Do I ever need an amp bigger than 30W?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mrbaloo, Jun 26, 2004.

  1. mrbaloo


    May 9, 2002

    Everytime i'm play gigs in small to semi-large venues, the soundman would come and say: "Couldn't you turn down your volume of your amp?". I always route the bass signal though my EBS Drome 12 by the balanced XLR-output as I use the Drome as a personal bass monitor. Though I'm really careful not to put the volume to loud, I'm just happy hearing my bass.

    But still, the soundman always comes to my spot on the stage and ask me to turn down my volume. He doesn't stop asking me this until I have put the volume knob to the bottom, resulting me not hearing any bass at all... I don't like to get a bass signal back through the stage monitor system as the bass signal often is pre-EQ in that case (or not EQ'ed as I would like it to be).

    I often see bass players at similar venues that play bass through e.g. Harkte 3500 + 6x10" cabinet, and I don't expect these people to play with a no/low volume on stage... At my next gig i'm thinking of just use my SansAmp BDDI and use the stage monitor return, but I really like the tone of my EBS. This is not a solution, just a walk around...

    What could I do about a situation like this? After gigs the last two nights, I'm starting to feel really depressed. :(

  2. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    I don't know if this is possible for your situation... but have you tried using a bigger rig on stage and not running through the PA at all?

    Or does the soundman insist on running everything through the PA?
  3. mrbaloo


    May 9, 2002
    I have never had the opportunity to play through bigger bass rigs, but I have played a lot direct w/o PA only using my little EBS. In such case no one usually complains and I often get good reviews about my bass' tone.

    I think that the soundman wants control over the total sound of the band playing and I'm just happy to use the EBS as my personal monitor...
  4. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    How are you setting up your amp? With the backline and the speaker facing the audience?

    If so, how about setting it up as a monitor, speaker facing you? That way the sound guy shouldn't have a problem with it.

    The other solution might be to get one of those Auralex (sp?) Gramma pads to isolate the bass amp from the stage. Maybe you're bleeding through another mic or something.

    Good luck!
  5. There's several possibilities, since a 30 watt bass amp isn't going to sound very loud at all. First, the soundman might be a complete idiot. Second, perhaps he's hearing another instrument--a keyboard or a guitar with lots of bottom end--and he thinks it's you. I wonder if this is what's happening, since you mention that you've cut your volume down to zero. In fact I had a similar thing happen to me years ago, the rhythym guitar set up next to me with a 100 watt tube full stack (TWO 4x12's). People in the room kept telling me to turn down...strange...I kept turning lower and lower, they kept telling me to turn down, until the volume on the bass was completely off. They STILL told me to turn down. So I discretely turned off my amp, and I asked them if I was still too loud...YES!! At that point I realized that they were hearing the rhythym guitar's low end, not mine. I solved that by first having him turn down, then moving him to the other side of the drummer.

    I'm like you, I need to hear myself through an amp. I don't feel I can hear myself adequately if I'm only going through the PA.
  6. mrbaloo


    May 9, 2002
    I usually set up my amp with the speakers towards me, sometimes behind my back and sometimes as a tilt back monitor. The speaker may be facing the audience depending on where my position is. Yes I just want to hear my bass through the bass amp, not using loads of volume.

    Some night ago the soundman had trouble with a kind of feedback-problem and isolated the "problem" to my bass amp. I don't know how feedback could occur since niether me or the piano player noticed this phenomenon. Maybe some of the micropohones used by the 10 singers picked up some bass and had the feedback running through the monitor system?

  7. icks


    Jul 12, 2001
    Charleroi, Belgium
    I never the same problem cauz I have a volume knobs on the DI.

    Too loud ?

    Ok I turn down the volume toward the PA but I keep my amp as monitor (face to the crowd)

    Perhaps you should just add a volume pedal between the DI out and the PA system !
  8. i´ve had similar problems and i think many soundmen are complete idiots! i don´t know what u should do because i´m struggeling myself with this, but u could put your combo on a chair or something. if it is bassfq. that is the problem, lifting it from the floor should help.
    but i´m not a soundman so what do i now...
  9. I'm wondering if the soundman is complaining about your stage volume or your signal level to the house. Maybe your DI is too hot for the board and he's trying to get a good usable signal. If this is the case a separate DI is in order.

    I just don't see a little amp being a volume issue. If it really is then I would take the suggestion of others and position the amp away from the audience.
  10. Good question - check out Mo Foster's book "Seventeen Watts?" - which looks at the history of early rock bands in the UK - very interesting read, and it might even answer your question… ;)

    - Wil
  11. Yes, it could be the DI signal is just too hot for the board.

    If it's feedback, it could be from the mike stands picking up the mechanical vibrations of the stage floor. I've had that happen before, when nobody was even playing, as somebody moved around on stage you would hear a rumble. The solution there is to put a towel or something under the stand to isolate it from the stage floor.
  12. mrbaloo


    May 9, 2002

    Thanks for all good advices. I think I have tried almost all of the mentioned tricks...

    a. Lifting up the amp off the floor (as I usually do)
    b. Lower the input gain, thus sending out a less hot signal to the DI-connection.
    c. tried several floor materials (e.g. concrete, normal stage wooden floor) w or w/o a soft carpet.
    d. tried to face the amps speaker to or from the audience.

