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Why the big rig?


getz out

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my dream big rig is two bergantino HT112 1x12" cabinets with a crown MA2 2500 (doesn't exist yet) driving them. i think i'd prefer a tube preamp of my own making, although an alembic F-1X would make me happy, too.

 

my small rig would be one of the HT112s with a merlin 600 head.

 

i guarantee two 8Ohm, 300W 1x12s with 500W each will destroy a 500W head powering a 210 and a 115 any day.

 

robb.

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I often wonder what's up when I read about pro rigs in Bass Player. Some of those guys are playing big rigs, but don't they have a house system? How do they survive the stage volume?

 

I've seen some big rigs in clubs that are being used wisely (brain engaged). If they want to have a big rig, fine. Just don't sonically obliterate me.

 

As to weddings.... I don't know where to start. I can't deal with the 70's disco that is at least one set (I hated it then - you think I like it now?). But yes - the volume. Went to a wedding last summer. OK - at the end of the evening when most people are dancing I can deal with the volume. But during the meal? Between courses while playing slow stuff? I have a wedding to go to July 5. Weddings are the only chance I get to dance with my wife. If the music is not our "type" or too loud, she won't get up. I hope this one works out OK...

 

And the number one reason to have a big rig...

 

You don't have to bend down to pick up your beer :D

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally posted by Tom Capasso:

And the number one reason to have a big rig...

 

You don't have to bend down to pick up your beer :D

 

Tom

Wow, that's the first answer that made sense. I knew I liked you, Tom! Even after such a scathing comment about my beloved disco!

 

Remind me to tell you about the disco cover band I briefly played with. It involved a wing, sunglasses, and a feather-boa. Leather chaps were optional. Yeah, not my proudest moment...

 

Maury

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I'm not sure if anyone made note of this, but one of the reasons some people may be going with larger rigs or more speakers is simply because they move more air. You can play at the same general volume with a 1x10 or a 4x10, but there's definitely going to be a difference in the fullness of your sound as you're moving a lot more air.
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"Why the big rig?" everyone asks? Because it feel so good. That deep, outstanding, confident, bass that you know you could turn up and get it so loud and so low that it would shake the insides of everyone standing with in fifty feet and give them that slightly nauseous feeling. Then again it is easy to over do it with such a rig. I really depends on the taste and experience of the player. I may only be 22 years old but I have been giging multiple times per week for seven years. I am also considered a pro in nearly every genre of music that i play live or in the studio. With all that power at hand it's very easy to get over zealous but when you have a bass player who knows how position him or her self in the mix then all that power goes to good use. Believe a bass player when he tells you that his huge rig sounds better at 50% than half of his rig at 98%. It's true. It's is also very important for a bass player who is playing a gig where he is not running through the P.A. to have an assortment of different size speakers. All speakers "blossom" at different ranges, therefore, I like to have a 4x10 on stage for the band and a 2x12 and 1x15 for the audience that can be 10 to 100 feet away. Every thing just sounds better when you have comfortable head room. Hey, if nothing else it's all just an ego trip. I'll be the first one to admit, when i have my two 4x10's and my two 2x12's behind me with 2500 wats pushing them full range at 90% volume, it makes me want to play that much better and also makes me want to puke a little from the intense vibrations my insides get. I love that feeling and I love my rig and would carry it any where just to sound like i know i can.
I didn't come here to play. I came here to make babies.
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What Tom said is very true. On top of a 1x15 and 2x10 on casters, everything is at a great place to reach, like water bottles, picks, slides, capos, etc. I like the height but would much rather be running a 6x10 configuration out of my GK 400RB-III, but no complaints here. Pushes a lot of air and still sounds good at low volumes. I personally like a loud stage volume, especially from my amp because in metal, I screw with feedback. Add a wah to the mix and I can give people some real headaches. :D
\m/ Timothy Lyons
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I've been playing through a Hartke 3500 and Hartke 215XL for almost 10 years now... lugging the 110 lbs. cabinet around is now too much, for practices and small gigs... I'm looking into those B210 Avatar cabinets for a smaller rig...

