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Author Topic: Your own amp  (Read 1532 times)

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Jozz

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Your own amp
« on: April 21, 2018, 08:57:03 AM »

I am wondering if there are stage performers here, who use their own amp. As in, like a guitarist? I failed to find much with the search function so here I am.

Recently I've come into gig settings where I felt my confidence a bit lacking because of bad foldback mix or even how they had put my sound over the front mix.

Now I've been toying with the idea of getting a really good acoustic amp with a DI, dialing in the sound I want and giving it to the sound guy while it doubles as a personal monitor. I use internal mics so it would be a very clean solution.

So I was wondering if anybody does this, and what are your experiences, do's and don'ts...and what amp do you use? I am thinking about those acoustic amps that have inputs for vocals etc. or a keyboard amp.

thanks
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Matt Allin

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2018, 10:51:44 AM »

Hi,

Melnet taught me all I know about melodeons - but this is the first time I have ever posted (on any kind of forum).

I do have some experience relevant to this. I play in noisy pubs / small venues, melodeon and guitar - in a band. I use two inexpensive mics from Thomann on the melodeon. These go to a mixer (with phantom power) and I take an output from this to my acoustic guitar amp (an AER Alpha). This means I can hear myself well. The amp has a balanced(xlr) out which goes to the mixing desk if it’s a large venue. For smaller places I just use the amp.... I find it is much easier to hear myself and my playing is a bit better (that’s not saying much though!).


Hope this is useful

Matt
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Mike Hirst

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2018, 11:20:51 AM »

I have done this. I used a 30w Peavey bass amp. This was good for small venues on it's own. For larger/noisy venues we sometimes put a mic. on the speaker.
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Anahata

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2018, 11:54:13 AM »

I have done this, for a brief period when I played in a ceilidh band that had a drum kit and electric bass for a backline.
I don't remember what make it was as it wasn't mine and was a long time ago, but it was designed as a keyboard amp i.e. clean full range sound, no deliberate guitar distortion. It had two inputs with a good range of controls for each, and  worked well even when I shared it with a fiddle.

In a line up with loud instruments (drums) and amplified instruments (electric bass or guitars) it makes sense for other instruments to have their own amp as well.
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Mike Hirst

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2018, 12:21:43 PM »

In a line up with loud instruments (drums) and amplified instruments (electric bass or guitars) it makes sense for other instruments to have their own amp as well.

This was my experience too. In my situation all other instruments were electric. On one noteable occasion I used the amp with acoustic instruments (mic'd) and p***ed everyone off so much that I never tried it again.  :-[
« Last Edit: April 21, 2018, 06:37:37 PM by Mike Hirst »
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Stiamh

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2018, 04:51:15 PM »

We have done this with my son's piano, a Yamaha P95 which has no output other than two ¼-in. headphone jacks - use of which cuts out the piano's speakers.

Left-hand (mono) headphone jack to Roland Cube monitor, jack out from Cube to DI box, XLR connection from DI to mixer.

However he wants to be able to play with the volume on the Cube without affecting the mix, so he now connects one headphone jack to the Cube and the other to the DI box, ignoring my protests that each will be getting half of the stereo output. (No difference has been noticed...)

Anyway, you will probably want to make sure that your setup allows you to change the volume of your onstage amp without affecting what goes to the mixer.

 

Jozz

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2018, 02:25:46 PM »

I use two inexpensive mics from Thomann on the melodeon. These go to a mixer (with phantom power) and I take an output from this to my acoustic guitar amp (an AER Alpha). This means I can hear myself well. The amp has a balanced(xlr) out which goes to the mixing desk if it’s a large venue. For smaller places I just use the amp.... I find it is much easier to hear myself and my playing is a bit better (that’s not saying much though!).

hi Matt thanks for responding. I am also looking at AER how do you like the sound? I hear they are crystal clear (never tested one myself). Does it do the melodeon justice?

