life long quest of a good drive sound direct through a PA

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by thehangingmist, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. TLDR ***will a LPF pedal fix my dirty bass blues?***

    because i go DI almost every where i go (and use whatever backline amp i get as a glorified tweakable personal bass guitar monitor) all distortion/overdrives/fuzz pedals sound like POO even if i send them into a "good" sounding preamp pedal with an amp and cabinet sim. i think it i simply because the PA has this top end that most bass cabs do not put out and the fuzz just brings it all out.

    my normal setup is like bass -> compressor pedal -> preamp+ amp/cab sim
    (am mostly using both those "effects" out of the zoom ms60b or zoomb3 because they work well for me but i have used dedicated pedals like vt bass, B7k, etc as preamps and amp/cab sims before and tried all kinds of drive pedals with all kindasof clean blend settings etc and i have found that lower gain drives work out better through a PA and the higher the gain.. higher the chances of "farty poo" like sounds. they sound so bad that the guitar player and the sound engineer just ask me to not use it lol or turn the blend on them way down favoring the clean sound.

    ideally when i "make it" i will have the same amp and cab and hopefully a competent sound enginner at the board who will mix my clean DI and a mic'd - driven amp signal to its amazing glory but right now since i play with different bands every other day and use what i get in no name cities i want a pedal that can do it well direct in.. if that is possible.

    and recently i've heard most other bass players also sound like poo in my area when they use drive pedals for anything near a overdriven or distorted or fuzz sound. more drive meaning more poo all the time even when am not playing so here's my thought-

    combine a distortion pedal of choice (like a darkglass duality fuzz or something else) into a LPF pedal to tame the top end through a PA but am not sure that is all i need to do. i dont want to shell out money on a "guesstimation" has anyone tried it? or has anyone had success with getting a great driven sound direct through a PA? how

    i've been failing at it for a decade and have given up many times! so lay it on me! and no i cant mic my bass cabs yet! also i would love to run two channels but i can't yet! too much trouble and stupid sound tech's!! so i need to run one channel and do it all myself
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
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  2. brbadg


    Nov 10, 2006
    Personally,I think distortion on bass sounds like poo anyway.Have you thought of using 2? One for clean and one for distortion.
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  3. A good bass distortion pedal will have all or some of that designed in - dry/wet mix, amount of distortion, tone controls, voice control, and even a DI output in some cases.
  4. i have and i have tried it on occasion it mostly just confuses the heck out of the sound engineers and they dont know what to do with it so i have learned its best if i blend the signals and send just one
  5. the tone controls on the pedals dont seem to act like LPF's i think i need to wipe out everything above 4-5k to make the drive pedal sound nice through a pa (am guessing the frequencies really)
  6. Have you looked At the specs for the pedals you've tried to get a better sense for where you want to cut off the frequencies? If not, what pedals have you tried for tone control?
  7. I have had the talkbass "polish love" pedal if anyone remembers which has a highly revered drive pedal from way back in the day
    Ehx bass muff
    A borrowed b3k and b7k by darkglass
    Lots of drive Sims in the zoom b3 and ms60b

    They all have a similar fizzy character when plugged direct into a PA through a DI box and I think if put a hard lpf which totally cuts of everything above 4k or so it may work very well
  8. sketch

    sketch Guest

    Oct 16, 2013
    Tacoma, WA, USA
    I have used a VT Bass extensively, with a variety of pedals including a Big Muff and Ibanez SM-9, so I will focus on that in trying to help you. Do you have the SPKR sim engaged? If you're using a VT with a blend knob, do you set it full 'effected' when using distortion/fuzz? How are you EQ'ing the VT Bass? Are you leaving it on all the time, like an amp? Is there compression or EQ used on your PA channel?

    That is basically what the "speaker sim" does on the VT Bass.

    I've had no trouble getting a realistic, good 'tube amp' tone using the VT into PA, no amps for like 5 years now. So, if you can describe how you set things up, I might be able to help wipe away that POO tone.
  9. thanks for your response

    i had a VT bass pedal way back in the day it was the v1 though with no speaker sim button so i assume in that pedal the spkr sim was always on. yes the vt bass always on in the chain

    right now my setup is bass > zoom ms60b > DI to pa and if am lucky i get a backline amp to act as a glorified personal monitor.. if am lucky i get a hartke ha3500 with the xl410 cab if am unlucky i can get any silly combo or nothing

    inside the zoom i run a dbx160 comp sim + bass bb preamp (which effectively cuts out the extreme lows and highs to some degree) + occasional para eq as needed or requested by the guy behind the board. the bass bb preamp is set flat or with a little treble cut but this "effect" is always on

    so right now it is the bass bb preamp in my zoom which tapers off the extreme top end that comes out of the PA "tops" and i normally do not hear it through bass amps. the vt bass did not work very well for the sound i wanted, i sometimes consider the aguilar tone hammer for the same purpose though but then it is another 200$ approx and another pedal+power to carry

    anyway are you able to run considerable amount of drive/distortion or fuzz into the vt and still able to make it sound good direct through a pa?
  10. sketch

    sketch Guest

    Oct 16, 2013
    Tacoma, WA, USA
    Cool cool... the BB preamp cuts some freqs, but not narrow enough to mimic a speaker sim. I can see why that wouldn't get you your ideal tone. You are on the right track with cutting sharply at ~4khz (5.5khz if you wanted to mimic a Hiwatt or "full range" type amp), and then also cut everything below 50hz or so. Shelving the lows is equally as necessary for the proper "amp like" response. Possible with an EQ pedal, or speaker sim pedal. I think there's one pedal called like AMT Chameleon Cab Sim which would do what you want.

