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Does "heft" matter if your gigs are usually PA assisted?


Clarky

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My amp (a class D Ampeg PF500, through a Barefaced Big Baby 2) sounded a bit lacking in oomph, for want of a better word ... OK heft, I said it ... at my blues rock band rehearsal at the weekend. Up against a  valve Marshall and a second valve-driven rhythm guitar and solid (but far drom Bonham-esque) drums. Got me to agonising about whether I need a valve amp, a valve-fronted hybrid, a punchy class A/B amp or a higher wattage class D amp. @Happy Jack, who has gigged more than I ever will, said - as the voice of reason - that once through a PA it wouldn't matter a fig. And its true that most - but not all - of my band's gigs are PA assisted.

 

So am I basically worrying about a "problem" that doesn't exist in practice? Stick with what I have?

 

Your thoughts on a postage stamp please 😁

 

 

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Not sure that the type of amp your guitarists use matters nearly as much as their volume.

 

Wily Bo doesn't bring a full Marshall stack to these club gigs, does he?

 

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3 minutes ago, Happy Jack said:

Not sure that the type of amp your guitarists use matters nearly as much as their volume.

 

Wily Bo doesn't bring a full Marshall stack to these club gigs, does he?

 

Lead guitarist plays a Gibson Les Paul through a loud Marshall (or other valve-driven, he has several) stack

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It’s probably never made any difference to my playing but I know that I enjoy the gig more if I’ve got an amp delivering a hefty on stage sound. 

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13 minutes ago, Clarky said:

So am I basically worrying about a "problem" that doesn't exist in practice?


I just go into a QSC via a HX Stomp using it as a monitor if we have PA support and backline if not, so I’d say yes to your question but, obviously, YMMV. Changing to this rig has got me a superb sound and saved my back.

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24 minutes ago, Clarky said:

. . . . Up against a  valve Marshall and a second valve-driven rhythm guitar and solid (but far drom Bonham-esque) drums. Got me to agonising about whether I need a valve amp, a valve-fronted hybrid, a punchy class A/B amp or a higher wattage class D amp.

 

Hi Clarky, your Ampeg is only putting out 250 watts into your BB2, so I'd say you were under powered. If you are fighting against 2 half stack guitarists, I'd vote for an 800 watt amp and suggest a Super Midget to go with the BB2. 

 

I use an Aguilar AG700 with a BB2 and SM with my loud bands and I can give a cranked Twin Reverb a run for its money.

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Just now, chris_b said:

 

Hi Clarky, your Ampeg is only putting out 250 watts into your BB2, so I'd say you were under powered. If you are fighting against 2 half stack guitarists, I'd vote for an 800 watt amp and suggest a Super Midget to go with the BB2. 

 

I use an Aguilar AG700 with a BB2 and SM with my loud bands and I can give a cranked Twin Reverb a run for its money.

Yes good point 

 Sadly the PF series has had terrible shutdown issues probably from folk pushing them harder to get more volume 

 

Grab a second cab or a better amp 

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PF500 is rated at 500w into 4 ohms. . A BF BB will handle a lot more than that (and like it). You simply aren't driving it hard enough, imho. Valves, trannies, class D - it doesn't matter. You need more grunt.

 

3 hours ago, BassAdder27 said:

Grab a second cab or a better amp 

 

Definitely the latter. A second BB will not help when the head is so lacking. It may even be worse.

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I think it matters even more so as, without it, it feels like a disconnect in the overall sound. The low end from the PA can make the stage amp sound like it has no body to it, leaving it sounding all mids/highs. I don’t like being too loud onstage but this headache of PA low end taking over can sometimes be a case of fight fire with fire.

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I certainly want to hear my usual sound on any stage. Sometimes that means moving to a particular area on a larger stage, somewhere where the amp sound is prevalent. It does depend on the size of the stage. A pa supported gig can still be influenced by the onstage volume so there's a balance to be struck but a pre-eq feed to the foh means you can tailor your onstage sound to be whatever you want it to be.

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Music is all about emotional response... well it is for me.  I like to hear the drummer putting in subtle accents and variations of dynamic, the guitarist pushing the tone of his amp/pedals etc to elicit the feeling etc etc and likewise I want to feel my bass/rig responding to my input.  I don't always get that with certain amp / cab combinations, hence I've come (partial) full circle back to using my Thunderfunk (yes I actually bought back my first TF).  I certainly never felt it when I tried IEM where I was ONLY going through the FOH PA but I'll confess I just dipped my toe in that dirty puddle. 

