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Need suggestions on my live church setup for bass

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by stevenkh, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. stevenkh


    Jun 19, 2011
    Dearborn, MI
    I am getting back to playing bass in church again and I need some help and opinions.

    My former church was very small (about 50 people in a building that held about 120.)

    However the church that I have been in for the past few years seats about 800. (We are only running about 300-350 in attendance right now though.) Attached is a photo of the Sanctuary.

    I have an Ampeg SVT4PRO, and a Ampeg BXT-410HL4 (4 ohm, 600 watts RMS/1200 watt peak program) and a BXT-115HL4 (4 ohm, 300 watt RMS/600 watt peak program).

    My question is how should I set this up?
    1: run both cabinets (stereo) with 490 watts/625 watts peak to each
    2: run just the 410 cab MONO BRIDGE with 1200 watts continuous/1600 watts peak

    I need to keep it as small and simple as possible (no "rig of doom" on the stage). Can the 410 cabinet handle it by itself?
    Can it handle it with 300 people and with 600 or if we packed the place out with 800?

    Your thoughts and opinions are greatly appreciated.

    By the way...NO PA SUPPORT is available.

    Attached Files:

  2. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    If you can't have a rig of doom on stage, it seems like the decision is already made to only use the 4X10. That's a large space. It's difficult to say if it would be enough. Are you expected to fill the whole venue on your own with no PA support? How loud is the band?

    I would start with the single 4X10, running the amp stereo not bridged. See if that is enough.
  3. stevenkh


    Jun 19, 2011
    Dearborn, MI
    There will be no pa support any time soon. The church system is a very good system but the subwoofer is not able to handle the extra load from the bass guitar.

    The band consists of me (bass), 1 guitarist, roland drum kit, organ, piano, keyboard and then 2 sax, 1 trumpet, 1 trombone, 1 french horn, 2 flutes, 3 violins, 2 clarinets (thats the orchestra). They are mic'ed (except for the organ).

    Music style is blended (contemporary and traditional).

    Sound level (this is hard to put into words)...it is normal for a church if that helps. Not rock concert loud but not quiet either.

    Is there any advantage to bi-amping? Send the lows to the 15 and the mids and highs to the 410? or is that even possible?
  4. stevenkh


    Jun 19, 2011
    Dearborn, MI
    Also I play a 5 string...if that helps any.
  5. Hmm, so the pa can cope with organ, electric drum kit and a full horn section, but not bass? That sounds a little off to me...

    As far as a 'volume benchmark' goes, your 410 would match up quite nicely with everything else if the horns weren't mic'd, and the band's levels were set around that.
  6. stevenkh


    Jun 19, 2011
    Dearborn, MI
    Organ has its own amp and speakers...does not go through pa.
  7. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    It would be nice if you could have both 410's against either wall. At least they would be out of the way & inconspicuous. You don't want a full stack on the pulpit; that would be douchey. I say both cabs, just don't drown anyone else out.
    I sometimes run sound at my church--we have two subs at both sides of the stage of an oddly shaped room similar to your pic. Sounds nice spread out like that. Mathematically maybe it's wrong but you will be heard & your congregation will feel it. And that's good.
  8. stevenkh


    Jun 19, 2011
    Dearborn, MI
    The reason I asked about running the SVT4PRO in MONO BRIDGE is:

    1. The 410 cab will handle 1200 watts (which the head puts out)
    2. The increased headroom.
    3. The fact that I don't believe that I would ever use the full 1200 watts??? am I wrong there?
    4. The 410 cab actually has a lower usable frequency range than the 15 does.
    5. Also I could sell the 115 and get something else! or keep it for the heck of it!

    Thats my thinking...is it sounding right? Please let me know!

    Also, the house system has a 12 inch subwoofer with a peavey cs-800 amp bridged mono on it. It puts out about 800 watts. The main left and right speakers have a crown amp with 150 watts per side. Crossover is set at 150Hz.
  9. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    My guess is that the 410 will be plenty loud. The Roland kit is usually used to keep volumes in check. If the drummer has a personal monitor and there are no subs, you will probably only have to "compete" with the volume of the drum monitor.

    FWIW I have played in a church ensemble for the past 12 years and never needed more than a 400 W 112 combo. Even that usually has the master about 9:00. Granted our space is probably just a little more live than yours, but it holds over 1000. All of the channels from our group (Grand piano, synth, two guitars, bass and acoustic drums) are high passed (low cut engaged) and there are no subs.

    If it were me, I would go in light and add if you need to later...less can be more if you don't want to tick off the worship leader.
  10. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Of the specs you gave, it can handle 600w continuously. 1200w is a peak number. It can take it, but not for sustained periods. There aren't many cabs that can take that much power on their own.

    I'm also fairly certain that the SVT-4 output ratings are a little on the high side.

    Nope, you probably wouldn't. Not in that type of setting.If you don't need to run it bridged, don't. It'll be better off in the long run. It puts extra stress on the amp and creates more heat.

    Common thought is to get 2 identical matching cabs, so if you got rid of the 1X15, grab the same 4X10 to match with the one you already have.

    Or you could sell both and grab a Fearful 15/6. That will take the full wattage and probably be louder overall due to it's design. Get 2 and you'll be slamming loud if you need to be.

    If you run the 4X10 + 1X15 setup, with the amp bridged, and the master cranked...you will probably blow the 1X15. That one speaker will be taking on half of the wattage on it's own. Whereas the 4X10 will take the other half...but it will be divided equally between all 4 speakers.

