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I went ampless last night..

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Gremson, Mar 16, 2013.


  1. Gremson

    Gremson

    Mar 22, 2012
    North-Leftern USA
    My first time playing an electric instrument without an amp onstage. Gotta say it was pretty cool. I wasn't quite as loud as I wanted to, but I could hear myself fine, and my tone was great. I got several compliments on my tone after the gig.
    I just plugged my bass into my pedalboard with tuner, flanger, volume pedal, and an SFT on all the time to give me an amp sound. SFT just went to a DI to the FOH.
    It was also the coolest thing ever when I got to walk offstage and to the van with my bass in a gigbag over my shoulder, and a suitcase in my hand holding my pedalboard, stand, mic, and cables.

    I've been torn deciding what kind of amp I want to get, if I want to go with the big rock setup, or something more monitor like with less character. I think last night really spelled it out for me!
     
  2. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    So what would you do if you arrive at a gig to find no PA???
     
  3. Or there is a PA, but crap monitors that won't handle your bass ?
     
  4. Medford Bassman

    Medford Bassman Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Medford, Wisconsin
    Always bring your own PA. Problem solved
     
  5. Where I am I have not brought my PA and backline 0.1%. Plug and Play venues just don't happen here. :)
     
  6. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    Talk to the Sound Engineer about being louder in the monitors. And look at IEM. IEM is nice because you can mask out other sounds you don't want to hear.

    But is no "less character" going this way. It's not a compromise. You can get good character in your signal you send to the FOH, including the monitors. Plenty of ways to get a good high character sound without a head and cabinet.

    And with these monitor mixes these days you may have a different amount in your monitor that what's is playing out front. The stage acoustics may be entirely different than the house acoustics. Think of a finicky singer who likes a lot of reverb. The Sound engineers may put a lot of reverb in the monitors and a lot less or a different reverb altogether to the FOH.
    When the singer says they need a little more high end, or more definition, or reverb the FOH knows that's in the monitors. The sound engineer decides if they need something more out front.
     
  7. Gremson

    Gremson

    Mar 22, 2012
    North-Leftern USA
    For me, Gigs where my bass isn't going to FOH are very few and far between. And on the slim chance I do get a gig where I need to provide my own support, I have a rig that can handle that. It's just really big, really old, and really janky.
    But for 98% of the gigs I play, bass gets a DI to FOH and the efforts carrying a big heavy cab and head are wasted. For these gigs, I think I'm going to go with an amp that is simply a stage monitor for me.
    I don't mean less character by having a bass tone that is boring and sterile. I mean getting all my character and tone from my pedalboard and using an amp that won't color that sound, and be close to what will be sent to FOH.
     
  8. slagbass

    slagbass

    Apr 5, 2005
    Canada
    I've done it twice - once planned and once unplanned. In both cases I went through a SansAmp BDDI.

    The unplanned situation was due to the failure of my amp. Luckily it was a fairly big show with decent P.A. coverage. It also provided a good A/B comparison as I had been playing the same stage with and without an amp. Personally, it was a bit weird hearing the bass coming from "everywhere" as opposed to the point source of an amp behind you. Out front, I was told by a few people in the audience that nobody could tell the difference.

    If you and your bandmates are happy with the tone on stage, I can't think of a good reason NOT to go ampless.
     
  9. Gremson

    Gremson

    Mar 22, 2012
    North-Leftern USA

    That was part of what got me last night. It was a weird show. I was told that a bass amp was provided. I get there and see that every one but me brought an amp. Soundguy told me I could ask any of the other guys to use their amp tonight, but I just decided to go without.
    I didn't tell the guys till after our set that I didn't use an amp. They had no idea. They said everything sounded great to them.
     
  10. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    I'd rather bring my own bass rig, instead...


    - georgestrings
     
  11. Hi.

    Welcome to the club :).
    The only way to play in acoustically challenged venues IME/IMHO.

    BUT, as always, there's a dark lining on that silvery cloud.

    Even though You may hear everything well, and perhaps if you buy a high powered active wedge as your "amp"(as I would recommend), that still leaves the rest of the guys/gals in your band wanting/needing to hear the bass.
    If they need to, and can't, the whole suffers.

    IEM's are an option, but good systems are expensive, You must rely on the foldback engineer even more than you would if there's wedges, and IEM's are just not for everyone.

    So, I'd be looking at an active wedge as an amp alternative, if the rest of the band approves.

    Regards
    Sam
     
  12. Gremson

    Gremson

    Mar 22, 2012
    North-Leftern USA
    Thanks for that. What sort of active wedges would you suggest?
    I'm considering the Carvin MB15 with the 115 extension cab. I've read that their response is pretty flat, and I like the option of using just the combo for most gigs, and having the extension cab when I need to step things up a bit.
     
  13. I could see it working here and there. I run a sans amp RBI xlr to the FOH no mic usually So my amp and cab are really only a stage monitor anyways. I've played some shows with massive side fills that sounded good and even over powered my old 810. But a lot of clubs have 3 or 4 little 112 floor monitors and In those cases it's just guitar and vocals in the monitors and I crank my rig up. Ill even turn my cab sideways (like a side fill) at some venues so the rest of the band can hear me.
     
  14. Mesa boogie used to make 210 bass floor monitors back in the 90s I always wanted some but could never find them when I looked. Thought it was an interesting idea.
     
  15. You are very lucky. Apparently everyone in the band had a good monitor mix going. That doesn't always happen so you should be thankful.

    Regardless, you are not entirely alone. There are some guys that nearly always go amp-less. Jimmy Johnson is one. He rarely brings an amp to a show and only when he absolutely has to. He uses an Alembic bass with an active pre-amp though so it is set up to run that way.

    Best of luck. I hope it works out for you.
     
  16. Hi.

    You're welcome.

    I'd suggest You to try every wedge you can before making the final desicion. For example the ones that were provided on the eye-opener gig, sounded like they were OK but possibly not loud enough?

    There's tons of options out there, and some of those options are pretty regional, so I can't give any specific suggestions.


    A few pointers/observations though ;).

    It makes things a lot easier if there's only one or two different kinds of monitor cabs in the bands PA gear. If everyone has a different one, EQing may become very difficult.

    I don't like the controls to be in back of the unit, the controls and connections are too exposed on crowded bar gigs.
    On the baffle is the best for strict monitor use, but makes things look silly if used as double-duty mains.

    I also dislike the molded ones, especially if one needs to use (& carry) wimpy and wobbly plastic feet thingies in order to tilt it properly.

    Even though my current "small bass monitor" is a SWR WM10 on a stand, and I'm prety much forced to rely on my big tube rig ATM, I'd rather buy an even more "transparent" setup, ie. a PA monitor.

    Bass amps in the low-mid price range tend to be pretty coloured by necessity and design, and if You have a speaker with similar frequency response as the FOH has, it's easier for you to fine-tune your tone.
    Especially if You can ask for and recieve a pre-fader, post-EQ signal to feed the foldback group you're in.

    Regards
    Sam
     
  17. I've heard a couple floor monitors that work good with bass. A bassist I know here locally uses a community 212 wedge with an ampeg pre old mackie power amp and a stringray 5. I was really surprised at how well it handled it
     

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