Outdoor shows and volume (Class D 110 combos, micro heads under $300?)

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by christw, Oct 7, 2012.


  1. christw

    christw Get low!

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    Hey y'all! I've been running into volume issues with my folk band. It's a five piece made up of guitar, 12 string, banjo, viola, and bass. For what it's worth, our singer is loud to begin with and our 12 string player occasionally doubles on mandolin. The issue I've been running into is that unless we're fully unplugged while playing outside, I'm not loud enough. Indoor shows don't have the same volume issues but that's another animal altogether.

    At smaller outdoors shows (50-100 people) we'll run lead vocals and lead guitar through a Fender Acoustisonic combo. I had my banjo player asking me to play louder yesterday in the middle of a set. We had just played one of our less dense songs featuring mandolin instead of the 12 string. I was playing too hard just trying to hear myself throughout that whole song. I'm going to take that as a sign that I might want to look into a small amplifier.

    Currently, my smallest amps are a B-15N and a Mesa Buster 210. Playing a lot of outdoor gigs means long walks for load in and sometimes has us just setting up on the wet ground. Bringing expensive 70-80 pound tube amps into these conditions? No thanks! I'd prefer a 110 combo, preferably class D. We're often sharing a 100 ft extension cord from a nearby building so efficiency doesn't hurt. I'm only really concerned about 80 hz and above so anything with a -6db of ~65 hz or below should suffice for me.

    Candidates include:

    GK MB110 or MB110-II
    Carvin MB10
    Peavey Max 110 (new model)
    Genz Benz Shuttle 10T

    I also have a 110 loaded with an Eminence S2010 based on Duke's thread: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f15/low-cost-diy-practice-coffeehouse-tweeterless-110-[long]-736360/. I could always just pick up a micro head to match that. The MB200 is the first thing to mind. Second is the Carvin BX250 but at $270, I could have an MB10 for $300.

    What would you guys suggest? Our volume is likely to stay the same or increase marginally as our confidence continues to increase. I'm leaning towards an amp since it can double as a stage monitor at our bigger gigs. Let's try to keep it under $300 new or used. Thanks for any help! :D
     
  2. MR PC

    MR PC

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    Carvin. The reports/reviews on that one have been very good. With a combo, you just load in, plug in and go.
     
  3. christw

    christw Get low!

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    Honestly, the Carvin was at the top of my list. The Peavey and GK were afterthoughts but I wanted to at least scout my options. If only Carvin made an MB10 + 110 stack. I prefer modularity to a 210. :)
     
  4. christw

    christw Get low!

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    Got a PM about this thread (thanks Ric!) and thought I'd clarify a little more.

    The reason I'm looking at purchasing an amplifier rather than using one I already own is that I want something practical for this type of gig. I want it to provide a little sonic support, be lightweight enough to carry across a field without trouble, small enough to leave in my trunk, and cheap enough that I won't cry if someone knocks it in the mud or it gets rained on. My bulky and costly tube amps don't exactly fit these criterion and IMO are not practical for these shows.
     
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  6. christw

    christw Get low!

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    I just got some video footage from the show and the bass actually seem to sit in the mix just fine. It was present enough and didn't get overwhelmed during the louder passages. I was still working too hard to comfortably maintain that volume level but now I'm aware that I can (and do) keep up as is. Perhaps I'll hold off on buying an amplifier until I have time to feel out at least one more of these shows.
     
  7. countrybass007

    countrybass007

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    Setting up on wet ground? I would be afraid to plug into anything. Look into one of the smaller Phil Jones amps, the Bass Cub is lightweight, but still puts out a great sound. Rubber backed mat to stand on, pricless.
     
  8. christw

    christw Get low!

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    When I arrived I had to unplug the extension cord the place ran for us because it was full of mud. After five minutes of cleaning and some chunks of wood to set the Acoustisonic on, we were ready to go. ;)
     
  9. top028

    top028 Supporting Member

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    Anyone look at the tc electronic bg250? I am really intruiged by this amp. I want an alternative to my tube amp as well. On paper, and with the bass guitar guys, it looks like a great amp. 36lbs seems pretty awesome.
     
