Better bass amp -> better sound from PA??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by starrywave, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. starrywave


    Apr 23, 2012
    Hi! I've been searching and reading TB forum for good 3 hours and finally registered! And here is my first post/question.

    I play bass at my church and our current set-up is

    Bass(active)->Crate bx40(40 watt amp from mid 90s)->line out to DI-> PA -> Main speakers

    Church has been upgrading praise band's gear recently and I have about $300-400 to spend for improvement of bass sound. (They spent most of the money on buying new keyboards and drum.. and yeah.. im left with 300-400 budget)

    So my question is this!
    Should I spend that money on getting a better Bass combo amp? I researched some in my price range and am thinking about getting GK's MB-115 combo amp.

    However Im wondering if getting a better bass amp is gonna make any difference to the sound that come out from main speakers. I m sure I ll get better on-stage sound but not sure if 40w->200w amp upgrade affects signal to PA.

    If amp upgrade dosent help much with sound from Main speakers, should I opt for getting bass DI/preamp like Eden WTDI and use our current bass amp as mornitor? Would this improve the sound from main?

    * we don't have good sound engineer at our church at the moment..

    Thank you!
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    If most of your house sound is coming through the PA, then getting a new combo isn't going to help. I'd opt for a high quality DI. Also, 300-400 really isn't enough to net you much of an improvement from what you already have.
  3. How well do you hear yourself with the little combo? You could go for a sansamp deluxe and keep using the combo if it's enough.

    Otherwise you're on the right track with a small combo with a good DI. Too much rig makes a mess of the house sound.
  4. Depends how big your PA is. A lot of smaller PA speakers are rubbish for bass. If the room is small enough to be carried by the stage sound then IMO you should upgrade your combo. .... Get a combo with a decent DI/preamp and have the best of both worlds.
  5. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass Inactive

    Apr 9, 2009
    I would get the MB115 since it not only will sound WAY better, but GK’s have a nice direct out sound from my experience. If there’s a reason for removing you from the FOH mix, you’ll still have enough to Rock the Church!

  6. Good point. I assumed getting by with 40w meant there is already significant PA in the joint.
  7. starrywave


    Apr 23, 2012
    Thank you all for the replies!

    Our church is somewhat old/traditional building that looks more like cathedral (with high ceiling). guess it can accomodate about 150 ppl. PA speakers we use are two JBL jrx 115 (15'' 250w). No subwoofers.

    I'm worried that if I were to buy stronger combo amp and use it without help of PA system onstage sound will be unbalanced (full of bass).

    SO should I get MB 115 and use it as mornitor onstage and use its xlr out to PA? Getting this amp (which has more power and more decent/recent electronics including xlr out) will improve the sound of main system? Do better amps has better way of transferring signals from bass to mixer/PA? Or are they basically all the same?

    I'm full of questions today. I've only played bass and never looked deep into sound system or how to improve sound in general.. I see a long way to go!
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Yeah, you likely would get a better tone out of a better combo's XLR, but how much better is debatable. I know nothing about the Crate's XLR, but old practice amp XLR outs tend to not be the best of quality. Still, they do work and get the job done, as you've seen. $300 and $400 combos generally are a little better with the XLR but some are better with it than others.

    So in other words, that's up for you to decide if it's worth it.
  9. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Can you hear yourself properly? If so, you probably don't need a new amp.

    If you don't spend the money, do you lose it? Or can you carry it over to next year and have a bigger budget?

    If you are worried about the sound in the FOH, assuming you can hear yourself, I would just get a nice DI.
  10. starrywave


    Apr 23, 2012
    Thanks for the reply!

    The crate amp that I'm using dosent have direct xlr OUT. I connec its line out jack to simple DI box then to mixer/PA.

    I have no problem mornitoring myself with this amp but bass sound from main is bit poor (this maybe due to absence of good sound engineer tho).

    I guess investing in a good preamp/DI box will have more influence on the sound quality of mains rather than upgrading to slightly better combo amp.

    I just searched some and read reviews and narrowed my options down to..

