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DI’ing bass guitar

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DI’ing bass guitar

Postby BlackAngel1966 » Sun Feb 28, 2021 11:41 am

Hey everyone. Quick question... my band uses Yamaha DXR10s for a PA and a couple of cheapo Alto wedge floor monitors. We’ve never DI’d the bass through the PA as we only play small pubs and clubs, however I’m wondering how the DXR’s would handle a DI’d bass guitar so that we can keep the stage volume a bit lower? Any thoughts? We are a loud 3 piece rock band.
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Re: DI’ing bass guitar

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Feb 28, 2021 12:01 pm

The DXRs give a good account of themselves handling bass as long as you're not expecting trouser-flapping, chest-thumping stuff. But if you want bass that sound smooth and natural... :thumbup:

I'd always compress DI bass when putting it through the FoH system.

Only you can answer whether your band is sensible about levels of instruments and if everyone isn't engaged in dB-poker: "I'll see your +3dB and raise you 3db..." :lol: If they are, there's a risk that you'll be raising the gain more and more on the FoH to try and balance against screaming guitars. Eventually any system will cry 'enough!' and the auto-protection will kick in...
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Re: DI’ing bass guitar

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Feb 28, 2021 1:05 pm

+1, I use DXR10 (and a couple of Alto's) for monitors and sometimes for FOH at smaller gigs. If you are a really loud band then, as Mike says, the DXR10s will probably find themselves struggling with bass. The answer though,as unpalatable as it might sound, is discipline, i.e. play more quietly.

I doubt that just sticking the bass through the PA will make any noticeable difference to the onstage sound, that is usually determined by the drummer (this is not a dig at drummers BTW) but if the guitar and bass are loud on stage the drummer will play louder to compete. The answer is for everybody to turn it down a little and the onstage sound will be more acceptable. Then the FOH will be able cope with a little kick, bass and guitar* just to add 'spread' in the room and tie everything together.

I have played in pub bands since my teens and run PA systems for bands of all kinds and have never been asked to turn it up by an audience member (I have been asked to turn it down more times than I care to remember mind you :blush: ).

* I virtually always DI the bass and mic the kick and guitar. The guitar in particular almost never needs to be louder but bringing it up in the FOH just enough that you can hear the difference, seems to bring it into focus. Same with bass DI and kick, not making them louder but getting everything to gel.
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Re: DI’ing bass guitar

Postby Murray B » Sun Feb 28, 2021 2:22 pm

If you are still using an amp, using the PA to support it and getting the stage volume down isn't a bad plan, but it's worth having someone do a walk around out front to see if you are getting any significant phase cancellation problems due the relative distance between the bass cab and the pa speakers. If it's possible to change this distance it can help sort it out but small stages don't help with this mostly. Perhaps look at a DI box with the option to change the polarity of the signal going to the PA if you don't have this facility on your mixer.

There also fancy boxes that allow you to change the phase of a signal in small increments but I've never used one of these so can't comment on their effectiveness / value for money.
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Re: DI’ing bass guitar

Postby shufflebeat » Sun Feb 28, 2021 3:06 pm

Murray B wrote:...it's worth having someone do a walk around out front to see if you are getting any significant phase cancellation problems.

Biggie! It's perfectly possible to get more wattage and less sound/clarity.
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Do yourself a favour, wear earplugs at gigs.