How to Coax a Neosoul Vibe from F1 2xAE112 Rig

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Scott McArron, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    shame okayplayer is getting played out.

    course, even ?uestlove knows that the west coast is making some amazing sounds ala his work w/ j*davey.
  2. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX

    Yep - technique is the cake, everything else is just frosting.

    BTW, I love those Markbass amps - for ME, the best tone is everything at 12 O Clock, then playing with the 2 filters to dial in the sound just a bit. Really a nice amp. I almost bought one about a year ago, but was offered a GK for a few hundred less, so I went that route. Still dig the MKII though.
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    IME solo and in the mix have pretty much nothing to do with each other initially. Try my recommendations in the mix and see how if works out.

    The interesting thing I've found is that once I understood how to stand out in the mix, my sound playing at home alone also improved... because I learned what to listen for.

    Good luck.
  4. I didn't try all those settings at once! :eek::smug: Those were just few things I tried to get the high-end quacky-ness out.

    Always! I typically like to run my amps as close to flat as possible. But I can't with this rig because it sounds sooo boxy without some help from the filters or a cut in the high mids.

    Technique is always a large part of your tone, but in this case even perfect technique wouldn't get what I'm looking for, which is big, fat, smooth tone, ala Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite.

    There's one thing this rig does well, and that's cut through a mix. Though I haven't tried the latest settings in a band context yet, what I've gotten close to in the past sounds great solo, really scooped. But once the drums start the kick takes over and all you can here is the cutting upper midrange, which I though I had dialed out and which is definetly not smooth or have anything like a neosoul vibe.

    But I think I may have something close this time. I've got some mids in there still, low mids, but I've cut the high mids almost back to nothing. Still has a decently cutting sound to my ear. So we'll see tomorrow!
  5. Supertanker

    Supertanker Watch the dog! He is trained to bite!

    Jun 23, 2005
    I've been a jazz guy all my life and just started to get in the neo-soul thing a couple of years ago.

    I loved it so much I started a neo-soul band.

    We play several songs from the Urban Hang Suite, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Lauren Hill, Kem, D'Angelo, Corinne Bailey Rae, etc.

    I probably can't help you with your rig, but I can tell how I get my sound.

    I have basses that sound really huge, (Lakland 5501 and JO5), all active (LH3 and Audere).
    Aguilar S410 and a S210 (equal instant fatness) and QSC amp (1,000 watts) and a Presonus Studio Channel preamp.

    I run my amp maxed out, basses usually flat and preamp flat with a little (3db) boost at 30hz.

    I play over the front pickup most of the time or I move closer to the neck depending on the song.

    I run D'Addario prosteels which I change about twice a year.

    My tone is perfect for the neo vibe. I have a smooth, phat, punchy rig with huge sounding basses,
    so there's not much I have to do other than tweak for the room and play.

    I used to have 2 - GS112's, which sounded just as good, but I can run the 10's louder and harder, but it can be done with 12's.

    IMO you should not have to do anything drastic to get the sound you're after. If you do, then maybe it's time for a hardware change...
  6. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    No offense, Scott, you just seem to be going about this all wrong. You're getting a boxy sound out of cabs that don't normally have to sound that way, with a head that is very easy to avoid boxiness with. Cutting high mids almost back to nothing? I'd be willing to bet the people you're listening to don't do that.

    Like many things, this would be very easy to demo to you in real life. Maybe you can hook up with someone in your area who gets the vibe you're seeking. There's nothing else I can offer you.

  8. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    The key is how does it sit in the mix??
    Screw how it sounds by itself, that almost is NEVER how it will sound in context.

    I just started playing with a "neo-soul" project and originally though, my old Jazz!
    Used that and my Sadowsky.
    Genz Benz 6.0 and NEOX112's for the rig.

    Well, I switched to my Valenti for a rehearsal, which is active as hell- J/MM with Sadowsky pre-amp- like every thing you love about a MM and a Lakland (FYI- the MM pick-up on a Lakland is NOT in the actual MM "sweet" spot- my Valenti is).
    That bass has some serious teeth and is a growly mutha that likes the slapstuff too.

    It fit's great in the band.

