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Pedal Board Blues

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Why is it when I'm sitting in my living room with my boards output coming into my headphones everything sounds great, but when I play through my amp I can't hear the effect especially overdrive and distortion (MRX M-80)?

This is very frustrating. Taking the time to dial in everything at home through headphones and when I get to a gig all I have is crap.

Blue

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I've got the same issue with both electric and bass guitar. I think the sound from amp is affected by accoustics of the room, whilst headphones are direct into ear.

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[quote name='SH73' timestamp='1505159837' post='3369945']
I've got the same issue with both electric and bass guitar. I think the sound from amp is affected by accoustics of the room, whilst headphones are direct into ear.
[/quote]

It's crazy, I get this great dirty distorted sustain though the headphones and nothing on stage.

Blue

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It's tricky to get a good live sound without the rest of the band isn't it?
I've been through lots of good drive pedals, which obviously work fine for many, but think I'm now happy with the simplest /cheapest one!
EHX Bass Soul Food seems to work great for me and in a live setting.
Maybe try EQing a bit differently, I've previously found a little boost around 800hz brings out the drive ( on my rig anyway.) Edited by redbandit599

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[quote name='redbandit599' timestamp='1505170000' post='3370016']
It's tricky to get a good live sound without the rest of the band isn't it?
I've been through lots of good drive pedals, which obviously work fine for many, but think I'm now happy with the simplest /cheapest one!
EHX Bass Soul Food seems to work great for me and in a live setting.
Maybe try EQing a bit differently, I've previously found a little boost around 800hz brings out the drive ( on my rig anyway.)
[/quote]

Yes, it is tricky, especially if your on your own.

When I say that I mean, ideally the guitarist and bass player should be working together on blending their sounds together. Most of us don't have 2-3 techs managing our rigs.

Blue Edited by blue

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[quote name='blue' timestamp='1505155246' post='3369904']
Why is it when I'm sitting in my living room with my boards output coming into my headphones everything sounds great, but when I play through my amp I can't hear the effect especially overdrive and distortion (MRX M-80)?

This is very frustrating. Taking the time to dial in everything at home through headphones and when I get to a gig all I have is crap.

Blue
[/quote]

Are you using a headphone straight out of the board?

The difference will be the amp, it imparting its own eq and also things will sound different as it's going through the pre amp etc

The easy solution is to create your tones with amp or if you have a pre amp pedal go from that into the effects return and bypass the pre amp on the amp then it's just making your pedal board sound louder, di from the board to foh and your good

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[quote name='blue' timestamp='1505161076' post='3369953']


It's crazy, I get this great dirty distorted sustain though the headphones and nothing on stage.

Blue
[/quote]
I haven't played on stage for about 25 years. But I can only think of that different settings would apply live and studio like environment room. Live you have other instruments mixing in with frequencies so I'd say try different eq settings live.
I've listened to isolated studio Steve Harris tracks and I live the sound. I also listened to isolated live sound. Two completely different sounds. The live sound seems to have plenty of gain but it sits just Steve Harris like in the mix.

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My limited experience is that any bass sound that I like on its own seems to have way too little high end and distortion/overdrive when played with the band. I'm not sure how effective it is but one thing I've tried is playing along to live recordings of my band, through headphones, and setting up my sounds while doing that.

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[quote name='0175westwood29' timestamp='1505190036' post='3370035']
Are you using a headphone straight out of the board?
[/quote]

I'm intrigued by this too. Definitely looks like it's plugged straight in.

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you perceive bass differently at different volume levels. It's important to set your pedals plugged into your amp, turned up to gigging volume

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How are you plugging I to your amp? I do most/all my toneshapping wig my board, so go bass>board>FX return. This way I skip the pre/eq on the amp and control everything on my board.

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I will try to apply all these suggestions.

I'm not sure about all the pre-amp stuff.

In using a GK 1001rb head.

Blue

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[quote name='cheddatom' timestamp='1505221084' post='3370314']
you perceive bass differently at different volume levels. It's important to set your pedals plugged into your amp, turned up to gigging volume
[/quote]
This^^^^ I near drove myself crazy trying to get a decent sound that stayed the same when I turned up for a gig. I live in a semi detached house so am conscious of noise levels. What sounds perfect at practice volume is totally different once I cranked the volume up. I tried headphones and they were different again. In the end I just get an 'about' setting and then dial it in when I get to the venue. Perhaps I will get better at this with more practice but every one I have done so far has needed slightly different tweaks. Especially outside v inside.

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How close are you to your amp on stage?

If you are within 6 feet you will miss some sonic content makng the higher frequencies stand out. I generally double check my fx sound from 20 feet away.

Clearly this does not apply when you use in-ear and go direct FOH but worth considering. And check at full gigging volume as mentioned before.

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Still curious about whether the headphones in that photo are plugged into the board or if it's just the camera angle playing tricks on me... Edited by CameronJ

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[quote name='CameronJ' timestamp='1505306851' post='3370903']
Still curious about whether the headphones in that photo are plugged into the board or if it's just the camera angle playing tricks on me...
[/quote]

My headphones are plugged right into the pedal board. TC Mini Delay I'd last in the chain.


Blue

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[quote name='HazBeen' timestamp='1505246051' post='3370534']
How close are you to your amp on stage?

If you are within 6 feet you will miss some sonic content makng the higher frequencies stand out. I generally double check my fx sound from 20 feet away.

Clearly this does not apply when you use in-ear and go direct FOH but worth considering. And check at full gigging volume as mentioned before.
[/quote]

I'm a bar band guy, I'm usually standing a few feet in front if my amp.

