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HPF fix everything?

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

  1. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    While I went years going with whatever HPF was or wasn’t built into my rig, I figure for $100 or less I’d be a fool not to have that extra bit of speaker protection with the added sonic benefits that come with it. Have there been rooms that the HPF couldn’t tame without tremendously steep and undesirable roll off? Yep. Did I suck it up? Yep. Did my speakers thank me? I imagine they would if they could.
  2. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
    Like the Ferrari, most of the time you'll be driving on roads that aren't capable of high speed driving (boomy room acoustics). Every day is NOT a track day nor do you play in large open air venues every day.

    FYI you're cabinets are NOT capable to reproduce as low as you think, most likely 50 or 60Hz.

    An HPF is a tool to help manage LF better, it does not, should not, color your sound.
  3. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Bass cabs don’t reproduce the fundamentals of the lowest notes on a bass guitar. PA subs do, though - a hi pass feeding your amp (but not in the FOH path) and a different one (usually set lower, and often on the mixing board) is good practice for bigger venues.
  4. Colum


    Dec 8, 2018
    That’s what I would have thought.
    bassbrad likes this.
  5. Lately there has been a lot of buzz about hpf and lpf, especially here at TB. While these are certainly useful tools in the audio realm are they necessary for every musician or bassist to hyper control as seems to be the ideal of the moment, well. Not really. Can your rig benefit? Maybe but it ain't the sun and the moon, so don’t bash out your brains or break the bank, it’s just bass playing after all.

    Impolitic argument below, read with an open mind and a smile.

    Did human hearing suddenly make a quantum leap in bandwidth? Or just Talk Bassers?

    Or just the anointed few, leaving the rest of us bewildered in our impoverished ragged [gasp, don't say it, normal human] hearing levels. Nay, I say! Whales can hear subsonic frequencies, but their eardrums are the size of dinner plates, ours are puny in comparison. While there have certainly been advances in technology, the tools to capture and reproduce sound are much better but still developing. Our ability to learn to listen is improving but the human ear is still going to limit what we can and cannot "hear". What we can do is learn to expand what we can "perceive" but that takes conscious effort and practice and even then, not everyone can develop those senses to the highest degree. Then to learn to use that expanded hearing in a real world audio application takes even more hard work and after all we are just bass players, right.
    petrus61 and Ryan L. like this.
  6. Turbo Sparky

    Turbo Sparky Supporting Member

    May 14, 2018
    South Eastern U.S.
    When television had dials and push/pull knobs, with CRTs..."I" was the "remote control."
    Now, when I can't find/reach the remote, my kids are the "remote controls" for the remotes.
    ...that's what "we" did.
    My HPF is on order.
    Zbysek, lowplaces and Stumbo like this.
  7. Does it fix everything?

    I don't know. I'm pretty sure it could fix world hunger if a dime went to a charity everytime it's mentionned here, though.
    Beheroth, petrus61, dBChad and 3 others like this.
  8. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    I recently discovered that having an HPF is fairly "essential" to my rig. I'd been using the Broughton H+LPF for like a year before deciding to sell it last week. Then I did three shows without it and noticed that my speakers were farting out pretty noticibly on stage and I began worrying about their longevity. So I bought an always-on HPF and did a show last night - problem solved!

    I suppose another answer would be to buy a louder amp (I rock a combo) that comes with drivers that are more capable of handling the levels that I'm throwing at it but purchasing the HPF ($100) is much cheaper than buying a new amp ($700+), so that's what I did.

    I suppose that if I had the scratch, I might have made a different decision but whatever. It works, so why not?
    Stumbo, TonH and lowplaces like this.
  9. Remyd


    Apr 2, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    I seem to recall the big rolloffs happening about 47 low and 14k high for anything on Vinyl - pretty steep filter.
  10. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Ripples in the grooves can only get so wide or so narrow. When Frank Zappa was mastering, he had the bass made progressively heavier on each album side because as the main groove got smaller and smaller as it moved inwards, as the groove’s ability to easily handle bass got more and more limited, so he had to force it a bit. Wasn’t perfect, but he claimed it helped.
  11. vinnydbass


    Feb 4, 2008
    If you are using a smaller rig, your speakers will thank you. Its not essential, but in my findings and hpf is a cheap tool to instantly tighten your bass.

    If you use a compressor pedal live, an hpf is very useful. Those subs are not really going to be heard so much as felt. When you send those subs to a compressor, the threshold will be reached more easily and the compressor will actually soften the attack on lower notes instead of making them punchy. After all, without the hpf, the compressor will be bringing up the level on those subs, which you don't need.

    More energy will be required from your amp to move that sub frequency air through the cabinet. The speakers will be required to move more as they try to reproduce those subs. Cut them out with an hpf and you will instantly have more headroom and your signal might even sound louder without increasing the volume knob.