Anyway, you will probably want to make sure that your setup allows you to change the volume of your onstage amp without affecting what goes to the mixer.

good point, I had put this on my short list. But I want nothing, like a mixer, in between. So it has to be in one package. Now I hope to find something that has all these things (EQ, dedicated direct/line out volume, maybe multiple inputs..) within a reasonable budget...
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Matt Allin

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2018, 03:55:27 PM »

Hi Jozz

The aer is really good. Melodeon sounds good through it, as does a vocal mic. And the guitar. Mine is only a little one, and has one channel (2 inputs, but only 1 eq section). The compact 60 model has two channels I think. I don’t use much eq, because it sounds good flat. It doesn’t have phantom power, but you may not need this depending on how you mic/pick up the melodeon.

I saw Knight and Spiers a few weeks ago and Peter Knight was using an Aer compact 60 on stage.

One drawback is that aer amps are expensive. Might be worth considering others e.g. Fishman loudbox mini (guitarist forums seem to love it). There’s a v cheap amp - sub zero - that my band mate has. Sounds quite good to me (he plays ukes through it).

Other possibilities include a small powered PA speaker plus small mixer .... I’ve not done this, but it’s reputed to sound v clean. Might be cheaper....


Apologies for rambling post. Hope you find something that suits you.

Matt
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Jozz

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2018, 12:49:37 PM »

Hello Matt and others,

I was try testing several Fender and Fishman acoustics wasn't entirely happy with any, then finally decided to go for the higher end stuff. I looked at the AER but ended up with Acus who sell a range of acoustics including the 8C which I'm currently trying out.

It has four inputs with dedicated gain/EQ each, and 200W over 60W of the AER. It's also 200-250 euros cheaper. It has the needed dedicated volume for line-out and basic effects on board.

Cons are that it's quite a bit heavier and bulkier than the AER, but I guess I can live with that. I got the one with the tilt feature to use it as my personal monitor with a line out.

In my ears, it's sound is better than the AER, which is slightly more tin/metal sounding (more like a real guitar amp).

First testing on the 8C reveals absolutely stunning clarity, better then anything I tried before, but time will tell how this goes in real life. We also put some strings and vocals over it, very nice indeed, in order to check if we can use it as an all-in-one solution for small acoustic venues. A surprise was to be able to hear clear differences between different vocal mic's on same settings out of this relatively small box.

Next sunday I will hoist it on stage and have a go with it for the first time, in between a full band.

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Ken Watson

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2018, 02:59:48 PM »

Hello Jazz,
I used to play melodeon with a "Folk Rock" Ceilidh Band (Def Sheppard) and I used a Trace Acoustic TA100R Amplifier.

It's 100 watt with 4 x 5" speakers, and has built-in digital reverb and a notch filter (which is useful for cutting out feed-back). It has jack and XLR inputs (2 channels). It also has XLR Balanced output to Mixing Desk. I think they are still available to buy.

Regards, Ken
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Mike Carney

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2018, 05:23:58 PM »

Hello Jazz,
I used to play melodeon with a "Folk Rock" Ceilidh Band (Def Sheppard) and I used a Trace Acoustic TA100R Amplifier.

It's 100 watt with 4 x 5" speakers, and has built-in digital reverb and a notch filter (which is useful for cutting out feed-back). It has jack and XLR inputs (2 channels). It also has XLR Balanced output to Mixing Desk. I think they are still available to buy.
These are fab amps. I used my TA40CR (smaller I think) the other day not for melodeon foldback but for whole band foldback for four of us, as we were fed up of our cheap ones not doing the business and it worked well, cutting through clearly. We will use it again.
Mike
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 05:25:39 PM by Mike Carney »
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Jozz

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2018, 08:52:51 PM »

hey guys

haven't looked at Trace but it appears they are no longer available? so far still excited about the Acus though.

we've been doing some more testing with vocals and it's so crisp I love it (that said, I don't have any real experience with something comparable)

it also sports a notch filter and balanced out if needed, but I guess i will be simply going into DI with the line-out

the big plus for me is it's builtin 4-channel mixer which none of the competition offer

we'll see how it holds up in a band setting
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oggiesnr

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2018, 10:25:45 PM »

Seems to me there are several issues here.

