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Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686976 12/15/07 08:44 AM
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Hi Fi speakers or Monitors? What's the difference?

OK so I’m getting very confused here.
I’d like a better sound on our soon-to-be acquired stage DP than the DP's own little speakers (stage DP speakers are not big).
Solution : amplified monitors or even a piano amp. Lots of recommendations here in France.. Samson, Prodipe, Fostex, KRK.. Roland.. etc

Except we’ve already got 3 hi-fi systems in the house complete with their own speakers, the kids and mine which is of very good quality (SEAS from Norway). So, why can’t I use them ?

The shop that sells the DP, as well as a Roland man in France, who admits he isn’t a technician, says that I risk blowing hi-fi speakers because the “dynamic impulse” of a piano can be too powerful for hi-fi speakers.

Their repair company in turn, speaks of a “limited bandwith” on hi-fi speakers that can not deal with the low and high frequencies produced by a real live DP.

“BS!” (baloney!) says the guy who made my speakers (ex technician for a speaker company) who now has his own shop where he sells hi-grade hi-fi speaker kits.
He, in contradiction to the others, claims that monitor speakers are pretty much the same as hi-fi speakers, except the amp is in the speakers, so not as many boxes to hunk around. And he says that DP music comes from recorded samples, just like any other recording.

Help, I’m lost. Anyone know the ins and outs of this question? Why can’t we use an existing hi-fi system (expensive or cheap?) instead of buying yet another set of amplified monitor speakers ? When I looked and listened to the monitors in the DP shop, I was told to bring my own CDs to see what they sound like. That’s exactly the same process that I used when selecting a good hi-fi system.

So, who’s right ?

Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686977 12/15/07 08:50 AM
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I have a cheap set of computer speakers hooked up to my DP and it works fine.

I'm sure your hi-fi set will work OK too.


No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!
Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686978 12/15/07 10:01 AM
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I always used traditional hi-fi system connected to a synth outs and/or computer outs without any problems. The only matter could be the characteristics, by which I mean the good set of monitors would be able to more accurately reproduce piano sound than HiFi system. HiFI is always a listening-pleasure compromise, giving a bit of warm up to the tone and so on.

You can go with hi-fi and enjoy it!


M.


Mateusz Papiernik
https://maticomp.net
"One man can make a difference" - Wilton Knight
Kawai CN21 (digital), Henryk Yamayuri Kawai NX-40 (grand)
Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686979 12/15/07 11:08 AM
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Hey Mr French

Interesting issue. I went through the exact same phase, thinking that powered monitors were BS. Been there, done that.

My hi-fi system is 500 watts RMS, connected to four big Energy tower loudspeakers. It's loud and clean. When I fed my MP8's output through that, I immediately realized it could never work: any sudden FF chord struck on the keys would overload the input. You just don't have the dynamic input range, the "safety margin", not enough bandwidth on a hi-fi amplifier to accommodate a DP properly. You know an acoustic piano won't distort if you bang an FFF chord. Well then, why would a DP?

Also, a hi-fi set is a compromise. It colours the sound so that any music, any instrument will sound warm and pleasant. So even at a low volume, your piano will not sound as true as it was designed and sampled to sound.

I tried everything, Logitech surround, Roland KCs of all sizes, even different brands of powered monitors. I found that (for the Kawai sound, at least) a pair of low-priced ($300 a pair) Behringer Truth B2031As (450 watts RMS) will run circles around anything else that's not at least triple the price. That's as close to my acoustic Kawai KG-2D as I can take my Kawai MP8. The two pianos are often played together and their sounds blend perfectly.

Try your hi-fi set anyway, you can't damage it, only displease your ears. Maybe it has a wider dynamic range of input than most, who knows? If you like it, then why not?

Good luck to you

Claude


K. Kawai KG-2D grand, Kawai MP8 digital, Kawai CA7
Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686980 12/15/07 11:16 AM
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Salut Monsieur Le Francais,

The frequencies range of the hi-fi speakers cover from very low to very high frequencies human ears can't hear. If not, they are not hi(gh) Fi(delity).
Professional monitors are design to be used hard during long periods of time. You pay high price for quality, reliability and durability here. I doubt you will get the best bang for your money with professional monitors unless you are setting a studio.
So as long as you don't pump up the volume too high, you will not have any trouble. Now the position of the speakers: you will have to put them close of your DP, or it will sound weird to you when you play. But that's obvious anyway.
It is true that hi-fi stereos have presets (Rock, Folk, Hip Hop, Classic, ...) that will try to "improve" the output for the kind of music you want to listen by amplifying frequency bands vs. others and it is not what you want for a DP. Most of the time, you can deactivate that feature on the amplifier itself, and you will get the DP sound as long as your hifi speakers are large enough to reproduce bass sounds without have to hack with the amplifier settings.

