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thedontcarebear

The death of the amp

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4 hours ago, JapanAxe said:

Surely amp-less bass (and to some extent ampless electric guitar) depends on having a very powerful PA? At one time that equated to 'huge and heavy' but not so much now.

Last Autumn I played a couple of dep gigs where the lead guitar was DI'd from a Fractal (I think) but they still asked me to use my bass amp and cab at a decent onstage volume, and put it through the PA to beef it up for the FOH mix (in a huge marquee). I enjoyed that, but I'm probably not alone in thinking that having only DI'd bass might be lacking in the fun factor.

Yes indeed, you are not alone.

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Posted (edited)

I've been all round the houses with this.

I've had big old amps and cabs. I've had smaller class d amps, and half way cabs (barefaced etc). I even went small using helix stomp modeller and class d.

All did a decent job. Cant complain.

However, I've now gone back to using class a/b amps and a 410.

The stomp was good, but not a great DI. No matter what I did, it just wasnt a great bass sound. It was there, but not great. Was that my fault or the helix? I dont know. Maybe theres too much to play with, or maybe the technology just isnt there yet. No one ever mentioned it, but it just didnt have the depth or sparkle to me.

I plug in my abm600 and it's there. Every time. Great sound (pre or post) nicely balanced and no hassle.

Has the power and sound I like on stage and the di sound that sound guys like.

I always find a medium to big powerful amp and cab onstage help create a great rhythm section. It has that slam that you and the drummer can create with - remember hearing the bass and its sound isnt just for us bassist- and it just has that warm sound to make you raise your game.

As much as I liked the stomp, I never really got that feeling with it.

Edited by la bam
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22 minutes ago, Skinner said:

Yes indeed, you are not alone.

And we haven’t even mentioned the highs and lows of GAS...

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Pah.

You think valves are woe.

I'm one of those poor sods who insists on playing an old Trace Elliot. Transistor sound and valve weight combined...

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On 15/07/2020 at 12:45, Bill Fitzmaurice said:

If you doubt that valves will be with us for long consider what's happened with vinyl.

Time will tell with Vinyl. Personally I suspect it will prove to be a fairly brief resurgence based on nostalgia. In every technical respect digital is superior. The reason many people prefer vinyl is that the production techniques and aims were different in those days. If you digitally record and compress as is the modern trend then Vinyl would have no advantages (IMHO), other than the sleeve size.

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17 hours ago, Count Bassy said:

Time will tell with Vinyl. Personally I suspect it will prove to be a fairly brief resurgence based on nostalgia. In every technical respect digital is superior. The reason many people prefer vinyl is that the production techniques and aims were different in those days. If you digitally record and compress as is the modern trend then Vinyl would have no advantages (IMHO), other than the sleeve size.

Certainly older vintage stuff sounds way better on Vinyl than rather than the CD transfers New recorded music yes digital sound better in the car on headphones, but even new stuff i get on vinyl now, even with a fairly basic hifi turntable and speakers sounds great its the whole experience of vinyl (yes and some nostalgia) for me. Lots of younger folk who did not grow up listening to vinyl are buying back into the experience. 

With regards proper amps Tube amps, they will stay around and have their place, but its great for beginners hobbyists pub band musicians to just have to carry a small powered stage speaker and DI box/Profiler box and off you go.

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On 14/07/2020 at 06:07, thedontcarebear said:

How does everyone feel about this subject?

I think with guitars you can really tell, the likes of Kemper seem to have killed the valve amp market, a secondhand Rectifier etc is now very cheap compared to 10 years ago.  But I would personally rather have that Rectifier.

I've noticed it a bit with bass amps too, obviously SWR are now worth a tiny fraction of what they once were (although they don't exist now), and even what I think are the best amps I've played - EBS are pretty cheap compared to previous years for the full size rackmount ones.  Not sure if bass modelling is really out there on mass in the same way, but the likes of Sansamp have been used by bassists for years in the studio anyway.

Maybe it's just me though!

"The Death Of The Amp"..

I found my amp/cabinet sound way back in the late 90's. It was a David Eden (not "Eden" Marshall) World Tour series hybrid through a 4x10.

At the time, these amps were very expensive and had a poor reputation for reliability, so I carried on using my solid state Trace amps (with a GP12XV valve pre) until I could justify buying a pre-loved WT550 (through a BassChat seller) a few years' back. It's still the right amp for me. Today, I still have everything - even the TE gear - because I can, but haven't played Bass Live for many years' ~ because of poor mental health.

