Live volume problem -any thoughts

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by NeilGB, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. NeilGB

    NeilGB Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2012
    SF Bay Area - East Bay
    I am trying to understand a volume problem I seem to have with my rig.

    The rig is - Sadowsky MV5 into a Genz Benz Shutlemax 9.2 into an LDS 15/6/1 (8 Ohm). The bass has a little bass and treble added, the amp is flat with a little bass rolled off. The bass volume is close to max, the amps gain control is set so the clip light just doesn't flash when I play a big note, the channel volume (FET) is set to almost max as is the amp master volume.

    The problem is that it was only just loud enough at an outside gig we played last week. It was a small showcase gig at an open air mall. The rest of the band is gtr (small fender combo set on ~3), vocals, drums and keys. The rest of the band go through our PA (bass does not) which is 2 Electro-voice ELX 112p's and an ELX118p sub. We have some EV monitors for the singer.

    We dont play very loud.

    I thought my bass rig would easily handle this and have headroom to spare. As it was, it seemed to be struggling. The Peak indicator was flashing if I played a big note on the 4th or 5th strings.

    Any thoughts? Am I expecting too much from my rig? At indoor gigs (mostly small clubs and bars) it doesn't have to be cranked as far but I am often surprised at how much of its capabilities I seem to need.

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

  2. --Vissinger --

    --Vissinger --

    Jan 31, 2010
    large and outdoor spaces suck up the sound. Intelligibility (or the degree to which you are heard) benefits from mids and upper mids.
  3. let that clip light flash.
  4. RS66LB


    Dec 29, 2012
    a simple bi-amp rig with something as small as a guitar based 2x12 and medium sized 1x18 would solve the level issue pretty quickly while maintaining excellent tonality and punch
  5. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    One decently loud speaker cab made for bass guitar is NOT loud enough to carry a bass tone around in most outdoor settings. What is the 118 sub being used for in your band?

    Keep in mind that when you boost the bass and/or treble on the Sadowsky pre-amp, you are creating a scoop in the low mids around 300hz. Low mids are quite helpful in getting a bass tone audible to an audience. I am not sure if it would have helped your situation, but it is something to keep in mind.
  6. More to the point. Ignore the damn clip light. Use your ears and dial in some mids.
  7. During outdoor gigs, you don't (usually) have any walls to reflect, or trap bass frequencies. Walls kinda make bass sound a little louder than if there are no walls. No walls make bass kinda less loud than if there are walls. And, bass frequencies are omni-directional, so during an outdoor gig some of your cab energy is going toward the back of the stage. Again there is no wall to reflect it back toward the audience. And, indoors, you usually have floors that vibrate some bass frequencies to your audience. Outdoors you usually have concrete, or asphalt, or dirt. Those don't vibrate as much energy to the audience. All in all, indoor rooms sorta amplify your bass frequencies. Outdoors, you have a lot less stuff to help. Solution for outdoors is more power, and more drivers pumping. YMMV.
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yep. You are asking a lot from a bass rig. Physics demand that we have a lot more speaker surface area to move that kind of air. So that same head and bass with more speakers would have probably been fine. Higher pitches don't need as much "energy" to take off, even outdoors. So, next time you guys play outdoors, you probably can do any number of things.

    1) Dial in some mids. They carry better outdoors (and will probably help you cut through a mix better anyway).
    2) Rent a sub (unless one of you guys already own one) and go through the PA.
    3) Buy, borrow or steal more bass cab for the gig.

    Think of the physics of sound as a giant wall. You aren't going around it, over it, or under it. Your only option is to power THROUGH it.
  9. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    More gain, more mids, DI the pre-EQ bass into PA lightly, cancel the treble boost on the in-board pre, boost bass and especially low mids on Shuttle max, roll back tweeter a lot on cab.
  10. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    BTW, I like my Shuttle 6.0 a lot with my fEARful 15/6/1. Be sure the mid scoop switch is NOT engaged.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    And get OUT of the habit of thinking your bass rig will be EQed the same for every show. The whole POINT of an EQ is to allow you to get "your sound" in different situations. It is NOT to dial in one setting and forget about it. Different rooms (and of course outdoors) will require different settings. So don't be the guy who looks at his amp and says "Oh no! My mid knob is always at 10 o'clock and somebody moved it to 11! Let me turn it back immediately!" Tweek it for the situation you are in every show. In fact, I have gotten in the habit of (if I have time) starting off with a flat EQ every sound check and working from there.
  12. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    I suspect that you did not have enough rig for the gig (specifically speaker). Outside you will lose ~3dB just from missing room contribution. Double up the speakers and you will gain ~6dB at the lower end and ~3-4dB above that. Big difference.

    This is a common issue going from inside to outside... applies to the PA as well.
  13. I played in a tent in the middle of a field once. Vocal PA. Yuk.

    Trying to fill the whole field with lows is asking a lot of one cab. Same difference as one cab vs two cabs fully powered, -6dB I believe. So you would need two FF outside just to sound like one FF inside.
  14. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I don't know... I have a very similar rig - ShuttleMax 9.2 into fEARful 15/6/1 and I have played many loud shows, both indoor and outdoors, and I've always had plenty of clean volume, with no PA support. Your cabinet can probably put out more than you think. It has a 3015LF, right?

    Definitely eq in some low and hi mids. Don't blend your pickups 50/50. Maybe favor the bridge pickup. Ignore the peak light if it sounds fine.

    You could get another 15/6/1, that could handle almost any gig.
  15. +
  16. jbassmaniac

    jbassmaniac REPRESENTING THE LOW END TO NO END! In Memoriam

    Apr 27, 2009
    Kansas City/Topeka KS
    I think one aspect that has not been mentioned is whether or not you are running a front ported cab or rear ported cab with no wall behind it. Two very different beasts outdoors. I was once at a gig where the opening band bassist was running a rear ported cab and no feed into the pa. There was no wall or any barrier behind the stage, only open space. The bass out front was thin and weak in the mix. I walked around to the back of the stage to get my rig set up and was almost blown away with rich full bass...completely opposite of what was coming through the front. Lesson... A rear ported cab is the wrong cab for an outside gig unless you are in a bandshell with a back wall or bowl.
  17. All that proves is you like a dub tone from the back. The port location is immaterial whether there is a wall behind or not.
  18. jbassmaniac

    jbassmaniac REPRESENTING THE LOW END TO NO END! In Memoriam

    Apr 27, 2009
    Kansas City/Topeka KS
    I disagree Downunder. If there is nothing behind the cab except open field there is nothing for the port to reflect off of. The low frequencies coming out of the port are thrown into space. In front of a front ported cab on the same stage you will hear way more low frequencies outdoors. General physics.
  19. jbassmaniac

    jbassmaniac REPRESENTING THE LOW END TO NO END! In Memoriam

    Apr 27, 2009
    Kansas City/Topeka KS
    Here is another way to look at it. Turn a front ported cab around and face it to the back of an open outdoor stage and stand out in front as out in the audience area and you will hear substantially less bass than if it were firing to the front. Soryy that my post really has not much to do with the gentleman's topic as the Fearful cab, the 15,6,1 is a front ported cab so that is not the case for his particular live volume issue. IMHO I think you are dealing with an EQ issue.
  20. Huh? EQ? You seem earnest or I would think you are trolling.

    Port bass frequencies are onnidirectional. When the distance is relatively small compared to wavelength the bass reflects off the back wall equally well from front ported cabs or rear ported cabs. There is no difference.

    It disappears out the back equally well from a front ported cab when there is no rear wall.