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Do I really need an amp for gigging ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JayAmel, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    Hi folks,

    The band I play in is a cover band, with 10 musicians on stage, powered by a 10,000 W PA. Even when we play as a smaller band, we're gonna be 6 on stage and have at least 5,000 W for PA.

    Since I'm going to get a 5-string active bass (most probably Fender Deluxe), and since we're gonna all have in-ear monitors, I was just thinking whether I really need an amp or not. No-one needs to hear me rumble out of a cab on stage, and the PA covers the whole band.

    I was thinking keeping my rig just for rehearsals, and no amp on stage, except probably a preamp (ex. EBS Microbass).

    I'd like your opinions.

    Many thanks in advance,
  2. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Depends on whether or not you want to hear yourself, and if you have monitors. If you've got good monitors, you shouldn't really need a cab unless you want one. That's what I've found in my experience at least.
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    With that much P.A., it sounds feasible. I do it occasionally, and it's fine, even in smaller venues. The main thing is whether your subs and mains can produce the tone you want. You're giving up a little control, because the BE can futz with your tone at the board, but otherwise, it should work. I like to use an Avalon U5 for the pre.
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    They're using IEMs.
  5. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    Thanks to both of you for your replies !

    Yes we use IEMs.

    Munji, yes the PA has everything we need and the BE is skilled enough to give any musician the tone he wants. So, if I use a preamp, I believe I can get good control on my tone. Am I wrong ?

  6. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Oh. Um...... I knew that :rolleyes: . Well then, I'm an idiot. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
  7. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    I would say yes even if you don't need the stage volume to hear yourself.

    You will have very little to no control at all over your tone if you don't. I use an Ampeg BA115HP combo even though I run through the PA at our church and we run a Shure in-ear monitor system so I don't need it to hear myself.

    It just sounds better.
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You can get good control of your tone, sure. If you've got a good BE, he's not going to be out there tweaking your channel. Just get what you like at sound check, and tell him not to touch anything but the fader during the gig.
  9. Emprov


    Mar 19, 2003
    The only downside to not using a stage amp and IEM's is that you won't be able to feel the bass. Much of the bass sound is felt rather than heard and when you're entirely in-ear, it makes it a bit tough sometimes. There are buttkickers that you can stand on that allow you to feel it but that really isolates you to one small area. If you're going ampless, I'd really urge you to have some molds done and get a nice set of custom IEM's. And, if you're gonna give up your amp, make darn sure that the guitarist is giving up his as well. ;)
  10. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    The best thing our band did was go to IEM's. You don't NEED to feel your bass to play, just hear it. I always felt it from the PA anyway.

    It's great to not go home with your head ringing from the drummer wanking on his favorite china or the guitar, or whatever.

    It also ain't bad not hauling anything but your bass and a small preamp/DI. I used and Avalon and SABDDI.
  11. I used to run without a rig into our stage monitors without a problem. I've never used IEM but I bet it would be similar.

    There is no reason in the world that an on stage amp is necessary. That's the bottom line. (ducks out of way of tomatoe!)
  12. Of course, you could take the Simpson approach. Pre-record your bass line then just dance around making wild onstage moves. And hope the right song is playing.
  13. Corwin81


    Mar 18, 2003
    Ames, IA
    You'll need a full stack of Maytags to take place of your cabs.
  14. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I've tried this approach a few times over the years. A massive PA with fantastic monitors is a must. I could eventually get to a point where I was happy with what I was hearing, but usually after much trial, error, and drama. Then just as I get it perfect, the rest of the band starts complaining that they can't hear me and ask I go back to my amp. The muso's apparently can never gey the sound guy's attention when they need it and the bass-in-monitors-for-the-band part of the gig isn't given anywhere near as much priority as it should be.

    Of course, this was all without IEM's. My fear is that unless you've tried IEM's before, you may not know what you're getting into. Many musicians complain about being too isolated and feeling like they're in a seperate room to the rest of the band. Indeed I've seen musicians set up "crowd mics" to beam crowd noise and stage spill into their IEM's to try to aleviate the isolation syndrome.

    I suggest you try it but for the first time, have your amp set up just in case.......
  15. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    I use IEM's at our church and I have never really got 100% comfortable with them.

    You can't communicate easily or discretely with other band members and you are isolated from the energy of the audience. I don't like that.

    The singers (who don't use IEM's ) complain that they can't feel the bass or the kick drum. The 12" floor monitors that they use don't produce enough thump for their them.

    We are considering installing "butt-kickers" under the stage floor to replace the thump for them.

    Running my amp on stage helps a little with that.
  16. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    You are correct. That said, when I've had the benefit of killer PA and a good sound engineer to run it, I was happy to give him complete control. They hear the mix out front; they know how to place bass in that mix. I've almost always been delighted by the result.
  17. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    Sometimes at practice I use a Rolls headphone monitor when it gets too loud. It has a line through for your bass signal and a line in for the PA/monitor. You can adjust the volume of each so that you can hear yourself above the dang guitar player. If you need some EQ try this. Plug your bass into a DB924 preamp, then into a Rolls headphone monitor, then into the PA. Sounds great and its easy to pack to the gig.
  18. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    heck, 1st gig i did was without an amp. fortunately it was at a club that had a good pa from foh to monitors. No problem, even though i went completly direct with a passive axe. With good iems i cant see a big problem, even with being able to "feel" the bass. you won't feel it, but you and the other musicians shoudl be able to hear the attack. Maybe side fills would be in order if there is a serious problem being able to hear everything. Of course, if the guitar player is using an all tube amp they'll have to use it for tone, but those can be isolated in a variety of ways so the bleed on stage is minimal.
  19. Tvrtko


    Dec 27, 2002
    South of the USA
    I just got some Fender Rumble amp. It has mix output. Such thing would be nice to have on the stage. I would be sick if I have nothing to shake my pants on the stage. That thing works fine, except some creepy lamps flashing from the cabinet.... :hyper: It looks like "Boney M" plays disco music.... I switched it off.
  20. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    I did the same thing with my latest band for almost 2 years. No amp, in ears only. Got old. Plus it was tough to catch a groove for the drummer and myself. Our PA rocks but having only the bass in my ears was a shortcoming, IMO. Ive gone back to my amp for stage volume. Drummer loves it now and I think we groove better. Guitarist went back to an amp for stage volume, too. Now all I need in my ears is the vocals. I like!!!!!