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Worth playing "stereo" in a band practice/live situations?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Razzmatazz, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Razzmatazz


    Oct 23, 2011
    The title says it all.

    I've been asking myself this since I practice at home with a small mixer and headphones most of the time. I can pan and set nice stereo chorus, delay, reverb effects for my bass channel when I play along a drums track or a full song.

    It's been a while since I've played with a band but I do remember that fine details get easily lost when playing in a live or a practice context with other instruments.

    Opinions, comments and occurences are welcome.

  2. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    If you are willing to run two cabs, each with their own dedicated power source or a stereo power amp, it could be cool. That said the amount of difference it might make versus the hassle would prevent me from running stereo.
  3. Interceptor

    Interceptor Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2005
    Madison, WI
    I practice using a small mixer and headphones as well.

    I play along with recordings made of our group. I use a little Marantz recorder to capture practices we do as a group or CD recordings we've done in the past. In either case, I record a no bass version.

    I use whatever signal path I plan on using live for the next gig into the mixer. I don't try and change the balance of the mix at all, and do mix it all down to mono. Keeps me in game form even if we can't get together as often as we'd like.

  4. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Maybe if you're in a drums & bass duo. In a regular band setting, no.

    Imagine the guitarist who has to play next to your cross-stage cab when you hit the section of the song featuring your magnificently crafted 80 & 120 ms ping-pong delays. Does he thank you? No, he does not.

    Now, picture the look on the FOH engineer's mug when he realizes that he's being asked to rewire the mono FOH PA just for your band's set. If he's *particularly* obliging, he'll soon realize that not only is he dealing with much more complicated interference from the bass stage rig, but he also can't create a mix that sounds relatively balanced from most points in the room.

    The punters standing in parts of the room dominated by one or the other of the speaker arrays will be (at best) missing the glories of your stereo sound, and at worst—during the moments when you've got a lot of stereo vibe going on—hearing music that suffers from carrying only part of your stereo puzzle.
  5. punchclock


    Mar 19, 2007
    Kansas City
    ^^^^^ he said it.

  6. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Derrico 1 said it all, although I don't mind a bit of two bass rig, clean/dirty shenanigans.
    I would not be interested in loosing any coupling and phase coherence
    In spreading my cabs across the stage.
    And I would definitely want my front of house channels pans both set to where the bass rig is on the stage.
    What happens in the bedroom stays in the bedroom.:bassist:
  7. JHAz


    Jun 29, 2011
    In general, from hanging around here, I've learned that it's just not wise to have substantial distance between two bass cabs . . . AFAIK, the biggest issue is that when you have two separated sources of bass you get significant cancellations, if you are not in FOH. At 40 Hz (low E) the wavelength is 28 feet. If the cabs are 14 feet apart (to a given listener) the output from one will be exactly the reverse of the output from the other and (other room effects aside) add up to zero 40 Hz sound. The relative distance difference is lower for higher notes, and of course repeats itself at multiples of the halfwave length causing problems all over the place in the room where your audience is at different frequencies.
  8. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    No, you wouldn't hear the difference live .
  9. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Nope, not for me.
  10. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Rehearse the same way you perform in front of an audience.
    Same gear, same stage arrangement, even the same moves.
  11. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    You're not mixing a CD or album, you're playing for an audience that has some people on each side and in the middle- this means a mono PA works best for letting everyone hear the same mix. If the PA was stereo, those on each side will hear only that side, with a little of the other via reflection. That's not a good outcome and it's annoying.
  12. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    The only time that I split my signal is if I'm playing in a one guitar band, where the overdriven and clean bass is needed, to fill up the sound a bit.
  13. I always split my signal in the studio and sometimes live, but that is not to get a stereo effect. I do it because I want to use two signals with different effects and eq.
  14. Syco_bass

    Syco_bass Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2008
    Tucson, Arizona
    Custom builder - Arizona Bass Company/Curcio Custom Basses
    For small venues, I don't run "stereo". I run a balanced out from my Tone Hammer pedal to the board and out to the PA. (no bass amp or cab) However, for larger venues, I run a bass rig and take a DI singnal from my amp head to the board, and then I also mic the bass cab. Although this is not true stereo, I have the ability to pan either signal if I choose. I like this approach because it gives me the best of both worlds.
  15. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Pointless from the perspective of your bass rig. It can be done if you have a minimum of 2 board channels in the PA dedicated to bass, preferably 3, (clean, DI'd mono lows, stereo spread and effected mids & highs), but that's not something that's going to happen unless you get way up the ladder of success there, or run your own PA.

    Nobody is going to hear any stereo effect or imaging from a backline rig.
  16. Razzmatazz


    Oct 23, 2011
    Thanks to everyone! I had made my mind about a power amp running in bridge mono with a single 4*10 cab but I just wanted to get more opinions before making a final decision. My favorite set up at home is a subtle stereo chorus effect but it would be just too much to carry the idea at rehearsals or live performances with a typical loud rock band.
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'd still run the chorus and try to duplicate some of the sounds in mono. But while it's more work than I want to go through these days, a good clean/dirty rig sounds quite nice. A lot of your bigtime pro types who use distortion do that. And Jeff Berlin runs stereo clean with a chorus into two amps.

    But you might not always get two lines into every PA, so even if you do the two amp thing, you'll still want to have a way of doing it mono. Other than that, and the increased schlep factor, stereo rigs can be fun.
  18. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    Nobody will notice a thing. No benefit at all.