I've been playing bass in a cover band, and my amp head is an 80's GK rb200, and on the back is has a 1/4" jack labeled "direct out." What I've always done, in addition to putting it through the cab, I run a cable from the direct out into the mixer, and it works fine.
The other day, we had a gig at a place with their own PA/sound guy, and he was confused about it. He had me plug my bass straight into a DI box, which then went into my amp (didnt use the amp's direct out), and this worked, but it seemed to make having the amp kind of pointless. So what would be the proper way to run the bass thru the amp, preferably being able to use the EQ of my amp rather than bypassing it like the soundguy did?
You were correct. Running a bass into a D.I. box and then into an amplifier and then into the board is pointless, unless you were running a split signal: one signal from your amplifier/speakers and a second one through the P.A. Even then, you'd have been better off running a Y-shaped cable into both the amp and the D.I. box.

Usually, you run either an amp/speakers mic'ed into the board or a D.I. box right into the board.
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There's nothing wrong at all with sending a DI from your bass to the desk as well as running through an amp, that way the sound tech can just give you a little more welly if you need it.
That's odd, you sure it's a DI out and not just a line out? DI's are usually XLR in/outputs.
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I played in a pit orchestra recently, and I used the XLR out on my amp to go into the PA system. The sound guy (VERY competent sound guy BTW) came into the pit after a few minutes, and gave me a DI box to plug into without going into my amp first. I asked him why, and he said that XLR out added a ton of noise to the signal, and quite frankly it sounded like ass. He then told me to plug into my amp from the DI box and to use my amp as a monitor. It ended up sounding great. I would have preferred to have my own tone from my bass amp, but it just wasn't working in the larger scheme of things. Something to think about.

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Your direct out probably is at line level (about a volt) The DI box was a splitter and the output was a balanced output of a couple of milivolts going to a mic input on the board. Balanced outputs avoid picking up electrical noise from the rest of the gear on stage, so your sound guy was trying to get a cleaner sound. The point of your amp is that this provides the sound you hear.

There isn't a right or wrong way about all of this but the method you use means the signal to the PA is after your tone controls. If you use the amp on different settings on different songs then this will be lost through the PA and the sound engineer controls your tone. If you don't change the settings much then the PA sound will be cleaner with a DI box. The tone controls on your guitar are effective either way.
Last edited by Phil Starr at Sep 10, 2010,