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Another Cab OR Go Direct Out To PA?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BayStateBass, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. Okay, need some advice from those more experienced with live gigging. I just got hired by a new band but am worried my amp just isn't up to the task for live performance.

    The new band consists of 3 guitars, my bass, drums, and a keyboard.

    What I am currently using and absolutely love is my Carvin MB-210. It's rated at 250W, 2x10 combo. Great tone, love this amp. It's performed awesome in practices and small shows I've done but I can see where it's going to struggle in a live performance. I've had to run the volume up to 7 or 8 just in practice to push through the guitars and keyboard (this band wants the bass to be very, very prominent). Both of my basses are passive pups.

    I fear that it will get drowned out when we do go live. Their previous bassist used an Ampeg rig with a 410 cab and, I believe, a head that was rated somewhere in the 1000W range.

    In the past, the band only ran vocals through the PA. Instruments were run through the amps only.

    I'm thinking a few options here;

    1. Buy an extension cab. My MB has a jack for an extension cab and I'm considering buying the Carvin 210 extension cab to go with it. Maybe the 115, what I really need is low end thump, not a lot of tight mids and highs. But with only 250W, and I think it's only rated at 200W with a cab @ 4ohms, I'm not sure it'll have enough punch even with that.

    2. Go direct to the PA. The MB has a direct out for a PA.

    Any suggestions? Any information is really, really appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Both.
  3. The answer is yes.

    I would get an additional 210 cab, and run through the PA. If this band wants some serious power even your 410 stack might only cover stage volume. If their PA isnt equipped to handle bass, then its upgrade time. Could be your rig, could be the PA, could be both.
  4. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    +1 to both. Add another identical 210, AND go to the board.
  5. fretlesswonder

    fretlesswonder Supporting Member

    Jul 26, 2006
    New Jersey
  6. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Can the current PA handle bass, or would you/they need to add something to it?

    If it can, absolutely run through the PA.
  7. Thanks guys! Good advice.

    Next practice I'm going to look at the PA closer and see if it can handle the low end.

    I think I'm going to take it. I can buy the matching Carvin 210 extension for something like $300 and I can run out to the PA as well and see how it goes.......

    I appreciate the advice!
  8. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Running all 4 10's is a great option, and could be very helpful in the future. Especially at gigs where a PA is provided, but it's vocals only for example.
  9. Bitterdale

    Bitterdale Natural Born Lurker

    Dec 4, 2010
    Ocala, FL
    Unless the PA is a Fender passport or similar, there's no reason it shouldn't be able to handle the bass. PA's are designed to be full range, and you only need reinforcement.

    Adding the matching Carvin extension cab will definitely help. Right now, your amp is pushing 200 watts, adding the cab will increase it to 250 watts.

    Stack them vertically and you should be pleased with the results.
  10. oerk


    Oct 16, 2009
    I disagree. Most small PAs without dedicated subs can't handle much low end. Typical PA tops are designed for mid range and up (>100hz).

    So, unless your PA has subs or really big tops (three-way 15s or 2x10s or 2x12s) I wouldn't bother with it.
  11. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    To me, handling the bass is one thing...but sounding good is another. We normally run a pair of 12's for our PA which could handle just fine, but I couldn't run my bass through it as well with any kind of authority that I normally like to have.
  12. MickyZ


    Jul 17, 2012
    Twin Cities, MN
    While the PA board is probably able to handle full-range frequencies, I would bet the PA speakers (having been for vocals only) would not handle your bass. If they're not running subs in the PA (and why would they for vocals?), you wouldn't get the results you want going into the PA.

