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Boomy Room Problems...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jokerjkny, Apr 27, 2004.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    hey guys,

    thought i'd shoot this out to the pyscho/acoustics/physics guys, and ask how to tame a boomy room.

    my bud who regularly plays in a 500 seat auditorium has been having some trouble, and the soundman isnt helping him much.

    SO, how do *y'all* tame the problematic room?

    i could name specs of the amp, yadda, yadda, yadda, but what are some general guidelines?
  2. milk crates/auralex or whatever is what i hear alot about.
  3. The only real solution is to treat the room. Boom is simply reflected sound waves bouncing around in the room. Tame the reflection problem and the boom goes away. You can tinker with the EQ until the cows come home and it will only do so much as the problem is the room and not the PA. (just my experienced opinion)
  4. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    yup, have the auralex, and did alleviate some of the problems onstage, but didnt do much for the room itself. :( and we cant really "treat" the room perse, cause its not ours!

    what about the PA? any settings or frequencies we should keep in mind? better yet, is there a frequency point on the crossover that would help in a punchier bass sound?
  5. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    If you have some good EQ control with a parametric, I'd recommend rolling off a pretty wide range at about 50 hz and boosting mids aggressively in the 500 hz area for the DI signal. This should clear up some of the mud. Also, it's possible that the sound guy isn't giving much distinction between the bass and the kick drum, so a sharp boost in the midrange will give some much needed clarity, especially for a pre-DI signal which will give your buddy some more control.

  6. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    My soundman/guitar player has fixed this very issue.

    As alluded to before, most soundmen do not get much distinction between the kick drum and the bass. He uses a 1/3 band stereo EQ where it's used as two seperate mono EQ's. One side is dedicated strictly for the kick drum alone.

    I'm not sure what he's got it set at but it is extremely scooped. He told me there is one certain frequency that affects the chest cavity (where the maximum "kick drum" punch is felt). This is the one frequency where he has it extremely boosted.

    Experiment around with a dedicated EQ, used solely for the kick drum. You'd be amazed at how much difference it makes in boomy rooms. That and a compressor on the bass helps as well.
  7. 7flat5


    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    The other thing which would have the most effect on bass resonances in the room is the placement of the speakers reproducing the bass. Sometimes you have some control over where the band is set up, or where the bass cab or PA cabs are placed, and this can drastically effect the boom in the room. If you have some control over this, it might be worth some experimentation to see if you can find a place that doesn't excite the problematic resonances. Pay special attention to distance to room boundaries and to corners. Move em and see if it makes a difference.
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Play at a lower volume (bassist and the band in general).
  9. I'm surprised that nobody mentioned a gizmo called the "Drive Rack," made by dbx. It is designed to solve these problems. Although I gave up playing professional gigs many years ago, if I were playing in a professional band today, I couldn't imagine doing much gigging without one of these tucked away in the signal processing rack.

    The Drive Rack is a Real Time Analyzer, combined with a multiband equalizer. You use the RTA to analyze the room, and the EQ will automatically compensate for irregularities in the frequency spectrum. Basically, it will make your PA system emulate the frequency response of a set of control room monitors (set up in a properly tuned room) in EVERY room that you play. A priceless tool for any professional PA rig, IMHO. Somewhat expensive, though. I think about $500, PLUS you must buy the reference mic to go with it.
  10. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Maybe not the answer/angle you're looking for, but...

    I've got two preamp channels on my amp. One I keep dialed in to "my sound" - that is my best attempt at a compromise between fingerstyle and slap needs. As you might guess, the mids are somewhat scooped. The second channel is my "emergency backup channel" that I use for really bad boomy/mushy rooms, especially when I've got no/limited PA/FOH support. It's got mids somewhat boosted, and cuts when my regular sound is coming out as mush. Slap sounds like crud, but for all of my recent gigs/projects, slap has been a very disposable option, anyway... ;)

    I agree with others who mentioned that if you can get the kick drum sounding snappy/punchy, that's often more than half the battle! :)
  11. First, the bass player has to have the 'tone' in his fingers.... or picking hand.

    Second, the bass has to have a tone that lends itself to good balance, without extreme amounts of eq. from the preamp or mixer channel.

    Third, the tone onstage has to be reasonably good, so that the band enjoys what they are hearing (onstage).

    Fourth, the PA has to have a base line (that is, base line) equalization and balance of subs / tops such that, when playing recorded music, it sounds appealing, and not muddified.

    Fifth, the kick drum must have the 'thud and click' while having it's mids 'scooped', such that the bass guitar has a sonic place to 'live' between the thud and click.

    All of this is easier said than done, but this formula usually works for me. Good luck.

  12. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Good point. If you can get your subs off the floor, it hepls a great deal as with hard floors (typical dance floors) the sub frequencies sound waves can, and do, bounce off the floor and add to the "boominess" of the room.

    Yup, this helps too. Although volume is not really the culprit here, it's frequency. If a low frequency is overwhelming other frequencies, then lowering the volume alone will still leave the same predicament, only at a lower volume.

    Yes, audio analyzers help a great deal as they measure the soundwave of every frequency in a given room. Some people are blessed with hearing that can detect exactly which frequency is problematic, and one can do the old, "Raise the EQ slider till it feeds back" routine to isolate. An audio analyzer does this for you and is more accurate than the human ear.

    Lot's of useful tips here. Try 'em all.
  13. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    As far as the sound of the bass itself, I tend to scoop out a narrow band about 200-250 Hz and boost at 400 Hz. If the group has keys and/or acoustic guitar, this is the frequency range where they all come together. Acoustic guitars like to feedback in that range also. 220 is the open A string.

    My Fishman platinum DI has a depth control that seems to do good things in bad rooms, but i'm not sure exactly what it is doing. The freq's mentioned above are the low-mid and mid sliders on the Fishman. My church gig requires a max mid boost, a max low-mid cut, and the depth control about 9:00.

    Now if I could get the keyboard player to scoop a little there too...
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The Fishman "depth" control is just a high pass filter with variable rolloff frequency.
  15. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    Do you have any idea what frequency range that depth control works in? I haven't seen anything published.