Gigging with no amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by DonaldR, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. DonaldR


    Mar 26, 2012
    I already posted in an previous thread regarding bassists who also play guitar but didn't get any replies, so asking again...

    I play guitar too. In fact I was away from bass for last few years, but creating some custom patches in Line6 Pod Farm (presets are really bad) using bass models just revived my bass interest!!!

    I created 3-4 patches with Ampeg SVT/8x10 cab and GK800R/Hartke 4x10 cab models (now looking to setup 1-2 patches with Eden model) and playing them thru Shure E2 is a pure joy (low bass sound at low volume). They sound also really good at low volume thru studio monitors. Line6 bass models are WAAAYYYYY better that guitar models IMHO.

    I'm looking to buy an Avid Eleven Rack for guitar and found that they now have an Ampeg SVT model (and DC Bass custom model also). If the SVT model is as good as the guitar models it's gonna be a lot of fun to use for bass gigs!!! Anyone using it?

    I'm enjoying in-ear so much for practice now that I think I will go that way live (and practice sessions). Easier on the ears, easier on the back and faster to setup and repack.

    Anyone using in-ear for bass? What are you using for your sound (miked amp, DI only, preamp, modeler)? Pros and cons of in-ear vs amp?

    I'm looking to buy a used Line6 Bass Pod XT Pro but looking for other options? I really like sound and features of TC RH450, will it be a good idea to buy and use it only with DI (without speakers)? Pedal preamps (Eden, Hartke, MXR) are good but will be more expensive than the TC when adding tuner, compressor, tube simulator, headphone, line-in and, no presets . Am I wrong? Will a Zoom B3 be good enough live (using amp sims)? Better than a used Line6 Bass Pod XT Pro?

    I was away from bass for so long that my rig is dated (Peavey Max Bass with 1516 (15" + 2x8") cab) and want to refresh but so many options now that I don't know where to start. Your help is much appreciated.

    BTW, 4-string basses are Yamaha Attitude Custom (main) and Peavey B-90 Active (backup) and will do the job for now until I decide if I want to go to 6-string.

  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Pros of IEM's:

    Smaller load, amps not as necessary, feedback is kept to a minimum.

    Cons of IEM's:

    No air movement of amps, no good way for anyone else to hear you unless they have IEM's too because most monitors are inadequate for bass.

    But it does work, and more and more I see it. Modeling can be quite nice for this purpose, and although you can easily tell the difference between a model of an SVT/810 and the real thing, it does a respectable job and is certainly better than a plain vanilla solid state DI IMHO.
  3. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    IMO a bassists job is to get his sound out to the audience. IF there is a PA sufficient to handle a bass then all well and good. If there isn't what are you going to do???
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    I frequently play without an amp, straight to the PA. My personal preference is to play through a clean DI rather than an effects unit, YMMV.
  5. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Nothing wrong with going IEM's. Doesn't work for me, because I get into situations with some regularity where the house PA is messed up or not working properly for whatever reason. Our band PA, even with a sub doesn't really cut it either. I need my amp!
  6. I recently switched to in-ears at church, and we have an Aviom system... but I'm the only one who uses it. :confused:

    Some pros & cons for me in addition to what Jimmy said...

    - I can hear everything that goes through the board, in my own mix
    - The sound guy doesn't b!tch at me about my amp being too loud (but I admit, in some cases it may have been... :p Lol)
    - the look of confusion on people's faces when they didn't see an amp was pretty funny

    - I miss my amp with my tone
    - my director sometimes b!tches at ME that I'm not loud enough in the HOUSE :p
    - I can hear everything that goes through the board, including the background vocalist who *ahem* need to work on pitch and the guitarist's noisy pedalboard. lol

    Now, I realize my pros & cons are a little tongue in cheek, so I'll get a little more serious. In-ears are actually pretty nice, for the fact that now I can hear everything. I'm back in a corner under an overhang in our chapel, so I had trouble hearing anything that wasn't the guitarist or drummer right next to me (no monitors and the house speakers are in front of me). Like I said, I do miss my tone though, which is probably the biggest con for me. I run to the house board via my Tone Hammer which helps, but it still lacks the same tone of my bass amp that I know and love. Also, Klokker makes a good point... If there's a problem with the PA or if the sound guy just doesn't have me up, I look like a monkey up there playing and making no sound.

    It comes down to compromise I guess. If you can try playing live through in-ears, give it a shot and see if it works for you. At church, in-ears make sense for me, but I stick with my live rig for everything else.

  7. eshalon


    Sep 4, 2008
    New Zealand
    We use in ears at our church and they r great. But i think they work best if ALL the musicians have them and u have a good set up. We have everyone but the singers use them. They stil use monitors. We use rolls units and each get our own custom mix from the digital desk. I just use an svt di but would like to get a micro vr stack aswell and mic it in a back room. Our guitarists have 15 and 30 watt combos that they sit in a huge road case and mic. In ears r great for getting clarity and hearing the WHOLE band but u can feel isolated from congregation which would be worse if u wer only one using them. As far as modellers and di's go use whatever gives you the sound u want that will also give a good quality, quiet signal to foh. Hope this is helpul. Sorry 4 long post
  8. oldcatfish


    Jan 8, 2011
    Quote "Cons of IEM's:
    No air movement of amps, no good way for anyone else to hear you unless they have IEM's too because most monitors are inadequate for bass."

