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OddBass65

Mark Bass Player's School combo questions

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Hi folks.
I've just got my hands on a Mark Bass Jeff Berlin Player's School combo - 250w, 15in speaker.
It's proved itself in three band rehearsals so far, competing with a reasonable drummer (a rarity, I know!) and a guitarist who occasionally gets too loud.
However, we've a couple of bar gigs coming up soon, with only basic PA support (vocals only, I believe), and I'm worried I might need just a bit more punch.
I'm thinking of getting the matching NY Blackline 151 cab.
I've a couple of questions...

1. I'd like to place the combo and extension speaker either side of the drummer, but I've heard there are possible phasing issues.
I've really no idea about the technical/theory stuff so while I gather it's probably best to just stack them I'd just like to know is it possible without causing some sort of cosmic upheaval?

2. Is it better to just sit the cab(s) flat on the ground or tilted or on a beer crate or something?

3. Does anyone who has one of these have any favourite settings?
It seems popular to leave everything pretty much flat and just use the VLE/VPF controls to adjust eq.
(We're playing a collection of standard rock/blues covers - Cream, Rory Gallagher, Stones, etc., I'm using a Fender P with flats)

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Yeah it's nearly always best to stack them, both for the horizontal dispersion and because it gets the top cab closer to your ears. You might think that putting them either side of the drummer would spread the sound out more. It makes sense, but it's wrong.

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Thanks, Jack.
It wasn't so much spreading the sound as having a bass cab right behind the guitarist so he can hear me keeping time ... a concept he seems to struggle with :)

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I know you said for these gigs it's a vocal-only PA so that complicates things really. It's a difficult trick to be loud enough to cover the room whilst not being deafening on stage.

If your amp was only an onstage monitor then I'd have said go for it. Or, more sensibly, turn down on stage so he can hear you from where he is or set your amp up to fire sideways across the stage. As your amp has to cover the room then all bets are off, maybe try putting your stack in a corner facing 45o across the stage? That way the guitarist should get more of you, but then so will the main vocal mic....

The real answer is to buy him a wedge or an IEM system, but that's not always practical and always expensive.

Just try stuff until you fix it, it's only rock n roll.

Edited by Jack

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I tried that spread thing once (with Mark Bass gear, as it happened) and didn't notice any particular advantage. There's probably a good reason why stacking is the conventional wisdom. In theory, bass frequencies are less directional (I think) so it shouldn't make much difference... as long as the speakers are in the same plane to eliminate phases issues.

Thinking about it, even if you were coming through an enormous PA, the speakers would be in front of you, so it would still be a backline/monitoring issue. I think your guitarist needs to be a bit more savvy when it comes to ensemble playing.

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[quote name='Trueno' timestamp='1498389526' post='3324213']
I think your guitarist needs to be a bit more savvy when it comes to ensemble playing.
[/quote]

If only they would...

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The main point is that whole band should play according to the drummer. Guitarist does not [b]have[/b] to hear you well. When you gig, it's often about compromises and it's the audience who you play for, so they have to have a good sound. That you don't have a good sound on stage is often inevitable side-effect.

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[quote name='oo.viper.oo' timestamp='1498541883' post='3325302']
The main point is that whole band should play according to the drummer. Guitarist does not [b]have[/b] to hear you well. When you gig, it's often about compromises and it's the audience who you play for, so they have to have a good sound. That you don't have a good sound on stage is often inevitable side-effect.
[/quote]

I would say that the bass player serves both the rhythmic and harmonic content of the song. It's a good thing if the guitarist and the rest of the band can hear both.

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[quote name='oo.viper.oo' timestamp='1498541883' post='3325302']
The main point is that whole band should play according to the drummer. Guitarist does not [b]have[/b] to hear you well. When you gig, it's often about compromises and it's the audience who you play for, so they have to have a good sound. That you don't have a good sound on stage is often inevitable side-effect.
[/quote]

You don't know my guitarist ... if he can't hear me he's quite likely to completely lose his timing - for some reason he can't lock in on the drummer. :blink:
I do completely agree with your point about the audience deserving the best sound we can give.

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It's no ones job to keep time because everyone should/must be playing in time. Everyone should have a sound on stage that enables the band and audience to clearly hear each instrument.

If anyone in a band can't do those 2 things then you should be looking for a replacement.

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[quote name='OddBass65' timestamp='1498388701' post='3324203']
Thanks, Jack.
It wasn't so much spreading the sound as having a bass cab right behind the guitarist so he can hear me keeping time ... a concept he seems to struggle with :)
[/quote]

can't he hear the drummer?

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Sit the combo on the matching extension cab, roll off some low end, push the low mids forward and turn up the volume. Then everyone in the room should be able to hear the bass sitting in and supporting the mix with no trouble.

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I would not separate the cabs, but stack them. It may be useful to angle the cabs a bit towards the stage. I sometimes put them at 45 degrees or so if I'm at the far left corner (as I often am), as you still get good bass coverage but it seems to help others hear better the midrange, and so pitch recognition (and I can then hear it better if I move around). Although if you say the issue is timing this should not matter that much.
If he can't hear you because his amp is too loud/close to him try separating them. There's no rule saying you must play right by your amp but a lot of people seem to think that's the best way to do things... it's a good way to hear yourself for sure but not so much if you want to hear everybody else. If he wants more bass, let him move away from his amp and a bit closer to you and the drummer.

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[quote name='OddBass65' timestamp='1498554457' post='3325403']
You don't know my guitarist ... if he can't hear me he's quite likely to completely lose his timing - for some reason he can't lock in on the drummer. :blink:
I do completely agree with your point about the audience deserving the best sound we can give.
[/quote]

Then it sounds like the answer is not so much technology but... the guitarist needing homework. The good news is that unless he's totally useless, he can improve and won't take too long. As he's managed to make it into your band and played there a while, I assume he's not useless... so it's time to get him to do his homework :)

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Uh-huh, the more this thread goes on the more it just seems like the guitarist needs to practice more!

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I lost most of my hearing in my right ear coz the drummer wanted my cab as close to him as possible, so I was close to his cymbals.

The perils of playing with others that need you to keep time for them.

No more, if the drummer or guitarist need to hear me, I'll let them find a solution.

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Update:
I went ahead and got the extension cab.
First gig last week, I stacked them, but with the bottom one facing sideways towards the drummer and guitarist.
This worked great!

My only problem was that the sound guy in the venue couldn't get a DI from me, despite trying different cables and a new DI box...And this was my fault for being an idiot and totally forgetting the combo has a line out volume control !
Luckily the rig carried the room (about 80 people, nice simple straight room) very easily on it's own.

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[quote name='OddBass65' timestamp='1500196357' post='3336105']

My only problem was that the sound guy in the venue couldn't get a DI from me, despite trying different cables and a new DI box...And this was my fault for being an idiot and totally forgetting the combo has a line out volume control !

[/quote]


Ah... I've done that! :lol:

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