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So boosting which mid frequencies is best for a tight bass sound again?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by phxlbrmpf, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    I've been playing with my Peavey Firebass's mid shift control for a while but I still haven't decided which setting I like best. It has three main settings: 200hz, 1khz and 2khz.

    I think someone once said Toto's Mike Porcaro liked to boost a certain mid frequency which was a sure-fire way to get a bass sound that sounds good pretty much anywhere and in any kind of music, but I don't really remember which one it was. I think it was 1khz but I'm not sure.

    During rehearsal, I always have very little time to no time to fiddle around with my amp settings, so I'm not sure if I found the best setting. We once did a couple recordings using only two overhead mikes and the bass sounded really good (using our huge PA speakers, that is), so I must be doing something right, I guess. Too bad I have no clue which mid frequency I was boosting at that time.

    So, exactly what is the difference in sound between 200hz, 1khz and 2khz and which frequency should I be favouring?

    Most of my bands' songs have pretty low distorted guitars and busy synths, which isn't really a problem at the moment as I have the strongest amp out of all of us, but our guitarist will be upgrading to one of those hellish Marshall stacks soon which means I'll have to brush up my knowledge on mid frequencies in order not to get lost in the mix.

    The other day, I was rehearsing with only piano and drums and was told I sounded a bit muddy.
    I didn't really know what to do except turn down down the bass control on my amp a bit, but I eventually discovered that plucking over the neck pickup and leaving the bridge pickup alone fixed the problem. I guess in this case, too, there were mids involved as playing over the bridge pickup usually makes you sound middier.

    Anyone got some advice on mids?
  2. 200hz is low mids, which will make for a punchier/fuller sound, but can contribute to that muddy sound you were experiencing if pushed too much.

    1khz or 2khz is better for cutting through if you are having trouble hearing yourself, but it can sound harsh pushing these frequencies when played without the rest of the band.

    I'm surprised your amp doesn't have a frequency selection between 200hz and 1khz!? Otherwise, just buy a boss stopbox EQ pedal which will give you a wider range of frequencies to adjust and it is relatively cheap.
  3. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Also, per your post, you are finding out that technique has a huge impact on tone. The farther you pluck (assuming you use your fingers) toward the bridge (within reason), the tighter, cleaner and less muddy sound you will get. Also, assuming your bass has two pickups, blending the pickups just slightly toward the bridge pickup can tighten up the sound.

    200hz is low mid, but to many is really in the bass region, and will add some nice punch as long as you take the above comments to heart. Typically, IMO, around 500hz really defines what many of us call 'midrange' in bass. 2K is almost in the 'string click region'. To me, 1K can add some nice note definition, but typically won't add what most of us call 'punch.

    So... maybe move your plucking hand a little more toward the bridge pickup... possibly use your blend control to favor the bridge pickup just slightly, turn down the bass control on the amp a little, and possibly punch up the 200hz.

    Of course, depending on cab, bass, type of music... this all might not work! Good luck.
  4. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Thanks for the advice, guys. Son of Bovril: well, the midrange knob does have some frequencies in between, except that it doesn't really tell you what they are. It looks a bit like this:


    KJung, that's usually how I adjust my pickups when I play fingerstyle, i.e. I adjust the blend control so the bridge pickup is favoured slightly. When I slap and pick, I turn it to center, so the pops don't sound too harsh. For extremely deep and/or extremely brutal sounds, I solo the neck pickup.
  5. cool, its really those frequencies between 200 and 1k that change the voicing of your tone - try boosting at 500hz like kjung said if you really want to get more definition and a little lower for a bit ore growl round 400/450 ish (or maybe thats just my warwick?)
  6. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Very cool.... so you have a true semi-parametric mid control.... try that baby boosted a little bit at around 400-600 hz... probably around 9 o'clock.... good luck!
  7. haujobb


    Dec 16, 2004
    I find that the 600hz to 1khz range makes the bass sound really boxxy, I would favor the 200 hz. Remember that the key the a good eq is the same as a good diet, moderation.
  8. I have a Peavey Firebass and I keep it set with a very slight bass boost, like between 12 and 1 oclock, and a little bit of contour, maybe 8 o'clock if 7 o'clock is none. Sometimes I will cut some at 1khz to get rid of that honky sound, or I will boost a little below 500hz. The sound is very tight and articulate. I also play over the Bridge humbucker on my American Deluxe P. Strangely, boosting the mids (500hz-1khz) on this amp sucks up more headroom than my current EQ set up.