    Another IEM con...if they malfunction, you have serious problems. You won't be able to hear anything --yourself or anyone else. Also, if there is a sudden volume spike, you may end up with damaged hearing.

    I have had both of thos scenarios happen with a church's expensive in-ear system that had a limiter on it....but it still malfunctioned. First part of church service went great, but in the middle--I couldn't hear anything except the background singer that I was standing next too. And then during the last song, the volume came back on at about triple the decibels that I had it set at to start with. My ears rang (literally) for about a week.

    When IEM's do work, they are pretty nice. But I'll never trust them again. Up until that point, I was a big advocate for them. Now I despise them.
  9. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    I don't understand this seeming presumption that amp vs DI and wedge vs IEM have anything to do with each other. To me, there's nothing about either one that requires the other.

    I use my IEM any time I possibly can. I love being able to hear everything and not going deaf. And I can use them whether I'm going DI or using a real rig. I can also use a wedge and no IEM while going DI-only. I played drums for a couple of years in a typical bar/cover band where guitar and bass both went strictly DI and used 12" wedges for their monitors without any problems or complaints.

    The only problem is trying to go DI-only when there is not adequate PA. And, well, duh!
  10. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    This. Exactly. And when I have to wear in-ears and no amp, I'll probably quit. Ugh.
  11. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area

    I like... no, I need to feel it in my body.

  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    IEM's are no guarantee that you won't crank it and cause deafness, and using an amp is no guarantee that you will crank it and cause deafness.
  13. oldcatfish


    Jan 8, 2011
    Quote from JimmyM "IEM's are no guarantee that you won't crank it and cause deafness, and using an amp is no guarantee that you will crank it and cause deafness.

    --Very true. And even when you try to be careful, things can go wrong. At least with a wedge, you can move away/toward the monitor....whichever is needed.
  14. DonaldR


    Mar 26, 2012
    Wow, I'm learning a lot from your experience! There're some situations you mention I was not thinking about.

    My last show (5-6 years) ago was done only with a Peavey Max Bass tube preamp -> DI -> FOH. The PA was really good and could hear myself enough from monitor/FOH and the sub, which was close to me, my gave me that air/feel I was usually getting from my amp. I have done that show without missing my amp at all.

    So if I sum it up, success of DI/IEM is highly related to the quality of the PA.

    You are very helpfull!!!

    Maybe I will get that TC RH450 with a 2x10 finally...
  15. I'll try and stay as objective as possible and keep this from just being a b!tch session. lol I apologize in advance if it comes off that way. :p I just hope/figure that if my experience is valuable to even one other person, it's worth sharing... I told my director this morning that I want to switch back to having an amp. After several months of working ("Well, I wouldn't say it was working, Bob..." LOL) with the in-ears, I decided it's time to switch back for several reasons.

    1) We had to adjust my levels at the Aviom again this morning, which has become almost a weekly occurrence, despite the fact that we play in the same space with the same instrumentation every week. The sound guy likes to tweak and it causes problems.
    2) We started a song during warm up and my director looked at me and told me to start playing, even though I already was. The sound guy "had the levels wrong" for me in the house mix... hence yet another Aviom adjustment.
    3) The sound guy regularly drops the ball and doesn't have house sound on sometimes. The keyboard has a rather good sound system built in (it's a digital piano, looks like a small grand but that's actually where the amp/speakers are), the guitarist has an amp and the drums... well, they're acoustic ;) so if I had an amp, at least I'd be in what live mix we DO have.
    4) I recently found out that the sound guy was perfectly fine leaving the EQ on my channel dead flat. I'm not an expert, but I've worked with live sound and even I know you shouldn't do that.
    5) No one else uses the Aviom, so everyone else is live and has control but me. The drummer and guitarist agreed with me that the point is for all or none of us to use them.

    Now, I realize switching back to using an amp will go back to the old problems I/we had and no system is perfect, but I'd rather deal with those issues than the ones that come with using in-ears. I'm over being treated like I can't do my "job" when I don't have any control over the situation. We play in a big rectangular brick chapel and even my trusty little Hartke Kickback 12 can overpower the room from where I'm at in a corner. If I'm careful it works though, and I think the director is cool with me switching back.

    Hope that's at least a little helpful!

  16. DonaldR


    Mar 26, 2012
    I understand your point, very helpfull.

    My though on using in-ear is a bit simpler than yours. I was just thinking of going that way:
    - get a preamp/pedal/modeler/whatever
    - send DI post eq to FOH
    - send lineout to channel 1 of my in-ear mixer
    - send my mic to channel 2 of my in-ear mixer
    - ask the soundman to send me a mix (no bass but don't even care) to channel 3 of my in-ear mixer.
    - do the balance between my bass (ch1), my voice (ch2) and mix (ch3) on my in-ear mixer (something link a Rolls PM351+SM33).
    - run a cable from in-ear mixer to my in-ear (thin 1/8" tie to my bass cable)

    I'm using a similar approach right now for home practice and I really enjoy sound isolation and being able to play at a relatively low level. After 2-3 hours of playing my ears are not ringing!!!

  17. sounds to me like the sound guy is the problem, not your gear or the way you are using it...
  18. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Regarding #4, that's not always true. I personally try to use as little board EQ as possible. I'd rather fix the problem at the source. But I also know what I'm doing. I never understood how churches can rely on volunteers and then have the nerve to complain when things aren't perfect. You get what you pay for.