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dave_bass5

playing on wooden stages. how to get the best tone.

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Hi Guys.
Im sure there is info on here about this but i wanted to get it all in one place if i can.
We had three gigs this weekend at Holiday camps and the rooms were quite big with nice big stages.
I was sure i would have enough power for these rooms but i was struggling to get any low end out of my UL212. In fact my sound at two fo the gigs was terrible. lots of mids but no low end out front. On stage the sound wasnt too bad.
While i realise the stages were the problem i want to know whats the best solution for getting more low end out of my cab and in to the room.
Would a Gamma pad help? I dont want to start using chairs or crates but im willing to use a pad or matt of some kind if this would help.
We seem to be doing a lot of wooden stages now and while my UL115 was fine the UL212 seems to have a hard time producing the lows.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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[quote name='dave_bass5' post='29290' date='Jul 9 2007, 08:02 PM']Hi Guys.
Im sure there is info on here about this but i wanted to get it all in one place if i can.
We had three gigs this weekend at Holiday camps and the rooms were quite big with nice big stages.
I was sure i would have enough power for these rooms but i was struggling to get any low end out of my UL212. In fact my sound at two fo the gigs was terrible. lots of mids but no low end out front. On stage the sound wasnt too bad.
While i realise the stages were the problem i want to know whats the best solution for getting more low end out of my cab and in to the room.
Would a Gamma pad help? I dont want to start using chairs or crates but im willing to use a pad or matt of some kind if this would help.
We seem to be doing a lot of wooden stages now and while my UL115 was fine the UL212 seems to have a hard time producing the lows.

Thanks for any suggestions.[/quote]

S'funny..... I play on wooden staging all the time and do not have any problems with bottom end.... my setup is an eden metro combo..... sometimes use a 2 x 10 ext cab

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[quote name='crez5150' post='29293' date='Jul 9 2007, 08:07 PM']S'funny..... I play on wooden staging all the time and do not have any problems with bottom end.... my setup is an eden metro combo..... sometimes use a 2 x 10 ext cab[/quote]

I also play a lot of venues that i dont have trouble with as well. im just asking how to maximise the lows for the bigger rooms.

Do you put your combo on the floor or raise it up?

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I'll be interested in the response to this as I've always found that having the cab with all four feet firmly on the floor gives more bottom end. It would appear counter-productive to raise the cab off the floor other than to get it closer to ear level so that you hear it better!

Occasionally you get the room from hell that no amount of positioning is gonna help and in those circumstances I go back to square one with EQ (everything flat with filters etc off) regardless of my 'normal' settings.

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Never had a problem with my EBS 2x12 but then I rarely check the sound out front. Never had any complaints mind. Big stages often cause problems because of the tendency not to put the amp against the back wall for boundary reinforcement and also the tendency to spread out and if you dont have really good monitoring you lose touch with the rest of the band. If the rooms are that big then you may need to go through the PA as well.

Obvious answer - use both cabs!

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[quote name='bass_ferret' post='29311' date='Jul 9 2007, 08:21 PM']Never had a problem with my EBS 2x12 but then I rarely check the sound out front. Never had any complaints mind. Big stages often cause problems because of the tendency not to put the amp against the back wall for boundary reinforcement and also the tendency to spread out and if you dont have really good monitoring you lose touch with the rest of the band. If the rooms are that big then you may need to go through the PA as well.

Obvious answer - use both cabs![/quote]


Thanks for the respopnce. Cant use both cabs as one is 8ohms and one is 4ohms.
The rooms werent that big but bigger than we are used to. There was a house PA 9not a full one but bigger than ours) and we did go through this but im just wondering what to do on the smaller gigs. I do have enough power to fill the areas i need to but im just wondering if i can get more low end using a pad or matt.
I have never had a complaint either but then we would only really get told to turn down. I am happy with the sound when we play on a floor but more and more of our gigs are on stages. We dont tend to spread out no matter what the size of the stage though.
When we sound check i go out front with my wireless system so i can hear the mix. On stage usually its fine and i can always hear myself but out front, maybe 20-30 ft away it seems to sound weak in the low end.
I have found in the past that i loose a lot of low end if i raise the cab but i have not gone out front when i have done this in the past and haven tdone it recently

It could be that i just dont like the sound. I find it sounds great with finger playing but not so great with pick playing.

