Q: I recently down-sized my amp from a classic SVT setup 8×10 with a head to a combo amp. Obviously much smaller. I want to raise it off the floor without losing the bottom end because I have used my Ampeg rig exclusively for 20+ years, and I am used to having that stage sound from the top speakers near ear level. I figure a stand of some kind will lose all the bottom. Perhaps a solid box of some kind? Thoughts?
A: I understand the idea of having the sound of the amp right behind you, at or near head level (not to mention feeling the air that you are pushing to help you to engage with the music and feel your playing).
I have also been downsizing some of the gear I lug around and have been using smaller amps for certain types of gigs. I do definitely miss that big rig behind me at times.
There are a number of options:
- There are plenty of companies making amp stands. Although they are generally geared toward guitarists, there’s no real reason why a bassist couldn’t use one as well.
- You can tilt your speaker cab up, using some kind of wedge. I’ve done this in larger theaters with bands that require less stage volume (acoustic guitarists, for example). I have used my amp purely as a monitor, actually – angled and facing directly at me from the front (helping the sound man to control the room) and only using my direct line for the front of house system.
- Some companies make “rumble stands” which are for you to actually stand on and feel the low end (like a rumble seat for drummers). This seems a little over-the-top to me, but it is an interesting idea.
- You can use a box or road case underneath your speaker cab. I’ve done this as well, and the only thing to watch out for is anything that may rattle (like the handle of a road case or a loose joint on a wooden box). That’ll drive you nuts! I’ve also noticed that it does seem to change the sound of the cab. I imagine that it alters the resonance in some way. A solid box may be a better option, but who wants to tote around a big, solid box with them to gigs?!
- Use the monitors! This is the most obvious solution, but I rarely like the sound of my bass coming through the monitor (unless they have a 12˝ or 15˝ wedge). It is often a much cleaner version of my sound, and I prefer my monitor to only slightly assist my sound on stage, not dominate it. Also, I tend to keep as little as possible in my wedge because I find that a mix can easily become cluttered and defy the purpose.
So, in the end? I think my favorite method when using a small cab on stage is to wedge it at an angle towards my head or to use an amp stand. I’ve never actually tried an amp stand, but I imagine that it would work pretty well.
Again, an amp stand will probably thin out your sound as opposed to having it on the stage due to the change in resonance with the floor.
Anybody else have any suggestions? Post them in the comments!