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onstage VS FOH...Whats the point?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by brenner182, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. brenner182


    Apr 24, 2010
    So i feel like i had an epiphany tonight. We, as bass players, strive for our ideal tone. We spend numerous amounts of dollars on our equipment. We research day in and day out(ok maybe it's just me, but just bear with me) looking up equipment and relying on our TB brothers(and sisters) to find opinions on the things we spend our hard earned dollars on...

    When you are relying on a sound guy, Do you really NEED a full stack?

    Me personally, I've tried a bunch of stuff. When i first started playing i bought a fender bassman 410 and thought i had the biggest weiner on the block. Then i saw other people had other brands that were not fender and i was like... that's not a fender so that means they suck and bought the wrong guitar cab.

    Then i became an adult and learned about this little thing called research. I learned that besides my up bringing that there were other brands other than Fender. So i branched out. I've had a Crate, I've had Ampeg. I've had a SWR. And not last AND not least i've owned Peavey.( I Feel everybody should own something peavey at some point. I still love peavey to this day <3<3)

    But tonight i stared at my rig and asked myself, What's the point of owning this stuff? (Keep in mind, My current stacks consist of a Fender bassman 410 with a matching bassman 115; a Ampeg 810 classic and 2 Earcandy bassbomb 212"s)

    But normally i have a sound guy that always tells me to turn down, So why should i even bother having all this stuff if no matter what i do i'm always too loud? I don't play shows anymore that rely on only a vocal pa?

    I'm 24. Am i already jaded to carrying my fridge? HALP!!!!:bassist::bassist::bassist:
  2. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    I want to be Tesla (tinkerer at Dayton Amp Co)
    I'm 23 and sold my big stuff when I hurt my arm last fall. Now I once again carry around 80 pound tube amps because I dig them. I like to have a rig for every gig so it's the cabinets I'm picky about now. I never need more than 300 watts and an efficient 115 or maybe 410 equivalent. For upright I always run the PA and just use an MB10 combo as a stage monitor and sometimes for tone shaping. If I had my way, I'd mic my B-15 at the verge of OD for every show I play electric but that's just dreaming...

    Do I need all the gear I have? No. Am I going to get rid of it for that reason? No. It's all rare, unique, and really nice. I don't need any more or any less. :)
  3. A full stack? probably not, but something ? Yes. Last time I ran a DI only, I ended up only ran through the sub... Nothing in the monitors, and nothing else in the mains. My lowest 6 notes were LOUD:rollno: and nothing else was audible.
    Now, I always bring either 200 watts with a 115, or a Drivecore 1000 and a second 115. Is the bigger set up over kill? For what I do it is.
  4. No you don't but if you have to carry the room, as I have to, then you need something up to the task. For small stages I use my 12, for larger ones I use the 15, outdoors I use both

    I have had PA support about 6 times in 40+ years of gigging but I would love to be able to dispense with the rig completely and DI. What I have now can get plenty loud, sounds good, and is a manageable weight for an old git like me.
  5. No, you don't. Why have a big stack on stage when you have a sound guy and a big PA? A loud stage rig just makes it harder to get a good FOH mix. I just use IEMs and an amp for a stage monitor and to give some thump to the in-ear mix. Other than that, let the sound guy do the heavy lifting.
  6. capncal


    Apr 14, 2009
    that big rig looks totally bad ass on stage behind you, doesn't it? and truth be told, in this day and age where most respectable venues have decent enough PA's and competent enough sound guys, all you really need is the stage monitors.

    Often I'll simply bring my Sansamp DI to a gig and be done with it. If we're headlining and there's no supplied backline, or the other bands can't or don't want to share, I'll bring my rig just 'cause it looks cool. Or if we're playing a higher profile gig (The Palace in Louisville, KY for example) then I'll bring my rig. Again, just 'cause the pictures are going to look so cool!

    And isn't that half of why we play shows? So we can be the coolest mo fo's in the house?

    The thump at my back feels awesome and is personally gratifying, but not as gratifying as not having to load out a hundred pounds of gear at 2 am!
  7. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Full stack? no. (A *lot* of stage volume will interfere w/ a capable FOH system, not help it.)

    Some sort of stage rig? Depends: how reliable is this sound guy you're relying on?
  8. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Couple of things. 1st- not every room you play will have a big PA with side-fills and good stage monitoring, and 2nd- many players end up carrying the room with their own rig. So, even if you do have a good FOH system, some kind of bass rig is usually required, and many here prefer to supply their own sound regardless.
  9. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    Get the tone you like behind you, send portions of that signal to the sound guy and the audience can hear aspects of your tone live. 2nd point is to hear yourself and enjoy the sound you are creating. 3rd point is to carry the room with your bass tone.

    I used to pound a 410 or two at EVERY show. After a while, it was not worth it. I downsized to a high powered 210 and use two of them on big stages. I have no issues with hearing myself and I don't get told to turn down. I have PA support at 95% of the gigs I play. No support shows; I just pound those 2 210's and have no issues.

