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Why do we need Amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mulepods, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. mulepods

    mulepods Guest

    Feb 20, 2006
    Disclaimer: Sorry if this has already been discussed.

    Lately I've been realizing how little I actually need my amp. My band uses in-ear monitors for rehearsals and gigs, so I just use a SanAmp DI into the board. Even before we used in-ear monitors, my amp was only used at rehearsal. On stage I simply asked for plenty of bass in my floor monitor. This makes the soundguy very happy. And it means my load-in and load-out is a breeze.

    I'm sure my situation is not unique. So why do we buy expensive amps with hundreds of watts of power, and huge stacks of speakers? They don't seem to really be necessary. You could spend that money on another bass...or two.

    Am I crazy? It seems to me that I could get by just fine with a budget 150-watt combo amp.
  2. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    from my experiences, most of the places I'm asked to play a) the sound guy couldn't coax a good bass tone out of the system to save his life b) my amp has more power than the house system c) I like being able to have my tone behind me on stage, then running a balanced out of the head post EQ and not relying on a soundguy to get "my" tone. I have yet to put that much trust in a lot of soundguys at a lot of the venues I've played. d) usually to get a enough bass in the monitors for me to hear over two guitarists screaming 4x12 cabs, I boarder line distort/blow the wedges. I, personally, can't stand in ear monitors and headphones. It makes me feel too isolated from everything. But there again, that's just me.......
  3. Places im at are small so the backline is what the peopel are hearing, so to me having a good amp means alot, to hear myself aswell as to put a good sound into the audience, in-ear monitoring is just not feesible for me . . . thats why i need my amp and cabs
  4. The vast majority of my gigs have no PA support, or if there is PA support, there is no individual monitor mix capability, and definitely no 'side throws' so that you can feel/hear the bass on stage.

    Also, when playing as a feelancer, you never quite know what to expect when showing up on a gig with a band or group of players you've never heard before.... assuming that the monitor/mains system will work for you is a very, very dangerous assumption in my world!

    However, to your point, if I was in a band that carried a big PA, I would find a large amp less useful.
  5. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    yeah ...

    what they said .

  6. mulepods

    mulepods Guest

    Feb 20, 2006
    Yeah, I guess it all depends on your situation. I don't freelance, and my band has a solid PA. But maybe I'll keep my rig just in case. I was thinking of selling it to buy another bass, but I should probably hold onto it. I'm sure as soon as I get rid of it I will need it for some reason.
  7. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA

    Yeah, what he said!
  8. bassjigga


    Aug 6, 2003
    +1 I can't stand those things either.
  9. poptart

    poptart Commercial User

    Sep 13, 2005
    Owner: Bass Direct
    Likewise - I haven't owned any bass amps/speakers for ten years. It seems to me that a lot of these systems are nothing more than (expensive) PA stacks anyway. I made the decision years ago to invest my money in to PA gear that enhances the whole band not just me - a better bet in the long run.

    The industry wants to keep selling you expensive gear though..but I agree that a small powerfull combo should suffice for most smallish gigs and there is usually a PA on bigger events. IMO invest your money in to your bass guitar..I will now get shot by all the bass amp manufacturers:ninja:
  10. Hyde


    Mar 30, 2006
  11. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Eastern North Dakota
    This has been covered but it's one of my favorite topics. It's a tough call.

    I think unless you know that you will have the kind of PA/Monitor system that will give you what you need, you better have a good amp of some kind. Not necessarily a big 1,000 watt stack, but a solid amp that can handle a small to medium gig in your area.

    Right now I have decent PA support (but not so great monitor support) at my main gig. I could maybe get by without an amp, but I bring one (Eden WT-550/Bergie HT112) anyway for a little "more me" on stage.

    Another place we play is just a "PA on sticks" situation so I need my amp to help out a bit. It actually keeps up just fine on its own.

    I, too, want as little gear to haul as possible, but I have found that you can only get so far with a DI and your bass. My amp is quite portable, powerful and fairly light. It's definately easier to carry than a combo of equal strength.

    If I was playing with the same PA/Monitor system every gig, with the same sound person, etc., I'd go ampless. Unfortunately, that only happens for a select few of us.
  12. Groundloop


    Jun 21, 2005
    I've been in too many clubs where the sound person thought his/her responsibility ended after switching on the mixer and the stage lights.

    I guess (like most things) it's all a question of finding the best solution for your situation.
  13. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    No, you're just in a band that has in-ear monitors and a good PA system.

    That leaves the other 90% of us in the market for amps.

    BTW, I do use a 150 watt combo amp for many of my gigs.
  14. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    I need a large amp to make up for lack of something else. :scowl::oops::bawl:
  15. bassjigga


    Aug 6, 2003
    How many PA's have you played through in live venues that sound good?
  16. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Eastern North Dakota
    Actually, the PA's I play through around here are quite good. Although it's a very rural area, we are furtunate to have a sound company with a lot of good stuff. The don't have the big time line arrays yet, but what they have sounds good.
  17. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
    Totally opposite for me. Most of the time there are no PAs and when we do have them they suck. :(

    In-ears suck the life out of a performance for me IME. I can never really get into the music if i don't feel it as well as hear it.:bassist:
  18. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004

    But I've been thinking about a combo just for convenience.
    You probably won't get shot by Bass manufacturers, they seem to be catching on to small/light rigs.
  19. KingOfAmps

    KingOfAmps Inactive

    Are fast cars neccesssary? Hot women? Cold beer? Lotsa $$$$? You bet your azz.
  20. I'm still an amp guy, going to smaller, lighter stuff. But I play occasionally with a band I used to be a regular with, and their keyboard player has apparently decided he can do without the amp he used to have in the backline, and instead gets his sound from a monitor by his side, pointed up at him. The PA is already under-engineered (set and forget), and playing right next to the drummer, with no coordinated backline, you can't even hear this guy playing (and he's a pretty good player) to be able to interact with him. This is an example of someone unilaterally deciding that they no longer want to carry a sufficient rig (too much trouble), and they think they don't even need to! Premature for this band, to say the least, but that's not their only dysfunction (oh my....). But to me, this just shows that when you go with a backline, stage sound setup, you've got to stick to the basics and do it right.

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