  10. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

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    Chris,
    Well, after giving it a little thought. The new GK MB110 only weighs 21 lbs. and costs $299.00. So it meets your criteria. I think the shell is some kind of composite, so those gigs in the mud and the blood, and the beer won't trash it. An MBS is a great little amp but it's got a metal case. Even though it's supposed to be shockproof, I'm not sure I'd want to take it out into a cornfield. ;) :D


    Ric
     
  11. MR PC

    MR PC

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    Ah, cornfield gigs: the amp lives next to the gas can, knee high rubbers and jumper cables in the trunk, I've got a clearer picture now:D For that I wouldn't go new. Look for an old used Peavey Microbass, those make a fine personal monitor. 50 bucks on evil bay, and they rarely break down.:)
     
  12. christw

    christw Get low!

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    I wonder if it's also high passed with inflated wattage specs like some of their other amps. :p Surely it'll move more air than these 110's. I know I don't need that much though.

    Ric, thanks again for the advice here and in my inbox. I've never tried one of those MBS/MBE. I ended up with a Carvin MB10 on the electric side for $225 shipped. Either way, I'll just be sure to bring some spare wood to set my amp on.

    This one was just down a hill with a set up by the creek. ;) I still managed to slip in the mud where I was standing and a few times going up and down the hill a little too quickly.

    Here's a shot from later in the show. The Acoustisonic is sitting on a wood block behind me. For what it's worth, my midrange sounded wonderful in the video. The low end didn't convince me but it was taken on a handheld digital camera. I don't think I need an amp but since I just bought a used MB10 I'll do a gig report after our next appropriate show.

    [​IMG]




    10/15 EDIT: I see no point in bumping this thread to say this but I'm taking my bass in for a setup before making any more judgements. It's due. The E string has a weaker attack and underwhelming bloom in comparison to the other strings. I had always second guessed myself on this issue but today I confirmed the volume mismatch with my non-musically inclined father. On top of that, the D string tuner rattles, and the endpin rattles randomly and sparsely when playing an open E. I finished off paying off this bass last month but The Loft (of Columbus, Ohio) has kindly offered a free setup because I hadn't been able to make it out yet. I'll update after the setup. :)
     
  13. christw

    christw Get low!

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    Just left the shop! The bass side action was raised, the bridge position adjusted, and he's just finished D tuner rattle patrol. With the E raised up my volume across the strings is more uniform and I don't have to work as hard on the low notes. He said I'm not going to get any more volume from the bass than I have now (which I assumed) and that I'm going to need some new strings when it's in the budget. I'll do a gig report on the 27th but this might be enough to invalidate an amp for now.

    Edit: I got home and found the endpin rattle again on the attack when playing an open A. We couldn't get it to rattle in the shop. Go figure. :rollno: He suggest wedging a tennis ball under the tailpiece as a possible solution. I was still thinking of trying an SM57/SM58 in a foam block wedged under the tailpiece to do a mic/piezo blend. I'll see if that doesn't help the rattle if I get around to it.

    I'm off topic at this point but I'll have the MB10 with me on the 27th in case I need it. I feel like today nearly doubled the low end content from my E string so we'll see. :D

    10/17 Edit: I'll be starting lessons on Monday so I'll see if that makes any difference too.
     
  14. MR PC

    MR PC

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    Good news, it sounds like you are doing everything the right way. The sound starts with you and the bass. After some more time, and when you get a chance, it would be good to hear your impressions of the MB10.:)
     
  15. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

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    I play in a folk group and when we are acoustic I am fine, so keep working at it. Remember you are a lot louder out front than what you hear from your playing position. When the rest of the group gets mic/PA support I use GB shuttle 3.0 8T to help round out my sound and fill in that bottom. So I think you GK 110 might just do the trick for you when you need a bit more volume.
     
