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Lost in boomy rooms: need more power?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by jumblemind, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    I played a couple of private party gigs this weekend in some less-than-ideal rooms without PA support. The first was a club in an older building with linoleum floors and tall ceilings but filled with people, the second in a former rail station ticket area: long hall, super tall ceilings, few people. In both situations I was pushing my Ampeg B2r with a 1x15 cabinet (4ohm neo speaker). In the first gig I had to crank and was a bit distorted/farty but very much in the musical mix. The second gig I had to crank gain and volume to about 8 to be heard but still was low in the mix. Oddly enough, the guitar next to me had to keep his amp on 2 to keep from getting crazy loud. This makes me think it was all in the room acoustics.

    Question is, would more power help? Or a different cabinet? The B2r is rated 350 watts at 4ohms. I've been planning on buying a new Portaflex350 to replace because I like the tone of that series and the weight of that model and often seem fine with 350 watts; but would going up to the PF500 help with my room/mix issues? I've read people say there's not much perceptible volume difference between a 350w and a 500w amp, just more headroom. Does that mean I'd have a "cleaner" sound with more wattage but just as easily get acoustically lost?
  2. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    Did I watch you play tonight?
  3. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    Would be interesting if you did. Were you at the old train depot in Knoxville for a private xmas party? If so, how was the bass sound further out in the room? :D
  4. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Try a high pass filter (HPF)? Killing the lows that are just on the edge of being audible can work miracles to cure boominess. The HPF-Pre from fdeck who posts regularly here is a very good one for around $100.
  5. Swipter


    Sep 7, 2009
    My old church was a high school gym so imagine the echos and ceiling height. I had to cut bass slightly and boost mids and highs. I was running a 210 or 212, different from your 15 but the theory should be the same. I also had to turn down much more than I thought I needed but you know it sounds different 40 feet away as compared to standing right in front of it.
  6. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    As others have said, I don't think power is as much the issue as EQ.
  7. mccartneyman


    Dec 22, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Managing Editor, Bass Guitars Editor, MusicGearReview.com
    Boost EQ around 150-250,keep bass under that flat. I also usually cut at 500 because I find that frequency to be honky. Back in the days when the Fender Bassman with a 215cab ruled, I set treble on 10 and bass on 3. Tapes I have from that era tell me it ws the right approach. Bass is always clear and cuts through the mix very well. These days I tend to run EQ flat except for the frequencies mentioned above, no matter what kind of cab I have.
  8. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    Private party - check
    By railroad tracks - check
    The old train depot - not sure

    I was at (or right by) Club NV, and the bassist that night was using an Ampeg rig, so...... lol. I'm not sure, you tell me :)
  9. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    You need to learn about acoustics, to find the frequencies causing problems and what can or can't be done about them. If you produce the frequencies that cause problems and try to use power to correct them, you'll run out of money long before you fix anything.

    You won't fix anything by adding about 1/3 more power. You may have a cleaner sound if you don't try to compensate by using that power but it's not the right way to solve this problem. You might be able to fix this by moving your speaker(s) a couple of feet, until you can hear yourself. If you're playing on a stage and can feel it vibrating a lot when you and the drummer play low notes, you're losing or gaining output by making it vibrate. If you and the drummer are sharing frequency bandwidth, have the drummer try a smaller kick drum. If he feels like less of a man, tell him to stop sitting while he pees because the band's sound is suffering and it's NOT about him- his kick drum is for impact, not harmonization.
  10. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    Yep that was me on Friday in the NV complex. The old train depot was actually the next night but about 100 yards further down the tracks for a much tamer crowd. I kind of liked the breakup I was getting Friday by pushing the amp, but it sounds like from the responses I'd be better off working my EQ more.

    I probably should have brought the 4x10 to that party to push a little more air. Bass response was clearly not an issue in that room.
  11. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    @Bassman, I'm memorizing that post. Drummer has a built in kick mic he puts in the PA. Not sure if it's part of the resonance issue but I'm calling him about his peeing habits just the same. :D
  12. +1 boost some high mids also
  13. RoeyHaviv


    Apr 1, 2011
    Charlotte NC
    Endorsing Artist: Vigier guitars, Pigtronix Effects
    Before you touch the eq try to lift it off the ground or tilt it back.

    when the amp is facing your ear it helps a lot with clarity (for your own monitoring) and being lifted reduces "coupling" effect (transferring vibrations to the ground).

    Also dont put you'r amp in the corner of a boomy room.

    After you do that you can use your EQ to shape your tone from there.
  14. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Cutting some low end out might help. This is one reason I have a small line 6 wireless. I don't use it much but have it in the bag. Actually the reciever is on the floor with my tuner and a Bassbone all the time. The transmitter, which eats batterys like there is no tomorrow comes out to play when I really need to get out front an get a reality check. Unfamiliar rooms would be one of those times.
  15. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    I stumbled across the SFX Micro Thumpinator yesterday. Might be something to have a look at. It seems like a preset version of how I'd typically use a HPF.
  16. Zoa


    Dec 28, 2009
    I agree with the above posts about EQ and cab location. If you do feel the need to add more gear, I would suggest the Fdeck over the SFX, and I also think that more cab would help you more than more power.