 

Of course, having played through nothing but a giant cab for 10 years, I'm worried about the loss of low end. Granted, one of the things I love about the Hartke is the crisp sound from the aluminum cones... with the EQ on the 3500 head, I never worried about treble, and the cab had more than enough low end... so much though, I never really used it for the rock/punk sound I'm going for... I think the 210 alone will give me the nice mid-range growl I prefer...

 

So, while I'll keep the Hartke cab for those eventual stadium gigs, I'm looking forward to being able to carry a smaller rig without pain...

"Tea & Cake, or Death!"
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For the "big" shows, I've been making do with the solitary 2x10 (Eden or Acme) for years, and frankly, there's been something missing.

 

The sound is strained, not relaxed and confident. I always have to hold back on the low notes or risk a major speaker fart.

 

I just did a show with an act that gets louder, and that was the last straw: I need more speakers! Not a wall or anything, just a 1x18, 2x12, 2x10, something, anything to keep the other 2x10 company! I'll probably keep it all modular so I won't have to haul a refrigerator when a cooler will suffice.

 

I understand the whole "loud is pointless" camp. Hey: I practice unplugged! I play a lot of gigs through 12" PAs! I'm mostly a jazzer; I love playing soft, and do so 95% of the time.

 

But for some kinds of music, you just have to move the air. The attitude just isn't the same without the serious crunch & rumble. Some folks decide that's not their scene, and I respect that. But I'm still having fun, making money and learning something with it, so I'm going to keep at it.

 

Everyone's scene is slightly different, and mine is such that the single 2x10 isn't quite enough. If that makes me a hair band neanderthal in some people's eyes, so be it...

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My rock band isn't that loud (considering we have 7 people!!), but my drummer needs to hear me. This raises "directional" issues that have forced me to use more than one cabinet.

 

Jeff - nice to see ya!

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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I respectively have a small rig. 125 watts, 15" speaker. When I move up in power, I could understand how I would want to go nuts with a huge rig, BECAUSE I'M SO FREAKING TIRED OF NOT HEARING MYSELF over a guitarist and drummer who just don't know when to shut up and play soft and sometimes I want to yell at them and tell them to shut the crap up before I punch both of them in the face and then throw my amp at them!!!!!!!!!...

 

Sorry, sometimes, I just wish... I'm just a simple man... a bassist... and all I want to do is be heard...

 

Okay, so it's not that bad... but still, I would love something big, for all the times when I don't have enough with a small combo. To finally have some headroom... how relaxing that must be!

www.geocities.com/nk_bass/enter.html

 

Still working on it...

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Originally posted by bitterling:

Off topic, but I feel it needs to be said. Jeff, your avatar's undulating eyes scared the B'jesus out of me, so I took off my shirt to scare the B'jesus out of it.

So THAT's what spooked my icon! I was wondering about that...

 

RE: loud bandmembers: I make a point of playing with non-interactive players as seldom as possible. And I don't do the "volume wars" thing. I'll go ahead and get drowned out before I contribute to a gratuitous upward dB spiral.

 

In my new louder gig, it's get-a-bigger-amp, use-earplugs loud, but the leader wants to hear everything. Huge bass is an essential part of his sonic cocktail, along with hot vocals, crunchy guitars and drums hit extra hard.

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I find it is really hard at my church to keep both the bass player & the drummer happy in terms of hearing the bass, *and* keep the bass rig reasonably mixed with rest without just bringing the whole level up too far. The rig there is an SWR 4004 into a 4x10 & 1x15. Nice, but there's usually no more than 100 people there.

 

I've been toying with the idea of selling my own rig (just an Ampeg SVT200T into 1x15) and getting something even smaller, that is more portable & *tilts back*. That way I could use the amp as a monitor for me & the drummer (& whoever else wants to listen), & just run a line to the board, which can handle it. (Our guitarist does this, btw.)

 

Shouldn't that solve both problems--make the bass easier to mix, & make it easier for me to hear myself? As Jeremy said, my ears aren't in the backs of my knees.

