Frustrated Mic or Direct So Frustrated!!!!

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by d rick man, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. d rick man

    d rick man

    Jun 28, 2016
    Did I mention that I am Frustrated. I need help. I need some good advice before Tuesday night, When the crap is going to hit the fan. I don't want to offend anyone so don't take anything I say to heart, I am just so frustraed. This is to all the Bass players that have to put up with guitar players that own the PA system, set up the PA system, stand behind the mixer with there wireless, mixing during sound check even though we have a sound man. OK let me lay this out for you so you can have all the info, so you can give me some sage (sane) advice.
    I play a Rickenbacker through my peddle board with BOSS tuner TU3, BOSS compressor BC1x, Micro POG, BOSS EQ GEB7, to my Markbass combo 102 stack @500 amp.
    Not the best but not to shabby. At practice there is always a ground loop problem that i get blamed for. Only at this guys basement, not at home, not live. Case in point coming up....I have never heard or caused a ground loop problem on stage. they always fix the ground loop problem at practice by pushing buttons, throwing levers, slide, what ever. I never change anything on my stuff becouse i don't think it is my problem, yet it always gets fixed.
    Now they want to mic me at practice, OK I don't care, but why do you want to mic me? " becouse the sound man cant get enough low end volume with out pegging out my head room." ????? OK? what ever.
    Now they want to mic me at the next show. Why?
    "becouse you keep having ground loop problem that I can't solve." That he can't solve. Wait didn't I just say that I have never had a ground loop problem on stage, only in the basement. Anyway Correct me if I'm wrong, But what does mic-ing me have to do with a ground loop problem???? Holy crap my heart is about to bang out of my chest just typing this.
    We have a tight stage with a lot of equipment and the bass drum is right next to my amp, There is now way I am going to let them mic me, Can anyone give me a good reason why mic-ing me is a good idea. Please let me have it. I coudn't be more frustrated.
  2. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    The mic will definitely eliminate a ground loop because there is no connection between your amp and the mixer.

    I personally prefer using a DI. I run my bass into the DI, and then run the Thru from the DI into my amp. If I use the built in DI on the amp, my preference is to set it to Pre. Setting the amp's DI to Post would be my last choice. I would rather use a mic if the idea is to capture to sound of my rig.

    The usual way of eliminating a ground loop is by lifting the ground on the DI. If you are using the built in DI on your amp, this may or may not be possible as some amps do not have a ground lift. However, lifting the ground on the DI does not always correct noise problems. Also, it's not unusual for there to be an interaction between an amp and the mixer that causes hum in the mixer, while the amp remains quiet. So just because you don't hear the problem on stage does not mean there is not a problem.

    It sounds like someone else in your group is experiencing some frustration as well, and using the mic is sort of a desperate attempt to eliminate the problem. Trust me, it can be very, very frustrating to try and eliminate hum in the sound system. Sometimes using a different model of DI works, although from a technical standpoint it doesn't seem to make any sense. Sometimes nothing works, so you use creative gain staging to try to mitigate to problem as well as you can.

    A lot of bass players want to fall on the sword because the can't get anyone to mic their cab. At least it's a bit refreshing and amusing to find someone who wants to fight for their DI. But to be honest, I don't think it's worth getting so upset that you ruin a gig, or bailing on a band that you otherwise like.

    Here's an observation I have made: The people that ultimately get the most gigs are typically the people everyone likes to work with. This often has a lot more to do with personality and demeanor than outright musical skill. I realize using a DI seems pretty important to you, but a lot of people will view this as trivial and think your are overreacting and being dramatic. If you want to call the shots, them buy and run the sound system yourself...that's what I did.
  3. WayneP

    WayneP Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2004
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    As Wasnex said, sometimes something that makes no sense will solve the problem. I suddenly had a massive hum in the house system at practice last week, which had not previously been there. We tried plugging my rig into different outlets around the room and nothing worked. Eventually I just plugged back into the power strip behind my rig that I had originally been plugged into, only into a different outlet. Magically, all the noise disappeared! Of course, that makes absolutely no sense, but the problem was gone.

    Wasnex also mentioned a ground lift from your DI. From what I see, if this is your amp, the pictures show you do have a ground lift on the back panel. So give that a try. Another common trick is to use a so-called ground lift adapter on the main power cord. Typically one of these tricks work, but not always (wasn’t working for me the other night!).

