Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by mcmon002, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. HI GUYS,

    i am a bassist in our church and we are moving to a bigger place. so i decided to sell my bass amp and cabs.
    we are planning to plug all our instruments direct in to the PA.

    my question is...

    if i use a Direct Box for my bass... what will i need? a good quality PA speakers? or a Subwoofer? what's the difference?

    any suggestions?????
  2. wow...

    where to start.

    Sincerly... I wouldn't do anything before reading the Yamaha pro sound book cover to cover a few times.

    may help you to volunteer to be someone's free roadie for a while.
  3. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    Hopefully your church has a dedicated audio engineer or a qualified consultant to handle the transition and design an appropriate system for the new space.

    Going to an "ampless" stage is very challenging, especially if you're a bass player. Most churches are looking to attain total control over the volume so putting a bunch of monitor speakers on the stage is almost as counterproductive as having amps on stage. What will likely happen is the players will end up using earphones to monitor.

    In terms of equipment, the church should provide you with a standard direct box. If you want any kind of tone shaping you'll need a preamp. I happen to like the Aguilar Tone Hammer but there are numerous options, including Line6 Bass Pods, various rack mount preamps, SansAmp Bass Di's, and the VT Bass pedal. The next thing you should consider is some custom fit In Ear Monitors (IEMs) or at the very least some studio headphones. Normal earbuds struggle to deliver the bass and don't reject ambient noise very well. That means you will struggle to hear yourself and your tone will seem anemic.

    I'm personally not a fan of the ampless stage philosophy but it seems the biggest tithers don't like loud music...
  4. If you're going through a PA with no amp, then you'll definitely need a subwoofer or two, and of course you need top speakers too!

    There are lots of different systems out there to go for; I'm a Mackie man myself, but that's just my preference.

    I'd just also like to mention that 9 times out of 10, guitarists going direct into the board is a Very Bad Idea. At my church I go ampless, while the guitarist uses a small studio amp mic'd up off to one side of the stage. We all use in-ear monitors.

    In RE to testing's comment, I agree entirely, but there are some very usable 'bud' type earphones available if you're on a budget. I use Sennheiser IE-4s, and while they aren't perfect, they do the job adequately enough.
  5. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    If I could only own 36 basses what would they be?
    Don't sell your amp. Run a small combo on stage and run an xlr out to the pa.

  6. THANKS FOR REPLY testing1two!!!!
    my question is... do we have to buy a subwoofer for the new setup? or will a regular speaker do the trick???

  7. Read my post above ;)
  8. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    Your new PA system should absolutely have subs. Again, I hope your church is working with an engineer or a qualified consultant to make sure you have an audio system that is appropriate for the new facility. I used to make a decent amount of money fixing & redesigning church systems that were pieced together "in-house." Trust me when I say it's cheaper to do it right than to do it over.
  9. I've only setup 30-50 worship systems.


    Quite sincerely you need to RTA a room (spectrum analysis) ...

    OPINION - nobody asked what your room is like, staffing, budget etc... recommending subs is premature.. some rooms acoustically won't handle them...

    Depending on your exact application, there are tons that run through the mains....
  10. HA! So true... And most sound guys will turn everything WAY down except for the piano and vocals. I swear I can't ever hear any acoustic or electric guitar, let alone bass, in the mains. You can hear them on stage (well, the musicians don't get a stage, only the vocalists...), but if you move back 15-20 feet... NADA!
  11. There are "tricks" to this "can't hear myself" PM me if you'd like to discuss.

    The biggest sound education I had was realizing church sound is closer to recording technique than bar band --- first step is to fight for a worship experience vs "my tone cutting through" Yamaha Sound : Books

    Unfortunately for church sound it's not as simple as 1 sentance question then 30 replies of uninformed replies.
  12. RickeyC


    Jan 17, 2011
    This is what I do! I run through a 4x10 (its not up very loud though) an then to the PA via the direct box. It works well as long as you hve a good sound man! :) Keep playing for Him!
  13. be carful on the blanket recommendations... some of the largest high tec congregations I play for allow a 10 watt rumble...
  14. I wasn't just refering to hearing myself, or even when I'm playing. I enjoy being able to hear the bass and guitars even when I'm just a part of the congregation singing. Why have those things if they won't be heard by the church?

    I've been a part of churches that do the sound stuff right and everything is natural and balanced even without paying big money for a sound guy. I can think specifically of a church that we attended for a couple of years where I loved being a part of the music team and singing in the pews (well, not pews... chairs) because it was a fun and spiritual experience. They let the musicians be creative and be heard, rather than dictate what they play and how they sound. With that freedom to be ourselves while worshiping we were able to lead the church in a way that was uplifting and moving for all. They would simply control the overall volume of the music, not every aspect of the sound, tone, etc.
  15. gnjpowell

    gnjpowell Inactive

    Nov 12, 2010
    Concord, NH
    Bass & guitar tech, FOH sound, backline rentals
    BTDT. But first - get and read this book: CHURCH SOUND - Hal Leonard The Ultimate Church Sound Operator's Handbook (Hal Leonard Music Pro Guides) (9781423419709): Bill Gibson: Books

