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Thread: My reality check with the Phil Jones Double Four.

  1. #1
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    Default My reality check with the Phil Jones Double Four.

    For the last month or more I've been rehearsing diligently with The CC Strummers for our show this morning at the Fiesta La Balloņa in Culver City, California on my custom bass uke and Phil Jones Bass Double Four 70 watt amp. For a short time I also used a Sony wireless system, but at the last rehearsal, the amp clipped and shut down two times and wouldn't come back on for at least five minutes. I pulled the wireless system and went back to a standard 1/4" cable, which worked fine in the room with 30 or so players.

    This morning we setup and did a quick sound check, my PJBD4 with standard cable did fine, 8-9 on the amp and 7-8 on my bass preamp. A few minutes later we started our 1/2 hour 10 song set. I moved my bass preamp volume to about 9 and two notes in, the amp clipped and shut down. It wouldn't come back for two songs. CRAP! (I used much stronger expletives at the time.)

    Not only that, outside under a large open sided tent with 45 players, an audience of about 150 and our leader Cali Rose mic'ed through the PA system, my 70 watt amp just couldn't keep up. The other bass player using a Kala U-Bass and Pig Nose Hog told me the same thing after the show. (W've not been allowed to plug into the PA, so I can't plan on that in the future).

    So after stuffing my frustrated face with fried calamari and BBQ ribs, I went out to find a better portable, 200 watt minimum battery amp setup. First I stopped at Guitar Center WLA, but they didn't have anything that was small with enough power.

    Then I went to Sam Ash Hollywood and came to the conclusion that a battery system would not be possible with 200 watts or more (a car battery and inverter are not convenient). The sales guy showed me the smallest and lightest setup with enough power; a new Aguilar Tone Hammer 350 head for $455, and a floor model discontinued Fender Rumble 112 speaker box, 12", 500 watt for $290, both together have continuous 280 watts and peak 500 for $825 out the door.

    I tested it out at the store and it sounded good to me, next I'll take it to rehearsal tomorrow and see how well in works there. It has a 30 day return policy.

    So as much as I like the Double Four, the reality is that it's only good for small spaces that are not overpowered by a big sound system.

    Last edited by kohanmike; 08-30-2015 at 07:22 PM.

  2. #2

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    Any reason you're not allowed in the PA? Some of the stories I'm hearing about uke groups from you and katysax make me shake my head. I knew some people in this area in a "folk society" and it sounds similar. I guess I always just figure that whatever makes things work and sound best should happen.

    That amp and cab you bought will be really nice though,aguilar makes excellent amps. I could have bought their 200 watt tube head about 15 years ago for $700, I kick myself for missing that!

  3. #3
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    Cali thought that it would be to overpowering, so I figure I'm just going to be ready next time. I sure hope the A&F combination will do the job. Now I have to pick up a 25-50 foot extension cord, not leave that up to the venue or sound people.

  4. #4

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    Unfortunately, the Rumble 112 isn't going to keep up either. No matter how much power your head has it is going to be limited by the volume of the cabinets. You are going to need at a minimum either 2 2x10s or one 4x10 to keep up in the situation you describe. When you are outside the open air really eats up the sound. I have a Kustom PA system that I got for $100 from Guitar Center. The other thing that I do is run amps in parallel. I have a powerful head and a 1x10 cab, and it is nowhere near enough for the kind of outdoor situation you were in. Phil Jones sells the PB300 powered extension cab that is about $100 more than what you just spent and it would give more power than what you bought (I don't own one). But I'd be more inclined to go with my own portable PA setup. I don't want to own a 4x10 or even two 2x10 cabs or lug them around so I prefer a PA. It's not exactly primo sound, but you could run two of the Kustom PA systems in parallel and it would be good enough for an outdoor festival like that. You would still use your Double Four as a monitor and as a DI for the PA system. I use a Lehle Split II to divide the signal between two amps. I suggest you test the stuff you bought outdoors because I'm sure it isn't loud enough. If you agree you can return it. Actually you can borrow PA stuff from me if you need it for a festival like that. However, you should just convince Cali to let you use the PA. It's not overwhelming if you control it. An outdoor space really swallows the bass sound you need a lot of power.

