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Thread: Bass through the PA?

  1. #1
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    Bass through the PA?

    My buddy, who's building a rehearsal space/studio on his property is starting to think about equipment. He wants to have amplifiers on-site and we've been talking about bass amps. Originally, he intended to use his Sunn Coliseum as the bass amp and buy a suitable bass speaker cabinet to go with it. Now, he's talked himself into the idea that the bass can be run through the PA. I know there are bands out there that run everything through the PA, but I have real reservations about whether this is a good idea. I don't know specifically what the PA is, although he's led me to believe it's a large commercial system. However, I really doubt that it's designed for the low frequencies and massive cone excursions that a bass will demand of it. I'd be interested to hear your reactions to this idea.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

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    Axetastic etechstan's Avatar
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    Geddy Lee plays direct. 'nuff sed. You would still need somekind of processor like a Digitech or something to give you the tonal adjustments a PA doesn't offer. I forgot my MKIV head once and played direct and the sound was terrible. If I had my RP80, I may have been able to fix that.

    If you read some of the gear pages of the musicians who play direct, you'd see a lot of PODs and similar devices being used. Lincoln Brewster plays direct but uses a POD.
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    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    I don't really like playing anything directly through the PA but I suppose as Stan said with digital processing or some sort of tone enhancer/ equalizer it could be okay. I know this is about bass specifically but I hate the sound of one of my guitars direct through the PA

  4. #4
    Axeaholic YeahDoIt's Avatar
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    I remember reading about people playing bass direct to the PA. They use a direct input box although plugging into a mixer likely works too.
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    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    My main point of concern would be whether the speakers would handle it. Knowing what a bass signal can do to guitar speakers, I wonder if PA speakers are likely to be up to it.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  6. #6
    Axetastic etechstan's Avatar
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    whether you mic it, put the signal from a direct line out from the amp to the PA, bass goes through, the speakers can handle it. But can your stomach? With out somekind of processor, the sound is bad.
    I ran with scissors this morning. I never felt so free.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    Yeah I hate that tinny sizzly straight through the PA sound (without processing)

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    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    I'm sure finding a suitable front end to interface the bass into the PA mixer won't be a problem. I've got a direct box/cabinet emulator that'll operate at preamp or speaker level that could be connected to any small amp to get more correct voicing, or I could connect either my Weber Z-Matcher or Weber Headphone Tap to my MkIV to get a low level signal for the mixer. I'm still unconvinced that PA speakers are suited to the bass though. Any time I've ever played a guitar and guitar head through PA columns it sounded very middy and lack-lustre. And I'm still scratching my head about how PA speakers can cope with the low frequency long cone excursions from a bass guitar.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  9. #9
    AT Member gary mitchell's Avatar
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    What kind of PA do you have and amp and monitors, I am a bass player, played in a band and at church. I use a MarkBass Jeff Berlin combo direct in to the PA and my amp really is my monitor. But sometimes if I don't want a amp and to lazy to carry something, depending on your PA you can get super results using a Sansamp DI pedal that has a preamp in it. They start out around $200.00 new and they got some higher ones. They are awesome for the price, I have used them with PA,s small gigs 400 watt mixer 15speakers front and some good 12s for monitor depends how loud you are on stage. I have also played that way with a Mackie Mixer 2000 watt power amp and some good 15 PA speakers on outside gigs. Your stage volume should be the quietist place in the building, a hot stage can make less room for mistakes.

  10. #10
    Axellent Member
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    Maybe he is talking about using a PA amp.

    I have a small Crown PA amp that runs bridged
    700 watts through a Genz Benz 4X10. I usually
    run off a simple Hartke Bass Attack Stomp Box.

    If I turn this on in my house, the acoustic paint
    on the ceiling starts raining down,



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