Bass Guitar Direct to PA Question

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1,135
Hi, I've setup a nice, small PA using 2 Alto TS115's as mains, 2-3 TS112's as monitors (when not using in-ears) and an EV 12 inch powered sub for the lows. I would like everyone to go direct and plan on using a Line 6 Helix for the guitar and a Bass Pod for the bass preamp.

My question is this, the 1x12 powered sub is not enough for the bass to go direct. If I add a 1x18 powered sub would that help, or am I better off just letting the bass player use an amp and not run him though the PA?

I'd love to stay amp free but I'm concerned that the powered sub at FOH will not sound very good even with the modeller acting as a preamp with speaker sims.
 

335guy

Member
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5,232
I say give it a try 1st. Have the bass player play through your system and see how it sounds. If it's loud and clean enough for you, fine. If not, then consider getting another sub
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
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38,244
you don't have nearly enough sub to hang with those tops or to carry bass guitar and kick drum at anything over coffee shop levels.

one good 18" powered sub and you'd be in business for "ampless" playing.
 
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1,135
you don't have nearly enough sub to hang with those tops or to carry bass guitar and kick drum at anything over coffee shop levels.

one good 18" powered sub and you'd be in business for "ampless" playing.
Thanks, I know I need more firepower now. I just wasn't sure if one 18" powered sub would be enough. I'm thinking I'll do the 18" and keep the 12" in the mix for a little extra boost in the low mids.

Thanks for your help guys.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
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38,244
I'm thinking I'll do the 18" and keep the 12" in the mix for a little extra boost in the low mids.
no, don't do that!

mixing different kinds of subs is a no-no, they interfere more than anything else.

besides, there's plenty of single 18" powered boxes to be had for under a grand that would render the little 12" EV inaudible anyway.

sell the 12, or keep it for like acoustic gigs with the two monitor boxes as tops.
 
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1,135
no, don't do that!

mixing different kinds of subs is a no-no, they interfere more than anything else.

besides, there's plenty of single 18" powered boxes to be had for under a grand that would render the little 12" EV inaudible anyway.

sell the 12, or keep it for like acoustic gigs with the two monitor boxes as tops.
Interesting.... the guy at Sam Ash told me it would be "like totally wicked cool" if I had subs different sizes because they would cover more of the spectrum. Thanks for the input. I guess I'll buy 1 18" and hope I don't need 2...
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,244
the guy at Sam Ash told me it would be "like totally wicked cool" if I had subs different sizes because they would cover more of the spectrum.
then don't believe anything that guy says ever again, including "the sky is blue".

subs cover the spectrum they're supposed to, from around 100Hz down to maybe 40.

are you doing electronic drums too? if so, you'd definitely be fine with one good 18 sub. hell, my loud rock band has done plenty of shows with a single 18 like a QSC 181 or a yorkville LS 801P with no problem and plenty of thump.
 
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then don't believe anything that guy says ever again, including "the sky is blue".

subs cover the spectrum they're supposed to, from around 100Hz down to maybe 40.

are you doing electronic drums too? if so, you'd definitely be fine with one good 18 sub. hell, my loud rock band has done plenty of shows with a single 18 like a QSC 181 or a yorkville LS 801P with no problem and plenty of thump.
Not doing electronic drums yet. I'll eventually spring for a set, but we're micing the acoustic drums for now and using PA as needed for them. I'll also eventually do 2x 18", but will probably only spring for one right now unless I can get a decent deal on my 1x12.
 
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1,135
Bought an 18" today. It sounded freaking great! I ended up having to use the 12" sub for the left side of the PA. Otherwise the bass would have gone 100% to the Alto TS115 without the benefit of a crossover. I really don't want to buy a 2nd 18" sub for budget and space purposes. Is there a better option that I don't know about other than panning the bass 100% to the right side of the PA?
 

335guy

Member
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5,232
Which 18" sub speaker did you get? Many will allow you to hook up both A&B ( L&R ) outputs from a mixer and sum it into the one sub. Many will also have outputs in the back to hook up to the main speakers. I am assuming the sub/s both have "crossovers" and/or high pass filtering, because your Alto's don't. So it depends on which sub you picked up.

If your 18" sub doesn't have HPF/crossover and allow the high passed signal to pass through to the main speakers ( Alto's ), then an option is to use an external electronic crossover. The DBX 223, and others, will sum the L&R outs from a mixer into the sub. Then send the highs to the main Alto speakers. Another advantage to an external crossover is it gives you variable crossover points. You can probably find a used one in good condition for very little $$. DBX, Peavey, DOD all make decent inexpensive ones. The better brands are Ashly, Rane.

