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Author Topic: Sub bass to keep up with live drums, in a bar, with bass cabs.  (Read 982 times)

Herbert Mcinnes

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So I want to start out and say that I know this is a topic that A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO HATE.  I have had to really bounce around the web to try and get an answer to this, but I'm hoping to get some help here. 

I am working on what amounts to an avant garde music project and I gotta start from the ground up.  I've learned the hard way that almost no bars have sound systems that can support copious sub bass, and certainly not in a way that is loud enough to overcome live drums and a guitar "stack."  Now I know this is "too loud" for a lot of people here.  I get it.  I also understand what is being proposed here is not "clean."  A lot of this stuff is going to sound gritty because the crossovers are not ideal.  Part of that is handled internally because I can actually highpass\lowpass the individual tracks, print them, and then play them through their correct channels when live.  Preprocessed.

But either way, my options essentually come down to a handful of bars that already have pretty stout PAs (these are venues like St. Vites), and rolling in my own gear.  I would absolutely love to do option 1, but first of all, not many of these places exist.  And second of all, they require a bigger following before they'll let you play, fair enough.  So I'm going to have to roll gear. 

I'm planning for two show sizes.  There is a local warehouse that hosts weird acts like this, but the space is larger than I'd like.  It's 13,000sqft.  There's a much larger number of bars around 2,500sqft.  But to be completely honest, I think I have to start backwards in the bigger location.  I can't get any info from the larger location on capacity and crowd sizing, I think because of some state laws involving "venue" vs "bar." Or something like that.  They are adament they are a winery.  Anyways, the point being that I think the place won't have a lot of people in it, so the noise floor would be low.  So my hope is that gear that will make a 2,500-4000sqft location with high noise floor bass heaven, will still get the job done in an emptyish warehouse 5 times the size.

After enough digging I found this.

Quote
Marc “Reactivity” Dallas, the San Diego ambassador for L.A. promoters Pure Filth, held the first Bassface night at Brick by Brick in July. Approximately 300 people (400 cap venue) came out to experience Pure Filth’s massive dubstep-ready sound system, which comprises eight 2x18 McCauley subwoofers and two 2x15 top speakers. Dallas calls it the minimum for a venue like Brick by Brick —a DJ of any other genre would call it overkill.
.

I can not find info on the size of this location.

I'm basically trying to convert this setup into tube\bass cabinet power specs.  I do still need 2 actual full range speakers, which I think in your language they call the "tops?"

How much more powerful is tube power as a rule of thumb?  I have at my disposal a number of high powered tube amps of varying power and distortion is acceptable and preferred for this installation.  I am not talking about "guitar amps."  These are amps like a Mesa Boogie Strategy 400, or Rivera Hammer 320 (very popular in home theatre use).  So 2x200 tube watts and 2x160 tube watts.  My experiance in using a 1000w solid state amp into a guitar cabinet is that solid state power is nowhere near as powerful as tube power when accounting for headroom.  But to what degree this is on a rule of thumb, I am not sure.  I've seen three times as perceptually powerful floated.

I can't imagine I need literally 16 1x15 bass cabinets to get that level of sub bass.. I have to imagine by the time you're at even 4 at a 400 capacity venue, indoors, with both tube stereo power amps (so 2x200 and 2x160) you've got to be saturating anything less than a warehouse.  What am I missing out on converting between these formats?
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Sub bass to keep up with live drums, in a bar, with bass cabs.
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2022, 07:41:17 AM »

No.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Sub bass to keep up with live drums, in a bar, with bass cabs.
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2022, 10:25:39 AM »

I'll take "This'll never work" for $1000, Alex.


Tube watts aren't any different than solis state. Or a toaster oven for that matter. A "Watt" is a unit of measurement that something has produced. The reason tube guitar amps "sound" louder is because the distortion fools our ears into thinking thay are louder than they really are. This is also why saturation plug ins work. Make it distorted and it sou nds louder. This is psycho-acoustics. Not physics. It all happens in your head.