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I have found this fairly consistently to be an issue. Thus I use the PA. My rig is for the stage sound, and the PA is for the FOH. It works.

But we all go into the PA, so it is easy. WIth a vocal only PA, you will be lacking any proper low end meat from the kick drum in medium to large rooms, and the only solution is a mic on the kick and snare, at which point the whole band should go into the PA anyway.

Chris

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I have the same problem at certain venues with hollow wooden stages. You get a hollow boomy sound that no amount of eq'ing seems to help that much. The experts might rubbish this but in those circumstances I take the car mats out of the car and stick 'em under the cab - seems to help.

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Shame the cabs are different impedence. Never used a pad so I cant comment but I usually find stages boost the low end rather than cut it. But then there are stages and stages and they are all different. Room empty can also sound lots different from room full of punters. There are loads of variables here but it sounds like you should keep the 15 - not what you want to hear after all the grief.

You have presumably tried different EQ settings. The EQ for the 15 might be a lot different for the 12's, and different for different venues. Thats what tone controls are for.

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I still reckon that proper low end all the way out into the room will need some PA support. Unless you have massive cabs, and then they will be too loud on stage.

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[quote name='niceguyhomer' post='29420' date='Jul 9 2007, 11:03 PM']I have the same problem at certain venues with hollow wooden stages. You get a hollow boomy sound that no amount of eq'ing seems to help that much. The experts might rubbish this but in those circumstances I take the car mats out of the car and stick 'em under the cab - seems to help.[/quote]
The difference between punch and boom can be a very fine one. I've had this problem myself which is why I've kept my little cabs as the low end is a little less. I would have thought the 2x12 would be better than the 15 in this case.

How about trying the old hi-fi trick of cutting a couple of squash balls in half and putting them under the cab?

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There are two separate issues regarding 'coupling'. One is mechanical coupling where the speaker cab vibrates and thus causes the stage to vibrate like a giant speaker, with a resulting increase in output at the resonant frequencies of the cab/stage system. Basically big uncontrollable boom which is unlikely to sound good to anyone. GRAMMA pads, spikes, chairs, rubber car mats (!) and all sorts of vibration isolating things can help with this.

The other coupling is acoustic coupling - where multiple sound sources combine constructively to give more output. This can be multiple speakers operating in phase or multiple soundwaves (i.e. the output directly from the speaker plus the output bouncing off the back wall, or the side wall, or the floor, and so on) meeting in phase and thus combining beneficially.

Bear in mind that mechanical coupling can cause destructive interference if the stage vibrates out of phase with your speakers, thus cancelling out the sound at a certain frequency. Acoustic coupling (boundary reinforcement/cancellation) can also cause frequencies to be cancelled out really badly - when sounds 180 degrees out of phase meet you typically get a 24dB notch in the sound.

What were the room dimensions? Where was your cab positioned?

Alex

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There may be something else at work here - I have sometimes found that raised stages will increase the low end, but this increase may only be apparent to those on stage. So if you adjust the settings of your amp so that you get a good onstage sound in these circumstances, it is likely that your amp will sound thin and/or quiet to the audience. In my experience, the best way to get a consistent sound is to not rely on variable methods of bass reinforcement, such as stages, walls, corners etc, but to have an amp and speaker setup that will produce enough low end by itself for most, if not all, of your gigs.

My approach to your situation would be to raise the speaker off the floor on a milk crate or chair to get it away from the effect of the stage, then adjust your settings from the audience perspective rather than the stage perspective, which in this case would involve adding more bass in the EQ. If you do this without raising the speaker off the floor, your onstage sound will likely be booming like crazy.

Jennifer

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Thanks for all the responses. For some reason ive not got any email notifications so was a bit slow reading them all.

