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Playing straight through Pa..?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by fleabee, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. What would you consider the pros/cons of playing bass straight through the PA?
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    If you have a nice PA, a good sound guy, and a nice monitor system, then go for it. No cons at all. I PREFER to use an amp, but I have done hundreds of gigs running direct as well.
  3. Does the Pa color the basses sound like a preamp or is it exactly what you would hear from the bass?
  4. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    You really want to use a DI or preamp anyway, especially with passive basses. The mixer input isn't especially friendly to them. So, if you choose a preamp for this, it can be as colored or as transparent as you desire, really. Same with DI, to some extent.
  5. Gotcha, thanks
  6. derekd


    Feb 16, 2009
    I have gone direct with a POD and Sansamp before with good results.
  7. Ezbass


    Apr 3, 2008
    +1. If going into a rented rehearsal space with PA I never take my amp (quick in and out and no bass amp to hire) I just use my MXR DI which has a 3 band EQ, works for me.
  8. jimbilly


    Apr 19, 2006
    I've played quite a few times with a wireless and a tech21 bddi straight into the board. You start to think of the PA (and especially the subs) as 'your amp'. I like having an amp on stage, mostly for my monitor, but it can work really well just going into the board.
  9. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    playing directly into a pa will work fine. I prefer a small bass amp miked into a pa. The bass amp will provide some stage volume for you and the drummer to hear the bass.

    If you go direct then use a sans amp, or a direct box or a bass pod.
  10. b_carville


    Jun 26, 2008
    I go through the PA a lot. I use a Sansamp.

    Sometimes I don't use an amp & I have a little bass in my vocal monitor or side fills if the gig is really big.

    The drummer in my main band prefers me to have an amp on stage.He doesn't want anything in his monitor but him(sound familiar?) but a lot of private parties/weddings,etc.are done early enough for me to use public transportation.It's a lot easier to do the city by train then drive.The other guys are fine with it.Matter of fact they prefer it.It makes the stage volume more managable then having one more cabinet blaring away(although I do prefer to have an amp).

    I would use a Sansamp or somekind of active preamp/DI to color your sound the way you like it if you choose not to use an amp.Unless you really trust your soundman . In a pinch I've used a Boss GEB-7 Bass EQ pedal into a passive direct box.It sounded fine.
  11. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I prefer to mic the cab and use a line out to the board then have the sound man blend the two signals together. This IMO/IME yields the best results.
  12. cadet


    Aug 12, 2008
    Eugene, OR
    Like has been said, a good engineer with a good PA will be just great going direct. I've never been happy with hearing my bass out of a regular stage monitor, but have been plenty happy getting the other instruments through a wedge and hearing myself through the house, if it was a good enough system.

    I've even had times when I had a combo for a backline, but shut it off -- What's a little 15" matter when there are a bunch of 18"s out there, getting a couple thousand watts per side!

    The only drawback I've experienced was when I felt fine, but the drummer wanted to hear me better for locking in. In that case, the backline was more for him than me. (I don't run myself very hot anyway on stage. I was an engineer before I could play, so I prefer to hear the house mix.)
  13. HogieWan


    Feb 4, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    I use my POD straight into the PA on all my gigs now for both bass and guitar. I only play smallish places and they have a decent system (monitors are key). I am considering a smallish keyboard amp for those places that might not have a good system so that I can at least hear myself.
  14. Any preferences on monitor size?
  15. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Low frequencies that go through the subs on the sound reinforcement system are omnidirectional. With a typical setup you'll hear the subs just fine on stage.

    Just get a monitor that can give you enough output to hear your upper bass ... mids ... highs.
    In ear Monitor's work even better especially with individual monitor mixes.
  16. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    I like having an amp on stage. I like having what I play coming out from behind me. Most drummers like this too.

    When I go direct, I tend to go direct out of my Ampeg or GK head. This is IMO the best of both worlds as I had hear what I am playing and the soundperson can still get a good mix.

    I also often play direct through a $25 Yorkville passive DI box to the P.A. when I play in my blues band. Not a great sounding option IMO but there are 8 guys in the band and we rehearse in a small basement.... I am not bringing an SVT! For emergency purposes or for a few tunes this is ok, but I wouldn't want to do a 3 or 4 set gig without a Sadowsky, Radial, SansAmp RBI or other DI/Preamp-type unit if I had to go direct.
  17. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I've gone direct to the FOH at big festivals. It's fine if they have a big PA and big monitor......... If you have to carry your bass through a crowd for a long distance, a bass rig becomes a liability. If the sound system will support your bass, then go for it. Not the same as a bass amp, but maybe 200lbs lighter.
  18. When space is an issue,I go straight to the board.Our band pulled out ALL the stops when it came time for a new P.A.With my bass and the kick drum,it's like getting hit in the chest with a shotgun blast.Nothing short of awesome.I usually depend on the sidewashes (1x15",1x12",and a horn Electro Voice's flagship cab).So,I run my bass,Line 6 Bass Pod,BBE Maximizer,T.C.Electronics Chorus Pedal.But,I prefer my own rig for some reason.More control over my sound,I guess.
  19. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    1x12" or 1x15" for me.
  20. mccartneyman


    Dec 22, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Managing Editor, Bass Guitars Editor, MusicGearReview.com
    A Radial Tonebone Bassbone will allow you to run direct to the PA and run a line out to your map, as will most DI systems, but the tone bone is optimized for bass and evens things out dramatically. It also has the advantage of having two channels and an effects/boost loop and tuner out jack. My soundman will not let me use a regular DI anymore. In a big venue, I prefer to have a small amp onstage just for bass monitoring, usually a 12 or 15. The sound through vocal monitors doesn't do it for me.

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