Wazzzzup!!! J-retro and Sadowky preamp aint cutting it!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by arvidgunardi, Nov 14, 2003.

  1. My church just had our live recording concert with over 1000 people. There was 2 bass player for that concer, and I was one of them. I was playing my Alembic Rogue 5 string, and the other guy was playing a MIA Jazz with J-retro, and a sadowsky preamp through a GK 4X10.

    After the concert, people came up to me saying that they could not hear a good and clear tone when the other bass player was playing, and mine was a bit better.

    My deepest frustration comes when playing live, people(engineer or musicians) here like to listen to very FAT bass, i mean extremely fat, it comes to a point where it's really annoying to listen to it anymore. it's nothing but lows! I get a group of people i work with who always complaint that my tone isn't fat enough or low enough.

    Yet when I was in Vancouver canada, we did a concert where the live engineer did an awesome job IMO that every single ghost note, every muted noteI played was audible to the audience. That was great!! That particular engineer went to the extent of coming up to me and listening to my tone on stage. He would request a minor adjustments to my amp etc, and maintained my original tone to FOH. Anyone here experienced the frustration I went through?
  2. Sure, when I get a less then perfect sound engineer.
    I am an engineer/bassist, so I am able to explain to most engineers exactly what I am looking for.

    You would be doing yourself a favor if, you learn to communicate, to your sound engineer exactly what you are looking for, then it's up to them to get that tone, working their magic in their room!

    Sound men, can be your best friend or, your worst enemy, depending on your communication skills.

  3. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    A J-Retro and a Sadowsky preamp?:rolleyes:

    And they wonder why I hate active EQ. This is someone who obviously has absolutley not a hint of a clue as to how to get a good sounding bass tone.
  4. I'm an engineer as well, but it comes to a point of I've given up the bother to "communicate" to them. You can visit my site if it;'s still up, has been a while since i did anything to it. See once in a while you get a good sound guy who'd do the polite stuff of wanting to communicate with you or listening to u, but other times they simply dont. For that event we did a whole day sound check the day before.

    No man, we're at Glad Tidings church, it was a concert for Ron kenoly (integrity music), and Steve Mcprhereson (hillsong austalia) the next year www.worshipvancouver.com . I was a fill in bass player for those 2 events. During these 2 concerts the engineer and i know each other quite well and obviously he was nice enough to know what i want.

    This is the kinda engineer I got, I brought a HHb radius 30 preamp compressor for my setup, asked him nicely if he could get the XLR out from my preamp instead of the DI, he reluctantly agreed, and since a preamp direct out is hotter than a passive DI, the signal clipped on his channel strip, and without not much to say, he shook his head and shouted wanting the bass to be going through the DI again.

    Anyways, I hope this thread is not gonna be moved to other section. I wanna know about your comments in this regard.
  5. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
  6. Unfortunatley, some engineers are not familiar with all pre amps or even DI's for that fact.

    When all else fails, they like to fall back on what they feel is safe or comfortable to them. Most guys or gasl, know there room and they know what works best, but that does leave room for error.

    Sometimes the board cannot handle your signal.

    You know this though, you're an engineer!

    I am a recording engineer 1st. FOH 2nd. and I feel that Studio and Live sound are two different worlds.

    Please Mr. Moderato....please..lleave this topic here so we can get everyones opinions, we'll play nice!
  7. Oh well, but thats the reason for me not to step over his shoe if thats how he feels. So I did whats best for both of us. Bear in mind I've never pissed him off, so it wasnt like he was my enemy and trying to mess up my tone, it was simply the way he works.

    Anyways, back to the topic, I've asked Jeff Berlin when he was still here in TB about this, and he said that the way to work around this is to do best at what youre there to do which is to play bass, and let the person inchrage of the sound do their job. But in my scenario, I felt bad for the other bass player who worked so hard in getting a good tone (assuming) and getting himself a nice gear, but a blur out of the FOH system.

    I'm much better at handling these scenarios now :meh: at least better then last time.
  8. I know Jeff, he's got some great advice too.

    Yea, it sucks when you have excellent equipment and someone has no clue how to work with it!

  9. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    i can only say; welcome back arvi.

  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I carry two XLR attenuators with me at all times to deal with boards that can't handle a line level XLR feed. I've only had to use them once or twice.
  11. Thanks dude! yeah man, it's been awhile huh.....i lost my dad last july from lung cancer, and lost my laptop on a train ride
    ......just trying to cope with things u know. :p
  12. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    I can't get a bad tone through our pa with my sadowsky pre. Don't understand the whole story. The engineer must have been clueless

  13. Thats my point...when we're playin with the sadowsky preamp and listening it rite infront of the amp, it sounded great!!
  14. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    That pre has a di out right on the back of it. Plug it into the board and off you go. I don't even take an amp to gigs!! I use inear monitors. Simple, no amp to haul, Sadowsky tone for days!!

