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  • Live Gear and set up questions for a techno-noob.

    Hey all, longtime listener, first time caller here.....couple of quick questions regarding live gear set-up.

    I'm currently playing a RD700GX on bottom, NE3-73 on top with a Handsonic for random percussion stuff. Currently I am running XLR balanced lines out of the RD700GX into a Mackie 1402VLZ3, the Nord runs 2 unbalanced 1/4" into the board, same as the Handsonic. Also have vocals running into the board at home, but not during gigs.

    Couple of questions - I assume I should be using the XLR balanced outs of the piano whenever possible rather than 1/4 inch unbalanced? Seems like there's less background noise and hum and I can run longer cables?

    I've been reading about passive DI boxes that give you a short run to the box, longer run to the PA/mixer. Seems like a lot of keyboardists like the boost in clarity and presense in the total mix. Is there any real advantage of using a DI box if I'm already using a dedicated unpowered mixer like the Mackie?

    Normally I'll just hook everything up through the mixer, tweak all the levels there, then run two balanced XLR's out of the mixer to the house PA, and 2 balanced 1/4" aux sends to two powered monitors for me to control my personal monitor volume on stage.

    Radial DI looks like the Duplex might work well for 2 stereo instruments, but the Handsonic would need it's own single DI?

    Another unrelated, but vexing conundrum:

    Finally, after putzing around with a couple of Mackie SRM350v2 monitors, I realize the acoustic and electric pianos, organs, and clavs I mostly play just sound a little boxy and shrill sometimes. I've been eyeing adding a subwoofer to these two to fill out the sound, but is the real problem the monitors? I might have just been duped into thinking Mackie SRM's were viable keyboard monitors/PA systems.

    QSC K series seems interesting, but I'd rather not lug a sub around. Are the K10's low end ample without a sub? The reason I ask is that someone locally is selling 2 K8's with a sub and bags for 1400. It looks like nice little setup, but are the K8's capable of standing alone without a sub?

    Thanks, sorry for all the questions and look forward to hearing from anyone!
    Allen

  • #2
    How you are setting it up now is fine, you don't need the DI's if you are sending the XLR's to the house. Putting them inline between your mixer and keys isn't going to buy you anything.

    As far as the sound of your Mackies- have you tried an external graphic EQ on them to smooth them out and maybe give your low end a boost? Lugging a sub around when you plug into the PA which should cover that low end is a bit much. I dont know how those Mackies sound though. I have the QSC K10 and it's got adequate low end for on stage monitoring and for covering smaller rooms without going into the PA. The K8's might be able to stand alone if you are not playing a lot of synth bass or kicking bass on organ.
    My Live Gear: Roland FA-08, Hammond SK1-73, Nord Lead A1
    My Bands: http://www.bksband.com
    www.echoesrocks.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the response Dan! I've been trying to tweak the basic EQ on the Mackie mixer for each channel to modify the sound, but what frequency settings would you think works best for an acoustic piano (from the RD), epianos and organs (from the Nord)? I have tried boosting the mid frequencies on acoustic piano with some success, but I don't know if there is an ideal frequency range that suits certain sounds. Do you have a dedicated EQ on your rack that you assign to all outgoing sources or do you separately EQ each keyboard/module?

      In the end, I am leaning towards scrapping the Mackie Mixer/Monitor combo and upgrading to the QSC K series or possibly JBL's with a different mixer. There seems to be a pretty strong consensus that Mackie's aren't ideal for amplifying keyboards...God knows they are better than the Roland KC's I used to lug around, but I still feel like I'm missing something in the quality of the sound!

      Thanks again for your help,
      Allen

      Comment


      • #4
        On most PAs, I actually tend to cut the mids slightly to get the best sound. PA cabinets tend to have overemphasized mids anyway, and you certainly don't need any more.

        Upgrading to the QSC K series will probably give you the bump in quality you're looking for.
        Electrics: Fender '73 Mustang RI, Epiphone Inspired by John Lennon Casino, Gibson 60s Tribute Les Paul Studio, Daisy Rock Retro-H Deluxe, Squier Hello Kitty Strat x2Acoustics: Taylor 316CE-LTD, Seagull Entourage Rustic CW QITBasses: Squier Badtz Maru Bronco Bass, Aria CSB-300, Fender Mustang Bass RIAmps: Vox TB18C1, Vox Pathfinder 210, Peavey Transtube Envoy, Ampeg Micro VR StackMy Band: http://mittensband.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the response Dan! I've been trying to tweak the basic EQ on the Mackie mixer for each channel to modify the sound, but what frequency settings would you think works best for an acoustic piano (from the RD), epianos and organs (from the Nord)? I have tried boosting the mid frequencies on acoustic piano with some success, but I don't know if there is an ideal frequency range that suits certain sounds. Do you have a dedicated EQ on your rack that you assign to all outgoing sources or do you separately EQ each keyboard/module?

          In the end, I am leaning towards scrapping the Mackie Mixer/Monitor combo and upgrading to the QSC K series or possibly JBL's with a different mixer. There seems to be a pretty strong consensus that Mackie's aren't ideal for amplifying keyboards...God knows they are better than the Roland KC's I used to lug around, but I still feel like I'm missing something in the quality of the sound!

          Thanks again for your help,
          Allen


          EQ is entirely subjective- adjust it till it sounds good to you. I don't think there's a way anyone can say "adjust it like this" to make it sound good for your ears.

          I have an EQ in my rack that I can use to adjust the overall EQ for the room. I rarely touch it though, once I got it tweaked for my speaker, I pretty much leave it be, but it's there if I need it. My mixer is a line mixer, so no tone controls. Both my boards have onboard EQ and I've adjusted those somewhat at the patch level to get each sound how I like it, but the changes are minor. Maybe a little more mid/high end in a string patch, adjust the piano sound so it sounds good, etc.

          I think the Mackie board you have is fine for keys. Like I said earlier I've never used those speakers but they are supposed to be pretty decent. I'd see if you can borrow a graphic EQ to adjust your overall sound after the mixer and before the speakers (mixer into eq into speakers) and see if you can get out some of the frequency areas that don't sound right to you, maybe boost the low end a bit, etc. If that helps, then go buy one. You can get a good EQ for pretty cheap, and it might be the solution for you vs buying an entire new amplification system. The QSC is a very nice speaker though, I'm real happy with mine, you it wouldn't hurt to get those if you play out enough to justify the expense.
          My Live Gear: Roland FA-08, Hammond SK1-73, Nord Lead A1
          My Bands: http://www.bksband.com
          www.echoesrocks.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Hey all, longtime listener, first time caller here.....couple of quick questions regarding live gear set-up.

            I'm currently playing a RD700GX on bottom, NE3-73 on top with a Handsonic for random percussion stuff. Currently I am running XLR balanced lines out of the RD700GX into a Mackie 1402VLZ3, the Nord runs 2 unbalanced 1/4" into the board, same as the Handsonic. Also have vocals running into the board at home, but not during gigs.

            Couple of questions - I assume I should be using the XLR balanced outs of the piano whenever possible rather than 1/4 inch unbalanced? Seems like there's less background noise and hum and I can run longer cables?

            I've been reading about passive DI boxes that give you a short run to the box, longer run to the PA/mixer. Seems like a lot of keyboardists like the boost in clarity and presense in the total mix. Is there any real advantage of using a DI box if I'm already using a dedicated unpowered mixer like the Mackie?

            Normally I'll just hook everything up through the mixer, tweak all the levels there, then run two balanced XLR's out of the mixer to the house PA, and 2 balanced 1/4" aux sends to two powered monitors for me to control my personal monitor volume on stage.

            Radial DI looks like the Duplex might work well for 2 stereo instruments, but the Handsonic would need it's own single DI?

            Another unrelated, but vexing conundrum:

            Finally, after putzing around with a couple of Mackie SRM350v2 monitors, I realize the acoustic and electric pianos, organs, and clavs I mostly play just sound a little boxy and shrill sometimes. I've been eyeing adding a subwoofer to these two to fill out the sound, but is the real problem the monitors? I might have just been duped into thinking Mackie SRM's were viable keyboard monitors/PA systems.

            QSC K series seems interesting, but I'd rather not lug a sub around. Are the K10's low end ample without a sub? The reason I ask is that someone locally is selling 2 K8's with a sub and bags for 1400. It looks like nice little setup, but are the K8's capable of standing alone without a sub?

            Thanks, sorry for all the questions and look forward to hearing from anyone!
            Allen


            I have used submixer for keys for years & I currently own QSC K12's and K10's - I have a few thoughts on this... will come back later.

