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Frequency controls

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JaredBT, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. JaredBT


    Aug 7, 2012
    Was hoping someone could help me understand how the frequency adjustments work on my amp, a Carvin BX 1200. I haven't a clue where to set these controls but more over just plain understanding about frequencies eludes me. Also regarding the drive and contour controls Im a little grey there as well. Basically I feel like an idiot when adjusting my sound. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Blankandson

    Blankandson Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2010
    Gallatin, Tennessee
    To quote a fellow TBer: "If is sounds good - it is."
    lz4005 likes this.
  3. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    The best thing you can do is put all the controls at 0, then move each knob or slider one at a time from all the way up to all the way down and a few places in between. Listen carefully to what your bass sounds like when you play it at each of those steps.

    If you have a looper you could record a short bass part and let that play while you move the controls.

    Frequency numbers are 'vibrations per second'. The low E on a 4 string vibrates about 41.5 times a second. The E an octave up from that is twice as many vibrations per second. Higher notes and harmonics vibrate faster. Lower notes vibrate slower.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Even if you don't usually play chords on bass, figuring out how the controls work is a good time to try a few - that is, with lots of both highs and lows present in the signal, it's easier to hear the effect of the knobs. I use this trick when choosing frequency settings on a sweepable mids control or a parametric eq. Having a complex harmonic structure present makes it easier to hear what's going on as you tweak things.
  5. Contour off is a good place to start. In the band situation it reduces your mids making you indistinct.

    The others you can start from middle positions. Often that is nothing like flat EQ, usually a baked in contour, but you have to start somewhere.

    I can't play a chord to save my life. Apeggios or your favourite lick will be fine. Experiment with your right hand technique and position while you're at it. A big fleshy sidestroke up near the neck gives you insta dub. Try to rip the string off with just the tippy tip down near the bridge and it will snarl.
  6. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    In the Amp Stickies section of the TB Amp forum (up top) you will find all kinds of archived discussions that cover a wide range of common topics for bass player new and old.
    Here is one that may be helpful for you.
    What Do Various Frequencies Sound Like: EQ bassics thread | TalkBass.com

    its a good place to start if you have no idea about Frequencies and EQ.
    As you work this out, also try and remember that there is a fine balance between turning the knobs on your amp (they are there to turn after all) and overdoing your EQ settings. There is one school of thought that embraces "FLAT EQ" (even though its very difficult to really achieve). There is the "Smiley Face" EQ school of thought (boosted lows and highs, and scooped/cut mids). Personally, I generally try to avoid boosting EQ freq's too much at all, and use the EQ to address tone or room problems through cutting problem freq's. Another lesson I will pass on is that the sound you get by yourself, is NOT always (or even often) the sound that will work best in a band situation.

    So, read the sticky I posted above, it will give you a reasonable idea of what the various freq's basically do and some idea of what they do to bass tone. Then go out and experiment until you get a tone that you like AND will work in any band situation you may be in.

    it's not hard.
    good luck
  7. JaredBT


    Aug 7, 2012
    Thanks Schim
  8. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Important to bear in mind that will pretty much all cabs, the place where you put your head when fiddling with your eq is pretty close to the worst place to be to hear your cab. Ideally, have the amp on a long speaker lead away from the cab to fiddle with it.
  9. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    If you are talking about sweep mid eq, if the gain for that band is set at noon, the frequency control will not have any effect. The frequency control sets the frequency that the mid eq gain is boosting or cutting. If you are not boosting or cutting, it doesn't matter what frequency the boost or cut is set at.
    Downunderwonder likes this.

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