Aviom user needs EQ help for bass tone

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by funkythumb, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Hey all,
    I've been playing at churches professionally, huge and small for a very long time. I use 1964 Quad in ears. On occasion in the past, while subbing, I've had to use the Aviom system and have absolutely hated it because my bass tone got buried when the other instruments started playing.
    I recently subbed at a new church were I had to use the Aviom system again. I couldn't even hear my fundamental using a Sadowsky jazz bass. I lowered the levels on all the other instruments and vocals and I did hear myself better but was still having problems getting a bass tone that had a nose on it.
    I've used a compressor with limited success.
    I need to resolve my frustration with using this system on the occasion I have to use it. It's just not fun or professional to play without hearing oneself clearly.
    Though I play every week at church, we don't use an Aviom system. Only when I sub here and there do I get the chance to work with it.
    I'm thinking that I need to work on tone (note) shaping with an EQ. I'm building an A Designs 500 series rack system and only need to buy the EQ unit.
    A simple Boss EQ might also do the trick. I'm thinking crank the mids and cut some of the low lows and I should be on my way.
    Any recommendations?
  2. kbr


    Feb 27, 2006
    Oviedo, Fl
    A couple of the churches I play at have Aviom systems. I used to have problems hearing myself all the time until I changed in ears. I ended up with JH Audio JH16s though I have Sennheiser IE8s as a backup pair and they work pretty well too. I set the Aviom with the Bass at 2 o'clock and the Treble at noon. Mostly, I suggest setting the tone controls on the Aviom itself to where your bass sounds good to you and then start building a mix from there.
  3. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    The best solution depends on identifying the source of the problem. It's possible that compared to traditional backline monitoring, you're just hearing via the Aviom a lot more than you're used to of the voices that are competing with the bass.

    Does the bass sound the way you want when soloed in the IEMs? Does it sound the way you want in the congregation? If not, then the plan of changing eq is a good one. But if the bass sounds tight until other voices come in, the problem is likely frequency masking from the other ensemble voices.

    The best solutions to that problem involve the MD and sound engineers, b/c they involve changing arrangements to minimize masking and adjusting how the other voices are eq'ed/mixed.

    If there's no chance of changing the arrangements, ideally you'd at least figure out which other voices are crowding you (guitar and keys would be my guess, and maybe some of the bass voices in the choir). If, for example, you can't convince the keys player to ease up on the left hand, maybe s/he'll at least drop a bit of low end in the keys eq. If not, perhaps the engineers can create a little sonic space for you by using a parametric to trim back the competing voices in a few key regions that are masking the bass now.

    Failing that, just mix a lot less of those voices in your own IEM mix.
  4. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Thanks. Well I pretty much did that as far as eqing the whole band. I just can't get that nose on the note. I just bought the 1964's Quad driver in ears and can't spend on another, much more expensive set. Do the ears make that much of a difference?
  5. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    I'm hearing a good bass tone in my ears when playing by myself. The sound in the room through the PA sounds huge and muddy through the PA on the ceiling no matter what big church from where I stand onstage. I use MTD 535 and Sadowsky basses. Engineer says bass sounds great out front. I think it's a masking issue.
  6. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    The earpieces (and especially the seal) do make a big difference, but the 1964 Quads are nice. Unless they're malfunctioning or your audiologist's fitting was way off, they aren't your problem.

    How does the bass sound in the system when soloed? Does it lack definition even soloed?

    Also, does the rest of the ensemble sound natural in the IEMs? If there aren't big holes in the sound, it should be possible to get the bass to sound good—especially through custom-fit quad drivers.
  7. bobbybass85

    bobbybass85 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Ok first, some background.

    I also use the 1964 quads. Also, almost everything I play is IEM with a fairly regular gig at a church using Avioms. I'll tell you right now, it is NOT your in-ears. They are more than capable in every respect.

    That said, "nose" to me comes with a slight bump on a Jazz bass right around the 750 - 900 hz range. Solo'd, it's not the greatest thing in the world, but I will beat this drum all day: That section of midrange, when boosted slightly with a mostly flat bass and treble will bring you to the front of almost any mix, both in house and in your mix. Of course that's subject to being IME.

    I have found with IEM's that the super scooped, or even just a heavy bass boosted sound can turn muddy and get lost really quick.

    If your interested my signal chain is in my sig.
  8. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Bobby, thank you man. I didn't think it was the ears. It's about the note shape. I'll try the 700-900hz boost and see how it works out. The bass sounds great soloed otherwise. Like you said, the soloed sound may be nasty but it'll sit well in the mix.
  9. bobbybass85

    bobbybass85 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    No problem, the funny thing is that after a couple years of having that mid-range bump, it's become quite pleasant to my ear.

