Jump to content

No PA Support, more output advice please


Recommended Posts

Asking for some advice, please.

 

My band bought themselves a lovely high tech PA system before I joined... Without subs. Nobody in the group owns a van or has loads of storage space so buying second hand subs is a bit of a last resort and could be awkward. For gigs where we provide our own PA, which in my 6 months ish has been about half, I just play with my amp providing all the bass.

 

My amp is an Ashdown Rootmaster 500, going through two fifteen inch ABM Neo cabs which are rated at 300w each. I really like the amp sound and it's flexible enough to handle all my different basses well. 

 

I am quite certain that for some gigs and venues coming up this will not be enough bass output, so pumping up the amp as I have done in a nice big room, would be intolerable on stage but maybe ok out front. It's not been a problem yet, but I don't really want a problem later.

 

So with "buy some subs, idiot!" As a last resort, what would you recommend as first steps? Remember my cabs are rated at 300w each. I bought these recently brand new so don't want to take the hit of selling them on if I don't have to. I like my amp, I could get the 800w version for more output, but can the cabs handle it? Or would the heft of an ABM 600 be a good way to retain the cabs but get more bass output...? 

 

Thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Humm. Are you setting yourself up for being in charge of FOH? I think you are.

 

I question whether these days the gigs/ venues are really needing a full noise PA if there isn't one there already.

 

Most bands in venues are tending toward the stupid loud end of loud when there's a house system. I don't agree with that. Mostly they play way too loud on stage and it all turns to mush out front.

 

Do you really want to wrestle that gorilla?

 

A good drummer can kick a very loud kick with no support. If you all balance with that you'll be quite loud but conversation will be possible 30m out. Vocal PA ftw.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I run my ABM600 without PA support for most planned gigs apart from outside events 

 

I use two ABM210H cabs and it’s a great powerful rig and if we get very large venues later on I might add a 410 cab to have 610 total 

 

I like a loud stage personally as we are a loud rock band !


Your amp is fine and so should be your cabs 

Edited by BassAdder27
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

We don't have subs either.  When I feel I need a little help, I use the amp's DI to go through the PA we have for a bit of extra coverage, still using the amp for the majority of bass volume.  I'm sure someone will be along soon to tell me what a terrible idea that is.

 

500W into 2x10" (vertical) FYI.

Edited by neepheid
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

At louder volumes the "thickness/heft" of the ABM comes through above the sound of the RM, so the bass would more than likely sound "bigger" - or at least that`s been my experience from using those two amps. The ABM sounds louder when in fact it`s that the sound just has more depth to it, giving a greater presence.

 

As has been said though, you don`t want your on-stage volume to be so much louder than the rest of the band, so going though the PA not at a louder volume than your amp less will still give a better spread for the bass. I`d also in this case consider removing some of the low end for whatever goes through the PA.

 

And after all that, if it`s not worked, buy those subs!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, uk_lefty said:

I am quite certain that for some gigs and venues coming up this will not be enough bass output, so pumping up the amp as I have done in a nice big room, would be intolerable on stage but maybe ok out front.

It's the rare room where the bass isn't louder out front than it is on stage. On stage there are boundary reflection sourced cancellations, out front there aren't.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, neepheid said:

We don't have subs either.  When I feel I need a little help, I use the amp's DI to go through the PA we have for a bit of extra coverage, still using the amp for the majority of bass volume. 

My thinking and the drummer too, we want to put it through the PA as a way of levelling everything out. The speakers should handle it but the guitarists are scared of it damaging them.

 

I like @Lozz196 suggestion, get the heft and weight of sound up without actually adding volume. May be the way forward.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, Bill Fitzmaurice said:

It's the rare room where the bass isn't louder out front than it is on stage. On stage there are boundary reflection sourced cancellations, out front there aren't.

Definitely, I recall one gig a mate of mine did, onstage his bass was just about right, out front it decimated the rest of the band (pub-gig/backline only, no FOH)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

Definitely, I recall one gig a mate of mine did, onstage his bass was just about right, out front it decimated the rest of the band (pub-gig/backline only, no FOH)

This is why I'd like to put a smidge of bass through the PA, then I can lower the stage volume...  In an ideal world

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

When I played a charity festival earlier in the year. They hired FOH gear for the afternoon and night. Hiring is an option that maybe worth considering, depending how many gigs you play needing FOH. Having said that even though there was FOH gear. They had no subs, as its a small venue/stage. So the bass was provided by Ashdown EB 15-180 Combo, which went plenty loud enough.

 

When I next gig, I'll be using my Ashdown CTM100 into a Ashdown ABM115 Compact, very old original 500W version, with the original driver in! 