    Maybe my low freq is infact introducing mechanical vibrations in the stage and some of the mic's in their stands are picking up that. (I have to run a modal analyzis of our scene floor tomorrow at work ;) )

    Next gig will be a good way of testing some of the thesis'.

  13. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    Get an amp large enough to cary most rooms. Get a wireless. Set your volume on stage at a comfortable level where you can here yourself and all your band members.

    When the soundman says you are too loud. walk out to where he is running the board. If you pay attention you will probably notice him turn the bass up in the mix as you approach because he doesn't want to look foolish when you are standing next to him and can't hear any bass.

    At that point ask him to take you out of the mix for a little bit so you can hear how loud your rig is out front. He won't want to do it but you need to insist. At that point your rig will either be too loud, just right or not loud enough. If it's too loud (which I doubt) go back and turn your rig down and elevate it to ear level so you can hear it. If it's just right do the same thing so your soundman can have some control. If it's not loud enough (which I suspect) Tell him to leave you out of the mix and that you will control your volume in the mix from stage. This will send your soundman into a panic. He will beg you not to do that. At that point he will probably be in the mood to compromise. It will then be up to you whether you want to compromise with him or stick to your guns.

    IMO nothing shuts up a soundman faster than telling him to "go ahead and take the bass out of the mix, I'll run the bass mix from stage".
  14. He HAS to be talking about the signal being sent to the board! Also, ask the sound-schlep what specifically is he hearing. At least you'll have some idea what frequency or anomaly he's referring to.
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I once played a gig like that where the sound guy told me I was too loud so I ended up playing half the night with my amp turned off (not turned down, I just shut off the power).

    Amazingly enough he asked me to turn down some more AFTER MY AMP WAS OFF. I said "OK, fine" did absolutely nothing (doh) and he was satisified. By the way, he had the bass cranked so high in the room that I could actually hear it OK (muffled, but plenty loud) on stage.

    One problem you may run into is that the bass amp bleeds into open mikes (drums mikes especially, sometimes vocals). So when the guy turns up ANYTHING he gets more bass. That's not your fault, but it's still a problem.
  16. bassmanjones


    Feb 23, 2002
    Boston, MA
    How is everyone ELSE eq'd? It could be that the guitars are doing the scooped mid thing where the bass is overbearing and if you've got a keyboard player he could be using a patch that's bass heavy. It could be that your volume is perfectly fine but the sound guy is hearing everybody else's excess bass and assuming it's you because we all know that low sounds = the bass player ;)

    Next time, try to start out with your amp's master set to 0 and see what he says. My guess is that he'll probably come up as usual and ask you to turn down, at which point you tell him that your volume is completely off and has been since you set your rig up. Then suggest that maybe everybody else's bass knob is up too high and for him to deal with them like he does to you.

    I did this once, except it was to the keyboard player. Kept asking for me to turn down until the point that I actually just stopped playing...then 10 seconds later I was asked to turn down some more....I pointed to the guitarist and said his bass is too high because I stopped playing altogether. Everyone was embarrassed except me. :D
  17. mrbaloo


    May 9, 2002
    At this last event there were just me, a keyboard player and a drummer in the band. The drummer had his stuff at the other side of the small stage (barely mic:ed at all) and the keyboard player had his electric piano. Then, between me and the drummer there were about 10 Shure Beta 58's for micing up vocals and a trombonist and a soprano sax.
    The more I think about it, some of the microphones must have picked up my bass freqs. Maybe the input gain on the board wasn't that optimized, i.e. too much gain for the actual vocal/instrument mic.

    I don't think there was a problem with a too hot signal to the board from my bass amp's DI-output.

  18. It's a sad fact that the bass frequncies we love so much will saturate a stage (particularly one with hot mics). These days I use an Ultimate Amp Stand to point my lttle Acme cab directly at my ears ( and the drummer's), it seems to help. I usually set it up like a side fill.

    In really bad situations, I move my Fishman Pro EQ to a different point in my regular set up of a SWR 220. I try to get a good sound using just the preamp drive of the S220 and the EQ section of the Fish (I use the effects send on the S220 which is pre EQ). Once I have a good sound to the mains, I then use the EQ of the S220 to cut lows and boost mids for my stage sound. I'm not really fond of the sound, but at least I can hear it.
  19. mrbaloo


    May 9, 2002
    Woaaah.... :eek: I just remembered that the snare drum microphone (a Shure SM-57) was pointing somewhat in the direction at the drummers stage monitor! It might have been that mic that captured my bass sound. I think the drummer was the only one that had required bass in his monitor.

  20. seems like the bass always gets the blame for onstage rumbling feedback etc. :mad:
    often it's the drummer's monitor feeding back through one of his mics (usually the bass drum mic)

    I usually put my cab on a beer crate to raise it closer to ear level, and isolate it from a troublesome hollow stage.

    ideally, I'd like to have in-ear monitoring (seems to work for Geddy Lee), with my own mini-mixer to create my own monitor mix.