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My sound is terrible and it shouldn't be!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by GrandMarkie, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. GrandMarkie


    Feb 7, 2004
    Waltham, MA
    Modulus Q5
    Ampeg SVT-4 PRO
    Ampeg 8x10

    All I get is mud. It's so frustrating, even my bandmates complain. I play in a rock band where I need the low punch along with some crips highs. I've fiddled with the settings on both the amp and the bass, but to no avail....

    I didn't know if anybody had any suggestions for my settings? I tried keeping it flat but it just didn't provide enough umph, and when I increase the bass, it turns to mud. Just in general, what settings are typical for a rock style? Should I use the eq on the amp at all? Should I use the Compression knob? Help!
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    HAve you changed batteries in the bass recently?
    Have you got a blown tweeter in your cabinet?

    What I generally do is set the EQ on the amp in my sweet range, and adjust to taste with the EQ on the bass. I am not sure why you'd be gettin mud from that setup. That is nothing but punch!
  3. jock


    Jun 7, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    It´s not mud you hear, it´s the Ampeg signature tone IMO. :bag:
  4. TheChariot


    Jul 6, 2004
    Boston, MA
    nyuck nyuck nyuck :smug:

    Well... if your speakons are wired right (if your in fact using speakons)... then maybe it could be the batteries.

    Really try to double check everything.
  5. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    Turn the bass knob DOWN.

    What are your settings?
  6. GrandMarkie


    Feb 7, 2004
    Waltham, MA
    I changed my batteries with no luck.

    Usually my settings are as follows:

    Modulus: All knobs centered except the volume (all the way up)

    Amp: Bass is a tiny bit over half, mids are at half, treble little more than mids.

    I vary on the compression knob...I like the sound when turned up, but it gets rid of the bass. There are 5 frequency levels...still have yet to pick one since i'm doing so much fiddling. I usually have the eq on since it provides more volume that I need...on the eq I may have a slight U shape but mostly set to flat.

    I dunno what it is. There are no tweeters in the 8x10 (I guess this is an older model...only 2 inputs on the rear of the cab with obviously no tweeter adjustement) The SVT-4 Pro allows the frequency crossover for people using 2 cabs. 1 for lows and 1 for highs. Any way of using an 8x10 for this? (top 4 for highs, bottom for lows)

    Should I turn up or down any of my settings (ie mids, compression, gain, boost etc)?

    I hate going to shows and seeing someone play a $200 bass on a $300 amp and getting a better sound than me! :mad:
  7. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    Have you tried the amp with a different cabinet? Or the cabinet with a different amp?

    That would probably get you a determination of which is causing the problem.

    Also, I'd probably NOT use any compression until you have your situation figured out. Just because....
  8. atldeadhead


    Jun 17, 2002
    Do you have any bass playing friends?

    You might want to see if the two of you can get together. Try using your friends amp with your cabinet and his cabinet with your amp. Try his bass through both setups as well as your modulus. Try every combination of amps, cabinets and basses. In this way you can see where the problem lies. Right now it's tough to know if it's your amp, speaker, bass or a combination of all three. A little bit of trial and error testing with some other equipment should reveal the culprit in your sound problems.

    I've used an old ampeg solid state amp for years and it does sound awfully muddy through my 8x10 using my Q5. The difference between that amp and my SWR SM500 is like night and day.

    Good luck.
  9. CrackBass


    Aug 10, 2004
    it's your cab man. i don't want to step on any apeg fans' toes but the sound you're looking for(lows with crisp highs) is the exact opposite of what the ampeg 810 sounds like in my experience( all mids, no extreme lows or highs) if you are looking for a hi fi type sound this is the wrong cab. it was however designed with rockers in mind, to be midrangy and cut through a loud mix. you may be supprised that the sound you're after doesn't sound good with your band, but the sound you get with your cab will sit in the mix like a champ. if it farts out turn the bass down. out in front it is going to sound bassier than you hear it. if you really want to know how you sound have someone sit in with your band, you might be suprised how good a sound you're getting.
  10. GrandMarkie


    Feb 7, 2004
    Waltham, MA
    CrackBass, I know that's true...it always sounds different from the player as compared to the crowd. I've HEARD the same cab give some killer sound so it can't be just the cab. I'm thinking it's the amp, but I dunno.

    Not advertising here, just giving examples but www.omamusic.com uses the same cab, INCREDIBLE live sound. www.dogfightband.com uses the same bass...I bought a modulus due to his live sound. Granted both bassists have thousands upon thousands of dollars invested in their rigs, but at least I know a great sound is still within reach.

    I dont know of any bassists that I can try other setups, just guitar center, but it never sounds the same in that huge place.

