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Topic: Best Amp for Live Piano - Mackie or Daedalus

  1. #1

    Best Amp for Live Piano - Mackie or Daedalus

    I'm looking for a good amp to use with my piano sample libraries (PMI Bos 290, Old lady, Emperor) for live gigs. Quite some topics ago, Bruce Richardson recommended the Mackie SRM450. I went out to Guitar Center to give them a test drive and was impressed with the sound. I know very little about audio equipment and recently found an interview that compared the Mackies with the Daedalus S-82 (albeit as a means to amplify Virtual Guitar) where Daedalus comes out on top:

    Has anybody heard both the Daedalus and Mackie and would be able to give me some feedback?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2

    Re: Best Amp for Live Piano - Mackie or Daedalus

    First, the daedalus amps are accoustic guitar amps; I think they won't work well with the high overtones in piano sound; but you should try it yourself.

    Are you going to play with other instruments, or are you doing solo-gigs? Non-solo gigs won't work with those wet samples of PMI. At home/in studio these samples will give the illusion you are sitting behind a beautiful grand in a concert hall, but that illusion will be gone when real instruments will be playing with you. The detail in the sound you hear at home will also vanish when playing in larger rooms with other (real) instruments.

    Instead of trying to get the illusion of a real grand, which won't work since the accoustic qualities of real grands won't come out of you amps, since amp != accoustic grand. Therefore, 'neutral' amps won't get you anywhere; the accoustic qualities are lost anyway and a 'neutral' amp won't give you anything back. Especially if it is a scientifically created amp, that is: the developer used science instead of his ears when developing the amp (which is ok for nearfield monitors, but not for amps for live).

    Better take a guitarist point of view: your amp is part of your tone. So choose your amp on the character it gives to your sound. Choose an amp that colors your sound and does that to your liking.
    Don't choose samples/software/hardware on beauty alone. Try it on gigs and see how well you are playing. The PMI samples are beautiful, but I can't play improvised jazz with it; they don't work. Short notes are terrible for one thing. Steinbergs The Grand, while far more ugly on your nearfields compared to PMI, does a much better job as it comes to live playabillity.

    I have gigged on Rolands KC300 and KC500: terrible! My old Roland Keyboard Cube does the job much better. But same story: at home playing alone, you'd swear the KC's are better. The Cube has character (and hasn't build-in bass and treble boost, like KC's and Mackies).

    I'll be getting a Speakeasy Vintage Tube Preamp soon. I hope it is going to put some electric live in my sound, to replace the vanished accoustic live of the original sampled grands. The grands won't sound really real, but I do think they will sound beautiful. Like grands on 60's/70's vinyl records.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Best Amp for Live Piano - Mackie or Daedalus

    The Mackie actually projects a very nice piano tone. I'm not sure that Daedalus rig would project piano tone, according to what I was reading. But it might...you never know. Fisheye is right about the PMI 290 (can't speak for the others...don't know if they're as roomy as the 290). It just flat-out does not work live, even the close version has far too much room for live use. Which is fine, there is no reason on earth to expect it to work live.

    Pianos that do work well live are the PMI Steinway Grandioso, Bardstown Bosendorfer, The White Grand, and in some cases the EastWest Steinway B and Bosie are good. Depends entirely on the gig. I suspect Franky's Yamaha sounds good live. I think the new GigaPiano will probably kick it pretty hard live. For a live room, you need something mic'ed in a far less "roomy" way, something up close and personal. Pianos with a lot of air in them are simply too diffused to punch in a performance setting. By the time you get them loud enough to cut, all the flab in the sound is taking up too much space, and it's just an overbearing, unpleasant sound.

  4. #4

    Re: Best Amp for Live Piano - Mackie or Daedalus

    I appreciate all the feedback. Yes, it would be for live gigs. As a musician, I have one major problem: I can only hear "mono" as I am completely deaf in one ear. Although I can hear "space" (close/far miced) it is hard for me to hear if a sample is "panned" in an extreme way. Thus, I have to rely on others to tell me whether an amp sounds good

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