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Al Krow

Does your band use a sub-woofer as part of your PA?

Does your band use a sub-woofer as part of your PA?  

60 members have voted

  1. 1. Does your band use a sub-woofer as part of your PA?

    • Yes, definitely adds to our sound
      42
    • No, don't see any need
      11
    • Not currently - but we're considering getting one
      7


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Posted (edited)

We currently use RCF 310As mainly for vocals and acoustic guitar, but the drummers in a couple of my bands have started to mic their kick drums up and putting through the PA.

Been thinking about whether we should be adding a sub for the kick drum and maybe to put the bass through also? 

The arrival of the new Alto 31Xs series (pic is of the 312s) for under £350 makes this a much more affordable option and at 55 lbs, whilst not featherweight, should be manageable weight wise.

What are you guys currently doing? If you're using a sub or finding you're managing without it would be great to hear details of your set up.

Image result for alto ts312s

Edited by Al Krow

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Just bought a sub off here; we used either Alto 15’s or Mackie Thump 12’s (with the latter being used as monitors at the bigger gigs). 

Now intending to use the 12’s with the sub and put vocs bass, keys (possibly) and drums through it, with a view to possibly adding the guitars too if needed. Both guitarists use valve combos so sadly DIing is out, and they need a certain level of volume to get their drive. 

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We are considering one. We have a pair of the older turbosounds m15s and are considering an alto 15 inch sub to add permanently, we often use/borrow one as an add on at bigger gigs. 

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Our PRX735 pair is sub enough: peak SPL 136 dB, frequency response (+/-3 dB) starts from 42 Hz.

A sub is common in systems that are small, but then there is more stuff to carry and mix. JBLs are not small, but the sound isn't small either.

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We have a JBL system with 12” tops and 18” subs, all active. The best PA we’ve used and the subs definitely add to our sound with the drum kit mic’d up (just bass drum if it’s a small venue, bass and snare if larger). The whole band DI into the PA.

In my opinion, really worth doing if you can afford and justify the extra expense.

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We're doing mainly weddings/functions in those sort of venues, and our FOH is two QSC K8s (each is 1x8) and two QSC KSubs (each is 2x12).   I rarely hear the band from out front, but the few times I have it sounds pretty good.  It can also go very loud (if needed).  All instruments go through the PA.    I'm not sure we need two subs, but they are good stands for the tops (smaller footprint than a speaker stand - and sturdier if people fall into them...).

I think each KSub is 73lb - but they have built-in wheels.  I'd rather push 73lb than carry 55lb.  Also, they make good carts for the rest of the gear, the tops, etc.  Btw our van has a loading ramp.

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My current band don't, and we dont feel the need. our PA 1x15 speakers have a nice low end kick, which helps the bass drum punch through the backline and over the heads of the crowd, but we dont mic anything else other than that and the vocals.

I think we would have a better quality of sound/mix if we did use them, but the added expense/weight and space needed are outweighed by the fact that we dont 'need' them as such.

My old band used to use just one of those Peavey powered Subs, but again, space constrictions meant it got left at home or often than not. We used it for functions but not the social clubs.

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Always. Never sounds as good without decent subs regardless of venue. I'd rather take a decent PA and no backline any day of the week. We are a pop/rock wedding band with 2 guitars, bass & drums and all four of us singing. Venues range from huge marquees to ballrooms to halls, to stately homes to small pubs and we use subs at all of them. Whenever I hear bands using tops only, it just never sounds as full and even the best moderately priced tops (RCF 745s say) can't deliver what decent subs do.

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51 minutes ago, mrtcat said:

...and even the best moderately priced tops (RCF 745s say) can't deliver what decent subs do.

That's very interesting and somewhat goes against the FRFR 'orthodoxy' that has been set out over a volume of posts! I'm guessing you've experienced 745As in the flesh and found them lacking in comparison? What subs are you guys using?

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We use EV tops and (I think] currently a single Alto 15 sub (we’re an acoustic band). To be honest, I think it’s a bit crap. It’s not very reliable and though it does add sub, it doesn’t compliment the tops very well.

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IMO true bass is only achieved with 18" drivers in subs. My band currently uses Coda Viray line array stuff and the subs are 15s - you just don't get that earth shaking thump from anything less than an 18.

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3 minutes ago, acidbass said:

IMO true bass is only achieved with 18" drivers in subs. My band currently uses Coda Viray line array stuff and the subs are 15s - you just don't get that earth shaking thump from anything less than an 18.

