Too much bottom end

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Michelob_64, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. Does anyone else out there have this same issue, too much bottom end? I work with a sound guy that says the bass sounds like mud & he thins it up to the point that I sound like I'm playing thru tin cans.

    My current set up:

    Epi T-bird or BC Rich Warlock ->3630 Compressor -> Alesis MidiVerb4 -> Peavey Tour 700 -> 4-10's & 1-15

    The T-bird is full volume on both p/u's and the tone at about 3. The Warlock (active electronics) runs at full volume, bass up, treble less than half and p/u pan is set to the middle.

    I send the sound man a straight line out, which according to Peavey is before any processing of the sound by the pre-amp or EQ. Can anyone give me some advice?? I don’t like how it sounds thru the PA, too thin & no boom to the bass.

    Punchy is a word I’ve heard him use, how can I get a “punchy” sound?? I've tried rolling the tone to 7 or 8 but I get string hiss & no butt to the bass. HELP, lol.
  2. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Play closer to the bridge.
    Turn the front pickup down
    Don't play the Warlock "bass up".

    Send the mixer the signal from the instrument the soundguy wants and get "Your" sound from your amp EQ. not the bass.
    If I had to pick one mistake that bass players make working with PA reinforcement, sending the desk too much bass would be the worst and most common.
    Big PA's with properly set up subs have response curves NOTHING like bass cabs.

  3. Are you getting your sound from your amp rig? That seems like a lot of horsepower - how loud is the overall stage mix, and what would you guess is the ratio of stage/FoH mix that the audience is hearing?

    Can you work with your sound man to refine some things? Does the rest of the band sound good in the FoH mix? Lots of variables here, so I'm just shooting out questions as they come to mind. I'm thinking a boost in the 250-400hz range might provide some of that punch, particularly as any cuts are made below that threshold.
  4. kalle74


    Aug 27, 2004
    also, how close to your rig are you standing onstage? lows take some distance to "develop", so you might crank to lows too much... try walking out (long cord), preferably offstage, at your next soundcheck.

    room acoustics play into the equatio, also. in a boomy room, your low end might overpower everything.

    "punch" generates in the mids, so your soundguy is asking for more mids...
  5. totallybacan


    Mar 30, 2009
    For now, make the bass and treble equal on your active bass. On your T-Bird, turn the tone to around 5 or more. Remember, when you play in a band setting, it will sound like your upper harmonics will be swallowed up.
  6. Thanks, everyone for the advice, I’ll try making changes as we play out.

    Steve, I play right at the bridge because I like the string tension there verses resting my fingers on the neck pick up. I’m also adjusting the volume of the pickups & rolling the bass back on the Warlock while rolling up the treble. When I stand out in front of the stage, the bass drops off very quickly as you walk out to where the sound guy is standing.

    I also have to point out that our sound guy is not a true sound engineer, in my other band the sound engineer running the PA we rent from him (he was truly a sound engineer) never had any issues with my sound. In fact when I asked him about all if this a couple of weeks ago, he said my sound was almost perfect & required little tweaking for the PA.

    VroomVroom, the rig does have a lot of horse power but I don’t use very much of it. But having said that, I play with a drummer that is a gorilla behind the set. He replaces his cymbals ever 6 shows because he beats them to death!!! He’s very loud and often drowns out all the instruments when he hits. Additionally, we are a 3 piece and I sit one cab on one side of the stage & my rig & other cab on the other side, the guitar player does the same to help give the sound up front a little more balance. Not sure what the balance is but IMHO it’s probably more stage sound the closer you get just by virtue of over coming our drummer. I’m working with the sound man, we now have the bass running into an EQ unit so he can better refine the FOH sound he wants, as my line out is a raw output before the pre-amp & EQ on my amp. Thanks for the heads up, I’ll boost the mids a little more, especially in the 250-400 range.

    Kalle74, I’m wireless so I’m usually not directly in front of my amp unless I have to sing, I walk around quite a bit trying to get the crowd into things. As for the rest of the band, I think the entire PA sounds muddy, just my opinion. Like I said, our sound guy is nothing more than a glorified board baby sitter with a little knowledge of sound. In the past in working with other bands & other PA guys, I’ve never had issues like I have with this PA/sound guy.

    Additionally to everyone, I’ve cut out the Midiverb4 and the compressor out of the signal chain so that now I run wireless directly into the rig, and here lately I’ve only been using the 4-10 cab as we have played smaller clubs.

    Thanks again for your input.
  7. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Big +1 on rolling off the lows on your rig. I play now with less than half the amount of low-end on stage as I used to. It has taken some getting used to hearing such a "tinny" sound coming out of my rig but it has made all the difference in the world in the FOH sound.
  8. What's the cost to hire the engineer to mix 2 nights & show the newbie some tips? And what's the benefit?