Jennifer.
Yes, i do EQ for out front. one of the reasons for getting my radio system was so i can hear what we sound like in the middle of the room. In fact if we do sound check i always EQ for out there and never for on stage as i realise im standing too close normally and so cant get an idea of how it sounds. And generally i dont have any problems hearing myself on stage. saying that i tend not to have to do too much EQ adjustment anyway with my MB heads.
But i agree that if i can reduce the amount of on stage low end then i can raise it without sounding muddy on stage and it should carry out front. I never raise my cab(s) as i dont like the loss of low end on stage and there isnt always anything to put it on, thats why i was asking about the Gramma (thanks Alex) pad as if it does reduce the lows on stage i can then turn them up and hopefully they will sound louder out front.

Alex.
Im really rubbish at judging room dimension so i wouldn't like to say. plus each of the three rooms were very different but what i can say is that my cab was about 3-4 feet from the back wall and not in the corner on all the gigs. On two of the gigs my cab was on a wooden riser on the stage so i can see why i was loosing power. On the last gig the stage was much bigger but seemed less hollow and i had a really good sound, even out front although this room held about 500 people so i did go in to the PA to help get it out in the room. I found on the smaller gigs i was pushing my SA450 to over half on the master and i seemed to just be getting more compression rather than volume. On the last gig i was actually running slightly quieter and still have more volume. At all the gigs i had enough volume but felt i needed a cleaner low end out front.

Toasted
The Auralex stuff looks good, can you recommended which one might do the trick?

nottswarwick.
Totally agree. PA is the way to go. Im just trying to maximise my sound so i dont have to reply on a PA. We did actually use the house PA on all three gigs but normally we just have our vocal PA so im trying to figure out if its just the venue and there is nothing i can do about it or if any thing will help.

ferret.
I got some rubber feet recently for my UL115 to stop it moving around on stage but found, at that gig anyway my sound was terrible. Could have been the stage but i have played that place a few times with the same rig, minus the feet so im a bit weary about going this route unless the ball idea works in a different way. The Ul212 is punchy and louder but the UL115 seems nicer and less aggressive to my ears.

To the rest.
Thanks again and keep 'em coming.

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[quote name='nottswarwick' post='29432' date='Jul 9 2007, 11:14 PM']I still reckon that proper low end all the way out into the room will need some PA support. Unless you have massive cabs, and then they will be too loud on stage.[/quote]

It really depends on the size and SPL requirement of the gig. If the PA does not have proper subs then I would always just use the bass rig for the house. If you do go through the PA you should keep the bass rig quiet because multiple bass sources in one room equals nightmares in sound due to the two being out of phase and causing uneven reinforcement and cancellation.

[quote name='endorka' post='29471' date='Jul 9 2007, 11:49 PM']There may be something else at work here - I have sometimes found that raised stages will increase the low end, but this increase may only be apparent to those on stage. So if you adjust the settings of your amp so that you get a good onstage sound in these circumstances, it is likely that your amp will sound thin and/or quiet to the audience.[/quote]

I agree. I don't believe in EQing to the room, you're always fighting a losing battle.

[quote name='endorka' post='29471' date='Jul 9 2007, 11:49 PM']In my experience, the best way to get a consistent sound is to not rely on variable methods of bass reinforcement, such as stages, walls, corners etc, but to have an amp and speaker setup that will produce enough low end by itself for most, if not all, of your gigs.[/quote]

Yes and no. You are better served by having a rig with plenty of headroom (not in terms of watts, in terms of max SPL vs required SPL) than pushing a small rig to its limits but however powerful your rig you cannot fight physics - if the backwave off all the boundaries cancels out the front wave from your speakers power will not help you - you have to fight clever and relocate your rig.

[quote name='dave_bass5' post='29606' date='Jul 10 2007, 10:01 AM']Im really rubbish at judging room dimension so i wouldn't like to say. plus each of the three rooms were very different but what i can say is that my cab was about 3-4 feet from the back wall and not in the corner on all the gigs.[/quote]

I know I keep banging on about this but it really matters. If you place your bass cab the wrong distance from the walls or floor you will make getting a good tone impossible. Here's a great excerpt about this:

"Boundary Cancellation throws another wrench into the cogs. If the bass cab is not in a corner, there will be a notch in the frequency response that is related to the distance from the cab to the wall:

2 feet will notch at ~140Hz
2.5' at ~112Hz
3' at ~95 Hz
3.5' at ~ 80Hz
4' at ~ 70Hz
5' at ~ 57Hz
6' at ~ 47Hz
7' at ~ 40Hz
8' at ~ 35Hz

So, no matter where you put the bass cab, try to place it within 2 feet of a room boundary (wall, floor, ceiling), or at least 8 feet from a boundary."

