Questions about the Contour button on my GK: EQ gurus help!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by soong, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. soong


    May 10, 2007
    Hi all,

    The Combo i'm using right now ( GK MB210) if you don't already know includes a 'Contour' on/off button. With it on, low and high ends are boosted while mids are cut. For the longest time I have been gigging and playing with the combo with the Contour ON.

    I'm always being told that with a band, its smart to boost the low mids and cut the Low end (bass) for a couple reasons:

    - Mids help cut through the mix in a band setting
    - Less power is needed to power Mids rather than Low end
    - Puts less strain on the 2x10 drivers, (esp when hitting notes on the low B string) and therefore reducing speaker fartage.

    With this in mind, I've always kept my Lows at around 10 o'clock while boosting Low Mids at 2/3 o'clock.

    So then:

    Would having the contour button on be counter-productive to cutting through the mix and being heard?
    When would I ever want the Contour button activated? Bedroom/home use perhaps?
    Should I refrain from touching the Bass knob on my active bass' onboard pre and leave it flat too?

    Did a few searches for these and didnt find anything specific enough.
  2. will33


    May 22, 2006
    "Contour" or "Enhance", aka, "the suck button".....don't push it.

    Really though, try leaving it off at gigs. It scoops out mids you need to sit in the mix well. It's set sort of in between the lowmid and highmid controls on your amp, so turning either of those up helped to recover some of the lost sound.

    They sound good while playing by yourself, and might sound good up close to the rig at a gig, but is likely making things muddier than they need to be out in the room.

    As far as the eq stuff you've read, that's good advise in some rooms and bad advice in others. There is no one right way to do it everywhere. You start at a fairly neutral or middle setting, then turn the knobs wherever you need to to achieve the best sound, that's what the knobs are for. It's to compensate for the room, or lack of one (outdoors), and to give your instrument a voice that mixes well with the others, this will vary from room to room and vary with different styles of music.

    As an example, myself and a friend of mine both play 800rb's. Our amp settings are totally different because we play different basses, in different rooms, and different styles of music.....there is no one "right way".
  3. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Yep-contour drops low mids and bumps upper mids and and bass. Better to leave contour off, and simply bump up upper mids to hear yourself best.
  4. soong


    May 10, 2007
    Cheers Will and lomo.

    Any other thoughts from anyone else is appreciated as well.
  5. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Will33 pretty much hit it right on the nose.

    There might be occasions where the contour is useful live (if you do a lot of slapping or if the arrangements are very sparse) but most of the time - and especially in a rock context - that contour won't do you any favors.
  6. will33


    May 22, 2006
    My contour button is never on, my buddies is always on, and both of ours fit our chosen context nicely. His is either country, or punkish rocky stuff with a country flavor. Guitars stay out of his way, he stays out of their way and it works. He puts the bottom under the band.

    Mine is a more cover band/party band type thing playing more different styles. Often play a 3piece style supporting role under guitar leads where a more forward, not lead but "in there" presence from my instrument is required. More bouncy for motown, more aggressive for rock, etc. and it fits our needs very nicely.

    Him...MM Sabre, Eden 410

    Me...Pbass, once in a while a Carvin dual single coil Jstyle and a 1212/6 homebrew cab.

    My way wouldn't fit his band as good as his does. His way wouldn't fit my band as good as mine does.
  7. BassBob1


    Dec 21, 2010
    I have the same combo and though I've used it mostly for home practice or small jams I never use the contour. If you as me the "baked in" tone of the amp is pretty mid scooped already, a very modern smiley face eq with all knobs close to noon. For the sound I go for and in a mix it just doesn't work. I would recommend against using the contour button but if you like it and you are heard in what ever situations you find yourself in than keep using it.
  8. will33


    May 22, 2006
    I don't know about the new micro MB's but the older fullsize RB's aren't scoooed unless you have the 5 string switch pushed in. Without that switch, they're pretty even through bass and mids followed by a treble boost. The 5 string switch puts in a 10db bass boost, which in conjunction with the baked in treble boost, makes a scoop. Use the 5 string switch AND the contour and you've got a really deep scoop.

    My 800rb is a first generation amp. No 5 string switch, so, with no preshape buttons engaged, it sounds like a flat amp with the treble boosted. The contour puts in a scoop, but not as bad a one as with the 5 string switch in use.
  9. 2milehighspike

    2milehighspike Supporting Member

    +1 to will33, everything he said is right on! contour=no tone, besides, it's you're gear and you're sound, don't let anyone tell you what to do. if you're ear says it's ok, it's ok
  10. I find the "suck button" funny. I used to use it with my 800RB to get Ampeg tone from the 215 cab. When I would bring the V4-B and just sit the 800RB on top with the V4-B not even hooked up a lot of people would come up to say how they loved the Ampeg's tone. Suck button huh HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
  11. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    Question for B-string or anyone else who might know:
    Does the 5 string botton on G-K amps engage a boost at the low end, or does it lower the frequency of the high pass filter?
  12. "String Bass Button [email protected]" ;)
    Boost at low frequencies only, no effect on the high pass filter as that is post in the circuit. :)
  13. will33


    May 22, 2006
    A lot of us tell people to never use contour controls and keep mids in your sound just because it's a mistake a lot of newbies make, including me back when. They end up scooping out all their mids 'cause it sounds cool by itself, then get their sound buried in the band, end up cranking volume and bass knobs trying to compensate, still not being heard and sometimes blowing speakers.

    But, done right, they have their place. Quieter settings, and styles of music that are more favorable to frequency slotting instruments, like my friends country flavored stuff. Their instruments all stay out of each others way and you don't need all those mids to cut through a wall of rock guitar. He supports the band from the bottom and can always be clearly heard without all the mids.
  14. soong


    May 10, 2007
    True true. To clarify, I play mainly Funk/dance/RnB and also worship stuff. I think i'll really benefit from that contour button being off for the first time ever since owning my amp. I'll give it a run at this weekend's line up of gigs.

    Thanks Will. A side point/question: My balanced XLR output is pre-EQ. That would mean the sound guy is not getting my EQ from the amp but rather just from the bass' onboard pre.

    Therefore, turning the 'Contour' button on on my amp would only be affecting my on-stage sound. How would I compensate for this, for a good overall FOH sound? Does this mean I should crank the mids a bit on my Bass? I play a SBMM Ray35.
  15. I use the contour at bedroom levels only.
  16. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    The only time I've used the Contour knob on my 1001RB-II was with a bass that had an obnoxious bump in the 500-600Hz area. And even then, I only turned it to about 10 -12 o'clock.
  17. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    I never understood why the Contour button is a staple on alot of bass heads. Slap tone aside, it just sucks the life out of bass tone, imho. I even prefer it not to be on when I'm slapping. Why did it ever become a must have option on bass heads ?
  18. pudgychef

    pudgychef In Memoriam

    Jan 22, 2005
    Chongqing, China
    I suggest just making sure you are sending a nice, clear signal - with your bass's EQ settings as you intend to use them for the gig
    (imho) after that it is up to the soundguy to get your FOH sound - he can actually hear the mix....
  19. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    For practicing in the bedroom, the contour button works well.
  20. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    Correct to the first one.

    2nd question - You are on the right path. If you want less midrange in your tone, you could decrease it on your bass and have the sound guy handle it. However, it would be simpler to keep your bass controls flat on the bass and just talk to the sound guy before you sound check. I can't see a sound guy complaining about a bass player wanted to cut out some of the midrange to sound better mixed with the band.