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Normalize volumes across different basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by kbakerde, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. kbakerde

    kbakerde Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    So I have two basses that I really, really like. I have a Warwick FNA Jazzman and a Spector Legend 5. I have worked and tweaked them so I get a sound I like out of both. BUT, the Spector with the Tonepump is just SO much hotter than the Warwick. When I only use one bass this is fine, the volume is there for a reason. But I have a performance coming up that I want to use both my basses for. So the question is, in a live setting how do you go about normalizing the output volumes across more than one bass with noticably different output levels?
  2. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Glad you asked! I have two wireless sytems on the same frequency. The transmitters have some tweaks in them that allow me to adjust the output. I use one received, and two transmitters on two different basses, and spent a very long time adjusting them to compensate for the basses' different outputs.

    It works for me, but it's a PITA to get set up in the first place.
  3. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    You can use something as simple as a clean boost pedal for the quieter bass, or go to something like the Radial Bassbone that has more features you may like. Or turn down the volume knob on the Spector. The last one's free.
  4. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I'm in a bit of a unique situation but.... for me, I simply sound check with both. Our soundguy takes notes of the levels. As he's super familiar with our show (he's been with us for about 3 years now), he knows which songs call for which bass and adjusts on the fly. It's pretty easy from my standpoint :smug:

    For you - I believe the TonePump has a trim pot. I'd use that to match the two basses when the volume knobs are wide open.
  5. kbakerde

    kbakerde Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    Actually not. The Spector uses a Vol/vol control, so part of getting the right tone is balancing the pickups. Second, the stock must be linear pots, cause turning the volume down actually does next to nothing to the output until it's just gone. So a down the road mod would be a Balance pot with an audio taper pot.
  6. I have the same issue and more or less solved it with the
    Radial i/O instrument switcher. channel 2 out has a potentiometer so you can match the levels.
  7. kayak


    Sep 17, 2006
    Simple=clean boost
  8. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    I haven't been using active and passive basses in the same set, but if I did, I'd have three options.

    I have a volume pedal on my board with a "floor" level that can be engaged/disengaged. I can set it up so that wide-open is right for the quieter bass, while the floor is right for the hotter one. Downside: I can't do full swells and fade-outs with the pedal when the floor level is engaged.

    I have an EBS Microbass II preamp pedal with independent levels for the A and B inputs, and a footswitch to select them. Downside: It doesn't live on my pedalboard. I'd have to disconnect it from my recording rig and put it in my gear bag.

    Perhaps most simply, I can put little bits of tape, or grease pencil markings, at the right spots on my amp's input gain control, and tweak the knob between them when I change basses.

    But mostly, I just avoid changing basses in the middle of a set, unless I break a string or something (never actually happened to me in a performance situation).
  9. Raf Seibert

    Raf Seibert

    Dec 16, 2013
    A cheap solution is to run both basses into a mixer like the Behringer 802, then run the output to the PA input. That gives you independent control of the signal strengths.

  10. Terracite

    Terracite Supporting Member

    May 20, 2010
    Whitecourt, Alberta
    Boss EQ pedal.

    Can work as a straight up switchable volume boost, small, cheap, reliable, and has eq if you want that too. Keep it off for the hot bass, turn it on to boost the other.
  11. Jebberz

    Jebberz Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2012
    Quebec city
    Boss LS2 Line selector Pedal. It works perfectly for me
  12. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    ahhhhh, I think it's called a volume knob.
  13. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Did you check the control cavity for a trim pot?
  14. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    There are a number of reasons why this is not a good answer.
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    There are quite a number of stomp boxes that will do this. Radial Bassbone and EBS Micro Bass II come to mind. You just need a box with two inputs and individual volume controls.
  16. I have the same problem, my Godin has a far hotter o/p than any of my others and I like to have the Godin on hand for it's thumpy dbl. bass quality (fretless) for some tunes. Fortunately, my SVT has a 12db padded input that I can plug into when needed, but I still have to have the volume barely up on the Godin to match any of the others.
  17. jimmybc91


    Oct 8, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Sid Fang said it best, just use tape. No need to go buy an external accesory to adjust the volume levels. Especially seeing that this seems to be the first time you are deciding to use both basses.

    But in luxury of space and money tonebone and EBS has recieved many many compliments. Or a simple boost pedal to accomadate volume (just note that some boost pedals also colour your tone).
  18. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    You could add a trim pot to the circuit of the louder bass. Make it accessible using a small screwdriver through a small hole in the cavity cover.

    Something like this...
  19. kbakerde

    kbakerde Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    Ok. I wanted to give an update on what I tried and how it worked. I went and picked up a EHX LPB-1 pedal. Supposed to be good and transparent, really simple. I tested it at the store. But in my rig, using the boost with my Warwick lead to some nasty sounding distortion. So that is one that didn't work. At least not or me.
  20. spufman


    Feb 7, 2005
    Central CT
    Boss LS-2 works well for this in my experience. It can 'normalize' up to three inputs: one straight bypass and the other two (or one) cut/boosted with separate level knobs. Good, versatile, inexpensive pedal.