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How can I use my EQ to gain clarity?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by fenderbassabuse, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. At the moment, I'm using an Ashdown MAG combo, (the 1x15 version) and my singer keeps on complaining that he can hear me, but can't hear what I'm playing. I aready have taken my treble all the way up and the high mids (1.6 KHz). Are there any other tricks to gain clarity? I already have my mids to about 3 o clock and my bass and treble to 2:30. I do have a boss EQ pedal, and that is flat except for a slight bass and treble boost, and does what an aphex bass exciter does, and I do compress witha very transparent compressor (TLAudio 5050). I use Rotosound swing bass strings and my fingers.

    Should I maybe look to add or 4x10 to my rig to get more punch as 15's tend to move "slower" than smaller speakers?

    Or should I not throw money at the problem and EQ it in and look into my technique?

    Sorry for the long post, and many thanks.
  2. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Making suggestions to bandmembers about "tone" is always a touchy proposition. Perhaps he thinks your sound is a tad muddy? Maybe you need to be louder? Get some other opinions as to what your tone is like, ask other bandmembers and other bassists, perhaps they can give you a clearer description of what may be going on. If YOU think your tone is fine, and others that you can count on for an honest opinion think the same then..hmmm..some people don't hear low notes very well, perhaps your singer is trying to intonate himself off of you and cannot pick-up the pitch, you might ask him if this is the problem. I sometimes play in a higher octave than I normally would to keep vocalist "happy".
    I am not a huge fan of Combo amps and am not personally familiar with yours, but it should be fine as long your not needing alot of volume. I would set your amp flat and try to get your tone with your bass, then adjust the amp's EQ if necessary.
    Best Luck!!
  3. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I have a couple of suggestions.

    Firstly, that EQ pedal seems to have a smiley face setting. The problem here is that sort of bass sound sounds nice when you're playing alone, but it can get burried quite easily once the other instruments join in. Try running a sad face EQ instead. Mids are a good way to cut through the other instruments. Sure it will sound harsher when you're playing alone, but it will sound much better in the band mix.

    Secondly, adding mids can be a useless exercise with some speakers. A single 15 with horn can fall into this category. Typically the 15 handles the lows and mids to aprox 1K. The horn kicks in at maybe 3K. So ther's no speaker in the rig handling 1-3K mids. I call theese "Boom-sizzle" cabs and there's lots of them out there in both Bass and PA cabs. That's probably why your attempt at boosting 1.6K isn't working too well.

    The answer is probably an extension cab loaded with 2 or more 10" speakers. Firstly check that the combo can handle an extension cab. Most can, some can't. Adding a cab lowers the impedance load, and letting it drop too low can fry the amp. But mixing 10's and a 15 is a great way to not only cover more of the audible frequency spectrum, but to also overlap the frequencies that help you cut through the other instruments. You may find less of a need to EQ.
  4. Wow thanks guys. I use a passive fender jazz, so I tend to use it all full up, so I get more from the bass to get a fuller sound, as I would HATE to be sitting there all tinny like a guitar player. The funny thing is, that my guitar player commented on how crisp my sound was a couple of weeks ago. My cab does not have a horn/tweeter, so to me that would look like a better option. My amp does take an extension cab, and will go down to a 4 ohm load. should I be looking at a 2x10, 4x10 or maybe a 4x8? Would I get an increase in punch with a cab with smaller drivers?
  5. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA

    anyhow, eq isnt the answer to everything

    as said in other threads, there are no hard and fast rules re: sonic charactarisitcs of the different diameter drivers as too many other variables come into play. what makes more sense is to bring your stuff down to a few stores and compare it with lots of other cabs to see if some work for you in improving clarity (if you decide to attack it from the speaker route)
  6. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I'd be attacking this from the speaker route. At present all your EQ tweaking is wasted on a driver that isn't designed to handle those frequencies. What I said before about EQ being less important goes double now that I know the combo isn't doing anything above 1K-ish.

