Our keyboard player plays bass on keyboard. This is going through MIDI to a Steinberg UR22 interface and is then hooked up with a standard Kontakt 5 libary to create bass sound from the MIDI notes. Finally this is then send out through the UR22's outputs to a bass amp.

Will this work or is it wrong to send proccessed bass sound to an bass amp? Should we use high or low input on the bass amp?

  • There may be several ways of connecting the line input to the amp - which depends on the amp model - so, which bass amp is it? – Michael Hansen Buur Apr 1 '16 at 7:56
  • Well the problem is we do not know... It is a music competition so we will play through their amp. It is high-end stuff though. Are there some general guidelines? – flusmus Apr 1 '16 at 8:08
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    If the sound is already as you want it to be, then you'd be better off hooking it straight to the PA & get a monitor feed to hear on stage. Any pro sound crew ought to be capable of figuring out how to achieve that. – Tetsujin Apr 1 '16 at 9:05

IMO, if the keyboard player fulfills a bassist role, then it is a good idea to use a bass amp! This way, at least on smaller stages you're sure that the bass will be properly present everywhere on stage. With wedge monitors alone, you rely on the mixer to properly distribute to everybody individually. That's not really a standard scenario; you may well end up with either a tinny, unsatisfying in-the-face sound, or just undefined bleed from the PA.

Another advantage of a bass amp is that it will already be connected with a DI, have a channel that's set up for bass, and so on.

If available, using a low impedance input can make sense. High-impedance inputs are a special configuration that only really makes sense for passive instrument pickups, like those on most bass guitars (even more for piëzo double bass pickups).
All active sources like audiointerfaces have low impedance, which basically means they don't care what impedance the input has, so often it just won't matter at all. However, a low impedance input may reject some noise problems.

An audio interface will offer rather more level than a passive bass, but not necessarily more than an active one. If you don't overdo it with the gain, you should be fine, but just try it: a decent bass amp should sound quite nice gritty if you overdrive the preamp a bit.

At any rate, make sure to test it with another bass amp (or at least guitar amp), beforehand! There may very well noise problems, especially if the laptop is fed by a not so good power supply. If you hear an annoying static sound (often, this comes out a bit like weird rattling / drum roll), then a DI is probably the way to go. (Note that you can also go from a DI – with isolated phone output – into a bass amp instead of straight to the PA.)

Software side, I would recommend to make sure you don't have any amp simulation already in the computer. The bass signal should be bright and clear at this point, perhaps even a bit acoustic-guitar like if you listen to it with headphones. You can always reduce treble at the bass amp if necessary, but if the signal is too muffled to begin with then you may get the problem of indistinct rumble with no proper tone definition, when it gets loud on stage.

  • Voting this up - my previous answer about lo vs. high is not correct it seems, and on second thoughts about the stage sound I actually support the idea of using an amp on stage to get a fuller sound. Audience close to the stage will notice this in particular. Only thing I'd add to the answer is to use a line-in/power-amp in on the amp if present, to avoid impedance and gain issues. – Michael Hansen Buur Apr 4 '16 at 10:47
  • Good idea, why not make this a new answer? – leftaroundabout Apr 4 '16 at 10:52
  • Done - also I think we skipped the obvious answer: a reamping box ;-) – Michael Hansen Buur Apr 4 '16 at 11:23
  • Right, a re-amping box would indeed be the ideal thing... though normally, going from a line out directly into an instrument input works just fine, even when the impedances are horribly mismatched. – leftaroundabout Apr 4 '16 at 11:30

I would probably go for a combined setup:

  1. Get a reamping box (reverse DI) to ensure correct levels and impedance. You can hook up the interface with the box using XLR and continue on to the bass amplifier using standard jack cable. You can test both the Hi and Low input, but using the reamp box, the Low (impedance) input is probably the one to go for.

This will work with any amp.

Alternatively try to use a line input on the amp (or "Power Amp In" input on the back). It will work better with the interface output.

Take a look here for additional info on Hi/Low inputs (leftaroundabout answer is the correct one..): https://music.stackexchange.com/questions/3473/difference-between-hi-and-low-on-amps

  1. Use a DI box to get the direct signal to the mixer. You can use another output from the interface, or intercept the amp line somewhere or use the amps DI output. Most likely the engineer simply put it right before the amp - that is standard with conventional basses.

The advantage is that you get a fuller stage sound from the amp (not just the thin indirect monitor bleed).

And the engineer will get a direct signal from the DI/Amp/Interface, which is most likely what he/she wants (as an engineer I would want that instead of micing up the amp).

  • Thanks! May I ask why you wouldn't use a bass amp? We play rock so we want a pretty fat sound. – flusmus Apr 1 '16 at 11:59
  • Why wouldn't you want the sound you rehearse with? The last thing you want live, especially on a one-off, 'borrowed kit' gig is to introduce any more random elements than you can possibly avoid. – Tetsujin Apr 1 '16 at 12:09
  • Okay, that's true! Follow-up question: Why would you need a DI instead of just sending directly from UR22 to PA? – flusmus Apr 1 '16 at 12:16
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    If you bring your own amp, it perfectly makes sense, but that is not the case - like stated you will meet a new amp each time one behaving different than the last.. not worth it. You use a DI simply to ensure a consistent, noisefree and levelled signal, also many places run with constant phantom power on - I'm not sure your interface will cope with that ;-) And you don't need to invest in a box - it is standard equipment on venues. – Michael Hansen Buur Apr 1 '16 at 12:54
  • I edited this answer as the part about hi/low was wrong. – Michael Hansen Buur Apr 4 '16 at 11:23

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