Piano World Home Page
Posted By: Morodiene Personal keyboard amp - 09/29/13 07:26 PM
I'm looking for an amp for my MOX6 for personal home use. Right now I'm using computer speakers and they're not quite up to the task. Not looking to spend a lot, maybe $50, but I have no idea what the costs are for what. Any suggestions?
Posted By: rocket88 Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/29/13 09:05 PM
For fifty dollars, you will get what you pay for, that is, keep the computer speakers.

I have used this for several years as both a speaker, and as a monitor at gigs...the sound is very clean and it is amazingly powerful. Lots of connectiabily, a build in EQ, But it costs more that $50.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...pe=&gclid=CNP51bvA8bkCFcJj7Aodxy8APA
Posted By: rnaple Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/29/13 11:24 PM
That's about what I was thinking. As far as money. Could the smallest Roland Cube work out ok? Still won't be fifty bucks.
Posted By: rocket88 Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 12:01 AM
Well the small one sells for about 100, and is no where near the quality of the monitor cube as far as sound reproduction goes.
Posted By: Morodiene Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 12:50 AM
Well, usually people ask for budgets when you are looking to buy equipment. I have no idea what a cheap monitor costs, so I threw that out as in meaning "really cheap".

So given that, what would you recommend is the best quality for the money? I've got the Roland Cube as an option. Any other suggestions for comparison?
Posted By: rocket88 Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 01:16 AM
One option is a small "keyboard" amplifier, but no one I know who plays digitals likes them.

Just about every performer that I know, including me, has gone thru numerous keyboard amps, dislikes them all, and eventually ends up with some sort of a PA, be it small or large.

The Roland Cube I mentioned is like a mini-PA...its sound is very controllable, and is phenomenal. It is rare that I do a solo gig and someone does not come up and marvel at its clarity and accuracy.

I also use it at home for practicing with my keyboard (Roland RD700sx). (I have an acoustic as my main instrument.)

But it has to the the Cube I mentioned....Roland makes many various Cubes, some are for guitar, some for Bass, but the "monitor 30" Cube is the one that works for keys. IMHO smile
Posted By: pwl Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 06:14 AM
Just to put another idea out there . . . the Rokit 5 and Rokit 6 are decent small powered monitor speakers. The latest versions are dubbed G3 but G2's are still available for about $115 and $150 respectively at Amazon (and perhaps other places). zzounds.com has b-stock of the Rokit 5 G2 for $100 each.

http://www.zzounds.com/item--KRKRP5G2
Posted By: de cajon Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 07:33 AM
Another vote here for the excellence of the Roland Cubes.
Posted By: Morodiene Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 12:33 PM
I have another question, and hope it's not stupid. But is it typical to get two monitors to make it stereo, or do you usually just have one?
Posted By: rocket88 Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 02:18 PM
Your keyboard most likely has two "outs"....Left and Right. One is also labeled "Mono", so the two are summed, i.e. not stereo.

It sounds better to a listener to have stereo, but when you are playing the piano, say a grand, you as the player do not hear stereo.

Instead, because the soundboard is below, much of the sound goes down to the floor, and,if the lid is propped, the rest of it goes out sideways to the right as you sit.

So the player of a grand does not hear pure and separated "left and right stereo". Instead, it is mixed. So too for the audience...they are hearing much of what reflects out from the lid, which cannot be "bass on the left, treble on the right" stereo. Instead, it also is a mix.

There are some who claim that unless you utilitze the stereo output from a digital, you will have a bad sound. That was somewhat true back in the early days of digitals.

But with todays digitals that have a "mono" out, that does not occur, although some will still claim that it does. Its the internet, after all. Check out my free tune in my signature below...it is a digital in mono.

As a caveat, stereo is a big improvement when you are using the keyboard to emulate a Hammond B3 sound with a Leslie rotating speaker. In that case, the stereo really helps to replicate the rotary speaker.

I still think you would be very pleased with the Roland monitor cube. If you want to go stereo, get two of them. But start with one.
Posted By: peterws Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 02:27 PM
"Just about every performer that I know, including me, has gone thru numerous keyboard amps, dislikes them all, and eventually ends up with some sort of a PA, be it small or large."

My experience too. I use an accordion amp (stereo, gotta be stereo) when I play "away from home"
Posted By: gvfarns Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 03:40 PM
Originally Posted by rocket88
It sounds better to a listener to have stereo, but when you are playing the piano, say a grand, you as the player do not hear stereo.

