I'm new here and also new to playing bass. Still very much a beginner, but I've got some GAS! :D
I bought more of a budget bass (Squier CV Jazz Bass) for fairly cheap second hand. I was hoping to spend a bit more on amplification. However, I just remembered my parents have a few PA monitors that are sitting in their garage that they have no use for and don't mind me taking. Would these work well? Do I need to buy something like a DI? Or should I buy something bass specific?
1 JBL PRX512M
2 JBL EON 510
I expected to spend about $1500 getting into this new hobby. So far, I've spent $150 on the bass itself. Saving money is always good, but new gear is always great motivation!
If you have a mixer it could work as a practice setup. If not check in to getting something like a mackie 402 to run your bass into the powered speakers than you'd also have a great setup for headphone practice and it's super easy to plug your iPod in to practice with music. You don't need a DI with the mackie it has inputs for guitar/bass.
The prx's might hold you for a while. I use the next generation up, 612 as monitors and have run them pretty hot with keys , bass and kick coming back along with the vocals. They handled it well on a large stage. It wouldn't be a rig I would count on for long but it would be workable for a while.
The PRX will probably sound best, or hook them together and run all 3. Use the mic setting on the input. You'll probably need a preamp like a tonehammer or BDDI with a passive bass. My active PJ sounds very nice straight into a QSC K10 but my passive J, not so much.
Generally and I say generally nothing is going to sound like a bass amp & cab. You don't want to adjust your technique to the gear especially as a new bassist. The punch with the wide frequency response of a bass is not the kind of signal PA cabs like to see. So while they may do, they won't be ideal for long or practice with mates or live work.
Interestingly, I usually go straight to the board in my acoustic trio, and our mains are PRX612Ms. We previously used PRX512Ms which we now use as monitors. They work fine for us at moderate volumes, but lack some bottom end. They will actually sound pretty good for you as long as you don't get rambunctious on the volume and bass boost. You can enhance the sound a bit with a stompbox preamp like a SansAmp ParaDriver DI or even one of the Aphex aural exciter pedals.
If you are going to do larger venues or outdoors, then a real bass rig is going to suit you better but, for now, I think a PRX512M would work OK for you.
Getcha a decent full featured channel strip style preamp* - daisy chain a line level out through a decent self-powered sub and into that PRX and you'd have a hell of a nice mini-PA / bass rig.
*big bang for buck is an ART Pro channel II
They could work and get you going on the cheap, but you will at least need an inexpensive DI box. Reason being there is an inout mismatch there between the passive pickup in your bass and what the mixer wants to see. That will suck all the upper frequencies off your tone and make it sound like you have your tone knob turned all the way down all the time, no matter how you set the tone knob on the bass.
If these are just powered speakers that do not have a little mixer built in the back, then you will need the DI and a small mixer, or a real preamp.
In short, the speakers will work, but you need a little bit of gear in front of them to make them work properly with your bass.
Just a variation on what everyone said...
You will need to pick an amp that fits your "playing" situation. At this point you don't have a playing situation you have a practice situation. The powered PA, 10 or 12 will carry you just fine while you are learning your instrument. Use a good DI and you will get reasonably good tone. You don't seem to be broke so "my" suggestion is the Tech21 VT Bass pedal. When I started I played through a guitar amp at low volume. Until you have your scales, fretboard and timing down your "Tone" is moot.
Once you can play a bit and collect some jam buddies the answer to the "what amp to get" will be much clearer. As as beginner, if you do buy an amp, buying used would make sense because you will probably sell it and pick something different.
Just on a side note. A friend of mine is the singer/bandleader in a stupidly loud Industrial-Punk-Metal band. The bass player DI's directly into the PA. In this case the PA is a top of the line high watt system but the bass is definitely not lacking punch!
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