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achieving a tight and punchy sound

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by acostabassman, Sep 5, 2003.

  1. acostabassman


    Sep 5, 2003
    hey guys, im having some trouble achieving a tight and punchy sound, i seem to constantly pull a more boomy sound. the gear i have have is:

    Ampeg SVT 4 PRO HEAD
    Ampeg SVT 410HE CABINET
    Ampeg SVT 210HE CABINET
    G&L L2500 BASS

    I usually use my SVT 210HE for smaller gigs and rehearsals, and the quad (or both) for everything else. should the bass EQ be set the same for both??

    also, what setting should the variable level attenuator be on the back of the cabinet to compliment the sound i want??

    any help or advice will be great
  2. This is a very tough one to answer. Too many variables..

    The gear list is more than OK

    Assuming there is nothing wrong at all with the equipment, it has to be simply down to playing style and eq settings..

    All I can say is what I do for myself..
    I use a pretty light gauge of bass strings and play close to the back of the bridge, giving a tight response.

    Keeping strings fresh has been the thing for me, I tend to change my strings every 3-4 weeks (when gigging every weekend)

    I would suggest banging some new strings on and reset your entire rig so that the EQ is flat and start messing...but this is only worth doing at high volume levels at a rehearsal. You will soon hear what EQ channel is starting to make a difference. Try dropping some of the more low frequancies and raise your overall volume.

    My main SWR rig and backup SWR rig are set with the EQ pretty flat (slight cut at 800hz midrange) but other than that flat.

    When I had my Ampeg SVT-Pro2 head I had to dial in a lot more EQ to get a punchy sound.

    No doubt you will get a lot of advice on this subject but at the end of the day one mans punchy sound is another mans sloppy string...its all upto your ears

  3. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    The answer to your problem is quite easy, AMPEG!!! I suggest you start looking at other gear to get the tone you strive for>:bassist:
  4. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    If you are playing on a lot of box/hollow stages that could be much of the problem too. Try and Auralex Gramma Pad. It decouples the cab from the stage and boominess giving you a more focused sound. Do some searches on the Gramma and see all the talk. I endorse them 100%. At any rate it's a great alternative tool to throw in you car if your need it.
  5. Dont listen to anybody that thinks you cant get a good punchy sound out of the gear you have...
  6. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Are there any bass players locally who get a sound you like? Maybe go to a couple of gigs and take notes on what sounds good - talk to the bassists as well to get some insight into how they play and the equipment they have chosen.

    Like Dave said, it's quite subjective (unless you can think of some recordings that have the sound you want and which are widely accessible).

  7. just checked out the 'Auralex Gramma Pad'
    Very simply bit of kit.

    This could be the answer but only if the sound is venue related...I get the impresion from the post that it is a general sound problem..

    My cabs are all fully flightcased and foam lined so I suppose it amounts to create the same decoupling of the stage from the speaker as the 'Auralex'. Nice to know that there is some additional sound bonus to all the weight..!!

  8. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    OK, check out the reviews of this amp on Harmony Central. Quite a few reviews give this amp a very poor rating in sound quality!!
  9. acostabassman


    Sep 5, 2003
    hey guys thanx for your advice so far (especially dave)

    basically for the past few years my sound has been a real fat middi sound for rock, but lately ive been getting alot of work with a jazz/r&b band with horns and ive struggled to find a sound to cut above the horns and keep everything tight. i guess the sound im looking for would be the bass sound you would hear on a santana album.
  10. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Personally, I do believe that there are other brands that more easily capture the "tight and punchy sound" than Ampeg does. To me, I associate Ampeg with more of a round, woolly grindy kind of sound. Not to say that it can't also be tight and punchy, just that I find it easier to achieve tight and punchy with gear that strives to be less colored.

    That said, I agree that you don't need to go out and replace your gear. Obviously, you like Ampeg gear, but it sounds like you want to tighten things up a bit. I might suggest that you look into either the Aphex Bass or Acoustic Exciter, or into some of the BBE products. I have found that for some rigs, these types of products can either tighten up your tone, or add a tonal dimension that was previously missing. And they are certainly less expensive than replacing your whole rig!

    Another option which may help is adding headroom by using an external power amp with a lot of juice, and driving it with the preamp out off your Ampeg head.

    Hope this helps, Tom.
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    EQ, EQ, EQ!!!!

    Examine very carefully how you are EQing your lows and mids.

    The G&L can out out a LOT of bottom if you have the bass knob dimed, then if you kick in ultra-lo on the head, boost the bass EQ knob and tweak some more low boost with the graphic you'll be swimming in mud real fast.
  12. I cant see how you would need more power..the ampeg pushes out about the most power from a bass head you should ever need (I think its about 1200w mono bridged)

    I really think that the best option is to reduce unwanted frequencies and boost your volume.
  13. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I wasn't aware that it's output was that high. You are correct. 1,200w (600 per cab) should be enough to keep it tight.

    Thanks for the correction.

    And yes, more time spent tweaking your currently available EQ options is the least expensive route by far! But, if that doesn't work, I do think that it'd be worth trying something like a BBE unit before replacing cabs, heads, or instruments.

  14. hands5


    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    A good sound maximizer(BBE)and a good DI-box(CountryMan,or JDI)can go a long way into tighten up your sound.
  15. hands5


    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    A good sound maximizer and a good DI-box can go a long way in tightening your tone and now BBE gives you both in 1 box.
  16. I don't think anyone answered this yet, I'll make an attempt... :)

    The attenuator on the back of the cabinet only affects the tweeter volume. It's setting will affect the 'brightness, ring, click, maybe a bit of focus' in the sound, it won't affect punch. Some people run the tweeter full up, some full off, some go in the middle - it depends on your preference.

    There are many good tips here for you to try with eq etc. Keep in mind that certain rooms, stages, & situations with PA foldback will result in less than desirable tone where you are standing, regardless of what equipment you are using and how you eq it.:meh:

    Sometimes, repositioning the cabinet in relation to yourself - room boundaries - the PA will make a huge difference. This is because of the way low frequencies cancel and reinforce each other in the acoustic environment. It is a phenomenon that bass players and soundmen will always battle...

    HTH, good luck.
  17. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Other than some compression, nothing is a "tight and punchy" as the person hitting the strings.
  18. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    While this would be a nice unit (especially the tube version), in general, I think that the BBE process works best as far back in the signal chain before the power amp as possible. So, one of their rack units - ran in the "preamp out/power amp in" loop - might be a bit more effective. Still, their DI boxes are a good value for the money, and would be useful in an of their own.

  19. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Make sure the "UltraLo" switch is disengaged: that contour will kill your mids. Also, try boosting low mids (250Hz, or maybe up to 500). You might get a little too much "honk" when playing solo, but so what, what really matters is how well you fit in the mix.
  20. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    try putting your bass' onboard EQ to its "flat" point, where you're not boosting or cutting anything. or if its passive, set to its "flattest" setting. walk over to your amp, and put everything flat there. also, set your pickups to equal signal strength, so one isnt louder than the other.

    with this blank canvas, you can a few things:

    you can leave everything as is, but boost some low mids, around 125hz. that's the frequency right below most guitars, so you give them a nice supporting punch.

    for a more sub-like, but slammin' low end sound, you can try cutting the middle mids around 400hz, and pumping up the 40hz, which is where most "bass" labeled knobs are centered. then add in some upper mids for more cut and presence.

    on your bass, you can do a few things there:

    i dunno how the bass' pickup system works, but allow the emphasis to be more on the back/bridge pickup, which gives you a more upfront punchie sound. you'll lose some low end, so compensate with your bass' onboard EQ.

    whatever you do, try to avoid using mostly your front pickup. i find that for certain mixes, it can make your bass sound really dub-like, and hinder that punch you're looking for.

    and finally, do a search here on TB, for people who use your amp as well, and see what settings have worked for them, to get an idea of where to start.

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