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PA = Bass Rig?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bigboy_78, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. So I’ve found myself in 2 bands that are both using inadequate PA. I’m not real keen to stump up for a whole system myself and even less keen on the “band” buying one. I’m leaning more towards suggesting we each buy a component. I’m thinking I can buy the power amp and a sub.

    Is there any difference between a PA power-amp and the power amps in rack-mounted bass rig?

    Is there a PA sub I can buy that would double as a stand-alone bass cab if needed?

    I’m thinking that if/when the bands fall apart I can just use what I’ve bought as my bass rig.

    This has probably been covered before but I had no idea what to search for.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    fEARful subs may be worth looking at.
  3. Prefer something "off-the-shelf".

    So something fearful style, 3 way design will work for dual duty?
  4. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA

    I play a fEARful 12/6 with a 15/sub when I need a lot of volume. My power amp (Carvin HD1500) and my 15/sub are now on PA duty. It totally kicks the old Mackie sub we used ass. Anyway, I'm building another 15/sub because for the cost you can't go wrong. The Carvin HD1500 has a LPF set at around 100hz if you don't have an electric x-over too. Whenever I get back to playing in an original band I'll have my full bass stack there, until then my 12/6 is more than loud enough for stages I play. Another nice thing about my 15/sub is it weighs under 40lbs...
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    A little advice...buying stuff together sucks if one person bolts. Probably best left to bands that have been together a while and don't plan on breaking up.
  6. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    Not sure what you have available in your neck of the woods. Any of the 15' 3-way cabs based on the kappalight LF series would work as a sub if you use a electronic X-over. Can you get a Barefaced cab down under? The plans are available for a fEARful 15/6/1 so maybe you could hire someone to build one for you...Just a thought.
  7. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    On the power amp question, yeah you can do that. Main thing is: don't scrimp on the power! :eyebrow:

    The PA cab vs. bass cab question doesn't make much sense to me. Unless you choose very, very carefully, you're likely to end up with a cab that can serve both functions minimally, but doesn't really serve either function very well, i.e. the worst of both worlds.

    The most obvious reason relates to the mismatch in function: PA subs are designed to throw huge amounts of SPL in a very limited frequency range, i.e. lows & sub-lows only. But a bass cab is designed to throw much less power in a much wider frequency range. So any single cab you might get is likely to be inadequate to one task, and present wasted capacity to the other task. Right? :eyebrow:

    I don't see the point of going there - at all. :rollno:

  8. Having crap PA sucks too, but when it all falls apart what would you rather be left holding – 2 passive FOH speakers and a mixing desk or A 1500w power amp and fearful 15sub?

    No-one is putting their hand up to lay the cash out for the whole system, so I am trying to make sure if everything goes pear shaped I come out in front.
  9. Buying a piece or two each can work well, if the band splits everyone leaves with what's theirs. If one member leaves it gets sticky if the replacement is broke.

    Maintenance of older gear requires some agreement.

    Every singer has his own mic, stand and cable, just as drummers bring drums etc.

    A power amp is a power amp, some have more features useful for bass.
  10. Hi.

    You don't say :).

    This must be the most debated and argued about subjects when forming a band.

    There is the "classic" solution though.

    "The most important qualities of a bassplayer are the PA and a van"

    That always holds true, no matter what, and If You shop wisely and don't mind the weight, wonderful deals are there.

    I've done the PA deal in a band setting every imaginable way, and IMO if one person owns the system and don't mind lending it out for free, it works the best.

    IMO/IME generally no.

    IME the first two or three PA systems a budding band buys don't require subs anyway.

    A nice pair of decent mains and an amp is all that You'll need then.

  11. All good points. I think OP has thought it through and could well be on the right track but more detail is needed to put the TB thinktank on the right course.

    When you say these bands are under equipped, what do they have now and what kind of crowds are you trying to play to? How about the guitar amps and your current amp, keys etc?

    Do you hope to be playing outdoors? Summer approaches downunder.