Vincent - a "pianiste amateur" from Austin TX

Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686981 12/15/07 11:25 AM
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With all due respect Vincent, most hi-fi speakers will give you a lot more bass than studio monitors, boomy bass that you just don't need from a piano. They will also colour the sound, which good studio monitors leave intact. But the main problem remains with the dynamic bandwidth of the input on a music system amplifier.

Regards,

Claude


K. Kawai KG-2D grand, Kawai MP8 digital, Kawai CA7
Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686982 12/15/07 11:36 AM
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Another thing to consider, is that monitor speakers are meant to be positioned very close to you (nearfield) - which is typically not the case with regular speakers. When you play your piano, you'll want the speakers close.

Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686983 12/15/07 11:37 AM
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I think it's obvious to anyone that (studio) monitors deliver better quality sound than a hi-fi set. But that doesn't mean you cannot be happy with a hi-fi set hooked up to your DP.


No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!
Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686984 12/15/07 03:57 PM
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Hmm.. well thanks for your ideas people.. but I think I'm even more confused than before !

HIGH-Fi, as Vincent points out, should produce excellent quality music, meaning Highly Fidel or "faithful" to the original sound. Here we are not talking about the tin can beat boxes you find in supermarkets. That’s not hi-fi but LOW-Fi.
My hi-fi cost way, WAY more than any monitor speakers I have seen and, not surprisingly, sounds a helluvalot better than ANY of the monitors I listened to down at the DP shop.

But that is not very relevant. We are not talking about “quality” here, but compatibility.

bachmaniac praises the Behringer Truth B2031As Monitor speakers, but these actually come in two versions, one WITH an amplifier in each speaker, and one without (half the price). See link :
http://www.thomann.de/fr/search_dir...=Behringer+Truth+B2031As&x=8&y=8
The speakers are identical in both versions. Their frequency range is just the same as any hi-fi speaker, whether good or bad. If you opt for the version without amp, then you will need a separate amp, just like a hi-fi system. And it seems to me you should be able to choose whatever amp takes your fancy.
Which brings us back to where we began…

What prompted my question originally is because I actually have a spare set of old hi fi speakers in the house (not exceptional but HI Fi nonetheless - they're Leak 200 Sandwich from way back but with new cones) and probably just as good as the monitors I listened to in the shop, if not better. I can easily position them next to the DP – no problem. All I need is an amp.
So (for the techies out there) what technical reason justifies why I need to go out and buy another set of "monitor" speakers, rather than just getting an amp for my existing hi-fi speakers?

Guess I’ll just buy some cables and connect the DP up to the good hi-fi system and try out each of the speakers and see what happens…

Now… which cables to buy..? single lead.. double.. RCA cynch type, or jack.. ?
Do I lead hi-fi cables to the DP and adapt there, or a stage lead to the hi-fi with a jack to cynch adapter there ..?
Ho hum... sure wish someone had a simple answer to all of this..

Thanks anyway, guys. Perhaps I should be posting on a techie speaker forum..?

Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686985 12/15/07 05:50 PM
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Some of the responses have come close to the correct answer, but none have nailed it. The reason you would consider studio monitors for your digital piano is because they are designed to produce frequencies evenly, resulting is a "flat" frequency response. Even then, they have to be "tuned" to the room to adjust for the room's frequency response to achieve a true flat response. I use JBL LSR4326P monitors for my studio whic have a computerized analysis system built-in to adjust the frequency response of my studio.

The reason you would want a flat frequency response would be to produce all of the notes of your instrument(s) at the same volume level. This is critical for recording, which is why they are called "studio monitors" or simply "monitors". That way if and when you do apply EQ, either up or down, then you know your recording will be as true as possible on the widest range of playback systems. Since the frequency response of monitors is generally more even than average home speakers, some people prefer them for home/recreational use to be able to hear the notes of their instrument as evenly as possible. It depends on how critical you want or need to be.

Home stereo speakers or hifi couldn't care less about even frequency response and most people abuse their EQ on top of that anyway. If you are simply interested in home entertainment, you can use any speakers you want.

Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686986 12/15/07 07:04 PM
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"Now… which cables to buy..?"

Just get any cable, your digital will probably have unbalanced ouput. 1/4" jack to rca or just rca to rca.

Serge



"The piano keys are black and white but they sound like a million colors in your mind.“
Maria Cristina

Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686987 12/15/07 07:37 PM
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All this would explain what I discovered when I connected an old Onkyo 2x60w amp to a couple of good size speakers to a Roland Fp-7.

Even with this setup I much prefer the sound of the internal Roland speakers (2x13w) for the piano samples.

For the other non-piano sounds I much prefer the Onkyo setup. I can hear things I cannot hear with the Roland speakers alone. For piano it was too boomy and unfocused. The internal Roland speakers sound near perfect for the piano which you would expect if Roland engineers are doing their job.