            ...ok, I'm back -
            I always thought that using a mixer to submix keys would allow you a good signal right up to the FOH mixer and also give you control over your own kybd. monitoring rig w/no problem, which is how I've always done it... but I've read that you actually should put a DI between your submixer and the FOH mixer. If you don't have a DI, it's not the end of the world - but apparently it eliminates ground loops and other strange electrical anamolies that I don't really understand, other than to know that they could occur when connecting one mixer to another.

            As far as spkrs. go - try the QSC K series, they will blow away the Mackie SRM350's. The K10's are powerful but the K12's REALLY rock w/nice full bass (which you may not need)... if you play in a loud rock band or a large-sized ensemble of any kind, the K12's are the way to go, just to have the extra power/headroom available if you need to crank up to keep up w/the rest of the band sometimes. If you don't need quite as much volume, go for the K10's, they're lighter and easier to carry around.

            I run them in stereo as a kybd. monitoring rig - sounds fantastic. Sometimes the K12's for bigger gigs/band situations, sometimes the K10's for duo, trio or more mellow 4 piece bands. They sound great for PA as well - occasionally I supply PA on a few gigs and I can run vocals & keys thru the K-series cabs simultaneously, no problems.

            "Gigito ergo sum: I Gig, therefore I Am."


            Keys:
            Yamaha MotifXF6 - (bottom tier) & Korg M361 (top)
            Roland RD300GX (88 keys - smaller gigs & when I play left hand bass)

            Mixers, Spkrs.:
            (2) QSC K12's, (2) QSC K10's, (2) QSC K8's
            1 JBL PRX715XLF Subwoofer
            Motion Sound KP200S & KP100S kybd. amps (rarely use any more)
            Allen & Heath MixWiz3, Soundcraft MFXi8, Yamaha MG82cx,
            Mackie ProFX12, Alesis TransActive 50, [Samson PL1602 - For Sale]
            Fender Rumble 100 Bass Amp (for Ibanez SR500 Bass)

            Comment


            • #7
              Alrighty! So after over 2 months of researching the living hell out of every powered PA speaker on the market, I've finally taken the leap and ordered 2 K12's to replace the Mackies. While the RCF312A apparently sound amazing and are priced at $450 now, the added convenience of the inputs on the K Series is huge! The Yamaha DSR112's also were in the running, but I can't seem to find anyone locally who has them in stock and from early reviews, they have ridiculous power claims of 1300w but seem to sound great. JBL 612M were in the running, as were the KW122's, but the wooden QSC's would seem to fare better as dedicated PA speakers rather than keyboard monitors. I'm not really looking forward to lugging around two 41lb speakers but after you guys flamed the GAS to uncontrollable levels, I am REALLY looking forward to playing through these!

              For those of you who are running 2 K12's as keyboard monitors only...are you ever using the DEEP switch if you're primarly playing acoustic and epianos, clavs, and organs?
              I am also excited about the notion of not bringing a mixer to the gig anymore! I was thinking about just running the 700GX and E73-3 directly into the inputs of the K12's and saving set-up time/space.
              Currently, I am running Balanced XLR's out of the Roland Piano and unbalanced cables from the Nord into the submixer, then sending a balanced XLR's to the FOH, usually without a DI.

              Couple of questions regarding leaving the mixer out of the equation:
              1) Should I be running unbalanced 1/4 cables from BOTH keyboards to even out the signal strength running to the speaker? I've noticed the GX signal is significantly hotter that the electro, assumingly from the difference in line levels from these two different outputs?
              2) I had also assumed that using XLR from the keys to either a mixer or directly to a K12 would result in a more "clean" signal? Should I still use the XLR outs on the Roland Piano and just turn down the gain on that input channel directly on the back of the k12 for that channel. Would it be easier/safer to just run the same unbalanced instrument cables from both keyboards?
              3) If I leave the mixer at home, I assume I'd have to run Left and Right channels to each K12. When they mention "daisy-chaining" from one speaker to the next, does that imply that I can run both keys into one speaker and then use the balanced line output of the K12 to the next speaker directly? Wouldn't this balanced out still be a L (mono) signal being sent to the next speaker? And although many of you claim it's insanity, I REALLY like monitoring in stereo...maybe my hearing sucks, but the sweet spot between two speakers is too good to pass up!
              4) Are you typically using these as floor monitors behind/in front of your rig or do you find elevating them on speaker stands works better in a live situation?

              Sorry to bombard with questions, but after all...I am quasi-noob.
              Thanks in advance to all that help out!

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm currently playing a RD700GX.... Couple of questions - I assume I should be using the XLR balanced outs of the piano whenever possible rather than 1/4 inch unbalanced?