 

My response would be that yes heft matters to me and my response to what is occurring on stage.

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All of my gigs since 2014 have been through FOH, and in every case I`ve DI`d from a preamp pedal so what`s on stage isn`t necessarily what the audience were hearing. I did this so that the sound the audience heard was consistent. With all of the variety of amps/cabs/combos etc that I`ve used the two set-ups that made me happiest were Ampeg SVTs and Ashdown ABMs set flat with my preamp pedal going through them. I had quite a trebly/twangy/gainy sound so the combination of that through a - shall we say hefty amp - made me enjoy the gigs much more. We were never particularly loud on stage either so it`s not like this was just because of the volume.

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Depends on the monitoring situation.

With the right monitors I'm happy with a compressor and a Sansamp / modeller.

 

I think another factor is whether the bassist is active on stage or just stands in front of the amp. If you stand by the amp all night then I can understand wanting exactly the right thing even though the audience and the rest of the band won't notice or care.

 

But if the bassist is moving all over the stage then the sound from the cab changes with every step from it and they'll be listening to the monitors more than the cab anyway.

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It definitely matters to me. I’ve been lucky enough to play some big stages with good monitors but always relied on a good amp with a minimum of a 4x10 cab. At rehearsals last night I had the pleasure of playing through a 6x10 (it made me think why did I sell mine 🤷‍♂️) and even though we were at relatively low volume, the authority of the tone was just mesmerising.

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12 hours ago, Pow_22 said:

Potentially controversial idea - have you tried that head through a different cab? 

Fair point but I think its the amp thats lacking. I just picked up an Orange Terror Bass (again, I know ..) as a stop-gap until I can get hold of a Handbox WB-100 all valve amp (not currently on sale but apparently they are in the works)

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Played two relatively big gigs recently with only my Puma 500 and Barefaced Midget. 

 

One of my band mate was driving me back home so not enough place in his car for my Tecamp S212.

 

The tone was OK for me, in my corner of the stage but my band mates complained after both gigs. I was not present and autoritative enough for those two big stages.

 

So even if you have a PA, stage sound is also important and sometimes it contributes to the room sound also.

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14 hours ago, Shiveringbass said:

Played two relatively big gigs recently with only my Puma 500 and Barefaced Midget. 

 

One of my band mate was driving me back home so not enough place in his car for my Tecamp S212.

 

The tone was OK for me, in my corner of the stage but my band mates complained after both gigs. I was not present and autoritative enough for those two big stages.

 

So even if you have a PA, stage sound is also important and sometimes it contributes to the room sound also.

 

I think the point is - if the PA is adequate for the room then nothing on stage should affect the FOH at all. I know quiet stages can be a bit "what's the point of rock n roll" but what is more important at a gig? The raging JCM800, or that the audience gets a great show and the venue invites the band back again?

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Posted (edited)

Only you can judge what is necessary for your needs, but I recently moved on my Fearless F112 (similar to your Barefaced) as it didn’t work as a one cab solution for my needs. I was driving it with 600w at 8ohms, which I guess was getting a good amount of the cab’s potential.  These modern 3 way cabs are incredible, but you can’t expect miracles from what are compact cabs. Going for a more powerful amp will unlock a bit more volume, but probably not lots. If I were you I’d get a second BF cab, or get a bigger cab which shifts more air.

 

I went for a Markbass 4x10 and it is a different level of oomph.

 

On 18/05/2022 at 23:35, Dan Dare said:

PF500 is rated at 500w into 4 ohms. . A BF BB will handle a lot more than that (and like it). You simply aren't driving it hard enough, imho. Valves, trannies, class D - it doesn't matter. You need more grunt.

 

 

Definitely the latter. A second BB will not help when the head is so lacking. It may even be worse.

I disagree with this. If you add a second cab, the amp will operate at 500w, not at the current 250w with the 8 ohm load, and, much more importantly, you will have another cab shifting more air.  500w is plenty for most gigs if you’ve got enough speaker. And to say it will get worse… 😂

Edited by Jazzjames
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