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Bass Amp or Generic Sound System

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by CraigG, Mar 14, 2006.


  1. CraigG

    CraigG

    Mar 14, 2006
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    Recently I surfed to a professional, internationally known bass player's web site and saw that, rather than a "bass-specific" amplifier system he uses a Crown sound reinforcement amplifier and speaker cabinet.

    This started me wondering if there are advantages in going with sound reinforcement components (amp/cab) over a bass-specific system. Certainly a sound reinforcement system wouldn't have bass specific effects and tone shaping that might be common on a bass amplifier. But if you have those things in outboard form, are there other benefits in staying with a bass-specific system?

    I am particularly interested in hearing from anyone who has gone the route of using a sound reinforcement system over a bass specific amplification rig.

    Craig
     
  2. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    The biggest GOTCHA of using PA cabs is that most full-range cabs are designed without woofers of sufficient xmax, since the assumption is that any heavy reinforcement of lower frequencies will involve the use of subwoofers (and crossovers - usually active).

    Nevertheless, in the past I've used compact 2- and 3-way cabs and some can deal just fine with bass guitar - and can be even better if biamping with a compact sub for the lowest content. They often have flatter response and better polar response, but hey - where do you put your rack or head on some of those designs? ; }
     
  3. ESP-LTD

    ESP-LTD

    Sep 9, 2001
    Idaho
    As far as amps are concerned, there is no downside. A good power amp works fine for either application.

    I think the difference in speakers is one of specialization. A bass cab doesn't need to do much beyond 5k or so (+/- 2k) while it does need a lot of excursion on low end. You can get there with PA cabs but it may take several, while you might do the same with a single bass cab. If money is no object and you have a crew to carry your gear I see nothing wrong with PA cabs.
     
  4. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    In my opinion Bass systems are all hype. Everything is based on claims, subjective opinions, endorsements. A popular bass system will be one that colors the sound somehow, For example one might comes out of the box with a smiley curve built in. It's not meant to be full range and usually doesn't need to be. If you stick with a single bass sound, there's something to be said for just a quick, easy to setup system that's colored to give the expected bass sound.

    Pro Sound is totally different. You can actually find specs on a sound reinforcement gear. You can "design" a system based on the specs and get good results. You can see specs for SPL, including low end response to determine what you need for levels you're after. Since they typically flat you can EQ and signal process to get the expected bass sound.

    If you do or plan to do any modeling you need a fullrange prosound like cabinet as modeling will take advantage of many different frequencies to model the different cabinets.

    Personally I'll stick with combo for convenience on small gigs, and pro-sound for larger. The "combo" I have now is actually a small prosound self powered speaker, but I'll probably switch to a bass combo so I don't have to carry around a pre-amp.
     
  5. WalterBush

    WalterBush

    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    The pro sound community would disagree with you on this. They have the same problems with fuzzy specs and exaggerated claims that any other audio industry does. Just ask the guys at prosoundweb, Live Sound International, Mix online, etc.
     
  6. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Yeah, there might be some bitching on that side of the divide, but the gap between the SR market and the basscentric one is huge. They'd be running back for their lands as fast as they could once they experienced what it's like on this side.

    And their legs would probably die, because it's a loooooooooooooong way.
     
  7. WalterBush

    WalterBush

    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az

    Yeah, our situation's much worse, to be sure. I haven't seen any Meyer Sound or JBL ads claiming that their line array has magic tone voodoo that will get you the girls lately , and the SR market doesn't seem too concerned with vintage recreations of yesteryear's PA...

    This may be because someone willing to spend 1/2 million bucks on a PA for a tour probably has a legal department :)
     
  8. CraigG

    CraigG

    Mar 14, 2006
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    Thanks to all of you for the responses. I have wondered about how easily a bass head can color the natural sound of my bass. When I see some bass amp manufacturers promote how their amps allow the natural sound of one's bass to come through it has made me think, if natural sound is desireable then why not just get a pro sound system amp for less? Again, this has been really helpful insight.

    If any of you have recommendations regarding specific sound system speaker cabs that would work for a custom bass rig, please feel free to share.

    Craig
     
  9. SteveC

    SteveC Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    After playing at church today (DI to a nice PA and monitor system - no bass-specific gear anywhere) and loving hw my bass sounds I again wonder the same thing. I almost always play with a PA and really only need a nice wedge monitor for myself. Why not get a nice SR type cab and call it good.