You can see from this that you were notching out somewhere around 70-95Hz due to your cab's distance from the back wall, which is a critical region for bass. That may have been disguised on stage by the hollow floor adding a load of boom in the ~150Hz region but would have been obvious out front.

If you're trying to fill a venue with bass you need to take advantage of boundary reinforcement - each boundary gives you another 3dB - brute force will not get you there (which is why outdoors gigs need much more PA support).

[quote name='dave_bass5' post='29606' date='Jul 10 2007, 10:01 AM']I found on the smaller gigs i was pushing my SA450 to over half on the master and i seemed to just be getting more compression rather than volume.[/quote]

That's probably due to a combination of thermal power compression (voice coils getting hot and impedance thus increasing and therefore amp power output decreasing) and mechanical power compression (cones exceeding Xmax). No substitute for cubic inches!

[quote name='dave_bass5' post='29606' date='Jul 10 2007, 10:01 AM']On the last gig i was actually running slightly quieter and still have more volume. At all the gigs i had enough volume but felt i needed a cleaner low end out front.[/quote]

So if you'd moved your rig into the room corner you'd have solved the lack of clean bottom problem. I know it's not always practical but I don't think people give these considerations the importance they should. I'm sure your rig could easily handle an audience of that capacity if approached correctly.

[quote name='dave_bass5' post='29606' date='Jul 10 2007, 10:01 AM']The Auralex stuff looks good, can you recommended which one might do the trick?[/quote]

The GRAMMA is the standard. A cheaper and more portable solution is a length of Auralex PlatFoam, cut into two lengths the width of your cab. Use one for tilt, two for full isolation. Available from Studiospares. The GRAMMA is a piece of carpeted plywood supported by two lengths of PlatFoam.

Just to recap the room acoustics thing, bear this in mind:

A typical 2x10" will have sensitivity of 96dB and power handling of 200W (this are real world specs, not manufacturer's bs). This will give a max SPL of 119dB. A matching 4x10" will have 3dB more sensitivity and twice the power handling, giving another 6dB of max SPL - i.e. 125dB.

Take the 2x10" from just sitting on the floor and move it into the corner and you gain 3dB from the back wall and 3dB from the side wall. Max SPL is now 125dB - equal to the 4x10" when away from the walls. Now take the 4x10" and position it 4' from the back wall and 5' from the side wall - it now loses over 3dB from ~70Hz to ~57Hz, so it now has less max SPL than the correctly positioned 2x10".

This isn't just techy geeky theory - it matters in the real world!

Alex

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Alex
Great info. thanks very much.
I believe my UL212 is 103dB which to my ears sounds very loud but ill certainly move it closer to the wall the next time there is one. My next few gigs are marquees i believe but we are back at the camps in Aug so all this will be put in to practice if possible.
Your spot on about me loosing some volume around 100hz as it did seem a bit soft on the lower strings and i would normally boost at 100hz to cure this.


But like you say, its not always practical to place your rig near a wall. I will try though next time there is one. And i would rather not have to elevate or tip my cab.

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[quote name='dave_bass5' post='29690' date='Jul 10 2007, 12:23 PM']Great info. thanks very much.[/quote]

No problem - acoustics can be quite counter-intuitive but they're worth understanding. It's easy to forget that bass is omnidirectional but if you remember that and then use the surroundings to send the sound in the direction you need then it makes a huge difference.

[quote name='dave_bass5' post='29690' date='Jul 10 2007, 12:23 PM']I believe my UL212 is 103dB[/quote]

As I said, there are manufacturer's specs and reality - two different things! The actual sensitivity of a UL212 is ~97dB in the lows with a rising response in the midrange.