I tried different equalizer settings but could not get it right.

So I think The Pro and Bachmaniac have it right.


Paddler
Yamaha UX 1980, Roland FP-7, Yamaha PSR-E403

So much music...so little time.
Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686988 12/15/07 07:39 PM
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Thanks to The Pro for providing just the right insight into this often hotly debated subject. thumb

Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686989 12/16/07 07:37 PM
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The Pro.
Thank you. Your explanation sounds a little more plausible to this untechnical newbie, and effectively I have often seen “flat response” in various monitor specs. Guess I'll check it out. In my research I found this short but useful guide to the cable and conection world.

http://www.thomann.de/gb/onlineexpert_111.html

Now, let's see if I can find one on speakers-monitors and response rates.
But thanks again for your wisdom on the matter. At least I have a better idea what to look for.

Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686990 12/20/07 07:32 PM
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Mr French, listen to your speaker manufacturer. He is telling you like it is. I suspect the others just want to sell you more stuff.

With all due respect to bachmaniac, saying that hi-fi speakers color the sound and monitors do not is just nonsense. By definition, hi-fi speakers shouldn't color the sound. Of course there are good and bad hi-fi speakers, and good and bad monitors.

Monitors, or rather "near-field monitors" (hi-fi speakers are monitors as well, if you use them to monitor a sound signal), are designed with a very specific requirement, which is good stereo imaging in the near field. This requirement usually means design compromises that are not necessary for hi-fi speakers.

Near field monitors are popular in studios because they are very space efficient, even the big ones. That space saved can be used for the performers' room, where natural reverb can be used in the recording stage. Most of the major studios' have large recording studios, and these do not typically use near field monitors but (what we typically call) hi-fi speakers. Popular choices are the large speakers from B&W, ProAc, Wilson, etc.. The large studio in Abbey Road, for example, uses the B&W 800D (http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/display.aspx?infid=1159&sc=hf)

Now, speakers do not work in isolation of course. You need a clean signal and a good amp. Most near field monitors are convenient in that the come with built-in amps, again saving a bit of space and keeping cables short.

What is not so well known is that wattage is not of paramount importance for those powerful, clean transients. Make no mistake, transients require huge amounts of power! For example, measurements have shown that when a person speaks at a moderate volume, transient in the Ts, Ks, etc. require as much as 2000 Watts to faithfully reproduce them. Very few systems have that kind of power at hand.

On the other hand, something that IS possible to design without too much cost (but is sadly neglected by most designers) is an amp that can deliver a lot of current quickly. The wattage specified by the manufacturer tells you how much continuous power it can deliver. But music is not continuous, is it? In order for the amp to faithfully reproduce those crescendos and transients, it need to deliver a lot of current quickly to the speakers. Look for "high current amps", not "high power amps". Yes, both high current and power are best, but expensive. Gryphon and Mark Levinson are well known manufacturers that produce such amps.

I myself use the, IMO, excellent Genelec near field monitors in my home studio. They are quite pricey, but worth it. However, they cannot even come close to my hi-fi speakers and amp in terms of neutrality and responsiveness.

Just for the record, I have a degree in acoustics engineering and designed and built speakers as a hobby for many years. No, my hi-fi speakers referred to above are not my own design smile

P.S. SEAS is a well known and respected manufacturer of speakers. I particularly used their mid-range woofers in my own designs. They have high-end, ultra high-end, custom and budget speakers.

Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686991 12/20/07 09:17 PM
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I just use some cheap pc speakers.
I can take the colored, nonflat, boomy quality hit since I just play for me and my family who can't notice much of a difference.
If i need "flat response monitor-like" quality, I use good $100 headphones.
(I know, I'm adding nothin to the thread - this is just my excuse to get email notification:)


http://PianoCheetah.app - my weird piano practice program
Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686992 12/20/07 10:32 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Rented:
Mr French, listen to your speaker manufacturer. He is telling you like it is. I suspect the others just want to sell you more stuff.

With all due respect to bachmaniac, saying that hi-fi speakers color the sound and monitors do not is just nonsense. By definition, hi-fi speakers shouldn't color the sound. Of course there are good and bad hi-fi speakers, and good and bad monitors.

Monitors, or rather "near-field monitors" (hi-fi speakers are monitors as well, if you use them to monitor a sound signal), are designed with a very specific requirement, which is good stereo imaging in the near field. This requirement usually means design compromises that are not necessary for hi-fi speakers.

