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Live tone...what to do about it?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Tony G, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    I had another gig today and I still have some trouble with my live tone. I mean, I can't get far enough out into the room to hear what it sounds like, so I have no idea what the audience is hearing. I can get out maybe 10 feet in front of my cab to hear it and it sounds decent, but I know it is going to sound different 20, 30, 40, etc., feet beyond that. Also, I'm lucky if I can get more than 5 feet away from my cab on stage, and it sounds so thick and boomy when me and my band mates are in such close proximity to my rig. I know this is not how how it sounds in the room, but I find myself trying to get a good stage tone to please myself, which in itself probably effects the sound in the room. What am I doing wrong???

    BTW, my gig rig is a LMII and Berg AE410.
  2. T-MOST

    T-MOST Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    Dude, get a 30ft cord. If it sounds boomy to you then it probably sounds boomy out in the room so go lighter on the bass eq.
  3. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    I never have anything boosted on my LMII, and the controls on my MTD or Nordy are usually set flat. I actually cut the high mids a bit on the LMII, and sometimes cut a bit of the lows as well.
  4. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    If its boomy, cut the lows. Flat isn't good enough.

    You could also try cutting the low mids, but I find cutting the lows works well.
  5. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    It's not boomy out in the room, only on stage. The band I'm in doesn't put the bass through the PA, and while it can sound decent in the room, it sounds boomy on stage. If I cut the lows, it sounds thin in the room and decent on stage. Is there a happy medium?
  6. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    In that case, I would take boomy on stage rather than thin in the room.

    Do you usually have the amp up against a wall, or in a corner? Moving it away might help. I sometimes put the amp under one of the PA speakers on small stages. Bass is less directional. You should still hear it fine even from behind the amp.
  7. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    It is usually about 5-6 inches away from a wall. I'm not having a problem "hearing" myself, but I wish that what I hear on stage is as clear as it is out in the room.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Just tilt your 410 back so you've got a speaker aimed more toward your head. Once you tilt it back, the highs and mids don't blow past you. It's boomy now because all you're getting from it is the lows while the audience is getting pasted with treble and mids.

    Trust me...best tip I ever got.
  9. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    This is exactly what I'm thinking I should do. Anybody have tips on how to stably tilt a 4x10? I like the idea of putting removable castors on the cab and taking off the rear set when using it on stage to get it tilted. However, those removable castors are pricey.
  10. IMO, based on your many other posts regarding your tone, and the fact that you are rarely playing out, my feeling is you are WAY overthinking the impact of your rig and instruments on your tone.

    There is no possible way that you shouldn't be able to get an absolutely stellar tone from your rig and instruments (assuming you have an idea of the 'tone in your head'... i.e., not trying to get an old school flatwound, sealed cab tone from a modern rig with active basses and roundwounds, etc.).

    My recommendation would be to not think about this until you have another 40 or 50 gigs under your belt in a variety of rooms and contexts.

    Otherwise, you will driver yourself insane:smug:
  11. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    I think you are misunderstanding Ken. I'm not exactly complaining about my tone, but more about the physics of bass frequencies I guess. :D

    I can get a decent tone to the audience, but it sounds boomy on stage. If I get it sounding decent on stage, it sounds thin in the audience.
  12. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    A 4x10 blasting at your knees trying to carry the whole room is just never going to work well, no matter what specific cab it is. Tiltback is great if you have a PA, but I doubt that is going to help with your projection into the room. I'd maybe try getting an amp stand or road case and put the 4x10 up at ear level (though you'll loose your floor coupling which will cut down on overall low end), but the best solution by far is to upgrade your PA to the point where it can run a bit of bass in the FOH and use your cab mostly as a stage monitor.

    A taller cab like an 8x10 or 4x12 also does better. You can turn down and hear yourself better, with better projection and dispersion.

    One more option -- adding a 15, which you won't even really hear onstage, but that will fill out the sound in the house, while also getting your 4x10 up at ear level.
  13. How do you know? I thought you said above that you had no idea what it sounds like in the audience.

