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An alternative solution to amping up.
#2909243 11/07/19 04:43 PM
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This may have been suggested in the past but I just wanted to throw out a method of being heard better on your slab if you're a solo piano performer.

I generally perform drinks receptions for weddings and I quickly tired of the terrible quality sound which comes from plugging a lead from DP to mixer/ PA speaker, particularly when I'm outdoors.

My method is simply to treat the piano like you would a voice and place a Shure mic up against one of the speakers on it. What comes out on the PA speaker is a condensed, clean representation of the true sound. Much nicer than the boomy, artificial sound of going direct.

I wonder if anyone has a more sophisticated rig than this which faithfully reproduces the sound of a DP in a large setting? Better quality mics for instance? Better placement?

Anyway, I'm really pleased with the quality which comes from a simple solution. It even passes the aesthetics test.

Last edited by PianoMasterIreland; 11/07/19 04:48 PM.
Re: An alternative solution to amping up.
genericbat #2909257 11/07/19 05:22 PM
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Guitarists often mic up their amps, an SM57 up close and off centre is the usual strategy. I don't know if the right description would be a cleaner sound, you after all going to be feeding merely a colored signal back into the same PA correct? I don't know what the right description would be, it would be something like eq'ing the sound I'd think and your result will depend a lot on the exact speakers/mics/volume used - but results speak for themselves. If you like it, do it imo.

I assume you use one mic for each speaker off your piano? I'm not sure how many people would have 2x spare mics/leads/channels lying around.

Re: An alternative solution to amping up.
genericbat #2909271 11/07/19 06:02 PM
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I've been playing out for many years, and wouldn't ever consider your approach of miking a built-in speaker. It seems to be working for you though, so it can't be that bad!

It starts with your choice of digital AP. The ones with built-in speakers often heavily process the AP signal so it sounds decent through the on-board speakers. If you use a direct output, it's still processed even though you may not want that.

So one thing to consider is a digital AP that's designed to be externally amplified. Lots of good choices, including nicer used ones. Casio, Yamaha and Nord all have their fans.

There are a few higher-end models with built-in speakers that sense when a direct output is being used and adjust accordingly.

The next thing to consider is amplification. For solo/duo work, one of the Bose L1 models is quite nice. Crystal reproduction, wide dispersion, easy to transport, easy to place, etc. Again, I'd buy used. The other approach is to use a better pair of 8" self-powered PA units (e.g. QSC K8.2 or similar) on poles. It's a more directional sound, but sometimes you want that, for example, when you're playing outdoors.

It's going to cost some money. If it helps, I've invested in a nice rig, and always like the way I sound as a result.


Life is too short to be playing bad music.

Practice: Bosie 200, Yam N3
Live: Nord Piano 4, Stage 3 Compact
Amps: QSC K.2s, RCF TT08-s, FA 12-ac, CPS SSv3
Support: STAY stands, X-Air mixers, Vent II, etc
Re: An alternative solution to amping up.
genericbat #2909574 11/08/19 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoMasterIreland
This may have been suggested in the past but I just wanted to throw out a method of being heard better on your slab if you're a solo piano performer.

I generally perform drinks receptions for weddings and I quickly tired of the terrible quality sound which comes from plugging a lead from DP to mixer/ PA speaker, particularly when I'm outdoors.

My method is simply to treat the piano like you would a voice and place a Shure mic up against one of the speakers on it. What comes out on the PA speaker is a condensed, clean representation of the true sound. Much nicer than the boomy, artificial sound of going direct.

I wonder if anyone has a more sophisticated rig than this which faithfully reproduces the sound of a DP in a large setting? Better quality mics for instance? Better placement?

Anyway, I'm really pleased with the quality which comes from a simple solution. It even passes the aesthetics test.


Out of interest, how do you find it with the the ‘stereo’ element that DPs have (on mine anyway, the LH & RH speakers generally play notes at different volumes depending on where they are relative to middle C). My last two DPs did that too.

Last edited by OscarRamsey; 11/08/19 01:49 PM.

Learning to play. Consciously incompetent, which apparently is a good starting point. smirk
Re: An alternative solution to amping up.
AndrewJCW #2910025 11/09/19 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewJCW
Guitarists often mic up their amps, an SM57 up close and off centre is the usual strategy. I don't know if the right description would be a cleaner sound, you after all going to be feeding merely a colored signal back into the same PA correct? I don't know what the right description would be, it would be something like eq'ing the sound I'd think and your result will depend a lot on the exact speakers/mics/volume used - but results speak for themselves. If you like it, do it imo.

