It's all relative...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sundogue, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    After reading these threads for years, I've seen a lot of trends come and go, from the "flavor of the month" to the latest Micro fad.

    I've read a lot of threads/posts where some feel that can't get by on a coffee house jazz gig with anything less than and Ampeg SVT and two Peavey 3620's (yeah you fishstix ;)) to those who feel they have the most awesome 110 cab with their 2 lb. head handling outdoor rock concerts (as long as there is PA support of course).

    It seems that while posts are somewhat descriptive, the context for which these rigs are being used isn't really all that apparent, aside from subjective preferences. I think in some regard these posts are doing a disservice to newer players looking for rigs and ending up with tiny rigs for loud rock bands and way too large rigs for light ensemble playing.

    Let's put some of it in a better context. I'll kick it off.

    I use a Carvin BX1200 into my two homemade 115 neos. I play in a loud hard classic rock band (AC/DC, Scorpions, Poison, Sammy Hagar, Ozzy, etc.) with two guitarists with Fender Twins, a drummer and a keyboard player. We have our own large PA (JBL mains and two JBL SRX728 subs driven by two 4000 watt QSC power amps). We have a full monitor system (monitors use 12's and are not sufficient for bass). I can feel a lot of the low end from the PA subs, so my cabs are more mid-voiced and were built to be small but LOUD, but not built for deep, loud low end.

    We are pretty loud onstage, though not to PA level. The PA is meant to augment and "support" our stage sound for the crowd...not replace it. My rig is loud onstage, but it's not for the crowd as the PA takes it to a whole 'nother level. I'm no louder than I need to be in my rather loud hard rock band. The places we play are mid-sized to large clubs and in summer, a lot of outdoor festival type gigs. Our crowds and the owners of the venues we play at expect...even demand, it be loud (not deafening) because we are, after all, a rock band and people don't come to see us just to sit around having cocktails over polite conversation.

    So, if you care to post your rig and explain how it works for you, put it into the context in which it is used, including the PA you use, the monitor system, other musicians you play with onstage and what kind of music you do. Also make it clear what the purpose of your gigs are. If you're a wedding band, or you play rock music in little clubs where people just want to talk and your band is only background music let that be known too.

    Just something I've been thinking about.
  2. My new rig is a Carvin BX1200 through an LDS 15/6.5 cab.


    It's still new to me, but I use it in a Rock cover band ranging from Zeppelin and Sabbath to Poison and J. Geils Band to STP, Pearl Jam, and Tool to Finger Eleven and Theory of a Deadman, and don't forget a little Stevie Wonder, Wild Cherry, and others thrown in for good measure. We usually always have PA support, so I use the DI on my amp to go through the PA. There are times when I still need plenty of power on stage, and there are also occasional gigs when my rig needs to cover the room. Plus, I want my tone to inspire me on stage, and I think this rig will be the best I've ever had. And the head is interchangeable! :bassist:

    EDIT: I should have also mentioned that my guitarist uses a 120 watt tube head through a 412 cab. However, we do generally adjust our volume to match the drummer, and the guitarist does usually use a DI box.

