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Going direct into PA - how do you get your tone?


Lee Flier

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Hey all,

 

Our bass player will be just plugging direct into our PA for some gigs rather than using his amp. The PA has very flat subwoofers and the highs and mids sound great, but the low end leaves a little to be desired tonally. It just doesn't resonate as much as with a typical bass cab. I don't think there's any reason the sound can't be sculpted to his liking using EQ and/or compression, possibly by compressing just the low end in particular so that the notes ring out more on the bottom.

 

We can't afford to spend a lot of money on boutique preamps or effects, but does anybody have any tips on this? Incidentally our bassist plays a 4 string Fender Jazz and goes for a "classic" Ampeg sound. Like I said he's very happy with the way the highs and mids sound in the PA, there's lots of definition there...we just need a bigger bottom.

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My somewhat novice approach, I don`t have much expirience with going direct other than in the studio, would be to get a nice tube direct box( I think they make them) or you could get an inexpensive tube preamp. I seem to remember seeing one for under 100 bucks in musicians friend and if they have them then the fourth riech of music stores( guitar center) will have them too, so that way you can check it out before you buy. Good luck.....

 

Lates All

Nothing you do in life is ever wrong, some things just aren`t exactly right. Or some crap like that.

www.richfieldmusic.com

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I have had phenomenal results using a SansAmp Bass Driver DI. They can be had for $150 or less on the used market. I got mine for $125.

 

They have a sample "SVT" setting that is one of my favorites. I play a 4-string fretted J-style Carvin and a 5-string fretless MM StingRay. My SansAmp sounds great with both.

 

Given what I know about your sound from the "What The?" website, I would think this would work very well for your bass player and be a relatively affordable solution. I actually use mine for rehearsals with one of the groups I play with because the drummer has a PA in his basement and it saves me from lugging my amp.

 

There are certainly higher end preamp/DIs, but I would think this would work well for him -- especially because I don't think you're looking for a "transparent" preamp/DI.

 

Peace,

--sweet'n'low

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Yeppers,

 

A good pre-amp.

 

The one I'd recommend (for not much bucks) is the Rolls Red Square ($70). Or, you could go on and get the BBE Sonic Maximizer DI. ($200) They do the same thing.

 

The Rolls is what I use in my church gig, and it works great.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Thanks guys! Willie, I was kinda eyeing the SansAmp myself, wondering how that would work. We'll definitely try that out (and yes, you're right, "transparent" is definitely not what we're looking for)! We'll look at the Rolls too.
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Just curious, what kind of amp set up does he usually use, and why is he not using it at those particular gigs? Is it a volume issue, a space issue, or a time-to-set-up issue? Or just less gear to haul?

 

I think the SansAmp idea should be perfect, that's why it's called SansAmp! :D There are less expensive DIs, but the SansAmp is meant to be an amp simulator, right? Never used one myself, but hey, Geddy goes cab-less on stage and the rackmount SansAmp is good enough for him....so... :idea:

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Originally posted by LizzyD:

Just curious, what kind of amp set up does he usually use, and why is he not using it at those particular gigs? Is it a volume issue, a space issue, or a time-to-set-up issue? Or just less gear to haul?

He usually uses an Ampeg B2 on stage, and for recording he uses my B15 flip top. I can't tell you yet why he can't use the amp at these particular gigs, but let's just say there's a really good reason and I can answer your question in a few days. ;)

 

I think the SansAmp idea should be perfect, that's why it's called SansAmp! :D There are less expensive DIs, but the SansAmp is meant to be an amp simulator, right? Never used one myself, but hey, Geddy goes cab-less on stage and the rackmount SansAmp is good enough for him....so... :idea:

Well, we are not Geddy fans by any stretch of the imagination, but the SansAmp does sound like a good deal. We'll try and score one, although I think we're getting closer to the sound he wants by messing with EQ and such.
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If I had one, a SansAmp PSA-1, though those take some time to set up. You can switch sounds using either their four-button footpedal for it, or a MIDI controller. I don't know why there aren't more amp modeling units using analog circuits instead of digital. You;d think this would be the logical way to go.
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Hi!

 

The best solution to your problem is to use a bass pre-amp. EBS has a couple of wonderful ones - there are rack mounted and also a belt clip version called the "Microbass" - no longer in production but possible to find used to a good price. (I myself often use a Microbass and plug that directly into the mixer. :D )

 

If you can´t afford a proper pre-amp at least buy one of the cheap direct boxes that helps transform the signal from the bass to a signal fitting for the mixer. Behringer has nice direct boxes that cost approx $35.

 

Good luck!

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I respectfully submit again the SansAmp BDDI -- or really any stompbox-type DI/preamp (great portability, easy to integrate into his current rig or a PA set-up, simple to use and get good tone). Another possibility might be the one from MXR -- the M-80 DI+ -- but I haven't played it. Given your classic rock flava and your bassist's use of Ampeg amplification, having access to a little bit of "dirt" or overdrive might make these two pedals good choices.

