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What to do about my sound being too bright...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Aram, Mar 24, 2004.


  1. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    I've posted similar threads in different forums on TB, but never resolved this problem: my overall sound is too bright/thin, and requires too much EQing. Here's my signal chain:

    Active Bassline Soapbars --> Aguilar OBP-3 --> Demeter VTBP 201s --> QSC RMX 2450 --> Bergantino 210 and 115.

    I think the problem is that the active electronics are too bright for the Demeter preamp...so I am considering the following:

    (1) Sell the Demeter and get a darker preamp (e.g., Ashdown or Kern), or

    (2) Keep the Demeter and get a parametric eq to filter out the highs and add some girth.

    To me these options make the most sense, and should be the most cost effective. So, of those choices, which would you recommend?

    If you have a better idea, I'd also like to hear it -- but if you're going to suggest switching the pickups to Bartolini's, it's not going to work: My old bass has an all-Bart setup and the rig is still pretty bright and thin (unless I roll of the treble and crank the onboard bass). Plus, compared to the Barts, the Basslines sound fuller and punchier.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    Turn off the cabinet horns and turn down the treble?
     
  3. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Thanks for the quick response -- the tweeters on the Berg are way down (though not completely off), and the treble is pretty cut as it is...when I get too drastic the sound gets too muddy without necessarily being warmer, so there's not too much more leeway there unfortunately.
     
  4. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    First thing I'd suggest is to open the Demeter up, and turn down the internal gain pot a good amount. It should cut the highs and warm up the tone a bit. That made a big difference for me. And while you have it open - any idea what tubes are in the Demeter? That can make a big difference in tone. I don't have much experience with Bergs, but I'd guess that isn't the problem.

    I have the bass control set at 60Hz, but some people find that setting it to 120Hz is "beefier". Otherwise, assuming the bright switch is off and there's no "presence" added in on the Demeter, it just may not be the pre for you. You've probably already played with the controls a lot to no avail. I love mine, but it doesn't seem to work for everyone...I had an opposite problem with the Alembic F1X and I got rid of it and haven't looked back since.

    Best of luck.

    Marshall
     
  5. bassist286

    bassist286

    Nov 22, 2001
    rhode island
    get a sonic maximizer it's pretty much plug and play. It should add a great deal of bottom to your sound while increacing clarity so you can turn the trebble down more with out getting muddy.
     
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I have to say I am mystified. With gear like that it should just sound GREAT as is.

    Keep in mind the EQ on the Aguilar is BOOST only (flat is all knobs all the way CCW). If you set the EQ throughout the chain 100% flat and the tweeters down on the Bergs it should sound really warm.

    With active pickups, an outboard pre plus the Demeter pre you probably have too much stuff in your chain!!!

    bassists286, no way he needs another box on top of all that primo gear he's got.
     
  7. bassist286

    bassist286

    Nov 22, 2001
    rhode island
    your definatly right, but it would make his rack look even more bad-ass, plus it got cool leds
     
  8. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Whoa! There's an idea -- mine's totally the opposite now, with the trim all the way up. I will try this post-haste, thanks!

    It's whatever came stock with the Dem, but i'll check it out when I mess with it this weekend. Do you have suggestions for a darker tube?

    I've tried both, and I settled on 120 which sounded a little fuller like you said. I will try the trim thing to see if that helps the sound even more...I have a feeling it will. Interstingly, tech support couldn't give me any good advice like this, they just said fool with it and trust your ears. But I never tried it all the way down...just between half and full up. Which way is all the way down, counter-clockwise when the control knobs are facing me?


    What was the problem with the Alembic, too dark and thick? I've never tried the F1X, but I hear the mid is quite scooped -- did you find that to be the case as opposed to the Demeter?

    Thanks for the advice Marshall, I will definitely try this out. I can't believe I never thought to fool with the trim -- I always just assumed it affected the level, and not the tone. Thanks again.
     
  9. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Try putting D'Addario Slowounds on the bass. After they break in, they have very little top end. You may even want to consider Thomastic Jazz flats. That would considerably decrease the treble while still giving you clarity.
     
  10. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Brian,

    It's got a great modern sound, but a bit too sterile for the bands i'm in now. I also think my tastes have changed a bit too since I bought the Demeter. I honestly think the trim being all the way up might be draining some of the Demeter's tone (as Marshall suggested).

    Overall, though, it's not a bad sound at all -- just a bit on the bright side for my current applications (and as you know, the Demeter isn't very versitile for tone-shaping).
     
  11. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    :D
     
  12. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Thanks Adrian -- I have thought about this (and I am going to put flats on my 4-string when I get it back from Chris Stambaugh), but it might be tough to find the Thomastic flats in 6-strings for a 35" scale bass. They would sound great with my R&B band, though, which is why they're going on the 4.
     
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    The Alembic F1X and F2B definitely have tons of low end. The Demeter 201 is generally known for it's shimmery top end.

    FYI, those Alembic preamps (and other preamps based on that same Fender tone circuit) are often accused of being mid-scooped because users don't understand the nature of that circuitry. If all knobs are flat then yes, mids will sound scooped because the mid control is cut-only and the treble and bass controls are mostly boost. But a setting of 2-10-2 is very close to flat.
     
  14. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Thanks Ken -- yeah, those passive eq's throw me every time. I have no experience with them, so I don't even have a context with which to judge the flat sound.

    By the way, on a side note, I tried stacking the Bergie 115 on top of the 210 and I actually like the 210 on top better -- I was able to hear mayself a little more articulately. This was just for practicing with my band, though, and it is a smallish room for 5 instruments. I might take them to my gig on the 17th, so I'll let you know which way works best there.
     
  15. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    No offense, but your "touch/technique" makes so much difference.
    I'm, by no means, glorifying myself, but I have a hard ash/maple fretboard Lakland 55-02 strung with stainless steel roundwounds. These tonal components make it, by nature, quite bright.
    But with some amp adjustments and changes in how I attack the strings, it can sound Motown smooth. It took some practice and trial & error.

    Then again, I personally would avoid stainless steel strings in your case, especially roundwounds, if brightness is a problem.

    Moreover, I always minimize the tweeter controls on my cabs at least to the point where that doesn't damage the cabs.
     
  16. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    I hear ya Rick, and no offence taken at all. I have definitely modified my technique to compensate for the thin-ish tone: I find myself using an Anthony Jackson-esque palm mute (not sure he invented it) a lot to replicate the sound of flatwounds for my R&B band. I'd just like the overall fingerstyle and slap sound to be warmer, though, without making too many drastic EQ adjustments.

    I am hoping that messing with the trim gets me closer to where I want to be with my current equipment, but barring that, I might end up with a new pre, and defintitely flats on at least one of my basses.
     
  17. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
     
  18. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Thanks again man -- I'm so stoked to try this out. I knew there had to be something wrong for it to be so bright. I won't be able to mess with it until Saturday (as my rig resides in Eastern LI), but adjusting the trim will be the first thing I do. Maybe I'll call Demeter for tube suggestions, or post another thread to see what people suggest.
     
  19. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Aram - make that "BIG" diameter flats.

    But even some well broken-in roundwounds can be smooth, too.
     
  20. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    I don't think messing with the Demeter is the right way to go personally.

    First thing I would do is dump the bassline pickups. The basses I have played with those were super bright, which is what you are describing. Put some different pickups in there, and maybe a different pre (run it passive?) and I think you'll make a big difference. Perhaps try the Aero's I recommended to you. Those bassline pickups are extremely bright and I don't know if you'll ever truly solve your problem if you keep them.