    Let us know how it works, my opinion is one of many on this site, and by no means the only "right" answer
  10. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I'd still consider the quality and structure of the source audio signal going into the Aviom system itself. This is in the hands of the audio guys, which as you know are of wildly varying degrees of competence and abilities.

    I usually play a Sadowsky myself, and I generally get all the "nose" I need by backing off the bridge pickup a bit and with the use of moderate EQ on the onboard bass preamp. There's Sadowsky users that tend to go overboard with it and it the tone can get lost in larger rooms or dense mixes.

    I've played in several churches using Aviom rigs, and never really had problems hearing myself with strong note definition, regardless of whether I was using Ipod earbuds or Alien Ears molded monitors. As mentioned above, it's not the IEMs.
  11. I've only been using IEM's and Aviom for a couple of years, playing two weekends/month at church, so it's not like I've got a ton of experience with these systems yet.

    Here's a few things that have become more clear over time though, and one or more of these observations might be helpful.

    1. Consistency at the soundboard makes a difference. Depending on the person at the board, it is either easier or harder to find the mix you need on the Aviom. Once you get in sync with the habits of the different people at the board, it becomes easier for you to find what you need.

    2. IEM's of different brands can sound way different from each other. I usually use Etymotic ER-6i's, which work great for me. I have used other in-ears that sounded nothing at all like I thought they would. It might be worth trying different IEM's, even if they are not expensive, just to get the comparison.

    3. My tone sounds different to me through IEM'S than in open air. I tend to use less bridge pickup with the Aviom and IEM's to get a similar tone in my ears. The FOH sound is less of a concern for me anymore, based on regular trusted feedback. If I have to make significant adjustments on my head EQ to get the tone I want in my ears, then so be it.

    4. Find as much volume in your ears on your channel as possible (without distortion) and then set everything else low enough to never overrun your instrument in your mix.

    5. I go through my amp head first, getting the basic sound I want in my ears, and send that line signal to the sound man. He has to work with what I first give him, making sure that he's got limited headroom with my signal. I have two decibel pads on my amp head so I can cut my own signal if he is over-driven at the board.

    6. When the fundamental (I like your term "nose" ;-)) is eluding me, I keep turning everything else down until I find it. After years of competing in stage volume wars, I found it refreshing to be able to do this.

    7. The times that I know it's really working correctly are when I can hear the people singing. If I can't hear them singing, then my in ear mix is louder than necessary.

    YMMV, I offer these observations as my experiences only.

    All the best,

  12. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Thanks all. It's interesting that a couple of you have mentioned "backing off the bridge pickup" which i assume to mean using more neck PU. I've found that the easiest to hear tone through the IEM was using a passive P bass. It seems counter intuitive to use less bridge PU, which tends to add definition but it does seem to work.
  13. Agreed that it is counter-intuitive, backing off the bridge pickup. Not sure why it works that way.

    I also produce a hotter signal when using my passive (1 MM-style humbucker at the bridge only) fretless...noticeably more than with either of my active two-pickup bases, whether fretless or not.

  14. jdlwareagle

    jdlwareagle Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2005
    Mobile , AL
    You may already incorporate this into your Aviom settings but I hard pan all other instruments and set my bass , kick drum and WL vocals in the middle . This seems to give me a little more " separation " from the wall of sound .
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Yes, panning is definitely one of the best kept secrets of setting up a decent IEM mix. When you can spread out various instruments left to right you can hear things more distinctly AND run a lower volume overall (which is the whole idea of IEMs in the first place). The more instruments/voices you have in the mix, the more important this becomes.

    Also, don't assume you need to have every instrument and singer in your mix. I know that some people are comfortable with (or even request) an IEM mix that is essentially same as FOH but I've found I play better when my personal mix departs from FOH... sometimes by quite a ways. If you don't sing backing vox, for example, there's really no reason to have them in your mix; they're just noise. I don't sing so in my IEMs the lead singer is the only vocalist I'm hearing, and at a lower level than in FOH. Same with aux percussion... if you're set up 3 feet from a conga player I GUARANTEE you'll hear as much of that as you want just leaking through your earbuds... take em out of your IEMs entirely. Same deal with tom and overhead mics on the drum kit, which are embellishment more than actual musical content so I run them much lower in my IEMs than if I were mixing them at FOH.

    Focus first on hearing the components you need to hear to do your job (which for me is kick, hi-hat, bass, lead vocal and just enough lead guitar to know what he's doing), drop/pan everything else down to a secondary level and then run the overall volume as low as you can while still feeling comfortable with what you're hearing.

    Specifically with regard to EQ... I've always felt the Aviom consoles would benefit greatly by having a midrange tone control in addition to low and high... but barring that, the best thing you can do is get the mix (levels) as good as it can be and then adjust master tone controls to get as close to ideal as possible.
  16. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Sounds like freat advice! Thanks
  17. funkythumb

    funkythumb Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Meant GREAT advice :)