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Setting instrument and amp EQ


SteveXFR

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I'm braced for the inevitable accusations of stupidity for this one so here goes.

I'm playing Stingray basses which have an active EQ with cut and boost bass treble and mids. My Orange amp has a similar 3 band EQ. Should I be setting the EQ on the amp with the settings centred on the instrument? Are the EQ controls on the instrument just for fine tweaking as required? 

Have I got that right or all wrong?

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When I played a Stingray ( 3EQ ) I would get my sound on the amp with my bass EQ all centred ( no cut or boost ) 

Then depending on venue I would tweak my bass EQ to suit which on occasions meant cutting some bass ( boomy room ) or adding mids etc but only minor tweaks 

 

This worked well for me 

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With my active Deluxe Precision I always set EQ on the bass with the amp flat although I think that's as much down to convenience/laziness as anything else.  The EQ on the bass is just closer to hand.

 

I definitely wouldn't say the preamp on that bass is just for fine tuning, it's just not that subtle.

 

As above though, no right or wrong answers here, just personal preference.

 

Edited by Cato
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It took me a long while to find a tone that I liked with my active basses, sometimes I spent longer messing around with the settings on the amp and bass than I did playing, but when I found it I made a note of it, also small increments can make a big difference, just tweak away until you are happy 

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8 minutes ago, 51m0n said:

Depends, the eq curves, Q's, and centre frequencies are probably different on the two eqs so they will sum to a more complex final curve than either can achieve on its own.

 

Here's a screengrab from a YouTube guitarist who painstakingly recreates famous guitar sounds. Look at how he's got 4 different layers of EQ, a couple of them seemingly cancelling each other out.

 

Screenshot_20211006-214506_YouTube.jpg.e21c9e676a6d414eef7e05b4ba77d5d1.jpg

 

How he goes about working what needs to be up and what down, I've no idea, but the results are :chefkiss:

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I haven't used the EQ on my amp in over 15 years. I love having an onboard EQ to subtly tweak to taste and, when passive, can always find what I need with a treble cut. I've never found an onboard EQ which didn't have far more capability than required. Generally, if you're making massive changes with EQ, something is badly wrong somewhere.

 

When I had a 3-band Stingray, I usually ended up with a small bass boost, slightly larger mid boost and a reasonable treble cut. Lovely sound.

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7 hours ago, Doctor J said:

 

When I had a 3-band Stingray, I usually ended up with a small bass boost, slightly larger mid boost and a reasonable treble cut. Lovely sound.

 

That's quite different to my settings. I'm boosting the treble a little, cutting the mids a little and leaving the bass in the centre. I don't go far from centre on anything.

I find flat EQ on my Orange head is very different to flat on my Trace head. The Orange seems to have less mids and more bass.

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I use an Ashdown ABM 300, one of the original ones. Every amp is coloured differently, but I found the Ashdown sounded great with the EQ flat and, if it didn't, the bass was the problem 😂

 

Any EQ tweaks from there are subtle fine tuning. If I need to make massive EQ changes to get a good sound, the bass gets moved on.

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7 minutes ago, SteveXFR said:

 

That's quite different to my settings. I'm boosting the treble a little, cutting the mids a little and leaving the bass in the centre. I don't go far from centre on anything.

I find flat EQ on my Orange head is very different to flat on my Trace head. The Orange seems to have less mids and more bass.

Afaik Orange use the Fender standard 3 band EQ 'control' which is more or less flat at 2 bass, 10 mids, 2 treble.

 

That being the case you should start there and see how the Stingray works for you in tweaking for tunes.

 

For the room I would add an EQ pedal on the Orange. Obviously not needed for the Trace. 

 

I would definitely put a HPF in there for maximum utility of your bass knobs. Even my Trace gains booty utility from a steep HPF at 50 to 60 hz.

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Not a stupid question at all.

 

None of my basses, with onboard EQ, have a low mid control. So if I wanted to tweak those frequencies I would have to do it directly from the amp.

 

And although, intuitively, one would assume that flat on a bass amp would be when all EQ controls are set at 12 o'clock, for many amps that's not the case.

 

For example, on the Orange Terror Bass 500,  flat setting is bass and treble all the way off and mids all the way up.

 

I used the above Orange head at a local venue, quite a lot, and that setting sounded pretty flat to me. I then tweaked the sound from the EQ on my bass, which was often a 3 band Stingray.

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

Afaik Orange use the Fender standard 3 band EQ 'control' which is more or less flat at 2 bass, 10 mids, 2 treble.

 

That being the case you should start there and see how the Stingray works for you in tweaking for tunes.

 

For the room I would add an EQ pedal on the Orange. Obviously not needed for the Trace. 

 

I would definitely put a HPF in there for maximum utility of your bass knobs. Even my Trace gains booty utility from a steep HPF at 50 to 60 hz.


That’s an interesting suggestion re the Orange amp. I have only used an Orange set up once (valve), when provided at an outdoor festival - I use Stingrays and I found the sound somewhat scooped (but big bass booty in a good way) with the amp EQ centred. 
 

