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To amp or Not To amp...that is the question
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Amp all the way...with floor monitor
Amp with Ears
60%
 60%  [ 6 ]
No amp....only Processor and ears...less to cary!
40%
 40%  [ 4 ]
Total Votes : 10

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Hawk
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 Post Posted: Wednesday Jan 21, 2015 
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Do you know how many professional bands carry empty cabinet stacks with only one cabinet actually having any speakers in it?
Happens more than you think.
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bassist_25
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 Post Posted: Wednesday Jan 21, 2015 
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Haha, I don't have a quantitative explanation of the tube sound. I'm not an engineer, so Rob's explanation would be much better than anything I could offer. I actually hesitate to say there's a such thing as a "tube sound." I have a couple tube bass amps, and they all sound very different. One of them is a Mesa/Boogie Buster, which has traits that are stereotypically associated with solid-state designs, such as a very fast transient response and remaining studio clean until the gain and master get pushed to around 9 on their respective dials.

However, in my experience, there are certain characteristics that are usually inherent to tube designs. The differences between solid-state and tube are relatively negligible when they're both being run clean. When tubes get pushed, they produce even-order harmonics that sound more pleasant than solid-state overdrive. Also, there's the proverbial "warmth" of tube amps, which is really just very light harmonic distortion that sounds pleasant to many people's ears. In my experience, the difference between the two can really be heard in the top-end. Most solid-state amps have a somewhat brittle quality as compared to their tube counterparts. Even when I listen to a Quilter, which is one of the best solid-state guitar amps ever made, I still hear that slight brittleness in the top-end.

But don't get me wrong, I've never been one of those "It just has to have tubes, man!" kind of people. There are a lot of great amps out there. And plugging into a great solid-state amp makes me smile as much as plugging into a great tube amp. You should try as much as you can and play what sounds good and works for you. BB King prefers transistors and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who'd say he has bad tone.
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old Skool
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 Post Posted: Thursday Jan 22, 2015 
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To each their own. Don't think there's a right or wrong answer here, whatever works for you I say go with it. Tons & tons of good gear out there of all types. The latest offerings from Kemper & Fractal Audio are very impressive. Line6 has some good stuff as well. To say that tubes are a thing of the past, etc is pretty asanine. I still see way more tube amps used for recording & touring than the modelling stuff. Not to mention the wait time for tube amp builds from some companies/builders and the prices people are willing to pay indicates tubes are far from extinction. Bottom line is use what you like. As far as I'm concerned I guess I'm a "sucker" and "weak in ability", I like my tube amps and depending on the room on stage, etc I still like a 4x12 and sometimes even two of them. Do I need all that? No. Do I like it? Hell yeah!
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bassist_25
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 Post Posted: Thursday Jan 22, 2015 
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And having played a gig or two with old sKool, I can tell you that even when he brought his big cabs out, the stage volume was never obnoxiously loud. He got asked to turn up much more than asked turn down. Well, except when Ed would run sound at Mojo's; he'd playfully rib us about volume, but that room is a sound engineer's nightmare, regardless of stage rigs. *lol*
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Jasaoke
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 Post Posted: Friday Jan 23, 2015 
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Ah, but that nightmare gets reduced to nearly nothing if you take floor wedges and amps out of the equation.

I don't think that "do what works for you" is the right approach. I think "do what works for the audience" followed by "do what works for the band" come first. What works for me is of little concern to anyone but me.
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The Shadow
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 Post Posted: Friday Jan 23, 2015 
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Jasaoke wrote:
Amps are for suckers.

Quiet stage = better mix.

It's 2015. The Analog Digital War is over, and analog lost. You can cry all you want about "your sound" and the "feel" of your rig, but that just shows weakness in your ability. You are up on stage to entertain; most people don't give a crap about the subtle nuance of your tone. You can swap your tubes, lug your 4 x 12, listen to your LPs, read your hardback encyclopedias, and call your friends on your rotary phone all you like, and the world will leave you behind with the rest of the heavy junk we don't use anymore.

Gig bag has a shoulder strap, processor is a one-handed carry. One trip from the car to anywhere, don't need a loading dock, stairs are no problem at all. I don't even need anybody to hold the door.


This sure sounds to me like you're trying to force what you think works down everyones throat. And people think I'm a dick?!?! There are quite a few more people depending on a toy floor processor as "their sound" than anyone with a tube amp. Furthermore, because you can't tell the difference in feel between a solid state amp/floor processor and a tube amp, it's you that has the weakness. I'm also sorry that your ear isn't developed enough to hear the difference. That's why terms like feel, string separation, dynamics, definition, and clarity must escape you. If what you're using works for you, great. Have a fucking blast. But when you pick your gear based on laziness and try to tell me how much better it is than what I'm doing, then I have a problem.

I'd actually love it if you went to see your favorite band, plunked down your hard earned money and one guitarist was using a Tonelab and the other guitarist was using an RP-10.
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StumbleFingers
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 Post Posted: Friday Jan 23, 2015 
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Jasaoke wrote:

I don't think that "do what works for you" is the right approach. I think "do what works for the audience" followed by "do what works for the band" come first. What works for me is of little concern to anyone but me.


This is a slippery slope and it leads to where the music industry is today. What's best for the audience is miming to a recording. Why sing when you might miss a note? Why play when you might break a string?

