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HPF fix everything?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by primusfan1989, Jul 11, 2019.


  1. primusfan1989

    primusfan1989

    Jan 17, 2005
    new jersey
    Ive noticed a trend on here lately, it seems for any tonal issue someone is having, there is someone to say "get a hpf". Ive even seen people state on here that they're an essential piece of gear for any bass rig.

    Now I don't need anyone to explain HPF to me, Ive used HP, LP and BP filters in all sorts of contexts before. My question is to the folks who say they are a must have, what did people do before these units were as available as they are today? Like Jaco, McCartney, Jamerson, [insert famous bassist here] got along just fine without them...or did they?
     
    Frank77, lizardking837 and SactoBass like this.
  2. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Where are you hearing much deep bass (much less sub-bass) on old Motown, Stax/Atlantic, Sun, Chess, Decca, Apple, etc? Getting deep wasn't a design goal for the bass rigs used live or in the studio, so generally players weren't fighting to trim unproductive low end response from speaker cabinets.

    The speaker cab's low end roll-off generally was sufficient mechanical HPF, usually pretty high by modern standards.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
    jnewmark, Nashrakh, Zbysek and 11 others like this.
  3. GrapeBass

    GrapeBass

    Jun 10, 2004
    Toronto
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
    They're essential if you are a stickler, 'heaven' is in the details. IMHO They aren't really 'essential' essential. LOL
     
    gregmon79 and 10cc like this.
  4. primusfan1989

    primusfan1989

    Jan 17, 2005
    new jersey
    Ok then, but now I must ask what is the point of these modern bass cabs capable of delivering those sub frequencies and combining with a HPF? kinda seems pointless, like buying a Ferrari and only driving 30mph. Why not just get on old dual showman cab with efficient 15" (JBL EV etc).
     
  5. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    They’re not a must have.

    They’re just another useful tool. One that performs a very specific function that is useful in dealing with certain audio signal issues.

    They’re not an all purpose “fix everything” device. Whether or not you need one very much depends on what you’re looking to accomplish.
     
    SOUTH PAW, lowplaces, Wasnex and 2 others like this.
  6. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Jamerson's bass tracks were typically high pass filtered at 80hz. I suspect the engineers who recorded McCartney and Pastorius probably used HPF as well.

    The whole point of the current "HPF craze" isn't that using HPF on bass is a new idea (most bass tracks that you hear on famous recordings are HPF'd) but rather that this technology is now available on our pedalboards, so we can sound as good on stage as we do in the studio. :)
     
  7. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Just for the record, those old showman cabs weren’t very efficient. Nor were any 15” speakers I’m familiar with. A 4x10 cab is going to be much more efficient (i.e. louder) than a 1x15 or 2x15 cab with the same amp. A lot also depends on the cab design, which is as much art as it is science since good cab designs each represent a carefully chosen series of compromises.

    As far as sub frequencies go, I think you’ll be hard pressed to find many instrument cabs that can go much below 50Hz. Very few can go down to even the fundamental frequency of a low E string let alone the B on a fiver. So sending them frequencies they can’t reproduce or handle efficiently is pointless. Hence adding an HPF to the signal chain makes sense.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
    jnewmark, Zbysek, lowplaces and 6 others like this.
  8. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    ^ Bingo! :thumbsup:

    “Studio” sound is gradually making its way to the stage.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  9. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    The Motown sound actually was the result of an HPF....at the console. Steep cut off at say 80Hz, but the boost the bass shelving to increase all the low end (while the HPF is still sharply cutting off at 80 or whatever.)
    Question about understanding / using a High Pass Filter

    Jaco and Macca recordings also used HPFs at the console as does every other recording by anybody.

    And for live shows, guess what the PA has? An HPF. And all bass amps have a fixed one built into the circuitry AKAIK. Even the venerable Sunn 200S had a switchable one. (Bass Boost turned on was w/o hpf, Bass Boost off was with it.)

    Having been to live music shows with no PA support since 1970, the biggest common problem in most of them? Bass. Now bassists can get precise variable control that PAs and Recording Studios offer in a pedal so stage/backline sound is no longer problematic. Mesa's new WD-800 head includes a variable HFP knob as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
    Zbysek, lowplaces, Dubsly and 2 others like this.
  10. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    Headroom.
    Plus, there are newer trends in music like Dubstep that are defined by uber-low fundamental tones. Speaker companies aren't going to ignore those trends.
     
    lowplaces likes this.
  11. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    Part of that vintage tone is the distortion created by the speakers mechanical limit coupled with/struggling with the low damping factor of a tube head. Play an ss head through that same vintage cab without any hpf and you risk blowing the driver.

    Which brings up another point...there percentage of ss heads in use is much higher now, and ss heads are capable of and designed with a much higher damping factor than a tube head. A steeper HPF is pretty much a necessity, whether its built-in or external. Especially with ported cabs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
    Beheroth, Zbysek and okabass like this.
  12. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    In addition to the studio methods of recording, don’t forget the mastering engineer. Their livelihood was dependant on respecting the limitations of the vinyl groove.
    I suspect not much below 60Hz got passed them.
     
    Zbysek, lowplaces, SactoBass and 2 others like this.
  13. 9Thumbs

    9Thumbs

    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    Without HPF, My Ampeg stack makes my upright sound like slow rumbling thunder. I'm not sure what the cutoff frequency is set to, but it sure helps to make it sound like an upright. My elderly Fender BXR300C combo has a built in HPF and sounds great.

    I never needed HPF when using Fenders.
     
  14. BurtMacklinFBI

    BurtMacklinFBI Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2018
    Well, there's essential and there's essential. I don't think very many peeps here would dispute that you can go through your entire life even as a professional bassist without ever using an HPF. You absolutely can. If you're going to spend any amount of money on a quality bass rig though, a lot of us would say an HPF should be among the first things you pick up aside from a bass, amp and tuner.
     
    Zbysek and lowplaces like this.
  15. People make do with whatever they have.
    If we were in 1975 and someone from the future came up with light and compact amplifiers and speaker cabinets, they might get a few fans. Then someone might ask "what did people do before these were available?" and the answer is... they managed with what they had. Just like we have, since 1975 until well into the 2000s.

    Of course you can manage without an HPF. But it's a pretty useful thing to have in a lot of the situations a lot of people encounter here, so I'm not surprised that people speak highly of their benefits, more than about any given overdrive pedal or even a compressor.
     
    bombpop14, lowplaces and SactoBass like this.
  16. Just because they can go very low it doesn't mean you have to go that low every time. Context is everything. Sometimes you want it, so you can. Many times you don't want it, so you don't use it.

    What's the point of a 500W amplifier if the vast majority of the gigs I do I probably don't go above 200W? The point is... a few times I want more, and then I can. You don't need to drive a Ferrari at 200mph all the time.
     
    SactoBass likes this.
  17. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    They are great for being able to easily “dial in” a good tone under a variety of conditions and circumstances. Especially if you have a low B string (or lower). They are a super nice convenience, and in some cases (might be) a necessity.
     
  18. arbiterusa

    arbiterusa

    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    Not my rig, ever, with one exception: jam night where I'm bringing the rig.

    I have zero HPF and everyone gets it at 80Hz minimum. I'm not having some idiot blowing my speakers to bits - because people will try, why not, it's not their rig!
     
    scuzzy likes this.
  19. Colum

    Colum

    Dec 8, 2018
    Is it for your on stage sound or do you send it to front of house too? Genuinely curious about these. I've never seen one in the wild.
     
  20. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Stage sound. I can't tell from the stage how the HPF needs to be set in the front-of-house mix. That's the sound guy's job.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019

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