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Why do we still use amps?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Raimonds, Nov 20, 2019.

  1. Raimonds


    Apr 23, 2018
    I've seen a bunch of interesting bass rigs from touring artists - mostly in the rock / metal scene where the guys usually send some sort a direct signal to the front of house and use amps on stage.

    My question is - why do so many guys spend the money on 800+ watt amps and 8x10" cabs plus go trough the effort of transporting it to gigs, when no one except the bass player actually cares. How many bands do you know that actually mic up their cabs and don't just go trough the DI of the amp in the end?

    Here's a recent example, where the guy is sending 2 direct signals to the PA. Why not use the same setup + an IR loader to send the signal directly.

    P.s. I don't use an amp, and my band uses an in-ear monitoring system.
  2. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    Because we like them
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Some gigs FOH doesn't get your signal.
  4. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    A good question. I believe it's been asked before on Talkbass - you may be able to find similar threads using the search function (search for "ampless" and "modeling"). Be aware that this thread is going to blow up, as it's one of those discussion topics that triggers opinionated responses.

    Personal bass amplifiers can still have a use in certain cases:

    1. Gigs where there is no front-of-house. These tend to be smaller venues, though, so it's true - you don't need the 8x10 fridge with a 1500-watt bridged power amp, unless it's a big event outdoors (unlikely in my opinion).
    2. Really large gigs that do have a front of house, where you still need stage sound for yourself and the rest of the band, you aren't using IEMs, and you can't run bass through the monitors. (In this case, the 8x10 may make sense.)

    They're fun and sometimes it feels awesome to be able to play through a large rig - but it's true; with time and technology, this is increasingly and rapidly becoming vanity. However, depending on the venue and their PA capabilities, it may be useful to have either a personal bass amp or a personal monitoring solution that can provide some sound to FOH. (This doesn't necessarily justify a gigantic rig.) No excuse not to provide a rider and check with the venue if it's needed; if I had a fridge, you can bet I'd only move it if I absolutely had to, and I'd be inclined to use something smaller if I could get away with it.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
  5. Raimonds


    Apr 23, 2018
    Here's the venue that triggered me to go completely ampless (see the attachment). :) The stage was too small for 5 dudes. The bass and drums are in the corner, so for me to be able to move, I had to stand away from it quite a bit. Didn't see any use of the amp if I can't here it, so I used only the DI signal. I've played with a 8x10" on stage and have been inable to control neither my volume, neither the quality of my playing. Nothing compares to the feeling of a powerful bass rig on stage, but as far as monitoring and overall sound control - it's not your best option.

    Attached Files:

    Johnny Crab and EatS1stBassist like this.
  6. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton My P doesn’t have flats or tort Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    It's been talked about many many times.

    Some like the way they sound better then DI boxes.
    Some like to feel the bass behind/below them.
    Some gigs don't always provide PA support

    People like what they like and use what they use.
  7. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    You've got your answers, but here's one more.
    We all got into this to be rock stars, and what says rock star more than posing in front of a wall of 8x10s? :bassist:
    Buggyboy, Heady, skier 913 and 32 others like this.
  8. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    Every amp sounds different, and plays differently, just like every bass sounds different and plays differently. I don’t use a fly rig into a PA because I prefer the way my rig sounds. I don’t care if nobody else but me cares how I sound. It’s my responsibility to manage the way I sound, just like it’s my responsibility to manage my tone of voice and inflection, or posture, or wardrobe when I’m meeting and speaking with someone. Nobody cares about my choice of pocket square or pants, but I do.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
  9. Nunovsky


    Sep 4, 2004
    I don't know what you mean about it being too small... ;)

  10. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    That's 3 excellent reasons!!!
    OK :rolleyes: FOUR!

    #5 Punks & rockers who like to 'interact' with the crowd might get them tore out (#6 They'd kinda look like weenies :cool:)
  11. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    #7 In-ears can never ever flap your pants legs
    Buggyboy, Heady, skier 913 and 41 others like this.
  12. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Suspended Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I play best when I sound the way I want. There is often nothing I can do to influence the FOH, but I can get my sound on stage.
  13. Because some of us live in third world countries and play in very small stages.
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    We're catching up to technology. 15 years from now the question will be even more valid than today. It's just hard to let go of old feelings. When I say "feelings" I mean like how your body rattles when your bass tone hugs you like a warm blanket because your spine is about 10" in front of your bass rig.

    I'm inching toward no stage rigs ever myself. But it will be a while.
  15. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    Sometimes amps make sense and i usually play through a small combo if there is only a vocal PA. There are times though when I need to bring out the big guns just to be heard.
    I use mostly IEM now for my gigs but we have a good system and I have a great preamp, not all venues will provide a send for IEM so it’s bring what you need.
    Of course given the opportunity to run a big rig is always a pleasure.
    Scatterpack, BrentSimons and Raimonds like this.
  16. Hundred proof

    Hundred proof

    Apr 22, 2018
    There seems to be the assumption around here that every gig has an FOH system with a sound person.
  17. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Bass player self esteem issues up in here.
  18. 10cc

    10cc Inactive

    Oct 28, 2013
    Nice bass
    Raimonds and Nunovsky like this.
  19. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I have been looking into these sort of systems. I like the idea, but there are some draw backs.
    First, for a full band to go all in ears, it isn't cheap, and requires a fair bit of technical know how. Building a rolling cab with all the stuff you need is $3k to $5k. Wiring it all up and getting the routing right is no joke.
    Some bands just can't do this. I play in places where I don't know if there is a full PA that isn't just for vocals. Some of these low rent shows require a band to have amps for the audience.
    My personal two cents is while we have come a long way in amp/cab modeling that can be used in the studio or to a PA, it isn't perfect. There will always brands that aren't modeled that someone wants. Same goes for FX. Bass gets a very limited selection on things like the Helix.
    I don't mind the general idea of this, and think it will get bigger as time goes on.
    dralionux, TNCreature and Raimonds like this.
  20. Mic’ing an amp sounds great. I can see your point live, but for me I went from going direct to mic’ing at home.

    but I do remember the first time I played my Mesa Bass 400 cranked, live. Goosebumps.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Feb 27, 2021

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