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Devil's Amp-vocate (sorry...)


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Your band is booked to go on tour. The van is ready. The groupies are non-existent (no room for them AND an SVT) and you've stocked up on cheap lager and crisps for the journey around the 'heavenly' British Isles. You're playing nice, big-ish venues (O2 Academy sized, let's say). What amp set-up are you bringing? 

 

Let's hear them! 

 

 

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Shouldn’t really be any need for a big rig if you have a quality pro sound setup. 
 

Just use whatever is your favourite DI and make sure you have a quality monitor mix. 

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Pedal board & IEM’s for me…

Backline gets lost on large stages, unless you’re just going to stand in front of your speaker cab & who wants to do that on a big stage? The minute you step ‘off axis’ the sound will change or worse, maybe get quieter?
If you’re doing moderate/big stages, you’ll get wedges provided anyway..

 

So that leaves room in the van then?……

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9 minutes ago, Bassman68 said:

If you’re doing moderate/big stages, you’ll get wedges provided anyway..

Wow you get chips with skins on without putting it in the rider?

 

9 minutes ago, Bassman68 said:

Backline gets lost on large stages, unless you’re just going to stand in front of your speaker cab & who wants to do that on a big stage? The minute you step ‘off axis’ the sound will change or worse, maybe get quieter?

A good cabinet should have the dispersion that allows you to hear on or off axis although I agree that the benefit of a cabinet onstage, at the any O2 venue is as least debatable. A really good monitor such as Martin (other brands are available) will suffice for bass.

 

Finally all the other things are insignificant unless the sound person brings their A Game and best set of ears.

Edited by Chienmortbb
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2 minutes ago, Chienmortbb said:

Wow you get chips with skins on without putting it in the rider?

 

A good cabinet should have the dispersion that allows you to hear on or off axis although I agree that the benefit of a cabinet onstage, at the any O2 venue is as least debatable.

Just going on experience…

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In my current position I would be more concerned about the following than the backline: 

A) why am I playing very large venues when the peak of my band's achievements was getting to number 18 on the Doom charts in February 2021?

B)  following on from A above, I would want confirmation that we are not liable for any losses suffered by the venue from lack of tickets sold. 
C) if the band are playing such large venues then why are drinking cheap lager? I would probably want a more premium lager. 

 

Probably my pedal board, a Sansamp and using my old Mesa Walkabout 1x15 combo for on stage monitoring (because I have played 'good' venues where the monitors were bloody awful). I did try a Helix but for my purposes a Sansamp is all I need for live use. Might buy a Helix but it would probably be more for recording than live use. 

Edited by thodrik
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38 minutes ago, Bassman68 said:

Just going on experience…

Yes most old school cabs have very little dispersion, as do many boutique cabinets. I am not a great fan of using say QSC or RCF PA cabs for bass but the dispersion is much much better and a good bass cab should be too.

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From experience at these size venues having a bass rig on stage for anything other than show is a complete waste of time. By all means set one up if your band image warrants having lots of impressive looking backline, but in that case you'd be better off with empty cabs that weigh less and look just as good. All these venues have excellent in-house PA systems with first-class monitors that will fill the stage with full-frequency sound. The moment you step away from being directly in front of your rig, you'll be able to hear more of yourself from the foldback for your other band members. And if you are so loud as to be able to fill the whole stage with clearly audible bass guitar from your rig, you'll be getting less than subtle requests from the FoH engineer to turn down because you are messing up the sound for the audience (and after all they are the people you are trying to impress).

 

And you don't even have to go up to O2 Academy sized venues for this to be the case. Places like Camden Underworld, and Notthingham Rescue Rooms have good enough FoH and monitors to render your bass rig redundant. I'd even think twice about taking my personal FRFR monitor to somewhere as small as The Bodega, because I just won't need it.

 

These days big bass rigs are for pub bands with vocal only PA systems, and for show. Nothing else.

