Bass EQ question

Bass EQ question

Postby javalina » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:16 am

Here is a really simple minded question: my new bass has a lot more tone knobs than what I was used to on my old bass. I have volume, balance between the two pickups, bass boost/cut, treble boost/cut, and a mid boost/cut with a knob to choose what part of the mid. It makes so many different sounds I am a little overwhelmed. What should I keep in mind EQ wise when trying to get a Phil sound out of this instrument?
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Re: Bass EQ question

Postby ugly rumor » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:55 am

Run your amp flat, and use your ears and experiment. Personally I would chase the sound I like, rather than copy Phil, but that's just me. Keep in mind that Phil's tone is different at different times. Also, remember that the sound you get alone may be very different from the sound in the mix. But if you start with a flat amp and a flat guitar, you can dial in the tone that pleases you most. My opinion, of course.
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Re: Bass EQ question

Postby tcsned » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:15 am

ugly rumor wrote:Run your amp flat, and use your ears and experiment. Personally I would chase the sound I like, rather than copy Phil, but that's just me. Keep in mind that Phil's tone is different at different times. Also, remember that the sound you get alone may be very different from the sound in the mix. But if you start with a flat amp and a flat guitar, you can dial in the tone that pleases you most. My opinion, of course.

Agreed - every rig/instrument combination has its sweet spot to your ears. It might wind up sounding very Phil-ish maybe not. My advice is to not be tied to preconceptions of the tone and be open to where it sounds right to you and one that allows you to be in your playing comfort zone as much as possible. My theory is that your playing style is many times more important than the gear. If you think of a cake - your playing is the cake your gear is the icing. Good icing is nice but the cake is more important.
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Re: Bass EQ question

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:40 am

I usually start flat and dial something in to fit the mix and the room as best I can. I'll also tend to scoop the mids when I want a modern tone and boost them when I want a vintage tone. No reason to limit yourself to only one EQ setting.
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Re: Bass EQ question

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:47 am

I can't resist posting the instructions to the preamp that I picked for my Phil bass. Maybe it'll help make your 3-band EQ seem less complicated. :lol:

ACG EQ-02 Preamp

Alan Cringean (of AC Guitars) has teamed up with John East from East UK to produce a filter based pre-amp.

This new pre-amp is available in several different configurations. This includes a single pickup version, two Jazz plate versions and 3/4/5 knob versions. The Jazz plate version will fit into a standard Jazz Bass control cavity including the battery. Same easy installation as other East Preamps with all connections made using screw terminals so no soldering required.

How it works

If you are used to the normal cut and boost type of EQ using the ACG pre-amp will require a different approach in order to get the most from it.

First a few notes on the principals behind the design and then a few suggestions on how to get the best from it.

Note: With regard to knob rotation:
ACW = Backing a knob off or turning it anti-clockwise
CW= Turning a knob up towards maximum or turning it clockwise.

VOLUME/BLEND STACK
The volume of the instrument is controlled by the upper ring on the stack while the lower ring controls the mixing of the outputs from the two pickups. Turn ACW for the bridge pickup alone and CW for the neck pickup. Intermediate settings allow a mix of the two pickups. The indented centre click gives an equal mix. In several configurations the volume and blend are on individual pots.

The main element in the pre-amp is the filter stacks.

BASS FILTER STACK
First, a filter lets some parts of the frequency spectrum through and not others. The type of filter determines which part it lets through. Also, the amount of cut-off is important. If it has a sharp or steep cut-off, it is more dramatic.

There is a LOW PASS FILTER where the frequency is variable over quite a broad range; from just allowing the very deepest sounds through, to allowing upper midrange frequencies of 3kHz. As the frequency control is adjusted, sound ranges from very deep to a much more open sound, taking in more midrange as the control is increased. As it's a low pass filter, the very low bass is always there, but the high frequencies can be progressively opened up.

This aspect of the pre-amp is controlled by the lower ring on the filter stack. Fully ACW giving you a very full deep bass sound. As the knob is turned CW, more of the higher frequencies are let through the filter.

The upper knob of the filter stack controls the overshoot peak. This means that some resonance can be added at the frequency of cut-off to which the filter is tuned. This has the effect of making the sound much richer at the point of the filter frequency. So if the filter is set to a low frequency on the neck pickup, and the overshoot peak is increased, you get a massive reggae style of sound as you're giving resonation to the more fundamental frequencies. If the filter is set higher, it accentuates the harmonics. To give you an idea, if you rotate the filter control up and down when the peak is turned up, it sounds very much like a wah control.

The upper ring on the filter stack sets the peak level. Fully CW is maximum gain (boost) and when turned ACW the gain is reduced.

