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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by nonsqtr, May 8, 2004.
Is anyone using a stereo rig? What kind of effects are you using, and what kind of amps?
I've been playing in stereo for over 20 years.
I use an Alembic F-2B preamp which is a stereo tube preamp.
My first experience running in stereo was back in 1982 when I had an Alembic Series I which has stereo outs and when run in stereo it simply outputs each pickup into the separate channels of the F-2B preamp.
This was pretty cool until I discovered stereo chorus, afterwhich I ran the bass mono into the stereo chorus and then the two stereo outs of the chorus into the separate channels on the stereo preamp which of course drove two channels of the power amp each with it's own speakers. Separate the speakers and you can get some very nice full sounds with the stereo chorus. It sounded especially killer with my fretless Wal which I played almost exclusively from 1984-2002.
I've run in stereo like this almost exclusively for the past two decades, but just recently started playing in mono again with the speakers stacked.
A chorus was the only effect I've ever used though, and I usually turn the effect way down so that rather than giving a lot of effect it justs gives a very good full ambience to the sound.
I could run in stereo...it's connected that way at home right now.
My preamp goes into a Behringer mixer. I have a nanoverb connected in the effects loop with mono input, stereo return. The stereo outputs of the board go straight to my PLX-2402 and then off to six speaker cabinets 1x15, 2x12 and 2x10 (one each per channel).
The stereo effect of the chorus and delay are fun at home, but I doubt that I'd take all that stuff to a gig...
I also have a drum machine and guitar amp modeler (Vamp Pro) running into the board so I can play with myself at home (so to speak).
zombywoof5050, when you did live shows in stereo, how far did you separate your speakers? is it better to have them on opposite ends of the stage, or better to keep them relatively centered?
Ampeg SVP-Pro w/ SVP-1500 power amp in stereo with a Goliath Senior on one side..Big Bertha on the other. Great sound to my ears.
I've run them as far apart as opposite ends of the stage (sounds better out in the crowd, obviously), and I've put them right on both sides of the drummer (he loved that... ), but most of the time I just put them a few feet apart or side-by-side and behind me (so that 'I' got the best sound ). I didn't care for running them stacked with a chorus in stereo, just didn't seem right.
I'll tell you, if you get the effect tweaked just right for the room it can really make your sound huge.
What I'd really like to have done (but never did get to do in a live setting) is to have it set up with a pan for each channel to allow me to adjust the depth for the room with the pan controls (this of course would be best utilized with the 'spread out' speaker configuration). This is easy in the studio because you have a pan control on each channel which really gives you a lot of control over the overall depth of your sound in the mix. To duplicate that in a live situation you would have to insert a mixer into the chain to give you the pans for both channels of the stereo effect. Try running thru a stereo chorus direct to the board with both channels panned hard left/right and then try bringing in the left/right pan controls to about 9:30/2:30 and you will really see how much control the pans give you for the overall depth of your sound in the mix.
So I think a stereo rig, running with a chorus (not too much, just a bit to fill up the sound), with pans for the left/right channels would be the ultimate rig for me.
The thing with true stereo is that it only works if your speakers are decent distance from each other. Pay careful attention to the guitarist's face when you walk over to his side of the stage carrying a bass cab - then wait for him to start hurling abuse.
OK you win that arguement but now you've got another problem. You're stereo on stage but you're still only getting one mono line to the PA. So you politely ask the PA guy for 2 DI's, s chanels and can he please pan em left and right?
Lets say you win that arguement too. You haven't even played a note yet and everyones angry with you. You start playing and you're loving it so much, you ask everyone who'll listen "do you like my stereo effects?". The unanimous reply is "are you running stereo? I didn't notice"
I don't like being the party pooper, and I'm not saying that you shouldn't try it. I'm just sharing what I learned from my stereo experience. I've been on the giving and recieving end of this situation, and it can get a bit tricky........
Every time the talk turns to "Stereo" I think of this story:-
Cool, thanks for the input. Love that story too, that must have been pretty funny.
Of the reasons in your list, the third one is of the most concern IMO. The first one I have no problem with, most of the time the guitar player (who uses two full stacks) complains that he can't hear the bass on stage. When we do shows (on big stages, where the drummer has a fair size riser), I usually put four BagEnd stacks on each side of the riser, mainly so the guitar player can hear what's going on, and secondarily so the drummer can feel the low frequencies from up high.
The second one isn't a problem either, my sound guy is one of the best in the biz, and he'd be tickled pink if I asked him to do something clever involving "more" gear and "more" knobs.
The third one is the one I'm interested in. I was thinking, since I already basically have two sets of speakers in a (more-or-less) "stereo" configuration (i.e. separated by a reasonable distance), why not try to get some mileage out of the stereo effects that have always been in my rig, but which I never use? The thing is, I have very little experience with live stereo stuff, so far I've been pretty traditional in my approach to bass amplification.
Petbass, you nailed my main concern right on the head. How does this stuff translate between a large show setting where I have a sound guy and a mondo sound system, and the smaller venues where I may or may not have house support? If I just take two 15" speakers and put one on each side of the drums, will that be "sufficient" to get the same type of stereo effects I can get on a fifty foot stage, and if so will that translate into anything interesting for the audience?
In my original band, we do all kinds of venues, ranging from tiny clubs to huge festivals. Over time, I've come to realize that a lot of the same people that hear us at the big shows, come to see us in the smaller places, and they expect more or less the same type of music and the same sound. If I start playing around with stereo effects on the big stage, is that going to cause me maximum grief when I try to translate that into a small club setting? Is it even worth gong in this direction?
Lately I've been playing with some stereo chorus effects, and mock Leslie stuff, that kind of thing, and there's no doubt that it sounds interesting with my Roscoe fretless. But that's in the comfort of my own studio, and in our rehearsal space.
The three questions that are on my mind are: a) are the "interesting effects" worth all the technical grief that's involved, b) is the result even noticeable enough for the audience to appreciate, and c) can these effects be made "consistent" across a wide range of venues?
Unless you have your own roadies/soundmen etc, it's a big waste of time. I used to go through all the above mentioned & usally the band/club would get pissed & the stage space/time couldn't justify any difference in the crowds vibe. For home use, it definetly sounds better & you'll hear/enjoy it more.
In short, "less is more" live, so keep it simple & play your ass off.
Well I don't agree that there was a lot of hassle involved, all I did was set the chorus stompbox on top of my amp and run two 1.5' cables from the outputs of the chorus to the inputs of my F-2B. We were only playing small clubs without PA support so that wasn't a problem, but I don't see why a sound man wouldn't want to let you use two channels.
As for asking people if they noticed my stereo effects, I never asked, but I bet they would have noticed a difference in the sound if I turned it off.
Anyway, like I said, these days if I'm using an amp I usually just run in mono with no effects.
just as an aside,
anything recorded on vinyl is mono below 250hz.
stereo sounds to me like a cool thing to do, but i'm with devil man. K.I.S.S. and play yr ass off!