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Go big or go home

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tshapiro, Nov 25, 2019.


  1. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    With the growing number of threads directed towards going direct and lightweight amps I think it’s about time for a thread which brings us back to some punch-you-in-the-chest reality and why some of us will never let go of the heavy iron.

    So why full-sized stage amps when running into a FOH system can get you just as loud? In my opinion, the answer to this question is what separates the boys from the men with regards to your sound. Somewhere along the way, the lure of minimalist setups has fooled guitarist and bassists into giving up their beloved stage possessions… namely their amplifiers. In some cases, giving them up totally, and in others trading them for stage monitor versions of their amplifiers. This was done under the thought that ‘it sounds just as good out front’. Well guess what? No, no it doesn’t. It doesn’t in a small bar, and it doesn’t in a concert venue. And, your live playing might take a dive as well. First off, just like cymbals and snare drums real amplifiers reverberate off the walls and ceiling – even in large venues. These reflections come at you in a multi-directional fashion and carry not only realistic characteristics of the amp but also the ‘color’ of the venue which you are playing in. And, it sounds awesome! This akin to a real band vs. a DJ or band in a box. Sound which is originated or largely amplified by the FOH is generally coming from isolated points left and right. And, this is done without the benefit of studio processing where mic placement, reverb, delay and compression have been strategically used to give the illusion of reality. Combine the sound projection coming from a glorified stereo with a flat mix and you are no aural competition for the real deal. Most people may not be able to put their finger on it, but they can tell the sound is kind of… meh, lacking excitement. Well, how about full-sized ‘light weight’ amps? I’m sorry to say, but there is a certain ‘heft’ to the sound of the old school gear. For many reasons it’s the heavy components in transformers, speakers, and cabinets that just can’t be beat when you want the best sound without compromise. In the end, I am certainly not telling anyone what gear you should use – use whatever makes you happy. But, if you’d like some straight talk on how to go directly to some world class sound, go for classic gear. Gear that is sized right for your stage and venue when using the FOH for reinforcement – not your primary sound source. Lean towards tube or solid-state amps with reputations of being work horses. You don’t need to over do it with speaker cabinets, but, bring enough so that your cabinets have plenty of head room to support your sound. There’s a reason why so many touring bass players use 2 4x10’s or an 8x10. Do you need that? No. Will it give you amazing authority, touch sensitivity and headroom? Absolutely. Gear that is undersized takes away your feel. Again, none of this is necessary. But if you’ve reached the point where you and your band just need a great sound than hopefully this helps you find your way. Lastly, while hefty amps and speaker cabinets do play and sound great in all sized venues, they can ruin your hearing and give you tinnitus. This is some serious stuff my brothers. Regardless of your amp size, you should have controlled stage volume and use in ears. Rock on!
     
  2. You would think differently if you were dragging around a Hammond B-3 and a pair of 122s Leslies. Total weight close to 1/2 ton counting bench and pedals. If it wasn’t for my 15 lb. Nord clonewheel I’d be sitting home wearing my hernia belt.....
    ;)

    Jake
     
    punchclock, GregC, quickfix and 40 others like this.
  3. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    46e.jpg
     
    fig, crankypants, pcake and 139 others like this.
  4. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    And unless you’re shifting the gears yourself, it just doesn’t have the same “feel” ! I’m with ya, man. Who needs an automatic transmission?
     
    baddarryl, AstroSonic, smogg and 3 others like this.
  5. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    7B464DC1-3E06-4864-92D2-8AD5E51E8690.jpeg
    Cool big rig
     
  6. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    Flea's cabs 1B3FA5D2-029A-4ED5-8B52-982117CF8B25.jpeg
     
    ExaltBass, Ellery, MrLenny1 and 7 others like this.
  7. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    Jaco
    AB580773-E5D0-415F-AF65-F8C78A32B168.jpeg
     
    JKB1957, dkelley, DJ Bebop and 4 others like this.
  8. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    One of my favorites, Marcus
    19018BDA-52E9-43FF-A8A7-8AA3D6D4276A.jpeg
     
    Ellery and dkelley like this.
  9. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    My rig
    006D5D53-2412-46CA-B583-AB992C8D2098.jpeg
     
  10. DeepFriedBass

    DeepFriedBass

    Nov 21, 2019
    Couldn't agree more. My LMii crapped out after about 7 years, and I am just sick of class D amplification. I might skip the A/B bridge and go all tube. When my old band had a 70s Sunn stack, I've never played better. I never had to touch anything, and dynamics were at my fingertips. Class D is either a little loud or a bit too quiet, or audible for half the notes and not for the others. I start digging in naturally to regain the dynamic and it's just a BS situation. Every room is different, and with a tube stack it doesn't effin matter. Headroom is key to quality sound, these class D amps are running like half power and just dry right up.
     
    RoketRdr, maxschrek, rodl2005 and 2 others like this.
  11. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    Rage, Tim Commerford
    45E38A70-4A7C-4935-BF0C-BABAFB8EBC6E.jpeg
     
    JB1962, fuzzspiral, Heady and 15 others like this.
  12. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    Love it!
     
  13. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    John Paul Jones, Zepplin
    41900D40-6A38-42D2-8C8F-C7B23E6CFE67.jpeg
     
    AstroSonic, Heady, Ellery and 9 others like this.
  14. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    The incomparable, Pino Palladio
    49113510-BDAD-4CD6-A0BF-7508DE95A4D4.jpeg
     
    AstroSonic, ExaltBass, Heady and 11 others like this.
  15. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    Yeah well, you can have your big rig and drag that unnecessary mess around. Modern rigs are extremely efficient and can bring it! I have no problem bringing the thunder with my Markbass LMIII/Eden 212 rig. Trust me! I have had zero issues with any Class D amp I've ever owned. Crapped out? Never. Been about 10 years since my first Class D amp.

    Have at it.
     
    pcake, mcnach, Kaplan and 21 others like this.
  16. DeepFriedBass

    DeepFriedBass

    Nov 21, 2019
    Ah, people act like a bit of heavy lifting is a good reason to worship dry tone. Bend at the knees...
     
    JB1962, Rogulus, dkelley and 11 others like this.
  17. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    I don't think I've ever seen concrete poetry on TB before.
     
  18. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    I'm 60 and I never liked heavy gear even when I started playing in the 70's. Still, dragging an 80lb Peavey combo in the 80's was horrible. I don't play hard rock or metal so never needed nor gravitated to none of that big heavy mess. Did just fine with whatever I had and was loud enough and had the tone I needed.
     
    DJ Bebop, DrayMiles, smogg and 4 others like this.
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Am I down with the big stuff? You bet! Can I use it anymore on most of my gigs? Absolutely not!
     
    Giffro, JB1962, crankypants and 25 others like this.
  20. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    Thank you.

    I am more than happy to drag my heavy LH1000 head into a show. Same with my heavy 410’s. I come to move air.
     
    AstroSonic, Cheez, Ellery and 6 others like this.

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