I just suck @ equalizing my bass... help!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by zeh, Jun 23, 2005.

  1. zeh


    Jul 11, 2003
    Lisbon , Portugal
    I play for 5 years now , have been lucky ahd have a good experience live and at the studio , I have very good gear , but I just SUCK "making" sound with my amp , I just turn the knobs till it sounds good , bu I cant seem to get a good reliable sound everytime I play , theres always something missing , can u guys give me some advice and tell me whats your approach when you get in front of an amp .

    Thankx ! :bassist: :cool:

  2. Well, I tend to start out with the amp flat - absolutely no EQ! With my basses I tend to try to keep them flat too - all of my collection just now are active, so the centre detents on the pots give me the midpoint - which I suppose is the same as a passive bass with the tone on full!

    From there I'll play and see if there's anything I want to change about the tone.

    Always remember that the EQing should average out....ie if you're using a graphic equaliser, there should be an equal amount of boosting and cutting going on (roughly - ie you should be able to see it average out around the centre line). Also, if you feel you need to boost the bottom end, and top end........it might be easier to cut the mid....and turn up the volume a bit to compensate.....

    Just my 2 cents worth! :)
  3. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    For live work - get away from your cabinet! Beg, borrow or steal a wireless sso you can get out front while your band plays and actually hear what your bass sounds like where the audience is. Make your adjustments from there. Often the stage tone suffers so that it sounds good in a band context, where the audience is sitting.

    I'm also a believer in starting at 'flat'. If I'm in a decent sounding room and need major eq'ing then something in my rig isn't right ... I use those tone controls and the parametric sparingly...
  4. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    Just turn up the bass until your jeans start flapping. ;)
  5. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I have two thoughts: 1) If you can turn the knobs and get a good sound at least some of the time, then you might be experiencing ambient acoustic variation... what that means is that some rooms sound much worse than others. Sometimes you have to compromise tone to counteract "boom".

    2) If you're just plain unhappy with your sound: check with a trusted friend or bandmate for reference... maybe they'll say "dude, you sound fine out front, don't worry about it". Here's another thought: it's often true that a tone that sounds godlike when you're playing alone will not sound good when mixed with the rest of the band. The important thing is to get a tone that sounds good in the mix... the whole is more important than the individual parts. Good luck!
  6. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    All good advice. I'll only add that once you start with everything flat, try cutting rather than boosting in order to get your sound. And I find that if I'm just a touch under the volume I "think" I need when standing in front of my rig, it's just about right out front. In other words, be careful not to be too loud. Non-bass playing musicians REALLY dislike a bass player who plays too loud. I try to be a team player because...well...team playing is what's it's all about! ;)
  7. One thing to try, if you can, is have a friend that can play at least one song from your set, and get him to play it with the band during the sound check, then you go out, listen to it, then go back n alter the amp settings

    then sound check yourself and make very minor tweaks for the variance in sound from different players
  8. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Getting a good sound CONSISTENTLY is no easy task. I've got top-notch gear and still struggle to get the sound I want in every playing environment I'm encountered with. And I'm skeptical of those who say they've found a piece of gear that *always* sounds good. I know my rig can give me chills one night and sound like crap the next in a different room, until I start playing with those knobs I promised myself I wouldn't move a micro-smidge after the previous night's bliss. Accept that this will always be a challenge, and embrace the challenge. :D
  9. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    all great advice and very true. check out this thread for some general ideas on what the different frequency ranges sound like.
  10. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Another thing I try to do is when you dial in a sound you like, write it down.... ie bass at 6, mid 4, treble 2.

    Maybe have like 10 different amp settings that are tweaked according variables such as.... the room size, brick/concrete or wood or drywall?, high ceilings or not?, alot of people (who make noise) or not, alot of objects for the sound waves to bounce off or sparse?

    Then you can *start* from a pre-written setting that works for a particular room with a given set of characteristics.

    For example, you might have one of your pre-written setting descriptors be:
    small room, brick walls, 50 people. Then you would have your eq dialed in for those particular characteristics based on whats worked in the past from your experience. Is it going to sound good based on those eq settings for every room with those characteristics? Not likely. But it will give you a place to start from that will be closer to where you want to be rather than just random dial turning.
  11. zeh


    Jul 11, 2003
    Lisbon , Portugal
    Thank you guys for all your advices , lots of times I have to play on open air , and thats where I have the biggest troubles at getting a good sound , my C string gets really muddy some times . I forgot to tell my Gear , I play Mpulse 600 mesa boogie with boogie cabs , and I own 2 modulus flea , one 5s and the other 4s. Sometimes I get God like massive fat tone , other times it just sucks big time... Would a Maximizer help?
  12. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    forget the maximizer. that may cause you more problems as its just another knob to mess with. keep in mind that outside sometimes you're just not going to get the low end you want. :meh:
  13. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    Man - this is a great education! I have the exact same problem. I like the idea of starting out flat. Also the idea of everything averaging out. I am probably like most novices, where I tend to over do it with my 9 band EQ. I guess I thought it was supposed to look like a "U" or a "V", but I bet if I wrote down my settings when I have the best sound - it would be more flat.

    While we're on this topic - especially with solid state amps like my B2R - I have always just stood there with a blank stare when it comes to turning up the gain verses the volume. I understand this concept with something like a Marshall guitar amp, where you want to overdrive the preamp to get distortion. But with a solid state amp - I just don't get it. I don't think you can overdrive the preamp. Are there any methods or recipes for how you approach setting the gain vs the volume?

    Thanks in advance for any help with this.

  14. Start simple. Good bass good head, good cabs. I've resorted to taking all effects/compressors out of the chain and just going Ray into GK with everything flat to start. Then as the room warrents I pull up or pull out, mostly at the guitar level, maybe tweaking the low and hi mids a bit on the head.
  15. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Agree 100%!

    I almost never get PA assistance for my bass... I don't have the luxury of playing quietly and letting a soundman deal with acoustic variables. That's a challenge, for sure.
  16. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Nice gear! I'm not surprised that you're getting Godlike tone at least some of the time. :)

    As you've discovered, open air shows are *very* different from inside shows. If possible, stand where the audience will be during your band's soundcheck. Or, have trusted friends and bandmates help you with tone. Keep in mind that you might sometimes have to settle for poor tone onstage so that you get good tone out front.