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Optimal EQ Settings for UB

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by rasbass, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. rasbass


    Dec 29, 2002
    Upstate NY

    I am trying to determine what the general direction of EQ settings that will optimize my UB sound. I play with a jazz quartet, and we usually play in smaller rooms- rarely do I go through a PA. My goal is to have a tone that has more presence and definition without sounding like a bass git., and a deep tone, without being boomy; one sound for both time and soloing.

    I have a Kay Chubby Jackson 5 string, with a Realist pickup, a Genz-Benz 3.0 Shuttle combo, Boss GE-7 EQ, and a fdeck hi-pass. I usually engage the mid-scoop, and am running the EQ through the effects loop.

    I know the best way to get an optimal sound would be to experiment with all the tone settings, except it's pretty hard to do at the gig- holding the bass, tweaking the EQ, playing the tune, and then trying another tweak- plus with 7 frequencies on the EQ, and all the possibilities on the GB 3.0, I could be trying combinations until I am too old to play.

    I was hoping that I could get some general guidelines of tone settings and EA settings that commonly work best that I could use as a starting point.

    Any constructive suggestion would be appreciated.
  2. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    Flat. If that doesn't get you in the ballpark of the sound you desire, consider changing your strings and or pickup. In my experience, radical EQ usually gives an unnatural sounding result. This assumes you are getting a big, full sound without and amp.
  3. Keep the mids!

    If you scoop the mids you are taking away the presence and definition.
  4. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    As Greg says, different string composition, and the pickup create a timbre (tone color) that makes up the instruments sound. My favorite amps, have the ability to EQ both the lower and upper midrange frequencies separately.

    I used a Boss GE-7 and didn't like the results, compared to just using the amps EQ without it. I've never tried their GEB-7 which is voiced for Bass. The frequency bands are different on the GEB-7 (see below GE-7 Picture 1, GEB-7 Picture 2).
    You're Genz Benz with the FDeck may be all you need.

    Attached Files:

  5. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Yup. It's a paradox IME. The more you eq the sound to try to get it to sound like a DB the more you make it sound like a pork chop.

    That said I find I have to scoop out the mids a little to take some of the honk out of the Realist, and most piezos for that matter. When I use it with my GK 150-MBS everything is cool 'flat' but part of the 'flat' setting of the amp is scooped. I use 'flat' in quotes because, as I understand it, 'flat' isn't truly 'flat'. When I use my AI which is truly pretty flat I often use a Sansamp in line. It scoops out the mids a bit and 'fattens' the bottom which is essentially what the GK does from the factory.

    I think a big part of it, at least for me, is how you USE your amp. Try this. Play a tune with the amp turned off. Go completely commando. Try not to force it but concentrate on getting as big of a sound as you can without straining. Now turn on your amp but adjust the volume so it is just SUPPORTING the acoustic sound of the bass not REPLACING it. Play with the same body feeling and intent that you did without the amp.

    In general I feel that amps cause more problems than they solve. I've heard some great players that get a ****** amplified sound. So, as was suggested earlier, start with the acoustic sound of the bass and think of the amp as supporting that, not replacing it.

    ps If you ever send the bass to a pa do it with a mic only. Even an SM-58 sounds pretty good. Pickups through PAs never sound natural.
  6. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    With my bass, pickup, and amp, I have to roll back the upper midrange and boost the lower midrange a bit. So, I keep the some of the mid's.

  7. rasbass


    Dec 29, 2002
    Upstate NY
    I appreciate the comments- and keep 'em coming. It will help me narrow down what I experiment with.

    A few more notes- I tried my GK 150-MBS, both with and without the EQ, and with and without FDeck, but did not get that well defined tone I desired- the GB Shuttle just sounds better with this bass (and it's a bit lighter to carry to the gigs).

    I have also tried the GB Shuttle with and without both EQ and FDeck. The FDeck always helps.

    To make it more interesting, when I set up this bass, I added to Realist to a pre-exisiting full-circle that did not sound as good, and the FC is still there. I am set-up (with a stereo cable) to mix the pick-ups, but I find the FC just adds hi-end, and thwunk, neither giving me the definition/ clarity I desire, so I have dialed the FC down to zero.

  8. Ryanpet42

    Ryanpet42 Guest

    Aug 1, 2012
    As close to flat as possible. For my bass I like to boost the high mids and cut the low mids very slightly but the bass and treble are at 12:00 all the time.
  9. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Actually, it sounds like you already have narrowed it down, if neither the GK MBS, or the Full Circle sound as good as the Genz Benz, and the Realist. Then that's the way to go.
    Once I found the sound I liked, I haven't changed amps for quite a long time. Should you decide to keep the GK as a backup, it will serve that purpose well.

