Author Topic: Gigging with a house backline  (Read 1023 times)

slinkp

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Gigging with a house backline
« on: August 21, 2016, 08:36:07 AM »
Got a gig coming up in a small bar. They have a house backline and there are 4 bands playing in 4 hours, so minimizing transition time would be good.

But... the bass amp is one I've no experience with. Hmmm. 
They say "SWR Bass750 bass head through a 4x10" bass cab and direct out."

I have played other SWRs long ago, but not that exact model as far as I know. I tend to stay away from SWRs; they seem to have a characteristic scoop to the sound, and I'm all about the mids.  Also I like a bit of dirt, and they tend to be very clean.

My band plays very very rarely (we're averaging a gig a year). So when we do, I like to make it count!

Options:

- Just deal with the house amp

- Bring my Genz-Benz head and swap it out if I can't get a decent sound in less than two minutes of fiddling

- Bring the Greco T-bird which has so much mids it can survive almost any amount of scoop


I've been burned by house amps before.  But usually because they're drastically under-powered.  This one should at least have plenty of power, jjudging by the specs.

What would you do?


gearHed289

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Re: Gigging with a house backline
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2016, 09:58:31 AM »
I'm pretty much with you about SWR, but I would just deal with it and keep things simple. Turn the horn on the cab way down and turn up the input gain and high mids on the amp. And bring the T bird!

Granny Gremlin

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Re: Gigging with a house backline
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2016, 11:27:17 AM »
I'd lean that way too.... but the Genz Benz is pretty tiny - just swapping out the head isn't a big deal if you're really not into SWR.  That's like me with ss Ampeg stuff - similar issue with the mids, can never dial it in to my tastes.  Don't load in a full rig if it's a tight bill and everyone else is gear-sharing.
Robert Plant and Jimmy Page (drummer and bassist of Deep Purple, Jake!)

Pilgrim

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Re: Gigging with a house backline
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2016, 06:09:22 PM »
I think it's OK to talk with the gent who owns the amp - a bit of tweaking should get you close enough to be workable. Perfect isn't needed.
Good sloppy playing is an art in itself. (Uwe)

Dave W

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Re: Gigging with a house backline
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2016, 08:45:19 PM »
Deal with the SWR if you can, although I've only played one in a store, IIRC it does have versatile mid controls. No harm in taking the Genz Benz as an emergency backup since it's so small.

Alanko

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Re: Gigging with a house backline
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2016, 02:30:49 AM »
I have a VTDI which seems to work well as a small amp 'decrapifier'. It would deliver the mids (I treat the character knob as a high-mids control, and roll back the gain accordingly) and the dirt, plus you can send all of that to the FOH. I've not actually gigged it yet, but I've run it through a bewildering array of crappy rehearsal room amps to good effect.

rahock

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Re: Gigging with a house backline
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2016, 03:50:38 AM »
Deal with the SWR if you can, although I've only played one in a store, IIRC it does have versatile mid controls. No harm in taking the Genz Benz as an emergency backup since it's so small.

That would be my plan. I'm a Genz  Benz guy myself, but SWR stuff is pretty versatile and I'm betting you can get what you're looking for out of it. I never gigged with one but I've played them in a store and I came pretty close to taking one home.
Rick

slinkp

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Re: Gigging with a house backline
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2016, 07:31:12 AM »
I have a VTDI which seems to work well as a small amp 'decrapifier'. It would deliver the mids (I treat the character knob as a high-mids control, and roll back the gain accordingly) and the dirt, plus you can send all of that to the FOH. I've not actually gigged it yet, but I've run it through a bewildering array of crappy rehearsal room amps to good effect.

That's interesting, is it much different than the original Bass Driver DI?  I could never get a sound I liked out of those ... way, way too much built-in scoop. But that was before the version 2 where they added a mid band to the EQ; the only ones I ever played through were the original 2-band model. And not the VT model.

Alanko

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Re: Gigging with a house backline
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2016, 08:26:19 AM »
I've not tried a  Bass Driver DI, so I cannot really compare. There doesn't seem to be an obvious mid-scoop to the VTDI that I can hear. It is, ostensibly, an Ampeg simulator of sorts. The character knob is meant to go from B-15 to vintage SVT to grindy modern SVT. There is a lot of gain on tap, but (to my ears) it is definitely stompbox distortion rather than a nice rich amp distortion, and works better in moderation. The 'character' knob seems to filter high-frequencies and add gain. The B-15 setting is quite muffled sounding, with a heavy emphasis on low-mids and diminished treble content. Turning the character knob clockwise seems to up the gain and bring in increasingly spikey upper-mids, perhaps cutting a bit of bloat from the low end at the same time. Not really an Ampeg tone to my ears, but something that works nicely with my basses. The mids control is also pretty far-reaching, albeit in a lower set of frequencies than the Character knob. To my ears, the classic SVT tone has quite a baked-in EQ curve, whereas the VTDI is a bit more everyman.

