Originally Posted by Mike M.
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'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've been using a system like this in church (1000+ seats) and for several years now and love it. We use AVIOM mixers so each musician has his own preset mix which he can tweak, save and recall next time. That's huge given that we rotate 6 different bassists, each with his/her own mix. I've listened to some of the others' mixes and it's amazing how different theirs can be from mine.
Free advice - DO NOT use ear buds that are designed for music players. Get the best in-ear monitors you can afford. It will make a HUGE difference. I switched from Shure E2s to Shure SE215s recently and love them. They're the best monitors a C-note can buy in my (admittedly limited) experience. Of course some of the guys have $500+ custom molded monitors that are even better. Check out www.earphonesolutions.com
. That's where I've gotten mine.
As far as an "amp-free" direct signal for the bass, we've never had amps on stage (except for guitar amps which run lines to speaker cabs in isolation rooms offstage) so I've gotten used to it. Between good in-ears and the subs in the house mix I can get a pretty good "feel" for what's coming through the FOH. Not as good as standing in directly in front of 500 watts of whoomph but more than you might think.
First of all, don't immediately discount the idea of running your bass straight through a basic DI into the house without a preamp. That is what most of the other bassists at my church do. Depending on your bass, the EQ options and how you play, you may want to consider the ease and simplicity of just plugging into the DI and hitting the ground running.
As for actual pre-amps, I don't use any distortion so I've stuck with pre's that are more about EQ and/or character. I've tried several including the Eden WTDI, a Sansamp BDDI and the MarkBass Super Booster.
I didn't really like the Eden too much. The tone just didn't do it for me. It was a little darker than I prefer even after a quite a bit of tweaking. One of the other guys swears by his so...
I do like the Sansamp. It's relatively transparent but adds punch and a distinct tone that I like. It was my primary for almost 2 years. I keep it in my bag as a backup now.
The MarkBass Super Booster is clearly the best pre for my tone. The sound guys love it and comment on how much clarity and punch I get. I almost never use the boost function, my G&L L5500 already has more output than I need. I do however love the two iconic controls to tweak my tone. The VPF basically "scoops" the signal while the VLE emulates vintage speakers and rolls off the top end. With a little tweaking of these two I get a nice, thumpy tone that is tight and articulate without being too edgy. When I switch from fingers to pick I just work the treble on the guitar's onboard EQ to keep the tone where I want it - brighter and more articular for upbeat praise, darker and deeper for worship. Easy peasy.