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Switching passive to active bass playing live.. advice needed!

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Bass_Band, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. Bass_Band


    Aug 2, 2012
    Hi rockers!

    I'll have to switch between my fender P-bass (passive) and my musicman stingray5 (active) while playing live outdoor. I dont' have any experience in live show and I play mainly Stingray5 on rehearsal. I guess my signal strenght will be different from one to another. How do I negociate that? Do I have to boost a little while playing my fender? Do I make the soundcheck with stingray and adjust up a little while fender playing? I'm using a BBE opto stomp compressor always on (vol:10 compression 4.5); the compressor switch is at -15db on rehearsal with my stingray. Do switching out the -15 db with my fender will do the trick? I play on markbass CMD 151 + markbass NY 15'.

    General advice would be greatly appreciate! :D

    Thanks in advance! Rock'n roll! :bassist:
  2. evilt70


    Feb 6, 2011
    Pekin, Il
    I will be doing this soon as well, passive 5er and a musicmna 4. I am building a stompbox using the musicman 2 band circuit to turn on and use as a "boost" for the fiver, with a switched bypass for when I have to plug in the musicman. Otherwise our sound guy will be hating on me for having to mess with my levels. Not sure if there is something commercially available to take care of that. Anyone know?
  3. Ebelow


    Jul 27, 2008
    Campbell, CA
  4. Mmm, the Firefly looks interesting.

    OP, I use a Tonebone for this job, but a Boss LS-2 will also do the trick (in A<-->B mode with a dummy plug in the input jack - there's a picture in the manual) and is much cheaper.
  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Who will be running sound for your show? That is the person whose opinion really matters.

    If its an outdoor festival type situation with several bands, most soundmen will choose to run the bass straight into a DI box in which case switching basses will make their job more complicated. If your set is less than an hour and/or you are not the headlining act, then personally I would just play the 5 and not worry about switching.
  6. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    That's a good practical point. I guess it depends on your situation but in the bar band I use one bass period, even for a 4 hour show. The few songs we play that could use a 5 string I just play the notes up an octave or whatever and its fine.......nobody cares or complains.

    If I wanted to use the 5, I'd just play that all night.
  7. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
  8. Agree with klokker, stick with the 5 the whole set. Unless you have the set list set up so you start with one bass and end with the other then adjust -15db position when switching but no one in the audience, the soundperson or your band will want you switching too many times and breaking up the continuity of the set.
  9. Bass_Band


    Aug 2, 2012
    I guess I'll stick to my 5; easiest solution. Family party, no real soundman; drummer will fix sound. Dont have time to rig with the nice stuff you proposed me.

    We're the only band playing. 25 songs. 8 of those need my 5. I like my Fender; easiest to play, lightier, warmer tone, hip-shot drop-D, parralell switch and personalized pickguard.

    Would be great to play with my Fender; Singer ask me to tell him when I'll change bass (2 x 1 hour set / 1 bass change each set was what I would like). I dont wanna a mess too much with our sound post soundcheck. The show must go on! It's OK, I'll swallow the pills. My G.A.S expend.

    Rock'n roll! :bassist:
  10. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    A 2-channel preamp is the most efficient method but there are other workarounds. It's not really as complicated as one would think since the difference in output and EQ settings between the Stingray and the P-bass is negligible unless you are using lots of boost EQ on the Stingray. Just take a few minutes at home or before rehearsal and find the optimum settings for each bass and match their levels using the gain control without changing the master volume (this is important).

    Then get some white masking tape (console tape) and put a piece over the gain control and make marks to indicate your Stingray and P-bass settings. If you use different EQ for each bass, put masking tape over those controls as well and mark your settings. With all your settings marked it will take about 5 seconds to make the adjustments at the gig and since you've matched levels between the two basses, the engineer won't hate you.
  11. I used to be in *precisely* the same boat in my old band. Used the Radial BigShot I/O posted above; it's an absolutely *great* piece of gear. But since starting my project two years ago, I haven't played a 4 onstage, so never use it any more. But I won't sell it. It's one of those items you just don't want to let go of, and since I don't have a lot of money tied up in it, no biggie.

