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Is it okay to play my bass through my PA?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by SpaceBass, Feb 8, 2005.


  1. SpaceBass

    SpaceBass

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    My amp isn't loud enough to compete with a drumkit and band at rehearsal, can i mic my amp and play bass through the PA?
     
  2. DubDubs

    DubDubs

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    Aug 23, 2004
    Location:
    Los Angeles
  3. popinfresh

    popinfresh

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    Location:
    Melbourne, Aus
    Yep, you could play straight into the PA if you wanted, or DI/Line out from your cab instead of mic'ing it.
     
  4. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    Our drummer has a small Peavey powered mixer running through two small Peavey speakers. I think it is < 100 watts. We mainly run the vocals through it.

    I also use the DI out on my amp to run some bass through it. The guitarist and the drummer feel it makes the bass seem more integrated.
     
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  6. SpaceBass

    SpaceBass

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Will having the bass going through the PA make it harder to hear the vocals at all?
     
  7. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

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    Aug 29, 2003
    Location:
    Burbank CA USA
    Yes. My singers would probably carve out some of my body parts if I played through the PA. Unfortunately, our sound system is pretty casual these days, it's not really sophisticated enough to vector particular pieces to particular places. And that would probably be true for most of the sound systems you'll run into in y'r average club.

    On the other hand, sound "reinforcement" is a good concept. There are ways of reinforcing your sound without infringing on the monitors and so on. What's your usual venue? Are you playing small clubs, or bigger places? How big is your usual audience? There are probably ways of "targeting" your sound around issues like that. The PA might be one of them, but there are others too.

    Personally I like "stage volume". My drummer is so darn loud that I feel the need to keep up with him. :D

    He's outrageously good, I couldn't wish for a better player. He can do Keith Moon blindfolded and with both hands tied behind his back. And he can do Bruford too, if he gets in the right frame of mind.

    Me, I like the sound of my WW through a single Bag End 15. Those speakers sound pretty darn good when they're pushed (a little). But for big venues, I sometimes use up to 8 mini-stacks, of 12's on top of 15's. No matter how loud my drummer gets, I can still get louder. :D:D:D
     
  8. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

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    it all boils down to the pa itself.
    2 most important things to consider are the quality of the mains speakers (the speakers pointed at the audience), and the amount of power the pa has in watts.
    in the perfect setup you run thru a good pa and use your amp for a stage monitor. In this perfect world you also have really good pa monitors that can handle the bass (most don't have that).
    Small pa systems are really just for vocals, acoustic guitar, maybe to mic a really tiny guitar amp, etc.
    The bass guitar is very demanding on pa speakers, and the ones that can handle the bass will get expensive. (you can cut lows on the board to help out). Also, reproducing bass frequencies (and a kick drum for that matter) takes a lot of watts.

    best thing to do is experiment carefully. pay close attention to how the speakers are doing with the bass signal.
     
  9. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

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    Location:
    Burbank CA USA

    Good call. That resonates with my experience. Sometimes 'multi-way" PA speakers help too, like if you have subs you can do some pretty outrageous stuff with the bass, but if you're playing through a dinky set of 12's, it's probably going to cause problems. That's where the soundman comes in. A good sound engineer, with good equipment, is worth his weight in gold. If you ever find such a person, hold on to him/her. :)
     
  10. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

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    Jan 19, 2002
    Location:
    NY / NJ / PA
    these days, i'm playing thru the PA maybe 75% of the time. with my Demeter Tube DI, and Sadowsky onboard pre, its heaven sent. :)

    but the convenience is quite nice, and a compressor is a nice safe guard to have as well. usually, for the smaller PA's that arent using alot of wattage or have smaller speakers, i'll use my FMR RNC compressor before it hits my Dem.
     
  11. Passinwind

    Passinwind Charlie Escher Supporting Member

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    The bass guitar is very demanding on pa speakers, and the ones that can handle the bass will get expensive. (you can cut lows on the board to help out). Also, reproducing bass frequencies (and a kick drum for that matter) takes a lot of watts.

    Make that a lot of watts!

    My experience is that if you upgrade a typical vocals-only PA to accomodate fulltime bass, you will have spent enough to easily buy a really nice bass rig. If you already have a PA that's up to the task, or intend to get one anyway, then going direct is totally workable--for some people. A lot of guys want that push on the strings, and their gut, and I have to say I'm one of those guys myself. I don't do volume wars at all though, thankfully. The word "compete" in the original post says a whole lot, no?
     

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