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Pre- or Post-EQ question

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Ghost Signal, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. Perhaps this post belongs in the Live Sound forum, and if so, I apologize.

    For the first few years of my bass-playing career, I always played through crap. Cheap basses, guitar heads, car subwoofers, etc. Because of this, I never really gave much thought to my sound. I knew it was going to suck whether it was going direct to the PA or not. I was usually happy simply to be heard at all. It's only been within the last few years that I've actually started playing decent instruments through dedicated bass equipment, and have started the endless quest for 'my tone'.

    I had never given much though to the pre/post EQ button on my Firebass head until a situation a few months back at a show.

    A little background. I play a Fender Jazz Plus V with active EMG's replacing the original Lace Sensors and Kubuki electronics. My head is a Peavey Firebass 700. My cabs are a janky Eminence 15" in a converted TNT combo, and a Hartke 115 XL. My effects are a Boss Bass Overdrive pedal on almost constantly to add the 'color' that the Peavey head lacks, a Boss Bass Synth for the occasional space-ship-type sound, and DOD Grunge (guitar) Grunge pedal for insane distortion here and there. My current band is best described as 'electro-punk'. Think Devo meets Black Flag meets Aphex Twin.

    Anyway, I've always kept the pre/post EQ button on my head set to post EQ for the direct output, and never bothered mic-ing the cabs because they sucked. Every sound guy would just plug into the direct out and move on...until a few months ago.

    At this show, the sound guy plugged into my output and then turned my post-EQ off. I politely insisted he keep it on (mainly because that's how I've always played) and we got into a little debate. Eventually I won out on the condition that I'd turn it off if it didn't sound good after the first song. It must have sounded fine because he never asked me to turn it off and even told me after the show that he was going to start considering letting other bass players leave their post-EQ on because mine sounded so good.

    Now, I've read the threads about this and gotten a good idea of everyone's opinions, but I'm still fuzzy on what the real facts are. What EXACTLY does this switch do, and why do so many people think it should be left off? If your amp and effects together make up a large part of your tone, shouldn't you be trying to feed that into the PA instead of just the instrument?
  2. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Pre eq sends a clean signal to the house, where it is then treated however the soundman wishes, to produce an overall good mix for the band. Post eq sends an eq'd signal to the house, which may, or may not, cause issues with the house sound. Generally, you want to send the clean, pre eq sound to the house.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    IF you are using effects pedals, they are being sent to the FOH through the DI whether pre or post EQ.

    The reason that it is preferable to send a pre-EQ signal is that the equalizer adjustments that you are making on the head are based on the cabinets the head is driving. For example, if you have boomy cabinet you may make a cut around 160-200 or if there is a low-mid hump in the cabinet you may tweak there. If the cabinet lacks bottom, you may push a little low end, etc.

    The FR of the PA cabinets is completely different than the bass cabinet. So you may be boosting where they need a little cut or vise versa, and you end up with two opposing EQs fighting each other. The more extreme changes the tech has to make just to get back to "base," the less room that is there to account for the room itself, etc.

    If you are insistent on sending the sound you are hearing from your cab to the PA, you need to mic the cabinet. Even then, it won't sound like that, but at least you'll feel better about it because you think it does.
  4. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I cuncur with the others here. Most of the time, it is preferable to send a pre-EQ signal to the house. As Chasarms points out, your EQ adjustments are based upon your cabs, which the house mix is not going through. Furthermore, the EQ stage on many amp heads can add noise to the direct out signal, which will then be amplified by the PA.

    In your case, I suspect you lucked out and happened to have an EQ curve that the house sound guy could work with.
  5. Arjank


    Oct 9, 2007
    Above Amsterdam

    It allways works out great, never heard a sound engineer complain, on the contrary, soundcheck takes 5 seconds, thumbs-up from the engineer and great comments afterwards :cool:

    This only works if your cab has a neutral sound, so you don't have to tweak your tone-knobs to the extreme which in turn will give the sound-engineer a headache because he can't do much with the signal.....

    Another reason I want the post-EQ to the FOH is that I allways have a "solo-eq" setting that I can switch on with a footpedal.
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Post-EQ is probably best used by more experienced players who are familiar with what their gear does in most PA's when they change settings on their amps. I generally think this need for pre-EQ sends is because the soundman doesn't want to be annoyed with moving a fader or knob if you dare to touch one of your knobs, but there are ways you can really screw the pooch by going post-EQ too, so it does come with a level of responsibility on your part.
  7. LOL! Jimmy, you have a way with words my friend. I can't see how going Pre-EQ would cause any sound guy issues though...

    Ill go Pre-EQ if my cab needs a lot of EQ'ing however it can sometimes require a decent channel EQ on the board to get the bass to sit right in the mix.

    If my cab is more neutral or even a little mid heavy (Eden XLT, Berg AE) I prefer the post EQ sound out front. Just a little bit of bass boost to get the PA moving. Fdeck HPF is key to keeping it all clean for me though...
  8. I run mild EQ, nothing that can't be easily tweaked at FOH. Now that I have my P2, ain't no reason for any DI.

    The reason sound guys get all presumptive about taking pre EQ is to make their job easier and take away any chance of being sent a heavily EQ'd signal that won't work in the mix out front.
  9. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Jimmy nails it... Another advantage of running post-EQ is that if you use different basses with different output levels or that need different EQ's, when you adjust accordingly at the amp, it will also translate to the PA... Also, if you cover a wide range of material, and need different sounds duing the night, you have a way of making it happen, rather than being stuck with one generic bass sound that the soundman *thinks* will fit your band...

    As Jimmy said, there's responsibility that comes with this approach - it's probably best left to experienced players, and even they should be willing to listen to the soundman if anything they do ends up causing problems with the PA...

    I totally agree that this decision shouldn't be based solely on a soundman's desire to "set it and forget it" - if guitarists can vary their tone throughout the night, bassists should be able to, also... Lastly, your situation is a determining factor, also - if you're part of a multi-band bill, you pretty much should "go along to get along" - if you're a headlining act, get what you need to sound your best...

    - georgestrings
  10. Arjank


    Oct 9, 2007
    Above Amsterdam

    There are only a handfull of soundman that know how to get a good bass-sound out of the PA and know what the song needs. Most of the time the bassguitar gets burried beneath the kick-drum.....most never heard of frequency slotting.....
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Typo. Fixed. Sorry bout that.
  12. will33


    May 22, 2006
    My post-eq send is already pretty well slotted, as is a mic feed from my rig, so, it's actually less knob twisting on the board for me than it is trying to put some flavor in a dry DI off the bass.

    Nice to hear good stuff about the P2. Nice find Jimmy, that one's on my short list.
  13. There is no switch on my head. It's post-only.
  14. will33


    May 22, 2006
    They should make more of them like that. :)

    Really, I can understand wanting dry DI's if you're trying to run 5 bands across a stage in one night, all of them unfamiliar to you, but even then, somebody with an active bass can still make your life hell.

    Wouldn't be any more difficult at all to just leave a mic setup and stick it in front of each bass rig that comes across. You still have to turn knobs and they still have the possibility of fouling things up either way.
  15. I've sometimes considered telling soundpeople that as far as they're concerned, the band just has guitars.
  16. spector_boogie

    spector_boogie No Limit Honky

    Apr 15, 2012
    The Woodlands, TX
    There was like a 30 page megathread on this just a few mo's ago... search and check it out. Lots of useful info.
  17. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    There's no such thing as pre EQ if you have an active bass.
  18. spector_boogie

    spector_boogie No Limit Honky

    Apr 15, 2012
    The Woodlands, TX
    There is when you have a passive switch on it... ;)

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