Is a 3 band EQ worth the extra money?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Quin Harris, Dec 27, 2020.

  1. I have always wanted a bass with a 3 band EQ, but from what I've heard, many people don't use it as much as they thought they would when they bought it. Do you guys use your 3 band EQ?
  2. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Strong "no" for me. I have yet to experience a "mid" knob I like on any bass - or amp.
    For onboard active controls, I am strongly partial to 2-band. 3-band is not quite a deal-killer if everything else is super happening. But where there is a choice, it's 2-band all the way for me. I would actually pay more for 2-band.
    Based on what's out there, I seem to be in the minority. :rolleyes:
  3. TrevorG

    TrevorG Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2012
    Depends on the eq. Which were you thinking of? The three on my Pj are fantastic but don’t give me a wide range, just more variations of a fender tone. The two on my Spector give me a much wider range. The cut and boost on my Overwater gives me the widest range of all three.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020
  4. Vinny_G


    Dec 1, 2011
    I had an Ibanez SR with a sweep mid-frequency knob, and I used it a lot. For me, a midrange knob is only interesting if I can choose the frequency range.
  5. AdamR

    AdamR Inactive Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    All my basses are active. Only one has a mid band. Nice to have but I find myself trying not to eq at the bass and only using it for small adjustments live. I could live without it.
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  6. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    All 5 of mine have some type of 3 band: fixed (Audere), 2 or 3 freq switched (Audere, Bart, Soundgear), and sweepable (Carvin). Worth the extra $$ but none are ideal. The best I've run across are the 4 band with individually adjustable low & high mids.

  7. BasEd


    Jun 27, 2017
    No. Passive only. I used to have active basses with high, low, mid, mid sweep and boost switches but it drove me mad fiddling with the knobs. Passive. Volume(s) full. Tone mainly full but sometimes 90%. Job done.
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  8. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    Yes, the mids knob is on tap if you want to draw for a different experience. Otherwise, you're likely adjusting two knobs every time you want that frequency to move.
    Ggaa likes this.
  9. BasEd


    Jun 27, 2017
    A passive PJ is great. You have three tones. P, Jaco J and a scooped J-ish blend with both pickups full. Choose one and leave the knobs alone!
    lomo likes this.
  10. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    A 3 band EQ is more helpful to me when I am practicing by myself. I can get a better sound in my headphones that way. Live, the only thing I do is boost the bass for a big booming note at the end of one song or adjust my passive Tone knob to suit two songs. Extra buttons are an annoyance to me.
    instrumentalist likes this.
  11. InhumanResource

    InhumanResource Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    In my opinion it is worth every penny IF you have a frequency control. If not, or one of those high/low mid switches only, don't bother.

    Frequency sweep plus boost/cut? Invaluable.
  12. SLPimp

    SLPimp An Injury to One is an Injury to All Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2020
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Do you like or use a 3 band on a pedal? With a passive bass, how do you use the EQ on your amps?
  13. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    Yes! I have two basses with Aquilar OBP-3 preamps, also a Fender Elite Jazz V with the stock electronics, and I use the mid controls on all of them. Both types are two position push-pull fixed frequency controls. I'd prefer a sweepable mid control, but the character and musicality of the preamp overall is more important to me, and on these preamps the mid frequency positions are well placed. I generally use the mid control in a more additive way, generally to either add upper mids to help cut through a mix or to add lower mids for a little more fatness. Sometimes when playing alone cutting some of the high mids can create a little more clarity and definition (particularly on the Elite), but in a band mix instead of helping that seems to thin out the tone too much.

    Having said all that, I have a few basses with passive electronics too, and at the moment I'm playing those more than the active basses.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020
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  14. 31HZ

    31HZ Glad to be here Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2006
    Central VA, USA
    I use the Mid knob regularly and it sometimes (but not always) is important to be able to select the frequency. (Muckelroy and Smith, for example, are pretty close to perfect "as is" for me.)

    The further down the tone-quest road I go, the more I realize how fundamentally important it is to dial in the mids.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020
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  15. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    My active basses all have 3 band EQ. I use the mid control and it does work best with a frequency selector. I also find small increments work best.
    Quin Harris likes this.
  16. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    I feel like there should be minimal stops for the signal on the way from the pickup to the output jack.
  17. wizard65


    Sep 1, 2014
    I have a couple of 3 eq Stingrays, I find the mid control very useful, it gets used more than the bass/treble.
  18. Sean150


    Jul 18, 2018
    I use it if I’ve got it but don’t miss it if I don’t. Having a good amp is more important in my opinion (learned this the hard/expensive way).
  19. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    If I've got it, I use it. And the 3-way switch on the SRs hits key points for either boosting or cutting, so I'd say I quite like it.

    But if I don't have it, I make do. It's not intrinsically superior, just gets a different set of sounds from a 2-band or passive instrument.
  20. I use the mid on my Stingray 5. A mid can't hurt, if you don't like what it's doing you can always leave it flat. Though some prefer the 2 band four string Stingrays.
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