Church Rig

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Joe Smithberger, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    Question for the church basists on the board:

    What size rigs/combos are you playing?
    How big is the room you're playing in?
    Do you run through the house sound system or stand alone?
    If your group has a drummer, is he/she playing regular acoustic drums or electronics?

    Our praise band is moving to a new service and a new location. The new space is better for projecting a sound from, but I'm waffling on how much gear to bring in. Previous to this, my rig was mostly for monitoring my sound (both for me and the band). It had to be heard over the drums but not necessarily through the whole space. In our new location, the room is working more with us. If I am loud enough to hear myself over the drums, I am also just about loud enough to cover the room - not great definition but the bass is everywhere. The decision then is to pull out of the PA and just do it myself. It's a big space with lots of tile, 40 ft ceilings, and 1200 people in it.

    What are you folks doing in your situations?
  2. LoJoe


    Sep 5, 2002
    Concord, NC USA.
    I used to play with an SWR Workingman 12 with the XLR out feeding the house PA. Our sanctuary is slightly larger than a gym and we play on a raised stage at one end. I had to drop the amp and rely on a stage monitor due to constant battles with the guy at the soundboard who always thought I was too loud. He wanted total control and couldn't have that with my amp. We also tried an acoustic drum set, again with the same issue, the sound guy had no control and admittedly, it was way too loud without a plexigas shield. The singers complained that their ears were ringing. Mine were ringing too. Our drummer is now confined to a Roland electronic set, which he hates. Now we run everything through the board only. No on stage amps for me, or the guitar players. The soundguy is happy, the congregation seems happy. I now struggle with being able to hear myself through the mix in the small stage monitors so I am considering some kind of in ears monitoring setup to remedy this. But hey, I have to remember, when playing in church, it's not about me. We're just trying to make a joyful noise...

  3. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    I play in about a 200 person church. I used to use a Eden Traveller with a 410 ampeg. Now I use in ear monitoring with DI going to the house system. So I rely entirely on the PA. Soundmen love me so I can't complain.
  4. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    I go direct with a radial DI, and I use a headphone amp to mix my signal with the monitor mix in my head set. THe drums are rolands, and he also uses headsets.
    I done it with the on-stage amp, and it's just not worth it. I like headphones so much better, and v-drums are the way to go too.
  5. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sometimes you're the dog, sometimes the tree Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Palm Coast, FL
    I have used everything from a Raven Labs MDB-1 or Aguilar DB-900(no amp) to my current Glockenklang and Epifani 2x12 rig. The issue was more of how good the PA was, rather than my rig as I always ran a line to the PA and used my rig for monitoring. In the situations that there was not a PA, I used either my current rig or an Alembic F1-X, Carver PM-1.5 and 2 Eden 210XLT's and was able to fit in well.

    Most of the time we were using acousitic drums and both acoustic and electric guitars and keyboards in an auditorium that seated 1400.

    The bottom line for me was to bring the biggest rig and dial back, rather than to run out of SPL's!

    Dan K.
  6. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Sometimes I wish I was going through the PA, but I am told that I can be heard well enough throughout the congregation. Not that I don't believe what I am told, I just question some people's judgment. ;)

    In a space about the size of a small gym, I am playing through a Carvin ProBass 500. (?) It's the older Carvin head, but it's nice and deep. The cab is a sealed Ampeg. Someday I would like to use that cab and bring in my SVT. That would rattle some rafters. :D
  7. bassmanjones


    Feb 23, 2002
    Boston, MA
    In my church I currently use nothing...I will be getting a PJB Briefcase in January, though (been a long long search for a good combo).

    Anyway, it's a smaller place, only seats about two hundred or so. I'm not in the house at all, just the monitors. My monitor actually ends up being my 'amp' because it has to be so high to hear myself above the drummer (heavy handed) that it ends up going out into the congregation. Only a little keyboard, acoustic guitar and voices go through a pair of tiny and ancient JBL's.

    I think we now have a balance.

    Roland V drums would be the greatest gift to us because then the volume could come down exponentially for everyone and I think the balance would be much better. Maybe when they build the new church...
  8. I'm playing through a Fender Bassman 100 combo (100w, 1x15 + horn) It is with piano only, no drums etc. the singers are mic'd, the piano gets some reinforcement in the PA, but all my output is through my amp. It's in an old stone church, fairly large. Our total volume, I think, is a lot less than in more contemporary worship, but my wife says the bass is coming through clearly.
  9. Another thing-- in this very resonant space, when I was first playing there, the feedback I got was "too boomy" --easy to happen in this very resonant space. I went to output with less bass, lots of mids, and this is working better.
  10. Stingray4Christ


    Jan 28, 2003
    I've used a number of different configurations, all of them seem to work pretty well. Most of the time, I just play through my Fender Bassman 25. Not much juice but it carries just fine. I've run direct to the system through my Bass Pod. That wouldve worked great except that the PA speakers sound pretty lousy for anything other than vocals and acoustic guitar. My favorite set up has been when I've brought my AccuGroove rig (I had to turn it way down of course).
  11. White_Knight


    Mar 19, 2000
    I play for a college group of about 100 or so. We used to play in a gymnasium, but this Thursday we will be moving into a small office-building style room (small meaning that we can fit probably 150 people or so).

