Studio tone playing live

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Muthertucker, Aug 4, 2019.

  1. Muthertucker


    Sep 22, 2015
    Lowell, MA
    Hey all,

    I was curious to know if people have felt the same way as I about the subject of trying to replicate studio quality time in a live mix. I love how I sound going direct into a preamp and just listening through headphones. This is an entirely different world than what you're capable of doing in a large room, but ideally, I'd love to be as close as possible to that sound as I can be.

    So here's the question... What adjustment or additional piece of gear do you feel brought the clarity of studio tone into your live mix?

    For the record, this is a very much opinion based question, not looking for answers like "it's impossible, they're to separate things". I get that, I'm looking for gear/missing type answers that made drastic improvements to your tone in relation to how you sound in the studio. Thanks!
  2. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    A good set of IEMs and a decent mix should give you what you want.
  3. LahLeylah95


    May 14, 2019
    I use my DI signal; post pre-amp which is tube driven. It goes straight into our P.A system. It sounds exactly the same as what I would hear when plugging the DI signal into my audio interface and listening to it with headphones.

    I used to have a microphone in front of the speakers. The speakers give a different tone to it. I think this depends on the type of cabinet you use but mine added a lot of mids. I would have the sound tweaked as I was listening through my headphones and then it would sound totally different live.

    The signal is much warmer now, the overdrive sounds more crisp. I will have to use my amp as monitor on a gig but at rehursle it's all P.A signal :)
  4. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    In my home studio I always use an A-Designs REDDI. This tube driven DI box is engineered to sound like the classic Ampeg b-15 bass amp and the improvement in tone it provides is just amazing.

    At $775, it isn't cheap, and a lot of owners are unwilling to expose theirs to the hazards of the stage. I leave mine at home, but for the brave of heart, I can't think of a better way to bring studio sounding bass to a live show.
    Wisebass and JimmyM like this.
  5. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Sending your bass signal to the desk with clarity, balance, and the desired amount o' heft: that's the easy part. A wide range of options here—from clean or character DI, or lunchbox preamp/DI, or pedalboard preamps, cab sims, or modelers like Helix, etc.

    But a big part of on-stage clarity depends on carving away the flab from all the other instruments. You can go some distance by getting your bandmates to embrace HPF before their stage amps. (Good luck with that old school guitarist or left-hand heavy keys player!) Even then, if you have acoustic drums on stage, they're going to at least partially mask some slots of the frequency range that you want for "studio clarity." The better your drummer is at choosing and tuning the kit and slotting into the stage mix, the less this will be a problem. But if you're in the trenches with a kit-basher, a bedroom-tone guitarist, or a keys player with a leaden left mitt (as many TBers seem to be), there won't be the spaces left in the onstage sound for you to hear the bass the way you want.

    In that case, Wasnex's answer in post #2 points to the practical way around the problem of stage spill.
  6. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    True.. it's totally opinion based, but much of that is simple physics.
    Here's the challenge (IMHO):
    A completely controlled audio environment, quality mics and recording gear usually monitored via phones, versus....
    An open room (probably with horrible acoustics); amps; mics capturing bass, guitar and cymbal bleed; not enough rig for the gig issues; often monitored by wedges (feeding audio back into the system) and all sorts of other variables will impact your ability to replicate studio "tone".

    As someone on both sides of stage, equipment has an impact, and someone skilled at FOH, and the stage side not obsessing over tonal variances between venues.
    I've seen VERY FEW bands that are able to exactly reproduce their studio in a live setting. Other than going IEM as suggested by @Wasnex and @derrico1, there's no silver bullet. My $0.02.
  7. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    My tone is highly processed through a Helix, I always sound the same (yes there are small differences for example when having to go into the front of an amp versus the return, etc...), but 99.9% I must sound like me... that is important to me, studio, headphones, tone has to be my tone.
    Rock on.
  8. Afc70