Instead, because the soundboard is below, much of the sound goes down to the floor, and,if the lid is propped, the rest of it goes out sideways to the right as you sit.

So the player of a grand does not hear pure and separated "left and right stereo". Instead, it is mixed. So too for the audience...they are hearing much of what reflects out from the lid, which cannot be "bass on the left, treble on the right" stereo. Instead, it also is a mix.


Except when using headphones, no one ever hears "pure" stereo as you have described it, but that doesn't mean one sitting at a piano doesn't hear in stereo or that the stereo differences do not make much of a difference in the perceived quality of the sound. In fact, because one is closer to the piano while playing, the stereo effect will be stronger than it is for someone sitting farther away. The higher strings are literally to the right of your head, while they are pretty much in front from an audience perspective.

For pianos that have perspective emulation (typically software pianos), the stereo effect is stronger for the player perspective than it is for the audience perspective.

Quote
There are some who claim that unless you utilitze the stereo output from a digital, you will have a bad sound. That was somewhat true back in the early days of digitals.

But with todays digitals that have a "mono" out, that does not occur, although some will still claim that it does. Its the internet, after all. Check out my free tune in my signature below...it is a digital in mono.


Actually it's still quite an issue today. Many pianos do not implement a very satisfactory mono because it's not very frequently used. Or something. Actually I don't know why they don't. Simply summing the two channels frequently leads to unacceptable audio artifacts and I believe it is not frequently done in today's digitals. There's quite a bit of variety in mono sounds across digtitals, and poor mono samples is one of the more common complaints we hear in this forum.

For that reason, among others, we tend to recommend using stereo whenever possible with digital pianos. Particularly if the intended audience is yourself rather than, say, a big room with an audience that may not be paying much attention.
Posted By: rocket88 Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 03:58 PM

For the OP on a budget, a single Roland cube should do just fine.

For an audiophile or someone recording a performance for sale, "unacceptable audio artifacts" may be present.

If so, which is unlikely, add another cube.
Posted By: Dave Horne Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 04:18 PM
I think for $50 you'd get more bang for the buck with headphones, but even $50 won't buy you fantastic headphones.

Don't be cheap with sound. Speakers (or headphones) are the last link in the sound chain, skimp there and even the best keyboard will sound bad.
Posted By: Big McLargehuge Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 04:47 PM
I agree that $50 will be better spent on headphones. I think $100 or more would be better spent on headphones honestly. Poor monitoring can make playing unenjoyable as much as a poor instrument can. Of course wearing headphones is a different thing from playing through an amp or speakers, let's say you want to play along with someone etc. I have the original Koss porta-pros, and for $40 or so they sound pretty darn good. AKG, Sennheiser etc all make good studio phones for less than $100.

Unfortunately many music stores don't seem to get the idea of "let's make our instruments actually sound good". Assuming they are hooked up at all (argh) they often are hooked to a small speaker or tinny little amp. Speaking of amps, I've owned a few and played through others, and I prefer powered speakers. Piano is usually the sound that makes me regret using an amp, and for that matter it's a tough sound for cheaper speakers to handle too. I'm more familiar with stage monitor type speakers, but I expect that there's some decent not-too-expensive studio monitors out there. I wouldn't expect decent ones for the price that you could get decent headphones though as I mentioned. Note I said monitors with an s, leading to....

As someone who plays live through a mono PA--mono generally is a bad prospect for many keyboards and with most sounds. I do it because I have to. Piano is one of those sounds that can often be tweaked to sound decent in mono...strings, synths and most other sounds can lose a lot of their sound in mono, and I think this often is due to the effects (reverb, chorus, delay) sounding bad in mono. For example an electric piano that pans left-right might end up being a tremolo effect when put in mono.

Edit: I see mention of the Roland Cube...aren't those guitar amps? If so then be careful they are not "tuned" for guitar...most guitar amps have midrange and not much else, and will sound very boxy. That's due to guitars having midrange and not much else! Might be good for crunchy electric piano but not many other keys sounds.
Posted By: gvfarns Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 04:52 PM
Yeah, $50 will buy you very little in the speaker world. With that budget I'd suggest prowling craiglist for people's old hi fi or some higher quality computer speakers (we have people using kiplsch pro media or logitech z2300 speakers with some satisfaction).

Basically I'd echo Dave's suggestion. On a budget you can sometimes get pretty good headphones, but speakers you can get for an equivalent price may not improve on what you have now.

