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Thread: Live Sound

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Cleveland, Ohio

    Live Sound

    Hi everyone! I am new to this forum and appreciate any help you may offer. I am getting ready to play out at some coffee shops in the area and have a question on my PA system. I purchased a Kustom Profile 1 PA system rated at 100 watts. It seems to do fine when I am running my acoustic electric guitar and vocals through it. I also do some piano pieces but when my keyboards are ran through the PA they sound distorted and overdriven. I even have the volume low on the PA and it still is not clear. I tried running it through my brothers Berhinger system which is rated at 300 watts and still seem to have the same sound. I am presently playing both a Privia digital piano and a Roland XP-50 workstation and have the same problem with both keyboards. The piano has built in speakers and I am almost tempted to mic the speakers instead of running it direct to the PA. It seems to me that I should not have to resort to that. Not very saavy on this PA stuff but I'm trying. Thanks in advance for any help you may offer. Mike in Cleveland

  2. #2

    Re: Live Sound

    Try turning the volume down on your keyboards. This is where it seems that this distortion is originating is in line, after your keyboards, clipping before it even gets to your PA or clipping at your PA becuase its quite possible that you are running your keyboards too loud for your PA to handle.

  3. #3
    Jon Wolske

    Re: Live Sound

    I completely agree with the above post, the problem is most likely the channel inputs being overdriven by a hot signal. Most digital pianos or synthesizing keyboards put out a lot of signal. Try running your volume (on the keyboard) at 75% or less, 50% even, and then ride your P.A. channel up to acheive the desired levels.

  4. #4
    techno learner
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    BYRON BAY,Australia

    Re: Live Sound

    Keyboards are a difficult thing!The keyboard spectrum of sound is a wide band which encompasses all the band-widths from the low lows to the high highs-this makes it hard to play through any systems except large p.a's and dedicated keyboard amps.I have tried many different options over the years-most guitar amps don't work cause they dont have the lows,and most bass amps don't work cause they lack horns for the highs,small pa's(which your 100 watt system is) don't have adequate head room-which is the watts you don't use.In a 100 watt system when you play your keyboard through you are using all the available wattage-head room is like a buffer zone to prevent distortion.Also you definitely won't solve the problem by going through a piece of equipment that at 300 watts is rated three times the capacity of the pa you are using,it's just too powerful-even if you turn the volume down you just get overdriven distortion at low volume.All you can do in my opinion is get a dedicated keyboard amp,which works by taking a broad range of the sound spectrum and compressing it (I think that would be the right term)-then put that compressed sound through the pa at a low volume-happy sounds!

  5. #5
    Dhananjay Singh

    Re: Live Sound

    live sound sound farmet equipment by list & view

  6. #6
    You need to invest in a DI box which will change the impedance of your signal, then you could go mic or line level into a channel on your mixer.

  7. #7

    to squirell

    While you are right about headroom, the watts you don't use, for an eassy explanation, you are wrong about needing a big P.A. for a keyboard. I have seen keyboard players using powered computer speakers to rehearse.(the little white plastic Altec Lansing boxes) The issue of signal distortion is a long walk along the signal path.... Using the scientific method (only change one variable at a time) you should work your way from source to sound..

    Turn up the master volume on the amp (to about where you would have it when you are playing ata cofee shop, or to where you think it should be)

    turn up the channel level to 3/4's of the way up (Headroom is affected by all stages of signal modification/amplification, so gdoing this gives adequate headroom)

    Starting with a very low output level from the keyboard, listen for sound and distortion.

    If no sound is present, raise the ouptut level of your keyboard.

    Turn up the output on the keyboard until the signal begins to lose quality, then back off the level at the keyboard so it is still clean.

    Now you have figured out the proper output level to keep a clean signal into the mixer, and can balance the overall level of the keyboard with the other instrumets/voices.

    A direct box may help as well, and you could even look for one with an attenuator (I have a Rolls Matchbox DB25 which offers three level settings: 0 -normal signal, -20dB -cutting signal by 20 dB, and -40db -cutting signal by 40dB) THe -20 should help with a hot signal, and the -40 allows you to put a speaker cable into the direct box and get a signal suitable for a mixer input, neat really.....

    I hope you have figured out what works!! Please let us know!

  8. #8
    Bret G Brown, CTS

    Lead AV Tech

    I have worked with many keyboards in the past and found that a Direct Box with a dB pad works best. Most keyboards put out a line level signal, and if you're going into a mic channel on the mixer, the signal is just too hot. It neds to be converted to mic level, and possibly padded at -20dB or even -40dB's. This has always worked for me.
    This method will eliminate your fear of the keyboardist turning the volume up mid song and distorting.
    If you need your keyboard to be stereo, then simply run the left into a direct box and the right into another direct box, pan hard left and hard right, and there you have it.
    No Distortion + No Feedback + No Fear = Happy Band, Happy Audience, and Happy Engineer.


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