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Old 1st March 2007, 02:15 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Indiana
Default Keyboard amplification - how much to build

I have recently bought a Yamaha YPT-400 keyboard which I intend to use for Nursing home ministry and other small venues but I need amplification. I will need the stereo line inputs for the keyboard, 1 mic and some eq.

My budget is basically as cheap as reasonably possible since I really can't afford any of this. I am having trouble deciding between many different approaches involving different levels of DIY and would like your help in deciding what direction to go.

What I have on hand:
1. Two older JBL home speakers (12"/5"/3") in which the woofers have already been replaced with Organ speakers. These are far from an ideal match to the cabinet but are servicable esp. with a little bit of eq. The 5"s have rotten surrounds and need to be replaced but I think that these DaytonPro 5" full range drivers should work fine. I would probably need to make my own crossover or modify the ones in the boxes right now. The tweeters might be skipped all together or the could be used as helpers. Worst case is add some peizo horns.

2. I have an old RS mic mixer that can handle one stereo source and two mics. It has no eq. but I could put an inexpensive graphic in line with it.

3. Lots of old organ parts out of which I could probably make a sustain pedal and an expression pedal.

4. A 10" dual cone 16ohm driver and 15" 8ohm driver both from a Wurlitzer Centurian organ. I could build a cabinet for these two but it would have to be rather large given their TS params but the low end should be very nice.

My initial idea:
At first I thought to use my mixer and a garage sale home amp or $100 to $150 PA like a Nady or GemSound along with the moded JBLs. This would be the cheapest way but a home amp for carting around isn't the best solution and the more I researched the more I was afraid of the cheap "pro" amps. I have seen a lot of negative comments about Nady, Behringer, GemSound, Alesis etc. WRT reliability and performance.

At the other extreme I could just buy something like this Carvin Keyboard Amplifier which is on sale for $300. This is not a whole lot more than I would probably spend doing my own setup but it would be somewhat more. Behringer and Alesis also make similar devices in that price range. Brands like Roland start to cost quite a bit more.

The Carvin is pretty complete but I don't quite understand why the lowest band on the eq. is at 100Hz. That seems awfully high to me. My other concern is that although the electronics look to be adequate the cabinet itself is only claiming 57Hz low end. Given that even a bass guitar gets down to 41Hz it seems that some eq below 60Hz may be needed. Of course I could add a sub later as funds allow (good use for that 15"er that I have).

In between are the options of getting a better pro power amp and seperate eq. or something like this Powered Mixer which has the advantage of added flexibility and channel eq. with a low range of 85Hz, which is a little bit better, and then rolling my own speakers. I don't think this will save any money though as it is only $60 less than the keyboard amp.

Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.

mike
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