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Old 1st April 2013, 01:32 PM   #1
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Location: Atlanta, TX
Default Multiple Amp Stacks for live event

I have been to a few concerts over the past couple of years (Yes only like 3, but don't laugh) and I noticed that on the main stage, the headlining bands have about 3 to 6 full stacks set up for each guitarist. I was wondering how you do set these up. Do you daisy-chain them together or just use a bunch of y-cables and 1/4" (m to f) cables or what? Please someone help me out.
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Old 1st April 2013, 04:09 PM   #2
Minion is offline Minion  Canada
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if running from a single amp then you would need to series/parallel the stacks so the impedance doesn't go lower than amps output impedance , how you go about this would depend on the amp and the stacks .....
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Old 1st April 2013, 04:40 PM   #3
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No like it would be a head and 2 cabs for each head. I'm wondering how they do that.
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Old 1st April 2013, 06:27 PM   #4
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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Location: Lansing, Michigan
Two things to cover.

First, don't believe everything you see. A lot of the huge guitar setups are fake. They set up dummy amp stacks to look impressive to the crowd. A guitarist doesn't expect a wall of amp stacks will fill the crowd at Woodstock. That is the job of the PA system. A mic in front of one speaker will put the sound into the PA.

But plenty of guys do use a two cab stack connected to one head. Simple enough to do. Most guitar heads have a couple of speaker jacks. SOme only have one, but I think the majority have two. They usually say on the panel near them, "Jacks wired in parallel." That means you can plug your speaker cord into either jack, they are just wired together inside. SO if you have two cabs, you can simply runs two cords - one for each cab - out of the two jacks. The speakers are in parallel now, and set the amp impedance appropriately.

But even if you only had a single speakr jack, a lot of cabs have two jacks themselves. And on those, you can run a single cord from the head to the first speaker, then another cord from that speakers remaining jack down to the second speaker cab. That is daisy chain wiring. The speakers are still in parallel though.

Whether to do it one way or the other boils down to practicality. I prefer two cords, so that if one cord fails it won't take out both speakers. It also allows me to locate the second cab across stage easily.

And if you still wanted to wire the guitar to two heads, many guitar amps (less so now compared to the old days) have two input jacks, the high and low gain setup. But if you plug into both, the signal will come out the extra hole. SO we can plug into amp A< then run a cord from the other input jack there over to the input of amp B.


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Old 1st April 2013, 07:13 PM   #5
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Oh. I figured it was just for show. And I know about stacks, I was just wondering about multiple ones on stage haha. I noticed the mic in front of the cab but I figured that was for the PA out for the lawn. Thanks for the help.
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Old 1st April 2013, 08:01 PM   #6
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Enzo i right, the big shows are mostly all fake. The fake heads and cabs all carry their own standard part numbers in the Marshall catalog.

That being said, I do believe I have seen at least one true "wall of Marshall stack" and that was at a Ramones concert almost 20 years ago. I think it was real because it was a small venue and you could clearly see the multiple 1/4" cable and gaffer tape holding the cables in place. I think he was running 1 Marshall head for each 4x12, with each stack being 2 heads and 2 4x12's, and it was the entire back wall of the stage. Mondo cool!
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. Bertrand Russell
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Old 1st April 2013, 10:18 PM   #7
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When you see the double stack of cabinets, usually only one or two of the bottom cabinets are powered. That way high sound levels go past the musicians below the waist to the audience. Those slanted cabinets are hearing killers.
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Old 12th April 2013, 12:45 AM   #8
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Location: Oamaru
Originally Posted by Loudthud View Post
Those slanted cabinets are hearing killers.
Huh? What? Did sumone say sumfin?.....

yip I agree totally. especially for the harmonica player gettin one in each ear.
Fat Tubes For Fat Sounds
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Old 12th April 2013, 04:26 PM   #9
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Hey now I have a Marshall 1960 slant cab. Granted it does get loud, I tend to only have my volume around 4 or 5, and with 100 watts of power from the head, that's plenty loud!
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Old 17th April 2013, 09:14 PM   #10
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Slant cabs are great for hearing yourself, as long as you don't get carried away.

I used to haul those full-size empty cabinets for a band, and it seemed so phony...because it was. I have a lot more respect for bands that make the music a prioroity over the 'show'...

If the intruments are run thru the monitors, the size of the stage setup doesn't matter much, but pros usually have an entire alternate rig for each amp; after all, these are usually tubes! Many guitarists employ 3 amps for different sounds, with 3 matching backups. They usually do NOT run thru the backups, and rarely use them at all. Very often the actual speakers being used are inside a mic'd absorbent case. Personally I think it's ridiculous to use so many amps, but my opinion does not matter.

On the other hand, often outdoors the direct instrument amps will significantly supplement the front monitors for some additional coverage farther backstage. A bass in particular requires quite a bit of cone area, and monitors sometimes can't do it all in a non-reverberant space. Sometimes each musician adds a remote cabinet on the opposite side of the stage. But that's about coverage and not volume.

I'm not a good musician, but for bass I could use one good bass cabinet. Instead I use many of a particular "acceptable" cabinet which is relatively durable but unpopular because they were originally associated with a terrible head. I pick them up used for less than the wood would cost, with 4 serviceable 12's in each. That's strictly economics.
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