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dmdavies

Are Amps and Cabs still a thing moving forward?

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I play medium sized venues, and my MarkBass Marcus 800 and cab is overkill really. Also, I am wearing in-ears more and more. 

If I were to just go effects and DI into the desk and not move any air on stage at all, is that going to cause me problems do you think? I'm really interested in what you guys think.

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General.

I think?  More about the idea of amps and cabs, rather than any particular ones.

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I think I’m in a transition period. I find myself either using my Radial preamp into a desk with a FRFR monitor or IEM, in most venues. The only time I love a big old amp is the festivals or big stage where you need to feel the air. Most other venues I just don’t need one. 

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10 minutes ago, KingPrawn said:

I think I’m in a transition period. I find myself either using my Radial preamp into a desk with a FRFR monitor or IEM, in most venues. The only time I love a big old amp is the festivals or big stage where you need to feel the air. Most other venues I just don’t need one. 

The festivals I play nomally have their own backline if on-stage presence is needed. I'm really torn tbh. 

 

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I play pubs and clubs. The idea of turning up at the Dog & Duck and saying, "I didn't bother to bring any backline, where's the venue's PA and sound guy?" is so preposterous that there's really no need to take the subject any further.

Like everything else in music (and most things in life), it's horses for courses. If you only play big, well-organised gigs with excellent PAs, experienced sound guys, and superb monitoring, the why would you bother to haul around a valve head plus a 410? That's not a good description of my musical life.

9_9

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Posted (edited)

On the originals circuit in Oxford, although most of the actual PA's themselves are quite beefy, there's absolutely no chance of getting by on the monitors in any of the venues ( I went through a period last year of testing this theory, trust me 😂) so I still have to haul my Epifani UL210 and TC BH550 to all gigs (not that this is any big chore as it's a light set-up).

If you're playing covers/functions and you've got a PA that has been formulated with this in mind, then I can see no need for an amp/cab at all.

Horses for courses, we're all playing to different audiences in different ways.

Edited by 40hz

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22 minutes ago, Happy Jack said:

I play pubs and clubs. The idea of turning up at the Dog & Duck and saying, "I didn't bother to bring any backline, where's the venue's PA and sound guy?" is so preposterous that there's really no need to take the subject any further.

Like everything else in music (and most things in life), it's horses for courses. If you only play big, well-organised gigs with excellent PAs, experienced sound guys, and superb monitoring, the why would you bother to haul around a valve head plus a 410? That's not a good description of my musical life.

9_9

Completely agree. You so right to mention the PA quality. Even on our small gigs I can get away with it as we have a decent RCF setup, which has 15” speakers to carry the bass. 

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1 hour ago, dmdavies said:

I play medium sized venues, and my MarkBass Marcus 800 and cab is overkill really. Also, I am wearing in-ears more and more. 

If I were to just go effects and DI into the desk and not move any air on stage at all, is that going to cause me problems do you think? I'm really interested in what you guys think.

It’s only ever me and my zoom b2.1u into PA. 

”that sounded f ucking awesome” said a Very cute redhead girl. Ampeg svt model plus a precision with nice pickups. 
 

I wouldn’t do anything else 

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1 minute ago, Geek99 said:

It’s only ever me and my zoom b2.1u into PA. 

”that sounded f ucking awesome” said a Very cute redhead girl. Ampeg svt model plus a precision with nice pickups. 
 

I wouldn’t do anything else 

Burns night this year, end of a gig at a Jazz club in Edinburgh. Straight into the PA using the house DI. 

Very cute German exchange student. 

Seemed to be very impressed too. 

flip it I'm sold.

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Posted (edited)

If your amp's moving forward maybe some duct tape would help ?

Edited by ahpook
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I use a RCF 15" frfr speaker for gigs when back line isn`t provided and it has performed fine. Most of the gigs have amps provided but if in doubt I bring the RCF just in case. It`s an easy one hand lift.

I can`t see me going back to a normal bass amp setup.

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12 minutes ago, dmdavies said:

Burns night this year, end of a gig at a Jazz club in Edinburgh. Straight into the PA using the house DI. 

Very cute German exchange student. 

Seemed to be very impressed too. 

flip it I'm sold.

My zoom fits easily in the gig bag with two cables and it runs on batteries and it has a built-in tuner  ... OR .. you could lug a totally enormous amp and cabs into your car, out of your car, walk around it all night, lug it into your car .... try it my way, no fairies will die, guaranteed

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I still think there is.

I find that having an amp and a physical sound on stage from every instrument really helps bring out the best in the band. You feel the music. Locking in with the drums and driving the drummer, bringing out the best in them is a great feeling.

I went down the in ears route. Temporarily. I just couldnt get it. It was like going through the motions for me. Although in fairness the in ear monitoring was poor.

