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Using a 9 band EQ

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by coroton, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. coroton


    Nov 24, 2012
    (Not sure if this is the right forum to post this, but...)

    Me and my bandmates recently moved into this new rehearsal studio, where we record, practice, hang out, etc. It has a pretty big bass amp, along with this Peavey Tour 700 pre-amp (with a 9 band EQ):
    http://www.peavey.com/products/index.cfm/item/811/116555/Tour™ 700

    I don't really know much about equalizing, and this is the first time I have to use one (regularly). I became pretty interested and started playing with it for a while, trying to get a fatter and more defined sound for my bass. I have a 4-string Washburn Taurus you guys are probably familiar with: http://www.washburn.com/products/basses/taurus/t12.php

    How should I use this 9 band EQ? Which frequencies should I cut and which ones should I boost?

    I welcome all suggestions, advice, tips and tricks about equalizing you can give me.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Hactar


    Sep 25, 2011
    Boulder, CO
    You will, no doubt, receive a multitude of suggestions, each saying "do this" or "do that."
    As such, I would like to offer what I would like to imagine is the most helpful advice, although it may seem to be the least helpful:

    There are no specific instructions. There is no right way. Experiment until you like the sound.

    Yes, 'tis not very helpful. But really, just try sitting in next your amp and flipping around the EQ. Learn which sliders correspond to what.

    That said, try boosting 160 (and/or 100 & 250) a bit, and perhaps cutting 40 & 63 a bit.
  3. coroton


    Nov 24, 2012
    I know what you mean, bro. That's what I've been doing for the past week or so. And I've managed to get a pretty good sound, but I always feel like there's something missing.
    I think I'm not able to get the sound I want because the truth is I don't really know what I want. But I'll keep experimenting.

    But what can you tell me about those frequencies? 160, 100 and 250.
  4. I would just listen to the tone of the bass in whatever room I'm in and ask myself if there's anything to the tone I don't like, then notch it out. The conventional wisdom is to cut rather than boost when possible.

    Here's a fun learning exercise: Cut every single band except one and boost that one band, then play and see how it sounds. Proceed like this through each band.
  5. James Judson

    James Judson

    Jul 16, 2009
    Your gonna have to answer your own questions. There is no way to give EQ advise without knowing what you sound like and what you want to sound like. The best answer is, "experiment til it sounds good". You will find many combinations that sound great. You will find a great EQ, while sounding great solo may sound like crap in the "mix". Keep in mind that if there is no 4000hz in the signal that band may seem to do nothing (there is simply nothing to boost or cut). Ask someone you trust "does that sound good?". Something you can not do here on TB.

    Here is what you can expect,

    30 to 60 hertz. Muddy and not very defined. Where to put them is entirely up to you.

    90 to 250 is bass country. Sounds big and thumpy or thin and weak. Where to put them is entirely up to you.

    300 to 2000 hertz is vocal, guitar, piano sax country. Where to put them is entirely up to you.

    3000 and up is clickity clackity fret noise country. Where to put them is entirely up to you.

    Make huge changes at first. Move each slider to max and then to min to get a feel for what this freq does. Keep the rest flat. Very small subtle changes are probably best. Let your ears tell you where bad vs good vs great are. Its your job as bass player to determine this. Flat is a term meaning all frequencies are the same. If they are all turned up its similar to turning up the volume. Making adjustment on the fly while your playing with and without the band. Also room acoustics will vary and is most of the reason for having and needing an EQ.

    Also keep in mind that any given frequency is a range and they may over lap each other depending on the "Q" of the filter involved.

    I hope this helps but your question is like asking "do these socks go with these shoes"? Without knowing what kind of fashion statement your trying to make we won't be able to make intelligent guesses for you. The school of hard knocks is intimidating and feels like your thrown to the wolves but its the best school and you will be able to walk up to any amp and pull the best tone out of it in the near future.

    Good luck on your tone quest.
  6. coroton


    Nov 24, 2012
    I think this is all real sound advice. Thanks for sharing, guys. I'll come back when I have a more specific idea of what I'm looking for.
  7. Also - do not just draw pictures with it.

    A lot of people, when they get a graphic EQ in their hands, feel the need to make certain shapes with it, without really listening to how that affects the sound.
  8. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    In general, cut rather than boost. Whatever boost you give to a frequency range comes out of your headroom. Of course, that may be a sound you like & if so, take advantage of it. If you need to boost one band, cutting the others may be more effective.

    I usually start "flat" (i.e. neutral EQ for all frequency bands) & start making changes from there. I start with the broad "tone" controls ("Bass", "Mid", & "Treble") & then use the narrower graphic EQ for finer adjustments. In a band context, I generally EQ my instrument so that I can hear all notes, in all positions, on all strings. As others have noted, what sounds "right" alone often sounds completely different when the whole band plays, so I set what sounds good to me, where I am & let somebody else worry about making it sound "right" out front.
  9. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards

    Too many people use the EQ to boost frequencies when waht is really needed is to cut some.

    This might help.

  10. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Equalizers add noise and phase shift when you move a slider off flat, no matter which way you move it. I try to make my EQ settings center around flat.
  11. hoketus


    Nov 5, 2012
    Toronto, ON, CA
  12. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    Never met a graphic EQ on a bass amp I liked. My recommended setting? Bypass. :hyper:
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    there it is; you pay a sonic "price" for graphic EQ, so if you don't find an obvious way where it's better, bypass it.

    if you do find a sound you like with it, use it and be happy!

    the main "mistakes" with a graphic are boosting the lowest sliders too much, which (as mentioned) sucks up all the amp power and also blows speakers, scooping all the mids out (which sounds cool by yourself, not so much with the band) and just making a choppy mess of it.

    if a fader doesn't obviously sound better moved, leave it centered.
  14. hoketus


    Nov 5, 2012
    Toronto, ON, CA
    In addition this makes most rigs sound incredibly boomy, especially in big rooms.
  15. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I once went in to do sound on a house system, which had a 15 band EQ on the monitors. Whoever was there before me left the EQ set with EVERY BAND cut 12dB. I wonder what goes through some people's heads sometimes... :D
  16. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Bypass the Eq. Dial in your sound with the tone controls on the bass and the amp. If there are issues in your tone you feel need to be addressed further, re-engage the eq and use it in 'cut mode' . If you feel the sound need more low end, try cutting some mids... More mid's cut some low end and so on.

    Graphic Eq's come with some problems bult in by design. Useful but best applied sparingly.

    Find yourself a chart that plots frequency against a guitar note or bass note. That will help you identify which slider to work with...
  17. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    It makes no difference whether you cut or boost; you want all your sliders to be as close to flat as you can get them. IMO it's better to cut some and boost some than to cut some a little and cut some a lot. Make the center line through your EQ setting the 0dB line. It's better yet to run flat, though, if you can.
  18. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    judicious boosting seems to be OK for instrument amps, but for PA the convention with graphics is cut only.
  19. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    It's amazing what can be accomplished by pre-shaping with the mic channel's 3-4 band EQ before it hits the GEQ. I use the aforementioned "cut only" philosophy as the practice has the more dramatic effect of unmasking the more desirable adjacent freq's. If you experience sig volume loss, you can compensate by shifting the entire curve upward using -0- as the mean or, if so equipped, bump the GEQ's output up by 2-3 dB. A lot depends on the hardware and S/N structure.

  20. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I disagree but there's lots of ways to skin a cat.