    Afc70 We’re only immortal for a limited time Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2004
    Northeast Arkansas
    I go ampless, use iem’s, (currently using some Yamaha headphones,
    I run into a Phil Jones bass buddy, or my choice of Demeter, Neve, or Wayne Jones preamps, use no pedals, just a direct, clean sound. My bass tone sounds just like being in a nice studio in my ears, I’m very happy with my live tone.
    sawzalot likes this.
  9. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    On a couple of my gigs, I use a Helix. On those gigs, my feed to FOH and (if any) the monitor mixer is absolutely predictable. But even then, if I'm not using IEMs driven by the band's IEM splitter/mixer, my bass can sound considerably different from night to night, depending on the stage acoustics, spill from FOH tops/subs, stage spill into mics coming back through the wedges, etc.
    s0c9 likes this.
  10. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    Nothing is perfect 100%, I get my 99.9 and am happy...I also play through my own stage rig, no IEMs so I think that helps me achieve what I need to as all I ever hear is whats coming out of my amp and monitor, which is usually just the LGP and Lead Vox
    Rcck on.
  11. JPaulGeddy


    Sep 19, 2007
    South Carolina
    IEMs, and letting go of worrying about FOH. Keeps me happy and sane.
    s0c9 likes this.
  12. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Took me a while to get there, but I no longer obsess over it. As a weekend warrior, I can't control what FOH does.
    I control my own IEM mix and that's the best I can hope for.
  13. OptimalOptimus


    Jan 4, 2019
    for you yes it is possible using IEM but it is impossible for the crowd ...

    too much going on.

    Never heard a band sounding like their records ...
    s0c9 likes this.
  14. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    I almost always go ampless+IEM and run a simple wireless->octaver->preamp/DI pedalboard rig out to the main PA. It had been a really long time since I had heard my own bass tone until one gig someone took a video. I was playing a G&L Jazz that night and it sounded totally like what I hear in my ears. So I think if you have a good sound engineer that the DI approach was definitely working that night, at least.
    s0c9 likes this.
  15. 4001

    4001 Inactive

    Sep 29, 2004
    Lake County, IL
  16. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I run a pedalboard with just the right stuff to get what I consider a great tone tone, and let FOH worry about what the audience hears. I'm on IEM's. 2 of the 3 places I play the most have REDDI's, but I only use it at one of the places - the other place, I'm running with a clean DI - the FOH guy at that venue likes my DI better than the REDDI.
  17. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    For the past few months I have been using a Noble DI for live work.
    It's a dual tube (12AU7's) DI with a Jensen transformer. It provides 2 tone controls, Bass and Treble, that are supposedly "Fender inspired" and has a HPF that cuts -6db/octave from around 90Hz. It also can send the same signal to your amp (front end or FX return) that it sends to FOH. Great piece of gear and it's very much intended for live work as well as the studio.

    Absolutely gets your recorded sound into FOH and/or your stage rig.
    pricey but worth checking out.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I get studio quality sound on most gigs. I use a Quilter Bass Block 800 into a tiny sealed 1012 cab and send the line out to the house. Simple.

    Did a gig Saturday in a very nice room and as soon as I started sound checking, while having the master set at 40w and my bass only halfway up I told the sound engineer that I didn't need anywhere near what he had in the house... I like to keep my bass' volume wide open and I wouldn't be able to do that. Tried it again and told him the same thing and he smiled and told me he had taken me completely out. Pretty efficient room.

    Later on he came over while I was noodling and asked what kind of compressor I was using, as I was slapping aggressively at one point but it was very controlled and low output. I thanked him for noticing. We got along great.

    Later on, during the gig, we had a great mix of my rig and the house matching my tone. Perfect. So... good control over dynamics into a capable uncolored high headroom amp into an uncolored cab does it for me almost every time. My most recent gigs have been some of the best ever soundwise.
  19. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 17, 2022

Share This Page