#1
I'm just wondering what the consensus is for using a half stack, or full stack, at a small venue. I'm talking about the sort of place that only unsigned bands would play at, like a bar type place. Take into the equation that the drumkit would be fully miced up with overheads as well.

I can imagine it would probably be easier to use a tube amp, including the fact that it would probably leave more space on such a small stage! But say a band did rock up with stacks, would there be many sound issues?

I'm a bit of a luddite when it comes to the engineering/audio side of music, but I understand that there must be some correlation between the size of venue and appropriate type of amp.
#2
Depends on the venue, really- a lot of places these days will just mic your amp through their own system, so whatever advantage you feel the big stack would give you will be somewhat nullified.
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#3
Quote by Seductive Barry
Take into the equation that the drumkit would be fully miced up with overheads as well.
Who in the world would mic up a drum kit and not a guitar amp?
Tell them to get a new damn sound guy.

If they mic up drum kits though they probably mic up amps as well.
Quote by Seductive Barry
I can imagine it would probably be easier to use a tube amp,
In terms of volume a tube amp doesn't differe from a solid state amp really.
Quote by Seductive Barry
But say a band did rock up with stacks, would there be many sound issues?
If you have a pair of 2x12's or 4x12" you can put them at the left and right sides of the stage, and then have the sound guy tell you to set the amp.

Still, that'd be the last resort solution to use only if you can't find any half decent PA system.

Using PA systems is better 'cause that way you can set up the amp the way you prefer and have the sound guy make everything sound good to the audience.
With guitar cabs you also get a hell of a bad dispersion pattern so people in different positions relative to your cab(s) will hear a different sound.

If you can, use a PA system.
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#4
I've been using 3 types of amplification/mixing techniques that all seem to work really well, the first two deal with lower-volume venues:

1: A tube combo at a somewhat cranked volume, pointed towards a resounding feature of a low-volume venue. You'll get your natural amp tones, bypassing PA sound coloring completely. I point my VK towards the peak of a local chapel, so that it blends in with floor sound of the PA mix. No micing is needed. You'll need to have a good ear for how to mix your amp's sound with the mix, though.

2: A solid state combo at a medium volume, utilizing a line-out function (with a direct box) to the PA of a medium-volume venue. This allows you to still have responsiveness and functionality while giving the sound tech control over your volume in the PA. Using a tube amp at a low volume sounds bad, especially when miced, so using a SS amp and a line-out instead sounds much better. Of course, you need a good sounding line out.

3: A cranked tube amp, miced to a PA for a loud-volume venue. The best way to get a good sound with control and sensitivity. You may want to put your amp in isolation depending upon the stage volume needs.

Likewise, putting a cranked tube amp in isolation can work for both of those first two scenarios. You just don't want to mess up the mix with your volume from the stage, so it has to be in pure isolation.

So if you're able to get a good sound with just your amp's speaker in a venue mixing with a PA mix, do that. But going through a PA is almost always a better choice, so put your tube amp in isolation and mic it if you can or use a solid-state line-out.

I would hate to have to use a stack unless I was micing. If the PA loudspeakers are on the floor, see if you can put the stack's speakers relatively close to them. If they are on the ceiling/ an unreachable place, try your best to use a combo/mic the amp in isolation.
Last edited by Will Lane at Jan 19, 2015,
#5
Chances are that the venue will mic your guitar cab, and the bass cab, especially if they mic the drums. I would bring a 2x12 cab, nothing bigger, and get a monitor for each member, if possible.

Before you go to your gig, maybe turn down your amps volume a couple notches, then see how it sounds, and see if your happy with it. When you do your soundcheck, see what the sound guy says, and adjust accordingly.

I would wait and see what robbgnarly has to say though. Apparently he's been doing live sound for a long time.
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#6
It's all about sound. A 2x12 with a Head will react differently than a 1x12 combo. The 2x12 will have way more low end. But since a lot of people mic amps now, playing gigs is a lot easier(as in, going to your car and unloading a massive 8x10 your bassist has).
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#7
My band uses 4x12 half stacks and every sound guy Ive ever met still mic'd my stack. Theres a volume knob, you dont have to blast the audience with the full 120w. A good sound guy will let you get your levels where they need to be on stage and then adjust the PA and monitors to coincide.
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#8
Quote by Fryderyczek
It's all about sound. A 2x12 with a Head will react differently than a 1x12 combo. The 2x12 will have way more low end. .

