Is my set-up good for next marching band season?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Green Dragoon, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Hey, high school marching band member here. I was wondering if, as I am switching to pit to play bass, whether or not a bass amp running into a Europower PMP-2000 pre-amp and then into two pairs of two stacked Yamaha speakers(I forget the model) would be a good setup, or whether the setup they have currently is good enough. The current setup involves an iPad and a bunch of wires, beyond that I have no idea how they route the keyboard player and electric drumpad(for cues) to the speakers. It should be noted that I probably don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.
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  2. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
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  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Everything should be noted.
  4. Yep.

    You really need to know what you are talking about to go broadcasting bass without making a real mess.
  5. JimChjones


    Aug 6, 2017
    SE England
    Talkbass tends to wildly exaggerate what gear is required to play live. I can only think a significant percentage of members play in heavy metal or punk bands .

    It's quite possible to get acceptable sound through a pa without anything in the way of local bass amps.

    But your question is a tad vague! This is what rehearsals are for... Only you, your fellow musicians, the audience and the soundman can answer whether the setup is good enough.

    If not, see if the soundman has advice, presumably other folk have played bass in the pit before and he'll have an idea what works.

    What you are proposing sounds OTT though. I think in that situation I'd start by thinking about a little tiltback combo in the 50 to 100w range and a DI to the house PA.
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  6. How does it hang around yr neck? , and how do you MARCH with all that ON?
  7. Yeah. I guess this must be a stationary situation. They didn't make Sousaphones for nothing.
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  8. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    If you are saying you have a Europower PMP-2000 already in use, you can plug straight into that or use some form of pedal preamp prior to it to juice the sound.
  9. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    Northern KY
    Cab fan, hobbyist

    It has wheels....
  10. Tom Winstead

    Tom Winstead

    Feb 2, 2011
    LOL--in 1974 I played trombone in my high school marching band, and bass in the jazz band. During football season that year, we added "Satisfaction" to the show, and I would drop my trombone and pick up my Fender Precision, which was plugged into my ACOUSTIC 371!!! We had three guys wrangling the rig, and another guy managing the power cord. Probably the highlight of my HS music career.
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  11. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
  12. Dave K

    Dave K

    Sep 1, 2008
    Have you already done the obvious and asked your band director or the person who runs sound for the front ensemble? If they know what they want, do that.

    If they are asking you to figure it out, listen to how the synth keyboard sounds through the PA system with the full band playing. If it sounds good and has enough low end, your bass will be fine in the PA.

    If you want more specific suggestions, provide some detail about the current setup. There is no meaningful way to compare "an iPad and a bunch of wires" to "a PMP-2000 and some unknown Yamaha speakers".
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  13. MIMike


    Jan 1, 2013
    West MI
    What’s the best bass for marching band?

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  14. Just so you understand where I’m coming from: I played in marching band in high school and college at a Big Ten school, but that was 25 or so years ago. My son is a freshman in high school in the USA, and on the drum line. A bass guitar in the pit or marching was “not a thing” when I was in school but is definitely more common now.

    Neither my son’s band nor his indoor drumline use a bass guitar. But I was just at a competition last Saturday for his outdoor band, and a few bands used a bass guitar. My son’s band uses a power amp for the keyboard in the pit, plus miked marimbas, glockenspiels, and samples from a computer. (Blasphemy!)

    I would think that a pre-amp plus powered mixer plus some good PA speakers would be ok, based on what I saw at recent competitions. Especially if your band also has sousaphones to cover low end. But that will also depend on whether you are just doubling bass lines from the sousaphones or are covering different lines at times when the pit is moving things forward and the marchers are doing something different.

    I know it is hard to hear, but you really are going to have to try what your high school has, and ask to adjust if it just isn’t working. And keep in mind too that some places, it will work fine, but others not so much. At the last outdoor competition for my son’s school, the stadium was such that the speakers just could not be placed high enough to point at the stands. So sometimes, it won’t be what you would prefer.

    Good luck!
  15. DanGroove


    Apr 27, 2017
    Every band I saw at my sons marching competition had a mixer with Subs and Tops on each end to amplify the keyboards and marimbas etc. Unless they are asking you to sort it out yourself you should just check with the band director. They will probably DI you into the board and mix you where they want you. I doubt they want your bass amp on the sideline with you in control of the volume (though when I went to the pit to play bass my senior year in 1993 I was playing through a peavey marching bass amp into a double 15 cab if i recall, all run off a car battery.) That was before the bands had a PA and mics in the pit.
    Here’s a photo of what was typical of the bands this year. 54201A32-5189-499D-800C-A8098817677E.jpeg
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  16. Agreed. This is just about exactly what I saw with this year’s outdoor season.

    (Apologies to those outside the USA. I’m pretty sure this is “not a thing” anywhere but the us, and maybe only in the us north, Midwest, and south.)
  17. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    No, it's a thing out west too. And, as a tuba player, it drives me friggin' nuts, but it is what it is, these days. If ya can't march it, it doesn't belong on the field. Now get off my lawn!
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  18. mbasile

    mbasile Mediocre Bassist of a Year

    Mar 16, 2015
    Austin, Texas

    He said it is a pit position.

    Serious response to the OP, how does the bass usually sound through their normal setup? I’d let the director handle it.
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  19. burgerdj


    Dec 4, 2006
    Electric bass was just becoming a marching band thing 20+ years ago when I marched and conducted as drum major. While I respected the pit, I always had an issue with amplified instruments nested within. The joy and challenge of marching band was negotiating the environment, controlling the dynamics. An amplified bass runs counter to this endeavor. Good on ya for marching, and I understand if you have no choice in the matter. If I had to recommend, I’d say get a solid DI/Pre feeding a pair of powered mains.
  20. No, I get that. If it is my band, I don’t want a bass guitar on the field with someone pushing an amp behind it. I think that looks wrong.

    But - given what I’ve seen from the outdoor and especially indoor competitive drumline stuff, the shows are much more artistic than in my day, and I can get on board with a bass guitar as part of the pit. And give that I played clarinet when I was marching, I would have loved to have had the opportunity to play bass guitar or something else to be able to take part in the cool shows my son’s drumline and competive band are doing these days. If it isn’t an option to pick up another instrument to match with (many more by my son’s band pick up some percussion instrument so they can play with competitive drumline), then I’m all for a bass guitar in the pit so that the person can be involved. Those competitions look like they are intense, but are a blast when all is said and done.

    So again, good luck to the OP in finding what is truly needed to participate with your band next fall.
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