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When there's no subwoofers?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by KingRazor, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. I'm someone who likes plugging into the FOH through a DI and letting the house subs carry the low end and I just use monitors to hear myself.

    This works when the house has a nice sub or array of subs, but I know that's not always the case.

    I'm not sure what kind of venues generally have subs and what ones don't. If a place doesn't have a PA that can really pump out the low end, I assume the best route would be to use a cab. What I want to know is, how big of a cab do you need to compensate for the lack of subs?

    Obviously that will depend on the size and type of venue, so what's a safe bet to cover my basses (sorry, had to)?

    Edit: Just realized this should probably go in the amps forum, let me know if I should move it and I'll delete this.
  2. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    figure on a bass rig that's as loud as your drummer is acoustically.

    with no subs, the mix is going to be mostly vocals, with the rest being stage volume.
  3. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    Shaker ?
  4. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    A 1 x 15, 2 x 12, or 4 x 10 should be sufficient for most small to medium sized venues. When dialing in your tone, walk out as far into where the audience will be as possible and listen from there. If you can play with the drummer from that perspective, it is even better. Low end disapates quickly, so just realize that u will sound WAY different 20 ft away from your cab. When you get back on stage, pay attention to the way your rig sounds when you are close to it. This will make you more adept at dialing in your sound to work well out front in the mix from the stage. I hope this helps :)
  5. Yeah I see what you're saying.

    Actually, the rig probably wouldn't be right next to me, I wouldn't need it to hear as I'd be using a monitor to hear myself, so the bass amp cab could just as easily sit at the front of the stage! But I would definitely walk out front and test it first to make sure the audience is hearing what I want them to hear from me.
  6. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    If you want to compensate for the lack of subs in the FOH you'll have to bring one.
    I don't know any bass cab that has the efficiency of a real sub.You will never get the same feeling

    If it's the feeling of a sub that you are missing as monitoring "duties" , get a shaker.

    BTW Like you , I rely on the FOH sub to give me the low end feeling. I also recently bought an active sub for those outside/louder gigs ....
  7. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    a PA dinky enough to have no subs probably won't have good enough monitors for you to do that, either.

    besides, why? no monitor wedge will be as good as a comparable real bass amp, and there probably wouldn't be enough monitor mixes for you to have one to yourself; i can guarantee you that sharing mixes (which would put your bass in the other players' faces) would not go over well with bandmates.
  8. I'd supply my own monitor (whether it be a floor monitor or a pair of IEMs) and hook it up to a line out on my preamp. I don't care about hearing my tone as long as the audience can hear it. I just need to hear the notes.
  9. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Depends on what the FOH is. If it's two 1x10 with tweeters on a pole, that's a different case than even two 1x15 with tweeters on a pole. Or even a larger FOH setup. I generally don't worry about a lack of subs unless it's a really small FOH. Some decent low-end detail or touch of presence can be sent to most FOH in a way that makes the bass more noticeable without really driving notable, significant bass through them. It's a subtle, but noticeable thing. Also, I tend to find rooms/clubs spec-ed without subs generally don't need them, though that doesn't mean I don't feel it wouldn't be nice to have them. And again, a bit of low end can run through many FOH setups, even minus the sub. But even a small, dedicated sub is a nice thing, sometimes.
  10. Yeah, I did say "subwoofers" in both the title and initial post, but really I'm referring to either a PA that simply isn't adequate, or a complete lack of one. In either case, I'd need probably need a good cab.

    If the PA is heavy duty enough to provide sufficient low end, with or without a sub, then I don't really see a reason to have a cab.
  11. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    if there's not an aux on the board and a power amp to push it, that won't do you any good.

    if you end up having to provide your own power amp to push that wedge of yours, well let's see; your preamp, into your power amp, into your wedge...you've just built a bass rig!
  12. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I built my PA piece by piece over about five years. Four separate monitor mixes, plus aux-fed subs and effects through an A&H MixWiz, stage snakes & cabling, mics and stands, EQ, amplification, cross-over network, compression, six 12" stage monitors, 15" mains on sticks, etc.

    The premise around which I built my PA was, we play best when we can hear each other clearly on stage, and when each band member is happy with his personal sound; once those objectives are accomplished, it doesn't take much additional PA gear to share the experience with the audience - especially in small clubs. In big clubs and at festivals, we manage our on-stage sound, and let a sound professional run FOH.

    With on-stage sound as a priority, a sub was one of the last things I added. I bought a TH Mini from Danley Sound Labs, and centered on the back wall, closest to me, the drummer, and the keyboard player; I stacked a small bass cab on top of the Sub (at ear level), and routed my bass signal to FOH via DI. As long as band is happy with the on-stage sound, FOH can have pre, post, whatever they want to feed the audience.

    What this enabled me to do was control the sub-woofer through FOH, and control my bass rig from my position on stage. If the sub-woofer level is too high for me, I can position the sub(s) in front of the stage; if it's too low for me, I can ask FOH to turn it up, but that's seldom the case. With a small sub on stage, stage monitors can be high-passed at around 100Hz, and don't have to work as hard.

    Works for me, but I'm not playing music that terribly loud or aggressive. When we play big venues or festivals, they provide sound, but we start from the same premise: on-stage comes first, then FOH. It's collaboration between the band and FOH, not a competition, and it seems to work well for everyone. Club owners seldom complain that we're too loud - unless the guitarist is drinking. ;)
  13. Right but I'd get a monitor with a nice compression driver, making it sound more like what the audience is hearing out of the PA. Plus it wouldn't be too loud or heavy (although I guess I could find a cab that wasn't too loud or heavy either). My preference though is for IEMs.
  14. Virgil

    Virgil She's My Inspiration Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2005
    Dresher, Pa.
    My soundman has dual subs, yet, he says he prefers the tone of my cab. Therefore, though my bass is in the FOH, he mixes it with my stage tone. My band uses IEM, so I had considered not bringing a cab. The soundman said that few subs capture the bass tone like a bass cab, and asked me to continue bringing my cab, though I don't hear it on stage. For those who may be interested, I use Epifani and Bergantino cabs.
  15. I don't have a good cab currently, and the big combo amp we have on stage now doesn't sound nearly as good as the bass does direct.

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