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Metal Bass EQ Settings

Discussion in 'Ask Ray Riendeau' started by Tracerex, May 3, 2007.

  1. Tracerex


    May 2, 2007
    Charleston, SC
    I posted this same question in Janek's section and he reccommended I present it to you. Thank you in advance for your response.

    Hello: I am looking for some advice on EQ settings to help cut through and compliment my bands sound. I play in a 4 piece metal band. Our drummer plays very loud and our guitarist plays a Mesa triple rect. and 2 Marshall 4X10 AV's. I am a converted guitarist using an Ampeg SVT4 Pro head and a SVT 610 HLF cab. I've been told that I should try to use my EQ to boost where "the guitar isn't" and flat or cut where the "guitar is" to help round out and maximize our sound. What exactly does this mean and what are the frequencies I should tweak? We play in drop C I should add. Thanks!
  2. Phantasm

    Phantasm I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

    Sep 16, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    I'm very interested to hear an answer myself. Usually metal isn't treated like a form of music when you ask EQ questions about it!

    In the meantime, I can offer what I usually have to do:

    - Cut @ 200hz if the bass and guitar together are too "boomy."

    - Boost somewhere between 400-800hz (where the guitar player is killing his/her mids.)

    - I like to boost some stuff at 2.5k for pluck and attack, but I'm not afraid of fret noise. If I hear noise, I need to play cleaner.

    - 1.3k for me is where the "pick" is located. Too much sounds like a ton of racket (and it's too much when no matter how clean you try to play you can't play clean enough to make it tolerable.) Not enough means the notes will lack the edge definition when the pick leaves the string. This is another guitar player "kill zone."

    That's just how I hear it, though. Asking about tone is like asking which is better, Popeyes or KFC when it comes to chicken. It's all about personal taste.
  3. rayriendeau


    Mar 19, 2007
    Arizona, USA
    great question!
    Unfortunately I don't have a specific answer. It sounds like you are on the right track by trying various eq settings and hearing how they sound with the whole band playing.
    Alot of metal guys play with a pic for this reason, they can get a sharp attack that cuts through the guitars.
    I would reccomend taking a sound you like from a CD (Megadeth, Tool, whatever...) and try to recreate the tone. It gives you something to work with and compare to.

    good luck
  4. Well I don't quite play 'metal' but I do play Grindcore and Power Violence, think Converge, Dillinger Escape Plan mixed with Deicide and Nasum.

    I have two EQ stages, an Ibanez EQ pedal and my amp (warwick Profet5.1). On my EQ pedal I find I am usually boosting 500Hz and 1Khz and cutting 125Hz, Mids are definately the key in metal. I forgot to mention, I play with my fingers :bassist:

    On my amp i have both low mid and high mid boosted too, with my 'deep' switch on.

    I don't think i made much sense (I've been at uni for a few hours already and its only 10am), but the simple answer, MIDS MIDS MIDS!! and a little touch of sub bass.

    What bass are you using? and what strings? I've found that using too light a guage string in Drop C can leave you without punch.
  5. SOA_bassist

    SOA_bassist Guest

    May 10, 2006
    my guitarists seem to be fans of high mids so I usually drop my high mids and boost my low mids almost as high as possible

    seems to fill the sound well
  6. josbroek


    Jan 22, 2009
    i got a roland bass cube 30 amp with 3 EQ knobs, treble, bass, middle, so how can i do it because i dont rly get what HZ is or how to change it :(
  7. Inverness


    Dec 21, 2007
    Marina, CA
    I will add to the chorus of low mids. On my SVT-II, I turn the bass to 6 (1 o'clock), the mids to 7 (2 o'clock) the mid-freq selector switch to the second position (~400 Hz), and the treble to 5 (noon). I adjust the tweeter on my cabs to taste. I play active basses, and I usually dial down the treble and mids (500 Hz, usually) a little bit and boost the bass a little bit. Of course, that varies bass to bass. I have to turn the treble down more on my Stingray than I do on my Zon, for example.
  8. Hyper-sloth

    Hyper-sloth Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    The technique is called shelving. It's used when recording as well as live sound. Let's say towards the lower end of the eq curve you boost 100 hz. Make sure the bass drum is cut there and boost the bass drum at maybe 300hz, so forth. Do a search online. There's tons of advice there. EQ magazine has a lot of articles about different bands and settings and recording advice. BTW, it's the one reason I hate listening to Metallica, James Hetfield eats alot of space so the bass always seems wimpy. That and of course the mega arena drum mix. Thank the gods the 90's drum sounds are dead.
  9. Hyper-sloth

    Hyper-sloth Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    You can't do too much with that other than basic sound change. You would have to get an EQ pedal. A hz is how many waves per second sound produces. A low note was only a few waves; your open E has a fundamental of 40 hz, or beats per second. The higher the pitch, the fast the waves. It is also easier to hear the higher range. Mid range is the easiest to hear since nature designed our ears that way. That is why a guitar player can sound so loud with a 30 watt amp and we need like 500!
    Good luck.
  10. I've had phenomenal results with compression and limiting so I can boost frequencies without making it seem like its to thin or twangy on higher frequencies, if your amp has compression or limiter built in try that as well, Eq is always imho a personal thing make it your own.
    And if you want to cut into the mix try Stainless Steel Strings it gives it real good bright tones and you can eq it to your tastes

    And another question are you trying to eq on a live sound or recording ?
  11. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    Well... that is an answer. It means for example, that since the triple rec pushes a lot of low mid, don't compete for the same frequency range. Boost a different EQ range where the guitar isn't pushing so hard - like the mid knob on your M80 instead of mid setting 1 on the ampeg.