  12. Bass_Band


    Aug 2, 2012
    That really helps! And you're right. I made some home soundcheck and little difference in output power comes from both bass; it comes as a surprise! (P-bass vs Stingray/no boost bass EQ). With stingray bass boost knob in the middle the P-bass may need a little EQ amp bass boost + low boost. I'm not even sure if I'll have to boost gain for the P-bass!

    How does a minimum change in gain level will affect the signal send to FOH? Is it OK to boost a little bass and low EQ when playing P-bass in relation with FOH?

    Rookie wonders. :bassist:
  13. i have been reading this thread for a while now and it has FINALLY occured to me lol....you could have also gotten the SANSAMP Programmable Bass Driver DI. This allows you to have 3 programmable settings (VOLUME EQ and DRIVE) whilst having 3 programmable buttons, this way you can have 1 setting for your p-bass, and another for your stingray...

    i have one of these, not for your specific reason, but i love it! :)
  14. CnB77


    Jan 7, 2011
    Turn the volume on the Stingray itself down until it matches the P. It's active, so it shouldn't affect the tone
  15. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Just saw this thread, and I might be able to help a little - I play both EBMM 5ers and passive basses during the same gig in my band... First off, odds are good that there isn't a huge difference in volume level between a good P Bass and an EBMM - but if there is, here's what *I* do: I use a post EQ DI send, and counter any level differences between my basses with my amp's Pre Gain...

    Currently, I'm mostly gigging either an MIA Hot Rod Jazz or '76 P Bass, a Gibson T-bird, and an EBMM Sterling 5 HS - and the levels are all close enough to each other that I don't have to change Pre Gain when changing basses... Also, what I typically do is set my amp's EQ to sound good with my passives, then use my active bass's on-board EQ to work with the same amp settings... I've been thru enough gear that what I'm currently using doesn't require any radical EQ settings, so that helps things quite a bit...

    People always assume that an active bass is going to have a hotter output than a passive, but that's not always true - and sometimes it's just the opposite... I've been using the above approach for a few years, and gig atleast 4-6x per month, and it's worked out quite well - no complaints from soundmen or my bandmates...

    Hope this helps,

    - georgestrings
  16. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    That bears repeating.
  17. Bass_Band


    Aug 2, 2012
    Maybe I'll turn down volume knob directly frome the P-bass instead of the stingray5 (or maybe just all full volume on on both bass on stingray clipping gain level). With the Littlemark3 (CMD151) the P-bass clip with a little more gain but at the stingray gain clipping level it appears that P-Bass sounds stronger; it's minimal I think due to tone change. It was a low level bass soundcheck with both cabs on. I can't push too much both cabs for personnal soundcheck 'cause I'm in an appartement (115HR 400w 4ohms and 210HF 400w 4ohms on littlemark3 (I use ampeg BA-108 for home practice - 25w; I go 2 x 115 at last rehearsal but band told me that 115 + 210 sounds better for us/ I use that set up at the other last rehearsal). I agree and I'll go 115 +210 for the show.

    Maybe I'll rent a music local practice tommorow; I have a free business day; only a little 30min bussiness appointment. That way I'll do my own soundcheck before show. Our soundman (drummer) told me that he's not sure about putting me into PA; it depends on the soundcheck. Now I have to hand the setlist with my bass change to singer.

    All advices were really appreciated as always. TB is magic!

    Rock'n roll! :bassist:
  18. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    I switch between an active Traben and my 74' 4001 on just about every gig. I rarely change anything EQ wise on my rig. Compensate with the onboard pre on the Stingray, then just use the volume controls on the basses IF there is a difference in output.
  19. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    This is assuming that you are using the DI on your bass head but it would also work if you mic the speaker cab as well.

    The DI on your bass head is affected by the gain control but not the master volume control. So if you try to use the master volume to match levels between your basses, it won't work with the DI and the engineer will say nasty things about you, your equipment and possibly your family. That's why I recommend leaving the master volume at a fixed setting and use the gain control to match the levels of your basses.

    The question of adding EQ depends on whether your DI is set to pre-eq (meaning no eq goes to the DI) or post-eq (meaning eq adjustments are sent to the DI). If your DI is set to post-eq, just make sure your EQ adjustments aren't too extreme. Remember that what sounds good through your bass cab may not translate the same way through a PA system.

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