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Band prefers to practice with headphones via DI?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Viggo51, Dec 22, 2017.

  1. Viggo51

    Viggo51 Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2012
    Portland Oregon
    So this is my first rant but i feel it's better to get it out here than in the real world. I have recently joined a new three piece project. Drums, Acoustic/electric guitar player vocalist, and me the Bass. We have had 4 practices and after the first there was a request from the Vocalist to have he and I use a DI routed through a common mix. The Drummer has his kit miked already so that is not an issue. The guitar and vocals are going through a small Fishman amp then into the mixing board. I agreed to try this. I brought over my SansAmp DI and plugged in to the mixing board. What i noticed immediately was my low end and tone was lost and my signal was overdriving the speakers in my Sony 7506's (I was playing a Warwick Thumb 5, Eden time traveler and Accugroove tri 112 ). So I did not bitch at all during the Practice but did let my opinions by known at the end. I told the others that without an AMP i have lost tone and feel. We agreed to portico with amplification the next time... So after the last practice (today) again the request to have the next practices with headphones? Am I making a bigger deal of this than i should. Anyone else have this situation and what did you do? thanks for letting me vent!
  2. Sounds like you need better headphone isolation, like in-ear-monitors, to be able to hear the DI instruments over the acoustic drum volume in the room. Or, just turn the overall volume, or at least the drum volume down in your cans. Or, sit in a different room than the drums are in to use your Sony's without having to crank them to distortion levels. Or, maybe you could use your amp in the room and either it's DI out or your sansamp into the headphones so you don't rely solely on them for bass to compete with a live drum set? Maybe complain about pushing your headphones speakers into irreversible damage territory instead of bringing up tone and feel. (do drummers even know what tone or guitarists know what feel are?)

    Are you guys going to perform live with headphones? I always say, "practice how you perform," which is why I always drink beer at rehearsal.
  3. To be honest I think the issue is more so that you’re using the old sans amp than than our running headphones. Find a DI you like better. Sure, could also be you could use some different headphones. But I honestly wish my band could rehearse with headphones. When I practice at home I use the headphone out on my Avalon u5 and I think it sounds great. In the studio I always track with headphones so I’ve gotten used to it. At band rehearsals our guitarists triple rectifier is stupid loud and I’d rather hear drums through headphones so I could hear the low frequencies in the drums than mainly hearing snare and cymbals.
    buldog5151bass likes this.
  4. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    Why are you all practicing through head phones? i think that's the first question i need to understand. As for tips to getting a better sound through the headphones, you may simply need to make some adjustments in the Sansamp to get the tone you are looking for. I believe in that little unit quite a bit, and what you are saying about the tone doesn't make sense.

    But by the sound of your post you make it seem like using an amp is an option. So why the head phone practice? Just do it the old fashioned way...
  5. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Yep - I'm echoing the questions of needing to practice with headphones as well.

    If you're not running headphones in a gigging situation why do it in rehearsal?

    Is it a noise thing in the place you're practicing or is for being able to hear things more clearly? If the latter, why aren't you all running IEMs? IMO, a decent set of IEMs will far outperform even the best headphones in a live band situation.

    As far as tone goes, I've had no issues with my SansAmp RBI going direct to the board (and monitoring via IEMS) in both rehearsal and gig situations. I haven't brought an amp to a rehearsal or gig in over a year now.
  6. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World

    Nov 25, 2008
    If you’re looking to stay with this band, it might be worth looking into a cab sim. It’s not cheap, but the DSM OmniCab is pretty nice, and not wildly expensive.

    The Mooer Radar has recently seem some discussion in the effects forum.
    MOOER Products

    A device like one of these could change your experience.

    I can certainly see the interest in headphone only practices, at times. It can be helpful at isolating parts and making sure things are tight. However, if there will be live shows with full amps going, then you need a practice session or two in that kind of environment.
    Viggo51 likes this.
  7. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    If the band has legit reasons for wanting to rehearse in ears (probably b/c the singer wants to hear himself in what would otherwise be a small loud space), I'd troubleshoot the problem before giving up on it. Yes, a studio quality DI and a better cab sim will improve the tone. But the thin and overdriven sound you describe in post #1 isn't just an issue of musician-grade DI tone. Something sounds like it's mismatched, broken, or not hooked up right.
    • What headphone amp are you using?
    • How are you routing signal from the mixer to your headphone amp?
    • Where is the signal clipping (at the bass channel's mixer input? in the channel strip? at the headphone amp input?)
    • Does the bass sound bassy in the other players' IEM mixes?
    • The Sony over-ear headphones also ought to be workable, as long as they fit you well. Test: listen to recorded music through them, and then gently press the ear pieces tighter to your ears. Does the bass get considerably stronger? If they're too loose, adjust 'em.
    allenhumble and pcake like this.
  8. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006
    Good ideas for troubleshooting. My IEMs provide stellar bass and feel. Bad tone is a result of something not right in the signal chain.
  9. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    Wisebass and SLO Surfer like this.
  10. Wissen


    Nov 11, 2007
    Central PA
    In a previous band, our rehearsal space was a studio recording room. At one point we had a PA set up for the singer to be able to shout over the drummer (who is the loudest drummer in the history of drummers). After losing our ears and the singer's voice twice a week, we went the headphone route. I made sure mine were noise isolating cans, because I had two full days of ringing after a practice once. We never looked back - everyone was happy....at least when it came to our practice setup. Everything else about the band sucked, which is why it is my "previous" band.
    Stumbo and Viggo51 like this.
  11. Viggo51

    Viggo51 Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2012
    Portland Oregon
    Thanks for all the replies and good advice. The project is no longer d/t singer/ songwriter passive aggressive ego. In the future if I am in a similar situation i will definatly use isolation headphones/ IEM and a cabinet simulator. Good news is that the drummer is open to other projects with me... I must not be that bad :)

    Stumbo and SLO Surfer like this.
  12. SaucyJackBass


    May 6, 2009
    We record every practice. I play bass through a DI, guitar amp is mic'ed in another room. Vocals have bleed through from drums, but we are all in headphones. Ears are very happy, plus we get to really hear what each of us wrote that night so we can continue to evolve songs.

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