Band Practice: Should I run through PA instead of amp?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by DJC123123, Jul 2, 2022.

  1. DJC123123


    Jul 2, 2022
    I know the only way to know the answer is to do both and compare (which I will next week) but generally speaking: what do you all think?

    We are in a 10x20 room. We have one (hard rock) guitarist with a combo amp on one side of the room and an extension cab on the other (10ft away). Our drummer is down the middle, as well as my bass amp that sits in front of the kick drum. The amp doesn't have much to do with my sound as I run through a Sansamp DI with blend at 100%, which is my sound. To clear up room I was considering running though the PA with keys and vocals. But at the end of the day, I want to do what gives us as a band the best mix. I am guessing I will have better body as I am running out of two speakers. My tone is simple and in the pocket though, so maybe it is better to stay down the center and not have to much coming out of the PA speakers.

    What are your thoughts?
    Al Rivera likes this.
  2. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Sounds to me like you all are too loud. 10x20 room and your guitarist has an extension speaker?

    I would put the drums at one end, and put the cabs in front of you all and aim them at you - like you were the audience. That way you are all getting the same balance. Vocals and keys through the PA.
  3. DJC123123


    Jul 2, 2022
    Our set up; Drums on one side. Two amps, on far sides, in front of drums facing out, same as the drums. PA speakers on stands above two amps also facing out. We all stand on the other side of the room. We do not have an option to set up any other way due to size of room and entrance.
  4. Raenil


    Jul 22, 2012
    Silkeborg, Denmark
    What are you trying to solve?
    In my limited time with loud bands, everything seems to be better when everybody tries to archive self monitoring.
    Blasting more sound into a little room probably wouldn’t clear anything.
    Also, most people tends to like themselves louder than everybody else to be able to hear what they do.
    Huw Phillips and Wasnex like this.
  5. DJC123123


    Jul 2, 2022
    lol. I think we are getting off topic. It isn’t about volume. We have that dialed in and tend to dial volume down as much as possible for a better mix and to be easier on us.

    I am considering running bass through our pa to clear up room as the amp does nothing for my sound. Would this generally give us a better mix, allowing me to get the amp out of there?
  6. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL
    A mix in a 10x20 room with 2 guitar cabs? I’d recommend the guitarist use one cab and send a feed to board. And I think I’d rather (bass) go through the board as well.

    The drummers needs to play with Q-Tips LOL…
  7. DJC123123


    Jul 2, 2022
    The 2 cabs give him noticeably more body. 2 cabs doesn't mean louder necessarily. Thanks for the input!
  8. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    I would wire up the practice scheme exactly as you intend to play it at a gig. If the band is going through the PA, practice it that way too and get it dialed in right. If you're using a PA, how is the monitor signal processed? Through floor monitors? Through IEMs? Use the live setup as you practice and everything will be fine. P.S. Simply plugging into the PA is simpler and less hassle for you, too!
  9. DJC123123


    Jul 2, 2022
    Live I would be using a floor monitor.
  10. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    This. And if you run through the PA so should the guitarist.
    mcnach and Huw Phillips like this.
  11. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    Sorry but I don't think anyone is off topic. It's an extremely relevant point that most people want to hear themselves 6-10dB louder than other sound sources.

    So if you run solely through two PA cabs that are shared by the vocalist and keyboard player, it is likely to lead to conflict. You will want the bass to be louder, the keyboard player will want keys louder, and the vocalist will want their voices to be louder. I am not saying it can't work, but IMHO the priority for the PA should be vocals. If you are okay subordinating your needs to the vocals while fighting with keys for space in the mix, then go for it. But if you allow the vocals to dominate as they should, it's probably not going to give you what you want.

    I don't actually have a problem with the bass being run through the PA as long as it can handle it. Many small PAs cannot. My problem is with vocals, keys, and bass all trying to share one monitor mix. Ideally everyone should have a custom monitor mix that is tailored to their needs.

