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Cabs on both sides for small gigs with no PA?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Nephilymbass, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. Title pretty much says it but I’ll elaborate. My bands been playing originals gigs with full PA provided by the venues for 17 years. More recently we’ve started doing some acoustic/cover gigs. For these shows we’re bringing our own small PA with two newer QSC powered tops and a wireless mixer for acoustic guitars and vocals and putting the cabs far enough back so we can hear them. I’m using my normal bass rig with two ampeg cabs a cable and a clip on tuner instead of bringing my pedalboard and the drummer isn’t amplified at all. I probably have an odd reason for it, I want to be able to hear my backup vocals better without losing volume of the bass out front, but I’m considering running one cab on each side of the drums. I ask you guys if you’ve done it and howd it work out because I haven’t played a gig with cabs on both sides of the stage in a while. I’d have to buy a longer speaker cable to even try it. At the moment we really don’t want to make the setup more complicated with monitors or pa subs so running one a cab on each side of the drums was suggested.
  2. Bad mojo.
    With cabs seperated horizontally, there can be multiple places out front where your bass might cancel out.
    Stack em vertically is the preferred method. Having them play closer to your ears than your knees is the way to hear yourself better.
  3. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    For what you're describing, as long as volume levels don't get out of hand, it should work just fine.
    Fletz and Nephilymbass like this.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Keep your cab as close to the center of the stage as possible, aim for the center of the audience. You will be fine.
    4dog and Nephilymbass like this.
  5. I don’t want to hear bass better I want to hear my vocals better would phasing issues be a problem that far apart? How do pa subs not have issues spaced out like that?
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2017
  6. I understand, but do you want everyone in the audience to hear your bass the same at all points in the room?
  7. Phase issues will be the same regardless of volume.
  8. Absolutely I just didn’t expect that response. I’m essentially using bass rig as pa because bass isn't going into the pa at all for these gigs. I would think that would be a bigger issue with running cabs side by side not 10-15 feet apart because all the gigs I play with full pa the pa subs are spread out like that. Seems weird but I don’t know that’s why I was asking. Thanks
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I think you are overthinking, that's all. Bass disburses laterally.
  10. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Yes, but there are many other factors effecting phase issues in a live environment than just cab placement.
    In general phase cancellation issues are overwrought forum fodder.
  11. Yeah maybe I just need to suck it up and buy some in ears to hear vocals better.
    Robb Fesig, Rip Van Dan and makaspar like this.
  12. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Or just a cheap wedge, depending on your budget and frequency of need.
    smogg and Nephilymbass like this.
  13. I think if you can't hear your own vocals, you should find a solution that addresses that without compromising your bass. An In-Ear monitor might be worth looking at.
  14. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    They already don't.

    People way overthink this stuff. Yes, if you are the FOH engineer for Peter Gabriel's world tour, you will be working with arrays of cardioid subs and all that. For an acoustic set at Mean Mugs Coffee Hut, it's fine putting the bass cabs on either side of the drums.

    Your cabs volume will drop off fairly quickly, meaning someone standing closer to one than the other shouldn't experience much cancellation. If your cab is putting out 99db at 1m (3 feet), at about 3m (10 feet), it's lost about 10db, or half the volume. So anyone standing more than 7 feet further away from one cab than the other should experience little or no cancellation/reinforcement. But you also have walls, floor, ceiling, etc... in the venue that are reflecting back waves that will cancel/reinforce everything in a different way in every possible audience location in the place (unless you're outside in an open field basically). So trying to control for every last one is a fools errand. All you can do is setup the best you can, and EQ things to try to adjust for the best overall sound in as many places in the room as possible, knowing that some spots will be great and some may be decidedly less than great. Such is the nature of live music. At low volumes though it shouldn't be a huge problem.

    One thing you could try although it would add a bit more gear would be to run the other cab off another cab and high pass it at some point. Experiment with frequency to find what works best with your tone, the size of the venue, your bass tone, etc... That will keep the low lows more like a point source (other than the aforementioned wall reflections, etc...) while still spreading the rest of your sound around the room a bit.
    craigie and Nephilymbass like this.
  15. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    PA subs are typically placed in the center.
    Aqualung60 and Nephilymbass like this.
  16. I don't want all my bass going to the subs anyway. I'd want to play bass, not sub bass.
  17. muddycreek


    Feb 26, 2010
    Anything might work. But I'm having trouble understanding how bass cabinets on each side of the drums helps you hear your vocals. Because you're going to hear less bass, and thus hear the vocals better?

    My first thought is vertical stacked close to the drummer or middle of the stage, aimed at the middle of the room, get your volume appropriate to the room, and "mix" your bass vs. vocals by standing closer to or farther from one or the other.

    At one point, for smaller gigs like this, I brought a cheap little mixer, put a mic in the kick drum, and ran the mixer in the effects loop of the amp. That way I could blend a little kick into my rig, which then effectively became the "sub" for us and helped balance the drums. There's some gain staging to pay attention to, but it beat bringing more gear. You could actually do the same thing with an extra input and unused aux out on the board you brought for vocals.
    mikewalker and Nephilymbass like this.
  18. I understand what you are saying. And don't dispute your decibel loss figures except that the 99 db SPL at one meter, is with the cab powered with one watt. SPL is db at 1 meter at 1 watt. As the power increases, the actual SPL numbers will too, though the relative drop of will be like what you described.
    But with seperated cabs, don't you just have 99 db in two locations (reflections and phasing aside) rather than one focused radiator system at roughly 102 db SPL?
  19. Exactly what we were thinking. But like I said I dont have a long enough speaker cable at the moment to try it so I figured I’d ask about it.
  20. muddycreek


    Feb 26, 2010
    I actually think the reflections and phasing are the main difference. Reflections and phasing aside (again at one watt) you've got a total of 102 dB going on in the room. If you're the same distance from both sources, the phase relationships will be the only difference.

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