charles: I partly agree and partly disagree.

AGREE: Yes, the presenter is suspect. Aren't they all?

DISAGREE: I don't see how you get more for the money from monitors. You can get good speakers and amplifiers for cheap on the used market. I've gone that route.
I've tried to get used monitors ... but the prices are not discounted very much from the original new price. Apparently they hold their value. The price of used monitors can't match what I paid for amps and speakers.

DISAGREE: Also, sterile is not what I want from speakers. I want them to sound good. My idea of good may be different from yours (for any of a number of reasons).
Monitors may be flat, but flat is not my ideal. I want good, not flat. The former is entirely subjective, but so what? I likes what I likes, 'n' dats dat.

Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Clueless999 #2763660 09/05/18 11:12 PM
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One more thought (and some people disagree):

. . . You won't learn much faster with really good speakers, than you will with tolerable speakers.

Let's say that "tolerable" means anything with 5" or larger woofers, and 20 watts per channel. For example, the Behringer MS40.

Practice time, and good teaching, is far more valuable than high-end gear.


. Charles
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Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
MacMacMac #2763661 09/05/18 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Charles: I partly agree and partly disagree.

AGREE: Yes, the presenter is suspect. Aren't they all?

DISAGREE: I don't see how you get more for the money from monitors. You can get good speakers and amplifiers for cheap on the used market. I've gone that route.
I've tried to get used monitors ... but the prices are not discounted very much from the original new price. Apparently they hold their value. The price of used monitors can't match what I paid for amps and speakers.

DISAGREE: Also, sterile is not what I want from speakers. I want them to sound good. My idea of good may be different from yours (for any of a number of reasons).
Monitors may be flat, but flat is not my ideal. I want good, not flat. The former is entirely subjective, but so what? I likes what I likes, 'n' dats dat.


Yes the purpose of monitors is not to sound "nice" or "good" but rather to sound transparent and representative of the signal going in to them. They're more of a tool than entertainment.

Having said that, I own some little M Audio studio monitors that were not very expensive at all, and they sound very good. But then, I like my sound transparent.

Normal speakers and amps are more forgiving of bad sound.

However, I would actually also recommend powered studio monitors but that's just me.

Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Zaphod #2763665 09/05/18 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Zaphod

Yes the purpose of monitors is not to sound "nice" or "good" but rather to sound transparent and representative of the signal going in to them. They're more of a tool than entertainment.

Having said that, I own some little M Audio studio monitors that were not very expensive at all, and they sound very good. But then, I like my sound transparent.

Normal speakers and amps are more forgiving of bad sound.

However, I would actually also recommend powered studio monitors but that's just me.


Exactly. This is why studio monitors, such as the Focal Alpha's, are great, because they don't color the sound.

Too many consumer-grade speakers try to accentuate bass and treble too much, and the end result sounds unrealistic. This may be fine if you listen to pop or EDM music, but for playing piano I would want something transparent, as Zaphod puts it.

The Alpha 80's are big enough that they still have plenty of bass response. Not overpowering like a subwoofer, however, just a realistic amount. Get a pair of these, and they are all you will ever need, even for just listening to music!

However, unless you have a lot of free cash, you don't need to get these just for practicing piano. Cheaper monitors or speakers will suffice.

Last edited by Gabriel Hikaru; 09/05/18 11:37 PM.
Re: Speakers for Kawai VPC1
Charles Cohen #2763667 09/05/18 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
One more thought (and some people disagree):
...
Practice time, and good teaching, is far more valuable than high-end gear.

As we told the same OP on his other thread regarding a digital piano for an absolute beginner:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-my-ideal-digital-piano.html#Post2762306

Last edited by Lotus1; 09/05/18 11:48 PM.
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