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How do you set your EQ - your experiences

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mikeowen17, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. mikeowen17

    mikeowen17 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    Just wanted to throw this out there to give me a little inspiration.

    Back story - been playing many years, never been that great at EQ-ing. Just got a new rig (TH500 with 2 SL112s) so want to go back to basics in getting myself a great tone.

    My band is a 7 piece cover band playing rock and pop - 2 vox, keys, sax, guitar, bass and drums. Usually playing small to medium clubs.

    Would love people to share some experiences, specifically:
    - what are your preferred settings to sit well in a mix
    - what is your process for setting eq (i.e. since the room plays into the equation, do you start flat, or start from somewhere else)?

    Help me get inspired!
  2. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I EQ in tons of mid. This makes me "sit well" in any mix, any day. Every note I play is heard clearly, no boom for me. Which exact frequency depends completely on the bass I'm using. I will give either the bass or treble a slight boost, depending on the style I'm going for.
  3. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I use plenty of low mids and mids, cutting the lowest lows and the highest highs. I use a Bass 400 which is a pretty growly head and that is the kind of core tone I like for everything. I use a Sansamp too and dial it in slightly based on the situation.

    When playing live I rarely touch anything. I just use the controls on my bass to make minor adjustments.
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    My EQ strategy is simple:

    Set all knobs at 12 o'clock (flat) and then cut the bass until it sounds good.

    In most room acoustics, my settings look something like: bass 10 o'clock (slight cut), mids 12 o'clock (flat), high 12 o'clock (flat).
  5. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    mostly flat with a bit of mid bump and roll-off in the high end.
  6. teleharmonium


    Dec 2, 2003
    Basses can vary quite a bit and tone stacks on amps vary even more.

    The net goal of my settings is always to have definition but not an excess of highs, slightly scooped lower mids, maybe a small boost in the upper mids if I can get it, and present but not boomy lows.

    I don't want to hear weird stuff around the frequencies that are resonant due to the porting of my cabinets; if the room or the stage is problematic or I'm getting to know a new piece of gear sometimes I will play chromatic scales in the low end to make sure the volume is even from note to note.

    I adjust all settings with my compressor on (the compressor is always on if I am playing at a show) and with the amp at normal show volume (that's important). I'll try it with both pick and fingers so the high end sounds good either way. If you heard me playing bass you'd probably think my sound was a bit darker than most players, except when I'm using the pick.
  7. My eq is essentially a frown face. I cut the lows some, boost the mids, and cut the highs a bit. I make changes on the fly with the eq on my bass depending on if I want/need more high or low. To be honest I don't know that much about setting the eq but I know my tone sounds killer with my gk 700rbii and ibanez sr and can be heard very well through the mix
  8. Set my high, mids, low to noon. Then adjust what my ears tell me too. UsuallY a slight bass cut & a mid boost.
  9. The Diaper Geni

    The Diaper Geni Submissive. And loving it. Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2005
    Central Ohio
    IMO, this is a great place to start. Keep in mind that "flat" is a relative term. Each amp/cab combo will have it's own version of "flat". But, that being said, starting with the knobs on your amp at noon and all filters off is the way to go.

    Cutting lows on bass seem crazy, but it works. (That's the first thing I do. Getting your lows under control will not only help your tone/definition, but will also help keep the overall band mix clean.) I go for my tone to be a little too nasally/midrangey onstage. By the time it goes past me and into the rest of the band and audience that nasally-ness is gone.

    Also, you guys have a soundman? You going through the PA? These things will change how I EQ on stage, also. I always listen to the soundman. He's the guy in charge of what the audience hears. If he's good then it's good to listen to him. If he's bad and I listen to him, it doesn't matter anyway because the mix is going to be sub par no matter what is going on with the bass.

    If going through the PA REALLY try and keep the bottom end under control. You'll just get in the way of the FOH sound by pushing too much air.