    My general setup for gigging was: (cheapo bass) > Tuner pedal > Ibanez SM-9 "SuperMetal" OR Civil War (Sovtek big muff clone) > Boss PS3 > VT Bass pedal > PA

    I could set the SM9 or Civil War to very high gain, yes. I could set these pedals with extreme EQ settings, both mid boost or scooped or whatever. Key is in the VT being EQ'd pretty neutral. I found that using nearly flat/conservative EQ settings and keeping the gain down was very realistic - start with all the knobs at Noon, except Gain at ~9 o'clock. Adjust only to fix what is lacking; not enough treble, turn it up a hair, for example. In the end I was using very close to Tech21's "recommended b15 tone" as in the little card in the packaging. I was never able to setup extreme bass boosts or super scooped mids on the VT, but I don't set amps that way either.

    Hope that helps!
  11. I think this needs to be in fx as am looking for pedals that can help. I had no idea i posted it in pickups and electronics subforum
  12. blizward


    Feb 21, 2013
    Rennes - France
    Very useful information here. Never tried the VT Bass Cab Sim but acquired recently a palmer load box/speaker sim/ DI and it helped me achieve a great sound and finally get to appreciate the tone of my fuzzes when just playing through headphones at home. I had been thinking about the Chameleon but I needed the load box capabilities. Judging by the videos online, the Cameleon is a great piece of gear. AMT also produces the Pangea which pushes the same basic "amp sim in a pedal" concept a lot further. Just sharing what I gathered when I hit the same speed bump as the OP: how to get a mic'd cab sound and get rid of pedals fizziness without actually mic'ing an amp.
  13. A 5 kHz brickwall filter did the job for me. I use an [sfx] custom pedal called the Micro Screaminator, and I know @Azure Skies makes the Broughton Audio LPF which has an adjustable cut off point.
  14. blastbass

    blastbass Inactive

    Mar 8, 2016
    I'm pretty satisfied with my live tone (which is kind of my recording tone too), we usually have our own sound engineer and that helps a ton too. Here's what I do:
    (Simpler setup)
    Bass goes into VTDI, mobius, Broughton HP/LP filter. These go into a dbx 166xs (mild compression, noise gate and it's balanced out goes to the desk).
    (Elaborate setup)
    VTDI (parallel out goes to FEA labs DBCL) out to mobius - SD-9 - HP/LP filter - dbx 166xs channel 1 with compression and noise gate (slightly squashed). FEA out goes to channel 2 of dbx, no compression (duh) mild noise gate. I like the distorted tone to kind of creep in after the attack of the clean bass, basically I don't want the attack of the clean bass to be messed around with. both "drive" pedals are blended more towards the dry signal and driven hard, mild mid scoop on the VTDI, highs slightly below 12, character around 3 (gives the top end i like, top end is important to cut through. Using JB's, passive, use a clip tuner to keep the signal chain cleaner)
    The HP/LP filter keeps the bass from "Jabba" ing out. I ask the SE not to compress too much and to be a little easy on the HP/LP cuts on the board since I'm already doing that.
    Sometimes instead of the dbx I'll use the radial j48 to send the Direct out (FEA for compression or Ovni smoothie)
    Speaking of LPF's I have the moogerfooger and don't get to use it much in the bands I play with and besides, it doesn't bypass the drive part of it so i need a send/return buss and it all becomes a bit much. Hope this helps.
  15. crapusername


    Sep 26, 2005
    North Kent.UK
    endorsing artist: Dean guitars, Marshall , Rotosound strings
    I played straight to di for 15 years. Over the years I tried many, many drive pedals, but not many made the cut.
    The ones that did were:
    Hardwire cm2
    Ebs multi drive
    Mxr bfd
    Bbm dlx

    The core of my rig was initially the hartke bass attack and then the mxr m80 and apex bass exciter. Other bits and bobs came and went, but these stayed all the time. I had none of the harsh extreme top end issues except when I used the v1 vt bass.
    I was also using a high end iem setup, which gave me a clear impression of what the pa was getting.
  16. dannybuoy


    Aug 3, 2005
    I recently got one of these:

    OmniCabSim Tweakable Cabinet Simulator – DSM Noisemaker

    Better than a straight LPF in my opinion, as you have direct hands-on control to tweak the frequencies - you can adjust the bass and treble roll-off frequencies along with a resonance control for the lows, plus a flat/scooped contour and an additional mids control. It has a dry out to go to your rig and a DI for the PA. I use mine as part of my headphone practice setup!
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  17. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Washington DC
    Partner - CCP Pedals
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  18. This is very interesting! Would you say it works well for you in real world situations?
  19. I think that should solve it..
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  20. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
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