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When do you really need big power and speakers on stage today?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by GreyBeard, Mar 8, 2004.

  1. Back when I 1st started playing bass a Fender Bassman or Ampeg fliptop was about all you needed. But then drummers and guitar players got louder and louder and like always the bass got burried. Along came the Kustom 200 with 4x15's. No problem. But then came the Marshall 100watt with 8x12's. good grief how do you keep up with that? Acoustic 360 with 2 cabs or SVT. "YEA BABY!". But things are different now. In a small club setting where all the sound is coming off the stage the biggest thing most people need would be a 2x10, 2x12 or at the most a 4x10 cab. In a large room situation or outside most places use PA support. When working with PA you are better off to keep your stage volume as low as possible and let the PA do the work. Again where do you need big cabinets and big power?
  2. Arenas, stadiums, amphitheaters, etc. for starters. The first SVTs pressed into action were on big tour stages for outdoor show power.
  3. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    I use a PLX 1602 into two EA VL210s. The only reason I don't use a small combo is that our bands PA can't come close to handling bass, let alone a 5 string. Also none of the clubs we play have a house system.
  4. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    IMO, it depends on the stage.

    Right now, I'm playing with a fairly loud rock band that always uses rented PA which EVERY instrument goes through, including individually-miced drums. We all have separate monitior mixes as well.

    If the stage is large or if its an outdoor venue, I tend to bring TWO 4x10 cabs. If its anywhere else, just one 4x10 is always enough, and never too large. My drummer almost always has a little wash of bass put in his monitor so he can hear definition. I never put bass in the monitor, usually because I can't control the level and tone once soundcheck is over. With my rig, I keep full control, and let the soundman worry about the front-of-house sound.

    Is it overkill? Sure. So is playing a high-quality bass most of the time, since by the time it goes through the PA into the band's mix in the room, most people couldn't discern the sonic difference between a Fodera/MTD or an Ibanez anyway. The key is MY happiness with my sound while I'm creating the music. That's why I lug around my gear. Otherwise, I could just bring a bass, a Sansamp pedal, and a cord to gigs and just go through the monitors.
  5. I use an Ampeg 200 W 4 X 8" combo with a 1 X 15" extension cabinet where needed (350 W with the ext. cab). I play everything from small clubs (w/ no PA assistance) to outdoor festivals (ext. cab plus direct line to PA). That's been all I need but I play traditional blues so if you're a hard rocker you may need more.
  6. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    Type of band and places you play have alot to do with it. Around here if you show up with a 210 or 212 in a "A" circut rock bar you will not hear the bass. A 410 is mim. Most places here only run vocal in the monitor and sometimes guitar if you ask, and the "A" circut stages are kinda big. 2000 watts doesnt always mean loud either. I run 1100 watt ea into two berg 322s (410 & 212) and to my ears a svt, 810 is louder but the tone stinks compared to my rig. jmo
  7. Well there you go 4x10. My point being is it necessary to have the 8x10 or 1x15 & 4x10 rigs anymore at all? If I rolled all my cabs and amps out I'd have 4x15's 6x10's a 12 and 5,000 watts. And that isn't counting my PA stuff. But in the past 10 years I haven't need more than a 4x10.
  8. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    It's going to vary from brand to brand, but I can't think of a situation that I couldn't cover with two VL-210's, or on Accugroove Whappo, Jr., for that matter. That said, I have been known to bring more than I absolutely need to...;) :bassist:

  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

  10. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

  11. So you're saying that you need the big rig to make up for the deficiencies of the house PA.
  12. monkfill


    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City
    A lot of the places I've played have little or no PA support for the instruments, usually just vocals only.

