Which do you EQ more? Pre-amp, or AMP?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MistaMarko, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. MistaMarko

    MistaMarko www.markmichell.com

    Feb 3, 2006
    Shreveport, LA
    Endorsements: Warwick Basses, Warwick Amps, EMG Pickups, Dunlop Strings
    When gigging, or even practicing, what do you use more of to get your desired tone? Do you keep your amp EQ basic, and shape the tone from your bass (aka, internal preamp), or do you keep your bass knobs all basic, and configure your sounds through an amp...or..both? (If you have active pickups).. Just curious to see what other bass players do in these situations.
  2. zoran


    May 10, 2002
    Usually first EQ my bass, and sometimes if necessary my preamp. I Have luck to have preamp which sounds great flat
  3. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    two sides to this coin...

    if i'm working with rentals or whatever amp's in the club, i've learned to find my sound w/ my basses onboard preamps, cause most times, soundmen and/or engineers are making me first plug into their DI's, regardless of what i'm using as an amp.

    so, whether i'm practicing thru my headphone amp, i have my sound. or if my amp goes down mid show, and still jackin' thru the PA, at least i know my audience is hearing my sound. or at least an approximation of it.

    FYI, for a while, there was a time where i only owned basses that had super flexible EQ's like the bart 3 band w/ vari mids, aguilar 3 band, J-Retro, etc.

    with that said, if i'm gigging with my own personal gear, all my amps/preamps have parametric EQ's, so i can dial in the sound that sounds best for the room i'm working. i usually, i'll find a nice sound on my bass' onboard controls, but then use my amp to "tune" my rig to the room so it sounds punchie and fat, but not boomy and muddy.

    retardedly complex, yes. but after you learn how to deal w/ EQ, its nearly impossible to go back to a single high pass tone control.
  4. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    The EQ I use most often is the passive tone control on the bass. Once I set my overall tone for the gig, I use the passive tone to roll off highs for ballads or to imitate the flatwound sound.

    As for setting my overall tone, I use whatever gets the job done: I play passive basses fairly regularly, so that likely means amp EQ. For active basses, it's a coin flip... depends on how versatile the onboard EQ is. The MTD 535 I once owned had the best onboard I've tried. The Sadowsky EQ is darn good too, but with only 2 bands its versatility is limited.
  5. I always attempt to find an amp and speaker that has a sound that I inherently like... so that I only need to minimally EQ for different room acoustics. Once the gig starts, I never touch the amp EQ again, and use my on board EQ for any subtle tweeks needed song to song. However, even most of that is done with finger technique and very slight adjustments to bass and treble on board controls, depending on the sound needed.
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    My problem is that I like a lot of sounds, even when using the same bass. My taste can range from clean, natural tone to moderately colored tones, with and without overdrive. Sometimes my choices are dictated by the music - e.g. Motown/blues versus modern hard rock - but other times it's just me being fickle.

    So, no one rig will get me everything I want. And rather than buy a bass rig for every tone I want, it's a heckuva lot easier to tweak EQ. (I should say EQ and technique -- neither by itself is sufficient).
  7. Makes sense with the overdrive thing... that's definitely a different total sound versus clean, etc. I would assume most would use some sort of pedal for that, though.
  8. I keep my bass flat and use the graphic EQ on my amp. I keep the volume on my amp about 7/8 up and adjust volume onboard.
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I prefer not to use pedals... just one more thing to trip over onstage! So I use preamp OD: SVP-Pro, IOD, or RBI.

    Point is, I like tonal variety too: flat and round for old school stuff, scooped and aggressive for modern rock. Or vice versa, if I feel like it. :p I don't want to be limited to just one tone (or range of tones, counting technique) with each bass. So, versatile EQ is a great thing to have: rather than using specific gear for a specific range of tones, I can get where I want by tweaking away.
  10. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    I prefer to start with the 10 band manual EQ. :smug:

    If that needs help, I'm with fuzzie on using the passive tone control (if any). After that, it really depends on the active eq on the bass and amp, and the eq "problem". I'm a firm believer that the #1 job of eq is to fix anomalies with the sound of the room you are playing in. In that case you need to be able to get out "there" to hear what it sounds like and/or have a VERY reliable individual in the audience area who can give you feedback. If the bass is primarily going thru the PA, fixing the tone anomalies is the soundsman's job. He is in the right place to hear what is needed. If the bass is produced by me amp alone then i use whatver EQ i feel will best do the job. In the FAQ sticky there is a thread on EQ which gives some pointers. Overall, It's my opinion that you need to learn what different frequencies sound like (which takes time and practice). Ulitmately you will be able to tell right off the bat what frequencies need to be adjusted, and from experience with your bass and amp, you will be able to decide which eq will better serve that purpose.