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Are you gonna sound bad if you're gonna sound good?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Skel, Mar 7, 2006.


  1. Skel

    Skel

    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    If you are going to sound really good in the mix, does this mean you need to make adjustments that would make you sound bad by yourself (meaning bad tone, of course)? Are there any rule of thumb adjustments to make to your sound that you would "resist", but do them anyway to insure that you sound great in the mix?

    Thanks - Skel
     
  2. illidian

    illidian

    Jul 2, 2004
    Not necessarily. It depends on personal taste.

    A lot of people say that a smiley EQ sounds good at home, but gets lost with a band. I think the smiley EQ sounds bad at home, and sounds worse with a band.

    My EQ at home and with a mix are the same - flat on the amp, but the cabs have prominent mids.
     
  3. A lot of people like to scoop their mids, but at a gig, this doesn't cut through at all, so they need to boost their mids. Only examply I can think of.
     
  4. Kael

    Kael Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    If I understand your question correctly, you are asking if I (or anyone else reading this) would adjust their tone such that it might sound poor solo'd in order to improve the overall mix.

    If that is the question then the answer is yes, yes I would. I don't matter, the audience does.
     
  5. illidian

    illidian

    Jul 2, 2004
    I think he's asking something more along the lines of, "Do your gig settings sound bad when you play by yourself?"

    As in, you set it for the gig, and the mix sounds good. But without the rest of the mix, the bass would have an unfavorable tone to it.
     
  6. Skel

    Skel

    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    Exactly - thanks for the clarification. And so far it sounds like people have a tendency to lower their midrange frequencies, and although it might sound good alone, it doesn't sound good in a mix, and visa versa(?)

    Skel
     
  7. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    I usually use my same settings at home and at a gig. I use slightly scooped usually, and if I need to cut through, well thats what the volume knob is for :smug: .
     
  8. Kael

    Kael Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    In that case, nope. Same tone I like solo'd works live for the acts I'm currently playing with.
     
  9. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I have heard a lot of guys talk about a great "solo" sound being "lost in the mix" and that there is certain gear (amps/cabs) which might not sound great by itself, but which really punches through in a mix. I do believe that there is a certain amount of truth to this, but I am not someone who likes to just accept such a compromise without first challenging the concept. :D As an end result of my endless gear quest, I have found a good number of gear that to my ears sounds great solo, but also sits well within a mix (and cuts through when necessary). I can make tons of specific recommendations, but it seems like this thread is addressed more at the concept than at particular gear.

    So, I accept it as a valid consideration (good solo tone does not necessarily equal good live tone and the flip side, cruddy solo tone sometimes equals great live tone), but I also hate such imposed compromises, and I do believe that you can put together a rig that sounds great solo and in a live band setting. Of course, technique, style, and instruments of choice have a ton to do with this.

    Tom.
     
  10. Skel

    Skel

    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    That's good to know. Generally, I think if the tone you're getting sounds good by itself, it's going to sound good in the mix, but I ask the question because I'm not sure I'm right. Take a guitar player. If he has great tone, it's going to sound good solo, or in the mix. But hasn't anybody ever heard a guitar player, for example, using delay and you are surprised how much of it they are using when you hear the guitar by itself, but it gets soaked up in the mix? There is kind of a mystery to "the mix" and what sounds best in it and I think it needs to be considered.

    Skel
     
  11. CrazyArcher

    CrazyArcher

    Aug 5, 2004
    Israel
    On gigs I go for more slightly more middles, and push 'presence' know until the end. I also dont shun the possibility to quickly adjust the mid-range equalizer on my bass during the gig, of course.
    Overall, my 'home' soun is waaay better than my 'gig' sound, of course.
     
  12. BbbyBld

    BbbyBld

    Oct 13, 2005
    Meridian, MS
    This is not really an EQ thing, but many people recommend keeping the pre gain as low as possible as a rule of thumb on solid state amps and crank the post gain. I like to set the pre gain really high, even though I play really hard, just under pre amp clipping. I think that sounds better because it makes it easier to distort the speakers on certain notes, which makes a nice growl, but it's also harder on my cabinets.

    If I have to adjust the EQ drastically to get a good tone while practicing, I start to think the cabinet sucks. I think of it as fighting the cabinet. The best sounding cabinet I have sounds good to me with my amp EQ set flat--live and while practicing. I think the cabinets and speakers deserve a lot of credit as far as tone goes, especially how the cabinet works with a particular amp.

    I think it's really important to have an amp that fits the style of music your band plays. For me, trying to adjust an amp that's not working with the style the band is playing usually results in a really bad tone.
     
  13. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    That's generally how I view things. Some people say a scooped mid sounds good solo but bad in the mix. I say that the scooed mid thing sounds terrible regardless of the situation.

    When I got my Carvin, I was like, "Holy poo, this thing is going to sound great in the mix," and I was right; soundmen love that bass. It was the same thing when I got my Aguilar cabinet. I tried it out in my living room and knew that it was going to sound great on a stage. When I gigged it that weekend, I was correct.

    One thing I've learned is to keep a decent amount of highs in the mix. Highs are strange, because you really don't hear them when you're listening to a band (but they come out very well when soloed), but they help add presence to the bass and make the overall mix sound much better.
     
  14. Skel

    Skel

    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    That reminds me of the best compliment I've ever gotten. I was playing an outdoor gig running my B2-R/SVT-410HLF direct to the mixing desk and using my MIM Precision. On a break, a friend of mine who knows nothing about music told me it didn't seem like the bass was very loud. The girl he was with looked at him and said "are you kidding? the bass sounds orgasmic!" That worked for me.

    Skel
     
  15. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    I find that most issues concerning a guitarist or bassist being heard have more to do with proper EQing and less to do with actual volume.