Good Keys amp for say $500

aquadog

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My friend needs an amp for his keyboard. He's not going to be playing to loud, so I don't think 200 watts or something like that is going to be necessary. Most likely, the loudest he'll be playing is at small gig levels. Both him and I are ignorant on this subject, so inform us.

He'd like to stay at or under $500 if possible. Used is fine.
 

MuseCafeChris

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drbob1

Silver Supporting Member
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There's a few considerations:
1. How important is weight? The single box amps tend to be quite heavy, especially things like the PV KB100/200 models. OTOH, if it's only going to be rolled around one room, not a problem.

2. How much are you going to beat on it? If it's going to be a lot, get something fairly durable and easy to fix like the PV, otherwise Behringer would be OK probably.

3. Money! The lighter, more durable, better sound etc, the more it costs! A used KB100 shouldn't be more than $300, and new motion sound with all the bells and whistles, $1500.

Another option to consider is a SS power amp and a 15/horn PA speaker-often you can land nice setups for less than $500 and it would give you more flexibility since you could run bass and vocals thru it too.
 

cameron

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An old Music Man combo is a good option.

Those are seriously solidly built workhorses. And can be had for quite reasonable prices.
 

aquadog

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Thanks for the suggestions so far. I've talked to my friend, and essentially he doesn't need a really high fidelity setup- just something that sounds good and isnt going to crap out on him. Most likely, its going to be sitting in one room, so weight isnt too much of a problem.

Are there any particular peavy models he should be looking at (I'm assuming the kb3 and 4 would be the best choices)?

How much better is the motion sound going to be than a peavy?
 

vbjamin

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I,ve played with a keyboardist that used Roland JC-77 AND JC-120, depending on room size. He allways had a GREAT SOUND with Korg B3 clone, synth, electric piano, organ etc. These amps last forever and can be had cheaply.
 

John Phillips

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Actually the last band I played in with a keyboard player, he used a Traynor MkIII 2x12" combo. I modded it slightly so the MV only worked on the tremolo channel, so he could play his Yamaha digital piano through the normal channel and his Roland VK-1 drawbar organ through the tremolo channel with overdrive (and trem). Sounded absolutely great, if not exactly hi-fi. And really loud of course... and he would not turn down! Then once at a gig it blew a tube, so I pulled it and the opposite one from the pair, replaced the fuse and told him I'd fixed it ;)... but not that it was running at half power. The rest of the band thought this was a great improvement. The funny thing is that it was about six months before he noticed...
 

Den

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You should really check out the Yorkville NX250P ... this is a powered PA speaker that has awesome fidelity, is lightweight, has a small mixer built-in and simply sounds great. I use two of the NX550P's for my PA and they rock. For a small acoustic guitar gig, I can run an A/E guitar and mic through the Yorkville and it sounds great. My wife's Yamaha S80 keyboard sounds amazing through them as well.

I've never heard a dedicated keyboard amp that sounded better to my ears ... and these can also be used as FOH speakers for smaller gigs, or as monitors with a larger PA rig ... lots of versatility.
 

fatback

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The ads for that new little Crate Powerblock head say it can be used with keyboards. Pair it up with an Avatar 1x15 with a horn and you should have a decent, portable keyboard rig for under $500.

...or buy a used Peavey keyboard combo and save $100-$200.
 

hasserl

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Power amp: 100 watts at 8ohms THD less than 1% at 50% power
• Speaker components: heavy duty 400 watt 15" speaker with horn tweeter & rear L-pad
• Tuned bass reflex enclosure response: 48 Hz to 16k Hz.
• Channel 1: Stereo 1/4" inputs and RCA inputs for stereo/mono keyboard and CD player: Volume and Balance controls & +12 DB input gain switch
• Channel 2: Stereo 1/4" inputs for stereo/mono keyboard: Volume and Balance controls & +12 DB input gain switch
• Channel 3: Mono 1/4" input for Keyboard & instr.: Volume and Tone controls & Inst. Level and Mid scoop switches
• Channel 3 with XLR & 1/4" inputs for Mic , instr or Keyboard with Bass, Mid, Treble & Volume controls
• Effects Loop (send/master out & receive jacks)
• Master Level control
• Separate Line out master control and rear panel mono Bal/right unBal 1/4" jack and left 1/4" jack
• Separate Headphone level control and front panel 1/4" jack
• Master 5 Band Graphic EQ @ 100, 250, 800, 4k & 8k Hz
• 2 Speaker output 1/4" jacks
• Covered in black DuraTuff II™
• Enclosure Freq. Resp. 42Hz - 16kHz
• 17.5”W x 22.7”H x 12”D
• Wt: 54lbs.




What more could you want?
 

aquadog

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1,280
The traynor would be cool, but I honestly think he's not going to want to have to change tubes.

I completely forgot about carvin- a very viable option.

Alright, so I'm narrowing it down for him now from the results in this thread so far. It's going to be between the Carvin KB100 and the Peavy KB4.