    If not going through the PA, I tend to be just a hair "too loud" on stage so the audience gets hit by the bass. I just hate a bass shy mix!! :D

    Like usual, IMO, IME, YMMV, etc etc.
  10. The Diaper Geni

    The Diaper Geni Submissive. And loving it. Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2005
    Central Ohio
    I forgot to add: If possible, tape your shows from the audience's perspective!
  11. Okay for me it depends on where I am playing I certain clubs we are in rotation with on a monthly basis each of these rooms acoustics are different and I through working them each for a while can get a decent setup using my findings. All flat as a simple setting isn't going to work in every room. So what I trying to say is see what sounds good in what room ask people in the crowd you trust to let you know if you are to boomy or don't have enough bottom or whatever make some recordings from the crowd and listen I was writing stuff down in a note book now I take a picture of what works in what room and just have it in my smartphone. Lastly many people have said and it is worth repeating what sounds good to you on stage maybe sound awful to those paying to see you play.
  12. I'm with you. Only way to hear the sound of your actual bass and adjust bass-y boom to the room.
  13. A guitarist once told me to never boost your EQ. It's a manufactured sound. Instead, raise your volume and then cut what you DON'T want.

    YMMV, but it seems to work for me 99.999% of the time.
  14. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    live eq is diferent than practice at home. On Fender amp I like to start at high noon, boost lows slightly, cut highs, & easy on the volume--just enough.
  15. mikeowen17

    mikeowen17 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    Great advice everyone, thanks!

    I tend to go with a little mid boost - especially since I've been using active basses - but for some reason I kept happening across advice that tended towards scooped eq. Started doubting myself - which partially motivated this thread.

    This has given me some validation that the mid boost strategy at least has some basis amongst the tried and tested community!!
  16. Edgar664


    Mar 12, 2009
    I usually boost low mids (250Hz) and high mids (from 1-3Khz) this way I have more than enough punch and articulation without the honky mids, then I try to listen how boomy are the lows and usually I'll cut around 60-80Hz or so, depends on the room.
  17. groove pump

    groove pump

    Oct 24, 2006
    My learning curve went pretty steep when I picked up an active PJ bass equipped with EMG's. I'd previously been using a passive Jazz bass with a nice warm tone - pickups are DiMarzio Ultra Jazz - but the cut and clarity I found with the active bass actually had my guitar player asking me to turn down at a show. Yep, that was a first!

    With the J-bass, I like to boost the low mids (maybe 400-500 Hz) and cut some of the low lows. This helps get the tone out there without being terribly boomy. The PJ has been a different story with its supersized mids. I'll typically cut its higher mids in the neighborhood of 900-1k Hz, leave the low mids flat, and nudge the lows either on my head or my on-board eq. So this is a case of "it depends on the bass".

    When practicing at home without other instruments or vocals to share the soundscape, it's still easy for me to love the warm 'n smooth tone in my passive J. But when I filled in at show with some pals recently, they were really loving the sound I was putting out with the PJ both at our practices and at the gig. I would have bet more than a nickel that these guys would prefer my passive tone - older group, not terribly aggressive tunes - but just another lesson in the difference between the solo sound in the woodshed and what works in a mix.
    middy likes this.
  18. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Call me old fashioned, I tend to adjust my EQ dependant on the acoustic space I find my self in.:bassist:
  19. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Your Hartke uses a fender style tonestack, which is already midscooped with the knobs at noon. Try bass - 2-3, mids 7-10, treble 2-4, for a somewhat "even" or slightly scooped starting point.

    The closest to "flat" on that tonestack is settings of 2-10-2, bass mid and treble.

    Of course, once you put it in a room, you can forget all that and just set it where it sounds good.

    Keep in mind that often times settings that sound fat and bassy up close to the rig can lose definition and turn to mud out in the room, and settings that sound too midrangey and weak in the lows somehow end up just right out in the room, so, make your adjustments listening from as far away as you can, then just deal with whatever that sounds like up close, knowing it sounds good out there.
    Terracite and middy like this.
  20. tallboybass

    tallboybass Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2003
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    I read somewhere on the 'net to turn all controls to noon except the bass knob to '0'...then bring up bass until the body of the sound is back where you want it. Changed my life.
    Terracite and middy like this.