    As for the venues we play, they range from smaller rooms to open outdoor shows.
  3. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Ok, I'll play. Presently, I have 2 projects. First is a party band. We all work together (in a large TV production studio), and we play classic rock covers, both for our own amusement, and,...for parties. We have a PA for vocals only, so my bass amp is my only support. I use an SVT 6Pro through a Mesa Deisel 215. The guitarists are using Fender Twins and Mesa Rectifiers/412's. There's also keyboards, which sometimes also get some PA support. We're not deafening loud, but it is rock n roll. Then, there's the original project. A former member of an old "bar gigging" band of mine from way back, and myself, are working on new original music, sort of prog-rock meets Steve Vai/Zappa sorta thing. We are not presently gigging, just recording our stuff in preperation of a (hopefully) new band. I may very well use the 6Pro 215 rig for this project, but expect to not need that kind of horsepower. So, my 2nd rig is a Mesa Walkabout head on a GB Uber 212. I expect this will be plenty for any bar gigs we eventually play. I record direct.
  4. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I play in a surf band and could get by for 90% of what we do with my Bassman 120 combo: 100W into a single 15" speaker. For outdoors I would of course need a bit more, and for that I have a Sunn coliseum amp with a G-K 4x10.
  5. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    That is a very good point. Despite having PA support, having a rig that is inspiring (and for me feeling the power of bass onstage is inspiring to me) can make or break a performance. Though we play for others, we play for ourselves first. Even if I can get through a gig just being able to hear myself, it certainly isn't inspiring. And the less inspired I am, the crowd gets correspondingly less than it deserves.
  6. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    I use a preamp (Ampeg SVP-PRO), a Crown CE-1000 (1,100 watts bridged into 4 ohms) and a 4-ohm Schroeder 1212R. I sometimes add a 4-ohm Carvin 1x15 and run the Crown amp in stereo mode - 450 watts per cabinet at 4 ohms.

    I play in a loud classic rock cover band (Judas Priest, Ted Nugent, Black Sabbath) with a lead guitarist who uses a Marshall half stack and a rhythm guitarist who uses a Fender twin. I also play in a slightly quieter blues band with a lead guitarist who plays a blackface Fender Super (4x12), a harp player who uses a Peavey Classic 30 (all tube), a keyboard with a 130 watt SS amp, and a loud drummer. That band plays Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge, Susan Tedeschi (Derek Trucks), SRV, etc.

    My rig is loud enough with just the Schroeder cab to play medium venues (audiences of 200 - 300) without PA support. It is also loud enough - again, with just the Schroeder cab - to provide stage monitoring at ANY size indoor venue with PA support. I only add the 1x15 for outdoor gigs, and that's because we are usually more spread out on a larger stage and I can point one cab at me and the other cab at the drummer.

    Bass in the monitors seldom works very well, IME. Maybe because the monitors are not bass-optimized, and maybe becausethe bass tends to cover up our lower-voiced female vocalist. We just use monitors for vocals and sometimes a little keys, a little harp and a little lead guitar.
  7. I play in a fairly loud band, doing classic and new rock - anything from Stones to Cult to Collective Soul covers. My current favourite setup is my DB750 and two Eden 210XST cabs. I'm typically set with master on around 10:00. The guitarist beside me uses a Vox AC30, cranked up to get the crunch. The drummer is fairly loud, there's a keyboardist, and another guitarist using a Mesa amp with 210 cabinet.

    We have a small PA, Yamaha main cabs with one powered sub. We mic everything, but at most gigs a lot of the sound is coming from the stage. Vocals get the bulk of the PA support. The kick is up front in the mix, and my bass usually just gets a tiny bit of clarity from the PA.

    My rig gives me and the band a really solid platform on stage. The sound feels great, and makes the grooves even better. I played outdoors last week, and didn't bother with any PA support. There were many comments about how punchy and yet full the bass sound was.

    With the Aguilar amp, I have tons of headroom, and I can do any stage from a backyard party to an arena. (And I do have some arena stuff coming up.) The Eden head is ideal for the smaller jazz and piano trio gigs I also do. Both rigs have their specific uses, and between them I can cover anything I've come up against so far without pain or strain!
  8. l_d901d2fe09a447e196abc39c94ebb41f.png

    All of the cabs, and amps are listed in my sig.

    Context: Stoner rock/doom. This is a style of music that is meant to be louder than everything else. For anyone unfamiliar, just think of Black Sabbath but slower, louder, and lower tuned. My band is just drums and bass, no vocals, no guitars. There are a couple reasons we choose to play so loud. Part of it is us being sick of how tame a lot of local heavy music has become. Heavy music has way more impact the louder it is and I don't see how anyone could deny that. It's not all about the volume though, but also the vibrations. It's important to us that everything be felt as much as heard. It's a major part of the whole relaxing/meditative aspect of this sort of music.