    I would think the 4X10 with the amp in normal mode be do you plenty fine.
  11. stevenkh


    Jun 19, 2011
    Dearborn, MI
    Do you mean that Ampeg is exaggerating a little with their output numbers? The head really doesn't have that much power?

    Also, the reason I suggested Mono Bridge was because I have heard people talking about having large amounts of power in their head, never needing to or being able to use all of the power with their cabinet...but the headroom that all that power gives them helps them to have a "cleaner" sound, and they never worry about clipping their head.

    With the SVT4PRO in stereo mode it is only putting out about 490 watts RMS and 625 Peak. At its peak power it is only half of what the cabinet handles. Isn't that under powering the cabinet? Does that matter?
  12. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Yes, but that's just what I have heard. I've got nothing but vague memories of threads in the amp forum to back it up. No matter what it puts out, it's more than enough for pretty much anybodies situation.

    You can do whatever you want in regards to bridging it or not. It just may not be needed in this situation, so why put more stress on the amp for nothing? Yes, more power can result in more headroom, which can result in a cleaner sound overall. All depending on how the amp is set of course.

    There is no such thing as underpowering. Check out the FAQ sticky in the amps forum.

    The cabinet does not handle 1200w. Cab ratings are usually just a marketing thing. 1200 sound better than 600, right? There is probably some info in the FAQ about that as well, but basically the cab can take about 600w continuous.

    Here's a thread I found that explains it better than I could. Read what hasbeen and billfitzmaurice have to say. They know what they're talking about.
  13. stevenkh


    Jun 19, 2011
    Dearborn, MI
    Thanks for that info!

    I guess I was thinking that instead of just running one side of the stereo amp at 60% of its full power, if I bridged it that both sides would be running at half the amount of that (30%)and that it would be easier on the amp. (not one side working and the other just sitting there idle.)

    I take playing in church very seriously and just want to make sure that what I do is right and sounds the best it can. (also I want to take care of the equipment too).
  14. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    That controversy about overly optimistic power ratings was for the Ampeg SVT3 Pro I believe. There are quite a few threads on this. I used to own one, but it still had more than enough power pushing a 4 ohm Peavey 115BVX-BW in an auditorium that seated 300 (which is not much smaller than the OP's situation). The OP's picture reminds me quite a lot of that auditorium in terms of both shape and size.

    My next upgrade was a Genz Benz GBE600 or GBE750 head through either the Genz Benz Neox 212t cab or the 112t cab. The GBE750/Neox212 combo was overkill for our worship team.

    By all the feedback I heard, even the GBE600 (275 watts into 8 ohms) with the single 112 cab was plenty for our worship team which used amplified electric guitar and a loud drummer. I never had to push my rig hard.

    Sounds like a SVT 4 and a 410 cab will be more than enough for your auditorium. Too loud and you'll have a stage volume problem with your other team members.

    It would be better to be quieter in the mix and then asked to turn up your volume rather than bringing a "stadium rig" :) with two cabs and being asked to turn your volume down.

    I have since sold my GBE750 and Neox 212t because the two churches I play in now both want me plugged in direct (a whole new set of problems that are well-documented in these P&W threads) and the big rig was sitting unused. My Genz Benz ShuttleMAX 6 / Neox 112 rig can capably handle any live gigging situations that I would have right now.
  15. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Then what's the subwoofer for?

    Also, a 600 watt "RMS" signal is exactly the same as 1200 watts "peak". A 1200 watt "RMS" rated amp is 2400 watts "peak". The difference between "RMS" and "peak" is purely math. Be aware of thgis when assuming that you "need" a 1200 watt rated amp because the speaker is rated at 1200 watts peak. If you don't understand the difference, you run the very real risk of damage to the speakers.
  16. pudgychef

    pudgychef Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Jan 22, 2005
    Chongqing, China
    +1 on the head and 4x10 being plenty (and at least provides a 'you have nothing to be stressed about' starting point) imho
  17. stevenkh


    Jun 19, 2011
    Dearborn, MI
    Honestly...I have no idea why they don't want me to plug in to the pa and at least get some support from it. My thought is that my cabinet and the house system would "share the load". Plus it would give them control...if there was too much bass they could pull it back, not enough...turn it up.

    Maybe they are afraid that it cant handle it and don't want to risk possible damage to the house system? Not sure, just trying to get along and keep everyone happy!

    One more question...Is it bad to run the one cab on just one side of the ampeg head? Channel A is working all the time while channel B is doing nothing? :confused:
  18. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    I run into our main board with the low cut switch engaged just for some midrange presence on the other side of the room. If you have enough channels available, that may be a nice compromise for you as well.
  19. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    Your main issue will not be power or number of speaker cabinets (you have plenty of both for church), it will be stage volume. Since you don't have an acoustic drum set, your bass amp and the organ amp are going to be disproportionately loud compared to the electronic drums, acoustic guitars, and vocals.

    To balance out the stage volume, play quieter and put a mic on your cabinet like a Shure SM57 or Sennheiser MD421. The 57 doesn't have extended bass response so it won't tax your PA subs and the MD421 actually has a 5 position bass roll-off switch so you can contour the amount of bass the mic transmits.

    The true benefit of this setup is that it gives your engineer control of the house mix. So even though your bass tone won't be chest-thumping through the PA, at least the mix will be solid.
  20. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    The Zen philosopher Basho once wrote "a flute with no holes is not a flute...and a sub with no bass is not a sub."


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