Do all basses sound basically the same with In ear monitors?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rooster, Feb 22, 2022.

  1. rooster


    Jun 10, 2000
    upstate new york
    Just wondering if all basses sound (Bass-I-cally) the same with in ear monitors...I came from a time when we used big rigs and played could hear the difference of different types of amps and basses...but since we started using IEM I do not notice as much difference in the sound of what bass I play (some) but not a lot...What do you think?...Also we have our own sound man...and our own sound system every time.
    armybass likes this.
  2. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    With my IEMs, I can hear very distinct differences between my Mike Lull Jazz-style bass, my Mike Lull Precision-style bass, and my MM Stingray 5. Even with my 63-year old-a$$ ears. I hear those same differences when I use my wonderful Mesa Subway bass rig.

    The quality of the IEMs will have a whole lot to do with the bass tone coming through. I use 64 Audio Quads that were $800 6 years ago. My next set, later this year, with be around $1400. Because I've been through all the cheaper alternatives and they don't come close to giving me what I want. Doesn't mean the cheaper alternatives won't satisfy other players. And people don't think twice about spending close to $1000 for a powered monitor speaker, but will balk at more than a couple hundred dollars when it comes to IEMs.

    May I earnestly and humbly suggest that you look at your basses to see if they could use adjustment so that their character stands out more? I use D'addario Stainless Steel strings and change them every several weeks.

    Good luck with sussing this out to your satisfaction.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2022
  3. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    No, they do not all sound the same.
  4. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    Nope. I can tell all 3 of mine very clearly.
  5. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid

    Jun 7, 2013
    I think your DI may be coloring your signal if you can’t tell a difference.
    Iristone, MAXSPINRUN, Cal03 and 5 others like this.
  6. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    If that's true, you've got lousy IEMs. Or just bad ears.
    Relayer71, chris_b, tbz and 8 others like this.
  7. luciens


    Feb 9, 2020
    The short answer is yes.

    The long answer is yes, more or less. Without an amp and cabinet in the "signal chain" to your ears, that's just one more source of (good) distortion of the signal that's not in there. So you're going to hear more of the undistorted sound of the bass. Also, monitors are intended to be high/high-ish fidelity, given that the purpose is generally to be able to hear a whole mix.

    So your bass tone will be more "hi-fi" or "DI" sounding accordingly and this will tend to level out more tone differences between your basses (amps intentionally are made to be adjustable to bring out those differences).

    Not much you can do other than add a pedal or amp sim, etc., into the chain somewhere to restore the tone you want to listen to.

  8. rooster


    Jun 10, 2000
    upstate new york
    Thanks for all of the input....I will upgrade my in ear monitors...And yes I am deaf in one ear...And check the settings on my DI....This has been very helpful for me.
  9. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Good earbuds and DIs make the difference. I've been running a Radial ProDI into Westone W40s for years, and can tell the difference between tones with no problems. Getting buds with bass-focused drivers will certainly help "feel" more boom. There are ones that can floor you with thinking you have a cab in your ears. Granted, kind of on the other hand, my Samson headphones that I use at home are just that (not in-ear buds), and are crazy-good for movies...sounds like a sub system in your head.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2022
    Geri O likes this.
  10. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    This is exactly the polar opposite of my experience with bass tones in my IEMs.

    But it's always good to have another perspective that may be different from my own.

    Carry on.....:D
    legalbass likes this.
  11. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    Yeah, I think when you go IEM, your gear matters even more than a monitor wedge situation. I use Westone UM50's and a REDDI for my DI. I get a great IEM sound and each bass's characteristics really come through - as does any weakness in your playing.
  12. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    I've found that the biggest player in getting decent tone is good fitting IEMs. With poor fit all my basses end out sounding thin to me. With a good fit... I'd say... less thin, but some of that could be the psychology of liking to feel the bass behind me.
    lowdownthump likes this.
  13. bigjames

    bigjames Player of Smooth Lines

    Echoing some of the other responses above: my basses all sound very different with IEM. In fact, I would suggest IEM provides more nuances to my ears than playing through a rig or hearing a stage mix.
  14. munnkyboy


    Jul 1, 2005
    Simply - NO
  15. LetItGrowTone


    Apr 2, 2019
    I recently realized this about some strongly flavored strings, or strings I didn't realize needed changing.
    If I want to hear La Bella DTFs for example, I will install those, but with this new understanding.

    Now I have first-time GAS for IEMs, thanks. :)
  16. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    LOL, Happy to help!…:D
  17. JKos

    JKos Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2010
    Surprise, AZ
    Not at all. Very distinct. I love being able to hear my bass very clearly in my ears.
    legalbass likes this.
  18. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    legalbass likes this.
  19. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco

    I agree - IEM and headphones seem to accentuate the differences in my basses.

    Higher volumes and amps and cabs seem to blunt the differences.
    Samatza likes this.
  20. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    Yes and no, in my opinion.

    Going direct - depending on how you do it - can really mean raw bass tone if it's true DI and not a simulator. This means that you'll likely hear more of your actual bass and not the amps.

    IEMs generally give you a really good representation of the entire frequency range. Most of the nuances in bass guitars are going to be in the upper mids and highs - that's just where we as humans hear actual detail. So if you're playing rounds, you'll really hear those rounds.

    However - IEMs also give you a really good representation of the low end. This is where detail and "tone" is traditionally lost - there's no definition in that range for humans.

    All of your basses sounding similar might be an effect of the deep bass response of the IEMs, while - with an amp in the room - you can stand farther away and get more of the mids. You might be hearing more of these frequencies due to high-end hearing loss, as well. (Not a jab at you - I've got this loss too.) This can also depend on the quality of your IEMs and the way they seal.

    IEMs should give you a clear picture of your basses. Different basses will sound different (although honestly, not terribly different - they're all still just bass guitars) but for you, the way that IEMs work frequency-wise may bring out more of the similarities than the differences.

    Edit: Also, what basses are you playing? Are you comparing like, 5 identical P basses? If that's the case, well...
    legalbass and Wasnex like this.