As far as the sound from the Stingray is concerned, I’m presuming you’re using a pre Stingray Special 3 band? The reason I query this is the Special is slightly different. Firstly the 3 band Stingray has an HPF (unlike the Stingray 2 band circuit). Presuming a single pick up Stingray, I tend to start with the bass and treble boosted slightly and the mid cut a little - not too dissimilar from yourself - note that cutting the mid significantly gets close to a 2 band sound. I boost the mids slightly more for songs where the bass might require to cut through more (but not be excessively loud). I use this setting on an SR5 also - for a two pick up Stingray using any of the combinations available which use both pick ups, I don’t boost the bass but would start with mids at centre and maybe boost them slightly. The EQ, and especially the mids, are voiced differently on the Stingray Special - as well as being an 18 volt circuit with neodymium pick ups. 
 

Howver we all hear things differently and have our own views on what constitutes a good bass sound - there is no right answer so whatever suits you. Playing style also has a significant effect. 
 

I got a decent sound from the Orange but felt it was naturally scooped, especially in the highs. I had the same experience with a Fender Rumble combo (again provided) - until I discovered it had one of the pre-set shape buttons activated so was excessively scooped (it was ok after I turned that off). I use a Mark Bass LM3 with Mark Bass 2 x 10s which give a certain mid presence, fat bass, and clear highs - whilst other amps can do this, they all have their own sound colouration, and a number of makes do seem to lean towards mid cut at centre detent. 

Edited by drTStingray
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32 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

Afaik Orange use the Fender standard 3 band EQ 'control' which is more or less flat at 2 bass, 10 mids, 2 treble.

 

That being the case you should start there and see how the Stingray works for you in tweaking for tunes.

 

For the room I would add an EQ pedal on the Orange. Obviously not needed for the Trace. 

 

I would definitely put a HPF in there for maximum utility of your bass knobs. Even my Trace gains booty utility from a steep HPF at 50 to 60 hz.

 

I have a compressor with HPF. Would that do the job?

I have been considering getting an EQ pedal. I like to run a fair bit of treble and the Trace 12 band EQ allowed me to do that while cutting the noise at the top. I guess it's high mids I really want.

Stupidly I just sold the Trace head, I hated pushing it to 90% volume, it felt like abusing it.

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A HPF on a comp will likely be on the sidechain, so it won't affect the low end content of the output signal, but is there to reduce the low end energy crossing the threshold. It makes them easier to set up on bass heavy material.

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1 hour ago, SteveXFR said:

 

I have a compressor with HPF. Would that do the job?

I have been considering getting an EQ pedal. I like to run a fair bit of treble and the Trace 12 band EQ allowed me to do that while cutting the noise at the top. I guess it's high mids I really want.

Stupidly I just sold the Trace head, I hated pushing it to 90% volume, it felt like abusing it.


As I said before, the 3 band Stingray has an HPF. Whether you need one to deal with the Orange I don’t know but it sounds from the previous description of its EQ that the mids are vastly scooped. 
 

You could try boosting the mids on the Stingray but a multi band external EQ would probably enable you to pick the band to boost more accurately for your taste. 

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13 hours ago, Ricky Rioli said:

 

Here's a screengrab from a YouTube guitarist who painstakingly recreates famous guitar sounds. Look at how he's got 4 different layers of EQ, a couple of them seemingly cancelling each other out.

 

Screenshot_20211006-214506_YouTube.jpg.e21c9e676a6d414eef7e05b4ba77d5d1.jpg

 

How he goes about working what needs to be up and what down, I've no idea, but the results are :chefkiss:

 

Looking at this picture alone without the video, I can immediately tell that what is going on here is a little more complex than the OP, as the guitarist is shaping the signal before it gets pushed in to a drive section. Distortion changes tone a huge amount.

I can see that the player is cutting the lows to tighten up the saturation sound and boosting the mids, not unlike the eq curve of a tube screamer (but clean) -  You could also treat the  6 band EQ pedal as if it were an onboard active preamp, shaping the sound of the guitar, like that of the active Stingray mentioned.

 

Maybe the speaker cabinet they are using has a fair amount of natural mids in it and thus pulling the mids out in the ten band will smooth things over a little. Great for reproducing the sound of a guitar in a mix. I'm not familiar with the MK V Mesa, but I wonder if the tone stack is passive and thus will definitely react differently to that of the active filters of the ten band which can boost and cut more aggressively. 

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8 minutes ago, Dood said:

Looking at this picture alone without the video, I can immediately tell that what is going on here is a little more complex than the OP, as the guitarist is shaping the signal before it gets pushed in to a drive section. Distortion changes tone a huge amount.

I can see that the player is cutting the lows to tighten up the saturation sound and boosting the mids, not unlike the eq curve of a tube screamer (but clean) -  You could also treat the  6 band EQ pedal as if it were an onboard active preamp, shaping the sound of the guitar, like that of the active Stingray mentioned.

 

Maybe the speaker cabinet they are using has a fair amount of natural mids in it and thus pulling the mids out in the ten band will smooth things over a little. Great for reproducing the sound of a guitar in a mix. I'm not familiar with the MK V Mesa, but I wonder if the tone stack is passive and thus will definitely react differently to that of the active filters of the ten band which can boost and cut more aggressively. 

 

What a fantastically clear explanation, thank you very much. You definitely deserve to see where that was screengrabbed from. He explains the layers of EQ from 0'45" to 3'00"

 

 

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Not a daft question at all. I am currently trying to find the right EQ settings on both amp and 3 band Stingray right now, having never really used it with my Trace Elliot 12 band EQ combo. I find the simplicity of the Ashdown RM a lot easier to take the Stingray, but probably because I've used them both together for a few years now and the Trace is only a few months in. 

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