1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Playing Live

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BassPanther, Oct 13, 2002.

  1. Right now I'm at the point in my playing where I want to get out and try playing with other people in a band and hopefully get out and play for crowds.

    What's the very minimum stuff to get started with a rack system and how are they set up? I'm just asking about all the componants I need for a live performance. I know the type of place you play dictates particulars but I'm talking broadly here.
  2. I've kinda come back to a minimalistic approach. I have a Furman power conditioner and a Hartke 5000. At various times I've put in another power amp, a wireless, and a digital delay, but I get tired of carrying lots of stuff.
  3. sleazylenny


    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    when you speak of a "rack system" I assume you mean a power amp, preamp, and whateverelse, rather than a self contained amp head. Bare bones? A pre amp ( 1 space ), a power amp ( 2 to 3 spaces, depending on wattage ) and a power conditioner ( 1 space ). Get a minimum 5 space rack. You could hold off on the power conditioner for a bit, I mean you COULD gig without it, but they are nice to have.
    My rack has an ampeg svt3 pro, a dbx 266 compressor and a power conditioner. I consider that pretty basic.
    As for power, and I swear by this, get more than you need. No such thing as too much juice. ( This , of course, goes with the warning to take heed of what your cab can handle.)

    Oh, wait, you probably want a good tuner in that thing also.

    That oughta do it.
  4. That's essentially what I mean. I have a 100-watt combo amp (I assume that's what you mean by a self-contained unit)

    Now that I think about it though...I didn't just mean the "rack system" that was a miscommunication on my part. I meant just the whole stage rig. Like if I had to go play a gig tommorrow, what do I need to go and buy to be able to play and be heard (purely hypothetical situation.) I'm looking for just a general outline or frame work to get started with.

    And please, explain it to me as if it was one of those "For Dummies" books. Because I'm a dummy about this subject.

    Thanks in advance.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well there are many gigs where a 100 watt combo will do just fine - well if you're into wine bars and coffee shops?

    But I'm just filling in time until Munji comes along and says you need 300 watts to play out!! ;)
  6. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    As Bruce said, a 100W combo is ok for small gigs - if your band isn't too loud I would add... (depends on music style)

    But there is one step between a combo and a rack system: amp head + cab.

    An amp head (usually just referred to as bass amp) contains a preamp (with more or less sophisticated tone shaping, FX-loop, sometimes even compressor or other effects, ...) and a power amp - all you need to start.

    BTW most amp heads come with 'rack ears' so you can mount them into a rack case for better protection, some amps come in a wooden box.

    Useful (but not necessary) rack components to add to an amp head or to a seperate preamp/poweramp setup are: power conditioner (at least in the US), tuner, compressor and/or other effects units.

    A very common setup for small to medium venues is an amp in the 300-500W range paired with one 410 cab. Other popular cab combinations are 115+210, 115+410, 410+410, 810, and recently 212 or 112+112.

    I think I'll stop here because we head many threads on topics like 'how much power do I need', 'which cabs do you use' etc. anyway - please search around a little.

  7. I think that a 100 watt combo is enough for you to start practicing with a band. Try some auditions or jam with other musicians you know. Your band will most likely start playing out in smaller venues and 100 watts should be enough, providing the guitarists don't have marshall stacks. When you need a bigger amp you'll know it.
  8. BlindSide


    Oct 11, 2002
    Wausau, WI
    What kind of music do you play?

    What kind of instruments are in the band (or is there a band yet)?

    You can pretty much figure on getting lots of power/speakers if you are into hard rock. You can get a small combo amp if it is going to be mainly a light jazz thing.

    Are you playing with a drummer yet? If so, you can get some idea as to the amount of power you’ll need based on his style. If he’s a can basher, you’ll never get a drummer to stop can bashing and you’ll need to compete with him at the very least.

    There are a lot of factors that go into it…but most of the advice is right on. 100 watts should get you through, at least a first. You can always re-think your gear after you’ve done it a few times. Then again, you will probably always be re-thinking your setup, so if you’re new to this just remember…

    This will be the beginning of an almost never-ending quest for the perfect gear. Happy shopping!
  9. To answer your questions Blindside:

    I plan to play heavy metal music

    No band yet but you can expect 1 to 2 guitars and a drummer

    I'm not concerned about finding the "perfect rig" I know it will take a long time and alot of tries to get it right. I'm just trying to get a feel for what I need to get started, as well as how the componants all are supposed to go together and what not.

    I've got three basses right now so I think I'm cool there...at least until I save up some more cash. Hehe

    Does anyone know a good website and/or publications to check out?
  10. BlindSide


    Oct 11, 2002
    Wausau, WI
    Well, if it's heavy metal then a 100 watt combo won't do at all.

    2 guitarists in a heavy metal band? I would bet they'll be LOUD. Be prepared for monster amplification.

    Just pray they both aren't playing with full Marshall stacks. But you still won't know for sure until you get together with them at least once.

    A couple of practices at near full volume will tell you right away how much you'll need.

    You could check out musicians friend online...but your best bet is to try some stuff out at a local music store.

    Peavey has got a nice, simple and cheap pre-amp and combined with a standard (used) PA power amp, you get all the watts you need very simply and cheaply. Add a good cab, perhaps an 8 X 10 (ampeg? SWR?)...and you'd be able to keep up with almost anything.

    There are alot of threads about amps, pre-amps and cabs. Check them out too. The beauty of a rack system is that while you can get something cheaper yet useful right now...you can change out components as necessary rather than an all-out trade or upgrade.
  11. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    i believe thats called a stack, when you have the preamp/poweramp in one self contained unit.
  12. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    at least 300.. anything less is uncivilized ;)

    it depends on the size club or bar you play and the style of music you play.

    If you are or want to be in a louder rock type band.. you will probably need at least 300 watts to get the job done.

    If you play Jazz.. 100 watts would be fine...
  13. Jarrod


    Jan 1, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    a preamp and poweramp in one contained unit, such as an Ampeg SVT-4, or an Eden WT-800 is called a "head"

    "stack" refers to a tall stack of speaker cabinets, like two 412 marshall cabs. It doesn't really refer to whether you're using an amp head versus a separate preamp/poweramp setup

    some heads can go in racks, while others are made to stand alone

    separate pre/power setups will always have to go in a rack though
  14. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000

    actually according to the article i read in BP magazine they defined it all as such

    combo - preamp/poweramp and speaker cabinet all in one unit

    stack - preamp/poweramp in one unit, seperate cabinet

    rack unit - seperate power amp, preamp, cabinet.
  15. I'm a believer in overkill. Get as much power as possible. I play clean and like distortion only when used as an effect. I've played through rigs that fart up a storm when they were supposed to have "plenty of power'.
    Get as much as you can with the money you can come up with. If you can, I'd go preamp/poweramp. You can pickup a used Ampeg SVP-Pro(good rock preamp yet versatile)for around $350 and get a power amp that you can afford.

    good luck
  16. Jarrod


    Jan 1, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    ok, but that definition refers to the cab as well

    you would not look at a single SVT-3 sitting on the ground all alone and call it a "stack"

Share This Page