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So what is it about 2 band Stingrays that are so superior to a 3 band?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by StealthBanana, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. I don't get why so many people on here hate on 3 band 'Rays compared to the 2 band ones. I don't own an actual 'Ray, but mines a 3 band EQ and I think it sounds great! Sounds good with slap, funk, hard rock, and anything in between. I'm not really a slap player myself, but I use my Ray 34 (SBMM) for alot of rock and it has such a killer tone with a sansamp. Here's an example of me playing my 'Ray using direct in through the sansamp. It won't sound good without headphones though. You've been warned!

    The cover isn't 100% great, but I'm focusing more on the tone here. I think it sounds better than 80% of basses I've heard before, and I really don't see why taking the midrange out of a Ray would make it sound that much better. If it's for slap or a certain style of play, that I can understand, but I think a 2 band would almost be worse in my case (using a pick for hard rock stuff). Thoughts? I'm just curious why everyone hates on 3 bands...
  2. I don't get it either. If you can have the mid control, why not take it? Of all of the things that I want to be able to adjust in my tone, mids are definitely up on the list.
  3. Well atleast I'm not alone on these forums who thinks a 3 band EQ'd 'Ray isn't inferior by default :p

    Admittedly I keep my mids flat when I use my bass, but I agree it is nice to atleast have the option...
  4. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I had both, and the 2-band bass sounded better to my ears. I don't dislike all 3-band preamps; in fact, I like my ATK a lot. There was just something about my 3-band 'Ray's tone that annoyed me, and the only way to get rid of it was to cut most of the mids, and when I did that, I got drowned out by the drummer and guitarists. But hey, if you dig that tone, rock it.
  5. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Fewer knobs to futz with. I'm not huge on fine tuning when it's time to play, so if it sounds good with quick minor tweaking that's better than trying to fine tune the right sound. Not that I have anything against them beyond that, I'd certainly never pass on a bass because of it, but I usually prefer not having extra knobs and switches on my basses and amps.
  6. Can you be any more specific about what it was about the 2 band one you liked more than the 3 band though? What was "annoying" with the sound of the 3 band? I'll admit cutting the mids on that bass even slightly dulls out the tone (almost making it quieter sounding) which is why I leave mine flat, rolling the mids just makes it sound more muddy with my setup, but I certainly don't find anything about my sound particularly annoying. Never did play a 2 band EQ'd one though which is why I want to know.
  7. I'm the exact opposite. I want all the bells, whistles, and switches. :D The more I can do with a bass, the better. That said, I can't help but respect people who can make (electronically) simpler basses sound good. :)
  8. j.kernodle


    Nov 23, 2008
    South Carolina
    the two band eq isn't just different because its got one less band, it's a different design altogether. the two band eq has always had a certain grit and fatness to it that you either like or you don't like. listen to Bernard Edwards or Simon Gallup from the cure, or Paul denman. the two band gets that sound. the three band gets close but it's a cleaner sound with each eq control boosting or cutting a narrower frequency band.
  9. Fair argument, but I've seen people on here who sound way more dramatic about why 3 bands suck and that they wouldn't even touch a 'Ray unless it's a 2 band. Your example doesn't seem very argumentative in that sense, but I get where you're coming from because I too hate to fiddle with knobs and settings when it's time to play.
  10. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    Annoying, like the chick Chandler was dating on Friends. Annoying, like Gilbert Godfrey.
    Annoying, the sound disc brakes make when the pads wear too thin.
  11. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    Less knobs to fiddle with makes it gooder . You only go for the knobs when it doesn't sound good ... so it has to be about 30% better .
  12. Drop-D


    Mar 23, 2009
    Kansas City
    My 'ray is a 2-band. I can't say that I have ever directly compared it with a 3-band, but in my experience I seem to prefer the 2-band. I have never found myself wanting the 3 over the 2.

    With that said, however, I do enjoy the 3's. It's just a different flavor. Either preamp version can dish out the classic Stingray tone.
  13. I have both and do prefer the 2-band. More ballet, not as zingy.
  14. toomanyslurpees


    Jan 21, 2009
    I had a 3band stingray for about 9 years before I tried a 2band, now I just have 2bands, for the stuff I do they just sit in the mix right. the 3band always had a bit of a 'clankiness' that I could never quite get rid of. I won't slam the 3band, but I just prefer the 2band by a massive margin.
  15. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    I also seem to remember reading somewhere that the low and high controls have a 16dB sweep and the mid control has a 12dB sweep, but I can't find the article anywhere. I'm not sure if it's true.

    To get what I like to hear with the three band, I roll the bass up to around 2:30 or a bit more, center the mids, and cut the highs to about 10:00 for my basic sound. I use the mid control, boosting or cutting as necessary. It works well for me. I love the sound of my Stingray 5H.
  16. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I wondered the same thing a while back. I figured they sounded the same, just with an added mid control for the 3 band but it was explained that the EQ points are different and the EQ's are voiced differently.

    Also, SGD makes a wonderfully accurate 2-band clone preamp.
  17. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks I build Grosbeak Guitars and Basses Commercial User

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Grosbeak Guitars
    2 band is a bit fatter and more organic sounding to my ears. The 3 band gives you lots of clank.
  18. Gasman

    Gasman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    South Carolina
    I've heard that the 2-band has different EQ points than the 3 as well. I don't know if that's true, but I own both, and I have to say I do prefer the 2-band. It's just warmer. The 3-band is more modern, but more sterile to my ears. It's not bad, just different, subtly. I own one, so obviously I like it as well, but if my house was on fire, I'd grab the 2-band.
  19. georgestrings

    georgestrings Inactive

    Nov 5, 2005
    Yeah, the 2 band has a baked in low midrange that sounds great, that the 3 band can't quite cop, IMO... It's kinda like the 3 band could sound better if it was centered over a little lower frequency - it seems to go from too thin to clanky... I can still make the 3 band work, but the 2 bands always sound good to me... I own both, FWIW...

    - georgestrings
  20. Yes, I do believe that there are different EQ points and such with the 2-band, its an entirely different preamp. So, the question could be seen as more akin to "Why do you prefer Aguilar over Bartolini"? Each is unique as has its own tone, it isn't just as simple as a mids knob or not.

    I'm sure people who have far more expertise with EBMM and/or electronics will chime in here in a way that is extensively more technical than me. Until then, for what its worth, I had a 3-band SR5 for 20+ years, and I've also tried out a lot of 2-band Rays...if and when I buy another, it'll be a 2-band, no doubt about it.

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