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Ecclesia: Unique Arrangements of Hymns, P&W Standards, and Original Tunes
    Administrator, Pedulla Club #45
    Administrator, Tobias Club #133
    Fretless Club #943
    Big Cabs Club #23
    My Rig: Stage and FOH Friendly
    My Basses
    RumbleBot and ObsessiveArcher like this.
  4. d rick man

    d rick man

    Jun 28, 2016
    Thanks for your advice and honesty,

    I do have a built in ground lift switch on my amp and sometimes they go to the mixer and tell me it is me that is buzzing and I flip the GF switch and it gets worse. So I automatically think it is not my stuff. But I could be wrong about that.

    I know I sound a little selfish because they are probable just as frustrated as I am but some of my frustration comes from not being technical savvy about that part of the system. I have done a lot of research on Basses, Strings, peddles, Amps and that is why I have what I have and still be able to afford pretty good stuff. I love my set up and the sound I get out of it. I just wish that sound could be transmitted to the mixer through a clean signal. I spent the money for the markbass so I could get away from mic-ing the amp.

    I do love the band I am in and we have a small following. We play cover and try to sound like the original as possible. BUT just like all bands we have problems, quirks, and underlying personality issues, that if were brought up would hurt someone's felling, so we just bit our tongue and deal with it. I'm not perfect either.

    Both guitar player mic, the drums mic, me and the keyboard player DI.
    I don't know, I have a hard time thinking that mic-ing the bass is better. It just looks like that could open other cans of worms. Getting bleed with ambient noise. Not getting the right signal to the mixer because Mic's are rated up to certain frequency's both high and low. Unless you I get a supper sonic, high doller mic that I can't afford. I just think my sound would be lost. Like I said I don't know that part of the system.
    dkelley likes this.
  5. d rick man

    d rick man

    Jun 28, 2016
    Wasnex..What are the other model of DI?

    WayneP.. Ground lift adapter to main power cord?

    Give me more details, I am willing to try anything.
  6. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Sounds to me like a bit of power struggle between you and the PA owner. While DI is the preferred way to send bass signal to the board, why not let them try mic'ing you and see what happens? From what I can tell, there's zero impact on you for that. It's not like they're saying: ditch your amp or your Darkglass right?

    I'd lean towards willing to try to resolve the issue. I would NOT put up a huge fight unless I had double and triple checked each link in my signal chain and had 100% confidence in what I am sending out. Process of elimination is what's required here.

    What happens when you plug your bass direct into the board (maybe through a DI box) in your rehearsal space? Same problem on not? What happens if you try a different bass, same problem? If the problem still occurs, then it's likely on him and his setup. If it doesn't occur, then it might be on you and your signal chain (or how your signal chain interfaces with his power supply).

    Either way, getting bent out of shape over this is a waste of energy.

    The issue with the soundman is a whole other thing. While you might have divine tone coming our of your amp, it might not work at all for any given room you're playing in. Might be a bunch of things, your setup, the room, the PA configuration, soundman is deaf/has no skill, preamp on that channel on the board is dead. Hard to tell.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
  7. Dr. Love

    Dr. Love

    Nov 5, 2008
    Lubbock, TX
    So they aren't trying to change "your sound", they just want to mic your cab instead of using the di to fix a technical issue and make everything sound better? I don't see what the big deal is in this case.

    On a technical note: check your power supply for your pedals. If it's not a unit with separate isolated outputs that's probably contributing to the buzz. Also, if the power source allows it, make sure your amp and pedal board are plugged into the same outlet as the PA.
  8. WayneP

    WayneP Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2004
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    Just to clarify, I’m talking about one of these, used on your main power cord:


    Something else you can try at rehearsal, plug your rig into the same electrical outlet that the PA is plugged into.

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Ecclesia: Unique Arrangements of Hymns, P&W Standards, and Original Tunes
    Administrator, Pedulla Club #45
    Administrator, Tobias Club #133
    Fretless Club #943
    Big Cabs Club #23
    My Rig: Stage and FOH Friendly
    My Basses
    dawind99 and Killing Floor like this.
  9. d rick man

    d rick man

    Jun 28, 2016
    Dirtdog,, its not really a power struggle, I have been with them for several years now and never attempted to challenge, overpower, the regime or start a Coup d'état. I am your typical quite, laid back bass player. Takes a lot to get me stirred up. it's just other band stuff piled up, I almost hit my breaking point, icing on the cake sort of thing. This talkbass therapy is helping a lot.

