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Why have a nice rig just to be run direct?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mancefine, Dec 17, 2013.

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  1. mancefine


    Jul 7, 2013
    Endorsing Artist: Orange Amplifiers and Spector Basses
    I'm sure this has been covered countless times on TB, but it happened to me this past Saturday and got me thinking.
    Like most bassists, I spend a ton of money on my rig, amps and cabs in particular. My main rig is a Spector Euro 4 LX through a pedal board, into an Orange TB1000 into an Orange OBC 410 and OBC 115.

    I live in Austin, so most of the venues have a good sound system, and I am very fortunate to be mic'd most of the time. However, at a gig Saturday the sound man was adoment about running me direct. I begged him to even use an sm57 on my rig (not my first choice, but they definitely work for bass), as we are a 3 piece so if the venue doens't have a bass specific mic, they usually have at least an extra 57 for a second guitar. He explained to me that the subs were under the stage, so mic'ing my cab would be bad because it would somehow make my tone pretty inaudible. I gave in and said OK. Bear in mind I'm no sound guy, but my thought process is that I dial in a tone on my bass and head based on the sound that comes out of my cabinets. My concern is that when you isolate one thing without the other (in other words taking a direct signal from a DI box before the bass goes into the head, or even taking a DI from the head itself leaves out a major variable used to dial in the sound: The cabs, and possibly the head too).

    After the show, the sound guy told me how treble heavy my tone was, and that it sounded muffled, so he had to dial my highs back a ton. I knew this, as Spectors have that very distinctive, treble and mid heavy tone, especially by themselves, so I always compensate for that by cutting the treble on my Orange head and get my overall sound from a combination of the bass, head and cabs. It makes for an even balance. It bummed me out to know that all of the stuff I thought the audience was hearing me do was probably not even audible. I guess it just makes me think that when a sound guy runs me direct it basically turns my expensive Orange cabinets into overpriced stage monitors.

    So now that I've written a novel, my question is what do you guys do to compensate and prepare for situations like this? My first inclination is to buy a beta 52 and when a soundman asks me where my DI is to point to the mic. But if I run into an issue like that again, is there a specific Mic I can use that is good for capturing live bass tone, or should I invest in an EQable DI? It just really seems odd to spend all that money on getting a good bass tone with your entire rig to have a sound guy only use part of the equation when it matters most (when people here it). Thanks guys!
  2. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Pretty much.

    If he had the subs right under the stage he didn't want to mic you because of feedback concerns. Not much you can do at that point except I would learn to dial in the sound from your bass not your cabs. Then you'll be happier when you run into this again, and you will run into it.
  3. allanhearn


    Apr 22, 2004
    Did He mike the guitar and drums? If so, there was no reason not to mike the bass.
  4. That's what I was thinking too.
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I have never depended on my amp as a major factor of my tone. My sound is my bass and me. My amp and DI are both quite clean - Genz Benz SS head and JDI DI.
  6. I like my amp tone, it's part of my sound sooo.....I run a radial jdi between the head and speakers ( with the speaker switch engaged on the jdi ) it works fantastic. I also have a old peavey EDI thats built for that purpose too. But the jdi is a much better sounding unit... Just a option
  7. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    I, on the other hand, consider my amp and cabinets as part of how I sound. A great player will sound good through any system but, if the amplifier cannot reproduce what that player is doing the whole thing is pointless.
  8. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Well, I'm a sound guy as well as a bass player. Let me give you some context. "Your sound" coming through relatviely small boxes will sound COMPLETELY different coming through huge (by comparison) subs. Also, "your sound" will bounce throughout the the room differently than it does a stage or practice room. It may sound like pooh through the FOH PA.

    The REASON some sound guys prefer to run direct is that the tone coming directly off of a bass (generally) is more "neutral" and easier to control. Whereas after you put a smiley face EQ on it and run it through ported cabs, suddenly (although it sounds "amazing" on stage and your drummer "really loves it a bunch and junk") it sounds like crap on a stick out front.

    That being said, the problem is two-sided. YOU should be willing to work with a sound guy and give in a little bit on "your sound". And HE should be willing to give in a little bit and work with you on micing your rig, or at least running DI from your head to get more of your EQ. Unfortunately, sound guys prefer to rip the bandaid off from the beginning and just take the issue on at the beginning rather than having to ride your EQ settings all night. Let's just say you DID agree to work with the sound guy to tweek your tone into something he can work with out front (not likely). THEN during the third song you think "I'm sorry but this just doesn't sound like MY TONE and I HATE it". You are going to go back to your rig DURING THE SHOW and MESS with it. It will probably go right back to the tone that sounded like poo out front. And at that point the sound guy can't do anything about it because YOU are in control. And the more you tweek to get it back "right" the more he has to ride your sound out front.

