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Topic: Can someone suggest a good speaker system?

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  1. #1

    Can someone suggest a good speaker system?

    Being new to the world of virtual pianos, I've quickly discovered my computer's Altec Lansing satellite/subwoofer speaker system (which has been good for most applications) just isn't cutting it for playing keyboard/virtual piano. Although the sound is pretty decent, at the approximate volume of a Steinway D, the satellite speakers are distorting and, well....I need something better.

    If anyone has suggestions for a good speaker system to best suit the acoustic piano sound for around $100 or under, please let me know. Since I'm practicing at home, they don't need to be mega-power, just enough watts to handle the approximate volume of a 9' grand when dynamics are at a peak.

    Just called Guitar Center and the sound tech suggested Numark NPM5 (25w) and Mackie MR5 (65w) studio monitors. I'm thinking just a good computer speaker system will suffice.
    Virtual pianos.... ah, ya gotta love technology.

  2. #2

    Re: Can someone suggest a good speaker system?

    I don't really have a good direct answer since I don't have enough background with inexpensive speaker systems, but I thought I'd suggest that you might try looking at nice headphones rather than speakers if playing for others isn't a high priority for you. My impression is that it may be difficult for you to get any good speakers for around $100, whereas you can start getting really nice headphones at that price. As a sort of gross simplification, you might typically need to spend five or ten times more to get similar sound quality from a speaker system to what you get from headphones. If you were playing at home you'd probably look for an open back design for sound quality (foregoing sound isolation), low impedance (so you won't need a headphone amp), and no noise cancellation or wireless designs (again for sound quality). If headphones are an option, you might check out Audio Technica ATH-AD700, Grado SR80i, AKG K-240, Sennheiser HD 518. Shure, Sony, Denon, Beyerdynamic are all good names too, though they didn't seem to ideally match at the price range.

  3. #3

    Re: Can someone suggest a good speaker system?

    I'd agree with the advice on getting headphones. But if you do want speakers, 'computer speakers' would not be ideal. I'd also suspect the speakers you have and the distortion you're hearing is due to the instrument levels and not the speakers.

    If I raise the GAS volume I get distortion, and if I use a mild compression or a limiter, I can play without that happening.
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  4. #4

    Re: Can someone suggest a good speaker system?

    Appreciate the input. I have very good Sony and Audio Technica headphones that I use occasionally and agree produce great sound. However, they become a bit uncomfortable after a while so play mostly through the Altec Lansings or the keyboard's onboard speakers w/o a virtual piano. I've done a lot of studio work over the years and have always been uncomfortable with headphones after wearing for a while.

    I bought the Numarks today and although handled a higher volume and whatever dynamics I threw at them with no problem, they didn't sound good at all for this application. So they're going back.

    The old Altec Lansing ACS45 Powercube speaker system I've been using actually sounds great and seems to be an excellent fit for the piano sound spectrum with very nice tonal balance through all octaves, albeit a bit underpowered for this application as mentioned. But it truly sounds much like a real piano, so will just stick with what I have and reduce the volume a bit to minimize the satellite speaker rattling/distortion.

    BTW, I'm enjoying GAS and has become my go-to piano.
    Virtual pianos.... ah, ya gotta love technology.

  5. #5

    Re: Can someone suggest a good speaker system?

    I've discovered a very good solution quite by accident. I'd been playing my Yamaha keyboard through its onboard speakers w/0 GAS, which actually sounds pretty good itself, decided to open GAS and forgot to turn the keyboard speakers down which I had set at about 8.5. The mix of the Altec Lansing speakers and keyboard speakers took me by surprise, with bold powerful sound, clarity, depth and dynamics. At first I didn't know why it sounded SO much better, then realized what happened. Amazing sound with good volume and no distortion since I can set the Altec Lansings a bit lower in the mix but still retain that great GAS sound.
    Virtual pianos.... ah, ya gotta love technology.

  6. #6

    Re: Can someone suggest a good speaker system?

    Quote Originally Posted by DRC88 View Post
    Being new to the world of virtual pianos, I've quickly discovered my computer's Altec Lansing satellite/subwoofer speaker system (which has been good for most applications) just isn't cutting it for playing keyboard/virtual piano. Although the sound is pretty decent, at the approximate volume of a Steinway D, the satellite speakers are distorting and, well....I need something better.

    If anyone has suggestions for a good speaker system to best suit the acoustic piano sound for around $100 or under, please let me know. Since I'm practicing at home, they don't need to be mega-power, just enough watts to handle the approximate volume of a 9' grand when dynamics are at a peak.

    Just called Guitar Center and the sound tech suggested Numark NPM5 (25w) and Mackie MR5 (65w) studio monitors. I'm thinking just a good computer speaker system will suffice.
    I like my KRK's works for me

  7. #7

    Re: Can someone suggest a good speaker system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger View Post
    I like my KRK's works for me
    Saw them at Guitar Center. Which ones are you using?

    The Numarks were way too mid-rangy with poor highs and no EQ except for the GAS EQ which didn't really help.
    Virtual pianos.... ah, ya gotta love technology.

  8. #8

    Re: Can someone suggest a good speaker system?

    Quote Originally Posted by DRC88 View Post
    decided to open GAS and forgot to turn the keyboard speakers down which I had set at about 8.5. The mix of the Altec Lansing speakers and keyboard speakers took me by surprise, with bold powerful sound, clarity, depth and dynamics.
    Oh My Word!
    you were listening to the GAS from your Altec speakers,..... and a different piano that is part of your keyboard.
    GAS could not be coming out of the piano's built in speakers. Yes it would have been louder but the chorusing sound of the different tuning between the piano sound in your keyboard and the GAS had to be horrible.

    Dan

  9. #9

    Re: Can someone suggest a good speaker system?

    Quote Originally Posted by DPDAN View Post
    Oh My Word!
    you were listening to the GAS from your Altec speakers,..... and a different piano that is part of your keyboard.
    GAS could not be coming out of the piano's built in speakers. Yes it would have been louder but the chorusing sound of the different tuning between the piano sound in your keyboard and the GAS had to be horrible.

    Dan
    Yes, one would think there'd be some objectionable discord between the two pianos, but I tested the tuning note for note with the Altecs (GAS) and keyboard at the same volume and the tuning is remarkably even. The only notes that display some obvious discord (and not horrible) are the low G & G# in the bass section and G5, but with the Altec vol set a bit lower than the keyboard, any existing discord isn't noticeable. Just an odd phenomenon that works with this particular pairing. With the balance set right, it sounds pretty amazing. Hard to believe but it's there.
    Virtual pianos.... ah, ya gotta love technology.

  10. #10

    Re: Can someone suggest a good speaker system?

    One other thing....
    Although GAS sounds very good through quality headphones, with both the GAS and sound card volume set to the highest level, it's not loud enough in either of my headphones. Sounds like the piano is in the distance and not "present". Anyone else experience this? I'm using a Realtek sound card with up-to-date driver.
    Virtual pianos.... ah, ya gotta love technology.

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