Keyboard through PA and vocal monitors....

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by INFANT, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. INFANT

    INFANT Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    716
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Location:
    Stoney Creek, Ontario
    ....and no soundman.

    We play some small bars using a very decent powered mixer that, with a push of a button, splits into both a PA and monitor amp. We use 2 speakers on sticks for the mains and another 2 on sticks as sidewash monitors as we have 4 vocalists. Until recently, we've only run vocals and sax through the PA and it's worked great for us . Guitar, bass and keys all had our own stage amps. However, there's always been a push to fold the keys into the PA but without a soundman, I don't feel comfortable. I've suggested tilting the amp back to get the sound over us rather than having it blocked by our backsides.

    A couple of gigs ago, we played a venue where we had to set up in a very confined area. We decided to put the PA behind us and forego the monitors and keyboard amp. The results were mixed as I found I couldn't hear the vocals as the keys seemed to be drowning them out and everything sounded a bit muddy to me. However, the people loved us and so it couldn't have been bad.

    The last gig we did, the keyboard amp decided to crap out and so we had to put the keys thru the mains and through the vocal monitors for stage volume. So we had to rely on friends to tell us if the balance was okay. The problem is that we won't always have friends out there and, again, I found the keys overpowering the vocals in the monitors. However, the people seemed to like it although one of my friends told me that in one song he heard nothing but keys and drums.

    So we had a band meeting a little while ago and this topic came up. There was a discussion about buying a new PA but I said that wouldn't make a difference as we still have no soundman and for the few gigs we do, it would be a complete waste of money. Also, someone told our keyboard player about a personal in ear monitor system but that won't work as we need to hear him on stage. We have a gig coming up in a couple of weeks and I'm not sure if he plans on using his amp or not or if he's even had it fixed.

    So my question is this....does anyone else here run their keys through the mains and vocal monitors or does your keyboard player have his own keyboard amp/monitor for stage volume? If he uses his own amp, do you fold him thru the PA too?

    Sorry about the long winded post.
     
  2. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,576
    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    Location:
    California
    What model is your PA?
    Can you show us some pics of it?

    That will determine how we can better help you through your dilemma.

    Sure, keys can go through PAs, they do it all the time but they usually have
    their own monitor/aux section and a wedge that is solely dedicated to their mix.
    The the rest of the band has their mix which dials in the keys at a much more
    controlled level and everyone is happy.

    From what you have told us it seems like your PA splits into 2 separate parts.
    Within those two parts is one monitor mix and only one monitor mix. Am I close?
    Does it have a separate volume control fader for aux/monitor level?
    Is it a Pa that has a built in amplifier section?

    If you want to consider using a PA to it's fullest, then you might have to get
    another one that can run more than one aux send to accommodate the keys etc.

    Here's an example of a good one, many bands use them with excellent results.

     
  3. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,818
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Godzone
    Is small bar 50, 100, 200?

    Keys through mains yes but not foldback. Small venues nothing should be in foldback imo but vox. If keys do solos make sure you set them at rhythm volume - and that your keys player isn't keeping them maxed. If you can run a separate monitor for him is better.
     
  4. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,238
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    Tell me about it!

    I did some pickup gigs over the xmas season. One group put the keys through the PA and monitors.. complete overkill. Way too much mids. The keys player was just dominating the mix into mush which just made them play harder to hear themselves.

    It was a new digital desk and the ‘soundman’ that was recruited was lost using it.

    Suggest they def. need their own amp and monitor (or monitor feed) and to really cut those mids... keys can really put out the signal, esp. holding down full pads.

    On the rare occasions I venture out with my synth, I have a 60w peavey keys amp I put next to me and across the stage to keep up with the guitars and for people hear it and put just a little in the mix.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  5. johnDH

    johnDH Tele-Meister

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    157
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2016
    Location:
    Wilton NSW
    We had a bit of everything through our modest PA. We used two 500 W powered cabs (Behringer, actually quite good). The mixer was 30 years old with just one foldback channel. Foldback was mainly vocal and just a small amount of other things like Keys. That went to a couple of passive wedges run from a Crate PowerBlock. The keys player had his own smaller amp to hear himself.
     
  6. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    21,468
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Around
    Do you have individual attenuation on each channel. Does it clip . Keys are not in same freq as vocals usually should be ok. We did years ago into mains just keep down and freq correct imho
     
  7. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    17,524
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    The North Coast
    Two possible simple remedies-

    1. Have the keyboard player go buy a new amp. Make sure it has a good line out, preferably with a level control. Amp is for stage volume. Line out is for the PA, mains only.

    2. Fire the keyboard player.
     
    RyCo1983 and nojazzhere like this.
  8. INFANT

    INFANT Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    716
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Location:
    Stoney Creek, Ontario
    Its an older Yamaha EMX68s into Peavey PR12s. Room size 100-120 people.

    I may have used the wrong term when i said folding the keys into the PA. What i was trying to explain is that the keyboard player has his own amp which is quite loud itself but he has been pushing me to also put him thru the PA. I have done it ever so slightly in the past as I don't believe he needs to do so. The last thing I want is to have the keys blaring out the front of the mains and blaring onstage and having no idea that it is happening.

