How to level out massive volume differences?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by GallienUser, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. GallienUser


    Feb 26, 2006
    Hi everybody!
    I did not really know where to put this but I figured that Effects might be right since effects could be the solution.

    This is the situation: I play a US Spector bass which sounds incredible, especially with single coil mode activated. As some kind of "effect" I love to switch to humbucking mode to get that fat sound for example during a powerful chorus or bridge part. But here the problem starts: the volume difference is pretty massive.
    Not only that though. The other day I got an Aguilar Tone Hammer DI pedal that has the best overdrive sound ever: the AGS section. It sounds sooo great but the problem is that there is a pretty steep volume boost when I activate that AGS/overdrive mode.

    So my question is how can I level out these volume differences? It's not like I want to sound every setting the same with the same volume. It's okay to be louder in special spots during the songs. But the volume difference is just too much.

    Since I now also own a MarkBass Compressore (and an old Aphex Punch Factory) I could try to set up a compressor to smooth out the whole thing. But that Compressore sure has many knobs that I'll have to learn to dial in right.

    But maybe a compressor is not the solution to what I want!? Any thoughts or experiences?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    i'm not sure i understand your setup, but: i use a preamp pedal (volume and tone) to even things out (or to boost/attenuate) the signal from one playing 'mode' to another.
    dralionux and Stumbo like this.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    What controls do you have on the bass?
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
    Kriegs likes this.
  4. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Try a volume pedal.
  5. Roland GR 88

    Roland GR 88 Commercial User

    Sep 16, 2013
    Ontario Canada
    Retail store manager
    There's a few things to consider. You could set up the Markbass with a high threshold & ratio setting to act as a limiter but at the expense of dynamics. You could pass on the humbucking mode altogether and use the Tonehammer as your boost/fat sound solution. You can use the Aphex to balance the volume by setting its gain and only use it when you change from hum to single or single to hum. You can set the Tonehammer the same way and only use it when you change p/u configuration with its gain set to match the differences.
    Having two pedals with their own gain controls is all you need, you'll just have to activate one or the other as you switch p/u modes.
    I would - if it were me - stick with the best sound from the bass you like and use the Aphex as a boost, the Tonehammer as your drive and use its controls to match levels.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
    GallienUser likes this.
  6. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    use a volume pedal that you can stomp to switch on and off. set it to either turn down or turn up, then activate it as needed, bypass it when it's not.
  7. SaucyJackBass


    May 6, 2009
    TC Mini-Spark
  8. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    It would be useful to have a knob on the bass you could use to compensate for volume differences, but I don't know what you'd call it.
    Frank77, AndyPanda, whero and 6 others like this.
  9. dannybuoy


    Aug 3, 2005
    With the Tone Hammer, I'd forget about using the AGS switch on and off during a set. I treat mine as if that AGS switch should have been a toggle switch at the factory. I leave it permanently on, then adjust the volume accordingly so that it's equal with the pedal on and off.

    You could use other pedals to reduce the volume when you turn AGS on, if so I would use a simple pedal like an EHX signal pad rather than a compressor. Using a limiter to bring the volume down when you use AGS would compress the life out of your sound. But then you're having to do more tap dancing. Then you might start thinking actually I want the EQ settings different when AGS is on also... at which point you're looking at just using two Tone Hammers, or some other preamp pedal for your clean tone!
    DrColossus68 likes this.
  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    JRA likes this.
  11. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Interactive De-Loudening Modulator? Simple and to the point.
    Kro, devnulljp, MDBass and 4 others like this.
  12. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    The IDLM should become an industry standard feature.
    Kro, devnulljp, Blues Daddy and 2 others like this.
  13. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 15, 2003
    The ToneHammer's volume differences between the two "channels" is widely known to be unusable in a standard two-channel way. So that is one big thing. Guessing your Spector is similarly boosted when switching modes. Compressors won't necessarily help because they're not really for evening volume of setup A vs volume of setup B so much as they are evening the volume of the given program data unto itself. You could *maybe* get by with using a comp as a strict limiter, setting the threshold to be at your typical 'mode 1' volume max and the ratio to as high as you have available? But I think it'd still end up with mode 2 > mode 1.
    MynameisMe likes this.
  14. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies! Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
    Stumbo and Kriegs like this.
  15. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Or the latest "db Ratio Induction Pre-amp", better known as a DRIP.
  16. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Bergantino-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    A compressor is absolutely not what you want.

    You'll need a separate volume pedal or something similar.
    dralionux likes this.
  17. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    A volume pedal is the thing. Or, as I tend to do, just use the volume knob on the bass.
  18. DirtyDuke likes this.
  19. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    I also use an analogue Multi-Digit Dynamic Note Amplifier/Deamplifier Attack Selector that can actively tailor the level of notes on the bass as I play.

  20. GallienUser


    Feb 26, 2006
    Wow, lots of recommendations and some laughs in between :-D. Thanks for all that.
    Of course it occurred to me that I could simply just hit the strings not as strong after switching to humbucker mode. That is exactly what I've been doing so far. But being the main singer of the band, it's just not easy for me to sing, play bass, switch between single coil and humbucker mode mid-song and on top of that, pay attention to how hard I hit the strings (while playing with pick, fingers or slap style). However, I find it a lot easier to step on a pedal. So now after reading your replies, I am considering using a volume pedal or just a boost pedal with "negative" gain, so to say (set to a lower volume).

    The reason I was asking about using a compressor was merely because I already own the compressore and the punch factory.

    I'll let you know how this all turns out.
    HelpImaRock likes this.