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EQ tips?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by We_are_peppers, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. I'm completely self taught, and still fairly new to gigs. I have serious trouble getting a desirable tone out of my amp sometimes, and I'm looking for tips on how to EQ. What has the most effect on different aspects of the sound? (I play a blend of alternative, Jazz and punk if that helps). I'm on a budget so I usually play through Peavey Headliner cabinets. (800watt 2X10 8ohm)
  2. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    1st tip: A question about amps might get better response in the "Amps" forum.

    2nd tip: Start out "flat", whatever that happens to be for your rig. "Flat" means no boost or cut of any frequency range, in other words no modification at all to the tone of your instrument & amp.

    3rd tip: Experiment with the EQ controls that your amp has, one at a time. Boost a little, until you can hear what it does, then return to "flat". Cut a little, until you can hear what it does, then return to "flat".

    4th tip: Avoid boosting if you can. Instead of boosting one band, cut others. Whatever you boost comes out of your overhead & you'll clip sooner than you'd probably like. Exception if you're trying to create a certain distorted tone.

    5th tip: Whatever your rig sounds like all by itself, you can be 100% certain it will sound different when mixed with a band. What sounds great all alone may sound like crap in the band context, & vice versa. Don't expect your "solo" tone to work with a band.

    6th tip: Be skeptical of any instructions to use specific values or control positions. Learn to EQ with your ears, not your eyes.

    7th tip: Don't get all obsessive about your tone. Nobody else will probably even notice, let alone care. Make sure that you can hear each note, every string, every fret that you actually use & that they're all at roughly equal level. Out in the audience, things sound completely different than they do on stage, for better or worse. As a performer, you're in probably the worst place in the whole room to judge how anything sounds anywhere in the audience. Set up so that you can hear what you're playing, & trust the sound guy to do his job well.
  3. Thanks For the advice. I'm just new to playing in a group, and don't have the best equipment I could. I'm kinda learning on the fly and this should help a lot. So I guess "flat" means 12:00 positions for all the controls?
  4. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Depends on the amp. You'll need to read the manual or ask someone who has your amp and knows. John MCA's tips are solid.
  5. On a graphic, EQ should be cut and boosted to maintain average power. Cutting only, with no boosting, lowers your average gain and raises the noise floor to no useful end.
  6. I prefer to try to maintain equal gain with all EQing, not just a graphic. Equal cuts and boosts. The main thing is not to just add boosts.
  7. The tips were good. I'd just like to emphasize one. #5, #5, #5. As soon as you get multiple instruments going, everything will be different than just your bass rig alone.
  8. Remus_Redbone


    Dec 27, 2010
    Western AR
    I've played dozens of amps of my own and many others on back lines. My first adjustment 95% of the time is to cut 250Hz at least 3db. That low mid freq is wears on me. Too many years playing Peavey speaker cabs w/15's. I might bump up 40 / 50 Hz a couple db and perhaps bump up 2k Hz jus a bit. After that, I usually favor the front or rear pickup to change tone from song to song.
  9. billgwx


    Apr 10, 2009
    Centereach NY
    My experience with #5 is that my practice room EQ is often way too muddy in a band mix, and I end up boosting the mids and highs. Then I take that home and it ends up being too tinny/clanky!
  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    IME, don't try to get more overall volume by increasing the bass eq so much. Work with the mids, possible reduce the high end so your tone won't be so clanky/tinny. Btw, which amp do you use? Would you also post the model number of your bass. Lots of TBrs will know what it is. Also do have more than one speaker cab available and what type would it be?

    Also, it may not be the Amp EQ settings.

    It could be:
    1) your speaker cab
    2) different venue sizes/configurations
    3) your bass cab orientation
    4) your bass guitar tone settings and whether it's active or passive.
    5) the positioning of your right hand in relationship to the pickups.
    6) the type of strings you use.

    Some suggestions:
    1) I suggest taking a look at TBr fdeck's HPF(High pass filter) that eliminates unwanted noise transients below 35hz that suck amp power and can created muddiness. It is also adjustable up to 140hz that can help take out boominess created by a venue, tightens up your low end tone and protects your speakers.

    It costs around $100 and many TBrs swear by them. I also not read a negative review.

    2) Go wireless or get a extra chord (30 - 40 feet or so) so you can go FOH during sound check and hear how your bass is sitting in the mix. Make your adjustments based on what you hear out front rather than what you hear on stage.

    3) Stack your cab(s) vertically. Two vertically stacked 2x10's will give you better stage monitoring and improve FOH dispersion (be heard more evenly throughout the venue) and reduce cross envelop filtering (distortion).

    If you only have one 2x10, adding another will raise your headroom (more amp watts/cleaner at higher volume) and when stacked, accomplish what was previously stated.

    4) Try your tone control all the way up and adjust your amp EQ from there. The test several other bass settings and listen to how the tone changes. Possibly make a not of the settings to try out at the next rehearsal and gig.

    5) Try playing over the bridge pickup and listen to how the tone changes. Do this many times so you have in your brain how the tones changes and try it at gigs/rehearsals.

    6) What type of strings do you use? How old are they?

    Good luck.

    Note: if any of the gurus check in, please correct my post, if necessary. Thanks!
  11. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    The EQ Tips.
    Didn't they have a hit in the 60's with a Dan Penn song or something?
  12. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    What was the song name?

    Oh, yeah, Smiley Faces...:)
  13. AdamR


    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    One thing I didnt see mentioned, Setting your amps eq flat hardly ever means everything at noon. My Hartke flat is Bass and Treble on 2, mids on 10.
  14. billgwx


    Apr 10, 2009
    Centereach NY
    How did you figure that out?
  15. oldcatfish


    Jan 8, 2011
    Oddly, I also have played many different backline amps, and for the genres that I play...I often need to boost 250hz. I tend to cut slightly at 800hz. And I also cut everything below 50hz a bit. If I eq'd your way, I'd get buried in the mix. Our guitarists must be eq'ing a lot differently.
  16. Remus_Redbone


    Dec 27, 2010
    Western AR
    If I need to cut through, I go with 500-600 Hz, but I also have played 3 piece for the past 25+ years, so I've generally had my own space.
  17. AdamR


    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    From Larry Hartke. Its a common Fender tone stack. I believe its also in the owners manual for the LH500-1000s
  18. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Not to be confused with eQ-Tips which clean your ears electronically.

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