  15. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I would submit that anyone who uses a Sadowsky external preamp between and active bass and an amp doesn't really understand what an EQ is supposed to do.

    What could possibly be the reason to do this? You need to attenuate a frequency more than 12dB? What for? Maybe jack the bass up on both so that you've got a 20dB hump in the bass region?

    I'm sorry, but there's no way I would ever get a good bass sound with so much EQ between my fingers and the speakers. I don't see how anyone could (but I suppose it's possible).

    Or it's possible that this bass player had a sound that he thought sounded great when he dialed it in woodshedding, but in a band situation it got toatally lost. There's a -BIG HUGE- difference between a good tone that works with a band and a good tone on its own.

    There are people who are recording engineers here, would you run three different EQs in line on a channel? What would happen when you attenuated different frequencies on different EQs?

    This is what's been described. There's one pre/EQ on the bass, one on the floor, and one on the amp.
  16. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Phil, I use the Sadowsky pre. I use the di only on it if I'm using my Sadowsky basses. I I'm using another type of bass, I run it passive and engage the preamp on the stompbox. I don't know if everybody understands that about this pre. Sounds like you do, but not everybody. Thanx for mentioning that

  17. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA

    with a good soundguy, my Sadowsky right into the PA sounds freakie good.
  18. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I guess my point is that if there's a crappy sound coming from the BASS, there's nothing even the best sound guy can do to make it sound good. And if you're running a J-Retro AND a Sadowsky preamp, chances are you don't know what you're doing as far as EQing your signal is councerned.
  19. Phil, to be honest I did not realise that both sadowsky and J-retro are both preamp/EQ. Thanks 4 pointing that out ;)

    Hmmm... See that bass player in question probably have no clue about that either, wanna ask u this (a legit question here), whats the difference if someone decides to play a bass with active preamp built in (not J-retro but somthin else, saaay an alembic like mine), obviously all bass gtr has minor eq settings on it rite? and he put it into another preamp similar to sadowsky...saaay a Joemeek preamp/EQ....I'm pretty sure lots of people have done it rite? Or am I wrong? :p

    That was not a piss you off question, I really wanna know thanks.
  20. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    First of all let me say this: I am 100% guilty of not knowing how to get a good tone and sounding bad because of it. It took me probably 20 years of playing, lots of it in bands, before I started to realize how to get a good tone, and what a good tone is. Knowing how to get a truly good bass tone is one of the more difficult nuances of truly understanding this instrument (or any electric instrument for that matter). I can hear recordings of me playing years ago where I cringe because the bass sounds so godawful.

    An EQ is a very simple tool, deceptively simple, and incredibly easy to misuse. Grab an active bass, plug it in to an amp, and crank the treble and bass. All of a sudden you've got this booming bass sound with clanky highs. Try some slapping, and WOW! what an exciting tone! Sounds fantastic. Go through a Sadowsky preamp and all of the sudden your bass seems more responsive and "hot". Wow again! Mess with the EQ on the Sad and all of the sudden you've got these booming lows and nice bright highs and the bass seems so responsive! Mess with the EQ on your amp some!

    Now, play with a band.

    All of the sudden your bass sounds muddy and undefined. Your previously great sounding highs are lost on guitar and drum metal. Your lows now sound muddy and undefined.

    If you would have run flat it would have sounded better in the band situation.

    EQ is a darn tricky thing. One EQ should be able to get you the sound that you want. There's no secret to EQ. It's just a boost/cut at certain frequencies. The selection of -which- frequencies to boost and cut is what differentiates different EQs from each other, and parametrics allow you to make this descision yourself.

    Theoretically, you should only ever need one EQ if you know what you're doing and choose the EQ carefully.

    Running through multiple different EQs creates a real mess with which frequencies are booseted and/or cut. Crank up the bass on one EQ and crank it down on another and you've basically zeroed yourself out, but you can cause all kinds of funny sonic stuff based on the curves on the EQs and how they deal with transitional frequencies. One EQ is going to curve to the key frequencies differently than another, and you may end up getting all kinds of different things happening sonically.

    Running through a powerful on-bass preamp like a J-Retro, then an outboard Sadowsky, then whatever preamp you've got on the bass amp, IMO, introduces -way- too much frequency signal processing to allow for a good sound.

    Sorry for the tirade. This is all my opinion of course, and others will get great results running through a crapload of redundant electronics.

    Show me a passive bass and a good amp with very little EQ and a player with skill and I'll show you a good bass sound that actually works in a band situation.