Ask the Expert – What size bass rig for a small to medium size church?

Ask the Expert – What size bass rig for a small to medium size church?


Keith Dulley asked a question in our recent live Ask the Expert seminar:

“On the subject of Bass playing in a worship band, What would the panel of experts recommend for the following question:- what size (watts) bass combo or bass rig would be sufficient for a small/medium size church? I am playing an Ampeg 50 watts combo at the moment (maybe an Ampeg portaflex in the future).”

Nick Samaniego:

Probably depends on whether you’re using a PA or just the amp.

Keith Dulley:

Just the amp.

Tim Martin, Musicademy:

It’s honestly hard to say without knowing the size of the building and the number of people you get in. It also depends on the volume your band play at. I’d suggest anywhere between 100 and 300 Watts is likely to be about right but that’s a bit of a guess! You also want to consider speaker size and number. I’ve always d 10″ speakers for bass – I think they give you a really defined sound. The two setups I’ve enjoyed using (just amp not PA) most are an Ashdown 300W 2×10 combo and an Eden head with a 2×10 and 1×15 stack – all the power you’ll need and a great sound to go with it.

Tim Horton, SFL:

Tough one to answer from an Engineers’ perspective… Something that gets you the tone you desire, doesn’t break your back when you lift it and doesn’t over-power the FOH mix.
A good sound engineer should be trying to reinforce the sound, rather than replace it. If your amp sounds great and doesn’t swamp the mix then the work is done.
Hope this helps! Perhaps someone else will have some gear-specific recommendations?

Geoff Boswell, Audioplan:

It’s a bit of a how long is a piece of string question. I would start with the sound you are producing and ask is it a 4 or 5 string bass and what sort of sound? Smooth sustained or sharp slappy?? At end of day remember to get your amp and speaker as close as possible so that you can keep the volume controlled. Others will soon tell you it its too loud [which as a bass player  I can predict it will be !] I play Music Man Stingray 5 string through an Eden Navigator hybrid pre into a Gallien Kruger 2 x 10” wedge amp which I think is 300w  [peak]. I like a smooth sustained sound and this rig is FAR too loud for my 350 seater church so I have to be very controlled and keep it as low as I can and trust the PA guys to keep it in the mix !

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