Should I run my bass signal through our PA system?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Spenser, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. Spenser


    Jan 12, 2013
    Hello all,

    My band did our first gig in a large ballroom filled with a couple hundred people. We have a Yamaha STAGEPAS 500 pa system that we run vocals, acoustic guitar, and some keyboard/string tracks through. I kept my bass out of the PA and just used my Hartke 410/115 rig on stage. We received compliments on our sound, but I've been wondering if I should run through the PA or not.

    I tried playing straight into the PA from my Hartke Bass Attack, and I was pleasantly surprised with the result. They seem to handle my bass fine, but I have yet to try it in a band situation. I realize that I probably won't be able to crank up the bass through the PA, so would we gain anything from putting the bass in the mix and only using my cabs as necessary?

    If it's of any help, we play mostly adult contemporary/acoustic music. My drummer usually uses those Pro-Mark cool rod sticks or brushes, so he's not *too* loud! :)
  2. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    You have nowhere near enough PA to put bass or kick in.
  3. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    You might be able to put a little of your bass in the PA, but not much.
  4. Then why are you using a full stack ?

    P.S. - If you are not using FOH, and carrying the whole room with your rig, the mixing of cabs (4X10 and 1X15) is not the best way to go.
  5. Spenser


    Jan 12, 2013
    Yeah, that's kind of what I'm thinking. Probably best to leave it out altogether then.
  6. Spenser


    Jan 12, 2013
    I brought both cabs along because I wasn't really sure what we would working with once we arrived. I probably didn't need to.

    Also, can you elaborate on your last point? Thanks!
  7. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Use the search feature at the top of the page. There are a million threads regarding mixing bass cabs. It is probably the most debated issue on TB.
  8. 410x115 big ball room 200+ people, sweet set up and probably enough umph
  9. Plenty of threads regarding mixing speaker sizes in the Amps forum to read for reference.......

    Mixing different speaker sizes running the same signal can lead to deadspots and boomy areas around the room.

    There is also the problem of power distribution - your 1X15 is getting slammed with the same wattage that the four speakers in your other cab are. When pushed, usually the 1X15 blows because it cannot keep up with a 4X10 in output (a 1X15 has about the same output as a 2X10).

    The "old" thinking was the 1X15 brings the lows, and the 4X10 provides the punch - this is false, as most 4X10's can get louder and go lower then a 1X15.

    Bi-amping (use of a crossover for highs/lows) can work - However, to keep up with a single 1X15 pumping lows, you only need a single 6" mid driver, so carrying around a heavy 4X10 for highs is a waste.
  10. Spenser


    Jan 12, 2013
    Will do. Thanks for the replies!
  11. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    You would need some subs if you want to put the bass and kick into the mix. If you are fine without it for now, don't worry about it too much. It does not sound like you need it and are doing fine without it atm.

    Bass Pounder is talking about mixing cabs with your backline amps. You can do a search for it in the amps section. It's a topic that is heavily debated and also heavily misunderstood. I won't get into it here.

    Good luck!
  12. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Listen, do yourself a favor and don't worry about mixing your cabs right now. You have bigger issues. A Stagepas is very nearly useless for a full electric band. If you are currently happy with your bass tone, save the gassing for your dream rig until after you take care of your very serious PA issue. It is likely that once you obtain a decent PA system your bass rig will largely serve as a stage monitor anyway.

    You got the rest of your life to agonize with your bass rig. lol
  13. I don't think its a good idea to go line in... Putting the right mic in front of your cabinet has always worked for me.

    Whats really lame is plugging directly into the PA, that will usually ruin something, again, mic the cabinet.
  14. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Um, dude, he is using a Stagepas and you just recommended mic'ing his bass rig through it? Really?
  15. Spenser


    Jan 12, 2013
    I misunderstood what Bass Pounder was saying. I'm perfectly happy with my rig as it is, and I don't see myself buying anything else in the near future. I'm going to read up on this too, but; what size mains would you recommend we start at?
  16. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    I'm going to be playing a classic rock gig tonight with a stagepas 500. The bar holds about 100 people. I will be using a Shuttle 6.0/12t with no PA support. Apparently the BL has ran the kick through it before and may do so tonight. I will let you know how it works tomorrow.
  17. I agree fully...............

    The other stuff is just some free "food for thought" ;)
  18. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis

    Well, this is a can of worms coming open right here. The perils of putting together a good PA rig are equaled around here only by the perils of what is the best bass cab.

    As a good starting point I suggest as good a board as you can afford, with the minimum acceptable candidates being an A&H Mixwiz or a Presonus Studio Live.

    You need at least 2 good subs. 18" and I wouldn't go less than 1000 watts each. Before we go any further you need to decide if you want a rack full of power amps and passive speakers or if you want powered speakers. There are tons of threads on this here as well. Back to the subs. If it were me I would avoid anything on the low end of the spectrum because most of the budget stuff is crap. No Behringer, no Peavey, Alto, Kustom or Carvin. JBL makes very nice stuff, so does EV. Or you could step up to Meyer and other really high end stuff which is truly bad ass, but also out of reach for most regular mortals, myself included.

    With 18" subs, I would go with 12" tops. Yamaha Club series is a nice compromise between price and quality, but you can get much better for much more money and much worse for less. Of course, I go against what most of these guys would recommend when we put everything in the PA. Most here would advise against mismatching mains. When I put bass and guitar into FOH, we use a pair of 12" Yamahas on top of a pair of 215 JBLs on top of 2 18" subs which I loaded with Eminence 1000 watt drivers. I think that while close mic'ing a giant drum kit (12 mics) it isn't a problem using only the 12" Yamahas, but when I put the bass rig and the guitar rig in the mix I like to have the JBLs handling some of that as well. The JBLs are a quasi 3 way speaker.

    You are also going to want several quality dual 31 band PEQs and a good passive crossover.

    If you spend a month or so browsing the Live Sound forum here, you will come out much better educated. Guys like Modulusman and Walter are straight pros and will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.

    Good luck brother, I have been continuing my education in this area for a few years now and I still don't know jack.
  19. Spenser


    Jan 12, 2013
    Please do! I'd love to hear about it.
  20. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Stewartsville, NJ
    The problem I have had with not going through the PA is the Bass ends up being too "direct" in certain rooms. ie; you have to stand straight in front of it to hear it. The PA "spreads" the Bass more evenly around the room(Sometimes and all rooms differ).
    That being said you need may more PA but I definitely recommend PA support at least as an option for "difficult" rooms.