    If you are on a hollow wooden stage, there is not much you can do about boom on stage. Otherwise, if you are boomy on stage, most likely you are bass heavy out in the audience, given the way bodies suck up midrange and treble versus bass frequency. As I've posted often, it's very rare that I see a bassist playing live using only backline, and think 'boy, I wish he had more low end and less mid definition and treble!.

    I also continue to be stunned that some TBers have trouble hearing a 410 cab on stage. I typically have to stand right on top of mine, and never, ever have any trouble hearing myself. While I have found tilting back smaller cabs is very beneficial, I've never found the need to do that with a 410, especially a tight, mid oriented 410 like the AE. (Edit: By the way, don't even think about tilting back that thin AE410 with that very slick surface. Your head will slide off the back for sure if you are cranking!).

    I continue to believe you main issue is playing so infrequently that you are not 'in the groove' with either your gear on your own tone (and quite frankly, my guess is your chops are suffering also). I'm not judging you here, we all fall into this trap... playing at home, listening to every nit, agonizing over slight buzzes on the neck, slight holes in the frequency response. Then, when you finally get on a gig, and it's in a funky room, it feels like the sky is falling... boomy, etc., and your chops aren't strong enough to move back to the bridge, dig in and make it happen.

    It's amazing that when you do 4 or 5 gigs a week for a couple of weeks, all of a sudden, everything seems to sound pretty good by that 4th or 5th gig:smug:
  14. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006

    The problem isn't when I'm playing at home Ken. Nevermind. I'll simply stop publicly complaining. I can "hear" myself just fine on stage with my AE410.

  15. Hey, this happens to all of us when we are between steady gigging for a while. And, it's difficult just to play through it, especially if you have a couple of gigs in a row in funky rooms with a lot of time in between. Trust me, I have been there in a big way:), and quite frankly, have done a bit of gear churn in those situations that I wish I hadn't:rollno:
  16. I think you are missing my point. Of course, if you don't agree with my point, that's totally legitimate:smug:
  17. bggeezer

    bggeezer Guest

    May 25, 2001
    Trust the engineer (or whoever does the sound or sound check )

    As long as it sounds good out there, then your cooking.

    In my experience it very rarely sounds perfect on stage (nor can it).

    just go for a mix thru the wedge(s) so you can hear each instrument on some level. Mostly you'll end up playing by muscle memmory anyway...especially if you play at some of the 'dives' i've played at! :))
  18. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Or a wireless - even if you don't like them, you can use it for soundchecks.

    I have a sense based on your gear that you can manage to afford the purchase.
    It seems like it would be a good investment in not only your sound but in your peace of mind.
  19. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Sometimes if you have to stand right next to your stage cab, the lows can dominate what you hear of the stage mix. If upgrading the PA w/ subs and extra juice isn't an option and the stage layouts won't allow you to simply move away from your cabinet, another alternative for small clubs is to go to a pre-amp/stereo power amp setup.

    Set one cab up front under/near the PA stack, and run channel 1 of the power amp through this cab. EQ the pre-amp to sound good through this cab and leave the pre-amp settings alone. Adjust the amp's channel 1 volume to balance bass with the PA.

    Run another out from your pre via an eq (I prefer a parametric with high and low pass filters, but a graphic would work here) to the power amp's second channel. Feed a small stage cab with this, and eq as necessary for the stage. (Downside: cost, need to carry a 4-space rack and a second cab.)
  20. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    The stage and room dimensions will greatly influence what you hear on stage. As Ken said, a hollow stage will boom. You might be able to lessen this effect with a soft coupling below the amp (e.g. Auralex Gramma). Or that may not help.

    An eight-foot ceiling will boost 71, 140, 280Hz. There is nothing you can do about that. And you will even hear that effect differently at different heights in the room, and if you move around a few feet.

    Lifting your cab off the floor will help somewhat on stage. Doing so, however, will not prevent coupling to the floor. For that, you need to be more than 1/4 wavelength above the floor. (At 100Hz, you'd have to lift it 2.8ft; at 50Hz, it's 5.6ft.)

    If you raise the cab, listen in the house. Some of your house tone may be depending on the stage floor helping with the bottom end.

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