    But as I say in ALL of these threads, let me tell you how to trick him somewhat. Just go speaker level DI. Go buy a Countryman (or some other NICE DI box that will run speaker level). Then simply set that bad boy on top of your rig. When you encounter one of "those" sound guys, simply say (I don't mind running direct but I'm going to run my DI. It's a good box so don't worry about it.) Then run speaker level to it. They will NEVER KNOW. I have worked with DOZENS of sound guys playing bass. They NEVER know when I run speaker level. They all come up to me after the show and say "Man! That bass sound INCREDIBLE!" They have no idea I was sending them my Magnavox era Ampeg V4 with the original tubes in it. (tee hee hee)
  9. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    As another thought: what do you think a typical guitar player would say if told he must use a DI????
  10. SendetisDavid


    Sep 5, 2013
    Is it possible to go DI from your amp's head? I know I play in a Progressive (I swear I'm not pretentious) Metal band and whenever it's reasonable I go DI from my RB700 head. I preserve the tone I want and it's cheaper than buying a mic or seperate EQable DI box.
  11. mancefine


    Jul 7, 2013
    Endorsing Artist: Orange Amplifiers and Spector Basses
    Yes, he did mic the guitar and drums. I've run into the issue alot where a venue will mic everything but only have a DI for the bass. Drives me insane. The better venues will mic the bass, but I've run into coutless situations where the venue doesn't even own a mic for the bass guitar.
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    This thread is the exact reason I got a REDDI for a DI...soundmen who can't deal with a mic due to incompetence. Didn't happen often, but it did happen enough to where I dreaded going to gigs with an unfamiliar soundman. All this guy had to do to get a great sound is to slap a mic on your rig, but instead he chooses to go with the DI and whine about the treble he wouldn't have had to deal with if he'd have just slapped a mic on it in the first place. I will never get that line of thinking as long as I live.

    But to answer your question, my rig is a VERY important part of my sound. Yes, it usually isn't mic'ed anymore (though I'm considering doing both REDDI and mic'ed cab again), but I aim it toward my vocal mic and usually turn it up enough to where it gets picked up ambiently, at least when I'm using a tube Ampeg rig. The REDDI by itself is a great sound no doubt, but I like the combination of both, especially when I use distortion.
  13. Yes, your expensive rig turns into a glorified monitor when you have really loud PA support.

    However, I have a post EQ option on my amp's DI, so whatever I dialed into the amp gets sent to the board. So all is not lost. Unless the sound guy tries to EQ my EQ, then it gets weird and messy. A good chat is in order.

    P.S.--my sound engineers have been additionally mic'ing my cab a lot more these days than they used to, FWIW.
  14. mancefine


    Jul 7, 2013
    Endorsing Artist: Orange Amplifiers and Spector Basses
    Two Fingers, I get what you are saying but why is it that everytime I see any big band play anywhere the bass is ALWAYS mic'd? No matter what room, anytime I see a touring band where the sound guy is actually paid to give good sound to a specific band, the bass is mic'd. It's like you said, running a DI seems to be the lazy sound man's approach to bass. Or the one that doens't get paid enough to care about the 5 bands bass tone he runs every night. :)
  15. mancefine


    Jul 7, 2013
    Endorsing Artist: Orange Amplifiers and Spector Basses
    Also, I tried to get him to take a signal out of my TB1000 but it gave him fits. I've read many threads about the Orange Terror Bass DI being too hot for sound boards, but he is the first sound guy that had issues with my head. I have a newer model so i thought those issues were fixed.
  16. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    I have a fairly transparent head+cab rig, and use preamp DIs to do most of my tone shaping. Most of the time I'm bypassing the amp EQ section and using a WTDI or BDI21 to drive its power section. So that's me sorted. If it weren't for the pedals, which were cheap and convenient, I'd probably give my basses onboard preamps.
  17. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    Mancefine, we bassists invest a lot of time and money testing rig after rig to get what we want to hear coming out of our amplifiers. I love how my amplifiers give me exactly what I want. I searched for heading on fifty years to get where I am. When a sound guy hands me a cheap DI box to plug my bass into i get so cross - grumpy if you like :D. If I did what he asked, out in the room I sound like a generic bass player. It's not ME at all. I prefer to be miced just like a guitar player. As my Acme cabinets are three way, I bought a big EV condenser mic. This picks up the total range from my speakers. When I use it, out in the room I sound like me again. :)
  18. IMHO, I think you should get a decent D.I. and spend some time dialing in your tone with it. I have both the Eden WTDI and the Tech 21 VT Bass DI. I rarely get to use a mic on stage so have developed my sound around these. The sound engineers love to see either one and the FOH sound is consistently great.
  19. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I don't even take cabs to most of my gigs anymore in my main band. Just my rack with my SansAmp and Line 6 Wireless in it. Post-FX DI out to the board and let our paid soundguy handle it from there. We need a nearly dead silent stage for our act, so the guitarists also do the same thing (no cabs). Monitoring for the most part is IEMs, though we have tiny side fills also.
    I'm in a pretty unique situation there, though.
    For the most part, when I'm weekend warrioring it with generic cover bands or whatever, especially if it's a multi-band night, I just let the sound man do his thing. He knows the room, the gear and can make it work out front. I can't from on stage. If a DI out makes his life easier, by all means, go for it. If he wants a mic on my cab, OK, cool, but it doesn't add or subtract anything for me, IMO.
  20. The Regulator

    The Regulator

    Aug 10, 2005
    If they are not miking the cab, then I tell them to get the direct signal from the XLR Out of my head (which I prefer) or SansAmp BDDI not straight from the bass.
    I did not invest thousands of dollars on a pedal, head and speaker cab for nothing. I liked the soundguys at CBGB's, they would do both direct & mike.

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