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New room. New set of problems.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by IPYF, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    On Saturday I couldn't have been happier with my tone, within my band in our band room.

    This morning I'm in a fking awful mood because of how last night went down. I went in to rehearse with a new band last night and my tone was absolutely horrendous. The bass sound was akin to a tin drum full of camels who had been force fed 6 liters of laxative the hour before. The only difference to my setup was that instead of our usual bandroom I was in a room 2 doors down.

    Now I know that I was dealing with a different group of people. The guitarist's tone was bogg and midrangey and the drummer was a different guy but I was just like a deer in headlights; I just couldn't compensate when I needed a solid foundation more than anything. All I could pull was a halfway decent high-range tone which left the music feeling gutless, wrong and devoid of definition. And I needed to impress these guys because they had asked for me specifically. I was about 10 deep breaths short of kicking sh*t over and leaving.

    So what I want to ask is, what the hell is the smartest thing to do when everything kicks in and the bass just sounds all wrong in the space? All I could think of to do was duck my lows, and boost my mids, and it just failed. I was only 20 feet away from my usual spot in the building and I might as well have been on fking Mars. The whole affair has made me really gun-shy about ever signing on for a fill in gig again.
  2. Foz


    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA
    Move the cab
  3. If it is just a fill=in then you have to find your place around the guitarist. If he is mid-rangy then boost your mids could just cause problems. Also possible the outlet in that space had low voltage causing your sound troubles?
  4. This^
    Try the cab in different spots in the space.
  5. oldcatfish


    Jan 8, 2011
    It's all about eq.

    If the band has a mid-range heavy guitar, boosting your mids isn't always the best thing. In this case, dropping your mids in the 350 to 800hz area and boosting your low-mids (100 to 250hz) and your high mids (1khz to 3khz) will usually give better results.
    If the guitarist uses a more scooped tone, that's where boosting your mids in the 350 to 800 hz will punch through.

    I play for several churches; I have to deal with all kinds of different guitar tones, plus even worse--heavy left handed keyboardists. I have gotten pretty good at finding the "frequency hole" that is available so that I can hear myself and fit with the band. I use a VT bass set flat, and use a Zoom B2 as a programmable eq for on the fly adjustments.

    Or, it could have just been the room itself, and you just have to do the best that you can.
  6. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Adjusting your tone to the room is a skill you can learn with practice. Keep at it and good luck! :)
  7. BogeyBass


    Sep 14, 2010
    Know how you feel some rooms have to much carpet and have a dry sound, some rooms are small with high ceilings and just sound like boomy echo chambers.

    could be the placement of your amp, in a corner can be boomy
    facing the wall with the shortest distance can be reflective and either boomy or muddy.

    Some bass players are fascinated with 7 or 10 band EQ's and just dial in a curve that is no different than a 3 band eq.

    but in your case this is really the only time 7 or 10 band EQ's come in handy. And it is not to boost it is to cut.

    boomy rooms can be fixed by cutting 60 80 or 100 hz bands and sometimes can extend into the 200hz area.
    same thing with midrange/low midrange in the 200 300 400 to 600 hz area you can do slight or heavy cuts, then possible to do a slight boost. depends on the room. 200 to 300 can add alot of funny sound when boosted sometimes needed, again depends on the room. Boomy room you need to cut and dark muddy rooms need to boost. little clarity can also be found by doing slight boost around 700 800. also can play with bright or deep switches if you have them. if your use to leaving them at a certain setting its time to explore them and see if that helps.

    problem is it does take time and have to explain to other members to shut up and give you time. i usually clunk each string open separately wile adjusting the knobs for most the range of the bass. then clunk around 7th 9th frets to feel how that portion of the neck feels sound wise and adjust if needed

    no matter what it is not about dialing in curves your use to getting, you have to listen to the room and possibly do funny things that you would never expect to do.

    sometimes it never sounds right, but fussing around a bit will get better tone than getting completely outraged like you did.

    I have been there in a small room with very high ceilings that room drove me nuts. better to set the drummer up against the shortest wall and then face the instruments towards the longest portion of the room. Either setup beside the drummer like a stage if there is enough room, or setup at the opposite side of the drummer facing him. and try to stay away from corners or up against walls
  8. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Also remember that having a great bass tone is no more than 5% of what makes a great musician.

    Two musicians show up for an audition; who do you hire?

    1. Good attitude, big smile, shows up on time, sober, locks in with the drummer, has great stage presence, knows the songs, has connections in the industry, helps the other musicians sound great---and his bass sounds like a farting camel

    2. Shows up drunk/high, doesn't know the songs, can't keep out of time, plays out of tune, starts fights, bad attitude, doesn't have a car---and has lovely bass tone

    Sometimes your sound is going to be a little off one night due to factors beyond your control. Smile, bounce around, have fun, put on a good show! 20 years from now, kids on talkbass will be asking how to get the "classic IPYF camel farting tone!" :)
  9. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    Well it was just bloody embarrassing. They saw me play a show with my main band and essentially since their bass player is out of action due to work for a while they decided then and there that they needed to get me in. That's pretty flattering stuff. So even though I kind of know these guys, and even though I will not be joining their band full time I wanted to make a good impression. The kind of impression that someone who is a pro at filling in would make. The kind of impression that would make them recommend me to other acts in my scene. People just don't ask me to join them every day of the week.

    Looks like I have some room positioning work to do first, then it's time to start fiddling round with my pre-amp settings on my computer to try out different frequency combinations before I get back in there with them again.
  10. Staredge


    Aug 7, 2010
    Germantown, MD
    Did they say anything about it, or are you just obsessing over it? I would think that they would know (if they heard it) that you're in a different room and situation and it takes a little tweaking to blend well. If they were pursuing you, I would imagine that they were looking at more than just tone.
  11. Try corner loading your cab, or just learn to eq, or pull the bed sheet off your head. Any one of those should work.

  12. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    It just take experience. Physics is funny.

    1) Move the cab around. Get it off the wall and see if it's better. If that makes things worse, put it closer. Try a corner.

    2) In cases like this, when a band and/or room is hard to EQ, I always go back to flat. What I mean is, set the EQ on the amp to flat. No boost or cut on anything. And then just start answering the question "What does my tone need right now?" If it's too thin, boost the low MIDS first. (Low mids cut better than ultra lows to me.) Anyway. You get they point. It's annoying and it happens to all of us at some point.
  13. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    I know how that goes - my little Genz combo is very sensitive to different rooms and its placement therein. For bigger rooms, I gotta get it right up against a wall or in a corner to maximize low end reinforcement, and in small rooms I put it up on a high chair or stool to decouple it from the floor and reduce boomyness. The ultra-low switch helps a lot too.

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