    You don’t need one, but for as little as 70$, you can improve your tone and increase the life of your speakers.
    interp, Zbysek, bombpop14 and 2 others like this.
  12. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    It's like asking others not to take advantage of progress. What did people do before smartphones, PCs, cars, etc. They managed to live without them, yes. Is it a reason not to take advantage of them? Nope.

    Ps: Jamerson's sound on Motown records is based heavily on HPF...
    mcnach, Stumbo and TonH like this.
  13. nnnnnn


    Oct 27, 2018
    Why would the groove get smaller and smaller? The circumference, yes, obviously, but the width of the groove?
  14. The driver in a ported cab uses the loading of the port resonance to minimize mechanical excursion. When you drop below this port resonance frequency, you no longer have this protection. That's where you want to set the hpf.
    So even if you don't care about cleaning up the low end, it's still smart to protect your drivers. As many have noted, this isn't a new craze in audio circuits. A lot of gear had a rumble suppressor circuit under the hood.
    Think of it as a rev limiter for your Ferrari.;)
    Coolhandjjl likes this.
  15. Understanding (and giving a hoot) about the principles of hpf/lpf has really helped me fix my live sound, both on stage and out front. I actually don’t use one, but adjust my eq to act as one. Also, I reckon my GK800RB has in-built hpf of some sort. Useful stuff.
    Zbysek likes this.
  16. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    A hpf is an important mixing tool but I'm not sure if it's such a great idea to have musicians on stage messing around with it. Especially as the FOH engineer will most likely also use a hpf, or at the very least least other filters. He may even try to bring back some of the lows you've filtered out on-stage... Eq upon eq upon eq... = phase shifts. Not good.

    Two scenarios:

    1) Using a high pass filter to improve your stage sound:

    A person on stage can't hear how a hpf will affect the sound in the audience. A musician on stage should never use a hpf on anything that goes out to FOH. That includes your amp, if it's miked. And if it's not miked, do you really bring your $xxxx rig just to use it as a stage monitor even when it sounds THAT poor without applying a hpf??? My advice: Get a different amp that sounds decent on stage! And maybe you don't really need an SVT with a 810 for that small club gig? When it comes to stage sound in smaller venues less really is more (provided that the entire band follows up of course).

    2) Using a hpf to protect your speaker:

    Should not be necessary unless you've got faulty or extremely poorly matched amp/cab. My advice: Buy an amp that actually works.

    Personally I think certain types of modern amps/cabs are to blame. They have specs that look great on paper but far to easy to dial in ultra-deep frequencies that serve no musical purpose IMO.

    I prefer vintage style amps and vintage voiced speakers exactly because they have the right punch in the right places. If you're struggling with boomy subs on stage, I would consider a different amp/cab.

    Just my personal opinion of course.
  17. Funkmabassup


    Jul 16, 2013
    vintage basscabs often didnt produce much sub lows, like a sealed 4x10 or 8x10 dont need much high-pass compared too many modern cabs.

    The question I would ask more is; why are so many basscabs designed too put out alot of garbage in the sub-low frequencies? after I got a Mesa D800+ Ive gotten addicted too HPF myself and I actually use it too get a fatter bigger sound(whithout the mush that messes up the stage sound)
  18. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Unless one was built into your amp, until the last few years HPFs were pretty rarely seen outside of mixing boards. I've been using one for DB where it is my first line of defense against feedback. I never use one for BG, I see no need for one based on the music I'm playing.

    The only essential parts of a bass rig are a bass, an amp and a cable. There are no essential effects, otherwise we'd see effects built into every single bass amp. There's been periods where compressors, distortion, chorus and crossovers (OK, not an effect) were common in amps and periods when they were not. It's all just trends.

    My general feeling about gear is simple: does it solve a problem or not? 90% of all problems can be solved without more gear, just adjusting your playing technique and learning how to use the features of your current gear.
    Frank77 likes this.
  19. chuck65

    chuck65 Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2010
    Orange Park FL.
    Here’s how I fell into this rabbit hole...I was playing the bass backing for the lead guitar part in “All Right Now “ by Free. The low part was too boomy and the high part was too twangy. I had to have my 10 band eq set in a mid high “ frown” to pull it off , but it sucked the life out of the rest of the songs. I set my crown on band pass at 50 and 3.3 and not only did it tighten up both ends of the fret board , I now am able to add more bass to my mix without the unwanted boom , more highs with out the twang .
  20. dBChad


    Aug 17, 2018
    Daytona Beach, FL
    If you play old SWR amps, you really notice a difference. They don't have a built-in low cutoff point, and will waste a lot of energy on subharmonics your speakers can't reproduce anyways. Before a high pass, they had me wondering why a 400W amp struggled to make much volume. A Broughton Always on made a huge difference. By removing very low (power hungry) frequencies, this 400w amp finally showed me that it had some power!

    Trace Elliot GP12s don't really need one though, because you can cut 30Hz on the graphic and get the same effect.
    wizard65 and Jon McBass like this.

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