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Bass Amp to Mixer for Live Gig?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by dbogart, May 11, 2011.

  1. dbogart


    Sep 16, 2008
    Hi everybody.

    My band just started playing out and has had two gigs now.

    I am playing an old Dean 5 string (active i think) through a Hartke VX 3500.

    I have a few questions that have surfaced from a result of playing out.

    1. Do most of you playing in a bar or small tavern run your amp through the mixer as well? Or should i just play through my amp?
    It seems like the drummer had a slightly hard time hearing me. My volume was ok per the crowd.My amp has a direct XLR out.

    2. If you DO NOT recommend i use the mixer for my sound what should I do to get the drummer to hear me better? In other words, where is your amp facing when you are playing? Sometimes the space is tight....

    3. If you DO say to use the line from my amp to the mixer..aka-take adavantage of the monitors...what is the best cable or cord for this? I was messing around with an XLR out to XLR in and it seems like I have to crank the gain way up on my board on the channel I am using to get the appropriate signal....

    Thanks for your help-god knows I need it!

    Dave :bassist:
  2. TimmyP


    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    XLR to XLR, and make sure that phantom power is off on that board channel (some amps' DI outs don't like phantom, even though they should be designed so as to be immune from ill effects).

    Save one time, all the best bass tones I've heard were direct, with the bassist using a tiny amp or stage monitors for the band to hear the bass (and that one time, there was no deep bottom).
  3. It is best to go to the board with your XLR and the drummer should get a 15' monitor.
    The drummer is tucked away behind all of the speakers and can get a little disconnected without a monitor.
  4. dbogart


    Sep 16, 2008
    hmm. i am pretty sure our mackie dfx-12 mixer just has one phantom switch that applies to all channels.

    so you guys are saying do run the xlr from the amp to xlr to the mixer.

    i can daisy chain a little amp to the drummer from our powered monitors right?

    thanks for your advice!
  5. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    Bars and small taverns with a 350 410 combo cranking it out probably don't need PA support, and if you are going to run your bass through the FOH or monitors they had better be able to take it - usually means FOH with subs and a monitor with enough low frequency capability.

    I usually place my cab as far back as I can get it, hopefully just behind and slightly to one side of the drummer. If that's not possible, I angle the cab slightly towards him.

    Or, the easiest thing to do if you simply must get more bass to the drummer is use your Hartke to power a monitor like you would use an extension speaker (assuming that the amp will handle the resultant impedance), or use the DI to send a feed to the desk, route the drummers mix to an appropriate aux send and then to a powered monitor (alternatively, just run the DI straight from your amp to the monitor)

  6. Hey Dave,

    An easy option there would be to get a self-powered monitor wedge. You could feed it with a line out of your amp, and the monitor would have its own volume control. Throw it down by the drummer and he should be in business with his own dedicated bass monitor. Our band has an old Peavey active monitor that we use for this very purpose.

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Administrator, Tobias Club
    Pedulla Club #45
    Big Cabs Club #23
    My Rig: Stage and FOH Friendly

  7. Bassdirty


    Jul 23, 2010
    I still stand by my opinion that -whenever possible My bands always run everything through the mains.

    Now This DOES NOT NECESSARILY Mean that it is always screaming loud.

    It means that the "stage voulume" is reasonable.
    It means that the drummer/singer/guitarist(s) can all hear as much of anybody that they desire (without messin anyone else up)
    It means when the audience hears you, it sounds the same wether they're standing in front of the guitarist on the right, or the bassist on the left (yeah , like that happens;))
    It means that what the sound guy is listening to, (and making adjustments on) is what everybody in the place hears.(proper levels wise)

    I really cant stress it enough, that it does not mean the Volume is louder than if you didnt run through it.

    C'mon, you guys know how it is when you see a band(that doesnt do it), you walk from one side pass a main, and you hear some guy singing, and a little bass, and kick drum in background, then you continue past the bass player and hear his rig loudly beaming at you, and little else. then pass by the singer and hear nothing but the guitarists 12" speakers projecting straight at you...LOUD..*(you also notice that theres no people standing in that line if you follow tha path from the guitarists cab...all the way to tha back of the bar..except 3 drunk kids yellin..yeah..you rock)..then you get past that zone, and it quiets down again as you pass the other mains, and just hear the vocals (and kick, on the down beat)

    Run it all through.

    I really cant stress it enough, that it does not mean the Volume is louder than if you didnt run through it.
    Not sure if I said that already;)
  8. dbogart


    Sep 16, 2008
    ok guys. so I bought a DI box. I plan on using it between my bass guitar and bass amp.
    I will then hook up an XLR cord from the DI to the mixer. Not sure if this will help any of my gain issues on the mixer....also- I believe I can also run a 1/4' from the DI to my small practice amp for my drummer as a bass monitor?
  9. uhdinator


    Apr 20, 2010
    Your amp's pre amp volume effects it's Direct out volume. If you had to crank the mixer pre amp it means you are prob running your amp pre too low.

