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Old 06-06-2009, 06:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hooking electric piano up to PA at gigs??

I need help.

I know nothing about sound engineering or technical stuff and I need advice on how to hook up an electric piano to a PA system at a gig. I don't know the right terms for things so hopefully you will know what I'm talking about.

I have a full length Casio electric piano but it has no special output or input plugs. The only thing it has is a headphone input. Could you use this to hook it up to PA? Or will it not work?

Hopefully someone will know what I'm talking about, raaaaaaaaaa. Kthanks.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You either want a direct input box (D.I.). Which allows the signal from your piano to be run into through the PA mixing console (keyboard output > 1/4" cable > D.I. box > XLR cable > PA mixing console input) or you want to invest in a keyboard amp and have the amp cabinet mic'ed with either your own microphone or the sound engineer's and run through the console in that manner.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You won't need a DI box if you have 1/4" line inputs on the PA mixer. (I'm pretty sure you do)

The output from your keyboard's headphone jack is line level, so simply acquire a stereo audio cable like this:
and a 1/4" adapter like this:


and plug your keyboard's headphone out into a channel's line input on the PA mixer.
The amp driving the PA mixer will make sure your audio signal is properly amplified along with whatever else you have plugged in.

Adjust the tone shaping controls on your channel to taste.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If its simply a PA mixer the 1/4 inch will do.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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For a straight forward PA mixer this will work, however in my experience which is extensive I've never used 1/4 inch inputs to run directly into an outboard mixing console. The DI is necessary to convert the signal to line level.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veridical Fiction View Post
You won't need a DI box if you have 1/4" line inputs on the PA mixer. (I'm pretty sure you do)

The output from your keyboard's headphone jack is line level, so simply acquire a stereo audio cable like this:
and a 1/4" adapter like this:


and plug your keyboard's headphone out into a channel's line input on the PA mixer.
The amp driving the PA mixer will make sure your audio signal is properly amplified along with whatever else you have plugged in.

Adjust the tone shaping controls on your channel to taste.
I am so confused! So plug the adapter into the headphone output and then plug the stereo audio cable into that? Haha I'm sorry, all these technical terms are befuddling me

Thanks heaps SATCHMO and Veridical.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If your keyboard just has the 1/8 in. output (stereo mini AKA headphone out) then it's time to step your game up. Until then, use an 1/8in male->1/4 female adapter and use a 1/4in TRS male->XLR female cable to go to the PA.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Haha.. We're confusing him, guys.

Ok, Shiseido...
The first picture I put up is called an audio cable. It has 1/8th inch connectors on both ends. 1/8th inch refers to the diameter of the plug itself. You have two common sizes (not counting RCA) for line-level jacks: 1/8th inch and 1/4inch. 1/8th inch jacks are common for headphone jacks on consumer level equipment. What this means is, the small hole on your MP3 player is the same type of hole you probably have on your keyboard. If you take the plug on your headphones and plug it into the keyboard headphone jack, you have just confirmed this is 1/8 of an inch.
That tells you that you need an audio cable where one end is 1/8th of an inch.
You should also know that it will need to be a stereo cable, not a mono cable.
Thus, we arrive at: 1/8" stereo audio cable.
The only thing you need to determine is how long that cable should be.

Now, for the other end. You could do one of two things: Buy a cable which has a 1/8" plug on one side and a 1/4" plug on the other.. or a straight 1/8" to 1/8" male/male cable and use a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter.
You still with me?

The reason it needs to eventually end up at 1/4" is because common line-level inputs on any piece of audio equipment excluding crappy computer sound cards is going to be 1/4" in diameter. (The line-level input we're talking about here is your PA mixer's line-input for whatever channel you're plugging into)
So if you look at these facts, you should be able to deduce that you need a cable that, in whichever way you choose, has a 1/8" male connector on one side and a 1/4" male connector on the other.

The 1/8" side (the skinny one) is going to plug into the headphone jack in your keyboard. (If the skinny one is too small to fit correctly, you know you need a 1/4" to 1/4" cable)
The other end of the cable, the 1/4" side, is going to plug into the hole that says "line-in" on any particular channel on the PA mixer.

Once you've accomplished that, you're technically done. I'm guessing you don't have any experience gain-staging or EQing, so we'll just stop here.




OK. Now, SATCHMO:
I just turned my head and stared at my Mackie 1604 VLZ pro and smiled at the fact I know there's 1/4" line input jacks behind it. I also smiled at the fact that I have used and researched A LOT of standard mixers and I have NEVER seen a board that features ONLY XLR inputs for the channels. Maybe I haven't looked back far enough, I don't know. But I do know that 1/4" TRS jacks are a standard input on any decent mixing board and have been for ages.
I'm actually interested in what type of mixing boards you have experience with.

Also, yea I may have assumed that the OP is using a built-in mixer in his PA setup, but that's usually the standard now days for affordable all-in-one units, so I went with it. If I'm wrong, he should clarify.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Also, I want to see examples (from either of you two) of any type of mixer or PA/mixer equipment (besides strictly a vocal PA) that does not feature a 1/4" TRS line-in input on each channel.
That's got me freaking bothered.
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veridical Fiction View Post

OK. Now, SATCHMO:
I just turned my head and stared at my Mackie 1604 VLZ pro and smiled at the fact I know there's 1/4" line input jacks behind it. I also smiled at the fact that I have used and researched A LOT of standard mixers and I have NEVER seen a board that features ONLY XLR inputs for the channels. Maybe I haven't looked back far enough, I don't know. But I do know that 1/4" TRS jacks are a standard input on any decent mixing board and have been for ages.
I'm actually interested in what type of mixing boards you have experience with.

Also, yea I may have assumed that the OP is using a built-in mixer in his PA setup, but that's usually the standard now days for affordable all-in-one units, so I went with it. If I'm wrong, he should clarify.
Ok ok, I'm used to always using an auxillary input snake which is exclusively XLR. For front of the house I have always used a Soundcraft Spirit 40 ch mixing counsel. For monitors it has run the gambit from A mackie 8 ch to a soundcraft II 24 ch. automated.
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