    I've had pretty good luck with the Bass Cub in a pretty large hall, but I've also tried amps where you just can't hear it. And it gets lost fast when outdoors. You really need a lot of power if you don't have PA reinforcement.

    The Double Four is plenty adequate to be heard in a decent sized restaurant room with 25-30 ukes so long as they are not mic'd but it needs the room to contain the sound.

  5. #5
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    Oh boy, not so good to hear, though the Fender 112 cabinet is 500 watts with a 12" speaker. I first looked at PA systems, but they were so big, and I was swayed away by the salesman that a PA would not have a deep enough tone for a bass. I really want something that's small enough to fit the foldaway cart I use and still have enough power. I figure I'll try the system when we play at the Los Angeles International Uke Festival on Sept. 26th, which still gives me time to return it.

  6. #6

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    What's the reason you can't go through the PA? Setting up extra PA systems, buying hundreds of watts of bass amp to be heard alongside a PA, etc, makes no sense. Plus, to generate enough volume to be heard by people in the audience alongside a PA you'll be turned up at a point at which I can guarantee everyone onstage will complain about volume.

    I play in a few wedding bands, as well as bar gigs, etc around here, and the only time I'm not in the PA is if it is such a small situation that there's no way it can work. Currently I use a TC bh200 and a 1x10 cab I made and I've never had the head past halfway. For me that was way too loud but that's where others wanted it! On Saturday I got to the gig and realized my head (the amp, but my head would be forgotten if it wasn't attached!) was still at my house. I was with the bandleader helping with PA and so I just grabbed one of the extra powered monitors in the van (extra, as in not very good, usually a distorted mess when vocals are going through it) and off we went. It sounded great onstage, and i was going through the DI I always use anyway, so no worries about being too loud. Of course, I then found out that when the father of the bride said he wanted no danceable music until after dinner that meant NO volume- the first time we've ever been told that the girl from Ipanema was too loud and raucous, even with the drummer playing with his hands...sigh.

    Anyway, curious situation you have with that, I hope you find a solution that works for you.

  7. #7
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    Another +1 to katysax's comments about playing outdoors with no PA support. I did a gig last month outdoors, and even with support, my big amp (Phil Jones Bass D-600 head and two 4B cabinets) still was quiet to my ears.

    Since that Fender cabinet is only 8ohm, you're only getting about 175w out of that amp head, so I think you may sadly be disappointed again. If you added a second 1x12, you might be able to be heard (and you'd be getting the full 350w from the head, although the speakers are ultimately more important) and still be small enough to be put on your cart for loading in/out.
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  8. #8
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    Our leader specifically said that we should not go through the PA, for some reason she thinks that's a problem with the bass, I didn't want to argue with her, but when we finished, I told her that we really needed to be on the PA. She said in this case maybe it would have been OK, but then said the next gig we would not be able to, again, not sure why. I've had a certain amount of live show experience in the past and have used a PA (before I started playing bass). Today the three of us are going to sit down and discuss it.

  9. #9
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    Do you have a dedicated soundperson, or someone that hows how to properly use a channel mixer for sound support (and not just someone who can turn things up when they're quiet)? Maybe the leader isn't very knowledgeable in sound reinforcement, and just needs someone there to show/prove how easy it really is with a bit of knowledge.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kohanmike View Post
    Our leader specifically said that we should not go through the PA, for some reason she thinks that's a problem with the bass, I didn't want to argue with her, but when we finished, I told her that we really needed to be on the PA. She said in this case maybe it would have been OK, but then said the next gig we would not be able to, again, not sure why. I've had a certain amount of live show experience in the past and have used a PA (before I started playing bass). Today the three of us are going to sit down and discuss it.
    Perhaps the answer is to get a small mixer to put everything into before the PA. Worried about "overpowering" bass? OK, just turn that little knob down.
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