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Tone Settings - EQ vs Tweeter

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Fajah, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Fajah


    Apr 30, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    Last Saturday night was my third gig using my LMII/AE112/HS210 setup. The first two gigs were at bars in which our band was set up in a corner and on the floor. Saturday's gig was in a larger, more open and square room which holds about 150 people and we were set up on stage. It was billed as a "blues jam night", but we were one of two feature bands invited to play a one hour set.

    Because it was a jam night, sound checks were on the fly, so it was very difficult to balance everything out, but overall it was a successful evening. I bumped into one of my buddies who attended the gig who made mention that he would have liked to hear "a bit more top end" from the bass. He went on to say that it wasn't muddy or boomy, but he felt that it could be a "bit clearer". Fellow basists in the audience, my bandmates, and other friends thought the sound was great. So it could be just he's just picky, but it got me thinking since I'm still learning and experimenting with my rig.

    Based on the advice of some TBer's here (when I first put the rig together) I have the AE112 on the bottom with the tweeter off. The have the HS210 stacked vertically on top with the tweeter set flat. My LMII is set flat across the board with the the VPF set around 10:00 o'clock. I personally love the tone with these settings. However, if I wanted or had a need to "fine tune" the top end, would I first look at;

    1) EQ adjustments on the head and leave the tweeters as is.
    2) Leave the head alone and adjust the tweeter on the 210 only.
    3) Add in the tweeter on the AE112.
    4) Combination of any of the above.

    Or maybe the general questions are;

    1) To what degree do tweeter settings on your cabs have on tone versus EQ settings on your head?
    2) Given that different venues have different tonal qualities, and taking PA support out of the equation, what do you look to first to fine tune your tone for a given room?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. First, I would turn the tweeter back on (at about 9 o'clock) on your AE112. There is a significant amount of the very upper mid component and lower treble coming out of the tweeters to my ear in the AE and HS cabs (versus, for example, pure upper treble in the Epi circuit). Turning the tweeter off or down on the AE and HS sucks 'brightness' (i.e., upper mid articulation) out of your sound along with the high treble.

    Also, my guess is, your bandmates comments had to do more with upper mid presence than sizzle (this is often confused). That VPF setting at 10 o'clock is actually a bit extreme, and while it will widen the low end and add some 'upper treble click' to your sound, it can actually make the rig sound too scooped in the mid mids and upper mids.

    So, as a first step, I would turn that AE tweeter back on (and possibly lower the level of the tweeter in the HS210 to even out the balance between those two cabs, and turn off the VPF to start with. If the upper mids are a touch too much for you (they can get that way with the AE cabs), just use the upper mid control to dial back that little bit of 'gank' you might hear (at 11 or 10 o'clock).

    That should put back those key upper mid and lower treble frequencies that many hear as 'articulation and clarity' in a bass tone, and that can get really eaten up by the hi hat and cymbal freq's of a drummer (and also the guitar).

    Who, knows though. The interaction between a given room, cabs, head, bass, and band mix is so complex that it's hard to know exactly what is going on. That being said, the above is worth a try. That VPF (or any enhance type control) can rapidly mess with your articulation at even moderate levels with some cabs and basses.

    IMO as always.
  3. Fajah


    Apr 30, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    Excellent info and suggestions, thanks. I have both my cabs at home at the moment (which is rare), so it will give me an opportunity to A/B the settings I'm currently using with the settings you've recommended. I'll certainly report my findings.

    I'm just discovering now how complex it really is, for up until April of this year, I was just jamming weekly with like-minded friends though a Peavey Basic 112 in my drummers basement. Then before I can say boo, I'm gigging at least twice a month in a blues band with a "rig". Talk about a learning curve!

    All I can say is that this forum has been an invaluable source of information.

    When it comes to tone, I usually like to establish a baseline setting and tweak from there. I've pretty much defined my settings when I play each cab seperately. It's quite different with two cabs with different speaker configuations. Now to get my wife out the house so I can try your suggestions. :)

  4. One thing I've learned over the years is that if your rig sounds just a bit constrained in the low end and maybe just a little too mid oriented and slightly upper mid aggressive at home (small room, solo playing), it will balance out quite well on a gig. Similarly, if you get that wonderful, deep, smooth mid, sweet treble tone at home, it will often ended up sounding scooped and muffled in a larger room in a mix.

    So, I would suggest not immediately freaking if the tone using the settings described above is just a touch 'harsh' and seemingly too 'tight'. There's no problem to dial in a touch more of the VPF at home to make it pleasing, but realize that on the gig, in a larger room and in a mix, you probably want to bring the mids up quite a bit more than at home.

    Even then, there are some rooms and some mixes that just aren't going to be pleasant, no matter what you do. As you play more and more rooms, you will get a better feel of the room impact on your rig, and know when you need to twist knobs versus just saying 'oh well, this room is a problem and I might as well just play and make the best of it', without second guessing your rig the next day:)
  5. Fajah


    Apr 30, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    It's interesting that you mention that, and probably why you felt that I had a bit too much on the VPF. My current VPF setting certainly warms things up at lower volumes and other than adjusting volume, I've definitely been replicating my home/rehearsal settings at my gigs.