  16. christw

    christw Get low!

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    I sure hope so! I'll report back if I use it at the show tomorrow.

    Actually, I opted for the Carvin with the same model name as the GK. ;) I had enough volume but I was plucking harder and more toward the bridge than I'd like to have to. With the action raised I can dig in a bit more over the fingerboard. It also seems to bloom a bit better on the bass side which is what I really needed.
     
  17. christw

    christw Get low!

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    Quick report after the show:

    The good: The sound was great, the band was tight, my bass sounded amazing through the entire set, and we made the best of a silly situation. I was running into the MB10 with it at ear level as a monitor and it was flawless!

    The bad: The wooden stage and part time wrestling ring was resonant and liked to feed back and the soundguy was neither used to or prepared for acoustic instruments. We were plagued by a bunch of silly problems including non-working DI boxes.

    The weird: The soundguy had a snake of a bajillion cables and part of our initial setup issues arose from cable mix and matches including not having banjo at the board for 5+ minutes. Either my Carvin's XLR out wasn't working or it was a cable mix up too. (see the end of this post.) He ended up mic'ing my Carvin and believe it or not, it sounded amazing out front. He also mentioned that my upright was the first he ever got to run through his setup.

    The insane: We were playing through four B-52 2x15/HF mains, two 2x18 subs, and five 15/HF stage monitors. Playing acoustically still would have worked out just fine although we certainly wouldn't have had the same presence as we did. It was actually for the best, I think. :eek:

    The wrap up: Everyone seemed to love it. I'm 99% sure that we lost a guitar through the PA halfway through the second to last song but no one else seemed to notice, we killed it for doing a short set, and my backup amp saved the day. Can't complain. :D

    Edit: I realized my DI issue - I accidentally left my DI level at minimum. Oops. :bag:
     
  18. christw

    christw Get low!

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    Well, I got to use the Carvin for another show. This time it was at Canal Street Tavern in Dayton, Ohio. After a nerve wracking sound check including my HPF Pre series II being DOA and a nasty banjo/mic/monitor feedback issue, everything was dialed in. Other than a weird feedback between the MB10 and the right cable side coming from the bridge wing for my piezo pickup, all was well and the sound was great. I would have liked to be louder on stage but the feedback was preventing it. I can't help but feel that the HPF would have helped with that. FWIW, I couldn't dial as good of a sound or get as much volume with just the Carvin and the Double Barrell but I can certainly got a usable one that worked out and helped make for a fun show.
     
  19. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

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    I gig regularly with a Carvin MB12 combo for the same reasons: lightweight, efficient, great value-for-money. Yes, the MB10 should be a great amplifier for you. If you ever need that extra 1/2 octave extension, it will drive another 8-ohm cab, which I have a small ported 1X15 on casters for the purpose as well as need be, and it is my main electric bass gigging setup as well with just a little bit of adjustment on the parametric for the different character of each instrument.

    Yes, I hope you can get your fdeck up and running. The phase switch does help me with feedback, as does a brown washcloth stuck in the soundhole closest to the amplifier.
     
  20. azureblue

    azureblue

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    I have an MB212 - you should try one.
     
  21. christw

    christw Get low!

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    I'll be fine whenever that fdeck gets repaired/replaced. I emailed him about it already so I'm sure it'll be taken care of. If I ever really need more than the single 110 offers, I can purchase a Stagemate 110 extension cab which seems to be the same box and speakers as the MB10. Then again, I'll probably have my Big E 2x6's on hand in a few weeks for any scenario where I'll want more.

    FWIW, I don't want those low lows on stage. I like to leave that to FOH because they feed back on most stages I've been on. I usually roll the fdeck between 40 & 80 Hz dependent on location.

    Thanks for the suggestion but that's way too large for what I use the MB10 for. I bought it as an easy carry all in one EQ/DI/stage monitor and it does the job very well. Again, I'll have the Big E's here soon and I'm sure they will be more than enough for any show I'll do anytime soon.
     

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