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Bass Amp Question

Crosseyed0811

I've been playing bass for several years now, and have honestly never bought my own bass amp. I have my 50 watt 1x12 that my parents bought me for Christmas and then everywhere I've wanted to play pretty much has their own amp systems that I use. So this has never been an issue.
Currently I'm playing at my church and they want to look into buying a new amp. Its a small setting and mostly all I need is a good direct out, however my music pastor wants an amplifier that does not defeat the internal speaker when using the direct out to the board. This however doesn't match up with pretty much everything he's looked at.
Looking for some pointers or ideas for what to look at. Again the main issues are we want to run direct to the board but still have a little "stage volume" as there are no real monitors avaliable where I play from.
Thanks in advance for any input.
January 12, 2010 @04:36am
jpleong

Well, there are actually a few ways to approach this...
If the direct out defeats the speaker, in most bass amps, that probably means it's just a headphone output or the effects loop output. Most, if not all the bass amps I see under $300 are outfitted this way. Not all is lost, as most sub-$300 bass amps don't have enough power or a large enough speaker to be useful on a loud stage anyway.
With the $300 and above price range you get a lot more options and most come equipped with an XLR-direct output that does not defeat the speaker. The Fender Rumble 75 is $250 and has a 1/4" jack line-out but you'd need a D.I. box to get it into your soundboard. Which leads me to the next point...
The easiest way for a church to do this is to use a high quality direct (D.I.) box. Simply tap the signal coming from the bass guitar into the direct box, then use the D.I. Box's output to run it to the input of whatever bass amp you want. This is actually ideal for the sound person, as he or she can get a clean signal while the bassist can use the amp controls to dial-in whatever tone he or she likes. A nice, high quality D.I. box is generally $100 or more.
JP
January 12, 2010 @05:28pm
Crosseyed0811

That's actually similar to what we've been doing recently. I've been using my Hartke VXL Bass Attack pedal to give a direct line to the board and then a parallel out to the amp.
I have had the idea tossed around of constructing a rack unit. What is everyone's thoughts on that idea and recommendations for what to have in the rack for the situation. Again, medium sized sanctuary with the emphasis being getting a good signal to the board and stage volume focused on mains. With some stage noise for monitor type purposes only.
January 12, 2010 @07:56pm
jpleong

That's actually similar to what we've been doing recently. I've been using my Hartke VXL Bass Attack pedal to give a direct line to the board and then a parallel out to the amp.
I have had the idea tossed around of constructing a rack unit. What is everyone's thoughts on that idea and recommendations for what to have in the rack for the situation. Again, medium sized sanctuary with the emphasis being getting a good signal to the board and stage volume focused on mains. With some stage noise for monitor type purposes only.

I wouldn't change much, if anything, with the way you're doing things unless there's something that you don't like about the sound. Of course, the church can get its own D.I. Box for days you're not playing.
Can you describe the stage plot a little better for me? What kind of stage monitoring and what kind of sound console are we talking about here?
JP
January 12, 2010 @08:15pm
Crosseyed0811

The stage has the middle section open for the choir and such with overhead and floor monitors for them, then off to the right is the organ, piano, and keyboards and I believe they have a hot spot or two over there. Then on the left is me on bass with the electronic drums and the horns/strings/percussion. There's not much room on that side for any floor monitors or anything, however both me and the drummer have an Aviom A-16 system for in ear monitoring. This is an amazing system to be honest, but its not for everyone and not even for me all the time. I like to be able to hear the room at times, depending on my mood and comfort level with the song. Sometimes depending on who is running the sound I can hear enough from the mains that I don't really need a monitor at all, but its not always the case. The board is what I BELIEVE to be a Yamaha PM1D.
January 12, 2010 @08:56pm
jpleong

How familiar are you with the sound person/tech director? It could help if you asked them to add a room or ambient mic for you to mix in with your IEM. You may also wish to try different headphones (as opposed to ear pieces) that are Open Back -allowing you to hear the room and your personal mix. The latter is what I do when I get called in as a bass player sub...
JP
January 12, 2010 @09:09pm
Crosseyed0811

Thanks for all of your help, you've given me some great ideas that I've not even though about. However just for the sake of options, because I know my music pastor will want options, what would you think of a rack system? We do have a 15" cabinet built that's there in my area not being used. What sort of units would you recommend having in the rack?
And just to note, I HAVE looked into a lot of this stuff and am really just looking for other opinions because I've not been looking at amplifiers and such in a while now. I've spent the last few years playing acoustic guitar for another church praise team and so my focus was elsewhere and haven't kept up things in the bass world like I should have.
January 12, 2010 @09:21pm
jpleong

Well, let's see if I can keep this short and succinct...!
Let me preface by saying I approach this as a sound person, not a bass player. Bass is not my primary instrument.
The rack would look like this:
Top -> Bottom
Lighted Rack Power
Rack Tuner
Sansamp RPM
Radial Pro D8
QSC or Crown 200-400W amp
The RPM would run to the board via the Uneffected DI OUT so the soundperson can mangle it to their heart's content. The main output would run to the power amp which would then feed the floor monitor.
The Radial Pro D8 would take the signals from the V-drums kit.
JP
January 12, 2010 @10:01pm
Crosseyed0811

And that's why I ask questions. Hadn't even THOUGHT about a DI to bring the drums in to have them in my monitor. Thanks so much for your help!
January 12, 2010 @10:40pm
Crosseyed0811

And that's why I ask questions. Hadn't even THOUGHT about a DI to bring the drums in to have them in my monitor. Thanks so much for your help!
January 12, 2010 @10:54pm
jpleong

I actually meant for the D8 to replace whatever you guys are using to get the electric kit to the FOH. This helps clean-up the stage. Are you not getting the kit in your IEM? That would be something to ask for, without a doubt.
JP
January 12, 2010 @10:57pm
Crosseyed0811

OH okay. No it is in the Aviom currently but thats all coming from the sound guys, I honestly don't know how it works.
January 13, 2010 @02:40am
jpleong

Just to make sure... does your Aviom allow you to mix your monitors from where you stand on stage? Maybe what you need is to help the sound people better understand what you're hearing or not hearing...
JP
January 13, 2010 @02:21pm
Crosseyed0811

I have my own 16 channel mixer that I plug the head phones into. Tonight the drummer and I both talked to them about putting the overhead choir mics into the Aviom mix, so that will probably help a lot in that area.
I believe after discussing what we've said here with my Worship Pastor, he wants to get a good amp with XLR out to replace my Hartke pedal and the rather large and old Peavey bass amp that is too bulky for my playing area and quite honestly too strong for the room.
Now we have to figure out what we want to do for the guitar players ;)
Thanks for all your help!
January 14, 2010 @04:05am
jpleong


Now we have to figure out what we want to do for the guitar players

They will not be satisfied with less than a stack! Good luck with that ;)
The only problem with an XLR direct out of an amp is that most happen to be post-eq, post-volume meaning the bassist could change a setting on the amp and that would "ruin" what the sound person had set. Of course, depending on the competency of both, that could be a good thing...
The best bass amps I've seen for a situation like yours are those made by Mark Bass (the bassist in my band got one long before they were distributed by a certain giant music store conglomerate). They are light and small and put out a lot without farting and you can mix and match heads and cabinets. The tone is pure and beautiful, too.
JP
January 14, 2010 @03:58pm