How to tame the volume ?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Tymophil, Oct 24, 2012.


  1. Tymophil

    Tymophil

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Hi all,

    Here is my problem. I play in a cover band, and I try to have my tone match the mood of the song. My band mates are quite happy with this... or not...

    Because, unfortunately, if I change the settings on my bass (EQ, pickups balance), the volume changes quite dramatically.

    I use a multi-effect pedal that can substitute for the changes, and get me a volume that doesn't vary.

    But I get a better tone by changing settings on the bass. But then, as I stated, I get a volume that changes too much to be useful.

    Is there a trick/device to insure that any setting on the bass would produce the same volume whatever the EQ/pickup balance ?
  2. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Nashville
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    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Easiest fix would to use a volume pedal to compensate.
  3. line6man

    line6man

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Location:
    Close to Los Angeles, CA
    Wouldn't be a good idea, as you would lose dynamic sensitivity. That's accomplished with brickwall limiting, which just squashes the amplitude down to never exceed a particular threshold.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
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    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I vote volume pedal, too. Brickwall limiting works, but I'm not a fan of limiting/compression.
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  6. nikolozj

    nikolozj

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    is your bass active? do you use active (built in pre-amp) volume pot to change volume?
  7. line6man

    line6man

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    Jun 20, 2008
    Location:
    Close to Los Angeles, CA
    Most preamps do not have an adjustable gain control, and it wouldn't help, regardless. It's just more knob twiddling, when the goal is less.
  8. Baker69

    Baker69

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    Mar 24, 2008
    Wouldn't a compressor work?
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Apr 11, 2005
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    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It would to a certain extent, but one requirement of using compression is liking what it does, and if the volume changes are all over the map, compression might have limited use unless you squash the bejabbers out of your signal.
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    As someone who DOES like what compression does, I agree. IMO the best approach is a volume pedal, or careful use of the volume knob on the bass or the amp. One way or another, if you're going to change your sound in a way that causes a jump or drop in volume, you have to have equal ability to compensate for that with a volume control--preferably one that is not inherently changing your dynamics at the same time.
  11. AuntieBeeb

    AuntieBeeb

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Location:
    London
    I'm surprised that you're getting THAT much difference out of a bit of knob-twiddling on the bass itself...but then I am a passive player. I know that playing with a passive tone control can change the apparent volume of your sound, just by emphasising frequencies that cut through the mix more prominently, but I've never really found an appreciable loss of signal unless I wind the tone right down to <1. Are you playing an active bass and pushing the bass or treble boost right up for certain songs?
  12. Tymophil

    Tymophil

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    My bass is active, and EQ and/or pickup balance do change dramatically the volume.
  13. Tymophil

    Tymophil

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    My preamp is active (MEC for a P/J pickups config). There are two knobs to cut/boost treble and bass, one knob to balance pickups and a volume knob.

    If I boost any band (bass or treble) the boost in volume is big to huge. If I have the balance between pickups in favor of one over the other, once again, the boost is quite big.
  14. nickrs540

    nickrs540

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    I had this problem with my gear. I go from two different active basses (with different output levels) and an upright (with another substancial output difference). What I did was get a Sansamp Programmable BDI pedal. It has three programmable settings that I can put different volume and EQ levels on. I have one for each bass.
  15. abemo

    abemo

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Location:
    Arvada, co
    Yeah, if you're dramatically changing eq, that'll do it. I agree that a volume pedal is the simplest solution, especially if you're already effects. A compressor or limiter could work too, but if you compensate for too extreme a difference, you'll compress/limit all the dynamics and feel out of your playing.

    Another option, if there's only two main volume levels you're running into would be to use a pedal as a gain boost. For instance, take a pedal with just a mild effect (I've done this with both overdrive and chorus pedals), turn the gain knob up a tad on the pedal, and zero out the effect level, then turn on the pedal when you need the boost. Its not a great option, as this will definitely effect you're overall tone, and is far less versatile than a volume pedal, but if you need a quick, cheap fix using only things you already have, it could be a temporary fix.
  16. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    White Plains
    Why add a volume pedal when you could just use the volume knob on the bass? It's going to accomplish the same exact thing, unless you're running the pedal in the FX loop of the amp.

    I also agree with using a comp.
  17. Mehve

    Mehve

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    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    Kitchener, ON
    How much play do you have with the pickup heights? Some tweaking there might take the edge off the volume swings caused by the blend knob.
  18. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2003
    Location:
    Southern California
    The advantage of a volume pedal is you can change/tweak the volume while you are playing. With the volume knob you have to stop playing and guess at the volume change with the knob.

    If it's not right you have to stop playing again, etc.
  19. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

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    Location:
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    But if he is making drastic changes to all other knobs, why not one more? It wouldn't even be drastic, it you'd probably never need to bring it down further than 75%.
  20. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    Errr... that is kind of non-sequitur to what the previous post said...
  21. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Location:
    White Plains
    How does turning a knob not make sense?

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