1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

new bass + new amp = too many settings!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bongo5, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. Bongo5


    Jun 29, 2005
    Hey, I just finished putting together a whole new setup (with some appreciated help from fellow TBers ;) ) a week ago. Here it is:

    Musicman Bongo 5 string (active 4 band eq, pickup blend)
    SWR 400S (Bass, Treble, 4 band variable graphic eq)
    Ampeg 4x10 HLF (Tweeter knob on back)

    I've been messing with all the controls for a while, but I am just a little overwhelmed. I got it sounding ok at home, but we practice in lecture halls at my school, with pretty crappy acoustics, and it just sounds horrible! Super muddy unless I cut out a lot of base, but then it just sounds hollow. Plus, I don't know if I should be cutting/boosting on my amp or my bass. Does anyone have a similar rig? Any general advice for echoey rooms? Also, is it bad to cut on your bass and boost on your amp?

    I know some of these are probably covered in other posts... I read the one about how different frequencies sound (nice job ivanmike) but I am still frustrated. Any advice / links to good threads would be much appreciated.
  2. protoz


    Nov 30, 2000
    If you think that's bad I have a 12 band EQ+low,mid,hi knobs+compression...

    It's a pain in the butt but worth having that kind of control.

    As for crappy acoustics...can't help much there I just play around until it sounds decent...
  3. Bongo5


    Jun 29, 2005
    Yeah, the control is nice... the variable eq in itself can do a lot of things. Pair that with some of the best electronics available on a bass, and I KNOW that I can find my sound. I just don't know how to go about doing it :confused:
  4. mad.mick


    Nov 21, 2004
    Wth the SWR, don't cut out all the mids. Otherwise the amp will sound very dead, since SWRs usually don't produce a lot of overtones (read: don't distort much). So when you cut all the mids, you won't be heard in a band context. Try to set your EQ in a dry sounding environment. Otherwise you'd end up setting your EQ to overcome the defficiencies of the room's acoustic, and not setting it to a sound you like. Also, try to find the place in the frequency spectrum, where your bass sits well in the band sound. Tell your gutarist to take it easy on his/her bass knob on his/her amplifier. Low frequencies are your domain. Sadly, if you both try to sound bassy, he/she will win. For a punchy sound turn your amp up and have a light touch. Don't overuse the enhancer on the SWR, 10.00 o'clock is often enough. Try a better tube (e.g. GE or Sylvania 5751 triple mica), because they usually sound less harsh in the upper mids, so it's more fun dialing these frequencies in. Helps a lot to cut through. Maybe get a compressor, but set it with care, not much more compression than 1:2 or 1:3 at max. That way you achieve more apparent loudness and connect better to the drums without destroying your right hand technique. Play good bass lines that support your band's music. First, it will sound better, second, if your bandmates like what you play, they will leave you more room for doing so. Hopefully.
  5. philthygeezer


    May 22, 2002

    Start flat on everything and then cut frequencies to your taste. Keep a good mid presence: cutting bass and boosting low mids could give you thump without boominess.

    I'd leave either the amp or the instrument flat and adust either one or the other to start.
  6. Bongo5


    Jun 29, 2005
    Thanks for the input so far. I'm still confused about the difference between the bass knob and the bass slider on the eq... I can tell they sound different, but does anyone know exactly what the difference is, in general? Does the bass knob roll off at a lower frequency or something?
  7. Bongo5


    Jun 29, 2005
    I was referring to just my amp settings... but thanks, I'll go check out some threads about Bongos, that will probably help
  8. I have 11 conrtols on my EDA alone . . .
  9. endorka


    Oct 15, 2004
    Glasgow, Scotland
    When faced with this kind of thing, my instinct is to divide and conquer, i.e. split up the problem into smaller parts and attempt to solve them individually, then put them all back together with greater understanding.

    So, start at the beginning of the chain - the bass and - and take the amplifier out of the equation. Plug your bass into a mixing desk with EQ flat, and listen to it on headphones. Adjust the EQ on the bass until you get your preferred sound. The idea here is that you become aware of the sound the bass is making in the purest sense possible, and present the best possible sound source to the amplifier.

