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Knob madness! How do you keep so many settings managed?!?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by secretdonkey, Apr 14, 2004.

  1. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Okay, let's see, my amp (SWR SM-900) has, effectively, 23 knobs on it. My main bass has five. Two tweet attenuators. Five on my compressor. Lessee.. that's 35 knobs. Break out my chorus pedal and you've got 39 total. My new bass will have an extra, so let's go ahead and call it 40 total. Granted there are a few on the amp that go unused, but gee whiz - that's a lot of knobs for an obsessive-compulsive dweeb like me.

    What techniques/rituals/etc. do you employ to make sure all your knobs stay set where you want them to be? How do you remember or note the exact settings for 40 knobs, or however many you have in your setup?

    :help: :bassist:
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    What do I do? .....not have that many knobs.
  3. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    i use only part of the knobs, the important ones and leave the rest where they sound good...that is one way...
  4. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    I never have a problem with it. I guess I just know what I have to do to get "my" sound. I hear the sound in my head and can instantly reproduce it on the knobs.

    The things like the compressor are always a little bit lucrative. I just play with it most of the time. If I find a sound I like, I can usually remember what the knobs were set at because of all the tweaking I had to do to get it where I liked it:)
  5. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    My amp is run flat 99% of the time. The EQ will get adjusted (minimally) if the room needs it, usually with the parametric EQ.
    I have a floor Preamp/di that the volume stays full with the bass boosted as I play a jazz and favour the bridge. It stays at the same position. Octabass stays fixed. Chorus stays fixed.

    My jazz bass has vol/blend/tone for controls. When we start the gig, I set the volume. The song decides where the blend sits, and I generally set the tone after the first song and don't touch it all night.

    In the end, 99% of the time the sequence at sound check is:

    1. Guesstimate amp volume needed for the room.
    2. during sound check confirm amp volume need.
    3. Set blend on the bass.
    4. do 1/4 of a song.
    5. Get a tall glass of Guinness

    Once the band starts playing and the room fills, minor tweaks on the bass is all that is needed.

    After years of playing, I appreciate the value of having the right amp with the right voice.
  6. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    I run mine nearly flat.

    Sounds good almost all the time, and when it doesn't it usually just take a minor tweak.
  7. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Manipulating the knobery inherent in bass gear is like riding a bike to me, I just do it without really thinking about the mechanics. When I hear what I want I'm done. I have a whole boatload of knobs too, BTW.
  8. I have all the amp settings written down on the upper and lower rails of the rack case on a piece of tape. I use an SM-900 as well, so the upper rail is the top EQ, bottom rail is the bottom EQ, bass, treble and gain and volume are adjusted to taste- though usually volume is the only thing that gets adjusted.

    I just use the clock method with the inner knob being the hour and outer knob being the minute. Of course this is all assuming you have settled on a sound you like!

    Having everything written down is going to be important, my rig is going to be backline rig for a series of shows starting tonight.

    Brian Ritchie of the Violent Femmes is using my rig tonight! :D
  9. I don't see having much problem with remembering where things should go, assuming you know what they all do. I have 12 on my amp, 5 on my prim bass and even back when I did use more stuff(seperate pre, effects, comp) I pretty much tweaked everything a little bit every time anyway. I will give you one knob I'll have trouble with though... I'm building a bass and using the agi obp3 preamp and putting in a mid sweep on it, that one will keep me wondering ;)

    another though for you.... take some white out or nail polish and just make dots where your pots should be turned to. then if you're ever in doubt, your reference is right there. (maybe something less permenant though!)

    peace :smug:
  10. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX

    Anyway, my issue/question isn't how to USE so many knobs... I've got my sound dialed in and I generally just make small tweaks for the room. My problems is that between gigs, practice, and extracurricular activities, I may break down my rig and set it up 2-5 times a week. I generally do this all myself, but on some out of town gigs and especially openers, other well-meaning people may help move/set up/break down etc. my gear. And even if it's just me, it's easy to bump one of those 40 knobs that stay set exactly where they are. Many is the time that I notice my sound isn't quite right, and I wonder if it's funny acoustics in the room or something -- but it turns out to be an errantly set knob.

    Like Golden Boy, I keep a cheat sheet for the SWR settings in my rack case. It's just tough to review the settings on so many knobs every time you play... that's really the essence of my quandry!

  11. So you have to use both EQs as well! Why is that?
  12. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I don't usually... channel 2 is set up as my "EQ of last resort" when the room is just being uncooperative. My channel 1 sound is "my" sound that is my best effort at a compromise that works for fingerstyle and slap in different band settings. I keep a cutting "rock" sound with more mids dialed in on channel 2. It's what I turn to in certain rooms that aren't friendly to my normal tone, or on the odd occasion that someone else plays my rig, there's a ready second tone if they don't like the first. In my current band, I only play slap when we're really cutting loose and having fun, so channel 2 is always a viable alternative. I rarely have to turn to it though. Only two venues I can think of, out of dozens.

    I tried setting up one channel for slap and one for fingerstyle when I first got the SM-900, but setting up the footswitch and all was just too fussy, and too much trouble for when I just want to throw in an odd slap or pop amidst the fingerstyle, just to be sly and subversive.

    What about you?

  13. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    My BassTriaxis' settings are stored digitally, so no worries there. My M2000 and my Buster, on the other hand... I think that's about 70 knobs and switches right there! I usually memorize them, which I don't think is too difficult. You can memorize all the notes on the bass, so it doesn't seem too far fetched to memorize all the knob positions.

    That said, you might want to try marking them with a small sticker, or a wax pencil. I used to do that when I had 22 pedals under my feet. Talk about having some knob nightmares!
  14. This would be nice for a spinoff in the amp forum!

    The amp just seems much more aggressive if its either bridged or has both EQs active.

    I remember I used to have a Washburn analog delay (ok, not 'used to,' I still have it) and I needed the delay set for a very specific time. I tried everything to keep the settings, writing down settings, a big swath of duct tape across the knobs. I eventually decided that short of removing the knobs and recessing the pot shafts into the housing of the pedal, I should just get used to resetting the levels :spit: .
  15. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Oh yeah, you definitely get more volume with both channels active... but I believe the amount of maximum volume you get before the power amp starts clipping is the same. In other words, using just one channel, you have to turn the master volume up more to get the same volume... but... you can turn it further without clipping, so it's really all the same. I haven't really A/B'ed the two options THAT closely, so maybe there's a slight advantage there that I've missed.

    Bridging the amp - definitely!!! :D
  16. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I just turn every knob to 11.

    Maximum Thor
  17. no4mk1


    Feb 21, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    EXACTLY!!! We had the middle slot at our gig last saturday, and didn't have much time to set up and sound-check. I just completely spaced checking my EQ. I started playing and it was just FART FART FART! I kind of freaked, then noticed that the bass and mid knob of my Ashdown were dimed! I don't even want to know how badly I was over driving my speakers. :meh:

    I need to put a big note on the top of my amp saying "CHECK YOUR SETTINGS STUPID!!"

  18. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Perhaps you could put a metal grille over your knobs. Granted, it only works for rackmount gear, but it could keep you from accidentally bumping anything.

    Raxxess makes some, I believe.
  19. I have 72 knobs/switches/sliders on my rig. :)
  20. no4mk1


    Feb 21, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Kaz has like 60 more knobs and sliders on his rig than he needs. ;) :bag:


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