Muddy sounding....is it speaker cab problem?????

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Johntheson, Apr 30, 2017.


  1. I had to switch from 6 string to bass about 5 years ago because arthritis prevented me from playing clean licks on the more closely spaced strings. I played 6 string guitars for 48 years. After switching to bass, so I could continue to play music; I found that I loved the bass more than I ever did the 6 stringers, and I really loved the 6ers.

    I 've got quite a few vintage amps from the 50's, & 60's, ect, but didn't really didn't have any bass amps. I do have a 65 Showman with a D-130, but due to the age of the speaker cone(original), I've not played bass thru it. I bought an Acoustic B200, and matching 15" cab, because I had just started playing bass and didn't want to spend deep until I found out if I could play the bass and enjoy it with the arthritis.

    Anyway, I've got a Fender 62avri, a jazz and 2 Rics for the basses. I play the 62 almost always. My problem is that my tone sounds so muddy to me. I've got LaBella flatwounds on the 62. I do have the amp and cab very close to the wall(small studio). I was wondering; is the speaker cab more important than the head in a low to mid range volume setting? I was looking at the Mesa 4x10PH cab and was wondering what you guys thought about it, and if the 4x10 cab would clean up the sound . I can only buy one unit now, and can't afford the cab and a new head together at this time. I'd appreciate any input.
    Thanks,
    JOhn
     
  2. Try adjusting EQ.
    It is a common mistake, especially for newer bass players, to think they have to really crank the low end.
    If that idea is rattling around in your head, you need to flush it.
    Cut the lows and bring up the mids and highs.
    What we hear as good clean bass are the harmonics more so than the fundamentals.
     
  3. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Every new Acoustic I've ever played has been a mud factory. You can adjust the amount of mud you get, but still mud all the same. I played an Acoustic 1x15 combo that absolutely had the laziest & fartiest woofer that I had ever heard in my entire life. Mud City at any setting or volume. I suggest dousing in gasoline and offering a burnt sacrifice to the Gods of Great Bass Amps.
     
  4. Wicked G

    Wicked G

    Jan 19, 2017
    Hell Paso Texas
    Exactly this. What EQ are you currently using on both your amp and bass? And as far as Acoustic being a mud factory, I totally disagree. It may not be everyone's favorite tone (what amp is) but a mud factory it is not. It is a very mid forward amp and you would have to really crank the bass and scoop the mids for it to become muddy. However I don't know about that particular cab. Let us know what EQ you are using so that we can better help you, if that is the case.
     
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    15 + close to the wall = mud. Move the cab at least 18 inches away from the wall. The wall adds 3dB of bottom. The 410 is a good idea, and better amp would help.
     
  6. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    Tilt or raise the cab so the speaker points at your ear. Midrange is what you want to hear, and studio wall treatment soaks it up. Best to get it direct from the driver to your ear. Pretend it's like a flashlight that you want to illuminate your ears and shine that speaker on your ears.
     
  7. Badwater

    Badwater

    Jan 12, 2017
    It could be many factors that cause the mud. Size of room and acoustic treatment is a huge factor. Also, the size and power of the amp as well as the position of where you're mic'ing it, and where your facing it. I would experiment with facing the amp like seamonkey stated. And, don't face it directly at a corner. Bass builds up in corners, and with small spaces, the mud and lingering frequencies build up for most of the room. And, it also depends on how loud your volume is. Thus, to eliminate the mud, you'll need to balance out all these factors.

    Also keep in mind, Muddy tone is mostly associated with the 50 to 200hz frequencies for bass guitar. But Bass can also cause muddy tone in the higher frequency ranges up to 500hz when playing with guitars, keyboards or any other instruments with frequencies in that range.
     
  8. BogeyBass

    BogeyBass Inactive

    Sep 14, 2010
    If your using flat wounds, especially if using the black coated La Bella strings you mentioned.
    then a nickel or steel round wound is gonna wake the highend up.

    Some players complain about strings being too bright out of the box and like the sound of a slightly aged string. i really liked the feel of the coated la bella strings when i first started playing and likewise a few uncoated flatwounds. but they were very dark strings and didnt seem to sustain as much as roundwound uncoated nickel/steel strings been using rotosound 66 for 25 plus years now
     
    morgan138 and Omega Monkey like this.
  9. blubass

    blubass

    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    A lot of stuff being said is correct. Room size, amp placement, EQ, speaker size and type can all contribute to a muddy sound. However, nearly any amp (Acoustic included) can produce a relatively clean tone that wouldn't necessarily be considered muddy until it was compared with something else. That would be regardless of speaker size, and if it is, or is not pressed against the wall.