    The bass, sax player and myself are wireless and whenever I've walked out front during sound check or during the gig, I've heard everyone clearly. If not, I've adjusted for it. However, when the sax player walks out there, he always says that we should turn the keys up. It should be noted that the sax player also wears custom earplugs when he plays and i believe that they may possibly be cutting out certain frequencies that the keys tend to favour. I don't know. We've all been together for 15 yrs and we never had a problem until these past 2 gigs.

    I'm just getting tired of arguing my point that the keyboard player NEEDS to have an amp or powered monitor to be heard onstage, which has also been enough to be heard on the floor in the past.
     
  9. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    9,535
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    It will be fine. I don't understand the concern. Done it many times. Make sure the key player has his own monitor. Or if he wants to use an amp, use the line out of the amp to the pa for better coverage.
     
  10. INFANT

    INFANT Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    716
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Location:
    Stoney Creek, Ontario
    Our guy has a behemoth Peavey KB300 that he's been using forever and i think he's just tired of lugging it around. At 150W, it has more than enough power but we've been telling him to get something newer and smaller. We were hoping that when it crapped out at the last gig, he'd go and get something new....nope. I think he likes the fact that he may be able to get away with just bringing his keyboard and stand in the future.
     
  11. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,238
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    You can get small stand mounted monitors and push the signal through those to the desk. We had a few of those before most of band moved to IEMs. Light and easy and they can dial in their own level to satisfy themselves but not flood the stage with noise.

    https://mackie.com/products/srm150-compact-powered-pa
     
    INFANT likes this.
  12. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    10,545
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2017
    Location:
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    I know I'm odd man out on TDPRI, but I've NEVER liked running ANYTHING other than vocals through the PA in a "smallish" gig. I prefer playing with people who can "self-monitor" their instrument levels, and balance everything naturally. To me, have anything else in PA just muddies the sound.
     
    INFANT likes this.
  13. INFANT

    INFANT Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    716
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Location:
    Stoney Creek, Ontario
    Exactly how I feel. We have a simple PA....powered mixer in a box, 2 main speakers and 2 sidewash monitors . The setup has worked very well until now with only vocals and the sax using it for mains and monitors. The minute that we put the keys through the monitors, I couldnt hear a damn thing as it all got muddy. I'm just tired of trying to explain to these guys that it's not working for me, especially since I sing almost 50% of the songs.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  14. Donnie L

    Donnie L TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    55
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2011
    Location:
    Louisville, Ky.
    The best keyboard I have ever heard and it can work for any instrument especially stereo is the Spacestation amp out of England ... they’re not cheap but the sound incredible ... they use a patented mid side stereo speaker system that really sounds accurate ... in fact probably superior to a real piano in terms of dispersion ... I had a keyboard player on a gig use the smaller version and he had tons of headroom , and the best stereo organ sound ever , it sounds like a real Leslie

    You can hear a stereo image from any part of the room ... google and research this amp ...
     
    INFANT likes this.
  15. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    12,077
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    The Far-Flung Isles of Langerhans
    If he doesn't get his keyboard amp fixed before the next gig, maybe try plugging a compressor in between his keyboard and the PA?
     
    INFANT likes this.
  16. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    1,007
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Location:
    Buffalo
    I want everything in the PA, however in your situation the PR12 probably are not the best option and your mixer does not have multiple aux sends so you don't have much control. I would have the keyboard player buy a powered monitor or if they insist on being in your main mix then they should buy some newer stuff and tote it around.
     
    INFANT likes this.
  17. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Holic

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    726
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2018
    Location:
    Erie, CO
    I used a space station for many years as a full time gigging jazz pianist, hands down the best solution. I don't gig for a living anymore, but for small gigs I pair it with a sub and it is the PA. It's the most natural sounding live solution for a piano that I've found. In a larger venue, split the signal and use the space station on stage along with a feed to the FOH board.
     
    INFANT likes this.
  18. INFANT

    INFANT Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    716
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Location:
    Stoney Creek, Ontario
    The Yamaha mixer and Peavey PR12s have been perfect for what we play and the volume that we play at. We aren't a loud band. We are in our late 50s/early 60s and we play 6-8 gigs a year. It's a hobby for us.

    During our discussion last month, the sax player and keyboard player suggested upgrading the PA to something that could handle the keys and vocals. This really surprised me as their wallets dont open that easily! A few years ago, i couldnt get them to chip in $25 each to buy some used LED lighting cans. I bought them myself. Therefore, since I own the current PA and lighting, I told them that I'm not contributing. I let them know how much they'd probably have to spend for the new PA and they must have gone out and priced it themselves. I haven't heard anymore about it.

    Another topic that came up was hiring a soundman. The sax player recommended someone who will bring the PA, set it up and run it for $150/gig. I know the guy as we used him once in another band a few years ago. I wasn't too impressed by him. I also mentioned that we get $400 for a Legion gig, If we give him $150, it leaves us with $250 between the 5 of us. Is it worth our time and effort? I don't think so.

    So I'm hoping the keyboard players amp is fixed. If not, I'm gonna bring my Peavey Studio Pro and have him use it as a monitor. Gonna sound like crap and he may complain but it will force him to either repair his amp or buy a new one

    Thank you all for your suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.