Once you have a sound guy involved then you're always at their mercy, even if you give them a DI.  Sometimes the answer is to replace the sound guy.

As far as hearing yourself is concerned then I've used an earpiece from the headphone socket of assorted behringer mixers.  I've also used the out to give the sound guy a single sound source so he couldn't hard pan the right and left hands of a box; been there and had it happen on a bandoneon, not good!

For personal monitoring there's a few small units coming out at aroung the £200 mark to look at.  If you have more money that look at the latest Bose systems which sound awesome.  There's also the LD Maui 5 sytem which I'm going to look at next week.

Have fun

Steve
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Howard Jones

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2018, 02:42:18 PM »

Good foldback is certainly essential when you're in a band.  However if you're getting a bad foldback mix, and possibly bad FOH sound, a personal monitor isn't really addressing the issue. It might help you personally, but from what you are saying the whole band may have a problem.

Maybe before trying to solve your individual concerns you should have some rehearsal sessions with PA, specifically to look at these issues. and explore possible solutions. Often the only time bands set up the PA is at gigs, when there's no time to deal with broader problems.  Assuming the soundie is competent, a poor foldback mix might just need better communication.

My band went from wedges to personal monitors some years ago, and find they give a much clearer and more focussed sound.  The model we use is no longer made. However we use them to take personalised foldback mixes from the sound desk, whereas you seem to be suggesting mixing  the melodeon yourself on stage and then sending that mix to the desk.  I wonder whether this could cause problems if the balance you want for foldback is different from that needed for FOH?

I use a small 6-channel mixer with this to take all my feeds from several instruments, with the signal going direct to the main desk and a separate foldback signal going direct to my monitor. I can control the balance of my instruments in foldback individually against a "rest of band" mix from the main desk. In can also mute my own instruments, which is useful when changing over mid-set when the soundie may be busy elsewhere.

The only problem I've had is that I change instruments a lot and on a small stage it's quite easy to bring an instrument mic a bit too close to the speaker and cause foldback, so I've now gone in-ear.  We now have the luxury of a digital desk and can control our own foldback mixes wirelessly using a tablet or phone.
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Jozz

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2018, 10:18:27 PM »

Well I'm trying to address a lot of these points with one stone here, I admit.

Bottom line is, what I basically want to achieve is like a bassist, guitarist, I want to stand in my own sound and that it feels good right away.

Even if the guy is competent most of the time I get my own instrument dry as a bone through the foldbacks. Yeah okay I can hear myself, but I like to have a bit more of this...and oh..there is no more time? moving on to the next instrument please. And then we're off and I'm like: hmmm.

Of course this can be dialed in with eachother but I rather like the idea of having this amp sitting at home, tweaked to perfection, then bringing it up and give them the line-out and be done in 5 seconds no matter where we're playing.

Finally in a smaller acoustic session it should be able to double as a mini-PA for a couple of musicians. Also looked at the Maui and Bose systems but they are just a bit to bulky to double as my personal amp and it appears the Acus will be able to pull a small room no problem.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2018, 07:55:31 AM by Jozz »
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pete /acorn

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2018, 06:42:27 AM »

Hi
Have a look at the Schertler range,the pub 280  would do what you want,these are liked by  double bass players but have a big enough range to cover higher pitched instruments.
They are expensive.
I have a 280 linked to the Schertler bass,fantastic,ideal for small gigs.
They also do a David,this is ideal as a monitor with a dedicated stand,it stands about 300mm off floor but tilts back facing speakers towards musician

if you are near me in North Yorkshire you are welcome to come and try them

Pete

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Theo

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2018, 08:41:22 AM »

It seems to me that you need to fix the problem at source, not just apply an acoustic sticking plaster.  If the soundy is not doing what you want you need to educate or replace him/her.  With a stage amp you will be able to improve your experience on stage but what about the poor experience for audience? 

Quote
Finally in a smaller acoustic session it should be able to double as a mini-PA for a couple of musicians.