    It comes down to the player more that any piece of gear IMO.
    If your style has not been in that vein, then it's expected that what you do will be the sound you get.
    EQ-ing the snot out of your rig, no matter what anyone here tells you (flame suit on), they're kinda mis-leading you.

    It's in you. Immerse yourself in the music. Listen to it, learn tunes (that you don't play with the band) and the vibe of the genre.
    Your rig can reproduce anything you need it to. That's a sweet set-up!!

    Like any other type of music, you don't just say "how do I get a XXXX tone out of my rig" and expect tone nirvana. Good (great??) output starts with good/great input.
    The first inputs in ANY signal chain are your heart, soul, mind & hands.
    Work on those. A rig only spits out what YOU put into it.
  9. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Mike Lull GK Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass
    I found if radical change in the Eq spectrum in more then one area things start to sound strange to my ears IMHO.

    I think subtly would be best (in most cases)

    1. Simple external EQ to adjust your bottom

    I found out tonight how mucisical the eq is on the Tone Hammer.
    So I would add something like that (924, TH, Sadowsky thinkgy...Ect) something that was designed for actually not having to be flat at and still sound good and still musical even when not used in moderation.

    2. VLE somewhere from 9-12 clock.

    3. Half wounds or flats

    Good luck
  10. Hey Brad, I apprecciate all the advice you've given me so far. I've read many of your posts over the years and you are quite knowledgeable!

    What I really meant to say in a nutshell is that the F1 into the AE112 with all flat settings sounds boxy, not that I couldn't achieve anything else. ;) A lot of great tones come out of this rig, it's quite versatile. This just happens to be the one thing I can't get it to do well.

    I think about anyone on this forum knows by now from the copious reviews that the F1 favors the upper mids, and also that the AE112 does the same. And, IME, upper mids are not a close friend with neosoul on any of the albums of any of the artsists I mentioned or from what I hear from these guys in a live context. If they ain't cuttin' 'em then they're masking 'em with some heavy bass, that's for dang sure!

    You've been quite helpful, as always! :cool: Thanks! I wish you were in my area to help demo this for me. That would be sweet! I know ain't no seasoned pro or anything, but I have played many hundreds of gigs as a semi-pro-weekend-warrior over the last 10 years in many acoustically terrible rooms and hollow stages that I've survived tonally. I've always been able to achieve the sound I've been going for. That's why this is so frustrating to me!

    But again, I appreciate any advice I can get! :)
  11. I would typically totally agree! I've never been comfortable turning a knob more than 1/8th turn in either direction! :p

    I would love to have multiple basses all strung up with different types of strings for different tunes. Until I start making some real money, though, that's not going to be possible... :( But flat wounds is probably the first thing I would try! Thanks! :cool:
  12. Always!

    Running everything flat with the gains up on this rig, IME, sounds relatively thin and clanky relative to the thick neosoul vibe I'm going for. And that's just plucking a single note, all technique aside. That's why I dial out much of the high mids.

    I know my technique ain't perfect, for darn sure! But I really wish you could hear this rig in person to see what I mean. With the settings anywhere close to flat I'm not going to achieve anything close to Jill Scott's Long Walk bass tone if Adam Blackstone or Thaddeus Tribbett were playing it themselves! :D

    Cheers! I need a scotch...
  13. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Scott, I don't think you're hearing what you think you're hearing. In a mix, a lot of frequencies that are in the bass sound get masked by other instruments, making you think that all the upper mids and treble are gone. I would bet money that if you jammed with a band with your rig and your F1 set flat and played with a light and funky touch, you would sound way closer to what you're trying to achieve than you think. You're driving yourself insane in the house to match a tone that's something way different than you think it is. Listen to this live version of Maxwell's "Ascension" I just found on Youtube:

    Don't know what the guy's using for gear but it sounds like whatever he's using has a fair amount of upper mids and treble. He's playing with a light touch so it sounds bassier, but really, it's a pretty full-range sound to my ears.
  14. OrionManMatt


    Feb 17, 2004
    Which preamp do you have in your M5V, if any?

    Do you use a compressor?