    In all honesty, its probably impossible for everyone to get their 6-10dB in such a small space, but using an amp should allow you to boost the bass a little. I suggest moving the amp away from the bass drum. Also I suggest elevating the amp and aiming it at your head. Usually low frequencies are omni-direction, and high frequencies shoot out directly in front of the cab. So if the cab is not aimed at your head, you will not hear the highs clearly.
    AEVAREX, Texican and instrumentlevel like this.
  12. LukeSlywalker


    Jun 9, 2014
    It depends where you are standing and where the “two speakers” (pa speakers?) are located. Why not use both? Use your amp as your own monitor, put it wherever you hear it best. Run a DI into the PA system so other members hear you in it or their own monitors
    AEVAREX, N4860 and amoodymule like this.
  13. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    If volume really isn't an issue, you could try it.

    Note that, depending on the amp setup you use, you may lose some low end due to missing floor coupling (unless you have subs). The drummer may also lose some tactile feel coming from your amp.

    The mix will also need to be adjusted - consider highpassing keys to create space for bass. If you remove your bass amp, the kick drum will probably sound louder in the room (which isn't a bad thing).

    Finally - it depends on your PA. If you are using modern powered speakers, you're probably fine - they will output more bass than you'd think, although they are not designed to excel at sub frequencies at high volume. However, some PA speakers and systems aren't designed for this.

    Another thing you may consider - instead of you running through the PA, let the guitarist run through the PA. With a good amp modeler, he'll still get spatial coverage from two speakers (the mains), and he'll even be able to do stereo stuff if he wants to. That will still clear stage space as he won't have to run his amp or extension cabinet. It'll also place less demand on the PA. This isn't a suggestion because of high volume or to try to slight the guitarist - I'm bringing it up because losing the guitar amp and the extension cabinet would probably free up a similar amount of space (if not more).

    But you are fundamentally correct - you won't know until you try it. You know more about the band's gear setup and PA offerings than we do (there wasn't much info in the original post).
    gstaats likes this.
  14. If you sound good through the PA, why worry about the amp. I have a 1970s bass stack that I bought some years back (can't recall the brand as it's in another room). It has never been used by me. (I needn't have purchased it) I have a small 30W Roland amp that I use for practice at home, but when playing I happily run through the PA and use the foldback via IEM to hear what I am doing. I rely on the bloke on desk to ensure FOH sounds good.
    DJC123123 likes this.
  15. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    If the SansAmp is "your sound", by all means, run into the PA (assuming those speakers can handle the bass). No need for the amp if it only serves to muddy things up.
    Hambone70 and DJC123123 like this.
  16. kickysam49


    Feb 28, 2022
    If it's a powerful enough PA, go ahead and run the Sansamp through it.
    I second those who say "how would you set up at gig" and start from there. Maybe you would use your sansamp.
    DJC123123 likes this.
  17. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I'm quite surprised that no one has asked the obvious question:

    What bass amp and what PA speakers are we talking about?

    There is a considerable gap between a PA that barely runs bass, one that is capable of running bass and one that is capable of running bass well. The same goes for bass amps.
    pbass2 likes this.
  18. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    All this needs to be worked out with band members, who, as occupants of that room, will be much more helpful than we ever could.
    juggahnaught and FatBoutedGirls like this.
  19. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    Band practice;
    1. Everyone should be able to hear their own instrument well enough to know if they are playing their part correctly.
    2. Everyone should be able to hear others well enough to follow the song.
    3. If there’s one instrument that nobody can hear well, turn down everything except that instrument
    4. The amplifying device you play through doesn’t matter if you can achieve 1 - 3
  20. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    You probably don’t need the bass amp if the pa is up to the task and it is positioned do every one can hear it.
    Also-ditch the extra speaker on the guitar amp. Learning to blend at reasonable volume is a skill.I did not possess that skill in the beginning of my musical journey that began over 50 years ago. Even when we used large systems live, we rehearsed with monitor wedges and minimal back line.
    One Way likes this.

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