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Newbie Here - Too many questions for one post, but here's a start...

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by pi_r_squared, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. pi_r_squared


    Sep 3, 2008
    Didn't see a 'hi I'm a newbee forum' so this seemed as good a place as any.

    I was drafted to play bass for our church's praise and worship team, mostly because I was the only guy around who had once held a bass.

    I've played guitar on and off for 30 years or so, had a standard scale A/E bass that I had bought on a whim. Fret spacing was driving me crazy, so I picked up a short scale electric.

    I'm enjoying playing, finally put away my pick, discovering some of the nuances of playing a bass for a live audience, like if someone besides a bass player compliments your playing, you're probably too loud.

    That gets to my first question:

    The church has a fairly new sound system, mixer, etc. but I think the frequency response on their amp won't go low enough for a bass. They need to run a seperate powered sub-woofer for the keyboard.

    We tried plugging my bass into the house system through a direct box, house speakers were barking, even at low volume levels.

    I picked up a used amp that seems to work well enough (eden nemesis n15s). Has no trouble with volume for a church of 150-200 people. My understanding is that this amp's far from professional quality, but superior to low $ 'toy' amps. We have to use the amp for the bass, but this doesn't give the sound board any control over the volume.

    Guess I'd better get to the questions:

    1.) Is it likely that the problem plugging directly into the system could be limitations on the frequency response of the direct box?

    2.) Is there some inexpensive means of rigging a remote volume control to the sound board? The first thing that comes to mind is a long run on the cord with a pot at the sound board, but this would mean a REALLY long run from the bass to the amp and might not work anyway. We also don't have a lot of cable runs to spare from the stage to the board and this would use 2 of them.

    3.) I did notice a 'record out' on my amp (like a 3 pronged mic plug). We never tried it, but might that work better than the direct box preamp?

    Thanks in Advance,

  2. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN

    Welcome to TB!

    A few things come to mind, I'll start with referencing them by number:

    1) Wouldn't be a limitation of the direct box.

    2) You don't want anyone controlling your amp.

    3) Usually amounts to the same thing as a DI. I prefer a separate DI, but that's me.

    Now for some suggestions...

    Could the engineer be clipping the input on the bass channel? If the system is distorting at low output levels, the clipping is probably happening before the channel fader. The input gain on the desk is a likely starting point.

    Set your amp volume for where you need it to be to act as a monitor for you and possibly the other musicians (especially if you don't have an actual monitor rig). Let the FOH engineer deal with it from there. Yes, there may have to be some trade offs. Note that this is assuming the sound system can reproduce your bass...otherwise, you'll need to use your amp for house support as well (read: louder).

  3. TimmyP


    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    If the low notes on the keyboard are not a problem, then the barking was owing to operator error (need to use pad on DI, gain too high on bass channel of mixer, etc.) or a bad direct box (or, if the DI is active, bad phantom power not supplying the DI with enough juice).
  4. pi_r_squared


    Sep 3, 2008
    We have an interesting mix of equipment.

    Only the mid-high end on the keyboard and drums goes through the house amp, they have a seperate powered monitor with a sub that gets a low level input from the mixer. It provides house support for the keyboard and drums. That monitor is sort of off-limits for anything but the keyboard and drums, as the drummer and keyboard player use the satellites for monitoring each other and staying in sync with each other, and the last thing they need is a newbie bass player in their ears.

    As for gain levels, we knocked then down and still got the barking. I was one of our sound techs prior to picking up the bass, I'm no expert, but I was the one who had to explain to the others the difference between volume and gain on the board.

    I'm going to try the low-level output on my amp tomorrow, just in case it could be the DI box.



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