I assume you use one mic for each speaker off your piano? I'm not sure how many people would have 2x spare mics/leads/channels lying around.


I'm not sure if we're picturing the same thing. I'm plugging the mic direct into the 12' Woofer, then placing that mic against one speaker of the piano. So the effect is the unadulterated sound you hear direct off the piano, amplified. No effects or colouring. I only need one mic because the sound is effectively mono on both piano speakers.

Last edited by PianoMasterIreland; 11/09/19 02:37 PM.
Re: An alternative solution to amping up.
cphollis #2910026 11/09/19 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by cphollis
I've been playing out for many years, and wouldn't ever consider your approach of miking a built-in speaker. It seems to be working for you though, so it can't be that bad!

It starts with your choice of digital AP. The ones with built-in speakers often heavily process the AP signal so it sounds decent through the on-board speakers. If you use a direct output, it's still processed even though you may not want that.

So one thing to consider is a digital AP that's designed to be externally amplified. Lots of good choices, including nicer used ones. Casio, Yamaha and Nord all have their fans.

There are a few higher-end models with built-in speakers that sense when a direct output is being used and adjust accordingly.

The next thing to consider is amplification. For solo/duo work, one of the Bose L1 models is quite nice. Crystal reproduction, wide dispersion, easy to transport, easy to place, etc. Again, I'd buy used. The other approach is to use a better pair of 8" self-powered PA units (e.g. QSC K8.2 or similar) on poles. It's a more directional sound, but sometimes you want that, for example, when you're playing outdoors.

It's going to cost some money. If it helps, I've invested in a nice rig, and always like the way I sound as a result.


Thanks for your response. I should have mentioned that yes, I'm finding fault with the PA units I've used in the past as I'm working on a lower budget and I haven't tried the Bose or QSC models you mentioned (although I'm familiar with them). I've only plugged my Yamaha digital into a single 12" speaker and have found the sound boomy or too thinny. So perhaps a good rig like you mention is the way to go.

Re: An alternative solution to amping up.
OscarRamsey #2910027 11/09/19 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by OscarRamsey
Out of interest, how do you find it with the the ‘stereo’ element that DPs have (on mine anyway, the LH & RH speakers generally play notes at different volumes depending on where they are relative to middle C). My last two DPs did that too.


I've found that while it is stereo between the two speakers, there is a uniform mono sound when you rig the mic to just one speaker. If I mic left, then yes, there is a bias towards bass but I can compensate for that with onboard EQ controls.

Last edited by PianoMasterIreland; 11/09/19 02:36 PM.
Re: An alternative solution to amping up.
genericbat #2910042 11/09/19 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoMasterIreland
Originally Posted by OscarRamsey
Out of interest, how do you find it with the the ‘stereo’ element that DPs have (on mine anyway, the LH & RH speakers generally play notes at different volumes depending on where they are relative to middle C). My last two DPs did that too.


I've found that while it is stereo between the two speakers, there is a uniform mono sound when you rig the mic to just one speaker. If I mic left, then yes, there is a bias towards bass but I can compensate for that with onboard EQ controls.



It's not just a bias towards bass. The whole piano sound is stereo, and, like two pieces of a jigsaw, has to fit together.
Usually l/h line out will allow mono for a single amp/speaker.
But I understand the Shure just plugs into an unampified 12" speaker?? My head cannot handle that. Oh that life was so easy . .


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: An alternative solution to amping up.
genericbat #2910063 11/09/19 04:22 PM
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PianoMaster,

If someone told you that they found sex to be much better through a sheet, then you might suggest (politely) that they’re doing it wrong.

If your digital piano sounds better miced from one of its speakers then, no doubt, your setup with a direct signal into an amp is flawed.

My first guess about the problem comes from my experience with an old Privia. The line level output is extremely bass heavy. I think this is because they hyped the bass to overcome the lack of bass response from the built in speakers. I have to use a mixer with EQ to get a usable sound.

A second guess is that you might be sending a signal to the amp that has both L and R summed together. (You typically get a summed output by using the L output only). Try using a Mono patch, or take the R output for your amp. Summing some sampled pianos really degrades sound.

