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Old September 8th, 2009, 03:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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"Real" Amp vs. PA system

Hi guys,

I'm in a band these days but I don't actualy own a gig worthy amp myself. But for the few times we've played since we started I was playing directly over the PA system of the place where we were playing at. The local hero guitar player advised me to buy a real amp but I don't really get it. Do I really need an amp? Because its quite cheap this way.

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Old September 8th, 2009, 03:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you're booked at a non-standard venue, you need a Plan B. ("They" say that most venues have a PA system. Keywords: Not All.)
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Old September 8th, 2009, 03:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It's a bit unusual to gig the electric guitar without an amp.

I know acoustic guys who direct line into the PA but an amp makes up so much of the electric guitar sound that it's unusual not to have amp.

How do you tweak your sound??

I think that you should have an amp. My opinion.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 03:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Without some type of amp emulator like a POD, ToneLab, MFX unit or one of the tasty boxes from Tech 21 you'll be losing a lot tone and nuance. If you don't have a wad of cash, you might want to check out the Tech 21 Character boxes.

Note: no affiliation with any of the aforementioned companies, just a fan.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 03:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Compromise and just use something like the Sansamp?

edit: Parma beat me to it!
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Old September 8th, 2009, 03:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Anyone know anythign about that Electro-Harmonix "amp in a box" thing? Essentially it's an amp in a stomp box...puts out 20-odd watts and apparently sounds pretty good (for what it is)


My advice would be....BUY AN AMP! You're in a band, presumably you guys work hard practicing. It's a shame to not give your performance all it can have after all your work
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Old September 8th, 2009, 03:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I use a 30w Marshall but we mic it through the PA. The advantage (as we see it) is that I go out in the mix with everyone else so there is actually a balanced blend. A simple soundcheck sets levels and if you have a good enough PA, the sound is good, too. I then point the amp up at myself and it's a monitor for me without needing a separate monitor off the board. Works well for us.

But yes, it is nice to know that if I had to turn the amp around, I could hang with a loud drummer. 30w is more than enough for the small gigs that we play.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 03:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Last week we played a party where we shared the stage with another band. I supplied / ran the PA. The second guitar player did not have an amp and wanted to play straight through the PA. What a PITA situation because I had to adjust everything, montors, EQ, mains.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 03:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Some people use some sort of pre-amp, like a tube driver or a solid state pedal.

It's a matter of taste. I just don't think I'd have much fun without an amp to mic. I've gone direct a few times, and it doesn't sound very interesting - nothing like pushed tubes and speakers.

I bought a used Fender Pro Junior amp used for $225 (which is less than a lot of pre-amps), and it sounds like a monster through a PA. Turn it away from the audience and turn it all the way up. Gorgeous.

But if you like how going direct sounds, you're absolutely right, it's cheaper - and a lot easier on the back when it's time to go home!
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Old September 8th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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How do you practice at home then? Just headphones or with a teeny amp?

As Hiker aptly put it, you need to have some kind of serviceable amp, whether solid state or tube for situations where there's NO PA!!!

If you plan to continue playing out, you're gonna need an amp AND some kind of direct input box with XLR cable-out, so you get ALL the tone your axe is putting out translated properly thru the PA. Do your tone a favor. You and your bandmates will enjoy the more pristine sound of your playing then.....
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Old September 8th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #11 (permalink)
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That reminds me of a quote from some old-time jazz drummer: "by the time I've packed up the drums, the trumpet player's left with all the girls!"
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Old September 8th, 2009, 04:59 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDaddyLH View Post
That reminds me of a quote from some old-time jazz drummer: "by the time I've packed up the drums, the trumpet player's left with all the girls!"


FWIW, I run a ToneLab LE straight into a PA with pretty good results.

I played an AC-15CC1 over the weekend.

May chuck the ToneLab and buy one. I forgot how sweet a tube amp can sound, having played modelers for the past several years. As good as the modelers are (and I'm a HUGE fan and have played several) there is life and nuance that comes from pushing the tubes and overdriving the speaker.

Edit: What Charlie said!

So, have you tried one of the inexpensive Blackhearts or Bugera combos yet? Lotsa tone for a diminutive amount of cash.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 08:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDaddyLH View Post
That reminds me of a quote from some old-time jazz drummer: "by the time I've packed up the drums, the trumpet player's left with all the girls!"
I've heard this attributed to Elvin Jones as to why he played such a minimal set up.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 08:45 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I've heard this attributed to Elvin Jones as to why he played such a minimal set up.
Interesting. Minimal set-up, big sound.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 01:10 AM   #15 (permalink)
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It is my opinion that when you go directly into the house pa board instead of micing a high quality amp that you are bypassing the wonderful, juicy nuances and organic tones the amp puts out, especially with a good tweed amp. There is just no way to recreate these subtleties at the board.

So the purpose of micing the amp over going direct to the PA board is not to amplify the sound as much as to obtain the organic tones in your music.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 01:43 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I guess I am a little confused as to why you don't want an amp you can use on stage?
There is a guitar player in one of the hottest acts in the midwest that uses a processor and monitors. Works great, but he mics the monitors.
I played for a long time with an act where I used a POD XT Live straight in to the system.
But, by and large, I really like an amp due to the ease of adjustment on the fly.
Buy one, you won't regret it.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 02:01 AM   #17 (permalink)
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If you are just plugging your guitar straight to the PA, that most definitely has to stop. If you are using a modeler, I've been down the modeler direct to PA road and a guitar amp with a mic in front sounds more real. A tube amp with a mic in front sounds way better. I currently use my Tonelab LE as a preamp/effects box with a neutral sounding, low wattage tube amp (Epiphone Valve Junior). I'm getting kindof a best of both worlds thing right now: good tube tone + the sheer versatility of a modeler.

Another HUGE plus to having an actual amp on stage with you is: if you have trouble hearing yourself, you can always get your ear a little closer to your amp. If your guitar is in the monitor with everything else, and you can't hear yourself, you are screwed. Better hope your sound guy is attentive to your attempts at sign language.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 06:04 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Whatcha ' gonna do when the band breaks up ? Only join another band that has a PA system ?

get an amp, it's a tool of a working musician. I would go on record and say that many working guitar players have a few different amps to cover different scenarios' and venues . There is nothing wrong with using a preamp (POD) into a sound system, that would just be one tool to use but it shouldn't be the only tool or option that you have.

You are welcome to come out and sit in with our band, but you need to bring an amp, a small AC15 or Classic 30 will do the trick ! A vintage AC100 will be overkill but bring it anyway !

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Old September 9th, 2009, 07:15 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks for your opinion. I think the tone sounds fine to me over the PA but I must agree a seperate amp is much more convenient. But I'm 21 years old and I don't actually have the money to buy a good and loud enough amp brand new. So what do you think about second hand amps? To be more exact: I'm thinking about SS 212 amps which are about 20 years old, because those seem practical and in my desired price range.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 10:40 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Do you need clean head room? You just described a JC-120. I don't know about the Netherlands, but Roland has been making then since the '70s and they're built like tanks (for example, their weight!).
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