If a bass cab is just a monitor for yourself then...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by rexspangle, Aug 12, 2001.

  1. I have posted a similiar thread to this one before. But this one is a little different.

    If you are playing a larger show "realistically" there is no reasonably sized bass rig that would be loud enough to fill the room on its own. This is what Pa's are for right?

    So what I am thinking as I have said many other times is that these massive amounts of power is kinda a waste if you are going through a sound system. Do you not think the speaker quality of the mains and the signal to the mains is most important? So here is my conclusion I hear a lot of people telling others you need this much power to even cut through etc. But how loud can you be on stage with say for example a regular sized band of 5 members?

    So I would say why not focus on getting a decent set-up of equipment to improve your signal to the mains and run your amp through the sound system? Instead of trying to pump out all this power mainly just for yourself. When a monitor can do the trick the same.

    Yeah I realize there are times when you dont run through the system and more power is good. Maybe it is the places I play but if the mains are what the audience hears then buy the goods to fatten up the mix in the mains. does it not just make sense?

    note: I am not against power I like it..a lot but where do we draw the line between neccessity and it just feels good to own?
  2. White_Knight


    Mar 19, 2000
    A very good question! Here's my take on it:
    First of all, the question is will you always have that good PA support? If you do, then I'd invest in some sort of medium sized (say a cabinent or two and an amplifier in the 400 or so watt range) rig. But if you don't have that reliable PA support, then you'll be wishing that you had the nicer, larger rig. Also, it depends upon how much you trust the soundman. If it's your own soundman, then it's probably not a problem. But if you're at the mercy of whoever's available, then that's yet another point in favor of your own large-ish rig.

    My personal experience is this. I play in a contemporary church group. A piano player, loud drummer, a guitar player (acoustic, though he does run a pickup into the board) and between five and six singers. Typically, we aren't all that loud - my Crate BX-100 keeps up pretty well (100 watt amp), and my SWR Workingman's 10 keeps up pretty well too (though I need to add an extension cabinent to it because that little 10" speaker doesn't produce the deep bass that I crave). For standard gigs, I don't use the PA at all which is good seeing as we generally set levels and such at the beginning and then just leave it. This way I'm in control of my sound. However, we're having a larger outdoor show come up here next weekend. For that not only am I going to be running both of my amps (which will only come to 200 watts maximum), but I'll be running a line to the PA as well so to help carry the bass. So I guess it's kinda nice to have the larger rig and keep control of your sound, but at the same time it's a mixed blessing (seeing as I pretty much will be at the mercy of the PA).
  3. steinbergerxp2

    steinbergerxp2 Guest

    Jul 11, 2001
    I used 2 cabs onstage; 1 for me and splashing the drummer, and the other for the rhythm guitar player across the stage (setup anyway he likes) and a signal into the PA. I also took a signal from the rhythm guitar and put it into a Fender Champ in front of me as a monitor so I can hear him.

    This is with folks with LOTS of hearing damage and they want everything loud, so I wear a lot of earplugs.

    With a big PA and individual monitor mixes it would all be solved.
  4. nil

    nil Guest

    Apr 6, 2000
    Auckland, New Zealand
    You've got a good point, one which i've often wondered about.

    Yes, if you're playing @ a venue with a reasonable PA (I must say i've only played once where my rig was the sole bass power) then all your rig effectively becomes is a monitor. I know of people who DI straight into the mixer and use a wedge only on stage for their mix.

    On a larger stage, playing with a big PA (and it's foldbacks) you often need a large rig as a monitor, especially if foldback requirements by other band members creates a loud on-stage mix.

    But there's another side of the coin, and that's where you're mic'ing the bass rig to the mixer - different amps and cabinets will react differently and players will have preferences in this case. For example, on most medium-sized gigs either a 410 or 810 would be nice and loud, however the 810 might give a better tone.

    I setup and monitor pretty simply - my rig is for me and whoever's on my side of the stage, if anyone else needs bass in the mix they can get a feed into their foldback(s). All I need to hear is at least some of my rig - I generally only listen to (and watch) the drums' stage level (too much monitoring of everyone confuses me sometimes).
  5. ColonelZulu

    ColonelZulu Not Impressed By Those Who Flaunt “Authority” Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I have a medium-sized rig. It's good enough for parties and decent sized rooms. At a place we play frequently, there is a good PA system. The amp is for the drummer and me. It's not a monitor though because it's just got the bass on it. I position one cab to my rear and one next to the drummer going sideways.

    I guess if we were asked to play outdoors I'd need power to project. Luck for me it's not a power metal group. Plus my drummer has a standard set and a great electric kit that he takes out. I don't have to worry about playing over a drummer
  6. i'l a linkin-park wannabe :p during rehearsals i use headphones as monitor..
  7. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Me too. If I knew *for a fact* that I'd always have a PA of decent size and shows large enough that I'd always be able to have the entire mix in FOH, I'd not own an amp at all. In-ear monitors is the first-class way to go. They even make the "shaker" units that you can mount under a platform or seat if you desire to feel the bass as well as hear it.