Near field monitors are popular in studios because they are very space efficient, even the big ones. That space saved can be used for the performers' room, where natural reverb can be used in the recording stage. Most of the major studios' have large recording studios, and these do not typically use near field monitors but (what we typically call) hi-fi speakers. Popular choices are the large speakers from B&W, ProAc, Wilson, etc.. The large studio in Abbey Road, for example, uses the B&W 800D (http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/display.aspx?infid=1159&sc=hf)

Now, speakers do not work in isolation of course. You need a clean signal and a good amp. Most near field monitors are convenient in that the come with built-in amps, again saving a bit of space and keeping cables short.

What is not so well known is that wattage is not of paramount importance for those powerful, clean transients. Make no mistake, transients require huge amounts of power! For example, measurements have shown that when a person speaks at a moderate volume, transient in the Ts, Ks, etc. require as much as 2000 Watts to faithfully reproduce them. Very few systems have that kind of power at hand.

On the other hand, something that IS possible to design without too much cost (but is sadly neglected by most designers) is an amp that can deliver a lot of current quickly. The wattage specified by the manufacturer tells you how much continuous power it can deliver. But music is not continuous, is it? In order for the amp to faithfully reproduce those crescendos and transients, it need to deliver a lot of current quickly to the speakers. Look for "high current amps", not "high power amps". Yes, both high current and power are best, but expensive. Gryphon and Mark Levinson are well known manufacturers that produce such amps.

I myself use the, IMO, excellent Genelec near field monitors in my home studio. They are quite pricey, but worth it. However, they cannot even come close to my hi-fi speakers and amp in terms of neutrality and responsiveness.

Just for the record, I have a degree in acoustics engineering and designed and built speakers as a hobby for many years. No, my hi-fi speakers referred to above are not my own design smile

P.S. SEAS is a well known and respected manufacturer of speakers. I particularly used their mid-range woofers in my own designs. They have high-end, ultra high-end, custom and budget speakers.
Sorry, I have to disagree with some of your statements here. Most home stereo speakers do "color" the sound, many to a very large degree, it is not only the raw speaker but the enclosure design (size, bass port or not, size of bass port, etc.) that can contribute to how much coloration a particular speaker creates. Most monitors (especially near field) that I have worked with over the years had very even frequency response (flat if you will) and contributed next to nothing in the way of coloration of sound, and BTW not all near fields have built in amps. Near field monitors really have nothing to do with saving space, they are made to be used up close and personal and have the ability to monitor sources for hours on end without fatigue to the ears, try that with your home stereo speakers. Near fields were actually designed more for monitoring/mixdown rather than a "mini PA". While I respect your degree in acoustics engineering and your experience, my personal experience over the years is at odds with some of your statements. I totally agree with your comments about amplification, you do need a lot of power and it needs to respond quickly, most people make the mistake of using a power amp that is nowhere near adequate for the job at hand. My experience comes from playing in bands both live gigs and recording dating back to the mid '60s all the way through to having a home studio for the last twenty years. I've used many different brands and types of gear over the years, and though I have some pretty decent home stereo gear in my house, I'd never think of running my synth/keyboard gear through one, preferring my home studio setup.
Clyde


DX7IIFD, SY77, SY99, Hammond C3, Steinway L, CP300, etc.
Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686993 12/20/07 10:56 PM
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Both hi-fi speakers, and monitor speakers will have flat responses. If your hi-fi's frequency plot is uneven, then they are not hi-fi.

Here's an article comparing hi-fi' vs monitor speakers.:

http://www.audioaddict.fr/article/fr_Monitors%20vs%20Hifi.pdf

Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686994 12/20/07 11:00 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by MrFrench:
what technical reason justifies why I need to go out and buy another set of "monitor" speakers, rather than just getting an amp for my existing hi-fi speakers?
None, just get an amp worthy of your speakers.

+1 on The Pro and Rented's replies

I'm still eying up the JBL LSR4328P Pak, way over kill for my needs though, but man they just look so so slick, smokin plus I love JBL.

Genelec!! In my dreams, maybe one day.

Re: Why not hi-fi speakers instead of "monitors" for a DP ?
#686995 12/21/07 04:13 AM
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Well, wildpaws, I do agree with some of your post smile

Most home speakers do color the sound. Most home speakers are simply crap, and should not carry the label "hi-fi". Good speakers cost money, but most home speakers are simply thin particleboard boxes with simple crossovers and drivers. And it has gotten worse over the years. Now you can buy huge "full range", three or four way speakers for a couple of hundred bucks. You get what you pay for. Home speaker buyers are usually in love with boomy bass as well, and companies like Cervin Wega made a living of supplying these people with what they wanted.

If you would spend the same amount of money on (real) hi-fi speakers as you would for your monitors, and of a similar size and design , which is usually a two way (one crossover) "bookshelf style", you would see that you would probably get the better speaker in the hi-fi speaker.

You should all read the article Eternal linked to. You'll find it agrees with most of what I said, including there reason for their existence (size considerations).

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