    Never played a place where I needed any of my rig mic'd. My drummers drums are somehow louder than my rig, so most of the time he'll just tell sound guys to not even mic him. I've only been asked to turn down a couple times, which I never do. I'm not an a-hole about it, but I just say...look, this is the volume we always play at, and it's an important part of our live show for us, so no, I'm not turning down. It's never been a problem after that.

    Soundguys will hate me when we start playing venues where there might be a reason to mic my rig, but I've made a stage plot to send to venues so at the very least it won't be such a surprise when we start setting up this wall of cabs. ha
  9. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Very cool. And completely understandable. I agree about a lot of local music becoming so tame.

    When did rock music become a muzak version of itself? How on earth does one get a request for AC/DC and ALSO want it to be quiet so people can talk? Talk about an oxymoron (emphasis on "moron").

    Keep 'em coming guys. I really like the context these rigs are put in. It clears up a lot of the mixed messages in threads. Any quiet rigs/gigs out there? There has to be given all the 110/210/112 rig threads.
  10. I know my cab is merely a 15 with a 6.5 midrange, but it is freakin' loud, and it can handle lots of power from what I've heard... :bassist: :bag:

  11. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    In a lot of towns, the rock club is dead. Rock as we know it is a much smaller world than it used to be, with electronic, hip hop and a bunch of other types of music taking a segment of the listening public.

    In a lot of towns dedicated rock clubs don't exist any more, so people have to find other venues, which don't really want the volume. Coffee houses, cafes and restaurants have become common place venues, unfortunately.

    In my case, I'm using 500w into a 15 and a 2x12. Not for volume but for tone. To me wattage and speaker area equate to creating clear big lows without distortion. I don't want to blast, but as a reggae player I want to be able to push my 40-100hz without straining my speakers or my amp.
  12. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Yep. I use a 1-12 on nearly very gig (EA Cxl-112, or more recently fEarful 12/6) with 500 watts. I play the dreaded wine bar circuit, doing either old school trio jazz or country/country rock/classic rock. Just about all my gigs are on EUB these days, and I don't even own a fretted bass. I play with a drummer <5% of the time, PA support <5%, loud guitar <1%. I mix plenty of loud bands, but will not play like that myself if I can possibly avoid it. The one exception is my original psycho jazz fusion project, which can get fairly loud.

    I rarely play anywhere where dancing is very important, and I can often listen to tableside conversations while I play. I like it that way, and I have played "Crazy Train" in at least one of these venues. With slide bass playing the lead part, no less. Energy and volume are not necessarily closely related in my world. I despise any form of music that's watered down we're kind of on the same page there. But frankly, if there weren't a winery circuit out here I wouldn't be gigging at all. Different strokes...:bassist:

    BTW, this clip is from an early evening winery gig I played a couple of weeks go. Terrible vid and sound quality, but it still has a bit of energy, no?
  13. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    My mini-rig stays at my (small!) church. I don't have a pic to post, sorry. It is a Shuttle 6.0 sitting on a Mojo Mini-T. I haven't played many cabs this small, but this one sounds quite 'non-boxy'. I stand right next to the worship leader who plays keys & sings so I don't even need a monitor, I hear hers quite well. We haven't had a drummer for months and I miss him!
    I play in a guitar/bass/drum blues (all original tunes) trio outside of church. So far it has always been with supplied PA. We did a gig a few weeks ago where the FOH was Behringer stuff which I didn't want to trust for bass reinforcement, so I supplemented my Thunderfunk 550/Accugroove Tri-115 with a Tri-112. We didn't get a sound check and I started off TOO loud.
  14. BassikLee