And players DO make concessions to what's best for the audience/band/sound crew. Sure, there are douchebags out there. But there are far more who find a happy compromise. Like old Skool's sideways amp solution. It helps the soundman by keeping the FOH clean. It helps his band mates hear him. And he still gets to play a big ol' tube amp.

There are so many ways to control a tube amp... Isolation boxes, plexiglass shields, pointing the amp at the wall (or the sky if you're The Boss), or just bringing a smaller amp.

Another point in favor of tube amps... Simplicity. I use like two sounds (in tune, not in tune), I don't need to bring freakin' Deep Blue to a gig.
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old Skool
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 Post Posted: Friday Jan 23, 2015 
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Guess when I said "play what you want" I figured that a person with average intelligence would understand that obviously it has to work within the band, venue, FOH, etc. As far as playing what's best for the audience I don't think they really care if you're playing through an amp, a processor or a damn modified microwave oven. As long as the music is what they like and the band sounds good to them that's all they're typically concerned with. I still stand by "play what you want". If a floorboard and in ears gets it done for you go for it. If you want an amp or two and that works there's nothing wrong with that either. At this point in time I still like the "feel" and "warmth" of my amps and don't mind carrying them around one bit.
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The Shadow
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 Post Posted: Friday Jan 23, 2015 
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^^^^ Word!
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bassist_25
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 Post Posted: Friday Jan 23, 2015 
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StumbleFingers wrote:

This is a slippery slope and it leads to where the music industry is today. What's best for the audience is miming to a recording. Why sing when you might miss a note? Why play when you might break a string?

And players DO make concessions to what's best for the audience/band/sound crew. Sure, there are douchebags out there. But there are far more who find a happy compromise. Like old Skool's sideways amp solution. It helps the soundman by keeping the FOH clean. It helps his band mates hear him. And he still gets to play a big ol' tube amp.

There are so many ways to control a tube amp... Isolation boxes, plexiglass shields, pointing the amp at the wall (or the sky if you're The Boss), or just bringing a smaller amp.

Another point in favor of tube amps... Simplicity. I use like two sounds (in tune, not in tune), I don't need to bring freakin' Deep Blue to a gig.


I feel like we're talking around in circles here, but I think Greg pretty much hit the nail on the head. I keep a Radial JDI in my bag of cables and miscellaneous stuff wherever I go. Along with the Countryman 85, it's pretty much the industry standard DI box. When I plug my bass into it and send a signal to the desk, does it sound good? Sure, it does in a very basic sense. But even when considering the onboard post-EQ DI of an amp, the Radial is comparably thin, brittle, and vanilla (for lack of a better word).

Again, does the audience care? Well, they're probably not going to walk out if the bass is a DI box compared to a real amp. But I have never been a fan of doing things just because they are "good enough." Yeah, there's law of diminishing returns with every decision, but there's also a race to the bottom too.

And just speaking anecdotally, whenever I've mixed, issues with the backline compromising the FOH has been the least of the problems I've encountered. Maybe I've just been lucky having always worked with guitarists who can control their volume, stay away from smilie-face EQs, and don't abuse the gain knob and drummers who don't make every swing a contest to see how hard they can bash the cymbals.
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Jasaoke
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 Post Posted: Friday Jan 23, 2015 
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Quote:
As far as playing what's best for the audience I don't think they really care if you're playing through an amp, a processor or a damn modified microwave oven. As long as the music is what they like and the band sounds good to them that's all they're typically concerned with.


That's my point, exactly.
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Ron
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 Post Posted: Monday Jan 26, 2015 
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All of the little nuances and bits you may think that the audience doesn't hear makes more of a difference than you may think. It won't be anything in particular that they hear, it will be an overall sense that the band is a cut above.

Don't get me wrong, the most important thing will always be the performance, but putting time into tweaking your sound will always pay off in the end. You may spend hours tweaking a DSP setting, but that isn't the norm, it's usually just a matter of finding a preset that's close.

The only thing that I really don't like about ampless, drumless, IEM setups is that the sense of space for the audience gets all effed up, especially if you are close to the stage and off-axis from FOH.
For instance, you can sort of hear the snare all around you, it's right in front of you but all you hear coming from in front of you is a dull thunk. It gives the whole experience a sense of "fakeness" even though you can clearly see that it's not.
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jon5150
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 Post Posted: Monday Jan 26, 2015 
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I think times are changing as well....Back in the 80s and early 90s, it was all about "Bring the Big guns" and add the kitchen sink for safe measures.. we have all been there...

I've seen some of the Massive Folded Speaker cabs myself (In Jim Taylors Music Room), and to think you could get away with those now a days would be crazy...let alone find 4 people to lift one of them when you have 3 others stacked in the trailer waiting.

Now its more of a struggle to find a venue that the Owner or somebody within the venue come screaming out of the kitchen yelling to turn it down. And that's during the drum sound check..lol

Now I know that has NOTHING to do with What's on stage...But, venues are more and more looking for less, and Bands are looking for more and more places to play...with that said.. I'm a firm believer in playing the gig for the room your in. If your at Mr. Smalls in Pittsburgh Bring the Big Guns...If your sitting and a Restaurant with people dining, the less intimidating gear...the better..

So far the discussion is rocking, a lot of good ideas and rants Ill tell ya...lets keep it moving!
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