Time to lose the amp?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by paulears, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. We've all recently gone over to IEMs. I've used them, as the drummer for years, but the stage sound is loud because of the guitar and real drums. Now, we've all gone IEM with personal mixers. Me and the guitarist now have gone down in volume - the guitarist quite a bit, but the sound guy tells me that now my amp is virtually off, he can put me through the PA, which hasn't been that common as my 8 x 10" cab was too loud - and the Foh desk bass fader would be on zero!

    Now, I stick me ears in and then turn the master up until the sound guy thumbs up. I can't hear it with my decent sealing moulds, only what my IEM feed sends me.

    Humping the big cab around seems pointless now, so I thought about using my 4 x 10" cab, or maybe even a 100W 2 x 10" combo - but then I figured why not try a DI and no amp at all, because I don't use processing or effects, just a bit of EQ.

    As far as I can see, I'd lose nothing at all - I'd hear exactly the same thing, and the audience would get me via the pa, with somebody with ears tweaking my sound.

    anybody done this - and dumped the amp. I use the amp mute switch a lot, but I guess I could just use the guitars volume knob instead.
  2. CryingBass

    CryingBass Is that an Elephant Fish on the corner over there? Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    Welcome to Talk Bass. 2019. I still love the airflow behind me though. Or is that a fan?
  3. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    What you're describing is fairly common. Most IEM systems don't give the musicians any ability to control tone on individual channels in their monitor mix. If the system you use is like this, consider a preamp DI so you have the ability to dial in your bass's tone directly, instead of having to talk the audio tech through whatever changes you want. Here are some examples:
    Mesa Boogie Subway Bass DI Preamp | MESA/Boogie®
    Zbysek and ObsessiveArcher like this.
  4. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    that makes perfect sense, since you're still on a stage with live drums. in smaller places people standing right up front would hear drums but no bass. on big stages you could indeed just skip the cab, nobody would be hearing it, not you, the band or the audience.
    what EQ? how are you getting your bass into the PA now? are you using the amp's DI out? if so you'd want to keep doing that, you just wouldn't need the cab anymore.
  5. I’ve played at churches that had IEM systems, and I and didn’t use a cabinet at all (they had a capable PA with subs). I designed my rack so that I can send a balanced signal to the house, an unbalanced signal for a stage rig, or both simultaneously.

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Administrator, Pedulla Club #45
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  6. On my p16, I've got the HF on my bass perked up so I can better sense what I'm playing, tuning wise. Without the harmonics, with in-ears, I find it difficult to tell if I'm playing bottom E, or Eb without looking. With extra highs I can hear it. Oddly, with my ears open and a cab, I never need to actually check my fingers to see if they're on the right note. In the IEMs, I have the P16 EQ cutting bass! Weird! I know what my basses sound like, and I'm actually playing the worse sounding one for some shows because I can hit it harder. The other favourite is too jazz sounding for rock and roll. I'm very happy to let the FOH people eq what people hear to make it blend nicely - what we pay him to do really. When I'm working on other bands shows, which is what we do quite often, I love the bands who turn up back-line-less. If they have a digital kit, it's so strange having a silent stage. I guess the bang you on the rear blast from big cabs is just going? Or at least for some genres - can't imagine it working for the heavy brigade?
    s0c9 likes this.
  7. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I was ampless for about 18 months, until our pedal steel player (recently departed to another band since we're not playing as much as he'd like and he needs the income) constantly griped about needing to hear bass on stage. Mind you, he WAS on the opposite side of the stage from me, and complained that he couldn't hear the bass, even tho' at most gigs he sat next to, or above the subs. idk. :rollno:
    Anyways.. I'm IEM and have been for +5 yrs, so I've been bringing my Ampeg SVT7Pro and 2x10 cab to gigs for the last year. I can't hear it, and adjust volume based on the needs of the guitar next to me.
    I'm thinking of moving back to a pedal board again.
    bdplaid likes this.
  8. chadhargis

    chadhargis Jack of all grooves, master of none Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Haven't used an amp on stage in a few years. Most PAs have a honkin sub near the stage that rattles the building. So no issue feeling the bass either.
    s0c9 likes this.
  9. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    I haven’t used an amp since 2018 for the exact same reasons. Haven’t sold them, just in case it’s not always this easy (I hope it is though). My advice would be to do a string of shows without an amp before deciding.
    nbsipics, InhumanResource and s0c9 like this.
  10. I've been playing bass professionally for 26 years and doing live sound for about 7 years (although I've recently stopped doing live sound).