    Just in general, what are rules of thumb for settings as a rock style music? Thanks everyone for your 2 cents!
  11. CrackBass


    Aug 10, 2004
    as far as the bands you mentioned, are you sure you're hearing their bass cab or are you hearing the bass run direct to the board or miked through a 20k watt sound system? when i play a big show my whole rig is just a stage monitor and the soundman has total control over what my bass sounds like. sucks huh...
    if you like ampeg try their pro line 410 its more along the lines soundwise to what you described. my good buddy gets a great sound out of his and his b4.
    demo some stuff and see
  12. GrandMarkie


    Feb 7, 2004
    Waltham, MA
    They are only powered by their own stuff, nothing is mic'd or directly plugged in to the sound system.

    Seems they have some other rack mounted equipment, but I haven't really looked into what each piece of equipment does or how significant it is to their sound.

    The strings on my bass have been vibrating against the frets recently, so i've been adjusting the action and a little of the truss rod but that hasn't really helped. Maybe my bass needs a nice tune-up... I guess i'll keep on using trial and error.
  13. notanaggie

    notanaggie Guest

    Sep 30, 2003
    When those folks said check teh cabinet.....they aren't (aside from one) saying the cab type is crap....

    I think the point is have you tried YOUR cab and bass with another head?

    Or YOUR head with other cabs?

    That's YOUR individual cab and bass....not another one of the type, since any problem would probably be unique to yours, i.e a fault.

    The setup of the 4PRo and 810 can definitely sound killer good. So the type of gear is probably not the issue, but there surely could be a problem with one of your pieces.
  14. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    I have two Q5s, berg nv610 and had a 4-pro for a month. I got a very clean tone out of this rig with a big bottom, cutting mids and crisp (old school) highs. First, What preamp do you have in the bass? The aguilar and emg sound different but still keep the mod sound. They each cut in different rooms.

    What I would do, what I did; Bass, get bright strings, SR2000, sit rock brights, Prizim. Dont set the action to high, the bass will loose some of its zing. On the bass, treble at half or just below, bass, under half. Get the bass out of the amp, it makes the low end tighter.

    On the amp, gain at 11:00, Ultra high 'in', ultra low 'in', bass 12:00, mid 1:30, position at 2, treble at 12:00, bright 'out'. I used the graphic eq for more gain.

    On the sliders; 1 @ 0, 2 @ +2, 3 @ +3, 4 @ +2, 5 @ -1, 6 @ 0, 7 @ +2, 8 @ +1, 9 @ 0. Level at +3.

    Great old school "maiden" tone with a bit of modern, hi/fi. To me, with the modulus, the graphic eq settings were the same as what I had dialed on the amp but with more gain. Hope this helps.
  15. pedroferreira


    Feb 10, 2003
    How old are your strings?
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think this is the real answer - so this gear was made with "Classic Rock" in mind and the idea was to fill out the sound as much as possible - what a lot of people now think of as "mud", because we have since had generations of crystal clear digital recordings..etc. etc.

    The other thing which people haven't mentioned, but which was a big thing in rock bands I played in :

    So, guitarists are quick to point the finger at bass players, when it comes to a muddy sound, but I often found that it was the guitarists who weren't gving any sonic space to the bass players!! :meh:

    So - a lot of guitarists like what they call a "warm" sound - so in other words - pretty bassy - and this can sound pretty horrible when you have the lower strings "droning" away - even worse if you have two guitarists and if they are de-tuning.

    Of course their big "warm" sound, hides a multitude of sins - so they may be reluctant to switch to a sound which is crisper, clearer and actualy gives the bass some room!! :scowl:
  17. cetera


    Apr 29, 2004
    Surrey, England
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses & Cort Basses
    I've found the secret to tone on the Ampeg is Mid Position 4. :hyper: Keep the bass and treble controls around 12 oclock and boost the mid control. Try this and add/take away a little bass or treble as necessary and you should be set... :)
  18. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    You are soooo right, Bruce. We should call this the "Hetfield Syndrome".
  19. GrandMarkie


    Feb 7, 2004
    Waltham, MA
    notanaggie, I see what you're saying. I could always borrow someones head or cab at a gig to test things out. I was even thinking of buying a new head at GC and bring it back before the 30-day return policy is up. :D

    inazone and cetera, I will try those settings out tonight at practice, thanks! I'll post how things went.

    Strings (Modulus nickle roundwound 45-65-85-105-130) are a little over a month old. I got 3 free sets from the company I bought the bass from since the G string broke after a day of use :scowl:

    I really like a "warm" sound but you're right, it just drones, and there's no distinguishing between notes, it's one big hum. Maybe the lack of tweeters in my cab, or the fact it's just an Ampeg and that's the way it is. Sure, I can get sweet highs with the Q5, sometimes too high, but at the same time I get a drone from the E and B strings.
  20. The Ampeg Signature Sound = Mud idea makes a bit of sense to me, too.

    Every 6x10 and 8x10 I've heard over the last few years all sound like mud.

    At first, I attributed it to the playing style: kid bassist, punk style playing, vicious strumming of a P-bass with a pick. To me, the sound is characterized as muffled rage... screaming through a soggy wet blanket.

    After reading this, I realize I've never heard an Ampeg cab that sounds different than the above. There is not intent to diss the Ampeg sound... just an observation made from watching and doing sound for other bands.