    Every time I open a show for a national act that uses those things, the bass player always comes by (carrying only his bass) while I'm struggling to schlep my rig into place. That little "Sorry Dude!" grin is getting old...
  8. great thread, one I'm always thinking about..
    Here's something...

    The place I play in regularly is a movie theater, we set up a stage over the first 5 rows of seats, it's a start up church. Anyway, the room is very soft, and seats about 400 people. The mains are on either side of the stage, and have 18" subs beneath them (bi-amped). Anyway, I think these subs are designed for a long-throw, and fill the room nicely for that. However, my rig on the stage acts as a monitor for me, but also fills in the bass at the front/center of the room that the mains are missing by virtue of their placement and throw. So my rig acts as my monitor and fills in gaps in the PA. We're pretty loud, but my Ampeg B100R (100 watts) does this nicely, with power to spare.
  9. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I'll weigh in on this. IMHO:
    <If you are playing a larger show "realistically" there is no reasonably sized bass rig that would be loud enough to fill the room on its own. This is what Pa's are for right?>

    Pretty much.

    <So what I am thinking as I have said many other times is that these massive amounts of power is kinda a waste if you are going through a sound system.>

    You're right. IF you have a kick ass stage monitor.
    But...massive power isn't for getting loud, it's for getting CLEAN and TIGHT.

    <So here is my conclusion I hear a lot of people telling others you need this much power to even cut through etc. But how loud can you be on stage with say for example a regular sized band of 5 members?>

    Depends on the venue. I've been on stages that where just stupid loud. Stages that were louder than the front of house past 50'.

    <So I would say why not focus on getting a decent set-up of equipment to improve your signal to the mains and run your amp through the sound system? Instead of trying to pump out all this power mainly just for yourself. When a monitor can do the trick the same.>

    I was one of those guys that didn't have a problem just bringing my rack to a show and playing through a $2500 EAW wedge monitor that was being driven by a 2000W. Crown Macrotech.

    HOWEVER, when you do this, your bass sounds pretty much the way the sound man wants it to sound and not the way YOU want it to sound.
    (ever do a song that's fingered but has a short slap part in it that the sound man doesn't know about, or something with a short solo in it? You need a reference point and a fast way to jack tone settings that will get through the board)
    This is the main reason why I don't run out of a D.I. box. I run post E.Q. pre-amp D.I.
    It's also the best reason to use a full range Hi-Fi cab that doesn't color your sound (much) like an Acme or EA, it gives you a much better representation of the sound thats going to the board and a much better indication when the sound man is screwing with your tone. (They will, you know.)

    If you use an Eden or SWR (which I think sound great by the way) or whatever you will no idea of what exactly is going to the board unless you're being mic'd.

    If you're only using a wedge monitor to check your sound you can wind up getting a completely seperate mix from the monitor engineer that has no relationship at all to the FOH. Especially at the larger shows.

    <if the mains are what the audience hears then buy the goods to fatten up the mix in the mains>

    Buy the goods that give YOU a good representation of whats comming out of the mains if YOU care about YOUR sound. The masses are in my experience, asses and don't know good from bad.

    Just as long as you're playing what they want to hear. If Vince Gill or The Eagles shows up in front of an audience that's looking for a mosh pit, that audience will say "these guy's SUCK!"

    but that's a whole different thread....
  10. good points, bikertrash.

    So, I either need to mic my rig, or get a fullrange/neutral cab for my rig if I'm going direct. That makes sense, and here's why...

    last Sunday, I ran the post EQ/preamp from my amp to the board. I noticed that from the mains I was getting much more treble and high-mid response, which I liked. But onstage, my Ampeg, that just has 1-15" driver, didn't have the same high-mids and treble. See, I have the high-mids jacked up on the amp's eq, but the mains of the PA have tweeter's and midrange drivers, so if I send both my rig and the FOH the same signal, then they will not, cannot, sound the same. Hmmmmm.
    I think I'll either stick a tweeter in my Ampeg (if there's room), or mic my rig. I think it'll be better if I mic my rig. But I guess the soundguy can still jack my sound up, but the difference would be less than his full range speakers vs. my Ampeg.

    Great stuff!

    I REALLY liked my sound coming through the mains last week.

  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I have always EQed for the DI send (post preamp) and dealt with whatever sound I had coming out of the cabinet. It is more important for me to sound good to the crowd than it is to sound good to me and the drummer. I don't really care if my highs are brilliant and glassy on stage as long as they are for the mains. All I am looking for is enough volume to maintain proper technique and keep locked in with the drummer. I am far too busy trying to sight read charts and watch for key changes and transitions to listen to how wonderful my tone is. It is far more important to me to be a part of a professionally produced and presented performance than it is to sound great for myself the other people on stage.

