Mic'd amps at low wattages? - small live shows

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Chronic_Johnson, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. I'm involved in a band project that has been spending most of our early days recording, but intend on taking it to the stage of small/average sized bars at some point within the next couple of years.

    I currently own two bass amps, and neither of them seem particularly great for live scenarios, from what I've read so far. One is a Randall RB200X (200 Watts) and the other is a Vox VX50BA (50 Watts). Both are surprisingly loud considering the wattage.

    The 200 Watt Randall is quite chunky and a chore to carry around, so I'd rather not rely on something of this size. The 50 Watt Vox is very portable, but I doubt it would compete particularly well with drums.

    I've considered just having the Vox mic'd up or using the Direct Out to a PA. But I've read some people advising against that for a number of reasons. It would help to be able to hear myself on-stage, too. I've read some suggestions of having the amp face towards me, rather than out to the front, but I'm still not sure how it would do with drums not far behind.

    Should I just invest in a better amp (not ideal), or is there some kind of workaround for this? Perhaps some people here have experience using these amps at live shows?

    Keep in mind I don't intend on playing large or even above bar-size venues. I wouldn't be surprised if the turnout was anywhere between 30 - 150 depending on other bands in the lineup and specific venue.

    Any info is appreciated. Fairly new to performing in live situations, but pretty experienced in recording and mixing at home.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  2. As long as the drummer has a monitor and the PA has subwoofers then a small amp as a monitor for you will be fine (I strongly recommend a DI box instead of miking the bass amp to help prevent feedback). It all depends on the PA system in use, so find out if the venues in your area usually provide a PA with monitors and subs, or check out the PA your band will be bringing.

    If the PA's are not adequate then you need to be able to bring a suitable amp to carry the house, I'd say 200 watts is the bare minimum, 350 would be better.
    Wasnex and Zbysek like this.
  3. You need absolute confidence in the PA to show up with 50w. It's all a bit moot at the moment.

    If the PA is in doubt you need a rig. If the Randall is too clunky you need to define too clunky before you get more clunky recommendations.

    Then you need a budget. Any number of megabuck mini rigs can cover your gigs with no need to plug into the PA.
  4. Cheers, is there any difference between a DI Box and an amp's Direct Out for P.A? My assumption is that the Direct Out makes a DI Box redundant.
  5. I'm considering the Fender Rumble 100 or 200. The problem with the Randall is that it weighs about 50KG and is large enough in size that makes carrying it all the more awkward (taking it out of the house requires taking it down a set of stairs, which is never fun).
  6. It can but not all amp DI's are that great. That gives sound guy the excuse to reject it out of hand and put you direct through his.
  7. 50kg is a bit of a lump. I can still lift my 40+ kg Trace into station wagon without tweaking anything but it's 10'' rubber tyre handcart the rest of the way. It lightly bumps up and down stairs nicely so long as you maintain control.

    New Rumbles of a couple of years ago sounded like they were in the next room on live shows. Loud but indistinct. Ymmv.
  8. Yes, the XLR out from an amp does the same thing as a DI box, usually. Test it out before you go to a gig, though.
  9. From what ive heard, 40watts is enough for small venues
  10. See, this is the problem with this topic. There's so many mixed opinions. I think I might be fine with the amps that I have, but I'll have to wait until some jamming sessions with a drummer to have a better idea (we've been recording with EZdrummer2's Alt Rock expansion).
    More watts doesn't always mean more volume.
    GodPlayedBass likes this.
  11. Cheers.