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How much on stage power do I need at a outdoor event?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Phil Smith, Aug 27, 2002.

  1. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I'm playing a gig this Saturday and Sunday at Washington Square Park in NYC and it's going to have a PA system that I going to jack into. What kind of power do I need on stage? Will a 350w 2x10 combo do by itself or should I add a 1x15 or another 2x10 cab with it?
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Add another cab unless you personally know the soundguy and the PA, and have worked with both outdoors before. Outdoors, playing with a single 2x10 can be fine, or it can be silent, depending on what Mother Nature is up to with her breezes and humidity that day. I'd rather go loaded for bear and be pleasantly suprised to find no bears than face the other alternative.
  3. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Outdoor shows can be a bear.
    If you could, I'd add a 210, one for you and one for the drummer. Try to have them at or close to ear-level.
    If you're relying on the PA/soundguy to pump you up sufficiently in the mix, then you'll be OK. I've always said more is better - even if you don't need it.
    350w imo is a bit light for what I've needed.
    Playing on the low end sucks up those watts, and pushing for volume will leave you with distortion.

    My normal set-up is 210/115 with 750/500watts per channel. When I recently played a big outdoor show, I went 210/115+410 750watts per channel. The 210 was pointed at the drummer.

    It was monsterous!!! I didn't really need it for the crowd, but my on-stage tone was clear while the volume was big.
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    What Zulu says is the way to go, IME - come loaded for bear even if you're just hunting for bunnies.

    If you have more than you need, you can always back off the volume. If you max out what you brought and it isn't enough.....you lose.
  5. dsmith


    Mar 29, 2001
    Mt. Vernon, KY
    First thing I do when someone else will be running FOH is to ask them about monitors. The soundman I use for outside gigs has a separate monitor for me and the drummer, and I have all the volume I need. I get bass and the kick drum in my monitor, and he gets my bass. But I also don't have 100 watt Marshalls blaring at me either. How loud your guitarist plays, and how much monitor you will have will play an important role. But like everyone else said, bring all you can get your hands on, and you can always turn down. Just a little info that can help if you can't get your hands on a bigger rig for the weekend.
  6. I did an outdoor show with 350W 2x10 and 1x15. I was loud enough, and it sounded awsome. Our lead guitarist had his fender (super hot rod deluxe?) and a little pro jr., both absolutely cranked, and put up on a road case at ear level right beside my amp, and I was still loud by all the band members say. Even got compliments from the audience on my tone. However I had the pre at 12 a.m. and the master at 1:30 p.m., but didn't notice any distortion. I was also run through the PA a little bit.
  7. Lows have been fairly elusive at the outdoor events I have played. Next time, I will bring along some serious sub-support. Playing in a concrete room, in a gymnasium and outdoors have always been the trickiest. If your monitor scene is good you may be ok, otherwise you may overcompensate and risk hurting yourself (digging in a bit too much) or your amp?
  8. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Outdoor gigs are hard to get good low end sound onstage.

    I typically use a 4x10 and a 1x15 cabinet, but when playing large outdoor stages, I add a folded-horn 1x18 biamped just for my extreme lows, and run the 4x10 and 1x15 for the rest. Works wonderfully. Its a bit overkill to drag around jsut for my stage volume, but it works nice. Never had a soundman complain that it was interfering with the bass level he needed to get through the outfront mix.

    I've never been happy with the sound of my bass through the monitors. Sure, it will help with clarity, but it won't do crap for the low-end.
  9. My standard outdoor rig is a Peavey Firebass-II running a 4x10 and two 1x15s, when I'm not running through the PA. It works fine.

    If I'm running through the PA, and it's a good one with plenty of lows, I cut back to the 4x10 only. Again, it works fine. If the lows aren't there, I simply stick with my three cabs.

    I've never needed more than what the Peavey could deliver. Of course, I've never played an outdoor venue the size of Woodstock either. Most aren't really that big.
  10. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Thanks for the replies folks. It turns out that I didn't even have to bring a rig to the event. I played out of a Carvin setup, a seperate Carvin head and a Carvin 4x10 and that with the support of the PA was more than enough. I could clearly hear the bass a block away when I was listening to one of the other bands as I approached the park. I'm thinking my 350watt 210 combo by itself would have been fine with PA support.

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