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Can't hear a thing on stage

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pointbass, Nov 10, 2004.


  1. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    I'm fairly new to TB and have been enjoying reading through all of the threads. Since it seems that there are a lot of pretty knowledgeable players in here, maybe someone can help me out.

    I play a lot of festival type settings, open air locations with big crowds. A lot of the venues have decent sound systems with good monitors, but many do not. When the monitors are lousy, I can't hear myself clearly without turning up on stage and blowing out the rest of the band.

    Okay, maybe it's because I'm 2 days older than dirt and after 40 years of pounding out the funk my hearing is shot (advice to young guys .... protect your hearing), but I need to try to find an answer.

    So, the question is; What is a decent bass monitor that I can hook up for my own purposes? I've tried moving the amp, tipping it up, turning it around, whatever, and nothing helps. Just for info, I'm using pretty stock stuff, Hartke 3500 with a VX410 & 115, usually a Fender Jazz 5 or an Ibanez SR505.

    Anybody willing to help out an old guy? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Sounds like you need a dedicated bass monitor. Look into a Mesa Bass Wedge (2x10's in a monitor cabinet), but you could also check out standard PA monitors. Some, if not all, should be able to give you a fairly accurate signal and suitable volume.

    The other option is to go with an in-ear monitoring system which takes a signal from your bass amp and, via a wireless transmitter, goes to a set of earphones. These work really well. Most wireless manufacturers (Samson, Shure, Carvin, Sennheiser, Nady, etc.) deal with in-ear systems.
     
  3. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    Maybe a change in Tone? I had the same problem about a year ago. I sat down with my guitar player while he played I fiddled with my EQ a tad, not enough to make a difference to the layperson but a big difference in audibility on stage.

    I have also used the Eden 210MBX for personal monitoring on the big stages and it works great.
     
  4. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I would have to vouch for in-ear systems. I got to use one the other day, and in my next band I think it'll be an investment. It's kindof awkward at first, because for me at least, hearing the bass loudly in one ear, and everything you'd usually hear in the other is weird, but you adapt fairly quickly. I don't know what brand or model I was using but I give in-ears my thumbs up...

    Ray
     
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Are you telling us that if you stand only a foot away from your 410 stacked on top of your 115 you can't hear it?

    If so, noone can help you :rollno:
     
  6. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    He could be saying that, but I what I got from his post was that that would end up drowning out the rest of the band, much alike just turning up.

    Ray
     
  7. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Good info so far, thanks.

    It's not that I can't hear at all, but it all sounds very muddy. Like I said, it could just be that the ear drums are shot (recent doctor visit found damage in my mid-range hearing).

    I knew I should have listened to my mother and become a priest instead of following the demon-devil rock & roll :meh:
     
  8. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    I would save some money and try the tone adjust first. I have moderate hearing damage also, and I got the molded ear plugs a few years ago and they work great. They also bring out the bass frequency so that may be an option as well. They aren't cheap ($250) but they are well worth it.
     
  9. Keep in mind, that bass frequencies (the low end) are lost in an outdoor environment. Don't even think you'll be able to boom it up outside. When you're turning up, you're amp is over-working to reproduce the lowest freq's and that's where the mud is coming from. 1st thing I do when outside is drop all my subsonics (60hz and below) and boost my low mids (250hz). This tends to help with punch and audibility (sp?), and frees my amp to go louder without wasting power on the lowest notes.
     
  10. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    Exactly.
     
  11. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Someone else suggested the ear plugs, but I resisted, thinking they would only mess things up more. I appreciate you sharing your experience, only another player can understand the problem.
     
  12. Lync

    Lync Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    NY
    I agree with firkinahsoul! Even if you don't go the custom route, regular ear plugs will help you hear yourself. It will sound weird at first, but you'll be able to hear yourself much better (an advantage from carrying the low end). Plus, it will save whatever hearing you have left.

    Lync
     
  13. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    The earplugs I have make it seem like I am listening to the radio at our rehearsals which are louder than HELL. They add a little boost in the lows which is great for me. If you sing backup vocals it helps tremendously in hearing yourself, my pitch has never been better.
     
  14. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    You see, this is why I need you guys! All this new-fangled technology :D In the old days, an Ampeg B-15 was loud!

    Interesting thoughts on dropping the sub and boosting the mid, sound contradictory at first blush but makes real sense as you think about it.
     
  15. secretdonkey

    secretdonkey

    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Good advice, all around. Seems like every stage sounds different, even when you're standing close to your amp, and the first thing I adjust - and usually the only thing I have to adjust - is the low end. I agree with whoever said that the first thing you try should be to roll off some of the low end and maybe add some mids, depending on where your sound is now. I've had people borrowing my 900w 8x10 rig make it virtually inaudible onstage by scooping out all the mids, and I've committed the same sin, to a lesser extent, myself. :)
     
  16. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    I use a 1-15" wedge monitor, and put it right next to my
    vocal monitor. I plug it into the 2nd output channel of my
    Eden WT-800. This way I have my own 3 channel mix:
    My 4-10 pointing toward the audience, my 1-15 monitor
    folding back toward me, and the rest of the band in monitor 2.
    It helps to have a monitor submix with plenty of busses, that way I can get any combination of the entire band in
    monitor 2. I actually have very little coming off the 4-10, I just send a line out of the amp and let the PA do most of the work so the guitar players don't get overwhelmed by bass onstage and start complaining, as a lot of the stages we play on rumble and vibrate like crazy if fed too much low end.
    Eden now makes a 2-10 wedge, It's called the D-210MBX I think, I'm probably going to go that route next year.

    Slug
     
  17. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    It's a nice cabinet.
     
  18. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    Of course another suggestion if you do a lot of large outdoor gigs, is to have everyone turn down their onstage volume and let the PA do the work out front. Nobody past the first few
    rows is gonna hear what's coming out of the bass and guitar amps anyway...Volume wars never produce a winner, but they do start a lot of arguments...

    Slug
     
  19. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Obviously, you need more power... and more cabs.
     
  20. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    pointbass, I see on Eden's site that they offer a wedge monitor for bass guitar.

    I'm 41 and I've had the same problems hearing myself; Mostly because my bandmates play so darn loud. I know I have a slight bit of hearing loss too, as I have mild tinnitus. I wear Westone custom molded earplugs which actually cut out a lot of the distortion and noise. It seems I can hear my bass better with my earplugs in.

    Young guys, as pointbass stated, it's wise to protect your hearing.

    Another thing I've had to do is boost my mids slightly to cut through the wall of sound my bandmates' produce. The mid boosting really helps IMO.

    It would be nice to play with people who don't play so loud, but I can't complain about the money and how frequently we gig.

    -Art