Moving outdoors... what changes to EQ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by adouglas, Jul 22, 2003.

  1. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    I have a (possibly) simple question for you guys:

    In general terms, what changes should be made to my EQ when I move from the rehearsal room outdoors?

    I'm in a semi-acoustic trio (with a drum machine). Our practice space is very, very small... like about 8x12 feet.

    We're going to be doing an outdoor gig in a few weeks, playing with no walls near us. Obviously, this is going to alter our sound dramatically.

    Can anyone give some general advice on some changes to make to my EQ? I know that it's impossible to be specific, and that I'll need to tweak it until it sounds good, but it'd be nice to have a starting point.

  2. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    If you have rear-ported cabs, you will find that they don't project as well outdoors. As a result, you may need to add a cab or at the very least boost the lows a bit to compensate.

    I play backyard parties. I think you will find each outdoor venue to be different. But personally, I love playing outdoors. It just feels good.
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Indoor acoustic environments can vary dramatically. But generally speaking, I find that more low end is necessary when playing outdoors.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Yep, you'll need more lows....but of course that's the hardest thing for your amp to pump out more of!!
  5. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    Which is why I just picked up a Stewart World 1.2.... the cab is 4 ohms, rated at 1000 watts, and the Stew puts out 1200 at 4 ohms.

    Yes, I've heard the stories about thermal shutdown, but:

    1) We're not that loud
    2) I'm mounting it in a 4-space rack in the second space up, with nothing in the adjacent spaces... so there's air on both top and bottom of those honkin' huge fins. Should convect quite nicely.

    Thanks for the advice.
  6. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    You will probably need more speaker cabinets when playing outdoors. More power helps also.
    I usually double the number of cabinets I use when playing outdoors and still boost the lows.
    If you don't have anything to reflect your sound (such as walls or ceilings) then you will probably need more speakers to get a decent volume. I have played block parties where we setup in a carport - in thoses cases, the carport helped the low end. It also helps to have your PA speakers on Speaker stands fairly high off the ground to project above the people standing in the front.
    Try bringing you amp outside and have someone play through it. Listen to it at a few feet away and then start moving away from it (maybe back 50 feet). You may notice that at some point the sound drops off quickly. Also try moving away from different directions to see how the sound is affected - Is it different directly in front of the amp than 45 degrees off? Sometimes multiple cabinets are used to disperse the sound in different directions.
    Most large concerts use very tall stacks and run more power to the cabinets above people's ear level to project further back. The cabinets at ear level and ground level are not as loud so as not to deafen the people close up. The higher up the cabinets, the more power sent to those cabinets.
  7. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    the biggest difference will be the volume more so than the EQ. As always listen with your ears and adjust as necessary.

    According to Andy from Acme ,

    and to a TB experiment involving a rear ported SWR cab, that's not true.
    Click here to read the thread.
  8. One of my weekly gigs is outdoors in the Sacramento heat. Loud gigs require additional cabinets which reduces the impedance and increases the power output of the amp. The amp will get as hot as it is going to get under these circumstances.

    IMO, this is not the environment for a convection cooled amp. My (fan cooled) QSCs run very hot in this worst-case circumstance, but they do not quit.

    You will lose a massive amount of bottom end when playing outdoors. Add cabs.

    The rear-ported cab disadvantage is inaccurate. Ports do not "project"; they are a pressure device that emits spherical wave forms at their tuning frequency. You can turn the cab around facing backward and hear the port the same as if facing you. You won't hear the mids and highs, but you will hear the tuning fundamental.
  9. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    As I said in the original post, I'm in a semi-acoustic trio that doesn't even have a live drummer.

    We're not loud... we don't even need earplugs on stage.

    This was a factor in my choice of the Stewart. If I knew I was going to be pushing the amp at all, I would have gone for a QSC. But the low weight of the Stew (11 lbs!) really appealed to me.

    Besides, I can always add a fan if I have problems....
  10. The problems I've had outdoors with my World 1.2 have been caused by low voltage combined with heat and made worse by bridge mono 4 ohm operation. With these factors combined, the amp had to be turned way way down, and was capable of putting out very little volume, maybe 100 watts. I was only able to complete the gig by going to stereo operation and keeping the levels down.

    Watch out for the shared long extension cord.


  11. I absolutely love playing outside because bass in general sounds awesome. No refelctions or bouncing waves. But like everbody said, bring more cabs to make up for the decrease in volume.
  12. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    If your going to have P.A. support, I wouldn't worry about it! Like everybody else said, maybe add a little more bass. The one cool thing about playing outside with your own equipment, is you can hear what your rig really sounds like, without all the room reflections you get from playing inside.
  13. Get a tent!You're gonna need it if you're moving outdoors!

    LMAO!!:D:D Listen to the other guys....

  14. DWB is 100% right about the tent (shade). This is FAR more important than twiddling with EQ. If you are standing in direct sun, you will be miserable and your gear will suffer/detune/overheat.

    I have a hard and fast rule about playing outside: No Shade = No Play

    Jonathan points out the realities of the worst-case combination of gear configuration, heat, and insufficient power. Bridging into 4 ohms puts the most severe load on the amp.

    Since you apparently won't have excessive loudness issues, your only problem (should be) a distinct lack of low end.

    I play with a 5 piece band, so I use a sub+high pair on each side of the drummer. This lets both sides of the stage hear and follow the bass. When we play outdoors, my guitarist brings out all his toys + PA, then turns them all up to Bleeding Level. I have to double up to 4 sets of subs to keep up with the noise. This is the price I must pay to use subs.
  15. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I have a similar rule, but it has more to do with protection from the rain. The Australian climate can change in a sneeze from blue skies, to pouring rain. It's usually taken care of at the time the gig is booked. But just in case, I usually turn up to outdoor gigs and sniff around before unloading anything from the car. If there is no weather protection, I act as though I was told not to bring my amp. I'd rather play through someone elses or through the PA and put up with the lousy sound, than have my amps and speakers ruined by water.
  16. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    We don't have the rain problem here in San Jose, California, but the heat can be killer. I don't require a roof overhead, but do insist on shade.
  17. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    I'm playin outdoors next weekend. I've already confirmed that there will be a canopy. Also, I am planning to DI to the PA from my Hartke 5000. That should cover the increased power needs. The only problem may be that the other band's bass player is planning to use my rig. :eek: :mad: