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Achieving the Punch in the Chest sound/feeling

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bass_drum, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    I recently went to a rock show in my city, featuring a few punk bands/metal heads, quite a nice show actually.

    Anyways, with one of the bands, the bassist seemed to be going through an ampeg rig, with an ampeg 410 cab. When he played, you could truly feel the bass. Not just muddy rumble feeling, but tight punchy pow to the chest kind of feeling. Does that make sense?

    How did the bassist manage to achieve this sound? Any cabs/eq settings you could reccomend? Thanks!
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Id say 10 inch speakers, and Lo mids.
  3. Jiggybass


    Nov 15, 2005
    Sudbury, Canada
    +1, You could also try some Genz Benz Neox212's, just wow!, and if paired up with a 410 (my friends rig) it will pretty much knock you flat!
  4. Spector_Ray


    Aug 8, 2004

    Ah yes. The power of bass.
    My first real rig was an Ampeg SVT-CL head and two 4x10 cabs and I always loved the look I got from people in the front who experienced that power.
  5. AlembicBob


    Dec 28, 2004
    MA, US
    Here are a few thoughts to spark conversation...

    I'd say it's mostly a function of tight response and headroom. Anyone who has ever set foot in a dance club can tell you that huge power through a big subwoofer will certainly give you that punched-in-the-chest feeling. It may not cut through to produce identifiable notes, but you definitely feel it.

    I think some of it is playing technique as well. Notes that begin and end tend to seem more punchy to me than notes that drone on. Strong attack definitely helps.

    I've heard great punch out of a Mesa rig with a 400+ driving a 2x15 cab. I get great punch out of my IAmp800 driving a Schroeder 1212R. While it won't stop your pacemaker, I also think the tone of my Baby Blue II is pretty punchy in the practice room. The latter two definitely do it with strong low mids and rolled off deep bass. I think the Boogie rig featured some lower frequencies because it had the juice and speaker surface area to do it and remain tight.

    It definintely seems easier to get punch out of tens or twelves than larger drivers, but I think that's mostly a function of the amount of power required to generate punch at the produced frequencies.

    The quality of the bass matters as well. A weak bass can provide a muddy signal right from the start. That leaves you a lot less room for compromise in the rest of the rig. For me, the Alembic basses I play provide a great starting point to produce punch at the front of the house. I'm sure there are others that work just as well, but there are definitely instruments out there that don't cut it.

  6. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Ill also suggest the Gallien-Krueger RBH series for punch. The RBH 210 is one of my favorite cabs.
  7. Masher88

    Masher88 Believe in absurdities and you commit atrocities

    May 7, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Was some of the punch you were hearing due to the PA system?
  8. The original post didn't state the size of the venue but my guess would be that this show had P.A. support in which case the sound is being determined by someone mixing for the bands. That means the bass rig might not have any bearing on the actual sound/feel out front.

    Unfortunately this is the case much of the time as we bassists invest money and time to find the perfect sounding rig only to be at the mercy of the FOH mixer. Only in the smaller, intimate venues does our rig really reflect the sound out front. Even then, depending on room acoustics, sound will change from point to point in the room.

    I've always preferred a miked as well as direct signal to the board so that at least some of my sound will be sent to the house speakers. A good soundman who knows what you want is indispensable under these circumstances. That could have been the case with the particular band you mentioned.
  9. Bloodfist


    Mar 18, 2006
    Charleston, SC
    For my rig I use the Ampeg SVT3-Pro with The SVT 410-hlf cainet. The 410 is an awesome sounding cabinet that can deliver punch punch in the chest while balanceing out the highs and lows equally. Just for reference, I play a spector bass with emg hz passive pickups. The bass has a real nice crisp clean sound to it, so that itself makes alot of difference. As for the settings on my amp, htey go as follows. Bright/pad on, -15db off , ultra high on, ultra low off, gain is set to taste, bass is full, midrange is at 1 o'clock, frequency is at 4 treble is full, master is set at taste, tube gain is full, eq's mainly stay off but i do use them from time to time. As for the cabinet, I barely have the horn turned on. Now if you, or anyone else has ever played the SVT3 Pro, you might think those settings are kinda bland. But I play in a metalish band that revolves heavily around the bass and drums, so clearity is a must! With these settings my rig sounds 99% like the bass in the song sober by tool (if you've ever heard it), and I use no effects. These settings allow me to do some crazy stuff on the low end whitout becoming muddy, then jump to the high end, with out loosing anything sound wise. I'm also mostly a pick player, so when the time comes for me to need a smooth tone, I usually just pick further up the neck, say around the 14th fret, or just throw the pick away and use my fingers. Basically I just set the amp and work the bass. If you ever get the chance try these settings, and the louder you crank it the better it sounds. And one other thing than really contributes is the type of string you use. I've tried everything from Smith electrics to boomers, and have settled in on the DR highbeams. Hope that kinda helps.
  10. pj-mike


    Nov 22, 2005
    Bridgewater, MA
    +1 "10 inch speakers, and Lo mids." Figjam nailed it.
  11. Like most others, I'd say 10's, lowmids, and good work by the sound man/PA probably did it. Another thing that makes a bass sound alot punchier without most people realizing it is the drummer. It depends on what kind of music your playing, but when a good drummer hits the bass drum to the notes of main emphasis of a bass line, not only does the rythem section work much better, but the two sounds come together and make the bass sound alot better. Usually the sound comming out of a PA that really hits you in the chest is the bass drum, so if the bass and drums were on together, this could be a large part of it. If it was a metal show, I'd imagine there would have been a lot of double bass? (from the drums not a standup) Maybe this and some 16th notes from the bass did the trick.
  12. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    That is also very often the case. The kick drum is usually mixed very high. If the bassist was indeed playing through the PA, his rig had little to do with his punch, unfortunately.
  13. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005

    I really don't knwo if he was going through the PA but I would assume not. He had what seemed to be a very powerful ampeg rig, and the venue was quite small, although quite a few bands played.

    Some more suggestions fopr amps, cabs and eq settings would be great!
  14. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Did you check to see if there was a mic in front of his cab?
  15. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    By recently, I should have said a little while ago:p I didn't check to see if his cab was mic-ed but i doubt they were. That being said he could has easily been using a DI.
  16. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    The world will never know. :p
  17. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    haha!:bawl: :confused:

    So what kind of head would you suggest for punch? Tube or SS (does it make a difference?)?

    If I have this correctly, to get maximum punch: Get some 10's, take some lows and add low mids?
  18. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    To me, solid state has more punch because its generally a quicker amp with a faster response. What do you mean by 'take some lows?' Do you mean boost lows or cut lows? Other than that, yes, I agree. 10's and lo mids.
  19. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    In a band setting, I don't think it's just the bass that produces punch. It's a combination of the bass, guitars, and bass drum.

    I use a Mesa Bass 400 into a 6 10's and do quite a bit to get an aggressive, punchy tone. But I've noticed the real punch in the chest actually occurs when we are all in unison.
  20. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    sorry for my slang-ish term there, by take some lows I mean cut the lows, by add low mids I mean boost them.