To make serious bass you need to move a ton of air. The only way to do that is to either have a whole bunch of speakers, or speakers that do more work individually. And give those speakers enough power to get the job done.

Why tube amps? The "benefit" of tube amps is completely lost when you are talking low frequency stuff. You'll be trying to dig a grave with a spoon by using tube amps for this setup.
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: Sub bass to keep up with live drums, in a bar, with bass cabs.
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2022, 10:45:31 AM »



My experiance in using a 1000w solid state amp into a guitar cabinet is that solid state power is nowhere near as powerful as tube power when accounting for headroom. 
Was that a Crown Macrotech or a Behringer iNuke? Solid state amps don't work the same way as tubes but there is also a vast difference in performance between a DJ grade and a touring grade solid state amp.


I can't imagine I need literally 16 1x15 bass cabinets to get that level of sub bass.[/b]. I have to imagine by the time you're at even 4 at a 400 capacity venue, indoors, with both tube stereo power amps (so 2x200 and 2x160) you've got to be saturating anything less than a warehouse.  What am I missing out on converting between these formats?
That DJ system you quoted with 8 double 18 subs probably had 30kw of amplifiers behind it, it doesn't matter how you compare tubes to transsistors if you want to copy or emulate this quantity of subbass you will need that kind of power.
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Matthias McCready

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Re: Sub bass to keep up with live drums, in a bar, with bass cabs.
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2022, 11:39:21 AM »


I am working on what amounts to an avant garde music project and I gotta start from the ground up.  I've learned the hard way that almost no bars have sound systems that can support copious sub bass, and certainly not in a way that is loud enough to overcome live drums and a guitar "stack."  Now I know this is "too loud" for a lot of people here.  I get it.  I also understand what is being proposed here is not "clean."  A lot of this stuff is going to sound gritty because the crossovers are not ideal.  Part of that is handled internally because I can actually highpass\lowpass the individual tracks, print them, and then play them through their correct channels when live.  Preprocessed.

Crossover: A poorly done crossover doesn't mean it will sound "gritty" instead it means that your timing and/or amplitude between devices is not matching in the hand-off region; ie there might be a large "hole in the sound," at that area, because your system is canceling.

No amount of channel/source processing will fix whether or not your system acts as a system, that isn't how this works...

-----

To the point no matter how "advante garde" the music, your system should not be "advante garde." The goal of a good system is to be linear; ie what you put in is what you get out. That means the artistic vision on the front end, carries through to your audience, for a consistent experience around the venue.

-----

You are correct, few small venues have adequate systems; so if you want something better that probably means you either need to find a better venue or to bring the rig

------

Fortunately for you don't have to invent or even reinvent the wheel.

At my main venue I mix at I have an L'Acoustics Rig with 8x KS28's. I have never driven it anywhere close to what it could do, and I have no desire to.

----

If low end and volume is what you are after, there are many systems and manufacturers that can do what you desire, however you will want to consider:

1) What area are you trying to cover?
2) What SPL are trying to achieve?
3) What frequency extension do you need?

Once you know those things you can determine what you need to fit your needs.

----

As you are uncertain about venue specifics, and system deployment and tuning, it would probably be best to rent or hire in a sound-company to provide; if that seems like it costs a lot of money, I would posit that you have probably not considered all the costs associated with ownership of equipment (storage, transport, repair, insurance etc).

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Herbert Mcinnes

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Re: Sub bass to keep up with live drums, in a bar, with bass cabs.
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2022, 01:13:22 PM »

Was that a Crown Macrotech or a Behringer iNuke? Solid state amps don't work the same way as tubes but there is also a vast difference in performance between a DJ grade and a touring grade solid state amp.

 That DJ system you quoted with 8 double 18 subs probably had 30kw of amplifiers behind it, it doesn't matter how you compare tubes to transsistors if you want to copy or emulate this quantity of subbass you will need that kind of power.