    Get the extension cabs to start, and talk to the band about upgrading the PA to handle more low end.
  13. jcasaspe


    Mar 14, 2011
    you just need to reinforce your amp with the PA. Goes out from PA only the volume needed to complete what is lacking with your amp...
    Maybe some PA delay is needed to prevent cancellations.

    good luck!
  14. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Yeah, sort of an in-betweener with the PA. Good fullrange tops can take some bass in them. Not hard hitting, chest pounding, floor shaking bass but they can get your sound up there with the rest. I put my 1505 Widows in my PA tops. They're now essentially pretty good sounding 3-way fullrange bass cabs on sticks. It works out alright, but it's still not bass cab type bass because they lose reinforcement and get cancellations from being up in the air, but it still works. If they are pretty much vocal only mains, adding a sub to them would be better than buying bigger tops. Anyway, start with the extension cab and take it from there.
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Get your band to buy a subwoofer and then run your bass (and the kick drum) thru the PA.

    Under the setup you describe I have to think that band probably sounds pretty dreadful live. Especially if the guitarists turn up too loud.

    If they balk, then offer to contribute what you would have spent on the extra 2x10, toward the sub instead. Seriously, it's that important.
  16. The PA is a no-go. They tried it in the past and it didn't work according to the leader, which is why the old player went with the 1000W Ampeg. The PA is just a little guy, only 800W, and only able to really handle the vocals. Again, this was a small bar band primarily so their old equipment was sufficient......in the past.

    Right now they are looking to upgrade to something in the over 6000W range, but for right now.....I'm on my own.

    They all know if they are going to do an outdoor show they need some serious power. It's in the works, but the PA option is closed to me for right now based on the equipment they already have.

    I've been wanting to expand my amp anyway, so this just gives me a reason to go out and drop a couple bucks.

    For right now the 210 works great in practice, and it's easy to lug around.

    Actually, you'd be surprised how good this group does sound the way it is. I'm just the weak link.
  17. will33


    May 22, 2006
    I'd just go with the ext. Cab for now then.. That'll cover an indoor bar gig. Some "6000 watt" PA will be subs and everything to run the whole band for big stuff. You'll likely want the extra cab just for covering the stage at anything outdoors. Your sound can kind of drift away out there.
  18. fivestringgecko

    fivestringgecko Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    Denver, CO
    I agree, sounds like the PA isn't an option until they upgrade. Without knowing just how loud you guys get, I'd be a little skeptical that a single 2x10 could truly keep up. The Carvin MB210 is rated at 250w if you have the extension, it only pushes 200w by itself. Adding another cabinet for the full 250w will be louder, but I'm still not convinced it'll be loud enough in a live situation to make you happy and also have the authority the band wants.

    I'm a fan of having appropriate gear for appropriate needs, so I've ended up with two separate modular rigs. I can run either rig in single or double cab configurations based on need or (Lord help me if I'm ever in a situation where I'd need MORE volume :eek: lol) I *could* slave the two together if I *really* needed to shake walls.

    If your finances can swing it, I'd suggest scoping around for a (separate) bigger rig to at least see what's out there. You'll get more power and more beef ("authori-TAY" ;)) and you could add your current 2x10 if need arises.

    My philosophy is that it's better to have more than you need, rather than not enough. Just my $.02 though.

  19. DerTeufel

    DerTeufel Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Wildomar, CA
    Get an 8x10


    I suppose I am lucky in that if my existing setup isn't adequate (210+115 driven by a 200W head), I can always use my band leader's Ampeg SVT-CL rig with the matching 810.

    BSB, I think you'd be better off getting another rig until their PA is able to handle bass frequencies.
  20. Thanks, guys. Yuppers.....no way is my little 210 going to cut it when it's go-time. That is a given, and I can see it already. But it makes an awesome practice amp.

    I may try adding the Carvin extension cab.....a 210 extension cab is only $249 plus shipping. I may try that out, and place one 210 on either side of the group, see how that works. Either way, it would be a good setup to have.

    But I think in the end I'm going to have to upgrade to something serious until the PA situation is worked out. I hate "band owned" stuff that everyone pitches in on. Always turns into a hassle if or when the band breaks up, unless it's bought with gig money, and then it's still a hassle. I'd rather just buy my own stuff and leave with it if I have to. But I can see this band being a somewhat long-term commitment for me.

    I may be upgrading to a larger Carvin stack, though. I love my Carvin so far and I know if I were to buy larger, they have the quality and sound I really like.

    Good thing they make a lot of stuff.......:p

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