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bass send to mixing board

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by ganttbos, Dec 31, 2001.


  1. ganttbos

    ganttbos The Professor Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2001
    Location:
    New Orleans area
    I get so caught up in stage rig details I often forget about the quality of the signal send to the mixing board. I'm usually using an Aguilar DB 659 pre which has a Jensen transformer signal-out circuit but sometimes I use my WT400 or a Carvin preamp (like the R600 but without the amp guts). Depending on the venue the mains are often carrying the bass sound for the most part and my stage rig is a monitor. I play (mostly) an MTD 535 with the bass EQ pretty flat and EQ my stage pre to get what I want on stage (running a preEQ signal to the board at the soundman's request). I'd like some input about what those of you who routinely have PA reinforcement think about sending a signal to the board. Most serious pro sound companies seem to prefer a good direct box (which they supply)???
     
  2. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2000
    Location:
    West Fargo, ND
    When running through my band's PA, I used to use a SansAmp Bass Driver DI to run my signal to the board. Since I got my SVT4Pro head, I have been using the direct out on that. It gives me a much better sound out front than the Sansamp did. (that is what the soundguy says, and what my ears tell me, anyway;) )

    When running through someone else's PA, I usually try to use the direct out on my bass head, but occasionally, if the soundguy for the night requests it, I will run through their direct box, provided it is a decent one. And a couple of guys have insisted on miking my cab, which has also worked fine. But I personally prefer to go directly out of the head, into the snake, and out to the board. Seems to get me the best sound.

    Oh yeah, almost forgot. My amp is always an onstage monitor, I am always run through the PA.
     
  3. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2001
    Location:
    Davenport Iowa
    I use a Sans Amp Bass Driver now because I like the tone of it better than my heads(Carvin R1000)so it's also my preamp.Before I had the Sans Amp I used a Countryman DI.I'm sure you've heard of these,the're a standard of the sound reinforcement/recording scene.It always got the sound of whatever I used it for.It even works on the speaker outputs on older amp heads that don't have line outs! It never colored the sound going to the mains that I could tell.Sounds like you have some great preamps already,are you looking for alternatives?
     
  4. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2001
    Location:
    Davenport Iowa
    One thing I failed to mention was that I got the Countryman DI because I didn't want to be at the sound companys mercy as far as DIs go.Not all sound companys supply you with good quality DIs.
     
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  6. ganttbos

    ganttbos The Professor Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2001
    Location:
    New Orleans area
    I'm happy with the sound of my preamps. The Aguilar is the most transparent and its tone shaping capabilities are the most subtle. I like the Carvin pre beacuse the graphic EQ allows more flexibility when a bad room calls for cutting a problem frequency. The Eden pres are most responsive of all in that a little tweaking goes a long way. I have found though that sending a flat signal from the bass to the mains works best. The flat sound of a good instrument is the sound of the instrument. That is, rather than use the bass tone controls to shape the stage cabinet sound, I use the preamp EQ to adjust the stage sound and let the soundman shape the flat signal for the sound out front. I just realized that I don't know much about the quality differences in the line out sends from various preamps. Look at the price range of direct boxes for example. Obviously they do more than just act as a high to low transformer for the instrument signal. The high end direct boxes are more "tranparent" and tube direct boxes impart a dramatically different tone to the bass. I imagine that one area in which cheaper preamps cut corners is in the quality of the direct out circuit. Can anyone comment on this, or on the technical differences between DI's?
     
  7. ganttbos

    ganttbos The Professor Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2001
    Location:
    New Orleans area
    Just spent the last 45 minutes reading past threads about DI's etc. Being a new TB participant I hadn't tuned in yet to how much info is out there already waiting to be found with a simple search. This is a great site! My apologies to all more experienced members who are no doubt bored by redundant threads.
     
  8. BigBohn

    BigBohn

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2001
    Location:
    WPB, Florida
    Wow, a discussion on DI and PAs. I just got an Eden Navigator, and as all of you may already know, its supposedly made to work as a decent DI, as well as a preamp. How would I go about doing this? The thing has a left, right, and recording D.I. out. What would I do? Thanks
     
  9. ganttbos

    ganttbos The Professor Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2001
    Location:
    New Orleans area
  10. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    Joined:
    May 24, 2001
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO USA
    Why use a DI box at all? Don't the preamps you are using have XLR outs on them? I know you mentioned that you wanted to go straight from the bass, but most nice stuff I see these days even has an XLR with a pre/post EQ switch. Pre EQ is pretty much straight DI.

    Chas
     
  11. ZoomBoy

    ZoomBoy

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2000
    Location:
    Sutton, Massachusetts
    It's true that a pre-EQ xlr out of your head is about the same as a DI box but if you use your effects loop it usually is post EQ (please correct me if I'm wrong). I run my bass into my pedal-board into a Sansamp BDDI then I go into my amp. The soundman takes my signal before my rig. I find that this way I can give a good clean signal (including my effects) to the FOH and I can adjust my amp independently for the stage mix. If I didn't use effects about the only thing that would go between my bass and the DI to the house is a tuner.
     
  12. ganttbos

    ganttbos The Professor Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2001
    Location:
    New Orleans area
    Hi Chas,
    You're right of course. BigBohn's question was more about what DI's do - hence the link suggested. But yeah, particularly with the Aguilar preamp there's an excellent onboard DI. I was thinking about your ordinary run-of-the-mill XLR-out on less expensive preamps. Surely some corners are cut here. I routinely use the XLR-out on the Aguilar and get a good sound. And even the Ag must take a back seat to something like an Avalon U5. Maybe Spacegoat or someone else knowledgeable about this could comment. Again there are lots of past threads on this topic too.
     
