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Clarity/Tone War...gettin beat up!

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by jbd5015, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. jbd5015

    jbd5015 Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2009
    Boalsburg, PA
    Not a very active member, but i do check in from time to time and im realizing this might be a place to get some help!

    Im giggin 4 nights a week currently. Each venue is relatively small (local bars), with varying PA sizes and sound engineers.

    Some nights we just have vocals run through the PA (when we dont have an engineer to help, and its a small room), and some nights we have everything running through.

    4 piece band; 2 guitars, drums, bass...one guitar fella plays fiddle as well.

    Im playing through a V4B with a matching 4x10 and just picked up a Sansamp super deluxe DI fantastamagorical pedal thing that is boggling my mind with its potential.

    Basses vary from a P-bass or two, to a Starfire II, to an Electra jazz.

    Main Issue...Clarity and Presence.

    This rig has tremendous low end. My problem is dialing in that punch. I can never seem to get a consistent tone. Now i know ill have to change things from venue to venue and dependent upon how thick or thin the crowd is. But anyone got any troubleshooting tips on a quick base line setup to go from?

    This sansamp is a pretty powerful tool, especially with the DI capabilities, and it definitely helps get a nice tone with the ampeg rig, but i cant get the mud out sometimes.

    I set the amp fairly flat. Bass back a bit, treble up a smidge, and usually boostin hi-mids just a bit. same on the sansamp.

    Any tips/advice/gear change recommendations would be great.

    we play mostly rock/country/60s-today hits. i dont slap, pick or pop, but sometimes strum a few big chords here and there.


  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    When you say "matching cab" do you mean a vintage 4-10 from the 70's? That's my first red flag. That amp is SUPER clean and strong as an ox. With a modern cab it should take the roof off with all the clarity and punch you can stand. Vintage 4-10 and 4-12 cabs tend to be muddy and don't handle a ton of volume (at least in my experience). The 8-10 fridge is a different story altogether.

    If you are running a modern era Ampeg 4-10, I can only say start with everything flat on both the rig and the DI. And then go from there. Also, on passive tone controls I like to start wide open (all the way up) and work back from there. By starting flat, you can just add or take away what NEEDS to be tweeked, rather than starting from the EQ that best fit your last venue and having to work from that. I find that when I start from flat I end up using a lot less of the amps EQ anyway. It kind of lets my amp and bass "native" tones come through more.

    Don't worry about what your "usually" set the amp and DI to. Get a decent tone with the amp (again starting from flat) and use the DI to "enhance" that. Let your EARS (not your eyes using your usual settings on the dial) be your guide.
  3. jbd5015

    jbd5015 Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2009
    Boalsburg, PA
    Correct, it is a 70s cab...all original and GORGEOUS. Is it a terrible idea to update the speakers in the cab or am i being a bit naive in what i can do with the cab?

    Fortunately Ill be trying out a Genz Benz 4x10 cab pretty soon at one of the shows. A fellow bass player in town is thinking of leaving his cab at one of the venues we both play at. This might be a good judge of trying a new cab.

    i am a stickler somewhat about aesthetics, which is why i entertain the idea of just putting in a different set of speakers in the ampeg cab. it just looks so nice!

    Thanks for the input!!

  4. Did you try diferent strings?
  5. jbd5015

    jbd5015 Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2009
    Boalsburg, PA
    went to the music store today and tried out 2 different cabs.

    a mesa powerhouse 4x10 was the first one i tried. its definitely got a punchier feel than the old ampeg cab. especially with the horn. although it still felt a little thin and a bit harsh. But its definitely an improvement in clarity over the ampeg. doin some research, i found that mesa makes their own speakers...so i suppose i could get a set, but not sure if they are exactly what im lookin for.

    Also tried a fridge (ampeg 8x10). absolutely loved it. it was soooo easy to dial in that perfect tone. only drawback is the size in my opinion.

  6. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Loads of guys on here (myself included) love the Bergantino NV series for its improvement on the fridge in both tone and size. My 610 is compact and sounds great with tons of punch.
  7. Tuned


    Dec 6, 2007
    8x10's are awesome at the shop because you don't have a sound tech and the rest of your band telling you to turn the f*ck down. I can't stand them in small venues. It's as if everyone hears more of you than you do. Last time I used one at a local venue that has a house 8x10 I had my bass cranked in the monitor (as I always have to with that cab), mid-song I actually turned the bass rig off and it was an instant improvement on stage and in the room for all. If your 4x10 is anything like that then pretty much anything will be an improvement.

    For clarity's sake the first thing you should try is elevating your cab. You may be hesitant to put your V4B and cab on a stool but I actually did exactly that for years, ended up going class D for less weight and more juice. I can't use cabs on the floor anymore. It's the speakers above your belt that count, the rest just add mud.
  8. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Send the Sans Amp to the house mixer if necessary, take a dry line to your amp. Why on earth run an emulator into an already nice sounding amp. The amp has an EQ already...
  9. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    Exactly. The Sansamp Super Deluxe DI is decent as a DI box, but is sucking all of the midrange out of your clean tone which is giving you a muddy tone to work with. Use that unit for a DI only and bypass it. The tube amp you have will sound TONS better without it.

    I am sure your rig is just fine if you remove the Sansamp super deluxe DI.