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Bass (Base) Settings

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Obviously there are a multitude of variables but pondering, if you were to walk in to an unfamiliar rehearsal room, what would be the settings you would put on the amps eq as a starting point? I would normally boost the bass slight boost on high mids and slightly cut treble and the rest flat. Wondering what others would do and how much of that is dictated by genre.

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Assuming the guitarist and drummer hadn't arrived yet, I would turn the volume down, all presets and buttons etc  off, put all the EQ to 12 o'clock and take it from there. I wouldn't spend much time working on the sound. IMO rehearsals are to get the band stopping and starting together and to get the geography right, so thereabouts is close enough.

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8 hours ago, chris_b said:

Assuming the guitarist and drummer hadn't arrived yet, I would turn the volume down, all presets and buttons etc  off, put all the EQ to 12 o'clock and take it from there. I wouldn't spend much time working on the sound. IMO rehearsals are to get the band stopping and starting together and to get the geography right, so thereabouts is close enough.

This, 100%

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This is one of the reasons I use a preamp pedal for my eq - only in my case it was unfamiliar amps at gigs rather than rehearsal rooms. Plug it all in, set the amp to approximate flat (12 o’clock on bass/mids/treble) then identify what needs removing - usually low end due to voicing on the speakers.

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Yep. Took me years and years to work out the best possible solution is indeed everything flat. 

The amount of time I used to waste or getting frustrated trying to eq everything and anything is frightening.

I don't think I've ever had a bad sound flat.

Start flat, then if anything is really obviously wrong (and I mean really obvious) just tweak from there.

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Bass +200% 

  • Haha 2

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If the settings are in the middle, it does not automatically equal flat. If your volume/master is set at 12 o'clock, it does not mean that 50% of the power is in use. Our equipment is not measurement stuff, far from it.

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In the days when I was using rehearsal room amps, I would leave everything where it was except the master volume which I would turn down to zero, plug in turn up and adjust the EQ from where it is to get the sound that I want (if necessary). 

Unless you are very familiar with the amp in question there is no way of knowing where the flattest EQ setting is. And even with the controls at mid-way for an amp with active EQ and at full for those with passive tone stacks (you do do know which amps have which don't you?) there will still be a baked-in frequency hump or dip which gives the amp its "sound", otherwise there wouldn't be any point having different makes of amp.

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18 hours ago, itu said:

If the settings are in the middle, it does not automatically equal flat. If your volume/master is set at 12 o'clock, it does not mean that 50% of the power is in use. Our equipment is not measurement stuff, far from it.

If the controls have a 0 at 12 o'clock you know that's where the manufacturer intended the sound of this amp to be. You will be able to add or subtract as you wish, but with this type of control 12 o'clock is a good starting point. If the controls start at 0 and increase as you turn the controls clockwise then start at 0 and find you sound from there.

The real "flat" on many amps could be anywhere on the dial and isn't a real concern for most players.

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18 hours ago, itu said:

If the settings are in the middle, it does not automatically equal flat. If your volume/master is set at 12 o'clock, it does not mean that 50% of the power is in use. Our equipment is not measurement stuff, far from it.

True, and it goes deeper than that. As far as the actual tone controls are concerned a 12:00 setting may be neutral, as in zero boost, zero cut. That's the case with most SS front end amps. But with a valve front end 12:00 could be 6dB or more boost. As for flat, most amps are incapable of flat response, and you wouldn't it any more than you'd want flat beer.

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28 minutes ago, chris_b said:

If the controls have a 0 at 12 o'clock you know that's where the manufacturer intended the sound of this amp to be. You will be able to add or subtract as you wish, but with this type of control 12 o'clock is a good starting point. If the controls start at 0 and increase as you turn the controls clockwise then start at 0 and find you sound from there.

The real "flat" on many amps could be anywhere on the dial and isn't a real concern for most players.

Again, agree 100%.

12 o'clock doesn't mean I'm expecting "flat", it just means I'm starting somewhere which gives a reasonable +/- movement where applicable. Gain and volume would always start at zero and move to the correct place for preamp to get the right signal and overall volume. In theory my ABM's tone controls are 0dB boost at 12 o'clock, but my CTM100 and Little Bastard valve heads most definitely are not. But it's as good a place to start as any.

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On 25/05/2020 at 01:00, chris_b said:

Assuming the guitarist and drummer hadn't arrived yet, I would turn the volume down, all presets and buttons etc  off, put all the EQ to 12 o'clock and take it from there. I wouldn't spend much time working on the sound. IMO rehearsals are to get the band stopping and starting together and to get the geography right, so thereabouts is close enough.