I write and record at home, so priorities change. In my situation, It's mainly about compact pre-amps, and valves (yes!), tone, headroom, computer interfaces and not so much cab modelling - at the moment. But Hypothetically, if I were to play Live again.. a small rig would be essential. FOH would get a DI out, and I would shape the rest. A monitor with vocals and/or soloists would be ideal. It really depends on the wants and needs of the gig.

In the next 10-years, Bass amps and cabinets will continue to reduce in size, weight but hopefully not features or heft! That said, in my experience, 'Class D' amps are/ were not the great messiah many were predicting in the last decade. In general, these over promise and under deliver - in many areas.

Death Of The Amp? No, not anytime soon!

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I was wondering about a decent preamp front end - like the Nordstrand starlifter + a powered cab - not necessarily flat or full range.

It seems like an unecessary extra gain stage to have a preamp pedal + preamp also in the amp?

I know this isn't going to fly with someone who has an SVT as an integral part of their onstage sound, but I was wondering if anyone has gone down that route?

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The reason to go FRFR (or as close to that as current economical designs allow) is so that you are EQ'ing just for your sound and not partly to compensate for the shortcomings of your traditional bass cabs. 

Unless you have no PA support for the bass, then the contribution your cabs make to what the audience hears will be close to zero - after all when was the last time you saw a bass cab on stage mic'd up and knew 100% that the microphone was the only source of bass guitar in the PA? 

If you give the PA a post-EQ DI feed from your amp in order to have some benefit from the tone of the amp (or valve drive etc.) then much of the FoH EQ being applied will be a mixture of trying to replicate the sound of the cans on stage against fighting the amp's EQ setting to deliver a decent bass guitar sound FoH.

If you DI pre-EQ or even before the amp itself then all your expensive bass rig is doing as acting as a personal monitor.

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21 hours ago, BigRedX said:

The reason to go FRFR (or as close to that as current economical designs allow) is so that you are EQ'ing just for your sound and not partly to compensate for the shortcomings of your traditional bass cabs. 

Unless you have no PA support for the bass, then the contribution your cabs make to what the audience hears will be close to zero - after all when was the last time you saw a bass cab on stage mic'd up and knew 100% that the microphone was the only source of bass guitar in the PA? 

If you give the PA a post-EQ DI feed from your amp in order to have some benefit from the tone of the amp (or valve drive etc.) then much of the FoH EQ being applied will be a mixture of trying to replicate the sound of the cans on stage against fighting the amp's EQ setting to deliver a decent bass guitar sound FoH.

If you DI pre-EQ or even before the amp itself then all your expensive bass rig is doing as acting as a personal monitor.

Well I always wonder why they always insist using DI and after few minutes of struggle I say Once again “hey, try putting SM57 in front of my cab” - and after that the only knobs FoH engineer has to turn are gain and volume on their mixing desk… 

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16 minutes ago, mazdah said:

Well I always wonder why they always insist using DI and after few minutes of struggle I say Once again “hey, try putting SM57 in front of my cab” - and after that the only knobs FoH engineer has to turn are gain and volume on their mixing desk… 

Really? SM57 isn't the best mic in the world for a bass cab. It's got a peak at 6kHz where there is little baas guitar and drops off quite steeply after 200Hz which does include some of the bass energy you would probably want to capture. Also unless the stage area is big the fewer mics being used, the more controllable the FoH sound is.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

Really? SM57 isn't the best mic in the world for a bass cab. It's got a peak at 6kHz where there is little baas guitar and drops off quite steeply after 200Hz which does include some of the bass energy you would probably want to capture. Also unless the stage area is big the fewer mics being used, the more controllable the FoH sound is.

Certainly it’s not the best, but it’s way better (for me) than  AKG D112 - since this microphone and my bass cab are both a little mid-shy. I use flatwound strings, lots of drives and fuzz, so I never reach above 3kHz and my cab is quite heavy on the lows (Ampeg SVT410Hlf) so the mic compensates a little. Apart from low-end loss, SM57 has quite flat characteristics in spectrum that interests me the most. 

 

Of course they are WAY better microphones for bass, but I consider SM57 as a “Swiss knife” - good enough for guitar, vocals (Tito and Tarantula singer uses 57 instead of 58), bass and even kick-drum (seriously!). For live applications, where there is no need for details and no need for bass-heavy sound I think SM57 is great. 

if the stage is small - in most clubs - I get better sound and Better overall mix with band without FoH at all. 

Edited by mazdah

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