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Dedicated bass amp or a PA system

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by holllowbody, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. holllowbody


    Mar 25, 2009
    Is there anything that a "bass amp" (think Hartke, Ampeg, Mesa etc.) can do that a PA can't? When I say PA I mean mixer, xover, compression, delay, EQ, amps, tops, subs, wedge monitors etc. and assuming that all components are good in quality....not the best out there but by no means entry level.
  2. honestjohnny


    Nov 24, 2006
    You need a Preamp and DI in that setup, but otherwise, no. IMO, IME, YMMV, etc.
  3. holllowbody


    Mar 25, 2009
    Got the DI covered (active radial). I am unsure as to exactly what component you are talking about when you say preamp.

    These I assume:


    I don't have one.

    Are they a must or is it just nice to have? Are they a must for bass but not other instruments or are they a required for anything going through a PA?
  4. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    I'm in the same "boat" testing this right now.

    I have one gig that ANY (yes 50-400 watt) is uncontrollable - it's a brick hexigon room wiht a dome ceiling.

    One of the good folks here suggested going to in ear hardwired DI box (Rolls PM351) just tested it for the first time.. cost about $95 total.. so far has been superior to hauling around a bunch of stuff.

    Biggest adjustment is not physically feeling it out of the amp.

  5. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    How about a skilled operator?
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    And that's a deal breaker for me. Bass sounds like crap out of monitors if you ask me. Even a small amp is better than no amp.
  7. bThumper38

    bThumper38 brian ebert

  8. holllowbody


    Mar 25, 2009
    From the looks of it, the preamp is used if you are doing this:


    However, thats not what I have. I have:

    bass-DI-mixer-lots of signal processing (EQ, delay, xover, compression etc.)-amps-speakers (tops and subs).

    Based on what I can tell (I have no experience with preamps) if you go the mixer and signal processor route the preamp is useless. Am I correct?

    Thats already covered.
  9. bThumper38

    bThumper38 brian ebert

    no the preamp is for tone control, I have a mixer on top and route my signal in three different directions to blend my tone through the mixer. I think the preamp is the most important part of any rig.
  10. I've played both ways (amp on stage and only through the PA) and it kills me to play without an amp on stage. No matter how much processing / no matter how good the board and soundman, there's nothing IMHO that will ever match your bass coming through your amp. That's the way it was meant to be. :smug: That said, many gigs, churches, etc. insist on having all instruments run through the house and minimizing the sound on stage so the overall mix can be more easily controlled. In that case, I would still recommend something like a "smaller" (relatively speaking) angled combo in a 2x10, 1x12, 1x15, etc. like Ampeg, G-K or others offer. Many of them come with a balanced out, so everybody's happy. I've never been satisfied with a sound guy telling me how my bass should sound.
  11. holllowbody


    Mar 25, 2009
    So no matter what you have for signal processing there will still be a need for a preamp? The tone can't be properly shaped without one?

    The reason I am confused here is because I have been playing acoustic guitar through this PA (no preamp) for some time now and I have never had a need for additional tonal control.
  12. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    The primary thing a preamp does is impedance matching and level matching for any gear downstream - especially when the bass has passive electronics. Everything else is a bonus. Most mixers are designed to deal with microphones or line level signals, and don't match up with passive pickups to best results. The instrument preamp inserted there in the signal chain takes care of that.
  13. holllowbody


    Mar 25, 2009
    I guess we are coming from two different perspectives. I am talking about a full PA that is in a good sized room used for "jamming" so to speak. You are thinking more along the lines of live performance with a full band.

    I should have been more clear on my situation.
  14. seanm

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

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Ahhh, then the answer is that a good bass amp will cost a *lot* less than a full PA.
  15. lorenk


    Apr 8, 2008
    Bend, Oregon

    ive never been impressed with basses run straight to a board (through a di). always sounded kinda thin and un-bass-ish to my ears.

    not to mention theres just something more visually appealing to seeing amps on stage when watching a band...
  16. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Yeah, unless you are using some humongous custom touring wedge or sidefill cab with good xmax, monitors are not often satisfying.
  17. holllowbody


    Mar 25, 2009
    I already have all the PA gear with the exception of the preamp which it appears I will be needing. I don't currenly have a bass amp. Thats why I am interested in the idea of playing bass through a PA. I am into this PA for about $15,000 and as I look around at bass amps I do see that PA is much more money than a bass amp, but since I already have the PA.....
  18. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Tech 21's VT Bass (an Ampeg amp & speaker simulator ~$190 CND) is quite popular on TalkBass.
  19. +100000000 4 me too!!! HAve NEVER had a sound I liked as much as MY AMP'S SOUND when comin outta monitor- even w/ 'speaker simulation' :help:

    Don't care how much gear I gotta lug, an Amp/cab behind me is MY MUCH preferred way. Altho I'm sure U CAN sound OK doing it thru the PA(no bass amp etc)... I would DEF add a pedal (or other type of pre amp) to get a better tone tho. A VT bass, Sans amp Bass driver DI or similar.....at the LEAST!:ninja:
  20. holllowbody


    Mar 25, 2009
    After you guys suggested a preamp, I started to look around at whats out there.

    As of now, the Tech 21 SamsAmp RPM and Tech 21 SansAmp RBI combo looks tempting.


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