    I've always used my SWR Workingman's 10. The band itself is pretty large and quite loud (2-3 acoustic guitars, heavy-handed drummer, keyboard player, violin, 4 singers - everything through the mains and monitors). As you can probably imagine, the single 10" in the SWR doesn't quite keep up - if I really crank it (and use some creative EQ), then I can get a pretty decent sound on stage. Regardless, I have to go through the PA to be heard though. The PA is decent (3000 watts, 15" mains), but not exactly good for bass. Basically, as stated above, I think mids are the key - they are the key to getting rid of boominess and the key to cutting through the mix. I use a Behringer PEQ-2200 and a DI-100 direct box to get the sound to the PA.

    I'm experimenting with using my Crate BX-100 a bit now - it has more than enough volume because of the larger speaker area, but it doesn't sound as nice as the SWR.
  12. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    I used to use a Carvin PB100 combo and run it through a direct box to the house. Now we all use in ear monitors and the drummer uses a Roland VDrum set (and really hates it!). I usually only use one ear of the in ear system so as to be able to hear the house system and set the soundman straight if suddenly there is no bass in the house.;)
  13. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Acct Serv. Man.: Long & McQuade; MTD Kingston Basses Intl Emerging Artist; Bartolini Emerging Artist
    Hey you in ear guys, don't go spreading such blashpemy to the sound team at my church! ;)

    I personally am not a fan of DI's or PAs...especially when you have a high I was about to say idiot factor but that's really harsh...let's say little education regarding P.A.s and mixing sound. A lot of the time, I'm troubleshooting the sound issues while trying to set up my rig and warm up; they're good guys, hearts in the right place, but sorely lacking in training and ability, which we're taking steps to remedy.

    Both the guitarist and myself mic our rigs. The drums are acoustic...and mic'd! The keyboardist also uses a keyboard amp wedge before going to the P.A. We used a drum shield for awhile, but we hated it. Totally did not allow the freedom to worship. We could discuss this more on one of the churchbass lists or by e-mail if you want, I'm not sure what the rules are here for discussing theology... any case, my rig is basically a 400 watt head and a 4x10 cabinet +effects. I agree with what Dan said in a previous post...bring as big as rig as you can and then dial back as needed. Oh, we play in a school auditorium, beveled at the back and two *wings* to the sides, seats about 500 (we're running out of room...)

    Let us know how you decide to proceed. Each situation is different, experiment and try different stuff out...but my reccomendation, purely IMHO is to avoid going soley through the PA.
  14. pbd

    pbd Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2003
    Metro Detroit
    owner Procables N Sound
    Out of all the sound seminars I have given to churches one of the biggest complaints was the sound people not working with the musicians, and vice-versa. Total control, no room for trying new things. The first thing to do is agree on the sound that should be coming from the stage then enhance certain sounds through the PA. Try a small kick back amp placed right in front of you for monitoring with a mic or DI to the pa. Then get your drummer some 'hot rods'. There are 4 levels (I think) for quieter to louder. I've also had drummers tape brushes for a softer hit. I found a way for the acoustics to work because they sound so good. Have the sound guy/girl listen to your amp so he has a shot at reproducing YOUR sound in the PA. Bottom line is that usually both parties feel the other doesn't really know what they're doing so you have to build your trust in each other:cool:
    Have fun :D
  15. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    in your case, i think going with any cab with 10" speakers is ideal. they'll punch thru the morass of the stage sound, and give you the detail and definition the audience needs to hear.

    but, i think it'd be good to invest in a DI. it'll help the soundman add s'mo defintion to your bass tone, and let it be more than just a low sonic rumble. and they're good investments, cause you can use it for other instruments besides bass.

    get a nice one like a Demeter, Aguilar, or Avalon DI. or if you're on the cheap, pick up a nice Countryman Type 85, which is built like a tank, and sounds great, too.

    to be honest, our church sound dood (as much as i love him like he was my bro!) aint exactly a specialist nor a real sound gent.

    so, i've been experimenting with getting a much punchier, not quite as dark or deep tone as i usually use, and finding a sound that'll reach the audience from the stage. onstage, it gets a little crazy, but our guitarist has been doing the same. thus far, only the voices and overheads for the drums are coming thru the mains. and tho the stage is a bit loud, interestingly, the sound is 10x better.