    BassikLee Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Starke, FL
    Owner: JLA Custom In Ear Monitors
    My main gigging amp is the Carvin BRX212 combo. For the unwashed, it is an 800 watt head with the same front end as the massive B1500 in a 2x12 combo. Powering the internal speakers, it produces 500 watts, plus a little 50W amp for the horn. The cones are Eminence Neo 12s, in a sealed cab that is too small to produce any REAL low end. Very similar to the Schro stuff. This amp is louder than I ever NEED to be on stage. It has replaced my 800W Yorkville head and 4x10 cab, as well as my 400W AMP head and Mesa 1516 cab. I will say the AMP/Mesa rig sounds better, but it is three times the size, and not any louder. On most of my gigs, the stage and the room are covered by the amp. The PA on these is typically carrying vocals and keys, maybe a taste of GTR. On the other end, we have a 16 element line array rig, with twelve double 18 subs. On gigs with that rig, of course the stage rig is just for the stage... I am VERY pleased with my little stealth amp. It is a beast
  15. rbonner


    Sep 25, 2008
    Not currently in a band. If I jumped into one for POLITE ROCK MUZAK STYLE, I have a pair of Peavey CS-800s [email protected] 4 OHMS each I could connect to either 1 410HLF, or a pair of 215's or 810's. This rig is completely scalable and can do anything.

    Then there is the ARENA RIG. It currently is 6 4PRO's and 6 Fridge cabs. I am currently working on 21" Subs to test 31Hz performance which will either fly or fry. The rig will be then scaled up from this proof of concept into a triple 25U rolling rack with 12 4PRO's / SVP-1600's and whatever is necessary to drive the subs. Quite possibly Crown I-TECH 8000 watt each units.

    The end result is hopefully the largest high end arena rig ever constructed.

    Why? You are not even currently in a band.

    Because, I want to.


    Attached Files:

  16. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    I've found this to be true. The wine bar circuit is quite nice in Md. Many patrons love hearing searing guitar licks at volumes that you can talk just below. Our audiences like to talk to us between songs. They are learning about music. They are seeing how we communicate to each other and come back for more. Yes it's not the balls to the walls SVT 2x8x10 and Marshall stack. Did that so I can say it was big fun. Now that I'm a more seasoned player it takes real technique and control to play Manic Depression in a wine bar with huge intensity without the volume. It's sort like country music. It seems easy until you try to play with such discipline all night in that form. I now take a 310 and 1000 watts. Huge clear sound so the band sounds exceptional like a studio cut but live. Edge comes for me in hand attack. A 1x12 would be adequate but not ideal.
    Outside gigs I take as much gear as I want but because I'm often with the same folks you get the same control and restraint which comes out to the audience like precision and taste even if we're playing a Deep Purple thing.
  17. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    This is very true in my community. If you want to keep gigging, you need to adjust with the times. It's hard to discuss amps as it is all relative. For me, a Genz Benz Shuttle 3.0, 110, 175 watt combo is all I need. For stand alone gigs (usually background jazz) it's plenty. If I play a bigger room or louder genre, I always have PA support - either supplied or we bring our own - as my keyboard player and guitar player use no stage amps. We're all DI. I hav eno need or anythin gbig.

    Someone else may be playing entirely different gigs, or with no PA, or with bandmates that don't understand stage volume, balance, FOH mix, etc. Then you may need something more. I'm just fortunate and happy that I play with the peopl eI do and we all have a good understanding of what WE need to make OUR band work at the venues We play.
  18. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    I'm glad somebody said this! I'm sick and tired of milquetoast rock. Rock is about being on the ragged edge of the abyss!

    Good idea of placing rigs in context too. That is something typically lacking in these discussions.

    Unfortunately, my rock band has been in a muddling around mode lately and haven't been playing many real shows so I don't have much to add really.
  19. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    You know Bob, I could see an application of that rig in a geophysical seismic survey. You should contract with Exxon.;)
  20. rbonner


    Sep 25, 2008
    Or USGS...

    I understand with that Pacific earthquake last week New Zealand moved 12" closer to Australia...

    Maybe I could move it back?

    Might just make things worse.