Originally Posted by Mike M.
Good timing on this. I play at church and have been playing thru my amp (GK MB115) going direct. They want to eliminate the floor monitors and have us use in ear monitors with our own "mixing stations" and have the bass guitar going directly into a direct box, eliminating the amp.
I know they're going to supply something but I don't know what. I'm wondering if I should buy my own direct box or something that will give me some tonal control. Offhand I was thinking about a Tech21 VT bass pedal, but I don't have any experience with these things because I've always played thru an amp.
I also play in a 1,000 seat auditorium at church every week, and have used the IEM/AVIOM setup for about 3 years now. Before that I had a floor wedge (I have literally never used an amp in our sanctuary, it's never been needed, always gone direct, so my experience is totally biased towards an amp-free lifestyle... Sorta. But more on that later...).
IMO there are pros and cons to each:
Wedge: truer sound, more "real" feel, louder in the low end, but no control over it unless you bug your sound man (who are always so eager to attend to your personal mixing needs), and no freedom of motion lest you get too far away from your wedge and can no longer hear...
IEM/AVIOM: complete creative control over personal mixing needs, total freedom of motion (as long as you have wireless), but you definitely miss the "real feel" and truer low end sound of an actual speaker.
All that being said, I have a love/hate with my IEMs. I don't spend huge $ on stuff like earbuds, mine are a pretty simple $250 pair of Sure (don't know which model) and my wireless is prob the worst one that $ can buy (the wireless transmitter for my AVIOM, that is) so I don't get "good" tone in my IEMs at all. But I don't know how id live without that little AVIOM mixer in my life anymore, I tweak it EVERY SOUNDCHECK. Don't get me wrong, I make it a point to never try to turn around and tweak it mid-set, but I constantly tweak it in soundchecks or rehearsals. It's beyond wonderful to have your own mix and have complete control over said mix.
About the DIs:
Now, I never use an amp at church (though I always do for regular gigs outside of church) but I would never advocate just walking in with your bass and a cable and plugging in dry to whatever DI box they threw at the bass station (especially if you play jbasses and pbasses like I do and don't have any onboard eq to give em a nice signal to work with) so I have worked up a little way to "amp" my signal without using an amp...
The last two things on my pedalboard are a BBE Sonic Stomp sonic maximizer pedal, and a Radial J48 DI box. I use passive basses and a (fairly) sizable chain of effects, so I use the BBE as a last line of defense, it regathers any lost signal goodness and reinstates it before sending my signal to the board. But right after that it goes through the Radial, which has 48 FREAKING VOLTS OF PHANTOM POWER to give my signal that "oomph" I'd look for from an amped signal, but without something like one of those preamp/active eq/direct box thingys (I don't WANT an active eq sound!) the radial does a phenomenal job of not coloring my tone but kicking it up.
I feel that the combination of the BBE and the Radial is instrumental in delivering my signal through hundreds of feet of cable through the stage, below the floor, to the Mac, to the board, and back through hundreds of feet of cable to the p.a. speakers without having an actual "amp" in my signal (the sound man does not use amp modeling either).
When it comes to living an amp-free lifestyle, I still feel that delivering your sound man the best possible signal is your responsibility, and should be part of your passion.
Or they could just get me two SVT 8x10s on the pulpit and they'd never have to worry about my signal again...