need advice regarding live tone

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by sleazylenny, Jun 20, 2002.

  1. sleazylenny


    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    Howdy. I'm new to this board and am looking for some help. I ran through the topics, but couldn't find what I need. So if'n ya'll could help or point me to a thread, that'd be cool.

    I'm one of those tweakers. You know the type, the guy who's always running over to his amp and diddling with the knobs to get "the tone". It drives me and my bandmates nuts. So here's what I got and what I like:

    I play a'01 stingray through a SVT 3pro and 8x10 cab. I run a compressor right after my wireless ( no, 86ing the wireless is NOT an option. I'm in a band that requires a lot of physical movement.) and into the head. I'm a finger player, down close to the bridge, with a fairly aggressive attack .

    What I want is a sound with presence that cuts through the mix, but not all clicky. I'm thinking nice lows and a punch that hits in the face.

    I know that the paltry 450 watts@ 4 ohms isn't giving me the headroom I need for a strong, clean sound. I'm more curious about frequencies and compressor settings. It's seems that boosting the bass on the stingray makes it too muddy, but running it flat just doesn't have enough snoose.

    I like fleas studio sound, duffs on appetite. Any help on curing my tweak-itis?

    Thanks, Sleazy
  2. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member


    Here's some general guidelines (apologies if you know 'em already): always start off with the EQ flat. That includes leaving the contour switches disengaged, especially UltraLo. UltraLo scoops your mids which can sound good for some basses, but if you need more punch and less click you probably want to leave it off.

    Because of your headroom issue, turn the Tube Gain control fully clockwise, that will give you the cleanest tone.

    Because you need more punch and presence, I'd suggest gently boosting mids with the 5-position mid switch. I would start with the 250Hz position... that generally gives you good punch across the entire fretboard.

    Finally: the way your tone mixes with the rest of the instruments is much more important than how it sounds all by itself. Sometimes a lot of midrange "honk" sounds great in the mix.
  3. Boppingtheory


    Aug 27, 2001
    Hoping to be useful here are some general rules for the use of the equalizer.
    With the master of your amp at zero, turn up the gain of the preamp until it clips so as to saturate the valve and warm the sound.
    Raise the volume as required.
    - frequencies from 40 to 60 Hz carry the breath of the instrument (i.e. 100Hz +3dB);
    - frequencies around 100-200 Hz give the bass its body and you can cut through the group (i.e. 250 +1dB);
    - frequencies from 400 to 500 Hz give presence and push to the instrument (too much gives a "throaty" sound (i.e. 500 Hz -3dB);
    - frequencies from 700 to 800 gives focus and articulation of the notes;
    - frequencies from 1 to 1.5 KHz dive a glassy sound and add to the attack of the bass notes;
    - frequencies above 1.5 should be attenuated to not make the high sounds too cutting.

    I find once you have found your settings you can use that in most situations as for a bass player is as the Holy Grail; don't try to tweak too much; imagine you are a singer, you have only one "voice".

    Other small rules:
    - placing the cabinet on the ground and inclined at 45° one can attenuate the bass and take advantage of the bass reflex and dipersion of the sound by the floor (the gain can be up to 3 dB);
    - placing the amp in the corner of a closed room the gain can be up to 6dB.

    In open spaces it is advisable to increase the bass a bit so as to fill the area where you're playing.

    It's better to send the signal without equalisation to the PA with a direct line.
  4. sleazylenny


    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    It seems thus far the general consensus is mids( which I tend to cut at times). I'll try the boost in the 250 range to see what happens. The only thing I'm reluctant to do ( but will try) is disengage the ultralow. It seems to make it waaaaay too thin. But perhaps the combination of the ultralow and the bass boost on my stingray is what's causing the excess boom. Ill kick up the bass at the guitar and leave the ultramid out of it.

    Thanx for the tip on the tube gain, I generally run that thing wide open anyways, but never really understood exactly how it works. Any clarification on what precisley it does?

    I've always worked more from the stance of subtractive E-Qing. Do you think I should rely on the main panel more for my tone and leave the EQ for pulling out whatever annoying frequencies pop up in the venue I'm playing at?

    Finally, what about the front panel of the SVT 3pro. Are the bass, mid and treble true cut and gain circuits? Theres no detent on the knobs, so I'm assuming twelve o'clock is flat.

    Thanx, Sleazy
  5. nonsense. especially with a stingray. you must be cutting mids like a fiend if you can't be heard with a ray and 450 watts!
  6. sleazylenny


    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    Maybe I should clarify. I'm being heard. With no definition and a muddy tone. I want the best of both worlds, good stage-filling low end and an articulated punch without that Fieldy-like click.

    Perhaps you're on the mark with the cutting mids remark. I have a tendency to be heavy handed with my eq.

    I think the other issue may be stage volume. This particular band plays LOUD. I don't mean a bit loud, I mean REALLY loud. We side wash the guitar and bass because shooting out at this volume causes mix problems. Consequently, I'm fighting with a guitarist who rapes my ears with high end.

    I dunno, maybe I'm off the mark here, but I've always thought good loud bass needed mucho juice. To me 450 watts ain't mucho! I'm already exceed the twelve o'clock master volume rule. My amp sounds like a yugo pushing 8o mph, not a ferrari.

    Can good mid-punch and bass co-exist?
  7. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    turning one control way up and the other way down isn't a good idea IMO. You have to be gentle with it. A few turns will change your tone. And yeas boost the mids a bit.. Do this by yourself.. its never easy to find your "tone" when you are on the stage.
  8. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Try this...

    Setup your rig as you normally like it.

    Play a few bars of some tune or another with your band.