    It seems you're able to get loud enough, so I'd start bring my stuff to a music store and trying a 2x10. It will of course add SPL to your existing setup and certainly fill in the big hole in your frequency range above 1k. And seeing your combo doesn't have a one, I'd buy a cab with a horn, perferably one witch allows you to turn the horn down if it turns out you don't like having it there.

    A 4x10 will go louder again but is of course bigger and more expensive. And probably overkill for your situation.
  7. Blue


    Jun 19, 2004
    Central NC
    My favorite feature of the passive J Bass is how interactive the V knobs are - unlike many other dual P'uP basses. If you vary them both between, say 65% and 90% - with all the variations therein, you'll find an incredible array of tones.

    ALSO - I suggest you get a really long chord and walk on to the dance floor - before the gig - so you can hear what the crowd hears. Bass is REALLY different sounding in different parts of a room, and is also very sensitive to speaker placement.

    Experiment, my man!
  8. TheChariot


    Jul 6, 2004
    Boston, MA
    I agree. Go with speakers for sure. You can squeeze anymore punch from that 15 no matter how you try.
  9. The Nanny

    The Nanny

    Dec 23, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    My experience with single 15" speakers is that the sound usually is a little muddy, not terribly diverse. The "sad" face eq setting is the right idea, but I'm not sure it will be enough to combat the problem. A 15" speaker appears sexy for a bass, but without 10"ers to go along with it, the notes will tend to blend into each other. I have 2 cabs...a 15" and 4x10"...when I play a gig that doesn't require the power (or doesn't have the space! LOL) for both cabs, hands down the 4x10 gets the call.

    The Nanny
  10. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Some different strings would be a lot cheaper than new speakers.
  11. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Petebass writeth the truth here. Mids are a good way to cut through with clarity, and sound great with a band but often sound harsh solo. (Because of their pronounced mids, some P basses exhibit this phenomenon.) And some 10" drivers (or MAYBE a 12") will be the best way to get there.

    You should be trying out some 2x10 cabinets WITH YOUR COMBO in stores. Unless you play huge gigs, you won't need more than the 2x10 plus your 15. Unfortunately, you can't try Avatar cabinets in stores, but they're a safe bet and an outstanding value. I had good results using an Avatar B210 as an extension cab with my small Carvin combo.

    But old strings can also contribute to a muddy sound, so try fresh, bright nickelwound strings too. GHS Boomers are my fave in this category.
  12. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Another ditto for Petebass' post.

    If your singer can hear you but not hear what you're playing, that tells me you need midrange. Not 1.6 kHz, either... that's just affecting harmonics. You should try to goose low mids, say, from 200 to 400 Hz. These frequencies affect fundamentals in the mid to upper range of your bass, and can also give definition to notes in the lower range.

    It's sometimes difficult to get tone that sounds good soloed *and* in the mix (fwiw I've always had trouble getting 15" speakers to sound good in the mix). Regardless, if you have that trouble, go for the tone that sounds good in the mix.

    P.S. the Aphex exciter is not an EQ... it can't truly be duplicated by EQ
  13. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    There are some very good suggestions so far to attack the problem, depending in the source of the problem.

    First thing first, though. Stand where the singer stands. How does it sound to you in that position? That will give you a baseline for making changes to make him happy. We all know how important it is to keep the singer happy! :rolleyes:

    Some other angles to take would be to allow the singer to control what he is hearing. If he's got his own wedge mix, put a bit of bass guitar into it. If you're at the level where you're running a seperate monitor desk, just a bit of top end from the bass guitar in his mix would probably meet his needs. Or, if you've got extra channels, split your bass sound to a seperate stick & eq as needed for his wedge, just don't feed it to FOH. Actually, some top end from the bass in all the wedges might be nice for everyone. Try it & see. Can't hurt (too much).

    These options may be more than what you're willing to do to make the guy happy. Does your amp have a line out that you're not using? If so, find a little combo amp or Hot Spot type monitor and let him dial in what he wants from you.

    A 1x15 sitting on the floor is tough for even sound for the other band members. Dispersion is certainly not ideal. If you're able to rely on FOH for your sound to the audience, you might want to play with placement options. A side-fill placement may do better than the traditional backline deal.