Other options include running the sub in "aux fed mode" ( Search this forum for an explanation ). Also, you could run mono. Pan all channel strips to left, and only use the L main out on the mixer. Run that to the sub, and the high passed signal to an Alto main. Then daisy chain your other Alto main to the 1st one.
 
Messages
1,135
Which 18" sub speaker did you get? Many will allow you to hook up both A&B ( L&R ) outputs from a mixer and sum it into the one sub. Many will also have outputs in the back to hook up to the main speakers. I am assuming the sub/s both have "crossovers" and/or high pass filtering, because your Alto's don't. So it depends on which sub you picked up.

If your 18" sub doesn't have HPF/crossover and allow the high passed signal to pass through to the main speakers ( Alto's ), then an option is to use an external electronic crossover. The DBX 223, and others, will sum the L&R outs from a mixer into the sub. Then send the highs to the main Alto speakers. Another advantage to an external crossover is it gives you variable crossover points. You can probably find a used one in good condition for very little $$. DBX, Peavey, DOD all make decent inexpensive ones. The better brands are Ashly, Rane.

Other options include running the sub in "aux fed mode" ( Search this forum for an explanation ). Also, you could run mono. Pan all channel strips to left, and only use the L main out on the mixer. Run that to the sub, and the high passed signal to an Alto main. Then daisy chain your other Alto main to the 1st one.
I got the EV 18" powered sub. I talked to the guy at Sam Ash about the crossovers and he told me I could bring the 18" back and pickup 2 15" Alto subs for the price of the 18" plus my 12" in trade with a little extra cash. After reading up on the 15" Altos I think that's a smarter move for me. I should have them shipped here by the middle of the month.

Another reason for doing this is weight. The EV18" sub weighs around 115lbs while the 15" weighs 60lbs
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,244
I talked to the guy at Sam Ash about the crossovers and he told me...
the same guy who told you to mix the 18" sub and the 12" sub at the same time? :rolleyes:

a pair of 15" subs might be pretty good; the key here is whenever possible to put them together so the low end "adds" properly.

if you spread them out the low end can "cancel" and might be weaker than that one 18" by itself was.
 
Messages
1,135
the same guy who told you to mix the 18" sub and the 12" sub at the same time? :rolleyes:

a pair of 15" subs might be pretty good; the key here is whenever possible to put them together so the low end "adds" properly.

if you spread them out the low end can "cancel" and might be weaker than that one 18" by itself was.
Nah, it was the guy I normally use. The guy that told me to put the 12 and 18 together was just some kid out of high school. I planned on doing subs on each side of the stage with the tops on poles above the subs. In our practice space, they'll probably just be next to each other.

From what I have been reading, the 18" are better for hip hop and electronic dance music while the 15" should help the bass guitar and kick stay punchy. In any case, I can barely carry an 18" by myself up and down the stairs so the 15" are going to have to work. :D
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,244
From what I have been reading, the 18" are better for hip hop and electronic dance music while the 15" should help the bass guitar and kick stay punchy.
nah, don't kid yourself, a good 18" is better for rock bands too.
In any case, I can barely carry an 18" by myself up and down the stairs so the 15" are going to have to work. :D
stairs? :eek:

18" subs anywhere by yourself? :eek::eek:

15" subs it is.
 
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1,135
nah, don't kid yourself, a good 18" is better for rock bands too.

stairs? :eek:

18" subs anywhere by yourself? :eek::eek:

15" subs it is.
haha, my thoughts exactly. I almost killed myself getting the damn 18" down the stairs by myself. I guess I'm not a kid anymore. yeah we're really only talking about playing a few shows a year mostly in tiny bars. We do a few outdoors gigs too, but even then I think the 18"s would be overkill.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,244
We do a few outdoors gigs too, but even then I think the 18"s would be overkill.
they wouldn't, but the rest of the PA likely wouldn't be enough.
I guess I'm not a kid anymore. yeah we're really only talking about playing a few shows a year mostly in tiny bars.
man, if this is a "couple times a year" deal and you're all grownups with jobs, why bother with any of it?

hire a soundguy and let him do all of it! you guys can just show up with your own amps and drums, play, have fun, drink some beers, and when it's over pack up your own stuff and get home at a reasonable hour.
 