    Although I haven't run into yet, I know I'll run into venues where no matter what I do, the mix will be so-so. Generally speaking, I'm more than pleased with my choice of equipment and wouldn't second guess it. I also think that I've just scratched the surface in terms of it's capabilties. In fact, I quickly found that playing though the full rig has actually been overkill for the venues we've played so far. I was going to go back to just using my AE112 for our next gig for it was more than enough. However, now armed with all the info you've provided, I'm going to use the full set up to see what the difference is.
  6. not sure if its been covered, but if they mic'd the rig, they would have likely mic'd only a speaker, and not the tweeter. if thats the case, then you probably didnt get much top end from the pa.
  7. Fajah


    Apr 30, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    We weren't mic'd, but I'm glad you mentioned it. I'll keep that in mind in the event we are in the future. Our normal gigs are three sets over four hours and being the only band, we take our time in setting the sound up properly. In addition, the size of the rooms we're currently playing don't require us to mic the gear or go direct into the PA other than our drummers bass drum. Because this was a jam night, they wanted to minimize the setup between bands and jammers, so sound checks (if you can call it that) were on the fly. We knew going in that the sound wasn't going to be ideal and since we were only playing for an hour, we didn't concern ourselves.

    I actually just got an email from my brother who came to video the set. He said that the lighting could have been better, but the sound was great overall. I get the DVD's tomorrow. Can't wait to see and hear.
  8. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    let that be the judge.

    on any house band i'm afforded, i usually record few nights on my iPod mic just to hear how i'm playing, and also to hear how my impressions of my sound differ from that in the audience. you'd be amazed at the difference in some rooms.
  9. What a mess

    What a mess

    Aug 20, 2008
    Valdosta Ga.
    Mobile accoustic baffeling units (people) suck up lows and highs.

    What sounds great where you are standing may not sound good out front. What sounded great during sound check does not sound the same when the MABU's show up.

    1/3 full 2/3 and packed house will change it as well, so the 1st set won't sound the same unless the # of MABU's is consistant.

    Enough highs to sound good out front may sound harsh on stage.

    Enough lows to sound good on stage may be real muddy out front it takes about twenty + feet to develop the bloom of the lows.

    If you play this gig often and are ok doing it let others play your gear and try some different settings walk the room and see what you think.

    Keep a log book of settings so when you go to that hall you know how to get back to where you liked it before.

    The recording you have unless it was done right will be very deceptive I don't like board or 1 mic tapes that isn't what you sound like.

    Decide what sound your after don't let others no matter how experianced shape your sound in a way that doesn't agree with what your after.

    I play the same rig and have never been happier in my life & I have played a lot of stuff, Eden, Ampeg, SWR, Trace Elliot, Hartke, Traynor, Fender, Peavey etc...
  10. Fajah


    Apr 30, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    It took longer than expected to get my wife out of the house :p

    I played though the rig set up as I originally described it and pretty much got the tone that I'm familiar with. I then turned the VPF off, brought the AE112's tweeter up to 9:00 o'clock, and turned down the HS210's tweeter to the same setting.

    WOW.....exactly as you descibed it above. Lost some low end, gained a ton of upper end. Definitely more agressive and punchier but not too harsh. I then brought both tweeters up to flat (12:00) to see the difference. I didn't find it to be significantly different in tone, but it was a bit harsher. I then brought up the VPF and surprisingly, it had less of an effect on the overall tone as compared to my original settings.

    What an ear opener :hyper: Can't wait to try this out at our next gig.
  11. Steelpulz


    Nov 4, 2003
    Inglewood, CA
  12. Fajah


    Apr 30, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    A fellow bass player (and online friend who lives in London, Ontario) and I finally got to meet yesterday afternoon and play. The purpose was to A/B all our equipment, especially the home made cabs that he and his father recently built. He was interested how they stacked up aginst my Bergs and how they would sound using my LMII. We had a great time jamming around and discussed my new settings to which I was able to demo. He definitely noticed the difference. So far, the tweeters set at 9:00 on both cabs seems to be the way to go.

    I happen to bring along my guitar and loop station so that I could lay down some rhythm tracks to jam to. Here's a pic of our gear. It was a fun afternoon.

  13. Fajah


    Apr 30, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    Played my first gig last night with the new adjustments in the tweeters and it made a big difference. I experimented with the settings over the 3 sets we played. My settings were as follows;

    First Set - 210 at 9:00, 112 at 9:00
    Second Set - 210 at 12:00 (flat), 112 at 12:00 (flat)
    Third Set - 210 at 12:00, 112 at 9:00

    In all cases, my LMII was set flat, no VPF. My preference was the settings dialed in used for the third set. More high end, improved articulation and punch without being too aggresive, and no loss on the bottom end. My bandmates noticed the difference for at the end of the evening, our lead guitar player asked me if I had changed anything in my settings. He loved the tone, especially when he was soloing. He could hear everything without it being overpowering.

    People in the audience made comments as to how tight we sounded last night. I don't know if this had anything to do with it, but it was certainly gratifying to get that kind of feedback.

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