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Author Topic: Live mix of bass guitar  (Read 568 times)

John Abercrombie

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Live mix of bass guitar
« on: May 04, 2020, 04:28:08 pm »

I have a bass player who demands to have his bass come through rather loudly in a monitor close to him that is pointed to the back wall of the church platform.  That back wall is panel over quite a thick red brick wall.  The problem is that I get so much reflected bass from the monitor that I have to turn the subwoofers down significantly which affects the FOH mix and then I cannot make adjustments to the house mix for the bass.  Are absorber or reflector panels needed on the back wall of the platform?  How effective would they be?  Is there a better solution?
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Live mix of bass guitar
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2020, 04:42:06 pm »

I have a bass player who demands to have his bass come through rather loudly in a monitor close to him that is pointed to the back wall of the church platform.  That back wall is panel over quite a thick red brick wall.  The problem is that I get so much reflected bass from the monitor that I have to turn the subwoofers down significantly which affects the FOH mix and then I cannot make adjustments to the house mix for the bass.  Are absorber or reflector panels needed on the back wall of the platform?  How effective would they be?  Is there a better solution?

Is he looking to the amp for monitoring, or tone generation? 

If the former, treat it like a guitar amp - setup off-stage somewhere, mic and DI, to capture tone without stage wash.

If monitoring - Clark Synthesis for the tactile aspect, and quality ear-buds for the rest of the frequency spectrum.  I used to mix in a room where the bass levels on stage weren't that loud, but 80Hz-ish just overwhelmed the audience area.  Most bass players, once they heard the difference on stage vs how it muddied the whole mix - were more willing to get the sound into their ears vs just the congregation. 

You'll also need to make sure the sound system, full range (not just subs), sounds excellent at all seats.  It's easy to dismiss the PA and use a bass amp for the first couple rows - if the player doesn't trust the system.  Is the bass mixed too low in the mix, or too 'weak' sounding?

If all else fails - as the audio mixer, you need the authority to control the stage levels, as that is the only way you're given to mix the band.  Set the max level, and if the bassist is OK with that - all good.  If not - there are multiple options to get more/deeper/clearer/etc sound directly into his ears and feet. 

One other church I used to mix at - had solid PA except the subs were awful.  There was one bass player who insisted he use his amp on stage as a monitor.  In that specific case, since the subs needed all the help they could get - the amp was placed on stage to roughly time align with the subs and it wasn't that bad.     
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Chris Grimshaw

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Re: Live mix of bass guitar
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2020, 03:45:54 am »

I have a bass player who demands to have his bass come through rather loudly in a monitor close to him that is pointed to the back wall of the church platform.  That back wall is panel over quite a thick red brick wall.  The problem is that I get so much reflected bass from the monitor that I have to turn the subwoofers down significantly which affects the FOH mix and then I cannot make adjustments to the house mix for the bass.  Are absorber or reflector panels needed on the back wall of the platform?  How effective would they be?  Is there a better solution?

You'll probably find that a lot of the problem is direct sound from the monitor. Your standard 12" 2-way box is omnidirectional below a few hundred Hz, so there'll be plenty of mud direct from the stage. Acoustic treatment of the back wall might help a little, but you need some pretty serious stuff to absorb in the low frequencies.

Best bet, IMO, is to talk to the bassist, find out what they're hoping to hear, explain how the loud monitor affects things out front, and go from there.
IME, a bassists usually like to feel the bass, which means standing in front of an 8x10" cab with a large amp cranked.
Trying to replicate that with a stage monitor won't be fun for the monitor or anyone else in the venue. So, they need to turn it down.

If you wanted to play a little trick, part-way through soundcheck engage a 2kHz highpass on the bassist's monitor. Tell him the LF driver is blown, and you'll get it fixed for next time. In the mean time, here's a Crappy MonitorTM which will have to do for now.
When you have "fixed" the faulty monitor, say the repair shop was amazed it had lasted this long, and recommend you turn down in the future. Have a number in mind for how much the "repair" cost, and remind the bassist of that whenever they ask for more level.

Chris
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John Abercrombie

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Re: Live mix of bass guitar
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2020, 09:34:25 pm »

I have a bass player who demands to have his bass come through rather loudly in a monitor close to him that is pointed to the back wall of the church platform.  That back wall is panel over quite a thick red brick wall.  The problem is that I get so much reflected bass from the monitor that I have to turn the subwoofers down significantly which affects the FOH mix and then I cannot make adjustments to the house mix for the bass.  Are absorber or reflector panels needed on the back wall of the platform?  How effective would they be?  Is there a better solution?

I didn't tell you that the bass goes through the sound mixer and plays on the subwoofers with a little in the monitors, but this bass player wants a lot more in the monitors.  I can EQ the bass separately (Behringer X32).  I can also turn the subwoofers down to minimal and just get the sound from the monitor, which actually sounds fairly decent.
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Re: Live mix of bass guitar
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2020, 09:34:25 pm »


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