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EQ a Room?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by baddarryl, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. baddarryl

    baddarryl Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2008
    Cape Fear!
    Hi all. other than the same room all the time I have very little experience playing live. I understand a little bit about cutting or boosting frequencies to cut through or reduce boominess, but what do you guys actually listen for to make your adjustments playing different venues ? How do you hear what’s in the crowd versus what you have on stage ? Are there some hard and fast standards for where to start with EQ, or cabinet placement and things like that? Thanks.
  2. Your bass amp, pa, or both?
  3. baddarryl

    baddarryl Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2008
    Cape Fear!
    I guess my amp.
  4. saabfender

    saabfender Banned

    Jan 10, 2018
    You’ll need to learn to sweep an EQ. That’ll get you pointed in the right direction and understanding how eq works. This is an ultra-rare instance where having you google a phrase will get you more information than a half-dozen people typing away earnestly for your particular situation.

    That said, get your amp off the ground.
  5. Just listen to what's going on in the room acoustically. Some rooms amplify or hide certain frequencies. Cut or boost accordingly.
    Learn to stay out of other peoples frequency sweet spots. Hopefully they will stay out of yours.
    If you have pa support, don't be too loud or boomy on stage.
    Remember that the tone that sounds great at home may (probably) not be the best tone to sit in the live mix.
  6. baddarryl

    baddarryl Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2008
    Cape Fear!
    What do you guys use for that ?
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    - milk crate
    - amp stand
    - little sister
    jon mccumber and baddarryl like this.
  8. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    Go to the audience during sound check and listen how your bass sounds out there. Several ways how to do it: 1. long cable; 2. wireless; 3. ask somebody to play your bass; 4. record a loop with your looper. In case nothing from the above works for you, you will have to rely on advice of somebody, who is in the audience.

    With more experience, you will be able to guess, what your bass sounds out there and adjust your amp accordingly. After 20+ years, I am able to do so TO SOME EXTENT. Some rooms can be very difficult especially with bass frequencies...

    Last but not least: experiment with placing your cabinet before making extreme adjustments on your EQ. Placing of cabinet plays a significant role for bass... I, personally, like to put the cab on ground...
  9. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Start with EQ in a neutral position. Turn the knobs til it sounds good. This will potentially be different in every room and with every different combination of other instruments. There aren't any hard and fast rules other than that.

    For cabinet placement, remember that you hear with your ears, not the backs of your knees, so point your cab at your head by raising it up or leaning it back if it is short. Standing a little farther in front of it helps as well. I've had problems hearing myself at gigs where I was forced to stand right in front of my cab. It was directional enough that I couldn't hear it clearly.

    I never hear what's in the crowd. My amp is my monitor. The sound person is in charge of making it sound good in the room. Occasionally they get it right. My job is to play the right notes, get paid and go home.
    MrLenny1 likes this.
  10. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic

    Do not assume that EQ setting which worked for you last time in different room will work tonight...
    SoCal80s likes this.
  11. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    Something you need to consider is, "what is your perspective?" The EQ you use to monitor on stage is often very different from the EQ used to deliver a good mix to the audience.

    If you amp functions purely as you monitor and has little impact on the house sound, then focus on your stage sound and keep your volume at a reasonable level so the PA can do a better job. The audio tech will tailor you sound in the mix so don't worry about what is going on out front so much.

    If you don't have PA support, then I would suggest adjusting your amp to optimize sound for the audience.

    EQ is not really the right tool to correct for acoustic problems, but EQ and speaker placement/aiming are the only tools we typically have available. The correct tools for acoustic problems are acoustic design and treatment...these are extremely expensive and need to be part of building/finishing a facility.

    Ideally if your going to use corrective EQ you want to be as surgical as possible, so you need to use a fully parametric EQ or a 31 band graphic. Basically you identify frequencies that tend to ring throughout the room and apply fairly deep narrow-band cuts to those frequencies. The idea is to minimize the amount of energy put into the room at the resonant frequencies. You can also apply some gentle broadband frequency shaping. In live sound, you generally try to use EQ cuts and avoid EQ boosts. Boosts can be used with caution for tone shaping...be aware EQ boosts can eat up system headroom and cause feedback.
  12. I have this stupid little plastic folding footstool. I put my combo amp stack on it to decouple it from the floor. It’s done more for my tone than just about anything else - not even kidding.
  13. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    If there is a sound guy out front (an actual sound guy doing his job, not an audio flunky) - don’t sweat the room too much. Try to keep your sound on stage and not overpower him.

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