                I use an RD700SX - and had some real issues using the XLR outputs to connect to a Yamaha MG12/4FX mixer. The signal of the RD700SX using the XLR outputs was so hot that even with the input gain of the mixer turned all the way down it was still overdriving the channel strip. When I went back to regular old 1/4" connectors - patched in the "line in" input of the same channel strips - clipping was no long an issue.

                I would suggest you keep a close eye on whatever tools you have available to monitor that input signal (i.e., peak indicators on the channel strips?). Is there any chance that the "boxy and shrill" sound you've mentioned might be (at least in part) an issue with the channel being overdriven?
                The SpaceNorman

                www.facebook.com/SuperstarsOfRock
                www.souldoutrocks.com

                Keyboards and Tone Generators: Yamaha CP300, Kronos 88, Roland AX Synth, Motif ES Rack
                Keyboard Rack: Samson SM10 Line Mixer, Motu MIDIExpressXT MIDI Interface, Shure PSM200 IEM system, M-Audio Wireless MIDI, Live Wires IEM ear buds, iPad wOnSong.
                Stage Amplification: Stereo via 2 Yamaha DSR112s

                Comment


                • #9
                  For those of you who are running 2 K12's as keyboard monitors only...are you ever using the DEEP switch if you're primarly playing acoustic and epianos, clavs, and organs?
                  I am also excited about the notion of not bringing a mixer to the gig anymore! I was thinking about just running the 700GX and E73-3 directly into the inputs of the K12's and saving set-up time/space.
                  Currently, I am running Balanced XLR's out of the Roland Piano and unbalanced cables from the Nord into the submixer, then sending a balanced XLR's to the FOH, usually without a DI.


                  Ok, this is right up my alley:
                  I've had a pair of QSC K12's for over a year & was so pleased w/them I also bought a pair of K10's a couple mos. back. I am a keyboard player - on some gigs I use the K10's as kybd. monitors, or the K12's if it's a large band or one that runs at HIGH volume . - - so I think I'm particularly qualified to answer your question.

                  On other gigs (the ones I book myself) where I am the one supplying PA I use the K12's for Mains and the K10's as Floor Monitors for vocals and kybds, & also mic'd guitar amps and/or acoustic/electric guitars come thru the monitors as well. My keyboard rig is a Yamaha S90ES or a Roland RD300GX, depending on the gig... I also use a 2nd kybd. on some gigs - a Korg Triton Le.

                  Re: The DEEP Extra Bass Circuitry on the K Series
                  You will NOT need it for keyboards, esp. for the acoustic-type instrument you're playing from the Nord & the 700GX, if you are running the K12's - they put out an amazing amount of bass for 12" speakers. I have put it on when using the K10's as floor monitors a few times when I was doing left hand bass on a trio gig w/no bass player & I had dedicated keybaord amp w/me - I have a Motion Sound KP200S keyboard amp and a KP100S as well but now that I have the K12's and K10's I hardly ever use the Motion Sound kybd. amps any more. So I think the DEEP switch is unnecessary for what you're doing - unless maybe you're also DJ'ing tunes in between sets, you don't have a subwoofer for the PA and you want to hear extra bass at that time.

                  Re: Using Mixer, Not Using Mixer, Using DI
                  You CAN run your keys straight into the K12's as stage monitors and even hear 'em in stereo! Use the XLR Balanced output(s) from the RD700GX (a mic. cable) and use the 1/4" Unbalanced output(s) from the Nord - since each K12 cabinet has two separate inputs w/their own volume controls - - then run the outputs from both the Left & Right cabinets if running Stereo, or just output from the Left K12 if running Mono - over to the Main PA/FOH mixer. It should sound fine, nice and clean. But you would have no volume control other than the slider on your keyboards or bending down to manually adjust the volume on the K12's, which is tricky if you have them on the ground, in monitor position. If you have them up on spkr. stands - which I've tried, it works nicely but is extra setup & more equipment to bring - then it's easier, you just reach up and turn the volume knob quickly between songs.

                  So I think using a submixer is still a good way to go - run the keys into it and then output from it to your K12's as monitors and also output from the submixer to the FOH. Some will also tell you you must use a DI between your submixer and the FOH mixer, some will say it doesn't matter - if you don't get ground loops, hum, buzz or other bad noise (when using a submixer), then don't worry about it.

