I sound great through my cab, rubbish through the PA. Help!
After the gig on Friday night a bass player in the audience confirmed something I had worried about for a while: my playing is great but my bass sound through the PA is muffled and 'subbie'. I can't understand why this would be the case as this is my set up:
Fender MIA Jazz bass with bright new strings
Dunlop MXR Compressor
Ashdown Little Bastard 550 head
I then run into a Gallien-Krueger MBE212 cab and a DI (XLR) out to the desk from the amp.
I sound brilliant through my bass cab - really bright Marcus Miller kind of sound - but the signal going to the desk ends up coming out through the PA sounding terrible.
Our BL and guitarist does the sound and he recognises it is a problem too so for the next gig we are going to try using a bass mic in front of my cab instead.
Although that 'might' solve the problem I really want to understand why I might be having these problems given that we have a professional standard desk and PA (bass bins and top end speakers) and everybody else sounds great through it.
I have wondered if just using a normal microphone XLR lead for the DI signal may be a problem but I've got no experience in that area really. In previous bands I have never gone through the PA so it's new to me.
Any ideas guys?
PS: Any tips on microphone placement would be a help too for the gig at the end of this month.
Does the DI on your amp have a pre/post option? Could be your amp eq isn't making it to the board. Or you may just need to spend an extra few minutes at sound check eq'ing your FOH sound to match what you're hearing onstage.
Maybe the F.o.h. desk isn't great and can't handle +4dbu... Meaning you are feeding a too hot signal into the desk wich will clip the preamp and make it sound bad. If his gain is closed and you still are able to overload the channel this will be the case. Make sure your DI can be set with either a -20db pad or maybe it can be set to -10dv...
If this does not help use a microphone..
Large mixing desks in large venues in the 70's had the issue they had to work with cable runs of over 100m. So line level and microphone levels were lost. To take care of these issues balanced cables were introduced and +4dbu was used (signals were bumped up 10x to be able to drive the 100 meter lines...)
Current cabling is so good and using +4dbu makes the electronic parts more than double the price current low budget mixers are -10dv mixers. So if you are using an SWR AMPEG or other professional amplifier with DI it will be a HOT output. So either pad it down on the amp or use a second DI with that function...
Mike the cab.
All my sound problems are gone since I started "please give me SM-57 and please NO DI" policy on gigs.
I hate "bass mics" like AKG D-112, I find Shure SM-57 best for my needs. Almost no correction needed on mixing desk.
Here's my amateur recording, just bass and drums:
P-bass with LaBella 760FL, PF-350 + PF-115HE, SM57, just a little touch of EQ in pro-tools.
I know you want way more highs than my sound, but I'm pretty sure that SM-57 will handle highs way better than lows...and you can hear how is it handling the lows on my recording.
You gave info on what you are using for your bass/amp/etc. but not the P.A. The components for that will have an effect on your FOH sound.
Do you have subs? What speakers for FOH? What board are you using? Also, stage size/layout and venue size could be an issue.
you're never really going to hear your tone, how you hear it in front of your amp, coming out of the PA.
it's always going to be slightly different.
I'd stick with the Di since it sounds like you prefer a clean tone, using a mic will open up other issues.
since your guitarist does sound, play your bass at the console, with the band, and eq the bass channel until you get what you like.
I hate to sound short but that's what the EQ on the channel strip is for.
Aside from that, there is the possibility that your signal from your bass's onboard EQ is not what the mains wants to hear. Do you have the lows rolled up on your bass? Most of the time, the lows on a bass are someplace around 80 hz. That is CERTAINLY in the sub range and if there is too much info in that range, it will sound muddy.
It could also be that your system is not really flat and whatever you put through it will be affected. It could be the post vs. pre EQ thing on your DI. If you have that option, switch it and try. Heck, it could be that your amp isn't putting out the low freqs that the PA is. (Probably isn't unless you have subs for your bass).
I might also suggest Mic'ing your cab. You have a better shot at getting what is coming out of your amp into the mains. If it doesn't go into the PA, it won't come out of it.
There are many possibilities that could be the problem. It's time for a little trial and error.
Good luck my friend,
ummm.....the problem isn't his equipment that he's using to make the OP tone...
its the PA. if you spent as much time on the tone coming out of your PA, as you do your amp. it would be more way more benificial.
this can also come down to a vast number of issues. the Console that you are using, to the Speakers you are using. not to mention how your EQ settings etc are set....
If this is your band's PA, it may be worth going to rehearsal earlier one practice, setting up the gear, and having a go with it at that time. I realize you may not be able to mic the entire band, but you may have a good starting point for the bass at the next gig. At the very least, you could work out your signal gremlins and see if the bass rig DI is the issue. Is there a possibility that there is a DI out of the Sadowsky? Maybe that might give a better signal.
Cant you just cut lows and boost your mids on the mixing desk?
I could also mention that using an aux to drive your subs might help the while thing. That way you could dial in however much sub you want per instrument. Too much sub from the bass...turn down that aux. Get it?
+1 to these (probably in that order). Aux feeding subs is a personal preference. I mix both ways and have no issues, it's simply a matter of being comfortable with the channel-strip EQ and having a well-tuned FOH system to begin with. If your group is providing the PA, make sure someone credible can help you set it up and tune it at each gig. When I hear "muddy bass in the mains" as a problem...it's usually a problem with the guy running FOH, or lack thereof. Granted I've mixed some tough rooms, but all the tools are there, and it really has nothing to do with mic vs DI in most situations. Spend the time working your sound into the PA, and at the same time remember it has to "fit" with what the rest of the band is doing. Your solo tone may not fit into a band mix well, and that is something you may have to come to terms with. It could be any number of things, but mostly likely a good sound check with a qualified sound tech/engineer would fix it in a heartbeat.
the bottom end is what makes live music exciting, for some.
Simple enough. Take care of it during sound check next gig.
Your problem here is the sound guy/guitar player/band leader. Period.
How do I know this? Easy. Here's a quote from you.
"Our BL and guitarist does the sound and he recognises it is a problem too"
If he recognized the problem and didn't do anything about it he either doesn't care or doesn't know how.
Your situation can be fixed a dozen different ways in just under 17 seconds. Throw in another minute and you open yourself up to a dozen more ways to fix it.
Clearly...... and I mean CLEARLY nobody has LOOKED for the problem. We could sit here all day and speculate, which is EXACTLY what every pose but a couple has been up until now.
Sure, could be your pre/post button. Sure, it could be that your cab needs more lows to from the head to deliver the out of the speakers and this is translating to too much bass in the signal you are sending to the board. Sure, I suppose it could be some sort of clipping going on depending on what kind of board we're talking about. Sure, it could be that your XLR cable is coiled up behind your amp and is actually longer than the distance I would run to get away from Joy Behar (which is quite a ways). Sure, it could be that the low knob on your channel of the board has been turned so hard to the right it was broken off. Sure, it could be that the room you are playing eats high and mid frequencies like Kirstie Alley eats M&Ms. WHO KNOWS??????
The point is, obviously nobody has LOOKED or LISTENED to see what the problem is.
All you gotta do is check it out before the next gig. Tell the bandleader/guitar player/sound guy not to shrug his shoulders this time when he hears something he doesn't like. Find the problem (which NOBODY here will be able to really pinpoint) and FIX it.
Let us know how it turns out. Best of luck.
Get a wireless system. It will open your eyes to how you sound in the back of the room. Even if you only use it for sound check, it's worth the investment.
Then you won't have to take anyone's word for it when it comes to your sound.
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