Oh Sh*t Plan! (Combo, DI, big cable to the board?)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Rhaco, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    I've seen versions of this question, but never exactly what I'm after (tell me if I'm mistakenand help me out with the link)

    I'm getting back into gigs after years away.
    I've got my new gigging head/cab stack setup. I've also got a practice combo in the works (a couple hundred watts. Let's pretend it doesn't exist for now).

    The question is this: Bass amps are notoriosly quirky. IMHO a backup is a must. A decade or two ago, I used to run around with a mini (by the standards of the day) combo and a mic in my trunk. Is a one trip setup the route to take again, some sort of small combo. Should I be carrying some sort of DI box (I'm cool with not hearing myself for one gig while I get stuff fixed, obviously not forever).

    I just don't know what to do. Backup combo and mic, combo with a DI, preamp with a DI, or a DI box.

    Here's my musts:
    Let's keep it well under a grand. I'd love it at five-ish hopefully a fair amount lower.
    My sound guy rules, but I want some control. A basic EQ will do, but it can't be true straight to the board. There's compression on my board as well as my other distortion and the like. I'm after clean/true.

    I run an active bass 95% of the time, so a pad option would be great, but a passive is bound to come up.

  2. Lots of options so it really depends on what sound or format you want to go with.

    You could get a Trace Elliot Elf or a GK MB200. Both are very small 200 watt heads that be kept in a gig bag and then swapped into place in case your main head goes down. They both have DI's and head phone outs and can both be had for well under $500.
    Redbrangus likes this.
  3. tlite


    Aug 18, 2016
    I always brought a line 6 Pod 2 to gigs as a guitarist. It can run right into the board. Easy and very cheap backup (maybe $50?).

    I have a bass pod also but admittedly never gigged with it.

    the mesa subway di is great but from what it sounds like you're looking for the mxr m81 is maybe a better choice. really transparent and gives great tonal control while staying clean. Size of a normal pedal,too. As I recall both boxes play nice with FOH, but verify with your sound guy.

    Hope this helps.
  4. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Every working bassists should carry one...or at least something that's capable of turning an instrument-level signal into a line-level signal. It could be a dedicated DI, it could be something like the previously-referenced Bass POD, or it could be something else. I've never considered a mic to be an essential piece of backup equipment for a bass player. I'd much prefer other forms of redundancy.

    How's this for paranoia: Two combos – each with DI outs – plus a Bass POD, and a Tech21 VT Bass Rack tucked away in my car's trunk.

    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Welcome to TalkBass!!! ….. and back to bass!!!

    It's a GREAT time to be back into gigging. Technology had made HUGE strides in the last few years.

    Grab yourself a backup micro head. You can find a GK MB500 or a Fender Rumble 500 or Ampeg PF head for pretty cheap these days. They will slip into your gig bag and power you right back up if something goes wrong with your main head.
  6. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Depends on the sound guy. In my experience 80% of the time they will put a standard DI (like Countryman, Radial, Whirlwind, etc.) in between my bass and my amp.

    I carry a Radial JDI just in case, but I've never had to use it; always the sound guy has their own DI.
  7. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    The elf was definitely on my possibilities list. I'll try to find a MB200 this weekend to kick the tires on.
  8. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    That really helps. I'll check out those two boxes asap, and I really appreciate the rec. Thanks
  9. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    I don't know that I'm quite that paranoid, but I agree with you on the DI. The question was more meant to be "how do people approach that problem these days." Right now I'm leaning towards: stack on the stage, cheap combo with DI in the trunk, and DI or mini head in the gigbag.
    And yeah, I never really considered the mic essential, even back then, it was just the smallest/cheapest way I trusted (it was a dedicated trunk rig. I always figured it wasn't so much if it would get screwed up or stolen, but when) to get sound audible to me and accessible by FOH during a pimary rig meltdown. This was definitely the beginnings of my search for a better option.
  10. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    Man, you're not kidding. Twenty years ago I'd have told you a cure for cancer would be an over-the-counter option at CVS before there would be high quality heads this small.
    Thanks for the welcome. The community has been invaluable.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
    two fingers likes this.
  11. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    That's a good thought for sure. Our sound guy is pretty together, so I'm sure he could solve my issue on the fly if need be. I've just always had a compuision to have the solutions to these sorts of things ready and waiting. I think it's 95% to give myself a false but soothing sense of control and 5% about actual necessity.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  12. Using tube amps I always have a plan B. These days my plan B is happily already part of my rig. I use a Darkglass B7K Ultra pre-amp/distortion pedal and it has an amazing sounding DI built into it. The soundguy just plugs into the DI on my darkglass, and I use my AD200B for my stage sound. If the Orange craps out, I can just go direct with the Darkglass.
    Microtubes B7K Ultra – Darkglass Electronics
  13. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    That's funny. I'd been looking into the EHX Battalion thinking the exact same thing. It would definitely be friendly to my board's real estate to combine this solution with my distortion. Thanks for the recommendation
  14. moon-bass

    moon-bass They call me El Jefe .. El Jefe del funk Supporting Member

    May 10, 2004
    USA, New Orleans
    Full disclosure - I have an EHX Battalion for sale right now. That being said - it's a fantastic pedal. I did a pedal preamp "shoot out" not to long ago - I tried about 30 preamp pedals on the market (every thing from the MXR to the DHA, several Darkglass, Eden WTDI, etc.). My requirements were -

    1) Versatile preamp with good tone shaping
    2) Distortion/OD
    3) DI out

    After all the tryouts, I settled on the Darkglass B7K Ultra and the EHX Battalion. I couldn't decide between the two and kept both for a bit. I eventually decided to sell both because I bought a Line6 Matrix.

    The EHX is a fantastic pedal for the price, but the DG did sound better. If $$ wasn't an issue I would go for the DG, but for a budget you can't beat the EHX. It's definitely a close second and it beat out a lot of other preamp pedals.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019