Why the bigger rigs....?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by sawzalot, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Ok, this might be a thread that will get me flamed, but lately I've been having this question more and more.

    I see a lot of threads saying things like "I need a bigger rig because I'm playing bigger rooms or outdoor events...". And I'm not getting it. In bigger rooms or outdoor events there should be sound reinforcement that includes subwoofers and enough power to make the entire band fill the room, i.e. a bigger rig shouldn't be necessary. Am I missing something? I just played a venue that holds 25,000 people--it was for a half marathon and nowhere near full--but we had a prosound company providing sound reinforcement and I could have played it with my little 2x10 cab. As it was I put a 2x12 underneath the 2x10, but it was purely for visual effect--the amp's volume was close to zero.

    So what gives? How come we're looking for big bass rigs instead of using the PA and the available monitor systems? I mean, I'd much rather have less to move and put all that load on the sound guy.

    Ok, ready, go!
  2. My main rig is an Ashdown CTM300 paired up with a Greenboy Dually. Hardly what I would call egregious. Now if I decided to add an additional Dually; that would probably be too much.
    javi_bassist, MTN.bass72 and Sartori like this.
  3. Not everyone has PA support.
  4. Beetfarm615


    Feb 15, 2017
    I think many folks don't have the luxury of a provided backline or quality sound reinforcement. Of course a nice PA and someone running FOH is ideal.
  5. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    It depends on the style of music and how loud your bandmates are. Also what their tones are.

    I've played large arenas with a 1x12 (with PA, obviously) and frankly I could do that with about 80% of my gigs including outdoor, including reggae for which many mistakenly believe you need a lot of rig or low end boost. My combo or rig is really just a stage monitor and glorified DI in these situations. Sometimes the stages are large enough that without me in their monitor mix the guitars and keys on the opposite side of the stage wouldn't even know if my amp is on.

    I've also played small rooms in which I was needing a cranked amp with 4x10 cab just to be heard in the mix (also with PA). A 6x10 or 8x10 would've been preferable, arguably necessary.

    People will please spare de rigueur admonitions about wearing earplugs and loud distorted guitarists with too much low end in their sound. I already have plenty of both, thanks. Handle your own business. :)
  6. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Not every venue has a PA that will cover everything, or do it adequately. Many bands have to provide their own PA, and for smaller gigs, the PA may just cover vocals, and maybe kick drum. Also for rehearsal.

    armybass, Al Kraft, bholder and 9 others like this.
  7. voided3


    Nov 11, 2008
    For our band, neither the guitar or bass goes in the monitors so the amp is all we've got to compete with the six or eight wedges on stage with horns, keys, and vocals going through them (we're a 10-piece). Some rooms/spaces need more juice than others, and it makes for a much more enjoyable evening when you aren't worrying about frying your speakers to break even with what's going on around you.
  8. 10cc

    10cc Inactive

    Oct 28, 2013
    I just mentioned this in another thread, but the bigger rig really isn't necessary. I've got a GK MB212II and just last Saturday it did just fine against a Marshall full stack in a room where the only thing in the PA was the kick and vocals.

    It's a hardcore band that is extremely loud.

    The week before we shared a bill with some sludge /stoner bands and man did they bring out the big guns. Huge fridges and stacks with big tube amps (Sunn, Marshall, Orange and SVT's) and while we were throwing our crap on stage one of the guys from the other bands was confused as to why I was using that little combo while the guitarist has the big full stack. Once we were finished he came up to me and made the comment about how loud that thing could get. I said yep! "That's why I brought it" I said while I was walking out the back door with everything in my hands. That particular show was a bigger room with full PA support.
  9. 10cc

    10cc Inactive

    Oct 28, 2013
    Don't get me wrong I love and own the big iron, I just can not find any use for anymore.
  10. I'm with you, OP. I should only ever have to make sure I can hear myself above my bandmates. I can't afford, nor should I keep around enough gear to fill a stadium. Even if I could, I'd blast away my poor bandmates.

    I think the huge stacks is just a residual visual from the early days. Professional shows these days benefit from set and lighting design.
    barrenelly, Badwater and Rickter like this.
  11. P-oddz

    P-oddz Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
    Out of dislike in pumping much more than vocals through monitors to keep stage monitor mixes the least cluttered and complicated as possible.
    Also, a lot of rock bands would not get away with a 2x10 cab just in band volume alone - much less carry any stage monitoring.
    barrenelly, Sunnmon, JimiLL and 8 others like this.
  12. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    because there are girls in the crowd ...

    and because ;

    Size matters ... !
  13. flam


    Sep 20, 2010
    Tempe, Arizona
    I play in an original metal band with three guitarists. The sound guy never seems to be able to get my level at a hearable volume, so I mostly just run it as a monitor. Plus I don't really get paid, so I might as well have fun and feel cool.
  14. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Your not missing something.

    There is a certain point where it is all about the whole status symbol thing.
  15. I played a school gym once where we (4 piece) were well spread out from each other. I had my 300w EA Micro and Wizzy10, it was barely enough for me and the drummer to hear it on stage (placed equidistant between us so we could both hear it, barely) — even though the company that hired us had a great big PA for the kidz to hear us, said Co had zip for monitoring. I think that's when I blew my Wizzy10's speaker. :mad:

    You need the right tools for the job, and I (and the Co that hired us) did not have those tools.
  16. jazzbass_5


    Sep 1, 2007
    NY, Medina
    My SVT 8x10 and 1400 watt to 3500 watt amps (rackmount) are for show and headroom. A lot of times I play hired gun in bands that only run the vocals in the PA. Sometimes I can use my 2x12 alone. I mix and match my speakers and rigs to the venue and FOH (if any) use the DI from my rig. A couple months ago I played an outdoor show with a hired sound company. The band I was in was a classic rock 3 piece. Drummer had a full Tama set, Guitar player had a Marshall stack.. I brought my SVP rig and 8x10, the sound guy, as I was loading in says "we have 4x18 bins out front". I told him, no worries, it's for show, I'll keep the volume low.
    It all worked out. Sometimes it's a visual, sometimes it's needed. Sometimes I just like having a huge rig to lean on lol.
  17. gelinas666

    gelinas666 Guest

    Sep 8, 2009
    Agree with you jazzbass_5.. I like to have the volume there when I need it too.. :thumbsup: I can always turn down..
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  18. Levin S

    Levin S Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Charlotte N.C.
    I couldn’t tell ya lol I’ve often wondered the same.

    I have a small Markbass 121 combo that I take out to small gigs and I run direct at any gig where PA support is necessary.

    I never have issues hearing myself or my band mates, but we’re all pretty cognizant of our respective stage volume levels
  19. Slough Feg Bass

    Slough Feg Bass Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2007
    San Francisco
    I really only use my larger rig on large stages where the stage monitors are way in front and the backline is way in back, and there are no sidefills.
    I use it on pretty much all outdoor gigs.
    truthfully though, last time I did a gig like that I borrowed an 810 and a 2x15 and ran them both from my RBI / PLX rack and had some good firepower.
    I have not really used my Schroeder 4x12 on a gig in a quite some time, simply because I have been borrowing peoples' cabs !
  20. mesaplayer83


    Jun 27, 2017
    +1 on all of the above - it just depends on the situation, most importantly what volumes your band mates play at...
    bobyoung53 likes this.
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