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Newbie question about live bass sound

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by some1, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. some1


    Apr 27, 2011
    Hi guys, I'm pretty much a complete newbie about live sound related stuff. My current rig consists of a Markbass Little Mark III (500W) and 2x10 Markbass cab (300W at 8 ohms). In the recent venues I played, cab wasn't enough on its own so I ended up going through the PA, which is not an ideal solution from what I understand. I mean, the sound coming from the cab on its own was kinda loud enough when I turned it all the way up, but it distorted in a bad way so I went through the PA. So I'm thinking about a getting a second cab (1x15) to be able to go through my rig directly. The guitar players in my band are mic'ing their amps so I can hear them through the monitors, but if I don't mic myself, there's no way for me to hear the bass through the monitors, right? Would it work in that case to just have the bass sound coming from my cabs? Or would I need to mic my rig too? I feel like I'm asking very basic and stupid questions, but I've gotta start learning from somewhere :)
  2. Usually pairing different speaker types isn't the best idea, but as long as you get the impedance right youll be all right. As for a mic, make sure you have a good sound guy, lots of em will completely destroy your tone or cut you out of the mix. Hope that helped!
  3. I'd just add a DI to the equation. Use the DI to send the bass to the PA and use the 2x10 as a monitor.
  4. some1


    Apr 27, 2011
    So if I end up using a DI, getting a second cab would pretty much be unnecessary right? (I'm still not sure about the point of having a cab if using a DI to connect to the PA)
  5. Jarnett


    Dec 17, 2011
    Adrian Michigan
    A DI would be like mic'ing up your bass amp, but a little better quality IMO, you can get DI's that go between the bass and amp, or amp and cab if you're concerned about your tone going though the PA. It would allow you to hear yourself through your amp and PA. If your guitar players are mic'ing up then you should too, that way your bass is coming out of the PA mains as well. Adjusting your eq can help you cut though the mix on stage a little, but a DI will help, and if thats not working, get a 410 cab.
  6. Yeah, if using the DI, your cab on stage would be purely for monitoring. Assuming the PA can put out enough bass that it doesn't need the help of the cab.
  7. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Going through the PA is the professional way to do it. The only problem would be if the PA is too small. Also probably for your band 2 10s will not be enough for your stage amp. Try another 2x10 additional cab and run through the PA as well.
  8. morrisonhendrix

    morrisonhendrix When the music's over, turn out the lights... Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    near Dallas, Texas
    If you are going to get another cabinet, get a 115 or 112 to add a little more bottom than the 210s.
  9. Barisaxman

    Barisaxman Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    Please see the 1 million posts about driver size (10, 12, 15) having NOTHING to do with frequency response. Cheers!
  10. With loud volume bands the bass amp setup is mostly for stage monitoring and the real crunch is done by the PA. No need to spend a fortune with a 2000W+ giga amp rig.

    It might even be that your stage volume is too loud for no reasonable purpose, just the opposite, have a hard time hearing what everyone is playing.
  11. No doubt, my 410 will destroy things.
  12. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I'd also recommend a matching cab (assuming they are both eight ohm cabs) strictly because the load is well shared between the two of them - both links in your tonal chain are equally strong so you won't blow up the weaker of the two. If you stack them so the speakers are in a vertical line you'll get more sound up toward your ears at the very least.

    It's conventional wisdom (and I share it) that 400 watts and a 4x10 is enough for most situations. That assumes that the drummer and guitarist(s) aren't complete maniacs. There are a lot of nay-sayers to that, I'm sure. In my experience it's true.

    As said above there's nothing wrong with going through the PA assuming that the PA is good. DI is preferred if you aren't depending on effects for your tone. Your cabs add color and the mics add color. I usually just want a clean tone to get out to the PA. If your amplification/effects are integral to your tone a mic is preferred. A good mic for bass will get you into the realm of a second cab, price-wise.

    I think a matching cab will get you where you want to be. The head has a DI and that should be enough to get you heard out front.

    Good luck.

  13. morrisonhendrix

    morrisonhendrix When the music's over, turn out the lights... Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    near Dallas, Texas
    I didnt' say it had anything to do with frequency response Mr. Friendly. My point was more about a different voicing. Perhaps I implied something else or worded it poorly, and if I did, please forgive me for my lameness. Now if going from my own experience and posting it here is a bad thing, let me know and I'll try not to participate in this type of discussion again.
  14. marijn van gils

    marijn van gils

    Jan 23, 2002

    It all depends on the PA and the stage volume of your band.

    Is the PA designed to deliver bass to the audience (as opposed to only vocals and maybe keys)?
    - yes: just use the DI on your amp to get your sound to the PA, and use your cabinet as a stage monitor for you to hear yourself. Don't count on the PA monitors, bass usually sounds terrible through them and volume is often a problem.
    - no: avoid going through the PA by getting an extra (matching) cabinet so you are sure to be able to fill the room with your own equipment. For bars and small clubs, this shouldn't be a problem with your setup + another 210

    Does your setup have enough volume to get your bass to sit nicely in the stage sound mix?
    - yes: no need to get an extra cabinet, as long as you can go through a decent PA.
    - no: get an extra cabinet and some ear protection.

    I use a 500 watt marbass head and a 410 cab, and I have no problem hearing myself on stage in a loud band with the master at 9h00. Also no problem at all filling a 300 people sized venue with good tone, while keeping ample headroom, when I open it up a bit further.
  15. masterFlash


    Jul 6, 2009
    If you like your bass tone with the amp\cab setup you have, then just get a second cab just like the first. a 4X10 and 500 watt head is enough to fill any decent size bar. Heck I use a 4x10 and 300 watt head, and haven't had to turn it up past 5(50%).

    Most larger venues will have a sound system to deliver your bass to the crowd. Then your rig only needs to be loud enough for you and the drummer:)
  16. Pep

    Pep Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2010
    Louisville, KY
    Your MarkBass rig should be enough for you. I'm in an 8 piece group (3 horns, two guitars, keys, bass and drums). My current bass rig is a GK MB212 500watt combo. It has a direct out that I send to the board so bass is pumped through the mains and to whomever wants it in their monitor. If your MarkBass has no direct out, then the DI is the way to go.
    I place my combo on an amp stand directly behind me so it's easy for me to hear. I can get enough low-end feel from the main subs.

    There are a couple things to consider before purchasing more gear.
    (1) If your guitars are going through the system, you should too!
    (2) If you're trying to mix so everything will come through the mains, adding extra cabinets will only hinder that process. Your soundman (if you're using one) needs to have control over what the audience hears. If you're loud on-stage there's a good chance that your bass sound is carrying off the stage as well and thus he won't have the ability to mix you properly with the rest of the group. His only alternative will be to turn up the entire system to override you stage volume so he can mix properly. In many cases that's not a good option.
    Also remember that a lot of your bass leaks into open mics if you're loud on-stage and that creates a whole new set of problems.

    You need to think of your rig as a personal monitoring system for you only and getting up off the floor to where you can hear it clearly is important to both you and the main sound.

    Hope that helps.
  17. TimmyP


    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    The PA will sound better than most any bass rig, will go deeper, and is less likely to have a nasty peak that wrecks the mix.

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