    We have a rather crappy sounding Crate combo amp on-stage at our church for use as a bass monitor. The bass typically connects directly to a nice Radial DI, then out 1/4" to the Crate and XLR to the console. We have 2x 2x12 subs, one on each side of the stage. Some bassists crank the Crate up so loud that we cannot add any bass at all to the house - and sometimes it's still too loud for good balance. I bring my own Yamaha PB-1 pre-amp and use it to drive the signal out to the console as my '79 Rick 4001 has a relatively low output level. I also try to leave the Crate OFF and play using only the FOH sound, but, sometimes it's pretty hard to do if Sound Man has the bass down too low for me to hear. I have experimented with putting the sub on my side up onto the stage behind/beside me Vs on the floor next to the stage. We do have a nice 8-ch mix IE system, but no one uses it, we pretty much use wedges, unfortunately, and they really pollute the FOH sound, too bad. Our worship leader really likes to crank up his vocals and git in his monitor to the point that we're at our max db level with NO FOH! This is a classic and constant sound guy Vs musicians battle. Easy to appreciate both positions being a bass player and a sound engineer at the same church. (sometimes at the SAME TIME! :) Found no easy answers that will please everyone... Pray on it!
  16. extreme


    Mar 20, 2000
    Hey y'all! I'm going nuts trying to solve this issue. I tried PMing MNAirHead as he suggested in his post, but his mailbox is full. Here's what I had typed out. Please, any advice/resources/tips, etc. are more than welcome! I go out of my way to be really gracious towards everyone involved in these situations, but I ultimately end up continually frustrated.

    Hello, I came across your post in the thread "LIVE SETTING!!! NEED HELP FOR OUR CHURCH!!!" where you mentioned "There are "tricks" to this "can't hear myself" PM me if you'd like to discuss."

    Well, please fill me in and keep me from saying anything stupid to the worship leader or sound guy. I feel absolutely fried from church gigs where the sound philosophy is all about control rather than sound reinforcement. I play with a great sensitivity to the music, so I feel like I can be trusted to not blow the room out.

    Many church gigs I do (lots of churches over 20+ years) I can barely have an amp on or just go DI. I have tended to go towards a tone with more mids and roundwound strings to try to hear myself well enough at low volumes.

    Every bar gig I do I am always being told to turn up and I've gravitated towards a much fatter tone and flatwound strings.

    My current church wants only DIs on stage and all sound comes out of a few 12" speakers clustered up above the podium (no subs). There's no real bass in the room and the remaining bass tone is pretty muffled regardless of type of instrument or strings.

    I would much prefer to use a 15" cab on the stage whether it's a monitor or carries the room (certainly capable of carrying the room...maybe 200-300 seat space?). I have my own monitor mix, but there's plenty of sound in the room except I would want more bass and it's not gonna happen as the sound guy is getting what he wants out of the 12" mains.

    Anyhow, I am so reluctant to even engage in this conversation because these sorts of things in the past never seem to go well and never result in a satisfactory result. Am I being unreasonable?

    The sound guy is a professional and the current sound system is 80 grand worth of equipment that doesn't fit the room IMHO. Pretty much every gig other than church gigs I do I am expected to carry the sound with my personal bass amp. These church gigs are often small enough rooms that it seems insane to have the kind of P.A. gear many of them this stuff is being over-thought.

    So, what are your tricks and tips for me to be happy? I will continue to serve in worship ministry and do my best to serve the song and the congregation, but I wouldn't mind if I could be happy with my own personal sound and environment in these settings.
  17. 80 grand worth of equipment only bought a small cluster of 12" speakers? Those had better be some amazingly good sounding cabs...

    Sure that sound guy is a "professional"? Not sure I'm convinced.

    It sounds like that church doesn't actually want bass.

    We spent less than $4000 on a system that can handle bass for about 200 people just fine. We certainly wish we could afford something better but what we have works fine. Our bassists play direct and don't even use monitors, they just stand next to the sub. Seems to have worked fine so far.
  18. extreme


    Mar 20, 2000
    Standing next to a sub probably works just fine! That's essentially what I'd do if they'd let me use my 15" cab.

    80 grand got them a huge board with lots of monitor mixes, Roland V-drums, racks of gear, a digital snake, tons of power amps to run those little 12" mains, etc.

    Yeah, absolutely I could've put together a much more practical and better sounding set up for a fraction of the cost. Oh yeah...of course tons of wireless mics so the mics can just stay mounted in stands anyhow. It's just sad how so many churches have tried to move to this way of doing things. If you need so much control over the musicians maybe those musicians shouldn't be playing. Does the church trust them to do what they have worked hard to be able to do skillfully? If so, get out of the way.
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Yes, you need at least one subwoofer. But you don't want that to be the only place your bass ends up. You'll need a crossover (many powered subs have this built in) so you get the higher frequencies of your bass in the mains. I think someone with more experience should be making the decisions about what to get for a PA system. Perhaps even bring in a consultant.
  20. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Almost all of the casinos out here use no backlines. It's all direct to PA with in-ear monitors. I'm not saying it's good, just sayin' ...
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