    Here are the pros of bringing an amp whilst having an IEM setup:

    1) the rest of the band can hear the bass when they are not using IEMs or wedges.
    2) you feel the need to feel (whilst not hearing) the bass amp and a big cab can do that.
    3) when the PA you are using doesn't have decent subs so your bass amp can carry the bass without taxing the PA.

    There are also some cons to bringing amp on stage, some benefits inherent with IEMs which you would be missing out on and some complete pros to not bringing a cab.

    1) If you are doing a bunch of gigs, not having to carry a head and cab gets nice pretty quick.
    2) If the bass is also going through the PA, the bass is being heard through two sources, namely the PA and the amp on stage - that tends to create problems, particularly on smaller stages. This can be alleviated by having the cab point inwards towards the direction of the player but, and particularly with bass, there will still be a lot of spill on the outside.
    3) Stage volume is far lower without a bass cab.
    4) This is a big one - if there are a lot of mics on stage, particularly if the drum kit is miced up (and even more on smaller stages), there is a ton of bleed from the bass cab into the microphones. The lack of a bass cab on stage makes the sound guys job far easier.
    5) Having fewer amps on stage gives more options to the sound guy to create a good mix, again, particularly on smaller stages. In a big arena type venue, amps on stage are less of a factor.

    I personally ditched the amp about 4 years ago and couldn't be happier. A preamp DI can give you the same tone control as any amp and I like having it. MXR, Aguilar, Sadowsky and many others make such DIs.
    musicman7722, WayneP and s0c9 like this.
  11. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I've been gigging with a head and one of my 1x12 cabinets with me for a year now, just as an insurance policy against something going wrong with the IEM setup. I'm developing to realize that if the whole IEM setup goes down we're screwed anyway; it won't just be me.

    So on my next gig in a couple weeks, I'm taking my Radial Tonebone only and using that as a DI. No amp at all. I'll still have my Mesa D-800 in the gig bag and maybe will leave the cabinet at home.

    Slow adjustments to major changes.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
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  12. I have been debating this since my guitar player went ampless. Our current monitors do not handle bass though and I haven't had any spare cash to upgrade them.
  13. My current "amp" for the last couple of months. Playing casinos mostly which have great FOH support and either quality floor monitors of a house iem system. I'm diggin it! Load in/out takes about 5 minutes,.....and,...my back is happier than its been in quite a few years! D817453F-6B4F-40D1-9FC2-78E0D9CAA5BA.jpeg
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  14. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I'm about 80 percent ampless/IEM - for the last 6 years or so. The one gig I do with an amp is a very quiet gig, where I just have to keep up with an acoustic piano. All my big gigs are ampless. I'm old enough that not having to lug an amp is a HUGE advantage. And my ears don't ring after gigs anymore.
  15. Thanks guys - I'm def going to try the next gig ampless to see how it all works.
  16. CryingBass

    CryingBass Is that an Elephant Fish on the corner over there? Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    If an amp falls in the woods....
  17. I use IEM. I do t go amp less, but I did pare way down. Signal is speakerout - in Palmer - out Palmer to cabinet. The signal to FOH comes from the Palmer. It gets all the preamp and power tubes and the tone that comes with it into the mix. I also send a second DI line from the amp so the sound guy has an unaltered line as well. Killer tone and very portable and light.

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    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    Get an active DI with the pre of your choice. I still use the Sansamp that I run all my pedals into, and there's really no need for the sound person to tweak the sound as long as you adjust your settings wisely. The Sansamp does the "coloring" the amp does. You can use high/lowpass filters if needed, I personally don't.
  19. EarnestTBass


    Feb 3, 2015
    I'm going to band practice tonight with a small pedal board- tuner, compressor, Ampeg SCR DI. I use the tuner as a mute switch. I don't take an amp or a cabinet. Everyone will use IEMs or headphones. An Allen and Heath digital mixer lets every one have their own personal monitor mix. In stereo. We each control our own monitor mix.

    The worst part of it is- not having to carry 100 lbs of equipment in and out. The next worst part is that I will hear everyone very clearly, no one gets too loud in my monitor mix. And no one gets too faint. And no one complains that I am too loud. And my ears won't ring later. And the band will play better. And our sound man can mix FOH without stage contamination.

    I miss the old days of lugging around heavy equipment so that I could play louder than the other band members who were playing too loud.
    pbass2go, el murdoque, bpmben and 5 others like this.
  20. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    The GK Plex preamp pedal + IEMs effectively killed my need to use and amp and cab.