Study Hall

Supported By

The Old Soundman: The British Call It “Direct Injection”

Our new friends Shawn and Kevin are dealing with their bass and organ issues, let's see if we can be of any help to them...

Hello Old Soundman!

Helloo, Shawn!

I am a bassist joining a new band where everyone uses in-ear monitors.

Have I ever heard of the band?

What genre are they in?

Don’t answer those questions!

I own a high quality DI/preamp that I have been using on most of my shows for three years now, and in previous in-ear situations with it, I’ve been perfectly happy with no stage volume.

The reasons I was asking those other questions was to determine if the “act” is of a stature that they carry their own stage.

Because then, instead of providing you with an amp, they can build in a wooden or metal 4×8 panel for you to dance around on, with 18 shakers attached to it underneath. Because those little in-ear thingies can’t bring bass—the final frontier—to you all that well.

You’d like those vibrations, wouldn’t you, Shawn? Your feet are smiling just thinking about it, aren’t they? You can tell us the truth, it’s OK, you’re among bass friends here. Aww, the name is Bootsy, baby!

Given the choice, would you rather have a bass amp on stage at all, or not?

It totally depends on the venue and the genre, Shawn, I’m serious. I’m not playing around here, pal – just think about it.

If you’ve got a techno dance band or pseudo-reggae outfit, do you really think that those little front fill speakers along the edge of the amphitheater stage are going to kick the bass to the people right out in front of you?

No, you need that SVT, or better yet, four of them, like the guy in King’s X. Or you can do that wacky 3-amp lo-mid-hi thing like Tom Peterson of Cheap Trick used to do.

If you’re playing “new country,” then you don’t need an amp.

If you’re playing some kind of pseudo-stained 7-string weirdness, you need an amp.

Although I’d love being able to leave my amp at home and just bring the DI, my main interest is for the best overall sound for the most people listening.

Thank you for your help!


You’ve got a good attitude, Shawn! I wish you played in my band, the Dirty Old Soundmen.

Also, it sounds like you have a lot more autonomy than our beleaguered amigo, Kevin. Dig his crazy scene …

Dear Old Soundman:

I just posted this question on a forum…

I assume you mean the Live Audio Board when you say that, Kevin.

The only thing they’re good for is telling you what size fuse you need for some antique amp from Austria. You know that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s father built amplifiers and speakers, don’t you? Just watch, now the prices of them on eBay are going to skyrocket.

But that’s not you, Kevin! You’re talking about your organ!

… but I would also like to hear your opinion.

You’ve come to the right place, Kev-man.

If a church organ’s speakers are located above the choir mics, and interfering with the mix, would it not make sense to abandon the speakers and tap it into the sound system with a DI box?

Sounds logical to me.

Read More
Musicians Are From Jupiter, Engineers Are From Saturn

I tried it for awhile, sounded great, but the organist got upset and forced me to disconnect!

I would appreciate your opinion.



We have arrived back at the age old dilemma of the humble sound person. Politically, we’re near the bottom of the heap, most of the time. The Young Soundman doesn’t want to believe me when I tell him that I have worked at 6,000 seat venues where I had less clout than the janitor.

You’re having a problem that is identical to that of so many of our brethren and sistern, which I have discussed before. The powers that be bring us in to handle the sound, but then they won’t let us handle the sound!

You don’t tell organ man how to play, do you? Of course not, you’d get fired. But this organist thinks he can tell you what the best way to handle the audio is, and you can’t slug him, because you might get arrested, in addition to losing your job.

Pray for a person who (for just as irrational reasons) thinks that you are the man! It’s possible to meet such individuals, and work for them over time.

It’s not that we’re pulling the wool over their eyes; they independently decide that we are the magic men (or women) and keep us around and treat us great.

It’s a weird phenomenon, I know. But I have made thousands of dollars from it. You don’t do anything other than what you would normally do, but all of a sudden confetti is showering down on you, somebody hands you a glass of champagne, and a spotlight hits you while an unseen voice shouts “whatta guy!”

OK, maybe none of that really happened, but that’s what it feels like.

The Old Soundman

There’s simply no denying the love from The Old Soundman. Check out more from OSM here.

Supported By

Celebrating over 50 years of audio excellence worldwide, Audio-Technica is a leading innovator in transducer technology, renowned for the design and manufacture of microphones, wireless microphones, headphones, mixers, and electronics for the audio industry.

Church Audio Tech Training Available Through Church Sound University. Find Out More!