Tightening Up My Low End (rack gear)
I play in a metal band and my current set-up is
Fender Jazz Deluxe Active V with DR Hi Beams
Sansamp RBI preamp
dbx 231s 31 band EQ
dbx 266xs Compressor/gate
Powered by a peavy power amp (I can't remeber the model)
The problem I am having is that we tune down to G#, D#, G#, C#, F# and after spending hours adjusting my tone its still somewhat muddy on the lower strings, is there something out there that can tighten up my tone? My guitar player suggested trying a Ibanez TS-9. Any suggestions and advice would be appreciated.
What type of cab are you using?
This may seem like an obvious suggestion but did you try turning down the lows some?
You don't mention what cab you use. I like my Tech 21 stuff but if I remember my GK heads seemed to have a little more low end push. I can't remember where the freq. was centered for the RBI, but I thought it was a little higher than some other amps....
Are you using appropriate gauge strings for those dropped tunings?
Forgot to mention my cab is the Ampeg 810E Classic
Drastically cut everything below 60hz, boost a bit at 400hz and 800hz, set the compressor to come on for only the most aggressive notes you play or just turn it off altogether...
The RBI is pretty scooped and the low end gets boomy pretty quick. I'd keep the blend control noonish and the bass flat (noon) for starters. HiBeams are also very bright and scooped, and combined with that active bass, I gotta think you have a gaping hole through the midrange. That can balanced to some degree with the 810, but only to an extent. Ditch the compressor and try some SS Low Riders. I'd also recommend the RPM over the RBI - I always found it easier to dial in, and the boomy lows were less of an issue since it doesn't have as massive of a mid scoop in the Sansamp circuitry.
I thought both RPM and RBI had a built in rolloff at 80 Hz...?
I'll give this a try, and do you mean DR lowriders?
I use a graphic EQ with my BDDI, before that I used an RBI, afaik there is no rolloff at 80hz. Everything noon on the RBI is a midscoop. Nobody said you had to run everything at noon. There is a low mid zone on the RBI that remains scooped when you boost the mids but with the graphic you can cut and boost all you like.
If you cut everything below 70hz drastically it should indeed clean up your sound. No point in pushing out frequencies that your cab can't make.
OP, yup, DR Low Riders.
Bgavin, the bass control is centered at 80Hz, there is plenty of low end content below that.
Just experiment some, both by yourself and with the band. I play in A D G C F and I know what you mean, those really low notes can get really flabby and undefined, especially during speed picked parts. I cut everything below 50hz just to the point to remove the flabbiness but still leave enough to get punch from my low string. It can be a delicate balance, but since you have a 31 band eq you can get pretty surgical with it. Start with the lowest frequencies and work your way towards 80 hz- what I do is cut the lowest slider all the way while playing that open A and see if there's an audible difference. If not, I move to the next one and do the same thing Keep moving up till you hear your low end disappearing, then slowly bring the slider back up until you have a good balance between your G# and D# volume wise. Play some with the band and see how it sounds.
Also having your amp trying to reproduce those extremely low frequencies makes it work very hard. You might find that by not making your amp work so hard it has more headroom and punch... a side benefit.
Another thing that can help- you can you adjust your technique some. I learned from an engineer that a lot of speed picked parts can get flabby and undefined if you're trying to double the guitars. Try playing half the speed they are. I did that on the last two albums I recorded, and two things happened: the sound of the album tightened up incredibly, and you couldn't even tell I was playing half speed. It just sounded GREAT instead of weird.
Lastly, when you record the engineer is gonna cut a lot of frequencies around 80-90hz and below anyways so the thump of the kick can come through, and a in a live situation they're going to do the same thing for the same reason and also to keep the workload on the power amps down.
Let us know how it goes.
PS forgot to add- your cab might be naturally boomy if it's ported. That might make it a little harder to get your sound under control. I prefer sealed cabs for that reason.
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