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Do bass players do this?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bassmantele, Jan 31, 2004.


  1. bassmantele

    bassmantele

    Jul 22, 2003
    Boston MA USA
    I just added bass to my guitar playing, so I bow to your experience. Neil Young is famous for his rig. He uses a tweed Deluxe amp - 20 watts - mic'd into his own P.A. on stage, which feeds the house P.A. So instead of using massive tube amps to get tone+volume or SS and sacrifice tube tone, why not use a small tube amp tuned to bass freq -> mic -> SS power amp -> speaker cab. It's similar to using a preamp but it lets you choose the amp/speaker combo and it gets real tube tone. It also deals with the "I'm not loud enough for my band" thing.

    Just a thought.
     
  2. I've never heard of anyone trying this with bass rig. Would this work for bass? It might but I think it would be a lot of extra work to set up and a pain to tweak.
     
  3. jondog

    jondog

    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I think Neal Young's "own PA on stage" might be called "monitors." Lots of guitarists mic small tube amps. It's not the monitors that are feeding the pa. The mic feeds both the pa and the monitors.

    For normal musicians, as opposed to superstars playing arenas, the setup you describe is a lot of stuff to carry and a PITA to work with. Bassists who for whatever reason do not want to use a large tube amp but still want tube tone tend to use a tube preamp w/ a ss poweramp. Some bassists do mic their cabs.
     
  4. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I haven't seen it done quite that way, for a few reasons. First of all, it's much more difficult to amplify all the frequencies of the bass' spectrum than it is to amplify a guitar's frequencies. And, the frequencies that you do hear are those the microphone is best at picking up: the mids and highs. That's fine for guitar.

    There are some microphones that excel at picking up lows for a bass drum, but those are generally more "attack" focused and roll off the highs at a very low frequency.

    I believe it was Rick Turner who wrote an article in Bass Player several years ago talking about how the size of a bass' sound wave is about 4', and the Grateful Dead built their famous Wall of Sound to maximize this. Phil Lesh had speakers towering into the atmosphere to get a good bass tone amplified out into the arena.

    Because of the difficulty of amplifying a bass' tonal range, it's really hard to capture then amplify again. It might be an interesting effect, but I'm not sure it can be done well.
     
  5. It is common to use a DI - either before or after an amp - like studio's often do "direct to the board" with Bass. Sound men love it - they can usually dial in superb FOH sound.

    As you noted, Guitar speakers are typically a very big part of the sound. IMHO, bass speakers shouldn't be so much "part of the sound" as reproducers of the sound - monitoring / projecting - what-ever you want to call it.

    Cabinets often have a signature tone, and IMHO, that's the best reason to Not get a signature sound cabinet. With variable EQ and a cabinet that'll "do-it", you can get close to many "signatures" - including your own.
     
  6. Chris_AtariDoll

    Chris_AtariDoll

    Dec 8, 2001
    UK
    A local venue we play at refuse to DI the bass.... and will only mic it... Is there any reason for this? as i have always thought a DI was easier to work with. I argued with the guy about it for 30mins but he wouldnt DI. he ended up only micing one of my cabs (in a biamped rig) so it was only <150hz going to the desk... he only had one bass mic.

    Any thoughts.
     

  7. Thats stupid. DIing is much much much easier to deal with. I've had my rig have a DI and a mic but not just a mic.
     
  8. Chris_AtariDoll

    Chris_AtariDoll

    Dec 8, 2001
    UK
    i quite like a mix of DI and mic... just to add a little warmth to the sound... but a mic on it own is not good...

    maybe he thought it would cut some of the bottom end from the signal.. so his PA wouldnt have to work as hard ;)
     
  9. Yes... my first thought was.... he is an idiot! Like most here, I have always dealt with soudmen who wanted a DI signal. I like to mix both a DI signal to get the low end, and a mic to get the punch and sound of MY rig. However, since I usually mix from the stage these days, that's way too much work and I just go with the DI.

    Whatever you do, do not let the drummer mix!!! :D

    Lager,
    Rocky
     
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    The answer to your question is generally - NO!

    Most bass players want clean tone (unlike most guitarists!) and it is much harder to get undistorted bass frequencies from small amps/cabs.

    The other thing is that a lot of small p.a.s are just not built to give you good bass response - they are meant for vocals only really and if you put a lot of bass through them, they will distort everything!! :(

    So - if you are ever liable to play smaller clubs (not just stadium gigs) then the only way to guarantee sufficient clean, bass tone and volume is to provide it yourself!! :meh:

    Bass and guitar amplification are very different things and are generally aiming for very different results!! ;)
     
  11. I'm running a 50 watt bassman head and usually we do with a DI to the board and then mic my cab, an old 2x15 Sunn. the DI really adds to the bottom end - most of the places I play have pretty good PAs. The mic lets the sound of the amp come through - something that's very important to me.

    I've been in a lot of other situations too: only DI, only mic, and amp on its own, and I'd have to say that I like having both of them the best. I usually spend a few minutes after each show talking to people about how much they like my tone.