Amp sounds terrible from far away.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by drden, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. drden


    Nov 11, 2008
    Troy, NY
    I have a problem, that I'd think many other people on talkbass have had, and it's probably a very noonish topic, but it's a big problem for me.

    The problem is, I can dial in a great tone on my amp when I'm standing a few feet from it, at about band practice volume. When I walk across the room however, I no longer hear good tone at all, it sounds terrible. I tried some various EQing, nothing seems to work. I've had this problem with both of my amps.

    If there's already a thread on this topic please give me a link.

    Thanks a bunch
  2. PBass101


    Jul 3, 2008
    What is your speaker setup?
  3. drden


    Nov 11, 2008
    Troy, NY
    1x15 cab with or without tweeter, tweeter is very subtle though, barely does anything at all.
  4. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    List all your gear, (that you're using). Amp, cabs, bass, any fx, etc.
  5. Drden, can you define the "good" sound as well as the "bad"?

    Playing with a band, without, or either? Big or small room? Cab in the corner on the floor or elevated & in the center of a wall?

    Usual EQ settings on bass & amp might also help.
  6. drden


    Nov 11, 2008
    Troy, NY

    Basses: p bass (vintage fender pickup, slightly dead DR sunbeams roundwound)
    Jazz bass (vintage Duncan pickups, regular slinkys)

    Amp: Hughes and Kettner Bassforce XXL. 300 watts solid state power and pre amps, I think 200 with just a 1x15, bt I'm not completely sure.

    This happens running no Fx
  7. heath_r_91


    Jun 3, 2006
    Topeka Area, Kansas
    It could probably be from the bass dispersion.

    When you are directly in front of it you feel it in your chest a bit more and you feel the vibrations and the waves haven't gone as far. As you go back you start to lose the thump in your chest and the slight shaking of the ground which makes it seem to be sounding different.

    Thats what I think you are experiencing.

    Solution 1 (if you mic your cabinet): EQ like you have it, so it sounds good up close.

    Solution 2 (if you run direct): EQ so that it sounds good at the distance you are from it and have the p.a. work with the front of house sound.

    Solution 3 (if you don't run through p.a.): try to stand in the crowd and eq so it sounds good where they will be hearing you from.
  8. drden


    Nov 11, 2008
    Troy, NY
    Good sound (with the p bass): warm, round sound, not too heavy on the treble, not a total woof though. Mids are present, not scooped.

    Usually the eq is a little bass boost, even less mid boost, and treble a smudge before noon, or noon.

    The bad sound is really hard to describe. It seems possibly a little more on the treble side? Not really more bright, just clunkier, possibly high mids?

    The amp is set right on the floor, second story, hardwood, no band with me
  9. drden


    Nov 11, 2008
    Troy, NY
    Also this in a bedroom full of stuff, I want to try it outside or at a show or something I don't know if it will be different
  10. JonathanD


    Dec 13, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    edit because I read the above.
    Try it in a different room. Or in a differnet place in the room. It is possible you are getting some reverb.
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Room reflections have a lot to do with it. Could sound great on a gig. Don't get too hung up on tone in your room.
  12. I bet it's just the room. Is it worst when you are standing in the approximate middle of the room?
    If yes, it's from reflections that meet in the middle of the room and cancel the bass.
    You can add sound absorbing materials to the walls at each end of the room to help this.
    Or ignore it.
  13. drden


    Nov 11, 2008
    Troy, NY
    Yeah that might just be it. Has this happened to anybody else here before? It'd be awful comforting if it has.

    No, not just the middle of the room it sounds bad everywhere except in front of it.

    Thanks jimmy, I just didn't want to show up at a gig and have it sound terrible. I'll try it outside or something too (it's a drag taking it down the stairs though, bloody enormous monster)
  14. drden


    Nov 11, 2008
    Troy, NY
    Thanks everybody, I'll try it in other environments (rainforest, tundra, deciduous forest) and if it's still a problem I'll revive this thread.

    Thanks again, God bless
  15. GregBass1979


    Feb 26, 2008
    A 1x15 will sound thuddy and muddy anywhere more than 20 ft. away...have you tryed a 4x10 with at least 800rms Watts? It should stay clear and punchy to about 75 ft.
  16. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Room nodes and reflections can make the problem worse, but you'll have the same problem to a different degree even in a great sounding room.

    To simplify, think of high frequencies as more directional than lows. Both highs and lows are strongest where your cab is aiming them, but the effect is more pronounced with the highs.

    When you're standing a few feet away from a cab that's positioned on the floor, you're placing your ears where the cab *isn't* aiming. With your ears essentially above/behind/beside most cabinets, you'll hear the lows better than the highs. Settings that sound tonally balanced from this position will tend to sound bass-shy and ganky once you move farther in front of your cab.

    One fix is to put your cab up on an amp stand, so it is throwing sound where your ears are.
  17. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
  18. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Might I suggest, if you're playing at home , and with yourself, and it sounds best close to your amp, perhaps you should just sit close to the amp when you play.
  19. fourstringburn

    fourstringburn Supporting Member

    Jun 30, 2009
    New Mexico
    Get used to it being a bass player...guitarist can use lower powered amps and be plenty loud and sound somewhat the same anywhere due to the way high frequencies travel and the way we hear them. We don't have that luxury.
    You can use higher powered amps and more speakers, but this will compound the problem. Low frequencies travel slower and further and also get absorbed more easily by inanimate objects. there are many other technical reasons for this also.
    Hearing a bass from another room usually doesn't sound good, all you are hearing is the bass reflex and it sounds kind of muffled.
    Like one poster said, don't worry about your sound in a practice room. When you play a gig at a club for instance, you"ll notice how better your amp responds when it has some breathing room.
    But by the same token, at clubs or any where bigger, you will probably use a D.I. and possibly combined with your amps D.I. and a Mic into the mixer and that's all the audience will hear anyway while you use your amp for stage monitoring.
    In my opinion, if you want a better sound for rehearsals or small gigs requiring live amps, use bass cabs with multiple smaller drivers (10") as opposed to larger ones.
    15's and 18's may give you a lower frequency response, but they are also boomier and give a slower response for the sound wave to develop at it's optimum low frequency characteristic.
    Other than that, I say just make sure you like your sound where you stand and play and you"ll probably inspire yourself to play even better. So don't get overly consumed by the fact your amp doesn't sound the same at every angle or direction, Go out there and play your ass off! that's just the way that it is!
  20. Go into the room where you keep your amp, turn your EQ flat and turn on something like a TV set pretty loud, then turn on a radio or cd player as well. Start playing and try to keep a rhythm through that noise. Listen and boost the mids or cut the lows until you find a sound that cuts through, and you can hear that start of your notes without "maxing" out your room with bass that just covers everything. mark the settings and try them with a band...dont even try to get your "tone" by yourself in a quiet bedroom.
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