[quote name='dave_bass5' post='29690' date='Jul 10 2007, 12:23 PM']My next few gigs are marquees i believe but we are back at the camps in Aug so all this will be put in to practice if possible.[/quote]

At least with marquees you avoid the notching cancellation problem - though you need a lot more power due to the lack of any boundary reinforcement. Will you have PA support then?

[quote name='dave_bass5' post='29690' date='Jul 10 2007, 12:23 PM']But like you say, its not always practical to place your rig near a wall. I will try though next time there is one. And i would rather not have to elevate or tip my cab.[/quote]

If you can juggle the stage set-up to get your cab in the right place when you don't have PA support, do so. Bear in mind that if your cab is neither elevated nor tilted you are unlikely to be within 30 degrees off-axis and therefore will not hear the true sound from your speakers. That of course needs to be balanced with where the rest of the band are relative to your cab, and if without PA support where the audience are.

Alex

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Alex
Thanks again. No, we wont have PA support in the Marquee gigs. We will have our vocal PA but its not worth me going through that. We have played quite a few in the past and we only need to fill the dance floor, not the whole place so i think ill be fine. Normally i have used my 1210 cab so this will be the first time with the UL212. How do you know the sensitivity of the UL212? is it published or are you working it out? If the lows are that quiet maybe i need to look for a different cab.
I do realise i don't hear the same on stage as the audience and my on stage sound is normally a lot more middy than i would like but if i go out front it is normally sitting well in the mix and the lows seem to bloom a bit more.

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[quote name='dave_bass5' post='29723' date='Jul 10 2007, 01:10 PM']Thanks again. No, we wont have PA support in the Marquee gigs. We will have our vocal PA but its not worth me going through that. We have played quite a few in the past and we only need to fill the dance floor, not the whole place so i think ill be fine.[/quote]

Yes, that sounds about right.

[quote name='dave_bass5' post='29723' date='Jul 10 2007, 01:10 PM']How do you know the sensitivity of the UL212? is it published or are you working it out?[/quote]

If you put the DeltaLite II-2512 T/S specs into WinISD Pro it calculates the sensitivity for you. You can also look at the plots on Eminence's site. Epifani use a proprietary speaker which is a tweaked II-2512 - when specifying OEM speakers you can't actually improve on the standard speaker, any gains on the one hand cause losses on the other. I realise that your UL212 has the old B&C drivers but they're similar enough to make little difference.

[quote name='dave_bass5' post='29723' date='Jul 10 2007, 01:10 PM']If the lows are that quiet maybe i need to look for a different cab.[/quote]

97dB is not low sensitivity - it's just real. To put it in perspective the difference between manufacturers' cab specs and reality is like car manufacturers' claiming their cars do 500mph when they actually do 125mph.

[quote name='dave_bass5' post='29723' date='Jul 10 2007, 01:10 PM']I do realise i don't hear the same on stage as the audience and my on stage sound is normally a lot more middy than i would like but if i go out front it is normally sitting well in the mix and the lows seem to bloom a bit more.[/quote]

'Bloom' is one of those myths that won't go away. What actually happens is people often stand in a null (due to boundary cancellation) near their cab and/or further away the midrange is blocked by the band members or audience.

Alex

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Well thanks again Alex. very helpful.

I guess your right about the bloom. Maybe what i meant was that the very mid sound i get on stage seems to mellow out and the lows seem to blend in with the mids if that makes sense. anyway, you know whats what.
As i have said if i can i will sound check from out in the room and concentrate on getting the bass to sit in the mix rather than worry about the on stage sound (within reason of course) but the room is always empty so i know it will change once it fills up.
I also think by playing with a pick im not really getting as much low end as i would like. I played with just fingers for a few songs over the weekend and what a difference that made. maybe i just need to give up the pick playing.

Again, thanks for all the advice. It will come in handy very soon.

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[quote name='bass_ferret' post='29818' date='Jul 10 2007, 03:47 PM']Who said playing bass is easy? Different picks have different sound. Try using a heavier pick.[/quote]

Im already using a 1mm pick. I have tried many gauges and i like the one im using but when i play with my fingers i feel i have more control over the sound. I just cant play very well like that.

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