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Plug electric into DI and into PA, or mic a small amp?

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  • Plug electric into DI and into PA, or mic a small amp?

    I'm going to start playing electric for a very small church that is held in a movie theater. So the PA system is already pretty great sounding. For the speaker its excellent. However, i can't help but think that controlling volume is a nightmare because sound is so well contained that you can hear the slightest of everything, and you can't go very loud at all. So i'm wondering, should I just buy a DI/preamp and plug my pedals into it, then use in-ears for my monitors? Or just mic up a small Fender Blues Junior. I feel thats even too loud.

    I'm not too picky on i hear myself, but i'm picky on what sound i'm producing in the first place.

    For example when I play bass i don't even use monitors. I just listen to the drums. But I do care that the audience will be able to hear a good bass tone in the first place.

  • #2
    Either setup would probably work in your scenario. For me, simplicity is key (especially in a mobile situation), and the various amp sim options have gotten really good in recent years. I've been back and forth between digital and analog sims, tube and solid state amps, but I've been running through an Ethos Clean for about a year and have never been happier with my tone. Plus the whole rig makes it in from the car in one trip!
    Eric Frisch
    www.ericfrisch.com

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    • #3
      Would recommend against pedals to DI to mixer without some sort of decent amp modeler. Reason being, electric guitar pickups are wound in a way that the high mids come out really strong. Because of this, amp manufacturers filter a lot of that out in the preamp by biasing some of the circuitry to offset the strong mids for a more balanced sound. Amp simulators/modelers incorporate this principle into the amp models.

      Punch line being, if you try to run straight from pedals to DI, it will sound harsh and it will be a constant battle trying to EQ it out.

      A good friend of mine uses a Blues Junior (and I've borrowed it a time or two) and it does get pretty loud.It sounds great, but like most tube amps, sounds better when it's pushed a little hard- meaning it would be pretty loud. It would probably give you a better overall tone, but some people would give you the stink-eye over volume.

      What some people have done is build an 'amp box'- basically a wooden box lined with sound deadening foam that the amp sets in. The amp is miked, and the box contains most of the sound so you can get the tube amp tone without the stage volume.

      Personally, I run a Digitech RP500. It took a while to dial in, but I have a personal powered floor wedge, run a DI to the board, and can run all kinds of different setups. I currently have the same channel copied 5-6 times with different effects combinations (phaser, trem, chorus, etc.) that gives me some good options to pick from. It's not the greatest modeler out there, but I got it used for $100 and works great for 3 songs on a Sunday morning.

      Good luck, let us know which way worked for you
      If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

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      • #4
        To contrast Mike on Bass's post, if you know your gear well, you can get a great sound out of an amp modeling pedal. Go analog if you can - Tech 21 makes some great sound analog amp modeling pedals (Liverpool - similar to the Vox AC30 sound, Blonde - similar to a Fender Tweed, etc.) that aren't expensive.

        Another way to go about it, if you absolutely swear by the physical amp being present, is get a Bluestone load-bearing direct box (less than $150). Take the external-speaker-out from your amp and plug it into the Bluestone with a speaker cable. The Bluestone will bear the amp-load and will then turn it into a line-level signal for the audio mixer to work with. So you're using your guitar amp as a preamp, essentially. And if your amp is like most, once you plug into the external-speaker-out jack, your combo amp speaker will mute. So that's an option!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mike on Bass View Post
          What some people have done is build an 'amp box'- basically a wooden box lined with sound deadening foam that the amp sets in. The amp is miked, and the box contains most of the sound so you can get the tube amp tone without the stage volume.
          Might not work for your situation if you're setting up/breaking down every Sunday, but our church bought one of these, and it's great...



          Randall isolation cab with a Vintage 30 mic'ed up inside. Guitarists bring their own pedalboard and head. We use in ears. We also have a small 1x12 tucked behind the stage if there is a second guitarist on a given Sunday, surrounded by foam sheets.


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          • #6
            I play for a church that holds about 300 people and we have an awesome sound system. We use in-ear monitors. I use a line 6 helix and plug straight into the house and it sounds great! The secret to making the helix sound awesome is IRs.

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