    Have not tried a different bass, I will try that.

    Have not tried going directly to the mixer, or plugging into the same outlet as mixer, I will try that.

    I will try the ground lift adaptor.

    I will check the board power supply. here is a old pic of my pedal board. the pedals are not in the same order as I have them now. This set up was when I was running my Ric in stereo. IMG_2199.jpg
    DirtDog and dkelley like this.
  10. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    Don’t lift the power ground of your amp. A good DI with an isolation transformer like the JDI would be my suggestion. Honestly, a decent mic shouldn’t be an issue.
  11. musicman7722


    Feb 12, 2007
    Hampton NH
    Well for starters if they unplug the mike line from your amp does the ground or hum issue go away? If yes there is a local issue in your system that doesn't like their system or vice verse. If it doesn't go away it isn't your problem.
    DirtDog, s0c9, WayneP and 1 other person like this.
  12. Are they sure it's noise from a ground loop? there are other causes of noise that can be annoying too, and sometimes it's the instrument and the lights in the room or other environmental things being picked up by your axe or one of your pedals or even your amp or your cord.

    EDIT: I see that sorta idea has already come up.... I'll be interested to see what the cause turns out to be!

    I have one bass that is always a little noisy---- damn it....
  13. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    dawind99 likes this.
  14. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    You seem frustrated but don't let me put words in your mouth. "This guy's basement" isn't properly wired for live sound reinforcement, not sure if that has been debated. But another +1 for slipping a DI all up in there. Isolation is what it says. You'll clean up any issues for pretty cheap. Not blaming your gear, but isolating your gear from the signal chain should help. I'm guessing there are no other instrument amps, only mics currently in the sound board in rehearsal situation?
    RumbleBot and WayneP like this.
  15. rocu


    Jan 28, 2015
    Missoula, MT
    When I don't have the skills, knowledge and equipment to fix whatever the problem is I go along with whatever those that do suggest for a solution. In this case they might not have much more knowledge than you but let them try. If it fixes it you learned something. Just try not to knock over the mic.

    If you want to try fixing it yourself do it in steps. Bass plugged into board. Bass to amp with DI to board, try all the different switch settings. Add the pedal board last, maybe one pedal at a time. This will allow you to isolate the problem.

    Good luck with this. I hope you fix it.
    Bassist4Eris and VoodooJazz like this.
  16. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Sorry - I guess I misinterpreted the source of your frustrations.

    What sort of power supply are you using there?
  17. pbassnut

    pbassnut Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    Falls Church, VA
    Get yourself one of these Whirlwind IMP 2 direct boxes ...

    Whirlwind IMP 2 1-channel Passive Instrument Direct Box

    It will be a quick, easy and inexpensive solution to your problem. Put it in your signal chain after your stomp boxes but before your amp. It's a simple, rugged unit that has the ground lift functionality that it appears as if you might need. I routinely see them on eBay for $50 brand new. I got mine years ago for $25 used and it has served me well on the occasions that I've needed it. You can probably spend a thousand bucks on a super high end studio quality direct box if you put your mind (and wallet) to it. However, I've seen this one on several top ten direct box "best buy" lists and it's a great bang for your buck unit that'll work just about as well as anything for live use where the quality of the PA and the skills of the soundman are more often than not the real world limiting factors, IMHO. As a bonus, it can serve as a lifeline to get you through a gig if your amp ever blows.
    fhm555 and RumbleBot like this.

  19. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Um... are you sure it is actually a ground loop ? not your ric picking up rf ? as delivered, ric's are among to noisiest basses ever. I personally threw in the towel on them... My project space is near the utility closet in my house The air handler throws enough rf to drive a ric to buzz city. never, ever heard on a P Bass...

    and yes, I did a fill copper tape shield job star grounding. swapped the pickups. swapped again for humbuckers - ah, that was quiet but with none of the Rick sound I wanted...
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
  20. d rick man

    d rick man

    Jun 28, 2016
    Thanks I just ordered one and overnighted it.