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1,135
they wouldn't, but the rest of the PA likely wouldn't be enough.

man, if this is a "couple times a year" deal and you're all grownups with jobs, why bother with any of it?

hire a soundguy and let him do all of it! you guys can just show up with your own amps and drums, play, have fun, drink some beers, and when it's over pack up your own stuff and get home at a reasonable hour.
I played a pickup gig with a band a while back. We played in the middle of the street at a block party. We ran two of the 12" subs, two Alto TS215's, and 2 Alto TS212's as monitors. The bass player did use an amp because the subs did not have enough power for him to go direct. We were plenty loud and crystal clear. I was really surprised, but people were able to rock out if they wanted to without anyone complaining about the band being too loud.

I thought about hiring a sound guy, but I'm a gear head and have too much fun with it to let someone else have all the fun. I've got a large basement and want to have it equipped for a full band at all times. That way someone can come over with their bass, plug in to the PA and play. I'm going direct to the PA with my Helix so it's just easier if I control the setup.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,244
I thought about hiring a sound guy, but I'm a gear head and have too much fun with it to let someone else have all the fun.
oh i'm a gearhead too, but "running sound while playing" and "fun" don't really go together in my book.

plus, if you're scrounging the PA together and don't really have the right stuff then it's kind of the opposite of "fun".

i've done it in almost every band i've ever been in, i'm very good at it, and to my annoyance i've done it better than a lot of the guys the band was paying to do it, but if money isn't the object of the night (which i'm guessing it isn't for a "few times a year" band) then it's worth hiring a pro. the right guy will both make it sound better out front and make it easy and stress-free for you guys as players, so you can just focus on being a band and playing music.

don't discount the joy of watching somebody else wrapping mic cables and lugging sub cabs while you pay your tab and go home, that's a beautiful thing.
 

Floyd Eye

Senior Member
Messages
13,865
I played a pickup gig with a band a while back. We played in the middle of the street at a block party. We ran two of the 12" subs, two Alto TS215's, and 2 Alto TS212's as monitors. The bass player did use an amp because the subs did not have enough power for him to go direct. We were plenty loud and crystal clear. I was really surprised, but people were able to rock out if they wanted to without anyone complaining about the band being too loud.

I thought about hiring a sound guy, but I'm a gear head and have too much fun with it to let someone else have all the fun. I've got a large basement and want to have it equipped for a full band at all times. That way someone can come over with their bass, plug in to the PA and play. I'm going direct to the PA with my Helix so it's just easier if I control the setup.

I'm sure you sounded ok on stage. Lots of misconceptions in this thread I think. Of course I guess it depends on what kind of band you have and how much you care about the quality of the sound. For one thing, I would never use an Alto TS anything as a main. I have a bunch of them. They work ok for monitors. They are harsh and require much EQ to sound decent. And decent isn't good enough really.

As for using a pair of 12" subs outside, I guess that falls into the "What kind of music are you playing" category. If it's rock, there's not a chance those are adequate. I have some of the hardest hitting single 18" powered subs on the market and 2 of them outdoors isn't really enough.


Listen to Walter. If you're playing a couple times a year you should REALLY enjoy it. Hire someone else to do the mixing, regardless of whether you are using your gear or not.
 
Messages
1,135
I'm sure you sounded ok on stage. Lots of misconceptions in this thread I think. Of course I guess it depends on what kind of band you have and how much you care about the quality of the sound. For one thing, I would never use an Alto TS anything as a main. I have a bunch of them. They work ok for monitors. They are harsh and require much EQ to sound decent. And decent isn't good enough really.

As for using a pair of 12" subs outside, I guess that falls into the "What kind of music are you playing" category. If it's rock, there's not a chance those are adequate. I have some of the hardest hitting single 18" powered subs on the market and 2 of them outdoors isn't really enough.


Listen to Walter. If you're playing a couple times a year you should REALLY enjoy it. Hire someone else to do the mixing, regardless of whether you are using your gear or not.
I appreciate the feedback, but I don't think you're getting the full scope here. I'm probably not doing a good job of explaining myself. I can't hire someone to run sound every time we practice. I still need a PA and I still want to run everyone through it so we don't have to have a ton of amps and equipment that we haul back and forth. Not to mention, if we practice with the PA that we use live we will be more comfortable with our gear at gig time. I know the 12" subs aren't powerful enough. That's why I started this thread to find out what would be a better alternative.

How much are you guys paying for a sound man and PA rental? I did some searching and the companies I saw are renting out almost the exact same setup I'm describing for $600 plus the cost of a sound engineer. They are using QSC mains, but other than that, it's almost identical to what I described. (if you want subs, it jumps to $900)

At that price, my rig would pay for itself the first three gigs. Are you saying you wouldn't use the Alto's for mains because you don't like the way they sound? i.e. If I got QSC's or some other brand you'd think it was a good solution?
 




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