How to cut through the mix?
I'm curious as to how some bassists cut through the mix, if that's what their looking for. Is it all done through the amp, or does the sound guy at the gig have a part to do with it? Also, do you guys prefer being mic'd up, or having your amp directly input Are there advantages for one or the other? All input is appreciated, thanks!
I couldn't possibly comment on the sound guy part, though he probably will have a bit of an influence.
I found that depending on the band I was in I would have to change my amp eq and bass eq.
When I was in a Thrash metal band with two guitarists, my bass was set to sound quite horrible when played on its own. Harsh and snappy with a bit of low end too. But when played with my guitarist, who is very much in love with his treble, and the other guitarist, who seemed to take more of the sonic space up, the bass cut through as best it could.
Other rocky / blues bands I was in I could afford a bit more of a smoother rounder tone, to add some fatness and warmth to the nice mellow guitars. If my bass was still set to this in the thrash band, the whole thing would have sounded a mess. And like wise the other way around too, but it would have cut through still but would have ruined the sound.
I haven't had too much experience in the FOH sound section. And I never really know how it sounds from the audience's point of view. This being due to poor FOH (edit: poor stages/ set ups, not the sound guys fault half the time). and lack of monitors etc...
I like to be heard / hear myself a lot when I play live, but never for the wrong reasons.
Technically the sound guy can bring the bass upfront by boosting the mids, the problem is to find the sweet spot where the bass can be hear but it also providing the power of the low end, another aspect that is usually ignored is how the band work together: How the guitars sounds, are they heavy on the low end? what about keyboards , do you have a heavy left hand player...profesiona players understand the impact of each element in the band so they work together to make the band sound good.
The easy way to ''cut'' is if the other members of the band give you space.
I usually boost my low mids to help cut through the mix on stage. I also cut most of the frequencies below 80 hz out of my amp. Our sound guy DI's me from my amp and mic's my speaker with a D6 (kick drum mic) and blends my signals out front. DI signal for the articulation and the mic for the balls. I use a stingray 5 which already has a nice mid bite, so that may help.
I think Pedroims hit the nail on the head. You have to listen to what's going on around you. If your drummers kick is bright and snappy, there's room for low end on the bass . If your guitar player is heavy on the high mids, don't add high mids. If your keyboard player is playing chords with a heavy left hand, pull him aside and tell him to stay the hell out of your range. IMO
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