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Muddy sound when playing, now.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tylenol Jones, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. Tylenol Jones

    Tylenol Jones

    Apr 22, 2014
    Moved into a new place and renovated the basement which had been gutted. Tested my bass a few days ago and it sounded quite muddy which was disappointing.

    My gear is as followed ;

    - Jazz bass.
    - Hofner CT Beatles bass.
    - Fender Bassman TV 15

    It's clear to me the environment is the cause of this. I guess the use of carpet with drywall and having the amp in a corner isn't helping matters. I've turned the bass all the way down, the Deep switch is off, there's more mid and treble added, but it still sounds muddy.

    I'll try repositioning the amp so that it makes sense (e.g. not in the middle of a traffic area), but assuming that all logical places won't yield positive results,...

    Any ideas on how I could make some minor changes that would make things sound better?
  2. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Space ambience can make a huge difference in tone as you're discovering. Amp settings here may not sound as good there. Keep EQing your amp. You should be able to get good sound anywhere esp out of the Jazz.
    Sounds like your new space has quite a bit of dampening materials around.
    Definitely try the amp out in as many locations as possible to take advantage of acoustic variables.
    Maybe try getting the amp higher off the floor by putting it on a stand.
    It could be too that you were so used to the previous room's acoustics that it sounds "weird" to you now.

    Many times guys dial in "their sound" at home or practice space, then when they get to the gig, they need to tweak EQ all over again due to the acoustics of a different room. Happens a lot.
    Keep a tweakin'..
  3. Get the amp elevated off the floor... That will make a huge difference.
    punchdrunk likes this.
  4. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Do your basses have flatwound strings by chance?
  5. inate_hex


    Apr 4, 2010
    Manchester, England
    I occasionally wet the bed.
    Have u tried tilting the amp like a kickback?

    Musicman Bongo club #175
  6. Tylenol Jones

    Tylenol Jones

    Apr 22, 2014
    It's already on casters.

    Yes. It's never been a problem before, though. :(

    No, but thats' because it doesn't have tilt legs. I could always buy a device to do so, but the problem isn't really that I'm not hearing the notes ; just that the notes reverberate in a muddy way. I don't believe tilting the amp would change that.
  7. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    "It's already on casters."

    Nope - not high enough off the floor to remove the coupling effect that others are trying to help you with. I don't remember the exact distance you need to be elevated but it's much more than the height of your wheels.

    You can also try an Aurelex Gramma pad - some have had success with them.


    This is a pretty common situation if you play lots of venues. You sound AWESOME in some rooms and then in another place you sound like MUD SOUP and you've changed nothing on your bass and amp. The only solution is to learn to compensate for different room issues thru EQ on your bass and amp and tricks like angling the cab and decoupling, etc... It's a bummer that the place you practice daily has these issues however. I can understand why you're bummed.
  8. Tilting it or raising it to head level will absolutely make a difference. Getting it just off the ground takes care of coupling which enhances the bass, and then pointing the speakers at the head either by tilting or raising the cab brings out the higher frequencies since they are directional. When the cab is lower and pointed at your feet, your mostly hearing the lower frequencies.
  9. And just a side note...a couple years ago I would use two 12" cabs stacked on top of each other. If I plugged them in individually, you would not believe the difference in tone. To me standing right in front. The bottom one sounded like all bass, and the top one all upper mids and treble.
  10. Tylenol Jones

    Tylenol Jones

    Apr 22, 2014
    Thanks for the tip. I had no idea, as I'm not a gigging musician.

    Yeah, I am pretty bummed. I try to be philosophical about it and tell myself there was no way for me to know in advance.

    Having said that, is there any way (or would it be even recommended for me) to add bass traps to compensate? It is rather bassy. Even my guitar amp sounds bassy downstairs.

    OK, that makes sense. Please keep in mind the ceiling is only 6'7" high so raising it to my ear level would bring it quite close to the ceiling. Wouldn't that transfer the bass notes that much easier to the upper floor?
  11. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    First thing I'd do is get it out of the corner of the room and a few feet away from the wall when you're playing. The bass frequencies are probably welling up in the corners and sounding muddy. Casters are your friend -- just roll it out of the way when you're not using it. The Auralex Gramma pad may help -- I've been thinking about getting one of those myself. I like the tilt-back stands as well. You may want to do a little research on "bass traps". There are some relatively cheap and easy DIY solutions to tame the acoustics in your room.
  12. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    From my experience the floor proximity effect and the issues that the gramma resolve are not the same. Gramma decouples to fix vibration or sympathetic resonance issues like from hollow wooden stages, where the raising the cab 24" or more fixes issues related to added low frequencies from floor/corner placement. Not sure, and dont claim to be smart in this area, but that has been my experience. I think you'd be best served by raising up your cab significantly.
  13. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    You are right - it is an acoustic thing now that you have renovated the basement. There is some new resonant frequency that wasn't there before. You might look for a couple of bass traps to but in the corners, but I think that the problem frequency may be higher than that. Can you borrow a graphic EQ to use to find the problem frequency? Then you can develop or find a solution. Meanwhile, you can know that it is the room and not your gear.
  14. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    If you have an iphone, download Octave. I think its free. Its a real time spectrum analyzer that helps me identify problem frequencies with mains, monitors and amps when playing live. I have seen pro sound guys use this app when fixing sound, and I can tell you from personal experience, it absolutely works. And for dummies like me, its easy to use.
  15. It's not only the floor. How close is it to the wall?
  16. Runlikegregg


    Dec 31, 2011
  17. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    +1 on getting a spectrum analyser app and building a bass trap according to what it finds. Decoupling from the walls and floor will reduce your effective bass output overall, but won't help much with specific resonance nodes.
  18. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    How does one use a spectrum analyzer app? Is there an easy explanation for a non-soundman?
  19. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    In my case, open app, play music, watch for offending peaks in the frequency spectrum, reduce those frequencies at the amp or board. I get immediate improved results.
  20. Tylenol Jones

    Tylenol Jones

    Apr 22, 2014
    Thanks for the tip, Luckydog!

    Although I own an Android phone, they did port that app to the Android platform. I look forward to using it.

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