    Or course, if you are using your amp to fill the room as was mentioned above, that's a different story.

    FWIW, I use a POD Pro and no amp at all most of the time. Granted we have excellent monitors and mains (EAW) but I find that the band sounds outstanding. Even the guitar player runs DI. There are no speakers at all on the stage except the 8 EAW wedges. Of couse, the Roland V drums help.

    I have an amp, when I use it outdoors or at other venues, I run it at the lowest possible volume so as not to compete with the mains.

    As for micing the cab, that is an option, but it isn't like you can stick a $50 SM58 in front of it and get that sound. Unless you happen to have a $350 RE20 lying around or something similar, I would think you are better off DIing and dealing with the sound you are getting out of the cabinet. Your band will sound better for sure.
  12. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I'll go along with all that. I've never owned or used a POD but it's my understanding that they are a pretty sophisticated piece of gear capable of putting out a pretty hevily processed signal. Amp/cab emulation, presets ect. So it's not like you've given complete and total controll to the FOH.
    You're providing them with the best possible sound you can give them going to the board so they can get the best possible sound to the mains with a minimum of tweaking.

    Lets face it, the board may cost 100 grand but the E.Q. section isn't optimized for bass guitar. Even if it's got three band of fully parametric E.Q. in the mids, sound guy needs that to slot the bass in the mix, not to get a tone.

    You gotta give the sound guy the best sound you can and let him run with it and you need to know what sound you're giving him either with a POD or a reference rig. Otherwise you're going on the quest for the majic bass that just sounds good plugged straight into the board flat. I have two and they are pearls of great price but even they sound better
    with a little tweak.

    FWIW I never met a sound guy that didn't have an abolute cow when he had to put a mic on an electric bass. Anything else no problem but bass gets the $25. direct box. IMHO, No Offense intended
  13. BikerTrash82

    I understand the what you are saying. But just to simplify things more could your break it down a little bit more if you don't mind. For example I use a swr bass 350 head what would you suggest along with that?

    PS I sometimes get lost on technical terms

  14. nil

    nil Guest

    Apr 6, 2000
    Auckland, New Zealand
    You poor boy! Isn't one of the charms of playing bass the amount of volume and low-end you can produce using the biggest speakers and cabinets possible? ;) Well, it is for me! :D
  15. nil

    nil Guest

    Apr 6, 2000
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Does no-one here like to capture the cabinet/speaker sound by mic'ing their rig?

    I'm opposed to bass DI unless it's in addition to the mic'ed signal. I've never heard a good DI out of the arse of my bass/FX...

    I've almost given up with sound engineers - with every FOH mix i've heard they always pull out the mids and boost the low Hz.

    Maybe I shudda been a guitarist...
  16. tomtrb

    tomtrb Guest

    Apr 17, 2001
    Ive come in a bit late, but,

    Ive been thinking about this issue for a while now. The DI out of my Trace is post EQ and I have an active bass, so I have alot of room to tweak before he gets the signal. However, the soundman that I almost always have has his own definate ideas about how each instrument should sound, so bassically I know that whatever signal I give him, he will try to adjust it to his liking. Of course, it helps a little (I imagine) if I talk to him before about my tone, where I like my sound, etc. Dealing with soundman is just something you have to deal with so I just try and give him as good a signal as I can and hope for the best. Luckily, I feel confident that our soundman will do what it takes to create a good mix, even if the EQ on my bass isnt what Im dreaming of. He's a real pro!

    Bassically, I setup my rig and use that to generate my signal (post EQ DI) and as a monitor for myself and the drummer and whoever else can hear it. Of course, I still have a monitor, and so does everyone else, but I generally try and give enough volume on stage (without being loud) so that the bass on stage is whats coming out of my rig. This is in part due to the fact that I am not completely confident in the accuracy of our small monitor system (our larger system is top notch no worries).
    I just have a hard time getting a really good sound out of the monitors, which sucks, because depending on how bad the monitors themselves sound, that may be exactly what it sounds like in FOH.

    Bikertrash, I agree about alot of these bass cabs like Eden, SWR, etc. coloring the sound, so that wont give you an adequate reference of what your giving FOH. So, what is a good cab that would give me an accurate depiction of my signal? Ive never heard of EA but Ill check them out.

    BTW, A friend of mine uses the POD Pro straight in with great results.
  17. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Well it was 15 years ago. I've been through the Ampeg 810 with couple of Ampeg heads, a tube SVT and later its SS sister. A couple of customs, Acoustics a Peavey here and there. A Fender and a Carvin. When I was playing clubs and block parties and outdoor pavilions with a full horn section, it was cool to have. These days, I don't need it and don't want it.