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I recently went for an audition / socially distanced playthrough / chat (just the two of us) with a guy who is a sideman in a well-known pop band who is putting together a band for his side project who would be playing decent club gigs and the odd festival across Europe. He was asking about the amp I brought along and what amp / cab I would be using live when playing clubs, as well talking about the backline he used live – no mention of in-ears or helix setups or anything of that nature.

There is a place for all different types of rigs depending on what the gig requires. If you are playing a tour of club gigs with a need to fly or to travel light, then a helix rig may be the only way to realistically go. You may prefer that, or see it as a compromise that you are forced to make – but it may be the best, or even only, way to do the gig. Obviously, some big productions pretty much require everyone to use in-ears. Personally, I hate seeing gigs without amps in small venues or places without a proper stage. To me it sounds cr*p, like a karaoke set-up. But I am aware that other people here think differently.  

My main gig at the moment is a tribute band, generally playing decent size clubs. The band leader has used all in-ear systems before and I thought I might have to bite the bullet and get some in-ears for myself. However, after the first rehearsal it became apparent that everybody else preferred to use amps on stage and the BL was happy to go along with that (although he uses his in-ears for his own personal monitoring). Sounds great…

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I went down the in-ear route for a while, but have reverted to amp and cab.

Basically, my band wasn't set up for it, the mixer isn't great for setting monitors and we aren't geared up for always putting everything through the PA, if only for monitoring. Also, I was the only one with in ears, so the rest of the band struggled to hear me, particularly the drummer who doesn't have dedicated monitoring - normally overkill in the venues we play.

I also much preferred the tone of my amp vs IEM, I appreciate that will have a lot to do with their relative qualities (ZS10s vs EBS head + cab) but definetly a factor

I swapped back to an amp last year, and everyone, including me was much happier.

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Again, pub & club venues don't always have the monitoring that gives out enough welly to be heard over the over-eager drummer. 

Some sort of amplification is essential, be it an amp/combo/FRFR setup.

All IMO of course.

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9 hours ago, Geek99 said:

My zoom fits easily in the gig bag with two cables and it runs on batteries and it has a built-in tuner  ... OR .. you could lug a totally enormous amp and cabs into your car, out of your car, walk around it all night, lug it into your car .... try it my way, no fairies will die, guaranteed

Or I could carry my LM3 and bass in one hand, Barefaced compact in the other, stroll in, set up in 10 mins. and I'm done. Small enough for small venues, big enough for medium venues, and a very nice DI out for PA support where necessary.  No fairies died this way either.

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DAMN those audio fairies!

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I still like to hear what I'm playing, so I'll stick with having an amp set up.

Did one gig where we were supposed to be using the headliners backline and there wasn't any.  I ended using a Sansamp into the desk and monitors.  Not good.

IEMs are a bit of a pfaff to be honest...our old singer had some and it was always a bit of a runaround getting them to work properly.  We'd have our slot, singer would be shouting at the sound guy that they weren't working.

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I don't think I'd ever want to lose the backline. Although I am not a player who is rooted to the spot, I do like to find that place where you feel the notes through you. I could use a board for that experience but then you're carting stuff around anyway. I'll stick to amps but have no problem with other guys doing differently.

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I got lumbered with storing the band's PA and transporting it to gigs.  In an attempt to lighten the load I started taking the amp line out direct to the PA and eliminating the need for a speaker and using traditional monitors, not IEMs.  It was OK, but it definitely doesn't sound as good on stage as going to the (albeit small) Markbass 102P cabinet and having a little assistance from the PA. Would the punters notice the difference though?  

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To flip it on its head, from a punters point of view,  I visually like to see a backline, It gives a backdrop and character to the band imo.  Seeing the choice of cab and amp tells me a lot about the musicians as well.

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It depends on what you're doing I think.

With my function band I always use in ears with no amp. We provide our own PA with subwoofers so I know that it can handle the low end and we recall a show on our digital desk and bring a decent sound tech with us so I know the sound will be consistent for both myself and the audience. For this to work though you have to have at least one person in the band who understands the tech side of things, or have a sound tech you always use and can ask for advice.

For the Balkan Klezmer / Afrobeat thing I play in we don't bring a tech and are at the mercy of the venue in terms of PA and backline. Most of the venues we play in have a decent PA and sound tech and will take a DI from the bass so I can be confident that the house sound will be good. Out of those venues most provide a backline (but not all). If I'm able to confirm there is a backline provided I'll usually leave my amp at home, if not I'll bring it for stage monitoring. On the odd occasion that we play a venue without a PA suitable for bass my amp will also provide the audience sound. Usually this is in smaller venues though and we don't play super loud so a big amp isn't needed.

If you're playing on the pub scene and don't provide your own PA you'll almost certainly be taking an amp to every gig.

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Happy Jack nails it. It doesn't have to be one or the other. If I'm playing where there is high quality PA/monitoring, I'll take a preamp/DI box. Anywhere else and I take a rig.

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