 

Not for every situation, obviously. But then again our guitarist isn't a maniac--he's got very good musical sensibility, & our music doesn't call for overkill. In fact, if anything I've sometimes had to gripe at him to turn UP! :eek:

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I love a large rig! I truly crave the sensation of my entire body vibrating with each note. It's like being saturated with sound! The Power! The Majesty!HA HA HA, ONE RIG TO RULE THEM ALL, ONE RIG TO.... Oh!...*Ahem*...sorry 'bout that everyone my meglobassamania got the better of me just then. I'm all better now.

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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Originally posted by Mike R.:

If I had enough money to buy a huge rig, i'll buy 8 SVT 8x10's and only have 2 on ( I wonder if anyone will notice :confused: )

LOL. NICE! You could open for Godsmack or something!

 

Now, would you stack them vertical, or would you lay them on their sides and stack them horizontal? I would opt for the horizontal, I think it's even more imposing; kind of like a brick-sh*thouse look.

 

Actually, you could even put them in a circle and stand in the middle. Then, you could just pulse the bass out and destroy everything in your path.

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Very interesting responses.

 

I'll agree with the one post that most Greenwich Village clubs do have monster backlines; however, I think part of the reason is because: (1) I have yet to meet a guitarist that will play a backline and (2) since (1) is the case, most guitarist tend to bring their Marshall head and 4x12" cabinet. In order to keep up with (2), the backline for the bass is a (albiet dumpy) monster.

 

Regarding "pushing more air" - pushing more air = VOLUME. Let's not get carried away with watts here; don't forget, a 1,000 watt amp is twice as loud as a 100 watt amp. Watts do not factor in volume as much as cone-surface area. 300 watts into 8x10" speakers is louder than 1000 watts into 2x10" speakers any day. Like I mentioned before, I have two, 2x10" cabinets. I push them with a Demeter preamp and a Stewart World 2.1. Each cab gets about 650 watts. That's my "big rig." I usually leave one of the cabinets at home.

 

Once again, the other night I was in the audience at the Lion's Den on Sullivan St. Great place to see music most of the time. The soundman always manages a great sound. The backline at that place for bass is a monster - SWR head (old), a 4x10", and a 1x18". Last tim I played that place, I was filling in for a friend's band that had a bass player flake out. These guys are pretty professional, and the two guitarist both use small combos and the drummer (GREAT DRUMMER) uses bundled stick on stage. I told the soundman to cut the volume on the backline and put more sound through the stage monitors. He gave me a smile and did exactly that. Anyhow, like I said, I was in the audience the other night, and the second band had the bassplayer bring his own rig, a 4x10" and a 1x18" with some monster of a Peavey head on top of the beast. The venue does NOT call for that. If your guitarist is that 100-watt Marshall jerk, get a new guitarist!

 

I mean, look at some of the dives in the East Village. I think the C-Note's backline is an old Peavey combo. Acme Underground has an SWR 4x10" and head, right? Much more reasonable, especially when you're going through the PA.

 

It all gets back to sound. I am not suggesting that bands should play at "chamber music" volumes. However, I know it's rock & roll, but if your audience has bleeding ears, your band is too loud. Find a happy medium. If you don't care about your audience, stay home and practice. If you do care, they why assult them with sound levels that could kill small mammals?

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One concern we (the band) have when/if I use a big rig is that it gets in the way of the FOH mix. The sound guy has no control over stage volume. In a 9 piece horn band, stage volume is a concern.
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I play with a guitarist who is a Volume Junkie. he plays basically two rigs at the same time. A Marshall JCM 800 full stack, And A Mesa Recto Full Stack. I am running A PSA-1, Mackie 1400i, T.C. Electronics G-force, And Mesa 4x10, 1x15. I have to be pushing at lest 700-900 watts at all times just to be heard over this massive attack of guitars. oh well. I enjoy what i do. and I love me band, so let it be.
Brainwashed by ME,Myself influenced I
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Originally posted by getz76:

Regarding "pushing more air" - pushing more air = VOLUME

"Pushing more air" doesn't equal volume in my view, it's more about low frequency volume. If you play a small-medium venue with a 1x12" or 2x10" with no PA support the bass will probably be heard, and and on the stage close to the cab you will feel air moving. However, as you go out into the audience the thick air-pushing thump of the bass will be lost.