 

Edited by Triumph_Rock
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, uk_lefty said:

My thinking and the drummer too, we want to put it through the PA as a way of levelling everything out. The speakers should handle it but the guitarists are scared of it damaging them.

 

I like @Lozz196 suggestion, get the heft and weight of sound up without actually adding volume. May be the way forward.

 

When I put the bass through the PA it's not set particlularly loud, the main source of volume is the bass cabs - it's more for "width" than anything else.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, neepheid said:

 When I feel I need a little help, I use the amp's DI to go through the PA we have for a bit of extra coverage, still using the amp for the majority of bass volume.  I'm sure someone will be along soon to tell me what a terrible idea that is.

It's a very good idea, when done correctly. While the stage rig will cover the room with the lows very effectively the midrange and high frequency dispersion is pretty bad. Put mids and highs in the PA for dispersion, pull back the lows on that PA channel so as not to overdo those. The same applies to the drums, keys, even guitars. The PA should be providing a balanced mix throughout the room. The problem lies with bone headed guitar'd players who think that they need to play loud enough to blow out candles at 30 meters. PA isn't about volume, it's about dispersion. Most guitar players can't even spell dispersion, let alone understand the need for it. 🙄

  • Like 7
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Bill Fitzmaurice said:

It's a very good idea, when done correctly. While the stage rig will cover the room with the lows very effectively the midrange and high frequency dispersion is pretty bad. Put mids and highs in the PA for dispersion, pull back the lows on that PA channel so as not to overdo those. The same applies to the drums, keys, even guitars. The PA should be providing a balanced mix throughout the room. The problem lies with bone headed guitar'd players who think that they need to play loud enough to blow out candles at 30 meters. PA isn't about volume, it's about dispersion. Most guitar players can't even spell dispersion, let alone understand the need for it. 🙄


I’m no expert, but do like to do a bit of research, so unfortunately managed to elect myself as sound man for our pub band when we bought a PA. 

 

We have a digital mixer so I always high pass the keys and guitar, on the occasion we mic him up, which I find keeps the low end clean - unlike the situation at times in the practice room. 

I don’t know what kit the OP has, but somewhere along the chain there’s likely to be some high pass filter capability, which shouldn’t affect keys or guitar detrimentally but will protect speakers from the low bass frequencies.  I’d guess somewhere around 80Hz would be a good starting point?

 

I don’t currently go through the PA, which is a bit of a problem given the very limited sound check opportunities we have and the fact that I’m stood out the front so can’t adjust my own sound/volume.  I’ve wondered before about putting some high passed bass through the PA so will probably give it a try soon.

 

Fortunately our guitarist isn’t a bonehead about volume.  That honour goes to the drummer 🤦‍♂️

Edited by Gottastopbuyinggear
Spelling
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 07/05/2022 at 04:28, Gottastopbuyinggear said:

somewhere along the chain there’s likely to be some high pass filter capability, which shouldn’t affect keys or guitar detrimentally but will protect speakers from the low bass frequencies.  I’d guess somewhere around 80Hz would be a good starting point?

IME the best FOH sound men high pass the bass somewhere between 60 and 80Hz, and this is with multi-million dollar pro-touring systems. This does the best job of getting tone through the PA that approximates the tone through the backline. The worst sound men don't high pass, resulting in tone that more closely resembles teenagers $5k subs in their $500 cars than electric bass.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Loads of great tips here, thank you. Our drummer is in charge of the mix, he has a laptop linked up to the PA for balancing and EQing. I will be passing on the advice about filtering as we may need it in other venues and if he knows what he's aiming for he can work out how to do it.

 

This weekend it turned out we didn't need it. In a medium-large sized pub I managed with the bass amp (Ashdown RM500) with the input vol at twelve o'clock and the master volume at about its third notch from the bottom, so barely anything of its output, and no PA support for the bass. The room was odd with a big brick pillar in front of us dividing the room and pockets of mushy sound here and there. I was stood around 1m away from my cabs all night and heard a weird reverb type thing happening with the bass. All very odd. Not to mention a lot of other aspects of the night being odd too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You may be over-anxious about this. There is absolutely no reason ever for you to be louder than the drummer. If you ever were then the balance could only be right if you put the drums through the PA and then you'd have to put everything through the PA including the bass. Two 15's driven reasonably hard will be louder than the drummer and you really shouldn't lack volume with the possible exception of a large stage outdoors when you really should have a great PA.

 

Wanting to get the stage volume down is the right way to go if you can, as you have realised. You said hi-tech PA, what did you get? it may be able to handle more bass and kick than you think.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...