    Most sound guys prefer a DI before the amp anyway.

    Put your amp side stage, Turn your amp across stage instead of back stage facing forward. Everyone can hear better at lower volume too, especially if using a DI into PA. Your amp is your instrument monitor.
    Nothing worse than a half stack pointed at the mixer overpowering the PA.
  10. dbogart


    Sep 16, 2008
    really? put the amp facing side stage? that is something i would have never done, but you guys know more then i do..........
  11. uhdinator


    Apr 20, 2010
    Read some live sound reinforcement books. Many mention this and using amp stands to tilt amps up as well.

    If you're going thru a PA with everything it allows you to get the sweet spot where you as the performers are standing and keeps the volume reasonable. Try playing standing beside your amp. Not so good right. That's what the drummer hears if your amp is on the back wall facing forward and the drummer is beside it and he has to hear it Over his drums!

    It also makes the mix a little clearer not having stage amps pointed right into the vocal mic's.
  12. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA

    solarfly likes this.
  13. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    I would love to have a 15' monitor, but a 15" would probably do just fine (lol on the stonehenge reference). Does your DI out on your amp have a level knob? I know the one on my svt3 does, and it also has a pre/post selection. You could run the out to a board, and use a monitor feed from the board, but at a bar that might be a luxury. If you get a little powered monitor, you could send the DI out straight into the powered monitor for a feed just for your drummer. I usually just angle my ass cab 45 degrees in the back corner of the stage when I'm playing a small bar with no PA support for bass.
  14. THIS!
    Put your bass in the PA for the crowd, and use your amp to help everyone hear you on the stage.
    The low frequencies from your amp will still help fill the room (depending on your levels) so pay particular attention to rolling the lows off in the FOH system to get a good balanced tone.

    We have a pretty big FOH and monitor system but still shoot the bass amp sideways across the stage so all the musicians can hear it. Dead simple, and it works,
    If only I could get the guitarist to do the same with his Marshall!
  15. dbogart


    Sep 16, 2008
    No I do not have a level set on my amp's DI output.

    On another note guys I was talking to a bass player last night who was in a pretty good band we were watching last night. I told him my issues with the PA and he asked me if the PA speaker were passive or active. I told him mine were passive and he said the speakers probably just were not capable of handling the bass....:eyebrow:
  16. Your rig needs to be on the hi-hat side of the drummer, position it so you are comfoetable hearing it and you can angle it slightly towards the drummer. If the set up leaves the gear in front of the drummer then a powered speaker rig would help the drummer especially when he could control the gains. If the players don't have the experience to maintain a good stage volume I'd suggest that the monitors be kept at a level where they need to pay attention to their monitors because loud, clearly heard monitors can be an easy excuse to crank up the stage. When the volume erases tone and touch on stage then its to loud! When you begin micing up the best way to reinforce your stage mix is to be smart about volumes, when you learn the use of dynamics the need to be loud deminishes. Extreme loudness is to gain attention and have the audiance focus on the stage the best way to gain an audiances interest is to have a tight rhythm section and a band that buys into using dynamics. When a lead is begining the band slightly comes down (volume) as the lead nears its completion maybe the section comes up and gets ready to move back down as the vocals get ready to come in. Thats dynamic and the monitors don't need to be screamin and the band takes on a polished sound and becomes instantly tighter. Good luck, accents work great for dynamics whether climbing up or decending. The drummers monitor placement can reduce gains also, height and angle might enable the gains to be at a lesser volume. Doc.

    my preference for bass reinforcement is to use a mic. for now a D.I might be the way to go but down the road a mic. specificly for a bass quitar rig is the way to go. An old Syn. 421 works well and the old akg D is another solid performer. Both can be bought in good used condition for about 85.00, good investment.
  17. dbogart


    Sep 16, 2008
    last night at practice i used a little practice amp fed to drummer from my hartke vx-3500. it worked ok. i bought a seperate direct input box and it still isnt producing a good signal to my mixer. i then tried instrument to mixer and still no good signal at board. bass to amp works fine. weird.

    our biggest problem now seems to be balancing out our two guitarists. really tough. volume gets too loud and it all goes muddy. Doctor Dirt-understood about dynamics. makes total sense.

    i think a big issue is our 2nd guitarist is practically deaf. he cranks it up and all else turns to crap.
  18. peledog


    Jul 9, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    XLR to XLR balanced

    Go post-EQ from your amp's DI

    Then tweak the mids so your on-stage sound can be heard by you and your bandmates, since the FOH will be mixed with more low end.
  19. I always go to the mixer when using an amp it is easier for the sound man to lock everything in and the drummer gets you in the monitor.

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