Before 2013, I had minimal touring experience and zero idea on keyboard amps VS PA’s. I quickly realized that once you hit a certain level, you will pretty much exclusively be using a D.I. box and running your keyboards through the PA.
While amps can still be used in certain situations such a pop-up shows or coffee house gigs for acoustic events, you will come to love the power of the PA.
One of the nice advantages to not using a keyboard amp is the fact that you don’t have to set it up night after night and find additional power for it.
Playing live gigs is all about coming up with a quick and effective set up that can be replicated each night. What this does is shows the other bands you’re playing with that you’re prepared.
It is my opinion that yes, you should definitely use a D.I. box for your keyboards when playing shows. Even if you don’t have your own sound engineer, venues will provide you with someone to help you get set up and dialed in.
This will allow for someone to dial your keyboards in during the set, rather than you trying to guess and control your own volume from your amp.
Passive VS Active
Now that you know you need to use a D.I. box, you will likely see passive VS active. The easiest way this was ever explained to me from sound engineers was that “if your source requires power, such as a keyboard, then you use passive.”
If you’re using an old school instrument such as a Fender Rhodes, then you could use an active box. The purpose is to reduce the gain stages in the signal path, which will ultimately reduce noise.