    And, even though you can be *heard* with relatively small cabinets, the only way to get a big bass sound (not necessarily loud, but big meaning lots of presence) is with a big rig. That way you can fill a stage or a room without being "loud" and stepping on the sonic range of the other instruments.
  13. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    Well here's a few things to ponder. If your rig is too loud on stage, your sound man will not have you in the mains at all.
    And isn't the ultimate goal to have a great mix in the room?
    For the audience that is? I agree 100% about not using the monitors to monitor bass, if they sounded that great everyone would be using monitors for their rigs. :)
    Small clubs it makes no sense to put your bass through usually ancient if not inadequate mains. But in a big room or outdoors it's a whole different animal. I tend to treat my rig as my personal monitor, let the big speakers push the big air.
    If the venue is that big you'll need the extra power.

    Most of the time I play a 6 string, so have to have full range.

    My current rig that works great from large to small is:
    Ashley BP41 classic preamp using Hi/Low outs
    QSC PLX 1602 500W X2 @4 ohms
    Flite 1x15" with 8" mid
    Flite 2x10" and horn
    I've tried to use just the 15" and it's good in small places, but the cabs are so light and sound much better with both of them, I just turn it down in the small clubs.
    Good luck,
  14. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Bass being the animal that it is the peculiar bridge between rhythm and melody needs to participate in the making of the music. You influence everyone else's performance. "Me mates" like to feel the bass so I often angle my 4x10 toward them across the stage. I will never go with less than I need again! If you have too much you have extra clean tone more headroom etc. I find I need a 4x10 if I'm playing with grand piano just to keep up.
  15. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I often find that we get the best results when all of the guitar and bass cabs are at the sides of the stage, aimed across the stage (we call it "side washing"). This gives us plenty to hear and play off each other, and it also gives the sound tech more control. Of course, we do occassionally play with less than adequate sound support, so then we concentrate on getting the best mix out in the room.

    Plus, having a lot of cabs doesn't always mean that you have to be stinking loud. It can be advantageous even at lower volumes, because it will provide greater horizontal and vertical dispersion. If you move around a lot on stage (as I do), this can be very helpful.

  16. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Stewart 2.1 for me (600-900 watts, depending). Smallest rig I ever use live is a single 3x10 cab, and that's only for small gigs.

    Why? Because I never get PA assist.

    In my #1 band, I have to compete with a too-loud guitarist.
    In my #2 band, I have to compete with two guitarists.
    In my auxiliary band, the drummer hits hard and has an amazingly loud kit (and the guitarist has a Marshall).
  17. This sounds like the good/bad old days ,from what I can remember. "anybody seen my hearing aids?" :meh:
  18. :bassist:

    Do it for yourself first, then your band, then your audience, then the clubowner. Usually, though, all 4 will coincide.

    Besides, I don't think I'm the only one who likes to feel the contents of my trousers being shifted by 40hz! :D

    Got a big rig? Set up to the side, point your rig towards center stage.
  19. wblaze


    Apr 26, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I recently did a tour playing with the support act for a headliner doing 1500 capacity clubs. In order to keep up with a monstrous and loud Fender Showman guitar cab, I needed the 4x10/1x15 set up. I would have loved to take one cab, but as a hired bass player couldn't really suggest that the guitars turn down! Interesting to note that in the headlining act the guitar amps were miked offstage and the bass player only had a 4x10. This was all to keep stage volume low so they could work with the in-ear monitors.
  20. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    I had to take a big rig in my last band because I wasn't "allowed" to run through the PA. Interestingly enough it did have a pair of 1x18 subs but the drummer was using V drums and the PA. His onstage monitor was a 1x15 roland keyboard amp that farted terribly...the sound was disappointing at best.

    I wonder how many of those big rigs at major concerts are just for show? I know that I'm a bit disappointed if there isn't a huge backline to stare at...but I'm a gear head.

    Two summers ago, I went to see the "Walk Down Abbey Road" show. The nearly annual show brings together a number of famous players to do their own music as well as Beatles music. The show I saw had Jack Bruce on bass, Mark Farner and Godfrey Townsend on guitar, Chris Cross on keys etc. Their stage volume must have been pretty low because Jack appeared to be talking to someone on the other side of the stage when they were playing, and they seemed to understand him. I don't know if that's really possible with the main PA not far away blasting away in an outdoor amplitheater, but it seemed to work.

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