    I would say boost the low mids. Sumthin'Sumthin' oozes active soapbar goodness (MTD). For songs with more "soul" and less "neo," favor the neck pickup and play over it, pulling back your tone knob to taste.
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Thanks, I appreciate that. It kind of bugs me when I can't help, as crazy as that may seem.

    I'll have to see if Jong has these cabs at his shop. I didn't remember them sounding boxy though I didn't hear them with an F1. I can try them with my LMII if he has them.

    The thing that's getting me is that I can get a similar tone out of a bunch of cabs (I've somehow amassed a ridiculous number of them) and even got it out of my Ampeg portabass 212 with neo drivers.

    That wasn't my experience with the F1. Just saying. With a lot of these reviews you have to remember who is doing the reviewing and how much you know (or better yet don't know) about how they play. Not that you know about me either, just an important point to bear in mind. I've been the recipient of several great basses that the previous owners didn't think sounded very good.

    I can completely understand how frustrating this must be.

    When you're trying to dial this sound in at home, are you playing along to music and if so, is it at the same volume as you're playing? That's what I do at home and sometimes it bugs the crap out of my wife but it can be a necessary evil. I don't get the same feel from headphones.
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings

    Instead of doing that, bump the bass control on your Lull up and see if that helps. Don't dial anything out at this point.

    It's not really about being perfect, mine certainly isn't but I have figured out how to smooth out the sound when I want and how to make it sound more or less deep, all without touching a control on the bass or amp. That can all be done by where and how you pluck. Seems almost too easy once you figure that out... not saying you haven't, of course.
  17. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I was also going to make this suggestion.
  18. Oh, yes, it's amazing how much of a difference that makes!

    Last night a I played a large night club at decent sized casino. The 4'+ hollow stage there is perfect to add "size" to the focused sound of this rig. I started out flat and had to actually turn the bass down, a little bump in the low mids helped, too, and it sounded pretty darned fantastic! :bassist:

    This is really great, because this was the one gig I was worried most about. It's been difficult to get a good sound in this room in the past, but was super easy with this rig! We'll see how it goes next week at the smaller wine bar gig, sans stage.
  19. I here ya on the soapbars! Man, I've been jones'in for an MTD or Sadowsky Modern. All in time...

    My Lull M5V Jazz has Bart pups and a Bart 18v Pre, Bass, Treble, Low-mid/hi-mid push/pull, VTC, pup blend. It's black (p-guard) on black with birdseye maple fretboard and was custom made for Adrian Garcia, RIP, and only gets worked on by Mike Lull himself (who conveniently lives just a few miles from me!). I try not to do too much EQing at the bass, though. It's due for a PLEKing to even up those frets as Mike keeps reminding me... :rolleyes: But all in all, it's a great bass that always sits well in the mix and is quite tonally versatile. I'm pretty happy with it. :D

    No on the compressor. I used to use a decent compressor back in my 10-space rack days...:rollno: Now, I get a better sound out of my 5 lb F1 than that 10 rack spaces of compressors, signal processors, massive power amps, etc, etc. Do you think a little foot pedal compressor would help a bit? It's been so long since I've thrown anything in the signal chain besides my bass and my fingers I don't even remember what it's like...
  20. I've never been much of a knob-twister; I've always preferred setting everything as close to flat as the room allows and get the tone I want from finger placement and attack whenever possible. I want to think about the music, not my gear! :smug:

    But I think you're right about those mids. I bumped the hi mids back in there somewhat for live play and just rolled back the VTC at times to smooth out the tone. It worked out pretty darned well!

    As far as bumping the bass on the bass, on the stage I was playing last night I actually had to roll it back to tame it! Freakin' 4' hollow stages can be a bear. :rolleyes: Last night, though, was the first time the sound guy came up to me and commented on how amazing and tight the bass sounded. That's saying a lot since he's seen me in there with an IP112 stack and an IP310 with more than half dozen pres on top of 'em over the past couple of years. So far, he said last night sounded the best so far! I'll take that. It's just got a great cutting live sound with great usable tone filters.

    And that little 112 stack up there on that big stage just looks so darn cute, I just want to pinch its cheeks! :D:ninja:
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