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Bass Amp versus Direct Into PA

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bassman5001, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. Bassman5001

    Bassman5001 Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2012
    For practice, I have always played through my own separate bass amp. Recently, I have been using a VB 99 direct into the PA system, no separate amp. Our guitarist does the same. However, the settings, effects, EQ, etc. sound completely different (not as good) going direct into the PA in comparison to when I practice at home through my dedicated bass amp. My bass amp just sounds better. Has anyone had this experience?
  2. Yep. I hate doing it. I take a spare amp that fits in my gig bag (GB Shuttle 6.0) to gigs so I don't have to also. Ymmv, etc...
  3. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    The PA is probably far more accurate than your bass amp.

    Assuming you're hooked up to the PA correctly.

    Adjust the controls on the VB-99 until is sounds better on the PA. Save it as a preset.
  4. krstko


    Aug 29, 2011
    Cerknica, Slovenia
    Get a VT bass or something like that, it will make you sound better through PA. Or use DI out on your amp.
  5. Bassman5001

    Bassman5001 Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2012
    Seamonkey, you are probably right about the accuracy, however, going direct to the PA just does not have the tightness that my speaker cabs do...I am thinking of bringing one of my 2 10 cabs and putting a mic in front of it at a lower volume to compare.

    When you say, hooked up to the PA correctly, what do you mean?
  6. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Well the VB-99 has many outputs.
    Are you using the sub outs for the Mixer?
    What it sound like on (good) headphones - more like the PA or the Bass amp.
    There's a gain knob on the mixer and you may need to match the levels coming out of the VB-99 to what the mixer works best at. There may be line and mic level switch for the balanced in's in the PA.

    There is cabinet emulation on the VB-99 so you can emulate a 2x10, try it with good headphones. You should get the same sound out of the PA.

    When I read "tightness" I'm not sure quite what it means, but also check that the PA doesn't have a smiley face EQ on it. Lack of mids could take away from the sound.
  7. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I'm totally willing to compromise on rehearsal tone for clarity and convenience. We rehearse at low vol, sing acoustically. I'm playing through a 25 watt open back Rivera tube guitar amp. I honestly only care that I can hear myself and the guitar and the vocals.

    Imo -focus on getting it right in rehersal. Going near acoustic means there is no volume to hide behind. Volume tends to mask mistakes IME. If we can make it sound good quiet, making it aound good louder is a snap for us.
  8. Bassman5001

    Bassman5001 Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2012
    Yes, I am using the sub outs for the mixer. I have some Bose headphones and they actually sound very different than both the PA and bass amp. Just more "stereo". I will try and match the levels coming out of the VB 99 with the mixer, that may help. I have the EQ on the mixer set flat and use the EQ on the VB 99. Do you run direct to the PA?
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I love micing cabs, but it's a DI world for bass players unless they have 100% control of their gigs, so the more amplike you can make your DI line, the happier you will be. I'd keep working with it and tweak your sounds a little more for the DI, then have one thing you do for your amp and another for PA systems and recording direct.


    Mar 26, 2012
    I always feel that running through PA direct compresses the sound.
    where as amps just, well amplify the sound of the instrument, IMHO
    for a clean, flat, non-characteristic tone PA would be ok. It might be ok if you have an active eq so you can still get a nice tone or run a preamp/eq pedal before the board.. but most of the times running through PA leaves you at the mercy of the sound engineer for tone, and since you are already at his mercy for volume, who wants to do that?
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well make no mistake, you're always at the mercy of the soundman. You can make a change and he can easily cancel it out if he wants. But I hear you...sometimes I go out front and listen and want to make a change, and I like being able to do that before the DI. It's nice to be able to have some say over your tone in the house. But you do have to trust the soundman ultimately.


    Mar 26, 2012
    sad but true...
  13. FenderP


    May 7, 2005
    I used to be very anal about wanting to mic my amps - it's not like I have crap equipment. But after gigging for awhile you realize how the sound guy (or gal) controls your fate. I would fight them on DI for my bass and argue my amped sound was better. Some humored me. Others did not. At some point I realized that most of the audience didn't give a hoot about what amp I was playing through, either - except for the few gearheads. So I started letting go and used my sound for my onstage sound. A lot of your tone isn't just the amp; it's a combination of a lot of things. Amp choice is one component. Like others, I started using amp heads and/or pre-amps that I could get close to my tone BEFORE it went into the DI box. It was a happy medium.