    Would the newbie take kindly to this?
  9. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Novel idea, but the newbie gots to have ears. If a guy can't hear the difference between a good mix and a bad one, no amount of training on knobs and switches will make him a good soundman. A good ear for mixing is kind of like speed in athletics... can't be coached, you either have it or you don't.
  10. I don't think "good ears" is a yes/no condition but instead that there are degrees of ability in that area. I believe that ability can be enhanced with training as well as with practicing that training.

    Maybe I'm being overly polite in thinking about the mix. I'm figuring the newbie is mixing the best he can to achieve what he thinks is the desired result.
  11. I suggested he come & "intern" with the guy that runs a local company running sound for various venues. Heck I tried to get him out for one night to talk to Tom the sound engineer, but my guy wouldn't do it.

    I'm not trying to trash my guy, just that I never ran into this situation before with regards to sound. But to his defense I am rolling back the lows, turning up the tone on the passive bass, & the bass back on the active.

    I was just curious if the "tinny" sound that I hear is typical for most everyone else, that's all.

    Since my amp sends a direct signal basically in parallel with the input jack, my EQ has not effect on the FOH sound. Yet my sound guy fiddles with my EQ then sits back down at the board & says "there." But I know from the electrical diagrams that his adjustments had no effect on the DI signal to him. I'm just trying to figure out how to help him since I have the limited controls on the bass(s) to work with. I'm hoping the Tip/ring cable out to a seperate EQ at the board end of things will help too.

    Also, if I might ask on a passive bass what does everyone set their tone to? I've seen "5" ... is that standard?? I get a lot of string hiss & cracking of the strings it seems, but I can EQ that out on my end.

    Again I appreciate any and all suggestions.
  12. Nick Kay

    Nick Kay

    Jul 26, 2007
    Toronto, Ontario
    The closest you're getting to flat with a standard passive tone knob is actually at 10. My suggestion? Tone knob at 10, onboard EQ on the Warlock set to flat (ie: no boost, no cut, centre detent), but turn the tweeter down or off on your cab. This gets a clearer tone out to the PA, but you still get that vintage-style roll-off that you dig.

    PS: If you want to help him, teach him how to EQ from the board. The amp on stage is your domain and, if your volume is reasonable, doesn't affect his FOH mix one bit. Also, he might be hunting for a modern hi-fi bass tone, while you seem to be more after the dirty vintage sound. First step is to pull in the same direction - get him on the wagon with your tone and it'll all fall into place a bit easier. I'd suggest sitting down and listening to some music with the dude, and pointing out what kind of tone you're going for using concrete examples.

  13. Why is this person doing sound?
  14. DeluxeRed


    Jun 2, 2009
    A Countryman's Type 85 DI can go in between the head and the speakers, giving you post-EQ sound off to FOH. That might give you more control.
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    We tried this (sort of) at my church a few years ago where we were having all kinds of FOH issues (all volunteer sound guys). We brought in a pro sound guy and he spent an entire afternoon re-EQing the whole system. Sure enough, the week after he left one of our volunteers (who knew just enough to be dangerous), had gone back in and put everything back to the way it was before. Because of course he "knew better" than the pro. Grrr.
  16. Ewww.

    That sure can be a problem with a "grow your own" soundperson. And volunteers can be hard to fire (actually they are easy to fire, it's just the repercussions that can be hard).

    But if the rule is that sound newbies are bad, we've been gifted with an exception to the rule. Lead singer's fiance, oddly enough. (& yeah, I know there are about 200 ways that can go wrong, but we've yet to find one.)

    We have a sonic mess to sort out in the short term (a guitarist with massive level fluctuations) but once that's resolved we are going to bring in a pro for a night or 2 to mix us AND train our soundperson. Then a refresher course every few months.

    It can work, and it does work. Though perhaps not with a randomly-selected person on sound.
  17. Our guy (Phil we will call him) is home grown, a guitar player that was forced to retire to behind the board or leave the band completely. He has a sense of sound but I'd love it if he would work with a pro for a while to hone his skills. The engineer I want to hook him up with, runs a real time analyzer on a laptop to monitor the sound and make adjustments.

    Thanks again to everyone else for the suggestions, I am trying them out tonight when I drag my rig out of my trailer.
  18. The "guitarist" news is easy to jump on, especially since it sounds like he's trying to turn your bass into another guitar. Maybe that's the source of the issues: he's going with what he knows.

    What does the rest of the band have to say on the topic? If they are fine with what he is doing, ask them if they are fine with you being very dissatisfied with how you sound.

    Sounds like Bass & Sound have to get on the same page, before you end up completely disconnecting your PA line & giving FOH bass entirely from your rig.

    There's an outside chance that he hears muddy bass from your rig when he's FOH & is using PA to give some top end to the mud. I call it an outside chance since most people doing that would say they are doing that.
  19. Heatmonger


    Jun 17, 2009
    Bawlmer, MD
    I thought this thread was going to be about Kim Kardashian.:bag:
  20. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    No cause then we'd also be talking about "wooly" tone.

    :ninja: :bag:

Share This Page