So the Alto 312s simply wouldn't cut it? 

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6 hours ago, jrixn1 said:

our FOH is two QSC K8s (each is 1x8) and two QSC KSubs (each is 2x12).

I've remembered that we don't always use subs.  We own one set of subs but on busy dates we send out two or more bands.  To the casual observer we look like a 10-piece band - but really we are a pool of about 25 regulars (e.g. I am one of three bass players).  Anyway, in that case, the "main gig" or largest/most important one seem to get the subs.  The smaller (say, six-piece) get some tops but no subs.  It works ok but the band with the subs will sound better.  For one thing, without subs, the bass amp on-stage will also have to provide FOH, so it's harder to get the balance between on-stage volume/eq and FOH volume/eq.  I think I said it recently in another thread, but it will always be much better having two distinct systems for monitoring and FOH - anything else will be a compromise one way or another.

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Theres no doubting a PA sounds better with proper subs, but that doesn't mean a band cant sound good without them IME. Logistics also come in to play as adding two  subs can make a big difference if space is at a premium in the cars, and ive never had anyone comment about lack of low end on the dance floor.

 

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Posted (edited)

We use a Mackie SW1501 powered sub with a pair of old Peavey UL12 Black Widow tops with a Peavey XR1220 powered mixer at every gig. Vocals and kick drum and occasionally snare and a couple of overheads at louder gigs. A couple of Barefaced cabs and a gutsy amp usually fools the audience into thinking i'm through the PA so i don't bother running through it unless its a really big room. The sub really adds to a big drum sound and it would be hard to play without it now. Everything builds from the drums at soundcheck and i can sit the bass in nicer with a good kick sound.

Edited by Mudpup
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One band I dep for does, my main band tend not to turn up much earlier than 5 minutes before we start so no time for such niceties and line checks, micing kits or soundchecks!

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We use passive EV 15 tops, with 1x active 750w EV sub. 2 vocals, bass drum and bass, for a bit of sound reinforcement, so that the bass doesn't have to be silly loud on stage trying to keep up with 2 Orange 50w valve amps. Always sounds punchy and full sounding. I would like another EV sub, but they weigh a ton. 

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Although we have pair of 15" EV powered tops we also run a single 15" sub to really help with the kick drum and my bass so as to fill out the sound.

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Posted (edited)

We use a Mackie 18" sub (active), it's ok, I'm a little disappointed with it TBH, I'd much prefer an RCF ( to go with our tops and monitors) but can't afford one at the moment. I vaguely remember Bill Fitzmaurice mentioning 2 subs will be much better than one?

Edited by skidder652003

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We use a pair of RCF subs all the time with matching tops. They aint light but they were cheap (two separate auctions from the same seller) and worked out at around £550 for the pair which is something to keep in mind if you're looking at new Alto gear for similar money. We've played in a football stadium (League One side, on the pitch facing a stand) with our rig and didn't struggle.

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Posted (edited)

This thread is already proving quite an eye opener! I guess I was asking the wrong question previously about adding a sub to a bass amp and got a pretty much uniform "no, you're just going to get mud"; but when it's in the context of a PA for the band and particularly the kick drum in addition to the bass, it's getting a very different set of responses. Around 3/4 of folk who've responded the poll have said their bands either already have a sub with their PA or are thinking about getting one.

Edited by Al Krow

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14 minutes ago, lemmywinks said:

We've played in a football stadium (League One side, on the pitch facing a stand) with our rig and didn't struggle.

We've played Wembley and managed just fine without subs!

 

 

...ok technically it was the Jubilee Line Underground 😂

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40 minutes ago, skidder652003 said:

We use a Mackie 18" sub (active), it's ok, I'm a little disappointed with it TBH, I'd much prefer an RCF ( to go with our tops and monitors) but can't afford one at the moment. I vaguely remember Bill Fitzmaurice mentioning 2 subs will be much better than one?

Can you say a bit more about what you feel the Mackies are missing?

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6 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Can you say a bit more about what you feel the Mackies are missing?

I'd like to say the dreaded "heft", but they lack chest thumping resonance compared to better subs I've been lucky enough to use, even at full whack. It could be poor eq on our part but I don't think so. They were comparatively cheap (ok  we only have one) and we put the kick and bass through it, tried high pass crossover and full range, I'd deffo go with a better model (RCF, EV, QSC, HK and yamaha etc..)

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