I haven't used the Roland cubes mentioned in this thread, but Roland is not known for bang-for-the-buck and neither are portable/robust gigging speakers. For that reason I'm very suspicious about them.
Posted By: boynamedsuse Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 04:58 PM
Gigging guitar players often spend as much on their speakers and amps as they do on their guitar. Same for bass players. cool When they practice at home or rehearse with the band, they generally (IME) use the same gear as they gig with. One thing I never really understood is why it is almost universally acceptable to run a DP through speakers that cost 5% of what the piano cost. (I suspect that built-in speakers are ~5% of the keyboard cost too.) Not a criticism, just an observation. The piano has a huge sonic range and capable of a large dynamic range as well. It takes quality speakers or good headphones to reproduce this IMO. smile
Posted By: rocket88 Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 05:21 PM
Originally Posted by gvfarns
I haven't used the Roland cubes mentioned in this thread, but Roland is not known for bang-for-the-buck and neither are portable/robust gigging speakers. For that reason I'm very suspicious about them.


If you have not used the product being discussed, why would you give your opinion?

Originally Posted by Big McLargehuge


I see mention of the Roland Cube...aren't those guitar amps? If so then be careful they are not "tuned" for guitar...most guitar amps have midrange and not much else, and will sound very boxy. That's due to guitars having midrange and not much else! Might be good for crunchy electric piano but not many other keys sounds.


FYI, The Cube mentioned is not a guitar amp. Check this out, it is what we are talking about.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...pe=&gclid=CO-c6qHO87kCFWZk7AodAhgAlA

I could have written this review:

Quote
A classic, great product

I've had a pair of CM-30s for several years now. I just got motivated to write a review because after all this time I have to say the CM-30s are one of the best musical purchases I've made of any type.

They are just incredibly versatile, I've used them at various times as mini PA, acoustic guitar and keyboard amps and stage monitors, personal vocal monitor, extra mixer, and if the setup is simple enough they can be both the speaker and mixer so I can leave my external mixer at home.

In every application they sound fabulous - I've used them as PA for small combo even at outdoor gigs and been complimented on the sound quality of the mix. A great bargain and a true classic at this point - I hope Roland makes them forever!


To the OP...check out the Roland monitor Cube 30.

To everyone else: Bye folks...have a nice day!
Posted By: Tritium Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 05:26 PM
I also have the Roland Cube 30 monitor, and agree it is a great little amp.

However, if you are looking for a bit more power as well as excellent fidelity in sound reproduction, the Yamaha MSR100 active monitor (which I also own) is fantastic:

Yamaha MSR-100

Excellent bang for the buck at $299.
Posted By: gvfarns Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 05:32 PM
Originally Posted by rocket88
If you have not used the product being discussed, why would you give your opinion?


Because one can know a lot about a product without having used it, especially if one is familiar with the class of product and manufacturer. BTW a pair of these Roland 30's looks to me like it would exceed the OP's budget by several hundred dollars. For that price there are LOT more options than are discussed here. I'm not sure why you would even introduce it.

Your link doesn't work by the way.
Posted By: rocket88 Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 05:49 PM
Back for this:

Fixed the link:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...pe=&gclid=CK753fnV87kCFSlo7AodJGUAAA

BTW, the OP only needs one at this point, not two, which is why I introduced it in the first place.

Folks, read the reviews on this link from people who have actually used this item. They pretty much echo what I and others on this thread (who have used it) say about it. It is in a class by itself.
Posted By: Tritium Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 06:47 PM
Originally Posted by rocket88
Back for this:

Fixed the link:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...pe=&gclid=CK753fnV87kCFSlo7AodJGUAAA

BTW, the OP only needs one at this point, not two, which is why I introduced it in the first place.

Folks, read the reviews on this link from people who have actually used this item. They pretty much echo what I and others on this thread (who have used it) say about it. It is in a class by itself.


I absolutely agree with you on the Roland CM-30 (I own one, and love it). However, if the OP can spring for an additional $70-80, I think the Yamaha MSR-100 is an even better solution...and you only need one.

Nevertheless, for the OP's intended purposes, the CM-30 is an excellent recommendation, and I can certainly vouch for it.

Posted By: Morodiene Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 06:52 PM
Thanks guys for all the info!