    These days, I just have a different attitude. I just want the band to sound as good as it can. And with our setup, we sound really good.

    As for the POD, yep, it is pretty fancy. The EQ on the board is flat.
  18. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Well i think the chrchhills bassist said it best. You dont have to CRAZY LOUD . all he uses are a 350 Watt head. and 1 or 2 4x10 Cabinits depending on the venue.
  19. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    O.K. guy's if we're going to start bashing sound guy's. this forum doesn't have enough hard drive space to hold my spew on that subject.

    Rexspangle if you want a rant, give me a minute to climb onto my soapbox....oooof....grunt....damn, that hurt. Gettin' old ain't for kids.

    First the disclaimer: These are my opinions only and I have been wrong more than once in my life. Very, very wrong.

    If you want to know what to use when you're not going through the PA, use what you like.

    If you are working with a PA as the primary source as you do in large venues, or even small ones if the PA is adequate and you choose to, your sound (and because you're the BASS player, the sound of the whole deal) becomes a co-operative effort between you and the sound guy.

    Having said that, let me say this:
    1. Most bass cabinets are a HUGE part of your overall sound. Simply put, what goes into them is not what comes out of them. This is not necessarily a bad thing it's just another way to E.Q. a signal. It's what makes one cabinet sound different from another.
    2. Most "GOOD" pro PA's are designed to provide flat tweakable response across a wide range of frequencies. In other words, what goes into them IS what comes out of them.

    Therefore "Good" PA cabinets sound TOTALY different from "Good" bass cabinets. The exception being as I stated earlier, Acme's, EA's and whatever else is on the market that is designed to give a flat response. If you dont believe me, play a CD through your bass cabinet and see how good it doesn't sound.

    Since there is no way in a large sound reinforced venue to beat a sound man at his own game, your only option is to join him and help him in every way possible.

    The way to do that is with a box that approximates the response curve of what he's using
    Example: You're playing through your dream granddaddy Eden rig, everything on the amp is set flat and it's SMOKI'N good. Those two 4x10xlt's you're playing through have a peak around 200hz., a dip between 500-700hz. and an exagerated high end above 4khz and they sound great!

    The only problem is the PA doesn't. The PA is getting the flat that is comming from th D.I. and by the time the sound guy uses HIS e.q. to put the peak at 200, the dip between 500-700 and the exagerated high end above 4k, there's nothing left to slot you in between the kick drum and the low end of the guitar.

    But wait, the sound guy isn't going to squander HIS e.q. on YOUR tone. He's going to use HIS e.q. to slot you regardless of the tone and if you don't have one of those majic basses that sound great straight into the board flat. YOU GONNA SOUND SUCK!.

    Trust me on this, I've been a sound guy and I've been a bass player. When I'm a sound guy I'm concerned with a lot more than just the bass player, and if I gotta do, what I gotta do to get the best overall mix at the expense of the bass (which is harder to slot than anything) I feel bad as hell but so be it.

    Now....If you have a flat, full range, Hi- Fi cab...
    You're gonna hear suck sound, you're gonna use YOUR e.q. to get YOUR sound and sound guy is going to have something he can work with without a bunch of B.S.

    For a bass cabinet I used to use an EAW that had 2- 15's. 2-8's and (I think) 2-3 1/2's in it. IT WAS GLORIOUS! weighed about a million pounds and was always the last thing on stage at load out time.
    That cabinet alone listed for more than 4 grand (fringe benni of being in "the biz" at the time) and taught me more about stage sound/crowd sound than anything.

    The other advantage of using a Hi-fi cab. is that it makes the transition from live to studio a lot easier.
    I've seen a lot of guys get crippled when you take their cabinet away and all of a sudden they can't get their sound and they're hearing things they've never heard before. They blame it on the engineer because they can't come across on tape.
    But that's O.K. I made a lot of money ghosting sh*t for 'em.....

    Somebody help me off this box, I think I pulled a muscle gettin' up here.

    and thanks for the bandwidth
  20. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I think chasarms and I are pretty much in agreement. FWIW. We both do whatever it takes to get a good sound to a flat set board. He trusts his sound guy enough to go without a rig and I think he's the luckiest guy in the world.

    I take a reference rig because I need to keep an eye (or ear) on the guy's I work with.

    I was always facinated by those PODS, always wanted one. Just too old and set in my ways. Too much of a control freak.

    Tomtrb is right. If the sound man thinks you should sound like X and you want to sound like Y, you better be prepared to by a lot of sound guy beer and kiss a lot of sound guy a*s.

    As far as sound guy's are concerned, it's the old joke: Whats the difference between a sound guy and a toilet seat?
    The toilet seat only has to put up with one a*shole at a time.