    Next, is it possible to bypass the preamp stage of your amplifier and plug straight into the power amp? If so, do this, and adjust the bass settings again until you get the right sound for you. If not, go to the next step.

    Plug the bass into the amplifier (preamp section) with all preamp settings flat. Be sure to optimise the gain so that you are achieiving the best signal to noise ratio, but be aware that if you change the settings on your bass after this you may have to readjust the gain. At this point, hopefully you will have something similar to the sound previously dialled in. Try to listen to it in a neutral environment, i.e. not on a boomy stage or what have you. I tend to elevate the amp at this point to hear its "true" sound rather than the sound assisted with walls/floor. Listen to the amp from some distance away to be aware of what the auidence will be hearing.

    Once I have a good sound with the preamp EQ (mostly) flat, and I know that the signal the bass is putting out is good, I use the preamp EQ to modify the sound for different rooms.

    And that's more or less that :)

  10. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    I always start with the EQ on my bass and amp set flat. I adjust one knob at a time, through it's entire range, and pick the setting that sounds best to me. Then, I move to the second knob and do the same thing. I continue this method until I have gone through every control I have available to me, on my bass first, then on my amp. I always start at the left side and work my way to the right. Once I have adjusted everything once, I do it all over again, using my previously selected settings as starting points. It takes a little while but it really gives me the opportunity to hear how each knob affects my tone. It is time well spent. You have a really nice set-up, so finding a great tone shouldn't be too hard. Good luck.
  11. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    When I first got my Bongo 4HH, I set all the tone controls and pup blend to the center detent. Then, I dialed in a good finger-style tone on my amp-rig using only the amps tone shaping controls. This has worked out very well for me. I can tweak the Bongo's versatile controls to get the sound I want for each song, and if I ever get "lost", it's easy to get back "home" by going back to center on the all of the knobs...

    It takes a while to get used to the controls on the Bongo, but once you do, you'll be like this - :D :bassist:
  12. Bongo5


    Jun 29, 2005
    Thanks for all the good advice! I've been away from a computer for a while so I haven't had a chance to respond, but there's some good stuff up there ^^^^

    One thing I just did helped my sound a lot - I put new strings on. I realized when I was playing my bass unplugged that my E-string in particular was really dull sounding, so I bought a set of blue steels, and it sounds much better. I also bought a new tube for the preamp on my SWR, so that should help.

    Sorry I havnet been keeping up with this post, but I'd appreciate any more comments - I'm in the process of trying out some of your eq strategies right now, so I'll keep you posted.
  13. Pick a good room, carpeted, not hard reflective walls, not Gym like.

    If you like the tweeter, turn it all the way on. If you don't, turn it all the way off. Adjust the high freq level at the tone controls on amp/bass. (assuming the full on position = 0db) The goal is flat for the tweeter. If you like the tweeter. Off if you don't.

    Set the amp and the bass flat. See how that sounds. Use the amp to adjust tone to your liking.

    Now you have the max flexibility at the bass to adjust your tone on the fly on the gig, don't have to mess with the amp.

    I like to use the amp for main tone controls, leave the bass flat. Then when playing minor adjustments can all generally be made at the bass.

    Bottom line it doesn't matter which tone controls you use. As long as it sounds good. But still no sense boosting bass on amp, cutting bass on bass as a starting point, right? No sense having them cancel each other out. If you have to do that at the bass on the fly during the gig don't sweat it. I'm just saying don't max out the boost on the amp if you know you have to cut it on the bass to make it sound good. Its like driving with the gas and the brake on at the same time. On the gig the gas is on the amp and the brake is handy on the bass, so you can fine tune with the brake.

    Just that the less tone shaping you do the better, so don't boost the bass 18dB on the amp and cut it 15dB on the bass as your "normal" position. Leave the bass flat, boost the amp bass 3dB.