    EQ is the probably the primary reason you have a muddy tone. Forget anything you think you know about EQ. All knobs at noon doesn't always mean flat. Start with all of the knobs at 0, and turn them up one by one to truly understand what they're doing with your specific gear.

    You may also have a tone in your head that you're trying to compare with what the amp reproduces. It's possible the amp can't produce the tone you're thinking of, therefore you describe the amp as being muddy in comparison, when the amp is completely fine.
     
  10. BadExample

    BadExample

    Jan 21, 2016
    Injiana
    It's hard to tell if it would help unless someone has tried it, but in addition to other suggestions, maybe try to plug the ports. Cheap, easy and may or may not help. Generally sealed cabs have tighter bass, but it will depend on the 15" driver's parameters (TSPs, mostly Q) as to whether or not it's practical.

    If it's on a wood floor, maybe getting it on a thick rug or piece of foam might help. IDK what frequencies this affects, but it stopped my entire house from buzzing and rattling.

    I hope something works for you, so you don't sell at a loss or live in mudland.

    :laugh::roflmao::laugh:
     
    djaxup, Lvjoebass and Linnin like this.
  11. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sounds like you need to move out of the 1970's.

    "Six string" doesn't mean "guitar".

    Speaker size doesn't correlate to tone.

    Round wound strings exist.

    EQ actually works.
     
  12. Nickweissmusic

    Nickweissmusic Knows all intervals from one Fred, to Juan octave Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I teach lessons and perform live music in and around San Diego CA. Sometimes I even make money doing it!
    Muddiness and smeary boxiness is an EQ problem, and happens when there's too much of the 125-500 HZ range bouncing around the room. If you have a way of attenuating those frequencies, do it until it sounds good, always EQ with your ears, not your eyes. Every room will respond differently. And yes, some amps and speaker cabinets can be tuned to accentuate those frequencies, so it can be an uphill battle, tough to get blood from a turnip. But simply listening critically, and adjusting accordingly, can usually get a passable sound out of any amp. I agree that moving the amp away from the wall can help, getting it off the ground on a chair or amp stand can help.

    Pickup blend can really make a difference too. The only thing I usually adjust from room to room is my pickup blend, it's pretty rare that I even need to adjust EQ on my main amp.
     
    Lvjoebass likes this.
  13. Thanks to you all for the suggestions. Just got back home a bit ago, and did a "trial and error" on the EQ settings, and it made a decent amount of difference. I got another P bass that has the LaBella white nylon strings on it, and I like those too. During my heyday the Motown songs were a large part of our set, and so I do love the flatwound low end sound;( I know we all love JJ's stuff) just not the muddy low end. What about a 4x10 to go with the 1x15? Does a 4x10 have a completely different sound than a 1x15?

    lz4005...sorry for not being more clear, but I thought that the "switching to bass" comment was self explanatory. I did roll the tone knob on my bass back towards the treble also. Tell me what you think about the 4x10 idea if you will. Again...thanks to all.
    John
     
  14. bass71

    bass71

    Nov 18, 2007
    ct
    Hope this doesnt sound like I m trying to be clever but I find flats need a lighter touch to get a good mid range tone. YMMV.
     
  15. BrotherRay

    BrotherRay

    Nov 28, 2016
    Detroit, MI
    This. Or put it on top of two milk crates.
     
  16. And you just opened up, arguably, the biggest can of worms on TB. Mixing cabs with different speaker configurations. This is another bass rookie error just like like cranking up the lows. I guess bass is a lot more counter-intuitive than most realize.

    Sonically, the chances of making things worse are better than the chances of improving things.
    Electrically, your 1x15 will work way harder than that gang of 10s. The advantage you gain in adding more speaker to the rig may be offset by not being able to use all of the available power.
    Sometimes it sounds good, most of the time not.

    As far as the sound of a speaker, size does not really matter much anymore.
    Driver and cab design are what contribute the most to the sound of modern bass cabs.
    A 4x10 can have a completely different sound from a 15.
    Many of them, these days can outperform a single 15 on the bottom end.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  17. BogeyBass

    BogeyBass Inactive

    Sep 14, 2010
    uh ohhhh lol ;)
     
    Old Garage-Bander likes this.
  18. I don't suppose you have any recommendations to replace the ashes? :p
     
    Linnin likes this.
  19. Shifting your pluck closer to the bridge than the neck can make drastic change to tone.
     
    John B jr, Wisebass and Bob Clayton like this.
  20. Clever is good if it's also smart. And this is smart. Another one of those bass counter-intuitivenesses.
    So is that why I can't slap? 'Cause of flats? Or is it that I just can't slap?
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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