Clean and warm at high volume.

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by zenofanger, Sep 4, 2018.


  1. zenofanger

    zenofanger

    Dec 6, 2016
    Indiana
    I always hit this wall when I play with a group

    "Dude we gotta work on your tone and clean it up a bit"

    So I've spent the last hour adjusting my tone trying to get something clean, warm, and fat but if I push the volume it distorts.

    I play a 5 string p/humbucker bass with 2 band active eq through a ampeg pf 500 and an Eden dxt2x12

    So far the only way I can avoid the distortion is to completely cut the bass on the amp head, dial the mids down to 1 or 2, and keep the treble at noon. The mid sweep is at 3 and the ultra low and and -15db knobs are pressed. Gain is maxed master volume is at noon. Tweeter is at 3. I've cut the Lowe's on my bass as well as keeping the pup config at noon. All this seems to help with the distortion but my tone sounds thin and im wondering if it'll cut through.
     
  2. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011

    Sounds like you don't have enough power for the volume your band plays at.

    I believe the PF500 is 300W at 8 ohm and 500 at 4 ohms. The D212XST comes in 4 or 8 versions and has an sensitivity rating of 103dB so it should be pretty loud with 300W...maybe the band is too loud?

    Yeh I know...I am definitely too old, however there are two obvious solutions: 1. everyone turns down so your amp balances in the mix before it reaches its volume limits, or 2. you upgrade your rig so it will play louder. If your cab is the 8 ohm version, I would recommend getting a second identical cab.
     
    TN WOODMAN, GregC, pcake and 2 others like this.
  3. Nashrakh

    Nashrakh

    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I don't quite understand why you'd have the ultra lo button on, and then cut lows on everything.

    And if your gain is maxed, it's no wonder it distorts.

    Give up the ultra lo, dial the lows back in on the amp, and use less preamp gain (instead, use a higher master volume). That should get you started on a cleaner sound.
     
  4. saabfender

    saabfender Inactive

    Jan 10, 2018
    Indianapolis
    It distorts with the gain dimed? I’m shocked!
     
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  5. zenofanger

    zenofanger

    Dec 6, 2016
    Indiana
    Its actually a 750w 4ohm cab. It was 600 before I had to replace a speaker.

    Forgive my ignorance. I thought that pushing the gain over the mv was better
     
  6. saabfender

    saabfender Inactive

    Jan 10, 2018
    Indianapolis
    An argument can be made for having the Master volume all the way up and gain stage based on that starting point.

    Don’t feel bad about the mistake. There are currently thousands and thousands of guitar players currently making it.
     
  7. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    Hopefully whoever replaced the speakers selected drivers that work properly in the cabinet, or made appropriate adjustments to the cabinet tuning. The power rating of the drivers really doesn't mean very much if the cabinet is not tuned properly. Also if the new drivers are not as efficient as the originals, that could explain why your having trouble getting loud enough.

    Gain is on the front end of the amp. As gain is increased, at some level the preamp should begin to compress and then distort. The Volume control is between the preamp and power amp. Adjust the Gain for the amount of compression or distortion you want, and then adjust the Volume to set the level of output power the amp produces. For maximum clean power, set the Volume relatively high and the Gain relatively low.
     
  8. Can you hear the difference between gain based distortion and speaker breakup? I like a good bit of gain on my bass but I am very sensitive to speaker distortion. Did you replace both speakers in the cabinet or just one? What did you use?
     
  9. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    This is the answer. Gain determines how hot the signal going from the pre-amp to the power amp is. So turning gain up distorts that signal. The power section is getting a distorted signal and reproduces it. I would start by setting the master at about 50% and gain at 0. Then increase gain until you start getting distortion and back off half a click. Now use you master to balance with the mix. Hope that helps.
     
  10. zenofanger

    zenofanger

    Dec 6, 2016
    Indiana
    Emenece delta lite.

    It was what was recommended by the tech sense the original driver would have been about 75$ more.
     
  11. arbiterusa

    arbiterusa

    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    You may be having speaker problems. Always replace with original drivers if possible; speakers don't "just work" if you shove them in a cabinet. But you may be able to fix this without going to such extremes.

    Try doing all this:

    1. Turn off the active EQ on your bass.
    2. Master volume all the way up.
    3. Gain all the way down.
    4. Bass at noon.
    5. Mids at noon.
    6. Treble at noon.
    7. Mid sweep off.
    8. Ultra low off.
    9. -15db knob off.
    10. Slowly turn up gain until sufficient volume achieved.

    If you're still having distortion at this point, you may need a proper replacement speaker in your cab, or a more powerful amp, or more speakers. Or all of the above.

    The way you're currently set up, there's literally no way you can get a decent tone. No wonder your band mates are giving you the business.
     
  12. jthisdell

    jthisdell

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    Consider a hpf to remove the super low freq's that 1. use a lot of power, cause mud, 3. make your speakers work too hard to create lows that you really do not want anyways
     
  13. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    Mostly a better, more detailed version of my earlier post; however, I have one objection. You san Master Volume all the way up. I wouldn't suggest that. It could overdrive the power section and create distortion. That is why I suggested 50% volume to start then adjust to suit the mix. It does seem you know the specific amp and I don't, so 100% may be okay, but it doesn't fit what I know about amps in general.
     
  14. zenofanger

    zenofanger

    Dec 6, 2016
    Indiana
    This is sounding way out of budget at this point... I really can't afford a new cab.

    I've made all the amp adjustments that were recommended but the only thing that seems to work is if I press the -15db push gain up to noon, cut my Lowe's back to about 1/4 and press the mids to 3/4 and the highs at around noon with the volume at 3/4.

    It sounds clean but struggles to cut through when played against a 400w power speaker.
     
  15. jefkritz

    jefkritz

    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    Lots of good advice in here. Arbiterusa has a no-cost, easy to implement troubleshooting system. Do this please, and report back :)

     
  16. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Bergantino-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    500 watts through 2x12’s should be loud and clean enough for just about anything unless something is broken: I regularly play club and festival stages with loud rock bands using only 200 watts and a single 15.

    Turn the Ultra Low off: that might as well be called the “Mud” button.

    You’ve also got your Gain and Master settings backwards if your goal is “clean”: dime the master instead and use your gain to control your volume.
     
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  17. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Bergantino-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    I see someone else beat me to it, albeit more thoroughly ;)
     
    arbiterusa likes this.
  18. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Bergantino-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    The only way to overdrive the power section is by feeding it too hot of a signal from the preamp and THEN pushing it too hard.

    Ampeg and GK designs specifically recommend keeping the master volume maxed and using the gain to control your volume if “clean” is your tonal priority.
     
  19. Nashrakh

    Nashrakh

    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    The next step would be to dial in some mids to get you up in the mix (notice that's different from "cutting through"). With a P-Bass configuration, you should be able to be heard. Some low mids might help.

    If you cannot get any louder without speaker breakup, you have three options:
    Get an additional cab for more loudspeaker area
    Get a different, but louder cab if you only want to lug one around
    Get your band mates to turn down to fit your gear limitations.

    Good luck with #3...
     
  20. PennyroyalWe

    PennyroyalWe

    Sep 2, 2018
    Oregon
    Yup, roll that gain down and MV up...really up if you play with a lighter touch. What kinda music are you playing? You mention having this problem before of people commenting on adjusting your tone, wondering if there’s a specific sound that is expected with your music.
     
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