 

Some of the others, like the Sadowsky, and I think Fodera makes one, that are a little more "boutiquey" may be more than you want to spend. But who knows?

 

Let us know where you end up. And I'm definitely curious about the details that you can't reveal yet! :)

 

Peace.

 

Some links:

M-80 DI+

Tech21 SansAmp

Sadowsky Preamp/DI

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Lee, it's really in the hands of the FOH guy (well, the monitor guy for the band). on bigger gigs, the sound guys always take a DI (sometimes they use the DI from my SWR, but more than half the time, it's just a countryman). You can't second guess the FOH guy based on what you hear on stage. But you knew that.

 

Unless the bass player regularly plays with a wirelss and goes on into the house durig the show (when people are there), he really can't even know what difference the Ampeg on stage makes in the big picture. But you knew that as well...

 

If the PA is lacking in the low mids (or wherever), you really can't fix that with a box. And you knew that, too.

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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Originally posted by Dave Martin:

Lee, it's really in the hands of the FOH guy (well, the monitor guy for the band).... You can't second guess the FOH guy based on what you hear on stage. But you knew that.

That's not going to be an issue on these gigs. But you didn't know that. ;)

 

If the PA is lacking in the low mids (or wherever), you really can't fix that with a box.

It's not actually lacking, it just has a very flat frequency response compared to a typical classic bass amp, which of course, usually has more specific "character" both in terms of EQ curve and whatever natural compression happens from driving the amp.
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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

Originally posted by Dave Martin:

Lee, it's really in the hands of the FOH guy (well, the monitor guy for the band).... You can't second guess the FOH guy based on what you hear on stage. But you knew that.

That's not going to be an issue on these gigs. But you didn't know that. ;)

 

If the PA is lacking in the low mids (or wherever), you really can't fix that with a box.

It's not actually lacking, it just has a very flat frequency response compared to a typical classic bass amp, which of course, usually has more specific "character" both in terms of EQ curve and whatever natural compression happens from driving the amp.

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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Personally, I use my amp for stage volume and use the D.I. to go into the PA for the audience to hear. It sounds good as far as I can tell...

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Schecter Diamond Series Model T

Eden WT-400

Avatar B410 NEO

Boss ME-50B

 

The Mac - My cover band

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I go direct into the PA 95% of the time, right out of back of my preamp. My rig on stage is loud enough for me to hear it, and that's about it. You're ultimately at the mercy of house sound-person, as others have mentioned, but I generally have the same sound through the mains from night to night.
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Originally posted by Sweet Willie:

I respectfully submit again the SansAmp BDDI -- or really any stompbox-type DI/preamp (great portability, easy to integrate into his current rig or a PA set-up, simple to use and get good tone). Another possibility might be the one from MXR -- the M-80 DI+ -- but I haven't played it. Given your classic rock flava and your bassist's use of Ampeg amplification, having access to a little bit of "dirt" or overdrive might make these two pedals good choices.

Yeah I'm inclined to agree with you. We'll try it, anyhow! And thanks for listening, it's nice to get an opinion from someone who knows our music. :)

 

Let us know where you end up. And I'm definitely curious about the details that you can't reveal yet! :)

But I can tomorrow - woohoo!
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Originally posted by Bumpcity:

You're ultimately at the mercy of house sound-person, as others have mentioned ...

I agree with this. :thu:

 

The thing about something like the SansAmp or MXR pedals is that while the FOH SR person has control over your EQ and can "override" any of your EQ settings, you can still add a touch of your own "personality" (that is you still have some ability to color/overdrive/etc.) w/ products such as those -- if the SR person will use them instead of his/her own DI box(es).

 

BTW, I'll shut up now. :)

 

Peace.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

Hmm... did you mean to say something there, Dave?

About what?

 

Oh, yeah - I was going to ask if he's simply using the stage monitors to hear himself, and if the same issues that you hear from the PA (all you originally aksed about) in the monitors. or I was gonna ask about something else that I can't remember....

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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I agree with my friend Sweet Willie. The SansAmp Bass Driver DI has worked well for me when an amp was not allowed over the last couple of years.

 

The sound engineer played with the controls while I played, till I found the true sound of my bass. It took maybe 20 minutes, but was worth it.

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The Bass Driver DI is great if (a) your bassist and the soundman can work together to set it properly - unfortunately, the sound man can't adjust it back at the desk - and (b) the sound people don't insist on you using *their* DI. The XLR output on the Bass Driver DI is very clean (from a S/N ration standpoint, not necessarily from a tone standpoint), but the 1/4" output is noisy, IMO.

 

If you like the sound of the BD DI, then have the sound man add a hint of compression at the board. dbx units with over easy compression work well if you can't afford a boutique unit like a distressor.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Well, a non-cooperative soundman will not be an issue at these gigs, nor will the monitors vs. mains - we will hear the same thing as the audience hears. So we can just focus on getting a good bass sound through the PA whatever that takes. We'll be able to hear what's happening and make adjustments accordingly.
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