                  One thing you could try is set it all up WITH submixer and then try it WITHOUT submixer, see if they sound any different.
                  "Gigito ergo sum: I Gig, therefore I Am."


                  Keys:
                  Yamaha MotifXF6 - (bottom tier) & Korg M361 (top)
                  Roland RD300GX (88 keys - smaller gigs & when I play left hand bass)

                  Mixers, Spkrs.:
                  (2) QSC K12's, (2) QSC K10's, (2) QSC K8's
                  1 JBL PRX715XLF Subwoofer
                  Motion Sound KP200S & KP100S kybd. amps (rarely use any more)
                  Allen & Heath MixWiz3, Soundcraft MFXi8, Yamaha MG82cx,
                  Mackie ProFX12, Alesis TransActive 50, [Samson PL1602 - For Sale]
                  Fender Rumble 100 Bass Amp (for Ibanez SR500 Bass)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thank you Spacenorman and Gunman! I knew I could count on you both to point me in the right direction.
                    I removed the XLR outs from the 700GX and ran Mogami 1/4 inch unbalanced cables to the mixer instead...you were right on Spacenorman! That cleared up the muddiness DRAMATICALLY! When I used to play shows, the soundguy would always tell me the signal was too hot and I could never figure out why! These XLR outs are set so much hotter than the 1/4 inch outs...

                    Gigman, do you set your mixer levels to "unity gain" to set submixer levels first, then use the "control room" fader (if using the control room balanced out on the mixer to the K12's) to adjust your monitor levels? That way I wouldn't alter the FOH signal? If I don't use a mixer with separate outs for the monitors, seems like I am limited as far as on stage control.

                    Finally, to send separate stereo signals to both speakers AND the house PA, should I use the balanced XLR outs to the snake or PA? then I am left with only 1/4 inch outs to the K12's that would need to be balanced cables?

                    Again, thanks to both of you for clarifying my ignorance!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OK you are close. Run you keyboards into your mixer with 1/4 cables. Come out of your mixer's stereo master 1/4 inch out and go into the Radial Stereo DI. Make sure it is a passive one and has JT technology. Come out of one of your mixer's other stereo outs to your QSC's. Done.

                      DI's are important and can help fix many things between your mixer and FOH. Also you need your mixer to EQ, balance, and smooth things out for both the QSC's and FOH.

                      Finally the deep mode is designed to be used if that is your preference. The speaker has some built in compression and limiting technology, plus a monitor light to protect it. The deep mode is a magical effect. However, I always think running flat is best.

                      Now enjoy....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well the K12's arrived today and what can I say that hasn't been said...they totally rock for keys, to quote another user. Never have I heard some of the nuances in my acoustic piano until now! The Nord patches just kill it through these and I still cannot believe how organic it sounds...not plasticky sounding like the Mackies. Thanks to everyone for the best damn upgrade eva!

                        Peace,
                        Allen

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well the K12's arrived today and what can I say that hasn't been said...they totally rock for keys, to quote another user. Never have I heard some of the nuances in my acoustic piano until now! The Nord patches just kill it through these and I still cannot believe how organic it sounds...not plasticky sounding like the Mackies. Thanks to everyone for the best damn upgrade eva!

                          Peace,
                          Allen


                          Awesome! - - what submixer are you using?
                          "Gigito ergo sum: I Gig, therefore I Am."


                          Keys:
                          Yamaha MotifXF6 - (bottom tier) & Korg M361 (top)
                          Roland RD300GX (88 keys - smaller gigs & when I play left hand bass)

                          Mixers, Spkrs.:
                          (2) QSC K12's, (2) QSC K10's, (2) QSC K8's
                          1 JBL PRX715XLF Subwoofer
                          Motion Sound KP200S & KP100S kybd. amps (rarely use any more)
                          Allen & Heath MixWiz3, Soundcraft MFXi8, Yamaha MG82cx,
                          Mackie ProFX12, Alesis TransActive 50, [Samson PL1602 - For Sale]
                          Fender Rumble 100 Bass Amp (for Ibanez SR500 Bass)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Mackie 1402VLZ3....it's working out okay so far, but I foresee an upgrade in the future, maybe to something with effects and USB!

                            Allen

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              OK you are close. Run you keyboards into your mixer with 1/4 cables. Come out of your mixer's stereo master 1/4 inch out and go into the Radial Stereo DI. Make sure it is a passive one and has JT technology. Come out of one of your mixer's other stereo outs to your QSC's. Done.



                              This!
                              Orgasms frighten me

                              Comment













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