For me it is handy because it is a bit vanilla sounding. It makes the sundry pillowy-sounding Trace Elliot amps across Edinburgh's finest rehearsal spaces sound half-decent, because the EQ knobs push and pull in fairly wide, predictable places. For reference I had the Billy Sheehan pedal for a while (at least a week!) and it sounded just like Billy. I admire Billy's tone, talent and ethos, but I don't want to have the exact same tone. The tone control on that pedal went from Billy A to Billy Z.  :mrgreen:

slinkp

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Re: Gigging with a house backline
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2016, 01:07:15 PM »
Welp, the gig was last Friday.  First one in a year and a half!  We hit a lot of clams but most probably not audible out front, and were nonetheless well received - got the docile crowd moving a bit; some friends who had not seen us came along; they were a bit astonished that we were actually good. You know how it is, you go to a friend's show and try to think of something polite afterward ;-)

I did indeed use the house rig, but running the Genz-Benz as a preamp.  A quick look behind the amp revealed 1) the cab only had 1/4" inputs and I had neglected to bring suitable cables, but 2) the SWR head had an effects return.  I was sure the SWR would have plenty of power, and the GB power amp isn't a huge factor in what I like about its sound, so I happily plugged the effects send from the Genz-Benz into it, tweaked knobs, and was off and running.  I'm glad I did - I could probably have got something usable out of the SWR preamp, but I'm not super familiar with them, and it has too many knobs to learn in a five-minute setup with no soundcheck :)

The house cab was disappointing though. I read the backline list from the club and stupidly assumed that "SWR 750 head with 410 cabinet" meant an SWR cabinet. I don't know what that cab was, but it was not an SWR, and was rather mushy sounding both out front and on stage. Oh well. I was able to work with it by dialing up the upper mids, but next time may go back to bringing my EA cabs. It's worth being happy with the cabs!

I ended up bringing the LPB-1 instead of the Greco T-bird because, after bringing both along to recent practices, I was reminded that the Greco, while having insane amounts of mids and therefore always very audible, is not particularly defined.  The LPB-1 is tighter and sits in our band's twin-guitar sound better.  It can be hard to get a good mix with three loud Gibsons on stage :)

Granny Gremlin

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Re: Gigging with a house backline
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2016, 02:07:03 PM »
Oh yeah - after the instrument itself (that includes the player) the next 2 most influential factors in tone are the speaker(s) and the preamp.  That said, some speakers just don't sound good with some amps; their respective voicings don't gel.  That cab may have been alright, but mushy with your setup as used that day.

As an example, I was trying out 15s when I got my Sunn1200s to replace my Garnet Sessionman.  Altec 421 sounded absolutely amazing with the Garnet, but horrible with the Sunn.  EVM sounded OK with the Garnet but perfect with the Sunn.  Same cab, just changed the driver out (so there's the factor of some speakers working better in some cabs too, but still).

Anyway, glad you had a good gig and the audience was into it (as a Torontonian, I don't quite know what that's like.... we're known for being the epitome of stoic audiences).
Robert Plant and Jimmy Page (drummer and bassist of Deep Purple, Jake!)

slinkp

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Re: Gigging with a house backline
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2016, 10:21:21 AM »
Quote
That cab may have been alright, but mushy with your setup as used that day.

In general yeah. But my impression from the audience was that it sounded rather mushy with the band before us and the band after us as well, and they weren't using my head, nor my bass.

At first I thought it might be the room acoustics, but once I got onstage and was dialing in my amp, I was not impressed with the cab even with my head a foot away from it.

slinkp

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Re: Gigging with a house backline
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2016, 10:25:33 AM »
Update: Doing it again this weekend! Different venue.
Anybody used an Ampeg 6x10?  I've never encountered one before.  General impressions?

I guess this would be the 610 HLF.  Did they only make one 6x10 design?

Psycho Bass Guy

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Re: Gigging with a house backline
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2016, 10:47:22 PM »
The Ampeg 6x10 sounds better than their modern 8x10, mainly because it has more bottom and usable upper mids. They sound a bit scooped, too much in the lower midrange, but that's easily boosted on an amp.

slinkp

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Re: Gigging with a house backline
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2016, 11:22:58 PM »
That sounds like I should be able to work with it. Thanks!