My concern re: stereo vs. mono is that I'm not using it exclusively for piano sounds, but for the synth, so there's a lot of effects that really take advantage of the stereo option. However, I do own a decent (IMHO) set of headphones that if I need to hear what an effect does I can always plug those in, and use the monitor for general usage.
Posted By: kiedysktos. Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 07:51 PM
At the moment I'm considering buying something for me for monitoring. My main concern is portability, I'm a freak in this matter since often it may appear that I won't use monitor I took with myself, this is just to secure myself. And I'll travel across the country with that.

I'm considering everything from very expensive AER alpha 40 to Roland AC 33, Roland CM-30 or even Behringer Eurolive B208D smile but AC-33 is so expensive that I'd rather go for used AER than that. Any opinions on the funny Behrigner? smile Or maybe there is another option in between in quality matter?

rocket88, how CM-30 is dealing with the vocal, is the sound natural??
Posted By: hv Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 08:27 PM
Originally Posted by rocket88
Just about every performer that I know, including me, has gone thru numerous keyboard amps, dislikes them all, and eventually ends up with some sort of a PA, be it small or large.


How true! Went through numerous jbl powered monitors before settling on a bose l1. For smaller gigs I tried a fostex 630b1 which wasn't bad but eventually switched to a mackie srm150 which I like allot... very flexible with multiple mic (w/phantom), instrument, and rca inputs. But it is mono and a little more expensive than the roland. If you want stereo, you might want to take a look at the m-audio av30 for around $100. I use them for my tv but they are stereo and fairly rugged and not bad sounding. They just don't have multiple inputs, just stereo rca, so you can't plug in a mic and mix vocals like with the mackie or roland.

Howard
Posted By: Big McLargehuge Re: Personal keyboard amp - 09/30/13 08:44 PM
In your shoes (which of course is difficult on an internet forum!), if I had a decent set of phones I'd probably try to save up and get some studio monitors, assuming that I didn't miss something and these are for home studio use only. (If for live performance that's a different story). Personally I'd want to monitor in stereo if at all possible. I owned a Motif (your Mox is based on a newer version's sounds) and I know firsthand how different the sounds can be in mono, especially the Performance patches. Whatever you choose, good luck, the Mox has some very good sounds!
Posted By: Sweet06 Re: Personal keyboard amp - 10/26/13 01:38 AM
Morodiene, typically you'll want a monitor system. amps suck for keyboards completely. they literally cannot hit the range the keyboard can. think of computer speakers trying to hit some bass notes, won't happen well, same thing.


I had a relatively low budget too. Its not "low" but for this type of equipment its relatively cheap. http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/CM110/
I like them. They are loud, they produce clean sound, but I hurt in the pocket book after for something to kind of make my own "as close to acoustic" feeling....
Posted By: Schroeder II Re: Personal keyboard amp - 10/27/13 12:36 PM
Please dont consider this as a critical comment but I am curious.
I think an MOX6 still retails for around $1000
How did you end up with one and only have such a small budget for speakers?
Posted By: anotherscott Re: Personal keyboard amp - 10/27/13 02:18 PM
Originally Posted by Morodiene
Not looking to spend a lot, maybe $50, but I have no idea what the costs are for what. Any suggestions?

I agree with those who said headphones.

Originally Posted by Morodiene
But is it typical to get two monitors to make it stereo, or do you usually just have one?

Stereo is of more interest to some people than others. Especially in live performance (not your situation, I know), lots of people go mono, for a variety of reasons. Regardless, if budget is tight, it's better to get one decent speaker than two crappy ones.

Originally Posted by kiedysktos.
Behringer Eurolive B208D

I think the B208D is surprisingly good for the money. It's not going to push much deep bass, and it's not great for acoustic piano sounds, but for most sounds at moderate volume, not bad at all. I think it's a good budget choice, probably the least expensive piece I would recommend.

The B208D is cheaper than the CM-30 Roland Cube, which I have not heard. I don't know which would sound better at lower volume, but it's a pretty safe bet that you could get more out oomph if you need it out of the Behringer. As people here may know, I don't put too much emphasis on spec sheets, but the specs here are different enough that I think you can draw reasonable conclusions in this respect:

The CM-30 is 30 watts into a 6.5" coax speaker. They don't say whether it's 30 RMS or peak.

The B208D's is an 8"+horn bi-amped system, rated RMS at 135 watts to the woofer and 38 watts to the horn (160 and 42 peak, which is where they get their "200 watt" claim from). Max. 113dB SPL@1m. (No similar spec provided for the Roland.)
© Piano World Piano & Digital Piano Forums