Are Stacks A Waste Of Money?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by nocontrols, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. nocontrols


    Apr 2, 2011
    I keep hearing stories about guys getting gigs where they are expected to go straight into a house system OR they show up and are expected to use the venue's amps.

    This made me wonder: Is a full stack, which would no doubt be the most expensive and wearying set of items you buy as a bass player, particularly given the difficulty in transportation, a waste of money and effort? I know the amp die-hards will say it FEELS better to stand in front of a set of 4x10's but does the audience care? How necessary is it relative to cost?
  2. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Not every single band gets P.A. support everywhere.
  3. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    My "regular" band ALWAYS has full PA support. Occassionally, when I play a large outdoor stage - like an outdoor festival - even with full PA support I need a full stack or 810 to hear myself on stage.

    I usually get by just fine at bar gigs with two 1x12 cabs. But on a large outdoor stage, no way.

    Sure, I can put the bass thru the monitors, but that only works if you're willing to plant your feet right in front of the monitor and stay there. Something that isn't conducive to a good live performance. That, and bass thru wedge monitors usually sounds like poo.

    If you are a gigging pro or semi-pro, you need a variety of gear to cover lots of circumstances - from a small cafe-sized rig to in-ears to small cabs to large cabs. You have to roll with whatever the circumstances present.
  4. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    I'd say yes... put the money into PA gear.

    I own a huge rig... it's VERY RARELY played...

    A bit depends on your level etc.

  5. thereturnfc


    Oct 16, 2010
    No way, stack are great... U still need it when u play in differrence places , sure di and monitor are good but not as good as it gets when u can be sure that u hear urself while u playing

    And if u are not the pro-level , no way u will get ur hand on pa easily

    I think start with 2x10 is great no need to push the budget so hard
  6. BigOldHarry


    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Depends on the gig, period.

    I try to keep a flexible kit. For a while, I had a 4x10, a 2x10 and my head. Now I run two 2x10s - just one for small gigs, both for bigger gigs. Bigger than they will handle will have a FOH. But I have yet to sell my 4x10... What does that tell you?
  7. babebambi


    Jan 7, 2008
    backline for you
    PA for punter

    rarely do you get good monitor for bass

    if youuse IEM, then that's a totally different story
  8. Unclejackrock


    Jul 13, 2006
    I've tried it all....literally. From one 8x10.. to one 4x10 on one side of the stage and one on the a little 1x15 combo and relying on the PA to do the work. 14 years playing at relatively small clubs have led me to having one 4x10 at the practice house, one 4x10 on the band trailer, and just shuttling my head between gigs and practice. That being said, we now run through a pretty nice PA at gigs, so my rig stays pretty low stage volume wise, but my "sound" is consistent when we come back to the house on our little practice PA. Just my experience......
  9. Sartori

    Sartori Supporting Member

    What do you mean by "full stack"? The meaning has changed somewhat through the years. After all, when the SVT came out, a full stack was considered to be two 8x10 cabs.

    I play a 2x15 normally with my metal bands, and a 1x15 with the folk rock band. I intend to play live with two 2x15 cabs for the doom bands.

    It all depends on what you're playing and where. For an outdoor gig with sketchy PA support? I'm bringing the 2x15.

    Indoors at a restaurant? Just a single 15 will do fine.
  10. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I don't know, NoControl...what does your gigging experience tell you?

    Mine tells me that if I showed up with only a bass and a DI most gigs I'd be sitting on the sideline. Even with the venue providing a PA, that doesn't mean that they're providing monitors that will handle your bass or that they'll be sufficient...if the sound engineer doesn't give you a hard time about having bass in the monitors.

    ...Now, I've shown up to more than just a few shows over the years where I've been promised backline, only to find that what someone has deemed appropriate is a JOKE.

    I'd much rather make sure I have something presentable to play with no matter what the show.
  11. I've tried several combinations.

    Small venue - Small combo amp connected to the PA - sucked donkey bollocks

    Same small venue - My full BXR 400 with the 4-10 and 1-15 - Loved it but the rest of the band bitched the whole night

    Outdoors with the full setup - nice nice.

    Practice in basement with full setup - never went above 2 and the sound was less than stellar. Full setups need larger spaces to work properly

    My suggestion would be to spend some money and buy a good head / cab setup that you can add extra cabs to if you need them for larger or outdoor use. I'm sure there are combo setups that are expandable too, I just haven't looked so I don't know.
  12. I prefer a stack. If the venue is small, you can use one cab but if it's large you can use two. I also prefer to go through a PA. In an ideal situation, your amp should be used so the members of the band can hear each other and the PA should be projecting sound to the audience. This is not always possible though.
  13. will33


    May 22, 2006
    I don't get folks who just assume they're going to have PA support everywhere. Or that it will be adequate or that there'll be someone there who knows how to operate it.

    Pro level touring sure but I bet that nationwide combining all levels of players and gigs there's more bass players that aren't getting PA support than are so yeah, stacks have a place. PA wedge mons sound like crap with bass and in-ears don't "feel" like a live show. More like doing studio work with a lot of people there.

    That said I always have PA support because the majority of the time it's my own PA. :)
  14. Sartori

    Sartori Supporting Member

    The last gig I had, I just had my bass and went through the PA. It was... okay, I guess. Couldn't hear myself well, and didn't like the sound all that much.

    Most of the time I don't have PA support at all.
  15. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    I find the 1/2 stack is the option of choice. 410+500w will get you there on most stages, even that one where they say you NEED an 810 just to hear yourself.. I don't buy it. For the tall flexibility a dual 2x10 stack works just as good. I've carried the house with my UL410 and LMII at the old town blues fest outdoors. Sound guy said he didn't need my line out, I was perfect. For reference : Camera does a low cut, sorry. It was full and thumpin'.
  16. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    i would like to get another 115 regardless of PA support

    i'm pretty tall and the sound is at my ankles

    my drummer is an ex college football player and he hits super hard
  17. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I use a mini stack - 1x10 combo and 1x10 extension cab. Works great, but I don't need big volume.

    I have debated getting a 410 for outdoor and when I don't have decent PA indoor - but those situations don't happen enough for me to justify more than the mini stack.
  18. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    if you need to amplify your bass in a remote location ,in front of thousands of people in the audience, with NO PA SUPPORT (like Woodstock) , a full stack is a MUST!!! Otherwise, a smaller rig with a nice 210 or maybe even a 410 behind you should do the trick. Rule of thumb: if the guitar plyr is using a stack, you should also. If he aint, then you probably dont need to, either. (IMHO)
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't do anything because I think the audience cares. I care and that's good enough.
  20. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    Like jimmy says , I care too .

    I like having my amp and speakers because it's my onstage tone . If it's enough for the gig and they don't have to put me through the house that's fine , I still have my onstage tone . If they need to put me through the front of house that's fine too because I still have the same on stage tone . Take away my amp and speakers and what I hear onstage is out of my hands .