    EDEN WTDI and Aguilar Tone Hammer !

    any thoughts on this??
  11. Sav'nBass


    Jan 18, 2009
    Virginia Beach
    This.. Plus and someone correct me if I am wrong but unless you either have a good PA or a sound an who knows what he is doing often getting good bass sound from the PA can be problematic depending on the size of the room. I struggled for years at my church once I got a decent head because I was going through the DI with the amp set for POST EQ so by the time it hit the speakers what sounded great on the platform was boomy and very buddy. Now I go PRE EQ through the DI on my head and I have most of the sound coming from my 212 with the rest augmented over the PA but the bulk of the overallntone is coming from the platform which is IMO better anyway.
  12. +1 get the GK. It'll have a better DI & you'll be stoked with yr sound.
    Ime, that leads to better playing also :)
  13. sricks3


    Dec 6, 2007
    Augusta, GA
    The general consensus here - that a $300-400 amp upgrade won't significantly improve your PA sound - is probably true. I would also agree with BurningSkies' recommendation of finding a decent DI box. Stick that DI between your bass and your amp, and use the parallel out to go to your amp while the xlr runs to the PA.

    This is solid advice UNDER ONE MAIN CONDITION. Do you like the sound of your bass? If so, you're golden. If not, your $300-400 dollars will be better spent (in this situation) on a bass that you like and a decent, traditional DI.
  14. Sav'nBass


    Jan 18, 2009
    Virginia Beach
    I dunno about that .. he has a 40W Crate Bx40 ... If anything a GKMB115 would give him more power and tonal possibilities where he wouldn't have to push the amp so hard and perhaps depend on the PA more for augmentation than to be heard at all. I was in a similar situation with a SWR La-15 a few years back.. and that was a better amp than the one he now has.. I say if the church is going to pay for it upgrade and don't look back. I had to do my own upgrade at my church.
  15. Yep. I''d rather have a good tone & enough power onstage & have a PA like the one stated 'augment' my sound, than rely on a possibly poor sound man & ok front of house speakers to provide it all.
    But-just my 2c
  16. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass Inactive

    Apr 9, 2009
    Exactly. Use the PRE-EQ on the GK direct out and it’s a clean balanced signal for the PA guy to work with. Maybe not quite as good as an expensive direct box but good enough. POST-EQ is fine if you and your sound guy establish some guidelines, but that means he’s a good sound man AND he trusts you. I had plenty of sound guys run a line from my old GK 700rb with no complaints. Most just want PRE-EQ on so there’s no spikes if I started twisting knobs. DUMP THE CRATE. Good stage sound is also important. The GK is probably lighter than that old dumpy Crate to boot.
  17. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member


    I lived the OP's situation for years. Those JBL's are decent speakers, but without a sub, they're best reserved for midrange and treble instruments. A sub would be ~$1K, so that's out.

    A better DI is a waste with at system, too, since the JBL's desperately need some help at the low end. I say, get the G-K combo.

    The G-K's acoustic output will work to reinforce the PA, getting the bass out into the room without stressing the FOH speakers. The vocals will sound better once you stop making the FOH speakers do the heavy lifting for the bass guitar. Be sure to mention that, so that the sound guy will be listening for the improvement. With him onside, it will easier to sell your idea.

    The G-K's pre-EQ DI is a plus, too. The line out from the Crate is post-EQ, and tuned to suit a dinky combo speaker. A heavily scooped and bass-boosted signal is the last thing those JBL's need.

    Using the G-K DI will give the sound guy a better signal, and allow him to sneak a bit of clean, solid bass back into the FOH mix, if he's got enough headroom left. And if he doesn't, well hey, at least you've got the G-K!

    The secret in these situations is to establish a rapport with the sound guy. Establish hand signals so he can tell you if you're too loud or too soft. This gives him confidence, makes him feel like he's in control, and gives him a sense that you've got his back. As a team, you can accomplish far more than either of you could alone.
  18. Can you talk keys and drummers into giving it up for a sub system?