  13. WAKOJACO

    WAKOJACO Guest

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2000
    Location:
    Binghamton, NY
    It's not uncommon to send a DI signal along with a miked cabinet. The real good sound guys will take everything they can get...It gives them more to "play" with. They should ideally get at least a DI signal so that they can adjust their level independently of your stage rig.
     
  14. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2000
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    i just run straight into the PA from the "DI out" of my preamp. but...it pretty much functions as a tube direct box - it's before my EQ or effects loop or tube stage, but my actual out is what i use for my power amp and stage rig.

    any idea if there are splitter boxes or something so i can use my actual out for both?



    jason
     
  15. BigBohn

    BigBohn

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2001
    Location:
    WPB, Florida
    Thank you ganttbos for the link. It looks very informative. It should be able to clear up all my questions about DI. Thanks again.
     
  16. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    Joined:
    May 24, 2001
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO USA
    You could use any passive DI box like a whirlwind or Rapco. Just plug the 1/4" out of the preamp into the DI. The DI has hi Z/low Z parrallel sends, so the XLR goes to the board and the 1/4" parrallel out goes to the next step in your rack chain.

    I have done this 100s of times. Nice this is you can put the DI anywhere in the signal path you want/need to.

    I always ran mine after the preamp, compressor and tuner so the house signal was compressed to my liking, and the tuner mute would kill the house signal as well. I put it in front of the graphic EQ because it was pretty much tweaking the cabs and I didn't want to screw up the house's EQ flexibility.

    Chas
     
  17. Matthias

    Matthias

    Joined:
    May 30, 2000
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    This is an interesting thread - I've always wondered about the usefulness of DI pre/post switches and FX-loops - though I don't use any effects I can see the following problem:

    If I want to use the FX-loop and run my signal to the house I would have to chose DI-post EQ, but than I also send my EQ-settings which I would not want to do (for the reason mentioned by Chas).
    And if I use DI-pre EQ the effects don't go to the house - makes no sense at all.

    A seperate DI-box in the FX-loop seems the best solution to me - or you use stomp boxes (or a seperate pre-amp) before the input of the head of cause.

    Matthias
     
  18. brianrost

    brianrost Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2000
    Location:
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Sound guys like using DI boxes for a few reasons:

    1. Bass is still in the mix if the amp fails.

    2. Most DIs attenuate the signal by 20 dB; many amp sends are much hotter (one amp I own has the pre EQ send is 3 dB hotter than the input!). Some boards can't handle that hot a signal at the XLR input.

    3. Some amps only have post-EQ outputs, so any time you change volume or EQ on stage the sound guy has to tweak in response.

    4. Not all amps have ground lifts for the output.

    5. If phantom power is in use for the mikes, some amps don't like this (SWR in particular warns against this).

    6. Some amps have noisy outputs.
     
  19. White_Knight

    White_Knight

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2000
    Location:
    USA
    Well, primarily my rig is carrying my entire sound, however when I do go through a PA, I use one of the direct outs on my amps. My Crate has a pre/post switch as well as a level control so that's the one I use the most. I actually, generally run post EQ so that I can get the sound I want out front from the start - then the soundman just adjusts to that (though I rarely if ever change any EQ settings mid-gig, so that's not a problem). Actually, I don't think I've ever used the direct out on my SWR.
     
  20. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    Joined:
    May 24, 2001
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO USA
    IF you have a decent preamp in your bass, you can use a passive DI to parrallel send just the bass signal to the house.

    Into the DI in, XLR out to the house, and 1/4" out to the amp's input. That gives you pretty much the bass plugged into the PA kind of sound.

    It really depends on how much of your tone the house carries. I run my amp so low if it died, no one would notice except those of us on stage. 95 percent of me comes out of the house. So, I want an effected signal going to the PA because that is the sound.

    I use the bass POD pro for this reason.

    Chas
     
  21. Mark Reccord

    Mark Reccord

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2000
    Location:
    Sunny St. John's, Newfoundland
    Interesting thread. Here's a soundguy's take. I generally don't like using the DI outputs on amplifiers. Basically for the reasons brianrost stated earlier. I'd like to add that most of the onboard DI's I've come across are pretty bad. Even when run pre EQ. They tend to be noisy and choked sounding (compared to a Countryman FET 85) I think a lot of companies put them on there as an afterthought and skimp on the parts. Yes, even SWR and Eden... One noticeable exception is the XLR out on the Aguilar stuff. What I like to do is to take one signal straight from the bass through a Countryman or JDI. This gives me a clean base (no pun intended:D) signal to start with. Then I like to take another signal from a mic on the cabinet (I like Sennheiser 421s, AKG D112s, and even the lowly SM57). I tend to like the sound of the latter better. There's just something about putting a mic on a speaker that direct signals can't reproduce. I'll generally mix the signals with precendence given to the one that sounds best. Or preference to the mic if the player's using effects. I think the mic is the most accurate way to reproduce what the player is hearing on stage, which is generally the sound that they want in the house. I compress both channels. This method works for me. I always get compliments from bass players on my bass sound in the PA. Perhaps part of that is that you can actually hear it, unlike a lot of mixes. A lot of sound people tend to ignore the bass or they don't know how to get it in the mix. That's OK as long as the kick is crushing your chest :rolleyes:

    If I'm going to take a line level amp signal I generally take a 1/4" preamp out into a good DI. I've just had way too many bad experiences with onboard DIs....

    As for DI's, the sansamp is a great little rig, I believe I'm going to add one to my kit. My favourite regular DIs are the Countryman, The Radial Engineering ones (JDI, JDV) and the old passive Urei ones. SCV and BSS make pretty nice DIs too. The Avalon U5 is absolutely amazing, but they're really expensive and not really convenient from a sound contractor's point of view. You have to plug them in and stuff. Great to put in your rig though....:D
     

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