 

If (for example) you add another 2x10" or 1x12" cab to your rig not only will you gain extra volume due to the increase in efficiency, you will also gain extra low end due to low frequency acoustic coupling. There's a good article roughly about this at http://www.philjonesbass.com/TECH%20INFO/piranha.htm - in this case the discussion is about how 5" drivers with good LF response up close (but which roll off at a distance) couple to project bass out into the room.

 

If you've got a good PA (with fast and deep subs) then there's no real need for a big rig (assuming your stage volume is reasonable) but if you're playing venues with less good PA systems (which I tend do) I'd rather use a rig that can fill the venue with tight clean deep bass all on its own.

 

Alex

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  • 1 year later...
Originally posted by Tom Capasso:

And the number one reason to have a big rig...

 

You don't have to bend down to pick up your beer :D

 

Tom

Genius, TC, sheer genius. No wonder you're "...the indisputable leader of the gang..."

:cool:

 

And I agree with CMDN, from my first auditorium concert (Iron Butterfly, 1971) to the recent VanHagar ressurection tour (2004) I just love the image of a wall of cabinets and a stack of power heads, red lights glowing and volume to chest pounding levels. Same logic with going to see horror/sci-fi films in theaters, I just love being surrounded by LOUD, booming sound. But what's appropriate for an auditorium or a movie theater doesn't cut it for the small clubs or weddings.

 

It's about entertainment, it's a service musicians perform and the customers along with the clients call the shots. If it needs to be louder than stage volume, that's what I thought PA systems were for. I've rarely needed more than a 15" combo to do my work, and a properly positioned 4x10 cab with a decent head will move enough air molecules. Yes, there'll still a need for Marshall/SVT stacks, but I can't see it in a wedding unless the clients specifically request it.

 

It's also about referrals to the next gig, which satisfied clients tend to do for you.

:wave:

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"I have to be louder than the guitarist." Which means the drummer turns into "Animal" from Sesame Street.
Not for nuthin', bro, but Animal was on The Muppet Show.

 

BTW, the new bass rig has an Ampeg 4x10 and a 1x15 pushed by 500 watts. It looks bad-ass and sounds like the end of the world. Love it.

 

This runs opposite a Marshall 100-watt head pushing a Mesa 4x12 cabinet and a drummer with a 24-inch kick, 16-inch floor tom, 14-inch rack and two 20-inch crash cymbals... We're f-ing loud.... when we wanna be.

 

It's all about balance. The big cabs look great onstage, but if you're playing through a nice PA, you have to let the system do the real work. Otherwise you'll sound like crap because the sound engineer won't be able to mix you efficiently. Not many bands (guitarists, really) understand that if they play a little quieter and let the FOH engineer give them a solid mix they'll actually sound big AND well balanced in the room. If they can make you sound good in the mains, they can also make you sound good in the monitor mix. Hearing yourself won't be an issue... But this comes with experience...

 

The only time we really push the rigs onstage is when we are playing DIY (Do It Yourself) venues with crap PA systems... that's when having all of those speakers really comes in handy... ROCK!

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Originally posted by CMDN:

The only time we really push the rigs onstage is when we are playing DIY (Do It Yourself) venues with crap PA systems... that's when having all of those speakers really comes in handy... ROCK!
What do you do about the vocals, though?
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I use my big rig for practice and whatever venue we play. But, I'm also good at practicing volume control. At practice i'm on 1. At gigs, depending on the size of the venue and the PA, 2-4. I'd hate to go beyond 4...although someday I may have to go to 11...

Tenstrum

 

"Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."

Harry Dresden, Storm Front

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People use big rigs when they don't have to because bass rigs are like cars. There ain't no substitute for cubic inches.

 

They just perform differently. Your 500 horse power ground pounder feels totaly different going between the stop lights than the Honda thats right next to you even though you're both going the same speed.

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