It was a Crown XLS either 1000 or 1500, I can't remember at this point.  At about half volume the temp light would go on and it lasted for a couple hours of playing before it popped.  It was not even remotely close to the Mesa 2:90 I had, which was stupid loud.  I think I'm beggining to understand what the problem is here.

So I read about all these people who talk about "how loud" these shows are, I think mostly they're talking about mid range.  A live drum set and a full guitar stack is generating an enormous amount of midrange.  I have to assume driving sub bass is however a lot less efficient because people's ear's simply don't hear it in the same way as midrange, coupled with the power requirements to drive large bass speakers, I guess that's a big part of this, ey?
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Herbert Mcinnes

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Re: Sub bass to keep up with live drums, in a bar, with bass cabs.
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2022, 01:39:27 PM »

Crossover: A poorly done crossover doesn't mean it will sound "gritty" instead it means that your timing and/or amplitude between devices is not matching in the hand-off region; ie there might be a large "hole in the sound," at that area, because your system is canceling.

No amount of channel/source processing will fix whether or not your system acts as a system, that isn't how this works...

I should have clarified.  I said gritty because I'd have sub bass going through a clean tube amp and an actual bass cabinet (as in electric bass guitar).  So increased THD and speakers that have a smaller frequency range.



Quote
To the point no matter how "advante garde" the music, your system should not be "advante garde." The goal of a good system is to be linear; ie what you put in is what you get out. That means the artistic vision on the front end, carries through to your audience, for a consistent experience around the venue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg3-OygE3co&ab_channel=FACTmagazine

So first of all, this is definately a rock gear + PA type thing.  Not strictly non-PA stuff.  Second, you are correct and I have not filled in the detail here that a lot of this stuff is processed through "rock gear" while being recorded, and so I can send the unprocessed stems through the gear live is my point.  So to your point, it is an accurate reproduction.  And in many ways, superior, since they get to hear it from the source, rather that having to do additional processing afterwords.  I also think it is important for artists to have live shows that have some sonic and performance deviation from their recorded music.  Something I think Nine Inch Nails does well, frequently replacing for instance parts played on a keyboard with guitar and vice versa.  Point being, complete 1:1 reproduction isn't a goal, and is actually undesesirable here from my standpoint.  The goal is to actually reproduce the spirit of the sound, with the equipment, live, to the best it can be done, with the smallest cash outlay. 

Quote
You are correct, few small venues have adequate systems; so if you want something better that probably means you either need to find a better venue or to bring the rig. At my main venue I mix at I have an L'Acoustics Rig with 8x KS28's. I have never driven it anywhere close to what it could do, and I have no desire to.

Well here is the meat of the discussion.  In a 400 cap venue, if the music is primarily sub bass, it would appear this is approximately the power level required.  Even from a rental standpoint, this is a considerable outlay for an act that is going to generate $0-100 to play in a bar.  I understand these pro systems are a lot more efficient than say the Crown as called out earlier in the thread, but man, 400 watts of tube power is considered "stadium" power.  Is tube power not logrithmic compared to a linear solid state power?  I am seriously blown away at the idea that if I had 2 15" 400w capable bass cabinets being driven by 2 channels of 200w tube power that this would not saturate a 400 cap venue in sub bass.

Quote
If low end and volume is what you are after, there are many systems and manufacturers that can do what you desire, however you will want to consider:

1) What area are you trying to cover?
2) What SPL are trying to achieve?
3) What frequency extension do you need?

Once you know those things you can determine what you need to fit your needs.

As you are uncertain about venue specifics, and system deployment and tuning, it would probably be best to rent or hire in a sound-company to provide; if that seems like it costs a lot of money, I would posit that you have probably not considered all the costs associated with ownership of equipment (storage, transport, repair, insurance etc).

