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Are Larger Back Line Rigs Headed for Extinction?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bucephylus, Oct 19, 2020.

  1. Yes

    180 vote(s)
  2. No

    116 vote(s)
  3. Maybe

    67 vote(s)
  1. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Just curious what the TB community at large thinks about larger backline rigs. And, by that, I mean anything much more than a single 212 or ballpark equivalent.

    My pre-COVID gigs suggested a definite shift to ampless backlines. Meanwhile, I still have my larger 610 and 2 x 212 setups for the bigger backline gigs. But, perhaps, those are just going to be a thing of the past, as we migrate to pedalboard preamps feeding FOH boards.

    Seems like maybe a just a 212, or equivalent, setup is more than enough to cover those remaining vocals only in the PA or stage monitor only types of club gigs.

    I hate to just give up on my larger rigs, as they sound so completely amazing. But, if they are never going out on gigs again, then what’s the point? Hate to sever the lines; but, maybe that’s where gigs are headed.

  2. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    I don't think so, but I do see some touring bass rigs migrating to multiples of smaller cabinets. For example, 2, 3 or 4 cabinets consisting of 212, 215 and 410's. I'm also seeing rigs consisting of more than one amp, linked via the effects send and return.
  3. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Do you mean backline that you schlep or provided by the gig organizer?
    Jayhawk, 74hc, Johnny Crab and 3 others like this.
  4. I still see mostly larger rigs at the shows I play, but they are normally in Punk/Rock/Metal bars with bad PA equipment, or outdoors. A lot of guys in this scene still haul around 810 cabs and SVT heads. I still bring a 412 cab and at least a 200W tube head to most gigs unless the stage is tiny, then I bring a 115 cab instead of the 412.
    Zbysek, murphy, Pdaddy1978 and 10 others like this.
  5. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    I was about to vote yes, but what do you mean by big? In my world of medium sized rock clubs, 4x10, 2x12, and 2x15s were always the norm in terms of backlines (at least for as long as I've been gigging).

    8x10s are the infrequently encountered exception.
    kev451, pcake, MrLenny1 and 1 other person like this.
  6. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    That you schlep. Probably should have been more clear.
    Zbysek, MrLenny1 and DJ Bebop like this.
  7. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Fair Q. I suppose I consider my NV610 and 2 x 212 setups as equivalent to the 810. So, yeah, that and upwards would constitute “big” for my purposes. The 410 is probably more in line with what I do with my 212.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  8. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    If I'm schlepping, then it's pretty much always going to be a 2x12 cab or 1x12 for really small/quiet stuff. ... maybe every once in a while I'll combine the 1x12 and 2x12 for a 3x12 rig (in my case a Berg CN312).

    With venue provided backlines (until covid shut most venues down) I was still seeing 8x10, 6x10, 2 x 4x10 rigs with the occasional 4x10.

    To be honest, I really don't care about the size of the rig as long as it works for the material I'm playing and the sound is at least decent both on stage (monitoring) and in the venue.
    Zbysek and DJ Bebop like this.
  9. Benj-jammin

    Benj-jammin Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2020
    North Carolina
    Before Covid, for example, I saw a lot of the SVT type heads with a single 4-10" cab.
  10. Frankie Fender

    Frankie Fender The less notes you play, the more money you make. Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2004
    The bars and dives I play aren’t changing. 212s and 410s rule. 215 for the big venues.
    slagbass likes this.
  11. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    When you say "back line" do you mean "spare bedroom?" Pandemic Burn!!!

    Nobody really needs a big rig for on-stage volume with wedges or IEMs. But that doesn't make them less cool.
    Can you imagine Pete Townshend jumping off a 1X10? OK, recording in the studio, sure. But live?

    Think about this...If you could go to a concert where everybody just wore headphones would you? The pressure, the loudness is part of the experience. And yeah, mom, I know ears ringing isn't cool. But it is.
    I think if everyone would agree to sit quietly at a show a band could play at very low volume. Sounds like fun.

    Cool is better than easy any day.
  12. Benj-jammin

    Benj-jammin Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2020
    North Carolina
    Love that pic, KF, and yeah - always good to see a big, bad ass rig like that!
    DrMole and Killing Floor like this.
  13. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007
    "In my world," back-line guitar amps are getting smaller in wattage and number of drivers used.
    Bass amps are getting higher powered and are using smaller cabs stacked in multiples.

    Everyone I know is running direct.

    I know of two local players that use IEM's and they both still use stage amps.

    Most local bands are now running speakers on a stick with one or two 1x18" subs.
    The group I'm with is one of the few that still takes the time/cares, to run a BIG, old school, JBL system that absolutely kicks.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  14. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    In the past 5 years, most of my gigs are ampless. The one gig I do that needs an amp, I built a 110 cabinet that’s more than enough.
    Zbysek and kodiakblair like this.
  15. Are Larger Back Line Rigs Headed for Extinction?


    Not as long as there are people who like this:

    There will always be people who like this:
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  16. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Amen to that, Brother! I’ve done exactly one gig during this pandemic and not looking to do any more. Informed both of my regular gigs that I’m unavailable until vaccine or absence of cases; whichever comes first. Not worth it for me.

    Yet, there will be post COVID gigs. Until then, stay safe.
  17. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    I wouldnt see the point of using 8x10 unless you are playing loud rock/metal. For me the purpose of the fridge cabinetry is to hold up in the volume war relative to hard hitting double bass drummers and guitarist(s) with 120w tube into 4x12.
  18. jeffb28451

    jeffb28451 Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2006
    Leland NC
    Yeah, a lot of ( older?) boys and girls remember when the rigs WERE part of the show. The Who or Deep Purple with Princeton’s and Phil Woods briefcases? I think not. I do remember when my band “downsized“ to a half stack Marshall, my 8 space rack w Harte 4x10 on top of Community 2x18 with Gauss and 450 watts, and 2x12 Fender Showman for the lead and I had a fit about not doing Who numbers with such tiny equipment!

    Now I use Bassics 900 and single 112 DNA for virtually everything and a DNA 1350 and two dna 112s for “big” stuff. More power, less weight and I’m old. Venues are smaller for me, anyway. BUT, if I still had 2 roadies, I’d have a stack like Glenn Hughes did at Red Rock during the “Machine Head” era.

    Do I need it...well, that’s not the question, is it , Mom...?

    I know, it’s only rock and roll, but I like it.
    chaosMK, Zbysek, murphy and 3 others like this.
  19. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Well, my most recent large backline gig was a Modern Country / Carrie Underwood trib act. So, they are out there. Just depends what you run across. But, that’s kinda why I asked.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  20. As long as I already own it and it only costs me a couple of Ibuprofen the following day to use, I'm going to say no. If for no other reason than that it serves as a visual backdrop. I own several "backdrops" that big, heavy and just itching to be used. Would I replace them if they were to suddenly go missing? Probably not. If I'm on ears I'd probably buy the best DI and IEMs I could afford and start walking up with a bass, a stand and a rack.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Dec 3, 2020

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