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Playing live! What gear do YOU use?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Timatora, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. Timatora


    Apr 5, 2014
    Greetings all!

    I've been a guitarist for 12 years and while I've played bass before (both in bands and recording) I feel its fair to say I'm really only starting to actually understand the instrument now.

    I just got a nice 6 string and have an EMG BQC system recently installed (Or I will have when I get my replacement blend pot, but thats another story for another time). This thing sounds great and all I have is an MXR M80 bass DI + pedal. This one for anyone who doesn't already know it:

    Outstanding pedal but its literally all I have. I plan on going direct and let the sound guy handle it - im a sound eng myself so this isnt too scary for me haha.

    But is this a common thing? What am I missing from not using an amp?
    I know using both will allow the FOH a better bass mix but am I suffering tonally by just DI'ing? Whenever I have done sound I use it purely as a volume thing if needed. I rarely pay attention past volume (the guitarist in me coming through there lol)
  2. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Smallest i can get away with for the date... For me and the drummer it is a monitor. Guitarist and lead vocalist/kbd get my bass in the monitors on a larger stage. We prefer low stage volume and let the FOH do the heavy lifting.

    If I could depend on good monitoring, I would let a Radial DI or Avalon U5 speak for me period... Usually I bring a GK micro (MB200, 500 or Mb Fusion ) and a cab, or two... My bass is almost always in the FOH, usually off a radial DI.

  3. Use an amp along with a DI, amp for stage volume, DI for house. Actually a DI usually provided by the soundguy so if you don't want to spend to $40 on a DI then don't. If you do then also get a short 1/4 to go between DI and amp. You can really blow a lot on a DI but in reality a basic passive rapco di101 is excellent. Or the whirlwind IMP. Stay away from off brands and behringer stuff. For bass the quality of the transformer is what determines the quality of sound.
  4. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    I'm into my transformation process now, so I can say that aside from the bass, the most important thing is a good DI Box (it's a rare/almost impossible that any venue you play have a good one). Then my 'bass monitor' which used to be an amp & cabinet, (still are sometime now) but I'm learning to use IEM (in ears monitor) system more and more.
    It feels awkward at first for me to not using any amp onstage. But (I hope) it's getting better and better .
  5. Your mxr is a preamp as well as DI. If it's working for you for tone, it's all good.

    But having no amp means you are at the mercy of whatever PA is supplied. Perhaps you're in a top flight band that always plays top shelf venues with great monitors. Go nuts. Don't come crying when there's no bass in your monitors.

    You might like to look in an IEM system for the whole band.
  6. Ender_rpm


    Apr 18, 2004
    St. Louis MO
    I own an IMP. It sucks for my basses. YMMV. If I MUST DI, I bring a TW4001, but I prefer to be miced. Yay small tube amps :)
  7. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Right now I'm using the DI on the back of my GK MB500 (pre-EQ). Bass > pedal board > MB500 DI > into the snake, the mixing desk and the FOH.

    I like to think it frees me up to do whatever I need to do EQ-wise and to an extent volume-wise on stage without affecting the FOH a whole lot. My amp is for me and my bandmates to hear. It's my monitor and I use it exclusively to give my own ears exactly what they want.

    Meanwhile the FOH still gets all my effects and tone shaping that I'm doing on my pedal board.
  8. SunnBass

    SunnBass All these blankets saved my life.

    Aug 31, 2010
    Columbia, Mo
    Honestly, I'm one of "those guys" who refuses to be run thru DI.
    I researched my amp and cabinet, and they BOTH are part of my tone.
    So yes, I prefer to be mic'd.

    The only thing about running STRICTLY thru DI that I'd be concerned about, would be the ability to reliably and clearly hear yourself on stage.
    And not just you, the whole band needs to be able to hear you clearly.
  9. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I usually use a US Built Ampeg SVT 6 PRO head with two Ampeg AVT 410HE cabs. No effects at all. I run to the PA from the direct out on the back of the head.
  10. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    Depends on the gig. I have gone board-in before (no gear, just mains and monitors) and that worked fine, but for nightclubs & whatnot, you have to have a rig.

    I have been gigging - for years, actually - with the same rig: Ashdown ABM400 + one or two (size of gigs depending) Epifani NYC 2x10 cabs (sometimes DI's from my amp to the board, often not). Recently I decided I wanted something lighter with more mid-range punch, so I have a single Bergantino 12 neo + a Genz Shuttle 6.2 - I figure that the Berg + one epi will do the trick on a bigger gig. TBD, I guess!
  11. wicksy


    Nov 4, 2013
    I use a Markbass LM800 with a standard 104HF cab. Plug straight in to the amp (via a tuner) and run a line from direct out to PA.

    If something was to go wrong with my amp or cab I have as backup a sansamp DI driver which I will pug straight into and have myself coming through foldback. I have occasionally used this set up when I've had 2 gigs on the same day and don't want to have to set up twice. I have the 750watt RCF TT25SMA foldback wedges though so monitoring is very good. I wouldn't like to use this setup with poor foldback monitors.
  12. wicksy


    Nov 4, 2013
    In saying that, I also do an acoustic duo (acoustic and bass) 1 night a week where I don't even bother with DI and just plug straight into the PA. It does the job!
  13. jswigal


    Mar 20, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    I use a (high quality) DI (Radial J48 for now), a KORG DT-10 tuner (buffer) and a powered monitor. Amps just end up taking up too much space and causing conflict and buyer's remorse...in my experience anyway. We always have a good sound system and when I was using an amp I had to have the volume down to "almost off" at nearly every gig, large or small. I found it better to use quality instruments and DIs to get a good tone, and have the monitor to show me what I really sound like out front. Works great for me!

    That being said: You need to have your own monitor that is capable of pushing enough bass for you to hear. You cannot trust that one will be provided. Also: If your amp defines your specific tone (been there...got in a lot of fights over micing vs. DI (something like this: Me: "I have this mic set up for my bass, so I don't need your DI." Soundguy: "We always DI the bass. It sounds better." Me: "I didn't spend $1,600 on an amp and another several hundred on nice cabs just so they look pretty on stage." Soundguy: "We always DI the bass." Etc...))

    If you can find the tone you want without an amp (should be mostly possible in today's world of nearly infinite options) then I would always choose to go without. If not... Learn to hold your ground!
  14. frnjplayer


    Feb 3, 2014
    It depends on the gig. If it's a silent stage type of setup I go thru my sansamp. If the gig calls for an amp I use a GK MB200 with either a 1X12 or a 1X15 cab. If the gig needs more volume than that then it's in the hands of the PA provider.
  15. morgansterne

    morgansterne Geek U.S.A.

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    I play in a poetry/jazz/rock/noise group and for these gigs I go direct out of my zoom b3 pedal. We don't play very loudly so hearing myself has never been a problem with the monitors or PA provided. I sold my markbass LM2 head when I switched from bass to keys in the loud cover band I play in.
    If you really don't want to buy a bass amp, you can play thru a guitar amp. Just don't crank the bass eq or expect it to have a big low end or you risk blowing the speaker. Bring it to the gig and scope out your monitor/PA situation to see if you'll need it. At least you'll be able to hear what note you're playing.