    Boost one frequency on your EQ a couple of notches.

    Play a few bars of that same tune with your band.

    Made a note of the difference, and then put it back to where it was.


    I would suggest that you start at around 100 hz, and work your way higher.

    Good luck!
  9. sleazylenny


    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    Hey, Y'all
    I tried a couple of theings suggested here and heres what I came up with

    1. I gotta leave the ultralo on on my SVT. Way too "honky" without it. Although it scoops mids, I can add back selected mid freqs.

    2. What a good way to run my Stings eq? When I turn the mid knobs all the way up it punchs through the mess, but the soundman complains ( baby)

    3. I read else where about compressor placement. normally I put it right after my guitar, but tried to use the fx loop as suggested. It barely registered any signal. When it's in the loop, should I have it's input set for +4 or -10?

    4. What a good procedure to follow for setting tone? Start flat, adjust bass first, then amp? Leave bass flat?

    5. Finally, really, I'm a good bass player!!!! I'm just EQ-retarded ARRRRRRRH!!!!!!! :mad: :mad: :mad:
  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    1. and 2. Your soundman complains when you boost mids on your bass, but not when you switch off the ultra-low? From this I would guess that you are running through the PA as well as your stage monitor. If this is the case, then leave your Sting EQ the way your soundman likes it and make tonal adjustments with your amp. Because you are going through the PA, don't worry if your bass sounds honky onstage... the important thing is that you can hear yourself. Your soundman should be getting you good tone through the "mains" (the PA system), and that is what the audience will hear.

    4. Yes, it is always a good idea to start flat - both bass and amp. And I must repeat: a tone that sounds great when the bass is solo might not work well in the mix. It's generally a good idea to set your EQ when playing with the band. I too sometimes have trouble getting a tone that works well both for solo and combo (mix). If that's the case, I go for the tone that works best in the mix, even if it is too honky when soloed.
  11. RUN FLAT. ALWAYS RUN FLAT. I cannot emphasize this enough. Mid-scooping sounds great soloed, but like utter crap in a mix. If you can't cut through onstage, make small tweaks, +/-3dB here or there.

    With an 8x10 and a 450-watt head (although Ampeg does juice their power ratings, but whatever) you should be cutting through like nobody's business.
  12. deluxeg


    May 5, 2001
    What rule is this? I run with my master volume all the way up and then use the gain knob to adjust my volume.
  13. Flea hardly ever plays a 'ray in the studio (even though he does live). He recorded almost all of BSSM with a Wal.
  14. sleazylenny


    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    Oh, I didn't mean to imply that Flea's studio tone was the product of a Stingray. I realize that studio tones are the result of a lot of tweaks and tricks.I'd just like something with those basic characteristics in a live setting.

    My success rate at getting a satifactory live tone has been abysmal. Every now and then, when the planets align right, I get magic, rarely duplicated.

    What I seem to be hearing is a general consensus that there's no way I should be buried onstage with a Sting and my Ampeg, yet that seems to be what is happening.

    maybe I'd just be happier if I cranked the high end more, stopped worring about string clack so much and just played ( it works for Steve Harris, with flats no less!!!)....I mean, it's only live rock and roll. Perhaps if i just leave myself with a setting that produces noise when I play, I'll force myself to compensate by playing cleaner. Not a bad thing, I'd say.
  15. Hugh Jazz

    Hugh Jazz

    Sep 13, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    Personally, I'm a fan of high mids, eg. 700-1.2k. They really help my bass cut through the mix and sound very aggressive. Though my amp doesn't have a 250 Hz slider, I haven't liked the sound on other amps I've tested when I boosted that frequency (but then again, most of those amps or basses didn't really sound too good to my ears).

    Anyway, give this a try:

    1. Adjust your lows to you liking, but I'd say boost them a little less than you normally do. At least for now.

    2. Cut the mids in the 300-500ish range.

    Boost the highs in the 700-1.2k range, especially 800 and up, if possible.

    3. Adjust the highs to how you like them.

    I don't boost low mids, in fact I usually cut them a wee bit, but since my bass is pretty good/powerful in producing those frequencies, I can get that growly aggressive sound, which is intensified (IMO) with the high mids on the amp. The result is a really throaty in-your-face sound that is virtually impossible to be buried out by a loud drummer, keyboardist, and guitarist.

    I leave the settings on my bass flat, or sometimes I'll boost the low mids with the onboard semi-parametric mids to get a really punchy, powerful tone. I've never really played a stingray, so I'm not familiar with how you'd need to adjust your knobs to get the similar effect.

    Hope this helps.

  16. sleazylenny


    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    Hey again!

    Last night was much better. Heres what made the difference.

    Ran almost completely flat ( both bass and amp). slight tweak to remove annoying freqs. Disengaged ultralo on amp.

    Put compressor in effects loop. this seemed to control the peaks better.

    finally, I let the Stingray be a Stingray. Jeez, I don't know what I was thinking. I kept trying to tweak it into something it wasn't. I just let it be the punchy, mid-monster it wanted to be and everything blossomed. My playing adapted to the axe and once I could control it better, I started getting what I wanted

    Sure, the tone ain't perfect yet, but it's closer. A bit more headroom and I should be there.

    Thanx to all of you, Sleazy
  17. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    Set the deal flat and play some tunes, then ask the band what they think.
  18. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    I found that too, so I have it about half way up.
    To better find the exact position, I made a little dot with a white marker (enamel) on the side of the knob. Helps me a lot.
    BTW I leave mids and treble flat on my bass.

  19. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Hey sleazy what band are you in??? Im from ROCHESTER, I play some shows around here and up to the twin cities.