    It's always good to have a High Pass filter, and a Phase Reverse to help the EQ. Especially when your amps don't have those features. The higher input impedance dosen't hurt either.
  10. Thanks for this great thread.

    Playing string bass with a 7 piece Dixieland/New Orleans Jazz group, I couldn't even hear myself (tp, cl, tb, banjo, two electric guitars). I lost some flesh and there was blood on the strings, so I decided to start using my amp. I was afraid of losing the trad jazz feel and sounding like my Fender bass, so I tried to keep the amp at the sweet point where you can just start to notice the support in volume. I kept the amp to the side to avoid mic feedback.

    I found some tonal success by using a mic and pickup together. I had a lot of cables/leads on the floor as the microphone (pointed at the soundpost) fed the amp's high impedance input and the full circle pickup fed into its low impedance input (both on the same amp - Ampeg B200R 1x15).

    I turned the EQ boost switches off and all tone controls to 25%. I left the volume at 50% and the gain at 75%. It sounded way better than either the condensor mic or pickup by themselves! And I could hear myself play.

    That being said, I feel that it's not perfected. Maybe too much gain? Maybe the tone controls are too low? It seems that setting-up an amp for double bass requires constant fiddling...
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The biggest problem: the speaker! Same amp with different cabs requires different EQ :spit:

    So there is no single magic answer for EQ :help:

    That said, to my ear fine tuning in the 600-1000 hZ range is critical. No matter what pickup, amp, cabinet or preamp I have used that is always the frequency range I have to fiddle with the most.
  12. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    IMO, Brian is spot on. I don't agree with the advice to set your tone controls flat. Here's why. First, no pickup, especially when interacting with the instrument, will produce a flat response. Even if it did, the spectral profile at the point of the pickup is likely not what you want to radiate to the audience. Second, no speaker cab is flat. Even if it were, once room interactions come into play, that would go out the window. Third, although I abhor the practice, many amps are "voiced." Add this all up and you'll find that tone-shaping is essential.

    I agree with those who have said that the goal is (usually) to reproduce, to the extent possible, the acoustic sound of the instrument. Really, that's the sound experienced by a listener several feet away.

    So, no one can tell you what settings to use. The settings to use are those that get you as close as possible to the goal. I assert that that will almost never be with the tone controls set flat.

    What's required is a good tone-shaping circuit and the knowledge to know how to use it. Humans are most sensitive to changes in the spectral profile in the 1-kHz region. Very small changes there affect how "forward" or "nasal" or "hollow" the sound is perceived.

    As for learning to use tone controls effectively, you might find this thread helpful. :)
  13. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Side note: This is why I usually advise against "mixing cabinets" when running multiples.

    Customers ask me often if they can get a 12" speaker and pair it with their 2x10" (or, fill in the blanks for any variety of different sized speakers.) And I tell them that you have to EQ differently for the 2x10" than you do for the 12", so when you run them together, which EQ setting do you use?

    Granted, you could get lucky and find a magic combination, but a pair of similar cabinets is easier to find "your tone" on, IMHO.

    IME, YMMV, etc. ;)
  14. Arjank


    Oct 9, 2007
    Above Amsterdam
    I recently installed a copy of the Realist pickup in my EUB (semi-acoustic). I have two cabinets, one is extremely "flat" (within +/-2dB from 60 - 10.00hz), the other cabinet is a small 8" driver in a horn-reflex cabinet.
    With the fullrange cabinet I like to add a few dB somewhere between 400 and 800hz, this gives some "woodiness" to the sound. With the small 8" cabinet I set the EQ flat since the cab allready has a "build-in" midrange bump' in the 400-800hz area.
  15. bcamp


    Jul 9, 2013
    Hey rasbass, know this thread has been around a while and while all of the advice given is very valid, none of it seems to address the point of how your tone fits in the mix with the rest of the band. As we all want to be heard clearly with the other players, you have to taylor your EQ so as not to compete with the other instruments. As an example, I'm playing in a acoustic quartet with two of the instruments being acoustic guitars. Add those to the vocals and this band is very midrange heavy. While I love the midrange tones of my bass, these frequencies just compete with the guitars and muddy things up. So to put this into numbers, I lay claim to pretty much anything under 200 Hz by slightly boosting the bass and scooping the midrange on the amp (Ehrlund PU into and AI Clarus 2R). The high is usually flat though it must be tweaked as needed for most rooms. When EQ'd this way, it's certainly not the perfect copy of my bass, only louder, which seems to be the goal of a lot of players. However, my bass (and everyone else's too) is not tuned to fit perfectly in every possible mix of instruments so don't hesitate to use EQ to whatever extent you need to sound the best in the context of the whole band.

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