Blue

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I use a M80. I've found that stacking another OD pedal helps it's distorted sound. Like you, I love it in headphones but feel it needs something more through the rig. I tend to stack mine with a VT bass. Placing it before and after the M80 will bring different dirt tones but a similar result. I'll usually run the M80 dirty channel with the blend at about 11 o'clock and the gain around 9 o'clock. That blend level is just about parity with the eq section so it doesn't get too boomy. I love the M80, lots of sounds available :)

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[quote name='blue' timestamp='1505344266' post='3371279']


My headphones are plugged right into the pedal board. TC Mini Delay I'd last in the chain.


Blue
[/quote]

Here's the problem, your getting an incredibly dry sound using your headphones, full frequency into the headphones which will have an eq curve but nothing like the amp and speaker cab so dialling in tones this way is sadly pretty pointless.

If you want to do this put a di box last in you chain and go direct to foh however this won't be 100% the same.

Spend some time with your amp at gigging volume and dial in the sound you want listen from a distance maybe 10-20ft this will give you a honest idea of the sound then you can go back on stage and trust you sound ok out front, eq corrections from on stage never really work as you don't hear them properly.

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I use in-ears for live playing with no amp on stage. Last in my pedal board is a Sansamp ParaDriver and that goes direct to the Mixer. I then have my own mix for my IEM's from an aux send on the desk.

Part of my pedal board is the EBS Billy Sheehan deluxe distortion. That pedal keeps your clean signal on at all times, but you can blend the amount of distortion that you need/want in and switch the distortion in/out as necessary.

What I found was that with the distortion turned on, where I blended enough in as I was listening through my IEM's, that same amount wasn't enough to be heard properly through the FOH. So I set the amount of distortion blend based on what was coming out of FOH. Sounds a little wild in my IEM's on times, but at least I know the FOH sound is correct.

Basically what i'm saying is echoing what's already been said above, you need to set your distortion levels based on what comes out of your live rig, what you hear through headphones in isolation isn't a good representation of the sound that comes out of your amp in a live setting.

If you can't do it in the dead time after setup, before you actually start your first set, then book a rehearsal room on your own and crank it up, then spend some time on your pedal board settings. Edited by LewisK1975

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the quieter you listen, the less "bass" (I guess 40-200Hz) you'll hear. Without changing the EQ at all, but simply by turning everything up, you'll hear more bass. Combine this with the fact you're monitoring on headphones which will have a totally different response to your amp and cab in a room a distance away from your ears, you can see why what you're trying to do is actually impossible.

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[quote name='cheddatom' timestamp='1505380707' post='3371420']
the quieter you listen, the less "bass" (I guess 40-200Hz) you'll hear. Without changing the EQ at all, but simply by turning everything up, you'll hear more bass. Combine this with the fact you're monitoring on headphones which will have a totally different response to your amp and cab in a room a distance away from your ears, you can see why what you're trying to do is actually impossible.
[/quote]
Also the cab will be rolling off some of the top end, which your headphones will keep in.

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Lots of things you're not taking in to consideration here Blue.
If you plug the headphones directly to the board you can't predict how your amp will affect the sound with it's preamp secction and it's own "build-in colour". You should have your amp with you and plug the board to it, then get the headphones out of the amp.
Even doing things like i've describded there's always the cab to consider. Most cabs on the market are coloured, and very coloured, to a point that you need to aply EQ in the amp to make them sound... er... "better".

2 ways to solve your problem:

- You can get a transparent rig (amp+cab), set flat, so that the sound leaving your board is as close to the sound out of the cab as possible - this is an expensive route!

- You need to set up your entire rig at home/reharsall place and mix the sounds hearing the rig at volume (without headphones) - this could lead to unpleasant discussions with neighbours!

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Unfortunately, I think that Ghost_Bass's #2 option is the only realistic one. If you have neighbours, get to the practice room early and do it there. No matter how transparent your amp appears and how flat you normally run it, the speakers will add compression at realistic gig volume and most front ends will have a compression characteristic too, once they are cranked. If you are going into a house PA via DI, then it's likely that compression will be added here as well, so even if you run at low stage volume, there will still be non-linear changes in the dynamics out front, which will change how your drives sound and respond. You play bars, so is the audience primarily hearing your amp direct or more from the PA? If only you can hear your amp, then this aspect of the sound is more important, if the audience hears it then you need to tailor it to what they hear and put up with what you can hear. IME, the only way to dial in gain pedals (especially) is to do it 'at volume' and mark the pedals, then do it again with the rest of the band playing, then tweak it on the night.

This has made me think a bit. Guitars get mic'd, bass gets DI'd. What does my overdrive sound sound like without my speaker compression I wonder? On the upside, nobody listens to the bass player anyway.

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[quote name='radiophonic' timestamp='1505465481' post='3372059']
Unfortunately, I think that Ghost_Bass's #2 option is the only realistic one. If you have neighbours, get to the practice room early and do it there. No matter how transparent your amp appears and how flat you normally run it, the speakers will add compression at realistic gig volume and most front ends will have a compression characteristic too, once they are cranked. If you are going into a house PA via DI, then it's likely that compression will be added here as well, so even if you run at low stage volume, there will still be non-linear changes in the dynamics out front, which will change how your drives sound and respond. You play bars, so is the audience primarily hearing your amp direct or more from the PA? If only you can hear your amp, then this aspect of the sound is more important, if the audience hears it then you need to tailor it to what they hear and put up with what you can hear. IME, the only way to dial in gain pedals (especially) is to do it 'at volume' and mark the pedals, then do it again with the rest of the band playing, then tweak it on the night.

This has made me think a bit. Guitars get mic'd, bass gets DI'd. What does my overdrive sound sound like without my speaker compression I wonder? On the upside, nobody listens to the bass player anyway.
[/quote]

Completely correct, and don't go down the whole di vs mic question

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