Ed Roth


"QSC powered speakers let me go from 1 to 13, warmly and smoothly. They give me the headroom I need as a keyboard player to play musically with dynamics. (By the way, 13 is two more than 11). The hardest keyboard sound for a speaker to reproduce is an acoustic piano sound. A lot of speakers will sound tinny and harsh, or crap out when you really need the extra volume, but the K Series keep the piano patches rich sounding with the power I need to both hear and feel. It is nice to see some companies committing to make great quality music equipment in this day and age of the bottom line." 

-Ed Roth


QSC:Tell me what you’re doing right now/ (touring, studio performance, producing, etc.)

Ed: My first priority right now is my solo career. After many years playing behind other artists, or as part of a band, it's time for me step out front, and really drive the train. I am really enjoying the freedom of leading a trio, and being able to step outside of songs while improvising. Nothing feels as good as playing things differently every night.

I am quite excited about my debut self-titled album (official release date is 10/16/12). The first single from it, "Summertime," got quite a bit of airplay, spending 8 weeks in the Smooth Jazz Billboard Top 40, with my second single, "Biggest Part Of Me," just going to radio. With the help and encouragement of the record company, Warrior Records, I really set out to make a strong, musical record and I am proud of the recordings. With the help of a lot of great musician friends (too many to list here) playing on it for me and two top engineers (Ryan Hewitt and Joel Numa) who recorded and mixed it for me, I feel like we made something that will still sound great in 10 years. We picked out some interesting and unusual covers to add to my original songs on the album. In the old school tradition of rearranging covers, I really tried to flip these classic tunes with reharmonizations and new grooves.

I do still enjoy playing on other projects. I am a member of the funky instrumental group the Bombastic Meatbats, featuring drummer Chad Smith (who is playing drums on most of my solo record) and CTA featuring Danny Seraphine on drums. I do a bit of touring with both groups. The Meatbats have a new live album out now, and CTA has one which should be released early next year. I am a writer in both of these groups. As a session player, I got to play on some great records this year, including those by the Avett Brothers, Sophie B Hawkins, Maia Sharp, and Nathan Maxwell (of Flogging Molly). Sophie B Hawkins is back touring in support of her new record and I have been doing some appearances with her, both at concerts and on television.

It's a new world, as far as recording is concerned these days. I almost always do sessions at my home studio, sending files back and forth to the producer, engineer, or right to the artist. Thankfully, people still want the old school sounds that I provide, with real hammond B3 organ, Fender rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos, and I still play a good old fashioned acoustic grand piano on recordings as well.

QSC: How/when did you first hear about the K Family products?

Ed: I ran into my old friend Gerry Tschetter at the NAMM show a few years back. Gerry said he had some speakers he wanted me to check out. The musicality of the speakers knocked me out right away.

QSC: What influenced your decision to make the switch to K Family?

Ed: First, the speakers are warm and smooth, very musical to play through, yet they are able to cut through a mix. It's great to be heard without the usual harshness of most powered speakers.

Second, as a keyboard player, you need headroom and power to be able to play with dynamics. You have to have that power to play tastefully, whether you are playing piano or rhodes under a vocalist, or soloing on a fusion gig.

A lot of concert venues are using K series for stage monitors these days from Iridium in NYC to the Canyon Club in L.A. It's great to have a consistency to your sound even when you are traveling. I ask for K series for backline, and often find them already there as house stage monitors.

QSC: What makes your (K Family product) different or unique from what you’ve used before?

Ed: Power and headroom without the harshness. And when I'm doing a little jazz or fusion gig and have to set up my own rig, it's great to have the K's. They are light and compact, with a simple setup.

My three favorite places to play around Los Angeles are a couple small venues; the Baked Potato, Lucy's 51 and RA Pour. Sometimes I will play those local spots with some very hard hitting drummers such as Chad Smith, Kenny Aronoff, and Steve Stephens. With a pair of K 12's, I have the power I need to get over those guys and the rest of the band when I am soloing.

QSC:Does the (K Family product) affect how you play?

Ed: I'm one of those players who plays totally by feel, and my sound 100 % determines the way I play. When my stage sound is that of a hybrid horse, an a**, my playing suffers. When my sound is great, I feel it, and I play much better. I know if I have a pair of K10's or K12's, I am going to be inspired by my sound.

QSC: Using K Family loudspeakers is a much different approach to amplification than traditional musical instrument amplifiers. For the musician out there who hasn’t considered trying K Family for fear that it’s maybe too “outside the box”, given your experience, what would you tell them?

Ed: As a keyboard player, you need to have warm, rich tone with headroom, but you also need to feel connected to your sound through your speakers. I play a lot of piano and rhodes, and picked the Roland RD 700 as my main keyboard not only for the way it sounds with those instruments, but because it feels like I am connected to those instruments. Your speakers are as big a part of your sound and they also must do that in order for you to play musically - K series achieves that for me.

I am a geek about my tone and am always striving for that organic tone that old school amps provide. The problem is that instrument amps only sound good with a few sounds and almost never with the hardest sound to reproduce, acoustic piano. I choose the warm, but the clear tone of the K series that I need for my piano sounds. K series also does great with all the pedals I use, from custom Dunlop wahs, a tube overdrive from Seymour Duncan, to echos and verbs from Line 6. So, in the end I still have that rich organic tone that I love, without sacrificing headroom and clarity when I am playing acoustic piano sounds.