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How much does your rig really matter at shows?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bayou_Brawler, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. Bayou_Brawler

    Bayou_Brawler The most hurtful thing ever realized

    Oct 23, 2003
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I'm about to go to a two cab and amp set up for the first time (2x10 and 1x15).

    I usually play medium or large bar settings.

    if the sound guy does a direct out from my amp i would guess the audience will mainly be hearing the stage speakers and not my rig right?

    also if he does mic one of my speakers which one should i mic? i really want a blend of the two but i guess i have to pick one.

    i like a lot of bottom.....but if a 10 is miced will it really matter? will there be a big difference between a miced 10 and a miced 15????

    :bassist: :help: :bassist:
  2. haujobb


    Dec 16, 2004
    The people in the first few rows will definately hear your rig, and you will too so it's still important to have decent tone coming out of it.

    As far as micing, in my setup I have traditionally miced out one of the 10's along with a DI line, although at my last gig the soundman wanted to mic the 18 with a DI line, I have no clue what it sounded like but didn't see any looks of disgust.
  3. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Bayou, thats one of the reasons I bought the U5 (Avalon direct box), Your amp in a big room is mostly just for stage volume, so that 2500 bass amp that is such a part of "your sound", dosen't mean anything to the front of house, If the sound guy has some 29.99 direct box or no clue how to mike a bass cab(not an easy thing to do on a stage where drums love to bleeed into mikes and not many mikes like the sound levels a bass cab puts out) So your 2500 rig may be a fart to the guy in the tenth row. If you play a lot of large rooms their a great investment!
  4. PlayTheBass

    PlayTheBass aka Mac Daddy Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2004
    Carmichael, CA
    Yes, if the sound guy has his way! ;) In my experience, bands sound much better when the bass player is heard through the PA with the rest of the band, so that there's balance. Good soundmen will make you sound good (and a quality DI is a help there, for sure). Even a great sounding rig can get boomy out in front of the house and mess with the overall mix if it's too loud.

    I look at my bass and preamp (with DI out) as my control over all my sound; then the soundguy controls the house level, and I control my local stage level (and stage tone via cab choice, I suppose). I say "local", because I'm also running through all the monitors, at various levels.

    Anyway, it works to keep stage level at the minimum level where I can still be heard well and it still feels strong, and I always get votes of approval from soundguys who then tell me their nightmare story about the bass player they had to deal with the night before who brought an 18" and a 410 and had it cranked. :)
  5. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    I think your stage rig is very important in punk/metal music. It has to be loud and in your face so stage volume is important. If people are close to the stage they are normally not hearing the PA speakers really well. If you don't have enough stage volume it will sound "dead" right in front.

    On going through the PA, I just line out and tell them to forget about miking me. I have never yet played any place that miked my rig and got a mixed sound I liked.
  6. PlayTheBass

    PlayTheBass aka Mac Daddy Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2004
    Carmichael, CA
    Do you mean on a recording of the gig, or do you mean mixed as in mix of house sound and your stage rig?

    I very rarely even get a cab miked any more. It seems to me like that kind of tone control is better suited for studio use, anyway. Fun to dial in mixed tones in the studio, but live, simple is better, and a mic in front of the cabinet is just one more thing to worry about (I don't think there's a safe place on stage sometimes, as I still haven't found a completely safe spot to keep a bottle of water from getting bumped or kicked!).
  7. ErnieD


    Nov 25, 2004
    From current to last couple of bands I've been in, I never get PA support. Groups just use a couple of PA 15"s on stands. Of course we usually play sportsbars, small to med size rooms, so other than vocals, sax, kickdrum, nothing else gets miced or DI'd. I amost always use both my 1x15 & 4x10 cabs and I love my stage sound, clean, nice and big bottom. I ask and am told the bass sounds good out into the room. Though on the rare occaision when I have gigged outdoors and had PA support I did like what I was hearing then. So for now my rig is vital and I'll keep luggin my 2 cabs rather than sacrifice my sound, I can always turn down or up ;) as need be.
  8. My rack, anyways, is a requirement for me. I can use other cabs (even though I prefer my own), but I need my preamp section. It's part of my sound and the music doesn't sound the same without it. I always DI out of my rig for the house mix, and the soundguys love me for it because I've got my own multiband compressor in there. I've basically got a studio quality signal coming right out of my DI. I just try to run my cabinets loud enough for us up on stage and for the people in the first row.
  9. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    I always use DI and mic! But then again we have only one sound guy! Its nice to have a sound guy that you can work with and knows youre music and sound you want!
  10. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Using a mic'd 10 usually doesn't mean you'll lose that low end sound over using a mic'd 15. Considering that most PA is lots of 15's or 12's, PA takes up all your low end issues really. Most bassists i know just use 2x10 or 4x10 on stage and let the PA handle all the lows. Depends on the scene though.

    Tone wise, at big gigs, speakers don't matter as much, but preamp/amp sections are always important to me. I'd always rather my own speakers though.
  11. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    While your own rig is certainly secondary to the house rig in regards to volume, its still crucial on a couple levels. First in smaller rooms you need some volume coming from the stage or things sound sort of odd, I guess misplaced is the word. I've used pure DI rigs live before and something is just wrong when you see the player on stage and the sound is coming from the back of the hall...it registers with the audience and they scratch thier heads.

    If you have a good amp on stage and also DI to the board you don't have a deadzone right where the audience is looking.

