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Need advice for unusual setup

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by DaveSill, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. DaveSill

    DaveSill Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2012
    First, some background. I'm a fairly crappy player in a hobby band that plays one or two gigs per month. We mostly play restaurants, where we don't want to make conversation and ordering impossible, so our volume is well below the pain threshold. We're often cramped for space so minimizing bulky equipment is necessary. The drummer plays electronic drums, which gives us good control over our volume. We generally play through our own gear, which is a PA mixer, power amp (for monitors), and powered mains/subwoofer. My "rig" is currently my bass plugged into a Zoom B2 which is plugged into the mixer. No amp, no cab.

    That works pretty well except there are times when I can't hear myself well enough. I don't have my own monitor, but I don't think our configuration allows customizing the monitor mixes and I don't want to subject everyone else to loud bass in their monitors.

    I'm also looking to improve my effects set-up. I've got a few settings on the B2 that work well for most of our material but I haven't been able to find a good fuzzy distortion that isn't lacking underlying thump. I'd also just like more flexibility than I can get with just the B2. Of course, I'd like to spend as little as possible while still getting decent quality.

    I think I'd like something like:

    bass --> "pedal board" ----+----> mixer
                               \----> powered wedge
    At first I thought maybe a Bassbone could be the basis of the pedal board, hanging the B2 off the effects loop, XLR output to the mixer, unbalanced output to the wedge, but the Bassbone doesn't do distortion. Of course, I could add a distortion pedal to the effects loop, but given my budget and my playing ability, that might be going overboard.

    Then I thought maybe a VT Bass DI could do the trick, but the output to the monitor would be just a pass-through, and the pedal has no effects loop.

    For the wedge I'm thinking of the 10" Seismic Audio that sells on eBay for $200.

    So... Does it sound like I'm on the right track or is there some fatal flaw with this approach that I'm missing? Is there a better way to do what I want to do? Is there a single device that does all I need plus distortion?

    Any other advice?
  2. My preference would be to get where I can hear the FOH. Otherwise it's time to get a rig and forgo the PA.

    Go to effects forum to discuss effects options.
  3. you need a small bass rig, use the PA only for vocals and drums... everyone should be using their own amps for filling the room..
  4. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    It sounds like you are happy with the PA's ability to carry the bass at the band's low performance volumes.

    Have a look at the Rolls PM351 or else a small mixer. If you're doing quiet restaurant gigs, driving in-ears or even off-the-shelf ear buds wired to the 351 might be all you need for monitoring.

    As for the pedal pre-amp, if you want more routing options, a few solid basic clean and gritty tones, and the ability to save presets, have you considered the Sansamp VT Deluxe? That plus the Rolls on a tiny pedalboard sounds like it would set you up.
  5. DaveSill

    DaveSill Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2012
    I'm not convinced I need a rig. Sure, it could work, but I don't really think it's a good fit with the band.

    Really what I think I need is something like a standalone preamp with an effects loop. Anyone make one?
  6. aprod

    aprod Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2008
    No need to reinvent the wheel. Get a bass amp and run it through the PA if needed.
  7. DaveSill

    DaveSill Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2012
    Found one: EBS MicroBass II Bass Preamp. It's a little pricier than I'd like, but looks like it'll do everything I want.
  8. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note.

    Aug 8, 2010
    Peoria, IL
    One other thing you might want to think of, is pick up a small, inexpensive, two-channel Behringer mixer. Run the FOH signal to a mixer input, then run your bass to the other mixer input. Adjust your bass for your preference, and use a set of ear buds to monitor yourself. Very small, very inexpensive, fits in a gig bag, and keeps the bass out of everyone else's monitors, and keeps it your sound from bleeding out to the audience in excess of what your FOH sound is.
  9. If you go that route mind out on the total volume you're getting in your ears. No band I played out with could pull that off without hearing damage. Actual IEM function as earplugs as well, but you need the full mix and some $$.

    Sansamp deluxe versions and rack units have fx loops.
  10. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    good point, ipod earbuds would need to be blasted to get over the level of the leakage; real in-ears will seal off, so you only hear what's piped in, and can thus have it at a low, safe level.

    no reason that couldn't be done though, use a little 2-channel mixer or a rolls headphone amp thing, mix the band on one side and your bass on the other, use proper earbuds and off you go.

    the "zero stage volume" thing you guys have makes this ideal, the band mix send should be pretty well balanced to begin with.
  11. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note.

    Aug 8, 2010
    Peoria, IL
    FWIW, if you get decently sealing buds, you can get a great mix with an IEM set up, even one as simple as this. And as for isolation, you'll still pick up a bit of room sound through the stage mics.
  12. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    The OP's band is doing low volume restaurant gigs, with no bass amp or acoustic drums on stage. I'm suspecting the on-stage volume is in roughly the volume that the players can talk to one another on stage without shouting.

    IME, at those volumes, the leakage from ear buds is useful. (It's a very different ball game from playing with a heavy hitting rock drummer and blaring half-stacks.

    I'd be most concerned with getting the right sized tips for the earbuds so that they fit securely. (If they slip out even a little way during your sets, it will affect the amount of bass you hear.) For some people, that's not a problem, while other folks have trouble getting a solid fit with any tips in the standard sizes.

    I find a little Sugru on the ear bud wires creates a solid over-the-ear solution. (I've also used Sugru to custom fit earbuds, which completely solves all the fit issues—but at the cost of blocking out most of the ambient stage sound.)
  13. I agree it could work well, but the consequence of going only a little overboard is irreversible hearing loss. Any time you experience ringing in the ears after exposure, you have damaged your hearing. Take care.
  14. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    sometimes it helps to pretend the sound in your earbuds is coming from a pair of stereo speakers a few feet in front of you: how loud would those speakers have to be cranked to sound like what you're currently hearing?

    if the answer is "omigod they'd have to be blasting!" then that's what you're doing to your ears.
  15. 39-Bassist


    Jul 7, 2010
    Endorsing Artist for: Brace Audio; Duncan Pickups; Line6, Hipshot, GHS Strings
    get a powered monitor and bring along?
  16. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Or you could buy a cheap little bass amp and put it close to your head with only the volume you need from it to hear what you are doing.
  17. will33


    May 22, 2006
    I don't think you need that elaborate a setup for restaraunts, but if you need a sub for the electric drums, OK, small sub, small tops and may as well put the bass in there too.

    I'd still use a small combo for monitoring, either a kickback or amp on a chair. Add dirt pedal of choice, post-eq to the board to catch pedal/amp tone....done. That setup won't be any more fuss than in-ears and you'll find other uses for the amp after you have it.

    Talking volumes you can have a conversation over here....it doesn't take much. Other option is learn upright and play it unplugged :) that's about the right volume for places like that.
  18. TimmyP


    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    Fellow at last night's gig had a little Fender Rumble tiltback. It was a surprisingly capable amp - might be just what you need setting next to your mix stand pointing up at you.
  19. I do exactly what you describe with a VT Bass deluxe. xlr out goes to the desk. 1/4 out goes to my wedge (QSC K12) I use as an amp. If I am using a wedge and IEM I route the 1/4 out from the VT Bass deluxe to my rolls PM351, from the parallel out to the wedge or vice versa.
  20. I was thinking the same kinda thing, if your playing a restaurant type gig you don't need fancy wireless in ear monitors that have a 100 yard range, just pop in some ear buds that can handle a decent amount of low end. doesn't have to be a complicated setup I wouldn't worry about additional mixers and stuff at all, if they are decent non noise cancelling ear buds or headphones you'll still hear the floor monitors with the ear buds in, so just have your bass in the ear buds to give you some more of yourself.