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Can't hear myself.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by casper_morgan, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. :help:

    SO I just started playing with a band. We practice in a room that was once a section of the garage. The room is about 15 foot by 12 foot. It has been double insulated with some kind of sound proofing.. plus we have some foam on the walls.

    When it's just the drums and me playing my bass I can hear myself just fine. When it is the guitarists and me without the drums, Also.. I can hear myself just fine... but when we are all going full blast with the singer...

    I cannot hear myself... I literally have to squat down in front of my bass amp just to hear myself enough to know what I am playing.

    Now what doesn't make sense is.. the whole band claims that they can hear me just fine... I don't really understand how if I can't even hear myself.

    Anyone else have this problem? Am I going def? I don't feel def.... I've had this problem before a few times with other people I have jammed with too.. they all claim they can hear me but I can't... I just don't get it.

    Any advice on the best way to set up the room for better results would be great too... like I said we have a drummer, two guitarists, a singer, and me the bassist.
  2. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    If you're aiming your speakers at the backs of your knees and have your ears on your head, you'll have trouble hearing yourself in a room filled with other noise.

    Easiest fix is standing across the room from your amp.
  3. Melonthief


    Jan 25, 2013
    Not enough info re: your wattage and speakers vs your guitar players wattage and speakers.
    If you have to squat down it sounds like you have a combo or smaller rig. You can try elevating the speaker by stacking it on something or tilting it back at a 45 degree angle so that you aren't playing to your shins.
  4. probably set up in a node in the room where you're getting your signal cancelled out. Try moving the bass amp a little.

    Lower volume is also a good thing, too in a room that small, prevents "loading" where everything winds up sounding like mush and you can't tell if you're playing in C and the guitarist in C# ;)
  5. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Yes to what has been said. Get your amp pointed up off the floor. If they can hear you your wattage is probably enough. Experiment with the location of your amp.
  6. ma4rk


    Jun 28, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    You have not gone deaf but will probably go deaf if you keep that up :)

    A few suggestions:
    * Raise your amp up on something or put it on an angle - if you have to squat down to hear yourself, the sound is going straight to your knees not your ears;
    * move further away from your amp & see if that helps
    * adjust your eq so it cuts through the rest of the band - what sounds good on your own may not be the best for the overall sound of the band.
    * ask the guitarist to adjust his or her eq & maybe his or her volume
    * try a few different locations for the amplifiers

    Hope that helps.
  7. Wear earplugs. Experiment with different positioning of the amp, and of yourself in relation to the amp.

    Tell us about your gear if you want specific suggestions about EQ or whatever.
  8. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
  9. You have some good suggestions so far. Stepping away from the amp is probably the best.

    If you don't want to do that try moving the amp catty-corner. This may not help if the room is insulted real well though. I find this brings the bass out more in a concrete room with just dry wall.

    I wouldn't raise the amp though as you will go deaf quicker. Also if the guitar amps are pointed straight at your ears you wouldn't hear sh!t but shrill! Try moving your head/ears away from the direct path of guitar amps/speakers.
  10. Melonthief


    Jan 25, 2013
    You should always wear hearing protection regardless. Take it from an old guy ( I'm sure others will tell you the same) hearing loss and tinnitus are real and no fun. Even the little disposable foam plugs are better than nothing.
  11. capncal


    Apr 14, 2009
    use ear plugs and feel the bass behind you. you're hearing will thank you. i've got that god awful buzz all the time now and it's getting worse. i'm the only guy in the band that wears ear plugs and to me it's an absolute must! when the guitar and drums are so loud, i can actually hear myself better with ear plugs than without. because i can feel it pumping behind me.
  12. Also I recommend you record your rehearsals and listen back with the band. Then you will have a record of how the mix actually was that night, and you may decide to turn up/turn down/EQ/compress/limit/etc. certain instruments based on that.
  13. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    The other obvious thing is that way you're setting up your bass tone. A tone that you like by itself might not work in the mix at all. It's not just pointing the amp at your head, although that might help a little. Hearing protection is important for sure.

    This is a problem we've all had. I can hear myself great on one song and my sound dissappears on the next if our keyboard player changes his sound. Bands have to learn how to mix their sound, play together and make it work.
  14. A lot of good suggestions for ear plugs. Do yourself a favour and do NOT buy the regular foam ones. In general, they cut out bass frequencies so you'll end up pushing your amp harder and could do damage to your speakers. Go to a music store or order ear plugs on-line for musicians (eg. I use Hearos but there are other ear plugs by other companies for musicians).
  15. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are.

    Since there's foam on the walls, the room is probably pretty dead. Back in the day we had insulated walls covered in carpet and also carpet on the floor. +1 to getting your cab to ear level. But it sounds like you're in volume war and you're losing.

    What will help everyone is to put some double thick sound board around the drums. We got two 4x8 sheets, cut each in half, glued the 4x4 sheets and connected the two double thick pieces with wire at the top and bottom (kinda like a hinge). We set them around the drums and the noise was reduced by at least 30-4-%. Make sure it's tall enough to block the cymbals. If you want to to better, hang a piece from the ceiling a few feet above the drummer. And cut a hole for the kick drum or even mic it a bit.

    When you do something like this, the drummer no longer controls the overall volume. Everyone can turn down. Set the vocals to the level you want and then everyone else get just enough volume to hear themselves and still hear the vocals clearly.

    When everything is too loud, lots of mistakes get covered and never really corrected.

    Good luck.
  16. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    Try moving around the room, the sound will change depending on where you are standing.
  17. nolezmaj


    Sep 22, 2011
    This ^ Also, your guitar players are a possible problem. Last night I was on a rehersal with a full band, with new second gui****, and asked him to turn his volume down, and to cut his lowest frequences, because he is covering me up. Cool guy, he oblidged, and later everyone agried we sounded much better. There is big diference how to setup your guitar sound in your bedroom, in a power trio, or in a 6piece band. I would bet this is big part of your problem.
    On the other hand, your eq could also be bad. I recommend flat eq, as cleen sound as possible, and than during rehersal try to cut/boost mid or high frequences, but just a little bit at time, and listen how your place in a band mix changes.
  18. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    I'll also endorse the use of earplugs. My go-to is Etymotic. It's basically the same thing as Hearos. Those high fidelity earplugs actually attenuate the amplitude of the sound going into your ear, so you experience an overall decrease of volume without having to deal with the muffling that foam plugs create.
  19. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    Here are a few options:

    1) Bring the overall band volume down and get a BALANCED volume level. The guitars and bass and drums should NOT be competing but complimenting each other. I know weird huh?

    2) Adjust your EQ for how it sounds with the band, not as a bunch of solo artists. This goes for guitarists as well. They do not need to be way down low in the bass freq range, that's your job.

    Beeing loud is fun, but generally the louder the band is the worse things sound, and I've been playing drop tuned 7 strings guitars and 6 string basses in hard rock and metal bands for decades now. (My God I'm getting old :crying: )

    These are generally tough pills for everyone to swallow, but controlling your levels and EQ settings allows for the BAND to sound better which makes the SONG come across better.
  20. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Some other people already wrote it, but I'll do the same :p :

    - Place your amp on top of something (maybe a table if the amp is not to big / heavy)

    - You can buy a stand for you bass guitar, so it's tilted to the back and you will hear yourself for sure!


    - Place your amp further away from you. (For example : You stand near the right wall of the garage, place your amp against the left wall.)

    - And of course adjusting your EQ might help too ;)