Why so many EQ options?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by edbnuts, Aug 2, 2020.

  1. edbnuts


    Feb 5, 2012

    Every bass has some kind of onboard tone shaping (active/passive), most amps have a pre amp section for EQ for tone shaping and there is a great number of pedal offerings for tone shaping but why? I’m interested in understanding why a three band onboard preamp isn’t enough that an amp with tone knobs and sometimes a graphic EQ and parametric mid control and/or EQ pedals are all in play. We’ve all heard “roll up the tone on your P and go” or “the tone is in your fingers” while some of us utilize a rack mount system that rivals some recording studios. Why do some players focus so much on tone to the point of utilizing a ton of gear while others simply plug and play?
    Ellery likes this.
  2. BunchyMutt

    BunchyMutt Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2014
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Why are you a different person than I am? Why do we have different personalities and goals?
    jdh3000, Beheroth, RumbleBot and 11 others like this.
  3. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    There are too many false assumptions in this post to warrant anything more than, “because”.
    Ellery, mcnach, Element Zero and 2 others like this.
  4. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Charlzm, edbnuts and equill like this.
  5. LaklandLaksNADA

    LaklandLaksNADA Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2011
    Chicago, IL
    Because your mother and I said so.
    Ellery, Spectrum, JGbassman and 2 others like this.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I have done all of the above in various phases of my playing (over 35 years).

    I started with a P bass in jazz band in high school. Rolled the tone back a tad and let it eat.

    Then I joined a rock band. I started sending both a Bass Rockman and the line out from my amp to the board. Pointy Ibanez and Kramer PJ basses (still passive).

    Then I moved to active Ibanez basses and an ART Nightbass processor. The sounds weren't amazing by today's standards. But it really did a lot for 80s and early 90s tech.

    Then more modern amps (SWR and Eden). More mostly active basses.

    Suddenly, I flipped a switch. Back to passive basses. Just dime the tone knob and use pickup combinations and my fingers (or a pick) to change my tone. My only pedals are drives, compression, octaver, and an HPF. My amp EQ stays fairly "flat". Also, I've gone back to more "vintage" sounding amps.

    I've enjoyed all of those approaches and reserve the right to revert back to one of them... or go in a completely new direction.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
    FilterFunk, Ellery, Spectrum and 6 others like this.
  7. thabassmon


    Sep 26, 2013
    New Zealand
    Why? Because some people really care about their tone, some people are more confident as players when the instrument is responding how they expect, some people are satisfied with an instrument's inherent tone. Different people like different tones and play in differing contexts. Just this weekend I was at my friend's 40th and people were requesting I play, within minutes an amp was setup and Strat was put in my hands, I made no adjustments to the amp, and Strats are not my ideal choice of guitar (I prefer Les Paul, 335, PRS non whammy types) but I played anyway, using the five way selector and tone controls throughout to adjust the sound to suit what I was playing, if there were no tone controls I'd be OK but I'm happy they were there. So for me I look at EQ and tone controls as tools to accentuate what you are playing, I also use varying physical techniques too. Don't over think it, just accept that it exists and use it as you wish.
    jdh3000, Ellery, zie and 3 others like this.
  8. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    EQ is a really complicated thing, if you factor in all the different ways a tone band, shelf, filter, etc can be shaped. And add in extra bits like circuit components, tubes, and fun stuff like EQ stacking.

    If I'm playing an active bass thru an EQ pedal into a head with an EQ section, I'm probably using all three. They can work in tandem to achieve a specific tonal result that I like, and for me, it doesn't really go past that.

    To make matters worse, I'm building a board with not one but two EQs on it, to be used separately or together. One's technically a preamp pedal, but it certainly has EQ on it. All cuz I like it.
    jdh3000, miljoneir, HolmeBass and 2 others like this.
  9. I like having the ability to shape my mids and the onboard eq allows me to make minor adjustments on the fly as needed.
    jdh3000 and edbnuts like this.
  10. crguti


    Feb 14, 2011
    eq your bass for the best DI clean signal.
  11. cnltb


    May 28, 2005

    Where EQs are concerned, I think it is a case of varying preferences.
    Some people like graphic, some like parametric, some like this set of frequency bands and some like another...
  12. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    I take it you haven’t met many other people in the real world.
    Stumbo likes this.
  13. edbnuts


    Feb 5, 2012
    I EQ the preamp to a base tone that I like and adjust on my bass for different songs.
    Zbysek likes this.
  14. Because when you can't get the tone just so, you might think that gear is the route to get there. Or because extra gear pisses you off so you just want to find something simple and intuitive that works well enough. Or because you want to be able to sound like anything, but don't want 100 basses to switch through so you fake it with outboard gear. Or because you just have money to burn and want to learn how ALL the audio gear works so you can be as versatile a musician as possible.



    Ellery likes this.
  15. I have three stages of EQ. There's the ballpark EQ, which is used with a drive pedal usually a three band EQ. Then the fine tune EQ, which is end of chain, usually a para EQ . Then "the mix" EQ (if any) which is the FOH or a recording mix. I use a passive bass.

    EQ has all sorts of uses.
    zie likes this.
  16. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Some folks like a lot of "icing" on their cake.
    gitfiddl, lomo and Correlli like this.
  17. I like a chocolate mud cake. My tones probably mud as well, but hey...

    Rilence and bassdude51 like this.
  18. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    I wonder how many people roll off one frequency band at one point in the signal chain only to add it back later on?

    I think part of the reason is that the designers and engineers at gear companies have it in their best interest to keep you buying their products. And if that means they have to invent or create a need for a new eq, then that is what they will do.

    I don’t know how true it is, but I have heard that Apple relies little on consumer feedback and instead decides what the consumer needs and then makes it the standard. Remember when they dropped the headphone jack on iPhones? Uproar until everyone realized they wanted Airpods. Brilliant. I used the old school bluetooth earpieces for years, but somehow it never seemed to be widely accepted until the Airpod.

    But I digress...I think that tone is the instrument, the person, the amp, the cab, etc. As long as they don’t mind setting everything up, then I guess adding EQ devices and gear is their burden.

    I have played with many singers, and it is funny how some singers sound great but require extensive monitor mixing, eqing, effects, special mics, etc to make it all happen. And then you have singers who can walk on to a stage with just an SM58 and no other requirements, and they just blow your barn doors off.
    ObsessiveArcher likes this.
  19. I play active jazz and passive precision. Both basses are different. Active jazz works best in bands with keyboards or with many instruments. Passive P works perfectly with guitar bands. Both have strong and weak points depending on musical style used. I use EQ on amp, mostly I don't use stomp boxes. This is what I achieved after some 20 years of looking for my tone. It is personal and what works for me won't work for the other guy.

    Some players don't care about tone and care about good note choice. Some play primitive lines and spend fortune on tone enhancers. It might seem that the latter are wrong, but no; many musical styles sound best when the bass is simplest possible, but you still need to find your personal sound or you lose most good gigs.

    Technically, most EQs are different. Example: If you put the bass up on your bass, it will probably sound different from what the bass knob on your overdrive pedal does, and also from the bass on your amp. If they all do the same, you probably should consider buying a better equipment ...
    jdh3000 likes this.
  20. I plug and play. But I have already set my pedalboard and amp to achieve the tone settings I want. After that, I just turn pedals on and off and I don't touch the amp as all my tone adjustments will be done via my on-board preamp. My amps and pedals are pretty simple, and even if I had amps with sliders and parametric blah-blah-blah, I would still just find a default setting and leave it.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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    Sep 26, 2021

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