Good luck!

Re: An alternative solution to amping up.
genericbat #2910276 11/10/19 08:10 AM
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PianoMaster,

I think everyone has been trying to tell you in the nicest way that your method of being heard better is the very worst method possible and many has tried to give you helpful suggestions but I can tell from your last post that you don't have a clue what you're talking about. I've been performing live for 45 years so I tried and tried to think of a single time that I would consider using your "method" and the only time I could think of was the first I performed in front of my Fourth grade class. I'm not saying that I did use your method, but I may have considered it since I didn't understand a thing about sounds; thank goodness I was not in charge of sound!!

I assume you're an adult and you're getting paid to play; in that case, the people who pay you and the people who hear what you play deserve better. You may be the greatest musician on earth but people can only hear what's coming out of the speaker(s) so in that sense, the sound coming of the speaker(s) IS your performance. You owe it to yourself and to those listening to do whatever it takes to learn how to use (even a simple) sound system or amplifier or bring someone who does if you don't want to deal with that aspect of performing. You don't necessarily have to use expensive equipment, just use something, anything that works, that's just part of being professional!!!

I know this is harsh; I just hope it's harsh enough to make you realize this method isn't at all a solution, and go back and read the advices others have tried to give you. It may also help to mention what keyboard, what "mixer/PA" you're using in as much detail as possible so you can get some help. The problem could even be in the 1/4" cable you're using!

Best of luck!

Re: An alternative solution to amping up.
djvu10 #2910326 11/10/19 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by djvu10
PianoMaster,

I think everyone has been trying to tell you in the nicest way that your method of being heard better is the very worst method possible and many has tried to give you helpful suggestions but I can tell from your last post that you don't have a clue what you're talking about. I've been performing live for 45 years so I tried and tried to think of a single time that I would consider using your "method" and the only time I could think of was the first I performed in front of my Fourth grade class. I'm not saying that I did use your method, but I may have considered it since I didn't understand a thing about sounds; thank goodness I was not in charge of sound!!

I assume you're an adult and you're getting paid to play; in that case, the people who pay you and the people who hear what you play deserve better. You may be the greatest musician on earth but people can only hear what's coming out of the speaker(s) so in that sense, the sound coming of the speaker(s) IS your performance. You owe it to yourself and to those listening to do whatever it takes to learn how to use (even a simple) sound system or amplifier or bring someone who does if you don't want to deal with that aspect of performing. You don't necessarily have to use expensive equipment, just use something, anything that works, that's just part of being professional!!!

I know this is harsh; I just hope it's harsh enough to make you realize this method isn't at all a solution, and go back and read the advices others have tried to give you. It may also help to mention what keyboard, what "mixer/PA" you're using in as much detail as possible so you can get some help. The problem could even be in the 1/4" cable you're using!

Best of luck!

+1!


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
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Re: An alternative solution to amping up.
djvu10 #2910539 11/10/19 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by djvu10
PianoMaster,

I think everyone has been trying to tell you in the nicest way that your method of being heard better is the very worst method possible and many has tried to give you helpful suggestions but I can tell from your last post that you don't have a clue what you're talking about. I've been performing live for 45 years so I tried and tried to think of a single time that I would consider using your "method" and the only time I could think of was the first I performed in front of my Fourth grade class. I'm not saying that I did use your method, but I may have considered it since I didn't understand a thing about sounds; thank goodness I was not in charge of sound!!

I assume you're an adult and you're getting paid to play; in that case, the people who pay you and the people who hear what you play deserve better. You may be the greatest musician on earth but people can only hear what's coming out of the speaker(s) so in that sense, the sound coming of the speaker(s) IS your performance. You owe it to yourself and to those listening to do whatever it takes to learn how to use (even a simple) sound system or amplifier or bring someone who does if you don't want to deal with that aspect of performing. You don't necessarily have to use expensive equipment, just use something, anything that works, that's just part of being professional!!!

I know this is harsh; I just hope it's harsh enough to make you realize this method isn't at all a solution, and go back and read the advices others have tried to give you. It may also help to mention what keyboard, what "mixer/PA" you're using in as much detail as possible so you can get some help. The problem could even be in the 1/4" cable you're using!

Best of luck!


🙂


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