    i dont recommend this to everyone, cause some of the more inexperienced lay-persons helping with your praise band, who dont regularly gig as most of us do, might not be used to the chaotic sonic onslaught onstage. but my recent praise mornings are starting to make me a believer (no pun intended... :p) in projecting sounds straight from the stage.
  16. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    I'm useing a 350w SWR head,RBI, two Aguilar GS-112's. The room is about 50'x30'. I usually run through the house sound, but due to inattentive sound people I usually control the DI volume from stage in case it gets too heavy through the mains and overwhelms the stage sound. we're only playing for kids here! I want what ***I'm*** hearing to sound half way decent. the drummer plays electric drums with a roland amp as monitor. I use to use the 'church' bass amp, but was not happy with the sound so I just brought mine in. there was room on stage and noone complains. I let the other bass player use mine because he was the one who bought the OTHER amp. I guess to maybe ease the pain of rejecting HIS amp choice, he needed to know first hand that there IS something better than carvin. :rolleyes: I also plug into the DI because I realized that I can't carry the whole room with two 12's.

  17. I plug into an old Peavey 400W head which goes into a 15" with an absolutely tiny box (front on it is a square with sides of like 15.1" and a wedge shape that wouldn't be a lot bigger than the speaker itself), I then run from the lineout on the amp to a dodgy DI. The 15 is a shocker, so its only used as the monitor for me and the drummer.

    Drums is acoustic and mic'd but with a 4-5 foot plexiglass screen around. Its not terribly well mic'd (just the kick and an overhead, and occasionally one under the snare), nor is it very good.

    The church probly sits around 400 or so and is majorly resonant. We had a few issues a while ago regarding the more life experienced members of the congregation complaining about the volume. So we got the screen and turned everything down a notch, then the youth started leaving. So its been turned up again.

    I'm having a few volume problems with my signal to the desk, which I'm hoping to remedy with the purchase of a Bass Pod early next year or so.

    BTW, I'd have to say that the soundguys at my church are absolutely the most awesome guys around. The head guy fully knows so much its insane (I'm going to get him to help me wire up a poweramp sometime, he's doing a couple of his own presently) and the second guy used to do sound at Hills (some may have heard about it?) so he knows his stuff. The third guy is new but is being taught stuff by both the other guys so he'll get good pretty quickly. Kudos to the soundguys.

    We have an easily 1000+ building in construction, so I'm hoping to have my dream rig in action by then, and operating to its fullest potential.

    Josh D
  18. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    Wow! Thanks for all the great responses guys. We have been at this for about 4 years now. After a few other iterations, I am now using a raven labs MDB into a Sansamp RBI into a Stewart World 250 and SWR Workingman's 210. Our drummer is acoustic as well (3 mics) and just hearing the bass over the drums is a challenge. The entire band is through the mains and everyone except me is in the monitors. After chasing the sound a few years, it became apparent that there was no way I could control tone and volume in all three places (amp, monitor, and mains). BTW we have no soundman. We were playing from the center of a large eliptical room with tile floors. The PA is great but the EQ is so bass heavy that my sound gets butchered. I'd say 80% of what the congregation hears is my amp.

    The good news is that our new youth service has the band at the front and projecting a cohesive sound that mates well with the PA is much easier. I am experimenting with adding an Avatar CB112 to my rig and staying out of the mains. I am told that with this I am in every corner (if there were any) of the room.
  19. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    Now that I chimed in with my situation, I have some more questions.

    Joker, I am with you on the 10's idea and projecting from your rig. I am also open to suggestions on how to set up my 210 to get the job done. I am now running with the cab vertically on a furniture dolly with my little rack sitting next to it. Do you think a speaker stand would get me there? Or some kind of kickback stand? Gramma pad?

    My RBI has a pretty good range of sounds. I also have a Sansamp ADI with a parametric mid control. Do you think I should try to notch out the boom with the parametric or just run an overall thinner sound? Any EQ suggestions with my gear or something else would be appreciated as well.

    Someone also suggested using a DI for articulation. Would you suggest running a thinner sound at a low level out to the mains?

    I am clueless about compression, do you think that a little compression would allow me to keep the sound fullwithout getting boomy?

    Thanks, I can't believe so many replied over night. It's nice to see so many church players on the board.
  20. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Recently I've been using a SansAmp Bass Driver DI to send my signal to the mixer desk. I take the amp output to a small Peavey guitar combo amp and then run headphones from the headphone out on that. I can then mix the bass signal with everything else by adjusting how the 'phones sit over my ears...

    I know it's kind of low tech but it actually works pretty well - I can get all the bass I want without stomping over anybody else. What I'd like to move up to sometime is something like the Rolls PM350, which would let me do away with the combo amp and blend bass, my vocals and the monitor mix as I desire, but I haven't yet found anywhere to try this gizmo in the UK.

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