    Don't trust monitors at a show unless you are sound checking on them. Always bring your rig. It's dumb not to. What if the monitors on stage die? What if the sound man said the monitors were plenty loud (for a country band) and you are a metal band? Some sound guys are wonderful, but if they have never played an instrument, much less bass guitar, how would they know "what's loud enough"? Have fun with that!
  10. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Isn't the bass guitar in of its self an unnecessary encumbrance these days when a mandolin with a pickup and a digital down tune system + a bit of well thought out digital modelling should suffice.
    Are you sure you lot are downsizing Rock and Roll enough with what's available in this brave new digital world.
    On the other hand you could make the drummer play to a click or replace him with an Ipad, record all your parts and have animatronics versions of your selves set up by the road crew.
    Then you could just stay at home.:D
    In my day as a busy live engineer you listened to what the band sounded like on stage and especially how the musicians expertly interacted with their personal amplification, then set about doing the long lost art of sound reinforcement. to bring the bands sound to themselves in phase and cleanly via monitoring and to the audience via the front of house PA.
    PA systems are not very good at creating sounds because that's not what they are actually designed for.
    Back then before Rock and Roll shrank we were even rich enough to have expensive microphones and stands live, in a real attempt to accurately pick up the sound that was the musicians lives work.:bassist:
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I love a big cab rig. Even at low volumes they sound better to me than the little stuff. Having said that, I'm doing a series of 1000-2000 seat theater gigs with Bowzer this week and using a 210, and it sounds great and Bowzer doesn't yell at me for being too loud ;)
  12. JBNeedsBeer

    JBNeedsBeer Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New Brunswick, NJ
    I bring a full rig (4x10 + mesa tube head) because my drummer is loud as **** and I have yet to play a venue that is willing to put that much bass in the monitors. Also, I frequently get dropped into the subs and need something to hear above my 7th fret.
  13. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Okay! Wow!
  14. It's great that at your age you are already playing places with good P.A. support.

    However, what are the sizes of the stages your playing ?

    Many of the shows I play are on large stages (some outdoors) where if you don't have tons of bass in the monitors or sidefills, you will not hear yourself unless you stay right by your rig.

    Additionally, if you play really big stages opening for national acts, do you really think the soudguys are giving you everything they got ? Most times you are lucky to even get a decent monitor mix.
  15. bassfran

    bassfran Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
    C'mon, who doesn't like pumping through an SVT or equivalent rig onstage in front of [DEL]dozens hundreds[/DEL] thousands of screaming fans? (duh)

    But that's not always reality and I don't want to haul all that crap anymore for the measly pay most of us get.

    The 1st time I did a club gig with only a BDDI the sound guy was so happy he wanted to kiss me but I wouldn't let him. Small stage+drums+2 loud guitars+louder bass rig= good luck trying to get the vocals up over the din.

    Sure, it looks cool. But you're not onstage to impress the one or two gearheads in the crowd and if the civilians can't hear the words it's game over, my friends. Your band won't be hired back.

    Some gigs/rooms don't call for a big, blaring bass amp. Some do. Have the sense to know the difference and make everyone's life easier.
  16. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    This is pretty simple really. Be professional. To use the old Boy Scout motto..."Be Prepared"...for anything.

    Bring what's needed. Anticipate that you may need more than what is provided, or you may need less, but either way be prepared.

    In the past I've gone to gigs with inadequate gear and it sucked, sometimes just for me, but sometimes it sucked for everyone. I've also had many gigs where I brought more than what was needed. But so what? If it was needed I had it. If my rig could blow everyone away, I have this little dial on my amp. It's called a "volume control". It's not an on/off switch. I use it judiciously.

    Sometimes I have to carry the room. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes it's a combination of having only the drummer a bit in the PA and my rig just matches his volume out front without me adding to an already burdened PA. Sometimes I may only need a DI, sometimes not. Sometimes I'm playing in a hellaciously loud band, other times it's a rather subdued affair.

    In ALL cases, I'm prepared. Do I "need" all my gear that I bring? Possibly. If I do, I have it. If not, then no big deal. I'm professional about it. Bring the right tools to the job and don't expect anyone else to provide it for you. If they do it's just a bonus.
  17. D.M.N.

    D.M.N. (O)))) Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    This is how I feel about PAs and my gear. I've lucked out and always had very accommodating and competent sound guys that understood that my rig was part of my sound. They will listen during a sound check, and then build the PA levels accordingly to preserve and bring out each person's individual sound. My sound happens to be a tube head on the verge of breakup, and yeah, it can be loud stage volume-wise, but when the PA is built up as a support mechanism, it's not a problem. Of course, I'm not cranking it in small pubs and what not, then I just a cleaner sound. But PAs and FOH shouldn't be a limiting factor in your tone. If they're on it, and if it's even a mid level venue (heck, even low level) they'll often have a mic so you can capture the end result of your playing, instrument, and amp. They're isn't inherently a need to have or not have a big rig, it depends on what you're going for, and what's needed. The FOH is there to support you, not inhibit you.
  18. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    Right on, Sundogue. That's exactly my attitude.

    There's nothing I hate worse than listening to an inadequate rig strain and distort...and to feel like I'm playing through a limiter. I'd rather just stay home.

    I schlepp an old SVT or V4B head and a pair of single 15's into almost every gig I play (OK, if it's a restaurant or coffee house I'll use a single 15) - it's 200lbs worth of stuff and I'm 57 years old, but quite honestly if I'm not producing a sound I'm happy with and more importantly makes the band sound right....I don't see any sense in it.

    It must be nice to work exclusively in venues that have superlative sound reinforcement - I love that situation when it occurs, but it's not reality in my world.
  19. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Yup. There is a reason it's called sound reinforcement and not "I'm going to replace your sound with whatever the hell I feel like making you sound like" enforcement. ;)
  20. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Stewartsville, NJ
    I love having my Stack on stage. Just a 115 with 210 on top. Often Aimed sideways at the drummer. 500 Watts but never use all that. I've never played to more than 150 people in a club so I couldn't say what's best in a huge theatre. I used to use 2 410's but it was over kill for Bars & clubs.