Not if the combo is closed back and the 212 cabinet is open back

Quote by pantallica87
My band uses 4x12 half stacks and every sound guy Ive ever met still mic'd my stack. Theres a volume knob, you dont have to blast the audience with the full 120w. A good sound guy will let you get your levels where they need to be on stage and then adjust the PA and monitors to coincide.

Pretty much this. Bring what you need to hear yourself, a good sound guy will take care of the rest. For unmic'd gigs obviously all bets are off.
#9
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
Not if the combo is closed back and the 212 cabinet is open back


Well, yeah. But most 2x12 cabs are closed back, and most 1x12 combo are open back(At least from my experience).
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#10
In short, it would be extremely overkill, but it sure looks cool.

I use a 100W Peavey Valveking 212. Sounds guys tell me I can turn down my amp to have it mic'ed or just crank it and not have it go through the PA. We're a two piece, so it wouldn't really matter if my amp is mic'ed into the PA or not. Of course it makes sense to be mic'ed so that everything is mixed properly.

A lot of local bands in my scene are a bunch of broke teenagers and they're running 1x12 solid state combos. Stand alone, those amps might not be loud enough to fill a venue, but when the amps are mic'ed, you'd never know the difference ("you" being the average audience member, not the analytical guitar player). Some bands use Fender DeVille 4x10's, Vox AC15/30's, Twin Reverb RI's, Vibroluxes, Peavey Classic 50's (some 4x10), and other similar amps. Aside from the 4x10's, the amps I mentioned are 2x12 combos, but all of them are under 100W and they are plenty loud enough, especially when mic'ed. Another thing people don't realize is using an amp stand actually makes your amp "louder" because the sound isn't going into the ground.

I don't think most bands realize that a 50W+ head through a 4x12 cab creates more than enough sound for a small to mid sized venue. Most bands could be fine using 2x12's. There are certain advantages to using bigger cabs (more low end, more depth, more "sound," etc), but when you're playing already deafeningly loud rock music through a PA, those nuances are often lost.
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#11
Another thing people don't realize is using an amp stand actually makes your amp "louder" because the sound isn't going into the ground.


...and, as the saying goes, you don't have ears on your knees.
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Log off and play yer guitar!

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#12
My 4x12s stay at home. If at all possible, stage volume stays low and audience volume gets controlled by the PA. It's specifically designed for good coverage of the room, and most stage-bound amps don't do that very well. Especially in small venues, blasting the first 10 rows of audience is considered a bad thing and you can often find that you're not invited back.
#13
Ehhh...I always use my 1960 just because of the tone I get from it. Our "home stage" is a pretty small venue and half the time we're either mic'd or if not we'll turn up just a hair and go straight from the cabs...it just depends who arranges the sound for the night. Thankfully the acoustics are really good in there so my sound carries all the way to the back smoothly even with the full band so most of the time the addition of the PA for instruments serves for monitoring purposes. I mean that works for me there and how that building was designed. I know there are a lot of crappy dive bars with horrible (most likely no) sound treatment.

You just got to be smart about it. Just because you have a stack doesn't mean you have to crank it....and the ONLY time I've ever seen anybody play there with a full stack was this past weekend...didn't even have it plugged in. He just had it for show while he played out of his Fender Deville...
#14
There’s nothing inherently wrong with using a stack in a small venue if that’s all you have to play with. Like everybody else said, just keep the volume down. But if you play small venues it makes sense to sell the stack and get something that’s easier to handle so you aren’t lugging two big cabs and a head to every little show you play.
#15
Quote by Seductive Barry
I'm just wondering what the consensus is for using a half stack, or full stack, at a small venue. I'm talking about the sort of place that only unsigned bands would play at, like a bar type place. Take into the equation that the drumkit would be fully miced up with overheads as well.


In most cases it is for show and not for sound. If they mic the kit then they mic the guitar amps and sound guys these days want to keep stage volumes well controlled. If you play in a Metal band, a 1/2 stack is almost required kit for "the look" so just bring it and turn the fecker down.
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#16
The 1st key to playing live regardless of if you have a 1x12 or a 4x12 is to not suck at your own stage volume.

I run sound in a medium sized venue guys who know what is going on can use a 4x12 no issues, but I have trouble with guys playing a 1x12 combo.

Remember if you suck/your band sucks the sound guy can only make suck louder
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Last edited by Robbgnarly at Jan 19, 2015,