Lost in the mix - need a new sound.....

Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by AussieJoe, Nov 11, 2005.

  1. AussieJoe

    AussieJoe Guest

    Nov 11, 2005
    Ok people... hopefully I can get a tip or two form some of you.

    I've started playing in a new band recently doing a kinda Portishead v Rage Against the Machine type thing. It's all going pretty well except for my live tone which is driving me nuts. I seem to be getting a massively subby tone that is getting lost in the mix very easily. My rig sounds great on it’s own but in the mix it’s a gonner.

    '87 2 band EQ Music Man
    Ampeg B2R Head
    Peavey TX410 4x10 cab with horn
    Digitech BP200 DSP
    Big Muff Fuzz Pedal (The Russian one)
    Orange Roundwound Nickel strings Med (100, 80, 60, 40)

    I play fingerstyle and I don’t play slap much. The music we’re playing has a modern sound with some of it having some pretty big hip hop type riffs. I usually have the tone controls on the bass set to full on the bass knob with the treble wound off a bit what I’m finding is that I’m getting a hugly fat sound on the E and A but even with the treb wound back a bit I’m getting a thin clanky D and G. Live I DI out of the head post EQ. I know the Peavey cab lacks a bit of mid but I compensate by boosting the ultra mid on my amp.

    I’m going to try some new strings (La Bella Deep Talkin Bass) and was thinking of getting a Seymore Duncan Basslines pick-up/pre amp but I was just wondering if enayone had any simple ideas about where I going wrong. I don’t really want any replys telling me I need to go out and spend £5000 on a new rig.

    Hope some one can help.

  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Where are you playing in London. By rights, you shouldn't have any problems cutting through with that setup; perhaps someone could pop by to hear you in context?

    Try rolling down the bass boost a bit (you could be sucking up power on the lower end of the spectrum). Also, it might be the case that your tone is fine and other members of the band may need to adjust what they're doing to give you some room.

  3. seansbrew

    seansbrew Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    ONE word, and if your not sure go to the amps section of TB.
    SCHROEDER. They are specifally designed for the bassist who cannot hear him/her self with other gear while on stage. www.schroedercabinets.com
  4. Wrong string choice for your problem, mate...

    if your sound is too subby then make sure that your LaBella's (if that's what you want to use are Stainless rounds)...

    you'll need an agressive sound to get it to cut through...especially if you play fingerstyle.
  5. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA

    If you can get away with not using the multi-fx, that might help. Try setting the bass and treble on your MM near the center (the two-band boosts and cuts but there's no center detente) and all the eq on your amp flat, go from there. Try cutting the lows on your amp and adding low mids. Don't even worry about what sounds good for the bass on its own (bedroom tone), try to find a tone setting that works in your band's context. During rehearsal, let the band know what you're doing, and I'm sure they'll try to help out for the good of the band's overall sound.

    You can also try angling your pickup so it's farther from the low strings and closer to the G/D strings, to try to even out the balance between the strings. Simple screwdriver operation. Strings will also have a big effect on your tone, and I agree with PilbaraBass the LaBella flats probably aren't the right solution for your ills.

    But I'd say the biggest problem is your amp/cab setup. I've always thought Ampegs sound muddy, and never been a fan of Peavey stuff for great tone (cost and reliability, sure, but not for tone). If you find you have to tweak your eq a lot for the cab, you might consider giving the DI to the PA pre-eq, and let the sound guy do his job with the FOH sound.

    Anyway, you're right that a large influx of cash can likely solve your problem (as well as most problems in the world!) but that's where I'd start with the gear you have now. Let us know how it goes.
  6. Dan in NJ

    Dan in NJ

    Sep 3, 2004
    Jersey Shore
    Have you tried max-ing the controls on the bass, maxing the treble on the amp, bringing the high mids up as much as you can stand (granted it's not the sound you'd choose solo) and rolling off some of the lows on the amp?
    Let someone in the room w/ good ears advise you--
  7. simple:
    cut the bass, boost the mids raise the volume.

    And adjust your sound when you are playing with the band, because a pretty tone when you're alone is usually mud with a band and what seems harsh alone might just do it with a band...
  8. phxlbrmpf

    phxlbrmpf Guest

    Dec 27, 2002
    Have you tried getting a decent compressor pedal? Those can really work wonders if you have problems cutting through.
  9. Uprightboy

    Uprightboy Burney

    Jul 20, 2006
    West Memphis, Arkansas
    The Peavey cabinet is holding you back. I don't use their stuff, anymore. It's all rediculously heavy, anyway. Your other stuff is great. Borrow a different cabinet from a friend and see if it makes a difference. Trade the Peavey in!!!
    _Burney Warren