What should I set my EQ to?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Zirc, Jun 11, 2001.

  1. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I've had a hartke 2000 (200 amp head with a 10 band eq) for a little while now and I'm wondering what I should do to my EQ. I really have no clue about what this thing does or what kinda sounds it can make. I'd appreciate it if you guys give me some suggestions on what to put these notches to:

    (on a scale of -15 to 15)
    30 hz
    64 hz
    125 hz
    250 hz
    500 hz
    1 khz
    2 khz
    3 khz
    5 khz
    8 khz

    If it helps, I play bass in a rock band (new rock, not classic), so I guess I'd want a rock bass sound or something.
  2. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    It's quite a hard question to answer, as something like amp settings are totally subjective - one man's treasure is another man's Rogue, and all that. Give us an example of a bass player with the sort of tone you want, and the bass that you're using, and we may be able to help a bit more.
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Depends on what sound you want.

    There's always the trial and error method. Try it with all sliders set to zero and one by one try adjusting them up or down and check the setting by playing to see if you like what it's changing.

    Generally speaking:

    The sliders towards the left make it more or less deep.
    The sliders towards the middle make it more or less midrangy.
    The sliders towards the right make it more or less bright.
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    One way to find out what slider affects what is turning a single slider up and play. If it sounds worse than before, it's most likely a slider you usually turn down (esp. the mids).

    some (very rough) guidelines:

    >2-3kHz - leave it alone if your box doesn't have a tweater, only adds hiss

    <200hz - only add 3-6dB to get more bass, more can stress the speaker too much, more than -3 or -6 makes the bottom too thin

    200-600Hz - low mids, + adds more body

    600-1000Hz - high mids, - cleans the tone, less 'honk'

    1-2kHz - highs, + adds brightness or brilliance, too much can make the bass sound too shrill, - can help to get rid of fret noise

    usually shifts of more than 6-9dB don't improve the sound as much, but screw up the signal (phase inversions, etc.)

    + = slider up

    - = slider down
  5. try a "smile" shape and a "frown" shape, and go from there. i have knobs instead of sliders, and i leave the bass flat, boost the low mids, leave the treble flat, and boost the transparency (presence) just a tad. i find it gives me a nice, articulate, punchy sound. basically a frown that leans to the left with a little upswing at the top, i guess.
  6. Personally, I find true Flat with a signal generator and a dB meter. After that I try to get a mental picture of what my sound looks like.

    Some guys want the reduced mids, pictured by the Smiley Face. Others envision the upside down S/F with the mids accentuated.

    Anything above 160 ~ 200 on the EQ is only going to affect the harmonics because the bass does not generate fundamentals above 200 Hz. The upper end of the harmonics is about 6 ~ 7 KHz, so applying EQ above this range is useless and probably counter productive.

    Most speaker cabinets have a natural tendency for increased output above 55 Hz or so. This will accentuate the mid-fundamentals and make them louder. These cabinets also show a marked falloff below 55 Hz which results in thin, drooping bass. Perhaps this is why the Smiley Face EQ is so popular.
  7. bgavin, your post is really interesting.
    What do mean by a mental picture of your sound?
    What are you saying about boosting above 200 Hz?
    Does it have no affect?
    T Jay
  8. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Of course it has an effect. After all, it's the overtones that built the tonal color of an instrument. The fundamental alone wouldn't sound like a bass, but more like a single sine generator (not really good-sounding).

    Just experiment with the EQ, and you'll see. But check it with your ears, not your eyes (on the EQ).
  9. There is nothing above 7,000 Hz to EQ.

    Apply EQ between 31 ~ 7,000 Hz.
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Really? Wouldn't that depend on the bass?
  11. The only suggestion that I would add is to walk away from your amp, play a bit and listen after you change your EQ. Your sound might be kicking from 2 feet away while you are making changes but at 25 feet it might not be what you are after. When other instruments are in the mix you will need to EQ differently as well to get a good overall sound.
  12. The harmonics are relative to the highest fundamental the bass produces. At the 22nd fret on the G string, the note is 349 Hz. The 10th harmonic of this high note is only 3490 Hz.

    A baritone is a higher ranged instrument, and a 6-string guitar is even higher. Both have higher harmonic ranges.