Edited by BigRedX
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16 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

These days big bass rigs are for pub bands with vocal only PA systems, and for show. Nothing else.

I remember when I walked in to audition for my current (pub) band they almost laughed at my little 1x12. I said i did not need 2 but the did not believe me. I took a second cab to first reheasal and did not plug it in. They are a good bunch and took it in good humour  when I showed them that there was no lead to the second cab. I cannot think of a venue that woukd need more than my single 12" BC112 MK3, it can go deafening if needed but then really a good FoH is needed together with good wetware* driving the mixer.

 

*In IT wetware was the human using the computer, yuo hd hardware, software and wetware.

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Dave swift takes his Bergantino gear with him on tour (Jools Holland's bass player) but it's just for show as I believe he has an endorsement with the company.

 

He uses in ear monitors and stands on a plinth that vibrates with the bass notes, so that he gets the impression of standing in front of a big old bass cab, when in reality the master volume is turned to zero on his amp.

 

Sad but true.......

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37 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

From experience at these size venues having a bass rig on stage for anything other than show is a complete waste of time. By all means set one up if your band image warrants having lots of impressive looking backline, but in that case you'd be better off with empty cabs that weigh less and look just as good. All these venues have excellent in-house PA systems with first-class monitors that will fill the stage with full-frequency sound. The moment you step away from being directly in front of your rig, you'll be able to hear more of yourself from the foldback for your other band members. And if you are so loud as to be able to fill the whole stage with clearly audible bass guitar from your rig, you'll be getting less than subtle requests from the FoH engineer to turn down because you are messing up the sound for the audience (and after all they are the people you are trying to impress).

 

And you don't even have to go up to O2 Academy sized venues for this to be the case. Places like Camden Underworld, and Notthingham Rescue Rooms have good enough FoH and monitors to render your bass rig redundant. I'd even think twice about taking my personal FRFR monitor to somewhere as small as The Bodega, because I just won't need it.

 

These days big bass rigs are for pub bands with vocal only PA systems, and for show. Nothing else.

That might suit you in your experience, but in my experience, I like my rig behind me giving some power, as it's powerful music, cant beat that feeling. Cant always trust FOH engineers to give you what you need, or have the time to get that sorted, sometimes it's boom straight on, I'd rather my vocalist and drummer get the time they need to get their necessary mix through through the monitors. 

 

 

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I`m not keen on bass (or drums as it happens) in the monitors anyway, I like to keep them for vocals & guitars. I don`t my amp majorly loud on stage, just same volume as unamplified drums, as such for a venue such as O2 Academy I`d want something big enough to not struggle/be pushed.

 

Most of us have watched some of Glastonbury over the weekend, I wonder why all those pro bassists seemed to be happy with big rigs on those big stages, they could learn a lot from logging on here.

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I like to stand in front of a big rig (it’s something to put one’s bits and pieces on), so for me, an agi db750 and db810, though only if I didn’t have to carry any of it. In reality, I dispensed with a rig for decent-sized gigs around 1990. I’m not claiming to be a pioneer here but it was fairly unusual at the time. We worked with a really good pa firm and a superb FoH/foldback engineer. I got used to a combination of monitors and side-fills and still prefer these (if good) to in-ears. That doesn’t mean I haven’t continued to experiment with lots of rigs, pres etc. -  I actually find it’s quite fun. My current favourite and home rig is an agi db750, Hellborg pre and agi sl112. For contemporary large venue gigs, if it was down to me to do the carrying, it would be just the Hellborg pre and an Alembic sf2 in a shallow rack… and significant optimism re: the professionalism of the engineers 

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I'm probably going to just bring my pedal board and DI via my VTDI, I probably wouldn't be able to hear my rig over the holdback anyway (been there, wished I'd left the rig at home). Thus, more room in the van for comfort/ease of load out/in.

 

Glad to see Cardinal Black doing so well @SamPlaysBass.

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