Surely there is a contradiction there?  If it's an acoustic session then by definition it is for unamplified instruments.
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Howard Jones

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2018, 09:06:40 AM »

I agree with Theo that this sounds like a sticking plaster for a bigger problem. However if you're going to do it there are a number of things to consider:

Does the amp have sufficient inputs for your needs?  I assume you have separate inputs (of the correct type) for treble and bass?  Will you want an additional feed from the desk for "rest of band" foldback? 
If your mics need phantom power, will the amp provide this?
(These issues could perhaps be addressed by using a small sub-mixer, but that's an additional expense and an additional complication.)
Will this increase the sound on stage?  Beware of "backline wars" as musicians turn up their own amp to hear better, prompting the others to turn up theirs, and so on.
Will you actually be able to set it up and forget it? I find the sound on stage can very enormously between venues and this can significantly alter how the foldback has to be set up.

I suggest you discuss it with the soundie and other band members first, or at least tell them what you are doing.  I remain of the view that you would benefit from a PA rehearsal.  You might have to raise this tactfully so it doesn't come over as a criticism of the soundie - it should be an opportunity to think about the band is using PA, without the deadline of a gig.  From what you've described you don't seem to be soundchecking effectively - this may simply be lack of time (so get to gigs earlier!) or it may be that people are faffing about and don't really know what they want, in which case an opportunity to think about it and try things out could be beneficial.  It may be that if the band as a whole, not just the soundie, can get a better understanding of the band's needs and get slicker at using the PA then your problem will go away.

Pro sound engineers spend most of the time set aside for a sound check getting the foldback right, as this is much more difficult during a performance but is critical to a getting the best out of the band. FOH sound only needs to be "good enough" and can be tweaked during performance (and will probably need changing once the room fills with people).
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Jozz

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2018, 03:36:41 PM »

It seems to me that you need to fix the problem at source, not just apply an acoustic sticking plaster.  If the soundy is not doing what you want you need to educate or replace him/her.  With a stage amp you will be able to improve your experience on stage but what about the poor experience for audience? 

Quote
Finally in a smaller acoustic session it should be able to double as a mini-PA for a couple of musicians.

Surely there is a contradiction there?  If it's an acoustic session then by definition it is for unamplified instruments.

You are right what I meant to say was "electric-acoustic instruments" or a small boost by amplifying with a couple of mics on stands  (:) just not the whole circus with professional PA, full bands etc.

And regarding educating the sound-guy, it's not always the same guy, or the same band, it's when I play as a session-musician I get into these situations the most. So you are only a number on someone else's stageplan, and you have to make due with a soundcheck where everybody has his backline except me, I only hear foldback. So I think there I can improve it for myself. For the audience it's all about trust, but I thought if I feed them my prepared mix at least it's okay, even dry.

Does the amp have sufficient inputs for your needs?  I assume you have separate inputs (of the correct type) for treble and bass?  Will you want an additional feed from the desk for "rest of band" foldback? 
If your mics need phantom power, will the amp provide this?
(These issues could perhaps be addressed by using a small sub-mixer, but that's an additional expense and an additional complication.)
Will this increase the sound on stage?  Beware of "backline wars" as musicians turn up their own amp to hear better, prompting the others to turn up theirs, and so on.
Will you actually be able to set it up and forget it? I find the sound on stage can very enormously between venues and this can significantly alter how the foldback has to be set up.

The Acus has 4 channels IN and 3 out which should make it ideal in all situations I'm picturing. Also it has phantom (which I don't need but you never know).

I will use it BESIDE whatever foldback is available, but the option of putting a foldback feed into it is there.

We'll see how it goes. Tonight and sunday I'm going to test it.
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Jozz

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Re: Your own amp
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2018, 08:47:38 AM »

Well I'm excited to report it qualifies as my personal monitor.

I took it to the rehearsal room yesterday and was bathing in my own sound bubble from the get go. Much more so than normally when I put myself on the PA of which the speakers are hung around the room.

So far very happy with this thing

On to the stage next sunday  :||:
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