Octave pedal problems in FOH

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by the low one, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    UK
    I use a P bass and MXR bass octave deluxe. All knobs at 12:00 with the mid engaged sounds great through my Markbass but the FOH engineer recently said he was getting too much low end.
    Is this a normal problem when using octave pedals in FOH? How do you deal with it? For example, with the MXR would you back off the Girth control, the fatter eq'd lower octave and add more of the Growl, the more mid focused lower octave? It may sound a bit middy in my rig but would it give FOH what they need? Is doing this basically what the OC2 would do naturally anyway?
     
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    For gigging, getting an octave lower tone will add mostly mud FOH depending al lot on the venue.

    Your rehearsal or room tone may need to be different than your gig tone due to venue acoustics, slotting of the kick drum, etc.

    I'd add an adjustable HPF after the MXR and keep turning it up until the FOH engineer is okay with your tone.

    Or, just leave it off and adjust your tone until the FOH engineer is okay with your tone.
     
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  3. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    UK
    Thanks for the advice Stumbo. Next time I'll make sure I test with the FOH engineer to ensure he's happy. With the MXR BOD it sounds like I need to roll down the Girth knob until he's happy there's not too much low end.
     
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  4. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Your bass cabinet acts like a band-pass filter, dropping off low and high frequencies outside of its efficient range. With tones that sit above that range (like dirt) or below (octaves, synth, etc), it can be hard to tell how your DI signal will translate through the FOH if you only ever listen to it through your amp.

    To get a better handle on what you'll be sending FOH, audition your DI send through full range systems—quality reference headphones or a studio's full-range monitor rig. Then you'll better hear what's happening beyond your cab's range of efficient response, whether your octave signal gets bloated in the low frequencies when you bring in certain FX, or whether your dirt pedal is wreathed in fizzy highs above 4K, etc.

    Of course, it's possible that your particular FOH operator just has the system's subs cranked (or doesn't have a handle on the bass channel yet).
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
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  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Are you running the octaver as an always-on pedal???
     
  6. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Seems like it.
     
  7. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    UK
    No, I just kick it in for choruses, middle 8's or as a specific effect, ie:




    and even (jump to 1:50 where he talks and demos):


    I appreciate there is post production going here but it's the kind of thing I'm after.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
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  8. Ender_rpm

    Ender_rpm

    Apr 18, 2004
    St. Louis MO
    I have the same pedal, but I really only use it when I am already playing an upper octave note, as tracking gets wonky below G# or so. I generally mic a cab, VS DI, and haven't run into any unhappy sound persons, yet.
     
  9. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Seems to me, when you kick it in, you're ruining the FOH slotting for your bass and can damage the FOH speakers.
     
  10. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    UK
    It's not distorting when I kick it in, and I would never go below A really either. I think the FOH guy just thought it was fatter than he expected. Next time I'll sound check the pedal too. Never easy as bass often gets a very quick level check and that's it so I need to make sure next time.
     
  11. Josh Kneisel

    Josh Kneisel

    Jun 17, 2016
    Arizona
    I use the same thing and I use very similar settings. Just make sure they know about it during soundcheck. Also, I don't usually go below Ab.
     
  12. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    As a bassist and FOH engineer, and as an owner/frequent user of the pedal in question I say this is the FOH engineer's responsibility. You can help a little by backing off the girth, but it shouldn't be necessary. It's the FOH engineer's job to make the artist sound good, and it's reasonable for a bassist to use an octave pedal.

    As an FOH engineer I high-pass most instruments. Vocals get highpassed relatively high, 80-100 hz or so, but even bass guitar and kick get high-passed (though much lower), and the whole system also gets highpassed as a protection mechanism and wattage multiplier. Also FOH should have a compressor set on the bass, which will kick in if it gets a big inrush of low end.

    So if I as a player kick on my MXR octaver, I fully expect the lowest reaches of its output to be contained by the FOH HPF's and that's a good thing. It protects the subs from over-excursion, effectively gives a ton more power to the system because it's not trying to output the lowest (effectively inaudible) octave, etc.

    Final thing: All the above is predicated on the idea that the FOH system has variable HPF's, full channel strips with compressors/eq's, system eq's, a good speaker management system, etc. If not, the FOH engineer's hands are sort of tied.

    So if the FOH engineer is saying it's your problem, either 1) he doesn't understand how to use the tools at his disposal, or 2) his system doesn't have those tools. #2 is understandable, #1 isn't.

    Tom
     
  13. Michael4bass

    Michael4bass

    Aug 20, 2011
    Florence, MS
    Sounds like you need a better sound engineer. Doesn't he have a channel eq for you or does he not know how to use it?

    Bassically, Michael
     
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  14. jam.majors

    jam.majors

    Mar 24, 2009
    Louisville, Ky
    what I ran into was the girth really blooming around 200 in our main room. Bass sounded great at all other times, so I just cranked back the girth and added some growl in. He loved it, I loved it, we all made it through. together.
     
  15. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    IMHO, you need to clarify if he means your amp is blowing out the room or the balance in the DI signal has too much of the sub octave. A bit of time should be set aside during sound check to dial in this and any other effect you are using. It's likely the ideal settings will vary from venue to venue.
     
  16. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    Texas
    Only use an Octaver sim 100% Octave Down(no direct bass string frequency) in the Line 6 Helix to avoid carrying a 5 string(we have a few songs out of 400+ that a 5'er is used). It tracks down to low G if done carefully although the HD500X and XTLive had better ones....the Helix one has a slight glitch that is only heard in headphones but not in a live band setting. Also use it to test FOH subs(!!!!) by doing a slide down the E string.

    Don't use it to make my bass sound "heavier" or fuller.
     
  17. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    Texas
    Only use an Octaver sim 100% Octave Down(no direct bass string frequency) in the Line 6 Helix to avoid carrying a 5 string(we have a few songs out of 400+ that a 5'er is used). It tracks down to low G if done carefully although the HD500X and XTLive had better ones....the Helix one has a slight glitch that is only heard in headphones but not in a live band setting. Also use it to test FOH subs(!!!!) by doing a slide down the E string.

    Don't use it to make my bass sound "heavier" or fuller.
     
  18. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    Not sure if you did this, but always let FOH know ahead of time that you’ve got an octaver, so the two of you can work things out before the gig. If I’m FOH and someone kicks one on in the middle of the set without advance notice, I’m not gonne be happy.
     
  19. I mention my effects - analog octave down, fuzz, envelope filters, etc and most sound engineers look at me rather blankly. The idea they might check the sounds never seems to occur to them.

    Are you sure this FOH engineer is not a secret member of the “bassists shouldn’t use effects” club?
     
  20. MYLOWFREQ

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    I also do sound and am a gigging bass player who uses the octave. Of course you should use whatever pedal you want and it's the sound person's responsibility to dial in/out whatever's needed.

    However, if you are using pedals, you need to be at the ballpark. Unfortunately, I'm experiencing a lot of players who don't get the levels right on their pedal(s). They get too loud or disappear when they step on a pedal.

    Not saying you're not doing it right, but just wanted to tell that if your pedals are not adjusted right the sound person can only do so much. So the sound person, and the player both have the responsibility.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018