    Secondly most stage monitors suck floppy monkey balls at making bass audible. I usually have the sound guy pull the bass completely out of the monitor mix because it sounds so awful its distracting. In that case my bandmates and I only hear my stage rig. The guitarists may not care, but most drummers want to know what the bass is doing (because we all know drummers can't keep tempo without us :)).
  12. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    I have 2 swr goliath 4-10 cabs and i rarely ever take both to a indoor show! Yeah i mic the 4-10 and use di but i also agree with the floppy monkey monitor thing! I always turn my rif towards the drummer a little and turn it up!
  13. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I find it to be very important. There are many ways to get your bass to be heard by the crowd (though usually my rig does the majority of this work), so yes, with a competent sound tech and a respectable PA, you can 'get by' with little or sometimes no stage rig. But that doesn't cut it for me. I agree that with the exception of the biggest clubs that I have played in, stage monitors just don't have what it takes to translate my instrument. I need to hear and feel what I am playing in order for me to really get in the zone. It is also important for my drummer to hear and feel my bass as well (and vice versa - I need to hear and ideally feel his kick drum, too). Ideally, your guitar players (or other supporting musicians) should be hearing the bass at an appropriate level as well, but it's crucial for the drummer and bassist to both hear the beat of bass and of drum.

    Tone matters, too, I think. If I hear a series of dull thuds as I hit the notes (which is what I get out of some PA's), not only am I going to be in a bad mood, but I am not going to have the ability to control my playing dynamics, or even to hit the right notes, in some extreme situations (and when I am not really paying attention... :rolleyes:). I like a full range, balanced, articulate tone, and if I what I hear doesn't make me happy, I don't play as well, period.

    As for the crowd, if someone comes up to the front and wants to get into the band and the music, they are going to want the full experience (usually, or they may want to display some of their assets, which is okay, too! :smug:), so I certainly try to uphold my end of the bargain. :D With regard to the folks in the middle and the back, with the very best sound techs, and an excellent PA, I'm sure that the bass would sound pretty good. But, in most cases, one or the other is somewhat lacking, and at a minimum, if my rig is to be heard at all way out in the crowd, the little bit (or a lot) that it adds to what is coming through the PA really helps the overall sound of the bass, even at the back of the room/hall.

    But then again, I am a gear whore... :bassist:
  14. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I'm in the fortunate position that we always use our PA and our guitar player is the sound man (he uses wireless and checks it out front periodically).

    I always mic my cab to get the same tone I'm hearing onstage out front, which is critical for me. Granted the PA is using different speakers and it will color it somewhat. I want to enjoy my music too!!! But why save your tone for just the crowd?

    Part of why we play is for our enjoyment, isn't it? I've hated playing when my sound sucked, or the entire stage sound sucked. To me, the stage sound is the most important...so that we musicians can hear everything clearly in order to play the way we need to.

    The PA is just there to reinforce that sound so everyone in the club hears what we hear.

    We always do a sound check and we all have a say in how to set it, so I feel lucky to be able to get "my" sound out front, as well as onstage.
  15. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    in a perfect world all your/my gigs would have full pa support with awesome mains, powrful amps, and fantastic monitors. and a really good soundman..............ok, so what have you been smoking??? :smug: in my world, 95% of the time that aint happening. so yeah, my rig is important. not to say i dont go thru the pa a lot, but most of those times i have my rig at a volume where the pa augments it rather than has complete responsibility for reproducing the bass.

    as far as micing the rig goes, i'm not a big fan of that live. using a good direct box, or pre/post direct xlr out on a preamp is soooooo much simpler.
  16. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I used to use a direct out, but at the urging of my guitarist (who is also a monster bass player and tone guru), he suggested micing it instead and it's made a world of difference in my sound out front.

    My guitarist is not your typical guitar guy. The guy is a genius (literally). He can play any instrument (with virtuosity)and he makes his own speaker cabs and even heads. He recones speakers, he's made his own "magnetron" (to de-magnetize and magnetize the magnets). He even repairs bad parts on circuit boards rather than sending them out for repair. There isn't anything related to sound reinforcement that he can't build or repair.

    Most of the time when he suggests trying something with my sound, I give it a go, only to find he's right. I've played in a lot of bands over the years with a lot of different, and more expensive PA equipment. But the kind of sound he manages to get out of 4 Peavey SP2's is just astonishing. Most every musician/sound techs who hear us are just floored by the sound he gets out of "his" PA.

    I don't have a problem lining out of my amp head, but micing my cab sounds way better.
  17. I totally agree. If you know that you've got a signal that you like going straight to the PA, it really make yours and your soundguys life a lot easier. Everybody mics cabs a bit different, but my DI signal always stays the same. Plus, that way your tone stays more consistent from show to show.
  18. I think the rig is important, that's what you hear- that should be what you want the audience to hear.

    Most of the time the sound guy will run direct out. On the rare occasion I'm miced and I'm using 10s and 15s, I like micing the 15.
  19. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    This was the case for me with the last band I was in. I didnt mike my cabs though. I used a great quality DI (flat jensen out from my Demeter VTBP-201s) because its so pure like the sound of my rig. My speakers add a little color but it wasnt terribly important to me to get that into the PA. If I were using a less hi-fi setup then I would have considered miking my cabs.

    So because I used a good DI to the PA and each band member had a separate wedge monitor and mix, my rig was only really important to me.
  20. CQBASS


    Dec 1, 2004
    Asheville NC
    I love having my rig, but it's only for my benefit 90% of the time. As long as you have a competent house guy or even better, your own FOH guy all will be well. I use an old Trace and I love the direct sound so I never mic the cabs. I've even slimmed down the rig to just a 2x10 for smaller gigs, 4x10 for bigger rooms and outdoor shows. I always make sure to get the 2x10 up in the air though. Closer to ear level the better. That way I'm hearing what I want to hear and still letting the PA do it's job. It's a drag when you hear a board recording of a show and there's no bass in the mix cuz your stage volume was so loud they couldn't have it in the house.