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! :)

Should Bass Be Separate or Part of the PA System

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Auguste, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. Auguste


    Apr 5, 2012
    Bass is Fender Jazz
    Amp is 300 watt Fender Tube amp
    Cabs are 2x15s . . . Two of them . . . As well a single 1x15 for smaller gigs

    Two members think that since we already have all of this "bass capacity and power" that we would get overall better sound if it was not being pushed through the PA system

    What are your thoughts?

    NOTE: I have already started a separate thread on what type of live sound system we need. "What live sound system would you recommend?"
  2. shtik


    Jun 8, 2011
    Depends on the room, PA system and how loud the band plays.

    On certain situations it might be true, on other situations it might be wrong. You don't see touring bands bring in a huge backline just because it sounds better than going through the PA. The same is true even in smaller live music venues. Having a 300w all tube bass amp doesn't mean it has to be cranked all the way and replace the FOH bass signal.

    On most situations, more control is preferred by mixing the bass through the PA system with all the rest. It might require less bass volume on stage.

    If the PA is not good enough to handle the full mix, and the room is not too big, I would try to get the right balance from the backline (bass/drums/guitars) and then only amplify what's needed (vocals/keyboards/kick drum). But it will be only out of compromise, not because you have a 300w all tube amp.
  3. 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
    Take the bass out of the PA at your next gig and test your band mates theory. Get a 50 foot cord so you can go FOH and hear for yourself.

    Depending on the venue, your stage volume may be out of balance because the only source of bass will be your amp and volume will be the only amp adjusted to fill the venue other than the PA.

    Where do you setup on stage? Does your PA have subs?
  4. mcapote


    Sep 9, 2009
    Miami Florida
    we play bars and i go through the PA. easier to control through 1 mixer and your rig is really your monitor to hear what you are playing not really setup for audience positioning.
  5. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Bass sounds great through a PA. This just typical advice from jealous, bass hatin types.....wow he has that giant rig and we can can hear him well enough, what does he need to go through the PA for? I've been though this before. The band and soundman not understanding bass rigs, and bass sound, and the mix in the audience just completely destroyed my chance of having one of those awesome gigs. Dont buy into it. If there is a PA available, your bass should be going through it just like everything else. tell the guitar player well, you're going though the house so you don't need that Marshall half stack you have onstage. Don't believe the hype man. This is just anti-bass behavior. it's running rampant.
  6. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    If your PA lacks the amps and/or speakers to push a whole mix, then you're probably better off keeping the bass out of it in small rooms. That's a compromise, though, not an ideal.

    Ideally, you want the band's sound to be blended and consistent no matter where in the room the listener is. That's easier when stage volumes are low and when the PA is carrying the room.

    The same principle applies to monitoring from various points on stage. The louder you need to run your amp to keep up with the FOH cabs, the more unbalanced the stage mix will get.
  7. I'm of the opinion that it's easiest to get a really good FOH sound when running everything through the PA and keeping stage volume as low as possible. YMMV, etc.
  8. the yeti

    the yeti

    Nov 6, 2007
    raleigh, nc
    also this.
    bass can muddy vocals but it doesn't have to.
  9. hotbass57


    Nov 27, 2011
    Must go thru the PA. You get a better overall balance with the other instruments. That's where your punch comes from. Nothing like a great mix between kick drum and bass. Like many above have said, you can keep stage volume down and get better overall sound thru the PA.
  10. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Do you want a balance 1 stereo or 5 individual stereos to work as 1. Everything should go through the P.A., always, unless you are at some serious dive with a 4 channel PA.

    Whether you like it in your monitor is your business but only a fool doesn't run the bass to the FOH... and there are many sound guys that do.
  11. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    No need to say YYMV. This is the truth. I appreciate you being kind to others though. :)
  12. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    As most people have said - it depends.

    That said, if you can go through it then do it because it will help your band sound much fuller and punchier. And just IME, guitar is the LAST thing that should get added to the PA. Most guitarists are so loud on stage that adding them to the PA makes everything a pain to mix FOH.
  13. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Yup. That is, as long as the P.A. is up to the task.
  14. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    Only one way to go, that is through the PA.. It is what it is there for. Now, stage volume is a different beast all together, but basically your onstage rig is for your onstage volume. Off stage is the PA's job
  15. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Do you have a sound guy? I prefer everything goes to the sound board and someone else takes it from there.
  16. Vinnyboonbots

    Vinnyboonbots Banned

    May 25, 2012
    Going through the PA adds fullness and depth to the bass, so in cases where it's a large room it makes sense.

    What makes NO sense is when you have to turn your stage volume down to the point where you can't hear yourself in order for the bass to sound good through the P.A. And that occurs more often than it should.
  17. uhdinator


    Apr 20, 2010
    If your stage volume is loud everything bleeds In to all mic's on stage, muddy's up the mix, increases feedback issues and is difficult to get a good FOH mix.

    By the way, if your 2-215 bass cabs are 4 ohm cabs, you're gonna smoke that bass head. Don't think there are too many bass heads out there rated at 2 ohm load.

    If your bass is not in the FOH it will sound like its in the background instead of up front with everything else. Use a single and or smaller cab as your bass "monitor" and send to FOH unless the PA is to small.

    My PA is 2-215 subs. I don't need a refrigerator bass rig competing with the PA.
  18. Auguste


    Apr 5, 2012
    Yes we have 15 inch subs

    Yes we will test
  19. Auguste


    Apr 5, 2012

    Overwhelming response says through the PA

    I am going to print your responses and share with the group

    Thanks again
  20. TimmyP


    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    I can pretty much count on one hand the times I've heard a really good bass sound. Only once was a meaningful percentage of it coming from the amp. Most of the time, the amp's volume out front does not make a good sound, it prevents it.

Share This Page