Advice from metal players with 4x12's and loud drummer: PA power amp or tube amp?

  • No offence to the non-metal players but I would like advice from those who need the brutal wall of sound, in the rehearsal room and live.


    My situation now:
    I'm the bass player/singer in DeadHead, a thrash metal band from Holland. We just finished the recording and mix of a new album (guitars=Kemper). I own a Kemper and want my both 2 guitar players to use it. I will probably buy another one because I really want my band to sound good live. Both my guitar player were skeptical about the Kemper but after playing it they really like it playing it trough tube power amps and 4x12's.


    I have the non powered version and will buy a non powered too.


    We love the Kemper with a tube power amp (from 5150, but also have 2 x 19" Peavey 60/60 amps).


    I want to travel light. Having the Kemper/wireless/poweramp in 1 case would be one heavy case. I could keep the Kemper/wireless and Peavey 60/60 in 2 separate cases, but then I would have to connect the Kemper to the power amp. This is easy but I would want the rig to be lighter and more compact.



    The question.......


    I'm leaning on buying a PA power amp (2 EH) with loads of power. Those are 2 EH and light and would keep my case small as 6EH total.
    What bothers me is: would a powerful PA amp (driving our 4x12's) give me the same massive wall of sound as a tube power amp? Will it have the same feel?


    Thanx guys!! :thumbup:


    Tom

  • i can't imagine it would sound "the same", but it could end up sounding bigger. I've only just got my Kemper, but I think they're going to be happier with the power amp and cab. The PA will generally give you more dispersed sounds, but in my short Kemper experience, you lose some of the bark and focused punch of a tube power amp into 4x12 guitar cabinet. So dispersion can sound bigger, or muddier and softer. Just my 2 cents.


    Quick thought: are there any audio rental places you could rent a PA from for a night and try it out at your rehearsal space?

  • i can't imagine it would sound "the same", but it could end up sounding bigger. I've only just got my Kemper, but I think they're going to be happier with the power amp and cab. The PA will generally give you more dispersed sounds, but in my short Kemper experience, you lose some of the bark and focused punch of a tube power amp into 4x12 guitar cabinet. So dispersion can sound bigger, or muddier and softer. Just my 2 cents.


    Quick thought: are there any audio rental places you could rent a PA from for a night and try it out at your rehearsal space?

    My bad, I just changed my question. I wanted to know if a solidstate amp (normally used for the PA) would sound the same driving our 4x12's.

  • My advice?


    Leave to 4x12" at home, unless you never play for less then 200 people... Even if you play metal and want walls of sound.


    The reasoning behind it? As a sound tech I can tell you that for being able to tweak the sound that the audience hears, this sound has to be louder than the sound from stage. And in some situations thats just not possible without blowing up your audiences ear drums, for example with crazy loud drummers or 4x12 inch stacks. The only option then left is to mute the drums, and have the drum, playing solely acoustic, determine the foh volume. But of course, my "tweaking options" become more limited,


    So in an ideal situation, the whole band goes in-ear, everything amp-related goes through a kemper or similar, we try to eliminate every sound source from stage. Then you are left with only the FOH speakers through which you sound guy can tweak the sound to get a wall of sound.


    I came into contact with guitar modellers through a new band i started to mix, and in collaboration with that guitar player we git the whole band on that wagon. The only on stage sound source allowed is the drum (just because of visuals, electronic drums look weirs), and i can tell you it works: their mix is very constant, and soundcheck is limited to 5 minutes.


    Then we even havent talked about sound regulations. Do you know how it feels when the cop standing behind you tells you to mute the PA, even if the only thing I was still amplifying was the singers voice? I do, and its heartbreaking to see her standing there, singing to herself, while nobody hears her... Thats where heavy 4x12 stack will get you at some point or another...


    So, my advice is to buy that PA amp, and use it for your bands PA. even if you play metal ;)
    PS: this experience is why, as a starting guitar player i went straight for the kemper, amd skipped the whole practice and tube amp stuff: worthless at home, worthless on stage,

  • 4x12s don't automatically produce 127dB signals, ya know-they are only as loud as the guitarist decides to run them. A 4x12 at a reasonable 90dB is going to sound much different than a 1x12 generating the same decibel level, which is a large reason why they remain popular.

  • Some of the best sounding club gigs I've been to have FOH doing vocals/kick/snare with the rest of the sound coming from backline, so there are different approaches. One of my new favorite club venues isn't even setup to have a full mix in the PA. It's nice to have a good backline in case you run into this type of situation.

  • Some of the best sounding club gigs I've been to have FOH doing vocals/kick/snare with the rest of the sound coming from backline, so there are different approaches. One of my new favorite club venues isn't even setup to have a full mix in the PA. It's nice to have a good backline in case you run into this type of situation.


    I've done hundreds of bar gigs with that very configuration-vocals, kick & snare in the PA and nothing else.

  • I know a 4x12 can be turned down ;) But the main disadvantage is that your soundtech (the one who in the audience, listening for a proper balance between instruements) has no control over the volume, for example when you have to give room for something else to come trough. But sure, if you are a very disciplined guitarist in terms of volume, and give enough acoustic room for other bandmembers it can work. Most of the times I saw bands with only vocals, kick and snare through the PA however I just heard lots of decibels ;)


    But back to the original question:
    1) surely a tube amp will color the sound in a way the solid state PA amp doesnt. Espacially when driven. Thats the whole point of tubes, But then the whole point of the kemper is to mimic tube amps. So why not profile your tube amp and put that sound trough a solid state PA amp?
    2) why doesnt the built in kpa amp suffice? 600W seems more then enough power? That would still be the lightest and most compact setup?