    The only time that sound guys stopped worrying about my bass signal was when I used the Berg IP112. That needed no DI - it was plenty loud to fill a room. And when I had the extension cab to make it 1000 watts ... wowza! So if you want control of your rig, have something loud enough that you don't need to mic or DI it :)

    These days I'm back to mainly doing jazz and using one of my Ampeg Portaflexes (B-15 or B-18) or my Polytone.
  14. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Yes - straight into PA, using balanced outs from my interface to the board, if there is no PA I bring a setup just like a PA but smaller.

    If it sounds good through headphones or studio monitors I can get to sound good through the mini PA or FOH

    I don't own a VB-99 but Fokof does. Paging Fokof now... :D

    I've used an older V-Bass and it's a very capable system. The VB-99 leaves it far behind. There has got to be some tweaking to do, and using a real cab for comparison you should be able to get really close.

    Sometimes stereo can blend into mono and cancel out some frequencies, Maybe you need to switch the VB-99 to Mono.
  15. peledog


    Jul 9, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    DI from amp, POST setting - at least gets my mids to the PA - then the sound guy can do what he needs/wants for FOH - with the mids boost, I can hear my cab, plus I get a 'little' control over the sound I want to project for FOH. Meh, who am I kidding...lol!
  16. I've found that the nicer you are to the sound guys, the more likely they are to mic your cab.
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well I don't want to hijack the guy's thread with my problems ;) but it doesn't always work that way, even if you have a killer mic of your own and you're as charming as I am :rollno: Some will love it, some won't care, and some will rebel and use trickery and their own charm to get you to let them run a DI line along with the mic for the "blend," then they never use the mic and there goes your sound. So I say be prepared for the inevitable and get your DI sound poppin'.
  18. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    Couple of things about the VB99:

    If you listen to the VB99 through a bass amp , then that bass amp becomes your "reference", not good ........

    I personally practice through my studio speakers (JBL LSR) and do all the patch programming with that reference , so there is no surprise when plugged through a PA.
    Live , I use a RCF active kit.

    For your problem:
    Since you programed your patch with a bass amp as a reference , you'll probably have way too much hi and lows in the sub outs (XLR)
    Have you set the "main output select" in "Global" to "amp" or "amp with tweeter" ?
    That's the first thing to do , so the VB99 will apply an EQ to these output to compensate for everything you're missing with your bass amp.
    Do that , then you'll probably have to re-work your patches (sadly) but there will be less differences between these output.

    There are EQ in that section to work both output and you can save several preset if you often play in certain conditions.
    I have a preset for Home , for rehearsal space and for a couple of gigs I often do.

    If you have questions on the VB99 , PM me , I'll be glad to help

    Also check there:

    VGuitar Forums - Index

    Lots of useful info and I've posted patches of the VB99
  19. Bassman5001

    Bassman5001 Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2012
    Yes, using my amp as a reference for my patches is definitely one of my problems. Always find myself having to tweak sounds on the fly during rehearsal. Never thought to use my studio monitors as a reference. I will try that along with making sure the Global setting for the sub outs are set correctly. Do you set the out to Line/phones going direct to the PA or amp with tweeter?
  20. Wes Whitmore

    Wes Whitmore Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    I have been using a VB-99 direct to FOH for months now, and it has served me well. I worked with the Sub out to the FOH until I was happy with the sound and level going to the board. I stuck a GK 500MB in the rack to drive some cabs when I need them, which is at practices and home, and at guest shows where we cant use our IEMs. The cabs I use for personal monitors are colored in sound, and the FOH doesn't sound the same as the cabs. Both sound great, just different. The best cabs for these modeling amps is a decent PA speaker, preferably powered. If my gigs required stage sound (we are IEM), I would be shopping for a powered PA speaker. Still, your stage sound and the FOH sound will be a little different, but the VB-99 can save all those resettings so you just pull up what you need when you get to the particular venue. Long live the VB-99!