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Sound guys seem to cut my bass on gigs more and more.. what to do?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by yousaiditman, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. yousaiditman

    yousaiditman Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    Endorsing Artist: (DNA) David Nordschow Amplification
    Hmm.. this seems to be happening more and more to me for some reason. I've had friends tell me I need to turn up my rig at gigs, but it's the sound guy that cuts it on the PA. Got a video and you can hear how low the bass is in the recording. Grrr.

    How do you guys handle this crap? I've asked sound guys before to make sure my bass comes through the mix, but they just nod and do whatever.

    Listen for yourself (on headphones) and be the judge.

  2. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I'd like the bass a bit louder, but to tell you the truth it doesn't sound too bad. I can hear every note you're playing.
    D.A.R.K., dab12ax7ef, mrcbass and 4 others like this.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    on urie 12" reference monitors = smeet has it: i'd like to hear more, but it's there!

    i'd use bribes first, then threats. you look easy going....wear more black and grin inappropriately.
  4. Pat Harris

    Pat Harris Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2006
    Austin, TX
    You're in the doubly-difficult position of playing upright bass at a loud volume. With the slap style you're playing, the notes are short (very little sustain), there's a lot of high end content and some pillowy low end, but not many mids. You're treading in the same waters as the kick drum and the attack on the snare and hats. With the guitars playing open chords, that's also going to mask a bunch of your tonal content.

    My move is to dump the low end with a HPF and send that signal to the front of house. Make the signal thin enough so they have to add low end back into the FOH mains. This will make your stage tone uncomfortably thin, but it also ensures a punchy and woody tone out front (assuming the engineer knows what's up). Getting upright to "speak" through a loud and dense mix is a real art, and the only times I've heard it (or had it for myself) was when we had a dedicated FOH engineer for the band.

    Being heard and being felt are two different things. If you want to be heard, particularly on upright bass, you've got to reinforce the mids, where the tone of the instrument lives. I'd suggest trying to get your sound to sit on top of the kick drum in the mix.
  5. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Not a great recording, but I can actually hear the bass on my crappy laptop speakers so the mix is not too bad. Could there be more bass? Yes. But as I am sure you know, amplifying and reinforcing a string bass is not easy. So perhaps there is a technical reason.

    Or maybe the audio tech does not understand the sound your group is after...String bass is mixed low to be authentic with many styles. Do you have recordings you can review and discuss as a reference....I.E. make us sound like this!

    IMHO, turning up your rig increases the chance that the audio tech will pull out you completely out of the PA.

    I have heard rockabilly groups in small clubs before. The bass player taped his hands and totally wailed on the bass. On top of this, the instrument was mixed on the verge of feedback. When the bass is mixed this hot, it takes considerable time with a parametric to dial the bass in so the response is even across the range of the instrument. Perhaps more aggressive technique and an extended sound check is necessary to get the mix you want.
    soulman969 and yousaiditman like this.
  6. yousaiditman

    yousaiditman Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    Endorsing Artist: (DNA) David Nordschow Amplification
    Thanks for the great replies and tips. I should mention I play a Blast Cult 145 with double sound posts and the new BC active Channel Blaster II. I normally get a huge thud with this bass with no feedback issues, so you should hear 3x more bass in the recording. I did a sound check on this gig and got the levels set. I think when the band is playing, they just dial me back.
    Wasnex likes this.
  7. oldrocker


    Feb 13, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    Bass sounds good to me. Actually more present than I'm used to hearing for a DB.
    mcnach and yousaiditman like this.
  8. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Sounds like the techs either don't understand the bass is designed specifically to be amplified or don't understand the sound concept of your band. About all you can do is provide examples and education, and hope they are evolved enough to grasp new ideas and change their paradigm.
    soulman969 and yousaiditman like this.
  9. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    From here through cans there's way too much top end in the recording.
  10. DanAdams

    DanAdams Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2013
    I don't have headphones with me, but I also have no reason to think that any sound on a video ever has much relevance as to how it sounds inside a club. Regardless of whether it was recorded through mics or the board, by a pro or an amateur, there are just too many variables to critique a live mix this way.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Over my speakers: The vocals sound clear, which is a good thing. It starts sounding much better to me when the e-guitar stops strumming...it's taking up all the space. When he solos then the bass and drums can be heard. In general the mix in the video is too cluttered, not much separation of the instruments. What's the source of the audio, is that off the board or some mikes set up in the room?

    If it was me, I would be satisfied with the bass sound in that mix. It's better than having it too loud and muddy. Does the soundman there know what an upright bass playing rockabilly should sound like? A lot of guys will mix an upright to sound like a bass guitar because of inexperience.
    yousaiditman likes this.
  12. Bass'd on a true story

    Bass'd on a true story

    Jun 28, 2015
    I think the mix sounds bang on except for the way-too-loud electric guitar.
    yousaiditman and bassopotamus102 like this.
  13. Well, at least the bass isn't too loud for a change. Most gigs I see anymore are just a wall of subsonic mud with some vocals on top.
    ihaveaquestion likes this.
  14. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    while i would personally like it a little louder as well, i could hear it fine in the vid. do the people telling you to turn up know what to expect out of an upright acoustic or are they expecting to hear big fat electric type bass sounds like you typically hear in clubs these days?
  15. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Are we hearing a recording straight off the board in the video? If so, it's a pretty solid mix overall if you ask me. Guitar might be a tad hot, but, not unbearably so. Also, if we are listening to a recording off the board, it's hard to tell what the "in the room" sound actually was. I generally trust FOH people - they know their room and what will and will not work in them, generally. It's been my experience that if I have a problem, simply talking to them about it gets it worked out (or I walk away with understanding the "why" of how things are at least).
  16. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    El paso, TX
    The mix is pretty good IMO.

    I know this may be off topic, and I thought about sending a PM about this but decided against it (for the sake of other people reading the post). Please DO work on your left hand technique. I mean, I dont want to sound like an ahole, and you are indeed hitting the right notes and all, but you are looking at wrist, shoulder, maybe even back problems in the long run. Dont get me wrong, I dig your band---A LOT. I just believe that a little "classical" technique might help in the long run.
  17. Adienn7


    Jan 26, 2007
    Just hear a staccato, but it needs more body. That song would be better with a double slap. So my guess is you're eq it wrong on stage and he's trying to fix the standing wave in front of house.. Plus if you drink.. It makes you less aware of bass frequency.. The fix is a high pass filter.. And more mids
    yousaiditman and Wisebass like this.
  18. Sid s

    Sid s

    Dec 22, 2016
    Western NC
    This recording is definitely missing a lot in the low end. Not only the bass - the bass drum is nowhere to be heard.
    yousaiditman likes this.
  19. Adienn7


    Jan 26, 2007
    aren't classical basses setup with the neck leaning back. and a slap bass is setup straighter.. that has a big effect on technique as well..
  20. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    El paso, TX
    Nope.. In an upright bass, you cant really set up the neck angle like you would do on a bolt-on-electric without major surgery.

    The difference between slap bass and classic should *ideally* only rest in the right hand technique.

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