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"Bi-Amping Is A Terrible Idea for A Bass Rig"

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Stev187, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Stev187

    Stev187 Peavey MegaBass Club!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Toledo, OH
    Not my words. I was browsing through some music books and came across Glenn Letsch's Stuff Good Bass Players Should Know, which contains about a page and a half a page of detailed experience with bi-amping. Quote:
    "Bi-amping is a great idea for an audiophile's ultimate home stereo but a terrible idea for a bass rig. Simply put, it does not work for live band applications."​

    I don't have the rest of the book in front of me, but his experience and analysis was interesting.

    Now, I ran a bi-amp rig back in the early 90s and liked it. But the part of Letsch's story that grabbed me is that the rig sounded good to him on stage but got lost in the mix for the rest of the band. I never experimented with bi-amp/full-range with this particular rig.

    At any rate, I know there are lots of threads about bi-amping, but I wanted to specifically start out with Letsch's quote and get people's reactions. The rest of the book looked pretty good to me. If I recall, his conclusion is that subs are a better idea than bi-amping. Now, he's a big stadium guy and I will never play places that big. Back in the day I played medium-sized clubs and the occasional festival stage. My bi-amp rig seemed fine to me. What are your thoughts?

  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Its BS.

    Its a terrible idea if a bass player is bi-amping and doesn't know enough about cross over usage, but otherwise the notionn that its not good for bass players is ridiculous.
    Polfuste, maestrovert and Jim Nazium like this.
  3. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    Biamping is as good as you make it. It's a but outdated now, though.
    Munjibunga likes this.
  4. JimWasHere


    Sep 8, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Like all other things in... Everything. Know what you're trying to accomplish, the learn how to do it, then do it, then see if it really made a difference, or if you're just imagining results.

    Rinse. Repeat.

    A lot of this comes from understanding and being able to work with the other musicians, the PA/engineer, and the room. This is no small thing.
  5. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    Bi-amping should be perfectly legit if you know how to use it properly. Most sound reinforcement should be bi-amped.
  6. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Bi-amping can work very well with the right choice of speakers. But there are no bi-amp engineered speakers offered by the usual sources.
  7. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    To elaborate, I think the most common problem people have is thinking "15s are for lows, and 10s are for highs" and incorrectly using the full-range cabs in a bi-amp setup, and end up not getting the most out of their setup.
    TMARK likes this.
  8. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    Bill, do you think the Eminence Kappalite LFs would suffice as a good choice?
  9. JimWasHere


    Sep 8, 2010
    Portland, OR
    + a lot

    The sound reinforcement stuff that is biamped, at least at the pro sound level, each component has a specific purpose, and a lot of homework goes into making sure everything fits together sonically. It really makes a big difference in that case.

    Exactly. Very few bass cabs are engineered for only a part of the frequency spectrum. So you really have to either experiment or understand your cabs and crossover in order to get the most out of the entire endeavor.
  10. will33


    May 22, 2006
    I biamp all the time using speakers that were designed for it....works great. I also used to try it with regular bass cabs....didn't work out so good. The guy is making such huge generalizations, I don't think he really knows much about biamping. He probably tried it with the wrong type of speakers, didn't like it, and said biamping sucks.
    Mvilmany and maestrovert like this.
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    My sound is good enough running full range that bi-amping isn't worth the hassle, even if it sounds "better."
    interp likes this.
  12. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    bi-amping bis a terrible idea for those technically challenged.
  13. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Pretty sure anyone who DIs is often using biamping at least, PA systems have loads of that going on.
    Darkonar likes this.
  14. That's ludicrous. He probably didn't fiddle with it long enough. Apparently not as much as Geddy, Squire, Sheehan, etc
    solarfly and Darkonar like this.
  15. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    They're an excellent choice for lows. But AFAIK no commercial cabs exist that are engineered to work only above 1kHz or so where you'd want to cross over from a Kappalite LF driver.
  16. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Do any of them actually biamp? Pretty sure they mostly just use two amps, not the same thing.
  17. Bi-amping is a tool, just like a tone stack, a compressor or a thumb rest. You either like what it does or you don't. The others are right though, there's a reason 90 percent of all SR systems are multi-amped. On the bass however, the public has spoken and found that bi-amping as built into the average head and speaker set-up is not a tool they feel they need. For that reason I prefer the term "out of favor" instead of "out of date".

    Electrical multi-amping in SR adds fidelity/coherence and speaker protection. Bass amps though, are not Hi-fi. They color the sound of the bass by design and it's up to the bassist to find the colors that suit his style/ear/touch/band.

    topcat2069 likes this.
  18. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    You don't need to biamp if you buy one of those cabs where they cram about four different sized drivers into the same giant box and show some pics on the web site of some metal guys who force the help to haul that type of kit around.

  19. PersonalTraynor


    Jan 14, 2011
    Lady parts, Canada
    peaveyTraynor freakazoid...
    Whoa! All the fearful hype IS quite annoying, but take it easy man! lol :p
    Darkonar likes this.
  20. dmrogers

    dmrogers Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Eastman, GA
    Here is the portion of the manual that the OP is referring to:
    I thought I would put the full text up so posters could read the whole article.

    He was still using a crossover, this time with two power amps, and he was still splitting the signal. He used the same four 4x10 cabs. He wasn't actually using a sub as we think of subs.

    This book has a copyright of 2008, but doesn't mention when Mr. Letsch actually compiled the information in it.

    Actually the book has some pretty good information in it.