The Carvin is $350 with these specs:

Power amp: 100 watts at 8ohms THD less than 1% at 50% power
• Speaker components: heavy duty 400 watt 15" speaker with horn tweeter & rear L-pad
• Tuned bass reflex enclosure response: 48 Hz to 16k Hz.
• Channel 1: Stereo 1/4" inputs and RCA inputs for stereo/mono keyboard and CD player: Volume and Balance controls & +12 DB input gain switch
• Channel 2: Stereo 1/4" inputs for stereo/mono keyboard: Volume and Balance controls & +12 DB input gain switch
• Channel 3: Mono 1/4" input for Keyboard & instr.: Volume and Tone controls & Inst. Level and Mid scoop switches
• Channel 3 with XLR & 1/4" inputs for Mic , instr or Keyboard with Bass, Mid, Treble & Volume controls
• Effects Loop (send/master out & receive jacks)
• Master Level control
• Separate Line out master control and rear panel mono Bal/right unBal 1/4" jack and left 1/4" jack
• Separate Headphone level control and front panel 1/4" jack
• Master 5 Band Graphic EQ @ 100, 250, 800, 4k & 8k Hz
• 2 Speaker output 1/4" jacks
• Covered in black DuraTuff II™
• Enclosure Freq. Resp. 42Hz - 16kHz
• 17.5”W x 22.7”H x 12”D
• Wt: 54lbs.


The Peavy is $400 with these specs:

* 15" speaker and tweeter
* 75W/100W with external speaker
* Stereo mixer with 2-band EQ and main effects send/return
* Mic/Line channel with 3-band EQ and effects send/return
* Monitor input with level control and assign
* Headphone out with level control
* Built-in casters and handle for easy moving


Well, the carvin has more detailed specs, but heres the main concern: the Peavy is a well known, popular keyboard amp that already has a good reputiation.
Carvin generally has high quality stuff for good prices, but has anyone actually played one?
 

carltonh

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1,546
The best keyboard sound I ever heard was this opening back for Chris Whitley named Johnny Society. The guitarist/singer also played a vintage Rhodes electric piano into his guitar amp, which looked like a vintage BF Fender Vibrolux. (He also played a LP through this, and his guitar tone was likewise one of the best I've ever heard.)

The tone was just so unbelievable, a really raunchy electric keyboard that could be clean or distorted by how he played, mostly on the edge, it made me want to give up guitar and get a Rhodes. I have no idea if modern digital keydoards into a great tube guitar amp will sound as good.

So try plugging a good keyboard into a great guitar tube amp first. Sure, it may not be best for clean, true acoustic piano sounds, but with the right keyboard and tube amp, variety of tone patches could be something that you laugh, because it would only be needed by those who haven't discovered this tone.
 

drbob1

Silver Supporting Member
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I'd go with the Peavey. Carving gear is great, but they really want it fixed in California while it's under warranty. PV lets just about anybody fix their stuff, and it is pretty strong in general. I'd seriously get a used KB200-the extra 50w gives you a bit more clean headroom and they rarely run more than $300 in mint shape. They are a few years old now, but again, pretty well built.
 
A

Alan Tomlinson

Carltonh wrote: "The best keyboard sound I ever heard was this opening back for Chris Whitley named Johnny Society. The guitarist/singer also played a vintage Rhodes electric piano into his guitar amp, which looked like a vintage BF Fender Vibrolux. (He also played a LP through this, and his guitar tone was likewise one of the best I've ever heard.)

The tone was just so unbelievable, a really raunchy electric keyboard that could be clean or distorted by how he played, mostly on the edge, it made me want to give up guitar and get a Rhodes. I have no idea if modern digital keydoards into a great tube guitar amp will sound as good."

A Rhodes (and a Wurlitzer) are very unusual keyboards in that they actually use magnetic pickups very much like guitars and produce their sound with mechanical vibration and not electronically. Because of this, and the relative simplicity of the harmonics that they produce relative to most oscillator and sampler based keyboards, they can and often do sound quite sexy through a tube amp that is breaking up a bit. This is for the most part not the case with many if not most of the sounds that one generally hears coming out of modern keyboards (modern being designed after, say, 1968). A Hammond is another exception and once again it is a mechanical device rather than an electronic one in terms of how it actually creates sound.

Clean, really clean, is for the most part what a keyboard player would want from an amplifier. Full range reproduction is a good thing for a keyboard player as many modern samplers and synths produce a great many harmonics that sound best when they are accurately reproduced.

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson
 

Jack Walker

Silver Supporting Member
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857
Originally posted by John Phillips
Peavey do some good ones. Typical Peavey solid-state quality - ie extremely reliable, good-sounding if not "inspirational", and won't crap out soundwise if pushed hard. I think their SS gear is very hard to beat for PA, bass or keyboards - at semi-pro level, anyway.

My bass player has a little KB60 (they don't do it any more, it's about 20 years old) that has seen duty as a small bass amp, acoustic guitar amp, drum machine amp, powered monitor - and even once or twice as a keyboard amp! It's getting quite tatty on the outside now, but it's never caused any trouble, and I don't think I've even looked inside it.
If you can find a Peavey KB300 on Ebay, jump on it. It will cost about $300. These amps sound great and go forever.
 

aquadog

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1,280
While those peavy's are good suggestions, it think 200 watts and up are going to be overkill for a person whos going to be using the amp mainly to practice, with the occasional (potential) small gig.
Am I correct in saying the around 75-100 watts will suffice?
 

Den

Member
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1,870
Originally posted by Alan Tomlinson
... Clean, really clean, is for the most part what a keyboard player would want from an amplifier. Full range reproduction is a good thing for a keyboard player as many modern samplers and synths produce a great many harmonics that sound best when they are accurately reproduced. ...
Agreed ... which is why a quality powered PA speaker works so well as a keyboard amp.
 




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