Why is Scooping bad?? Hell, is it?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ZBirdV8, Jul 2, 2020.

  1. ZBirdV8


    Feb 26, 2012
    Detroit Michigan
    There is kind of this running joke, at least in heavy metal that guitarists over scoop their tones all the time. I was wondering why this thing that is apparently universally bad is also so prominent. I make an effort to avoid scooping my tone because I know it's fundamentally bad, but I don't really understand why-it doesn't sound terrible to me. Is it as bad as it's made out to be? What's going on here?
    PullThePlug and madjazzbass like this.
  2. I've never heard of a scooped tone being bad.

    In general, any tone that sounds bad in context with the rest of the band, is bad. Whether or not it's scooped.
    Les Fret, dkelley, zoonose and 11 others like this.
  3. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    It's not in itself bad but often a question of bedroom tone vs band tone. Scooping guitars may sound nice when playing by yourself, but it may eat into the critical frequencies of other instruments.

    However, that doesn't mean you can't make it work. I know he's often derided for it, but Fieldy certainly made it his signature and I never had the impression that he just vanished in a wall of sound.
  4. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Fieldy is totally audible in Korn’s wall of noise. Most bass players (Like me) would not be.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
    Bassology, zoonose and Nashrakh like this.
  5. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    In the typical modern mixing EQ aesthetics, the kick drum fills the lowest frequencies, and the guitars/synths the highest. a scooped bass tone (boosted lows and highs, lowered mids) will get eaten up by the PHAT kick drum in the bass and the squealing guita/keysrs in the highs. Normally the mids and lower mids would carry any articulate bass sound through the mix. If that is removed, your only option to be heard is volume wars.

    So scooping isn't bad, but often a recipe for vanishing in the mix.
  6. The EQ knobs are meant to be used, and you should scoop with pride, if it sounds good to you. :)
  7. IvanBassist


    Jun 8, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Dingwall & Aguilar Artist
    Scooping is not “bad” by default. One just has to be aware what you are doing by removing the mids. Often it sounds great on its own, but you get totally lost in a mix.

    A lot depends on the type of music, course

    Some examples here:
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
  8. Chicken Wing

    Chicken Wing

    Mar 26, 2017
    great video thanks
  9. Kro


    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    There are all different types of scoops. Big scoops, little scoops, high mid scoops, low mid scoops...

    No, it's not inherently bad. In fact, if you were to put most bass players' tones to a frequency analysis the vast majority would have some form of scoopage.

    Many many amps have a scooped tone by default with EQ at noon. Some players might then boost their mid knob by 1 and say: look I'm not scooping! Not really.

    All that matters is having the right tone for you and the mix, that's it. Scoop away!
  10. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Its not bad...at all. It just makes you dissappear. And when your guitarists scoop thier tone, they dissappear. Then, you're always "waaaay too looouuud!" You're then forced to turn down. Get further drowned out by the drums. And, are no longer anything more than a mascot that nobody cares about because you don't have a small 6 stringed instrument, and you're playing metal.

    You're guitarists need to cut their low end, and leave their mids alone. That will let them shine through, while you add the girth. Then everyone will have their place, and you could scoop your tone if you felt like it, and still be a part of the band because your low mids will still be heard even without the 500hz that you're scooping out.

    Being in a band is a comprise. Everyone needs thier own place in the music. Stomping on people places, makes everything a mess.
    Low Crow, SemiDriven, mambo4 and 2 others like this.
  11. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic Designer: Yorkville Sound

    All jokes aside, whatever works in the mix, to your (and band) liking, works. Scooping the kids may give more space for vocals and/or kit. In udder words, it's all good.
    FunkyYeti and Bleecker like this.
  12. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    There are degrees of scoop and too much can make you disappear in the mix.

    What I’ve found though is that when I EQ for stage that setting doesn’t work for FOH. The double 18” subs reproduce low frequencies much better than my amp and the sound gets muddy. I send the flat signal to the desk and work with the sound person to dial it in, then I work on the stage sound so I can hear well. So for me it’s pre EQ to FOH.

    I think that’s where the “scoop is bad” came from.
  13. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Conventional wisdom: sounds great when solo'd, not so much in an ensemble mix....YMMV.

    Low Crow and inthevelvet like this.
  14. jdh3000


    May 16, 2016
    Scooped sounds good alone, but with a band the only way to have a pronounced definable tone is to boost mids a little, at least in my experience.
    It gives clarity to the instrument and makes it sit better in the mix. Otherwise it's muddy, or lost.
    johnnynitro likes this.
  15. Drzejzi


    Aug 6, 2014
    I watched lately a video on Youtube created by a music producer, who stated a thesis, that scooping makes sense in certain aspects. With scooped mids, heavy distorted guitars are moved to the backgroud, creating space for drums and vocals. There is less clarity, but you don't always want it. He stated, that when you scoop guitars, then usually you'll want to scoop bass also.

    For example take a look at this clip:

    The tone iritates me less with scooped mids.

    I was listening a lot of nu metal lately and I like how guitars sounds there.
    Rabidhamster likes this.
  16. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Most of what’s of audible musical interest is found in the midrange frequencies. Cut them too aggressively at your own peril for reasons already given in detail in several other posts here.

    Excessive scooping is a formula for making the bass completely disappear in the overall stage mix.
    Low Crow and Andy Daventry like this.
  17. jbhaugh

    jbhaugh Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2018
    ABQ, NM, USA
    A good, band-conscious guitar player will cut the lows on their amp. Depending on the music, my experience has been cutting the lows all the way is a good starting point. Usable live guitar sounds are usually pretty gnarly with cutting treble when heard alone. If the lows are cut all the way down, then the bass player can come in and add some depth to the mix, and everyone can be heard clearly. As has been said many times in this thread already, good bedroom sounds and good live sounds are not the same thing. Guitar and bass players need to have different approaches to their live tones - guitars need to worry about covering everything up and creating a smeary mess, and bass players need to worry about fitting into unused frequency ranges to be heard. (Using sensible volume levels for all instruments also goes a long way, IME.)
  18. bbh

    bbh Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    Scooping is not bad in a mix. We use it in recording quite often to make room for other instruments. As a whole, the band should sound cleaner and more powerful if you select the correct frequencies. It’s generally not my sound but I do what is best for the tune.
  19. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    it is definitely not fundamentally bad. Marcus Miller is doing better than I am. he scoops his EQ and I dont. y'kno?

    anyway, the problem is when it's not done "properly," it doesn't just sound bad. it mixes with other sounds particularly horribly. A scooped EQ for either guitar or bass put in the wrong mix just sounds like a mess.

    heavy metal guitars are naturally scooped, some more than others. totally kosher. use your ears and use your judgement. if something sounds good to you, it must sound good to some other people too.
    kopio likes this.
  20. 707GK


    Jun 13, 2013
    Depends on a lot of things. Scooping a P Bass that already has tons of mids may not have as dramatic effect as scooping a Jazz Bass that’s already got a scoop going on. The midrange contains a lot of frequencies, from ~400hz up to ~1000hz and depending on where you scoop, you’ll have different results. Scooping in the 400-500 range will make you sound thin, but give you a lot of high mids, high end pop and sub bass. Scooping 1k will get rid of some midrange grind and honk if you want to smooth your tone out. But too much scoop will make you disappear so be careful.