Basically, right now, I am only trying to figure out how to "extend" the bass range on an underpowered bar with a capacity of 400 people.  That is the median venue size.  So the plan is to understand and accept the fact that most of these bars are probably going to have 2000 watts of PA available.  Basically two guitar center PA speakers on a stand.  And I can use that for the non-critical audio, these are background sounds or things I absolutely don't want to either put through a guitar amp, or clean tube amp.   But this system obviously will not keep up with literally anything.  Even vocals with a full rock band would barely be hear with this setup, which lets be honest, would be typical of a small bar.

So here... we have some small amount of the overall sound that actually can be handled appropriately by that.  Then we have a bunch of stuff I can put through guitar gear. What's left is what I consider to be the centerpeice of the sound itself, at least for this project.  The sub bass.

The question to me, is what is the cheapest possible way to acheive 45ish hz at a level to saturate a 400 cap venue?  These bass poweramps, which are actually very clean, and desirable from my standpoint, are about $1000 each, and they're 2 channels.  The 15" cabinets are about $400 used.  Now the hardest thing to understand here, is if I ask a bass player, hey, at what point are you completely saturating a venue like this, they're going to say "one 8x10 and my amp at 5."  But that is because they're primarily going to be pushing 100-300hz, with the bulk of it being heard around 200-300hz.

I am just really having trouble grasping this $3000 setup would not be heard in the next building if it was dedicated to bass from 40-100hz.  And then another bass stack for 100-300hz. 
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Herbert Mcinnes

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Re: Sub bass to keep up with live drums, in a bar, with bass cabs.
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2022, 02:01:16 PM »

I'll take "This'll never work" for $1000, Alex.


Tube watts aren't any different than solis state. Or a toaster oven for that matter. A "Watt" is a unit of measurement that something has produced. The reason tube guitar amps "sound" louder is because the distortion fools our ears into thinking thay are louder than they really are. This is also why saturation plug ins work. Make it distorted and it sou nds louder. This is psycho-acoustics. Not physics. It all happens in your head.

To make serious bass you need to move a ton of air. The only way to do that is to either have a whole bunch of speakers, or speakers that do more work individually. And give those speakers enough power to get the job done.

Why tube amps? The "benefit" of tube amps is completely lost when you are talking low frequency stuff. You'll be trying to dig a grave with a spoon by using tube amps for this setup.

If watts are watts, what is the cheapest way to push enough sub bass air to saturate a 400 cap venue, on average? 

So there's some benefit in the mid range for sure, and we both seem to understand that.  But I didn't realize that advantage might not extend to the low end.  All I knew or know is turning the knob on a tube amp when you're pumping mid range is monstrous sound the likes of which the solid state stuff I played with wasn't even close to.  Just an absolute roar.  That being said, I also think tube stuff is in general just more pleasing and easy on the ear.  Just less harsh.  To put it in a simple to understand way of thinking, my view on the matter is as band with a real backline who does a half ass job of everything sound wise will tend to sound better in my opinion that a band who is running digitital equipment to a FOH that isn't perfectly setup.  The absolute perfect PA only guitar setup, will sound as good as a decent backline pound for pound in my opinion.  There's just something about the blanket of tube sound that you get from a band that is locked in, that is really really hard I think to replicate in a PA.

I know this conversation is going to get some people hot under the collar and these conversations are hotly debated in all music forums.

And again I want to clarify these are "clean" power amps.  So not like a Marshall or something.  Used in home theatre installations and bass amplification.
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Doug Fowler

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Re: Sub bass to keep up with live drums, in a bar, with bass cabs.
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2022, 02:18:12 PM »


I know this conversation is going to get some people hot under the collar and these conversations are hotly debated in all music forums.


Please take it to these other forums you speak of.   

Topic locked.
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Doug Fowler

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Re: Sub bass to keep up with live drums, in a bar, with bass cabs.
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2022, 03:19:45 PM »

Nick Chandler (or is it Herbert McInnes?) sent me a nice PM.

We won’t be hearing from him again. 
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Sub bass to keep up with live drums, in a bar, with bass cabs.
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2022, 03:19:45 PM »


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