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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Radio Unit


I’m strongly considering getting a wireless transmitter unit for my bass. Not because I want to jump off the drum kit (hey, I can do that now), but because there are times when I need to get a feel for how the band sounds out in the audience and I can’t do that when I’m tethered by a 20 foot cable to my amp.

Frequently, I’m the sound man for the band, which means I adjust the volumes and individual levels, and I normally can’t listen to the bass when I do that, so I add it in later and hope for the best (and watch the old ladies cover their ears).

Even when I’m not doing sound, I find myself the target of volume offense accusations:

“We’re too loud because of YOU!!”

“Wuat? I can barely hear my bass!”

“No, man, you can’t tell when you’re right in front of it. You need to hear it from OUT THERE (points to back of room, not outer space)!!”

Plus I guess it would be, y’know, cool to get out into the crowd every once and while during a gig.

So if you are a bass player and you have any experience or suggestions for particular units, pipe in.



9 comments:

wanderer said...

I would get the one that goes to eleven. Its one louder.

PsychoToddler said...

Do you hear the sustain on my bass? You would...if it were playing...

Shira Salamone said...

For my sister old ladies who cover their ears (and old gents, as well), I have two words of advice: waterproof earplugs. Unlike the foam type, which fall right out, the waxy type sticks over the outside of the ear canal until you peel them off. Wearing waterproof earplugs (noise reduction: 22 decibels), combined with sitting in the back, will generally take the edge off of even excellent but "wake-the-dead" bands such as Piamenta, though some groups are loud enough to be beyond redemption.

Sorry, Mark, this advice is about as hi-tech as I get. :)

wanderer said...

This is all you need: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhVWJgIzftE

I think you should just embed it in the post...

Shifra said...

Do what my guitarist does - get yerself a 150' cable!!

People laugh, but it works!

treppenwitz said...

I would STRONGLY advise against wandering out into the room except in dire emergencies.

The further you are from the speakers the more delay you experience in hearing the sound. As the bassist you will start to hit the strongs a little later... which will cause the band to start to drag... which will cause you to hit the strings even later still... until the groove is dead.

Trust me... ask someone you know to go out and 'taste the room'. I used to have a pre-printed check list to give to people I would grab at affairs asking them to check very specific things including:

-Overall balance
-Which instruments/voices seem to be too loud?
-Which instruments/voices are getting buried?
-How are the guests reacting to what they are hearing?
-How many people are out in the hallway to escape the noise? (a good indicator that you need to bring everything way down and start from scratch).

PsychoToddler said...

Trep: You're the second guy to warn me about the delay. I honestly don't plan to actually play from the back of the room. I just want to use it to help me balance sound and maybe to give me more mobility on stage (like say I want to hang out with the guitarist for some bizarre reason).

I'd like to hear from any bassists to see what their particular experience has been.

I went out and picked this up Friday:

Nady DKW 8 GT DKW 8 HT

At $79 it's less than half the price of what the guy originally wanted to sell me (an Audio Technica) and comes with both the guitar and wireless hand held mic (which I don't use, but frequently I am asked to provide one for a host or guest singer).

So far, I'm not that impressed. In the bassment, there is a noticable drop in volume, which I can certainly compensate for by raising the amp volume, but still...I wonder if this is the case with all of these or is this just one of those "you get what you pay for" things.

It may be an issue if I use this to set the sound and then switch back to the cord. then I have to compensate for the volume change--kinda defeats the purpose...

yonah said...

trep's right about having someone else be your room analyst. the sight of you walking around a crowded room with that big bass that looks ready to whack someone in the noggin - pretty menacing :-)

cheap wirelesses are risky - aside from the low-volume issue you mentioned there's also the buzzing. whatever you do, ALWAYS use a fresh battery at each gig, as there is nothing worse than that crackling, sputtering electric-tornado noise when the batteries weaken.

so does this mean your next show will feature you running, leaping and landing on bent knees, face up, to complete a blistering bass solo?

oh...as for complaints that the band is too loud because of you...hogwash. we all know that the drummer always drives up the band volume...right everyone?

Anonymous said...

Can you get any military broadcasts thru your radio unit?