 

On 26/05/2020 at 12:46, chris_b said:

If the controls have a 0 at 12 o'clock you know that's where the manufacturer intended the sound of this amp to be. You will be able to add or subtract as you wish, but with this type of control 12 o'clock is a good starting point. If the controls start at 0 and increase as you turn the controls clockwise then start at 0 and find you sound from there.

The real "flat" on many amps could be anywhere on the dial and isn't a real concern for most players.

As Mr @Merton has pointed out... there is a lot of truth in these two nuggets 👍 

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On 26/05/2020 at 14:56, Bill Fitzmaurice said:

As for flat, most amps are incapable of flat response, and you wouldn't it any more than you'd want flat beer.

Probably so. I have a Glockenklang Soul amp with a switchable eq. When the eq is bypassed, it does not have to be flat, but rather the adjustments are bypassed. Even hifi units have some tweaks, and still the manufacturers claim flat response.

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On 26/05/2020 at 12:46, chris_b said:

The real "flat" on many amps could be anywhere on the dial and isn't a real concern for most players.

Which is why you might as well start with whatever EQ was set by the last user of the amp. It's just as likely to be as usable as all the knobs at 12 o'clock.

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7 hours ago, BigRedX said:

Which is why you might as well start with whatever EQ was set by the last user of the amp. It's just as likely to be as usable as all the knobs at 12 o'clock.

No. I'm saying that "flat" is a concept that doesn't matter to most bassists, but starting from a base point of zero is a better than wherever some deaf thrash metal "person", using a dozen pedals, left off last time.

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28 minutes ago, chris_b said:

No. I'm saying that "flat" is a concept that doesn't matter to most bassists, but starting from a base point of zero is a better than wherever some deaf thrash metal "person", using a dozen pedals, left off last time.

Again, agreed. Our local rehearsal room has Ashdown ABM EVO IV heads and I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve gone in to find the EQ in a ridiculously OTT boost-everything-plus-the-sub situation. Set it “flat” and start again.

(I appreciate I have an advantage that I own Ashdown heads anyway so know how to dial something in quickly from “flat” but I’d follow the same when confronted with any other amp).

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1 hour ago, chris_b said:

No. I'm saying that "flat" is a concept that doesn't matter to most bassists, but starting from a base point of zero is a better than wherever some deaf thrash metal "person", using a dozen pedals, left off last time.

But it could just as easily be the ideal sound. You don't know until you've tried it. However with all the knobs at 12 o'clock it's lost before you've even started.

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On 26/05/2020 at 07:56, Bill Fitzmaurice said:

True, and it goes deeper than that. As far as the actual tone controls are concerned a 12:00 setting may be neutral, as in zero boost, zero cut. That's the case with most SS front end amps. But with a valve front end 12:00 could be 6dB or more boost. As for flat, most amps are incapable of flat response, and you wouldn't it any more than you'd want flat beer.

Yep, Try a GK at 12:00 vs an Aguilar and see if they are "flat". If they are flat they'd sound the same, but they don't, of course. 

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And it isn't just the amp/speaker configuration that determines the sound, as already mentioned there is the room shape/absorption factor, the instrument and your subjective hearing......... and then there's the mix in terms of how to you cut through.......... so many factors, so little time,  but through interesting experiment I suspect most of us find the right sound for us and hope its okay with the rest (band/audience/engineer) etc.

After years of looking for that elusive sound I finally  realised that at a rehearsal last year that the sound I had one evening was perfect... ah, what was it you ask...... not sure, simple set up of bass, amp and speaker........ but when I used the same simple set up  the following week, it didn't sound quite the same..... it was good but not quite so perfect......  or was it?

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1 hour ago, paulmcnamara said:

And it isn't just the amp/speaker configuration that determines the sound, as already mentioned there is the room shape/absorption factor, the instrument and your subjective hearing......... and then there's the mix in terms of how to you cut through.......... so many factors, so little time,  but through interesting experiment I suspect most of us find the right sound for us and hope its okay with the rest (band/audience/engineer) etc.

After years of looking for that elusive sound I finally  realised that at a rehearsal last year that the sound I had one evening was perfect... ah, what was it you ask...... not sure, simple set up of bass, amp and speaker........ but when I used the same simple set up  the following week, it didn't sound quite the same..... it was good but not quite so perfect......  or was it?

Strange how that happens isn’t it, on my old bands last recording both the guitarist and myself used exactly the same gear as we’d used on the one before - ok different strings but the same brands & gauges - same recording studio, same settings yet the sounds were different. Not massively but enough.

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