    A lot of the TB regulars play super loud with no PA support, even PA unused. Others play mega rooms and get away with larger rigs. Relatively few seem to operate pub rock not obnoxiously loud but using a full PA. Will33 is onto it.
  12. will33


    May 22, 2006

    I wasn't aware I'd written anything in here yet, but yeah, I'm on to it. :D

    Fearful is one of a damn few things out there that can pull double duty like that and do a proper good job at both.

    Some more specific info is needed to help you though. Instrumentation, audience/venue size, etc. Buying a PA involves a lot more than amp and speakers. Lot's of microphones and cables are needed and at least some amount of outboard processing gear. Someone also has to know how to operate it al or they can still make good gear sound like crap.

    Improper use of subwoofers can muddy things up worse than not having any subs. If you're playing small pubs, you could get away with just a powered mixer and pair of tops. So, really need to know more about what you need.
  13. I know you already said you want off-the-shelf, but our bandleader/sound guy used my 15/6/1 and 15 sub rig as a pair of PA subs once in a pinch, and said they were as good or better than his HK 18 subs.

    If you're hell-bent against getting something built that's your business, but they are literally exactly what you're looking for. If you do go this route, I've had nothing but good experience with Joseph Hawley of JHawk Customs.
  14. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    This can be a good way to go about it. Some of the newer power amps have DSP in them already. That covers your X-over. You can run a 2 or 3-way bass cab (preferably Barefaced, fEARful, or other KappaliteLF variant. IMO) as a sub. (Only the woofer will be used after the x-over) That will take some low end out of your PA tops (just getting signal above the x-over point) which should help make them sound better. If the band implodes down the road, you have a kick ass bass amp.
  15. will33


    May 22, 2006
    I don't know that there's an AB downunder yet.

    The plans are opensource though and not overly complicated. Any competent carpenter/woodworker that will follow instructions shoukd be able to do a good job. Pre-cut kits are also available at www.speakerhardware.com
  16. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    I got the short end of the stick on this one since I was the lead singer before picking up the bass, so I ended up owning both the PA gear and bass gear. No difference between the power amps we use and PA power amps. A sub is not always necessary unless you're running drums and bass through the PA, and it isn't really necessary for bass either if you're on a tight budget. You will also need crossovers and stuff for such set-ups. Most modern PA systems have been shifting toward active, so you may be able to find passive rigs cheap.

    However, more importantly, like Jimmy and others have mentioned, if you guys just got together and might split, it may not be a good idea to do a group purchase. I'd say you should rent for now.
  17. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Shared PA never works. Also, one of the mistakes lots of bands make when they're 'under PA'd' is to try to put too much through what they have. If you've got a small PA setup, you can't put the whole band through it and expect it to sound good.

    For instance, tonight we'll have 12's with horns on stands out front with a pair of very compact 12" monitors for stage. Into that will go vocals and maybe a bit of kick out front. The gig is a decent sized place, but we're closer to 'background' music than having a stage setup. The rest of the band will use their own amps.

    For slightly bigger gigs, we may have 15's with horns, bigger monitors and more power. In that case, we'll drop some of the Keys or guitars in the PA if needed.

    Anything bigger, the venue is providing a full PA. In that case, I use my amp, DI to house, all guitar amps are mic'ed, drums are fully mic'ed and keys are DI to board as well.
  18. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    Exactly, you don't have to run everything into the PA, and a small system should suffice for vocals and maybe some keys. If you have a larger system with a sub and proper crossovers and stuff, sure, throw in some kicks and bass in there. An even larger system, you can consider mic'ing up the guitar amps and the rest of the drum kit.

    Running everything through your PA makes things easy to manage, and has its advantages, but is not a necessity.
  19. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    This is true, however I think the OP wants to build a bass rig that can double as a PA sub. It will be his gear, so if the band splits he takes it with him. That is why I suggested some type of fEARful, Barefaced, kappaliteLF variant and a power amp with DSP. In a band, shared gear can get messy when the inevitable break-up comes.
  20. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    A sub is necessary for a good PA but not a good bass rig. To incorporate a sub into your bass rig. And no subwoofer on its own would make a good bass cab, you'd also need a bi-amp system and yet another cab. By the end of it, you're gonna end up with a pretty damn big rig that may or may not be practical. So I think it's more prudent to take a step back and properly assess their PA needs than diving straight in.

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