    Looking at your gear? The Warwick has jazz pups so you're not getting a lot of fat low mids that would compete with the triple rec. The big problem I see with your rig is tuning down to C with a cab that can't produce the low end. Usable low frequency (-10db) on the 610HLF is 42Hz. Which is slightly above E. The f3 (-3db) on that cab is 53Hz, which is up around A. Which basically means you're going to start losing volume on all notes below A. The lower you go, the more volume you lose.

    I'd say you should start by adding another 610HLF on the other power amp in the SVT4. That'll give you double the power and some extra volume - which will all get sucked up by EQ.

    EQ settings as follows - on the M80 boost the mid but not the bass. Make sure you never use the contour switch. On the Ampeg use the graphic to boost 33Hz. This will compensate somewhat for the cab rolloff, but is also where all your power will go. Then use the bass knob for overall shelving at/below 50Hz. Go with the mid freq on setting 4 (1.6k) and boost until you have enough cut on your attack. Never cut mids, never use the Ultra Lo, and adjust treble to taste.
  12. mrpillow


    Jun 1, 2008
    Montgomery, TX
    I would have to strongly disagree that a HLF is not capable of producing the low end for drop C. Sure it can't turn out the low fundamental, but bass cabs barely do that with a standard E anyways. The low C is 32hz or thereabouts, the HLF will have no problem with the vastly more important 2nd octave, the 64hz harmonic. An EQ boost at that frequency area will help give a bit more to your open C and the notes right above it, depending on how wide your boost Q is.
  13. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    First off, the OP is almost 2 years old :D

    And I would hurry up and revise your comment about Warwicks lacking low-mids before someone shows up at your door and beats you with one LOL. Warwicks are known for their low-mid growl.

    That 6x10 cab is perfectly capable of handling just about any normal 4 & 5 string frequencies going through it, and since Ampeg is one of many companies that gerrymander their frequencies to make the numbers look good, I'd go off actual perception instead of stats anyways. As far as adding another cab, you're on the right track but keep in mind that power has very little to do with volume. There are NUMEROUS threads about that on here.
  14. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    Doh! It was at the top of the forum when I logged in :D

    Could have fooled me. But hey, what do I know. I play poplar/mahogany P basses by Jackson and BC Rich...

    I've played through that cab live. It's ok. Sounds like a bigger version of the 410HLF, i.e. dark and muddy but a little louder.

    And I'm well aware of the threads re power vs volume. Was reading 'em for almost 4 years before you joined TB. But thanks fer playin'.
  15. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    You haven't played a Warwick have you? Not singing their praises or anything...just saying.
  16. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    I've tried em at the store... I actually like the neck profile. And I've heard plenty of other guys play 'em. Unfortunately I've never heard a good tone come out of one :D
  17. Brian_AZ


    Jun 28, 2009
    Hey hows it going guys I have been readign through this post and trying to get some EQ advice. I have a hartke 250 watt witha 15 combo amp. It has a 7 band graphic eq built in but I can't seem to get the sound I really want. I know a big part of that is that I really need a 4x10 and a 15 stack but until i can afford that am stuck with this and with my band starting to do shows am needing all the help I can get. lol. So if anyone has any words of advice for me I would appreciate it greatly.
  18. jacksonguy95


    Dec 9, 2009
    Scoop your eq but not to much because you tend to get lost in the mix with the kick pedal turn down the mids keep the bass eq at around five and keep the teble higher than the bass, and maybe consider some overdrive?
  19. Christian Waiau

    Christian Waiau

    Jun 16, 2005
    las vegas/maui, nevada/hawaii
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, Aguilar, Darkglass
    its really depending on what "style" of metal i think... because guys like Alex webster will tell you they boost their mids almost like a pyramid..

    then dave ellefson will tell you too scoop.

    i personally like to boost my high mids... cut highs...SLIGHTLY cut bass. nothing drastic anymore... i used to be all about boosting mids a ton... but that can make you sound quite "blocky" at times..
  20. rayriendeau


    Mar 19, 2007
    Arizona, USA
    ANY bass tone is subject to taste so it's hard to have one definitive tone for say "metal" bass.

    What I can say is that I always try to find and use frequencies based upon whatever band/instrumentation I'm currently working with, wether live or studio. This means I'm EQing not only based on what I think sounds great, I'm also conscious of try to find some "harmonic space" in the context of the music.

    For tone I always recommend trying to mimic the sounds you hear from a particular player you dig. You can do this with a lot a different players therefore gaining insight of how to get many different tones.

    An example would be Fieldy from Korn. The basis for his tone is heavy on lows and highs and the mids are scooped. He also adds a touch of overdrive giving a type of SVT being overdriven sound.

    On a side note, technique will also play a part in one's tone. Slap, a pic, finger style, etc
    Not to mention the use of a back pickup verses front, verses back, verses both.

    This is a big topic but hopefully this adds a little to the topic.

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