What to do with so many controls?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bill Brasky, Dec 11, 2000.

  1. I've got a Carvin amp with the R600 head, which like a lot of popular amps now, has lots and lots of knobs and switches on it for controlling the sound. Mine in particular has for starters, the 3 pre-shape buttons: low boost, mid shift, and high boost. Then, there's the 3 EQ knobs, low, mid (with sweepable frequency), and high. Then you have the 9 band equalizer sliders. This (or something similar to it) seems to be a pretty common setup on most amplifiers now. My question is, why are so many different kinds of controls needed, and when do you use which ones (3 band vs. 9 band eq, etc.)? I figure they wouldn't be there if there wasn't a good reason for having all the different kinds of controls, but I haven't seen a good explanation for how to use them anywhere.

    I did a little searching on this, but couldn't find much talking about it here (I'm still pretty new to this site, and still not very good at digging through all sorts of old threads with the search function). If anyone could explain this to me, or point me to some previous thread or an article about it somewhere, I would greatly appreciate it.
  2. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    1. There are people who like to have many knobs and some who don't, it comes down to your personal preference - if you enjoy fiddling, go for it...

    2. An often heard argument is: a good amp does not need many knobs because it sounds good anyway.
    I want to comment this with MY personal experience:
    The above said is true, BUT:
    - It' s good to have a good EQ to be able to adapt to bad acoustics.
    - You should like the basic (flat) sound of the amp, eventually with a preset switched on. If you don't like this sound, you will IMHO never get a sound you like out of this amp. At least it will be hard to adapt to room acoustics if you already need the whole range of the EQ just to get your basic sound.

    3. How to use the knobs mentioned: move them all to flat position first. See what every single knob does to your sound to get an oversight.
    Start with the presets and the bass and treble knobs and try to find a basic sound you like.
    Now see what you can do with the sweepable mids (also called semi-parametric EQ): turn the boost to the maximum and then sweep through the frequency band. If there's a frequency you dislike very much (e.g. 'boxy sound') see what happens if you attenuate it instead of boosting it. You might on the other hand find a frequency (frequ. range, to be exact) wich was 'under-represented' and needs some boosting. I found this a very practicable way of improving the overall sound.
    Now you can use the 10-band for fine tuning, maybe you won't need it at all. Also start with boosting to see wich frequency range is affected by each slider. This is easier, because the human ear can better identify boosted frequencies than attenuated ones.

    As soon as you are playing with the whole band, you will realize that your sound seems to be different, most likely you will have problems cutting through. In this case you have to boost (or 'de-attenuate' :)) mids, wich sound 'unpleasant' when you're playing alone.

    You will need much time...
    Or you just forget about all those knobs ;)
    Or you just use the graphic EQ, wich is also useful, because you see at a glance 'where you're at'.

    Sorry for getting long, hope it helps,

    Everyone who disagrees can insert 'IMHO' where ever appropriate ;)
  3. Bill, I own a Carvin R600. I usually start with the presets. In my case I use mostly the mid contour. The nice thing about having all the options on the head is that I often double on gigs. (double bass + electric) The Carvin has a footswitch that engages the graphic. When I switch basses I can step on my footswitch and change to the appropriate eq for each bass without spending alot of time between tunes. The flexibility is nice. I also second everything Matthais said :)
  4. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    You just missed a good thread in which I discussed this at length last week. See shortcut to TalkBass Forums - "carvin cabs" at http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?threadid=8760&pagenumber=1 - especially near the end of the thread.

    You might want to hang out and read posts for awhile. There's a lot of info on newsgroups (Usenet), too. Check alt.guitar.bass, rec.music.makers.bass, and alt.bass. You could check out deja.com, I think for topics.

    - Mike
  5. cool. thanks for the explanation and the link. And thanks if anyone else has anything to add to this. I'll keep checking this thread if I see new replies.