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bad sounding everything!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by raised_fist, Feb 24, 2003.

  1. raised_fist

    raised_fist Guest

    Dec 16, 2002
    Help me here, please!
    I am so hating my bass sound! Please help me find a tone that sounds good. At the moment I am playing through a Hartke 350w head into a Peavy 1x15 BW cab, using an ibanez 305DX SG bass. The sound is just so dry and horrible and offers no brightness or colour. Now I know that my sound gear is bad, but I am getting a Spector NS2J in a couple of months, and I am hoping that that will solve all my problems. Because right now, I am brinking on depression with my bad sounding setup. Does anyone please have any idea how I could make my setup just sound more alive?
  2. Well, it would help if you posted in the right forum. This forum is reserved for "Setup" issues related to the instrument itself. Not tone and volume or cabinet issues that would go into the "Amps" forum. Please read the stuck post at the top of the page for more clarification of what's appropriate for the "Setup" forum.

    So now this goes to "Amps"...
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    New strings?

  4. RichBriere

    RichBriere Guest

    Jan 1, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Yo Fist...........Sounds like you might be going for that "kick up the bass too much" symptom.

    Try starting with the tone controls on your bass, itself, wide open if passive or flat (no boost, no cuts, if active. Then go to your amp. Set the controls as close to "flat" as you can and level out the graphic EQ if your amp has one. The typical "smiley face" position that's so often seen on EQ's is the first sign that the user hasn't a clue what an EQ is for. :^>) Essentially, you're trying to get to the basic, natural, un-colored sound of your gear.

    Once you get there, you might try playing for about an hour that way. You'll find that the sound begins to become a bit more appealing to you. After that, just make SMALL changes in your tone controls and you'll find that their effectiveness really begins to show through.

    Good Luck...............IMHO, your rig is fine and capable of delivering some good tone.

    One other thought........make sure that you're using quality and "proper" cables. Although this sounds a bit odd, I've found a number of folks using line/instrument cables where speaker cable should have been and vice versa.........and their sound suffered too.


  5. Mickey Shane

    Mickey Shane what goes here?

    Feb 23, 2003
    Denton, Texas
    New strings, correct cabling, and eq-ing are all very important to producing a good bass sound. I don't want to make any enemies out of certain equipment owners, and certainly everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but your speaker(s) is your voice.

    We were at a venue listening to the opening act when our guitarist turned to me and said "that bass player doesn't have a very rich sound". He was using a Peavey 2-15. It looked like an older model, so maybe the newer cabs sound better. Having one 15 w/o a tweet will put you in the mud no matter what the brand.

    I know that your question was "How to make the current rig sound more alive", and I didn't help.

    I would rather play a cheap bass and a cheap amp through a good speaker than the other way around.

    Just my thoughts.
  6. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    IMO the Spector will solve your tone problems, but for now just make sure your strings are not dead.
  7. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    All the above suggestions plus perhaps a new battery if your bass has an on-board preamp...

    Your gear is fine...look at what jamerson did with just a P Bass (with nasty old strings) and a little Ampeg amp...

    Assuming that you were once happy with the tone that you could get, you should be able to get it again.

    Have fun!!!
  8. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Mmmnnn... not sure about that one. I've got an Ashdown mini 1x15 - no tweeter, but I wouldn't call it muddy. OTOH, I do tend to roll off some of the lows and boost a little bit of the mids and highs, so perhaps that helps.

    My suggestion to raised_fist is that, while you're down at the local music store buying those new strings, try some other gear - for example, take your bass and try it through a range of speaker cabinets. I'm not sure that I agree with Mickey's position in its entirety, but you'll certainly find some differences.

  9. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    The Spector should be a move up but some words anyway.

    My prediction is that the same phenomenon will happen with the NS2. I often get fed up with my Musicman SR5. However when I try something else I always want my Stingray.

    Change your strings at least every 3 months unless you cannot afford to. I know people who change strings daily :eek:

    Try some decent cables like George L or the cheaper monsters. Play your bass with the vol knob down. Now set your amp so it sounds like that but louder.

    When playing with others boost the mids to cut through.
  10. Is your speaker blown..??? I use a Hartke 3500 and a PV 115 BW at practice and it sounds EXCELLENT. I have had many amps/cabs, and tried a lot of great stuff, so I know what good sound is. Unless it is not working properly, I would look at other things. Can you try the Spector out with your amp? That would eliminate the expensive options. Then like said, strings cables, action, technique,etc.
    If I were on a budget, I would get that exact setup! If you are not getting the volume you want and you are pigging out your amp, add a 4-10.
  11. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses
    i agree - a new battery, flat eq on bass, flat eq on you amp, maybe a new, or at least boiled, set of quality strings (if you used to play nickel, try stainless strings, or otherwise) if you cab stands on the floor, put it somewhere higer, move it a bit around the room etc. etc.

    it`s like computers - usually they`re not slow, just configured in an un-optimal way.

    besides the hardware you`re using, try to experiment with the WAY you play - i find it preety amazing how different my bass can sound only because of my finger position, their angle, and strenght used to pluck the notes.

    do you use normal tuning? nu-metal bassists often detune as low as cfcg wich usually ends with a crappy live sound (system of a down would be a good example of a terrible live sound). I once tried the bead tuning on my jazz. for five minutes. my mec pickups were completely unable to handle the b string. it sounded like a kicked cardboard box.

    hope you`ll find a tone you dig...
  12. Next time you're setting up, have someone else play the bass and you go to the back of the room and listen. Yell out different things to them to try, and when it sounds good, go up on stage and see what the settings look like. And if it sounds bad to you up close, don't worry, it sounds good out there.
  13. frosty


    Feb 18, 2003
    Southern USA
    You'd be surprised how much difference EQ can make, especially the mids. Hang in there.
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    It's the cab. I've had two Peavey Combo 115's, and that 15-inch Black Widow is just a tone-sucking muff monster. I had the same complaint: dull and lifeless. Get something with 10's in it. The more the merrier.
  15. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    I agree, but I have a old 1x15 black widow cab, and it's not muff at all. I use it on top of my 4x10 for high and low mids. the 4x10TX cab has more lows than that black widow 15!!!
  16. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    This is the perfect application for a 115 (on top of a 410). I use my secret 115 in the same way.

    Please don't mention this to the others.
  17. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    I agree with the 'change your cab' suggestion.

    A good 2x10 might make u happy.