TREBLE FILTER STACK
The treble stack is there to address the top end of the spectrum as the filters cut off below the very highest frequencies you can get from roundwound strings. Here we're talking about the high end 'sizzle'. The frequency control also goes well down into the upper midrange around 1kHz. This is another filter type, a HIGH PASS FILTER in the treble signal path. This sets the frequency above which the treble spectrum is allowed to pass through. The upper knob controls the gain (boost) applied to the treble frequency while the lower ring controls the frequencies which are allowed through. Turning the frequency ACW allows more of the lower treble spectrum. Setting more CW allows only the higher frequencies of the treble spectrum to pass.

PASSIVE TONE
In the 4 knob J plate version and the 5 knob version there is the addition of a passive tone control. The dual passive tone pot and two capacitors are connected directly to the pickups in order to create a passive roll-off via direct interaction with with the pickups.

INTERNAL CONTROLS
The pre-amp also has some internal control options. There is a separate gain control for each pickup input. The main use for this control is to allow you to use two different types of pickup but still have a balanced volume from them both.

This would also allow you to use say a Musicman style pickup with a Jazz style pickup and still be able to balance their respective volumes.
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Re: Bass EQ question

Postby drewfx » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:02 am

Rusty the Scoob wrote:I can't resist posting the instructions to the preamp that I picked for my Phil bass. Maybe it'll help make your 3-band EQ seem less complicated. :lol:

ACG EQ-02 Preamp


I was looking at that preamp for one of the many, many projects in my head that might or might not ever come to fruition. :idea:

Not to hijack, but do you have a review of its capabilities for us somewhere?
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Re: Bass EQ question

Postby ugly rumor » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:31 pm

Also, is there any indication of what frequencies are at the extremes? What is the lowest high-pass or the highest low-pass frequencies? Just curious!
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Re: Bass EQ question

Postby ugly rumor » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:36 pm

tcsned wrote:
ugly rumor wrote:Run your amp flat, and use your ears and experiment. Personally I would chase the sound I like, rather than copy Phil, but that's just me. Keep in mind that Phil's tone is different at different times. Also, remember that the sound you get alone may be very different from the sound in the mix. But if you start with a flat amp and a flat guitar, you can dial in the tone that pleases you most. My opinion, of course.

Agreed - every rig/instrument combination has its sweet spot to your ears. It might wind up sounding very Phil-ish maybe not. My advice is to not be tied to preconceptions of the tone and be open to where it sounds right to you and one that allows you to be in your playing comfort zone as much as possible. My theory is that your playing style is many times more important than the gear. If you think of a cake - your playing is the cake your gear is the icing. Good icing is nice but the cake is more important.



I onnly ever eat cake for the icing. Love the icing, can take or leave cake. Does this mean...? Oh nooooooo!! :P
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Re: Bass EQ question

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:47 pm

It's an awesome preamp. So much power at your fingertips but not at all overwhelming once you get the hang of it. I picked it out as sort of a poor man's Alembic preamp, and it fits the bill pretty nicely - it's similar in function but gets more of a conventional tone than the distinctive tone of their filters.

As far as it's capabilities it's great, but somewhat hard to put into words - You've got a sweepable bass or mid boost, and a sweepable high boost to go along wtih the standard volume/pickup-blend and optional tone control. I usually find myself boosting the mids, and adding a touch of relatively full-range highs, but sometimes I'll dial in Phil's 80's/90's EMG tone by boosting the low end, leaving the mids scooped, and boosting the very high highs.

Edit - Looks like the low pass filter goes from sub-audible up to 6.3khz and the high pass filter goes all the way from 1kHz on up. So they actually overlap a little!

Here's a very long thread with lots of info and some good sound clips:

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=429951

Lots of my sound clips are here: http://www.archive.org/details/Fennario Any show from Nov 2008 on features this bass almost 95% of the time. I use Bartolini soapbars, D'Addario Chromes in the earlier shows and Half Rounds in the later ones, and play with a pick except for the JGB tunes.
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Re: Bass EQ question

Postby strumminsix » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:53 pm

Rusty the Scoob wrote:Edit - Looks like the low pass filter goes from sub-audible up to 6.3khz and the high pass filter goes all the way from 1kHz on up. So they actually overlap a little!

A little? Like overlapping all the mid-mids, upper-mids, and presence!
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Re: Bass EQ question

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:13 pm

Eh, what's a few thousand Hz among friends! :lol: I typically have the low-pass filter about 75% of the way up and the high-pass filter about 50% of the way up, so they are probably not overlapping...
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Re: Bass EQ question

Postby javalina » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:01 pm

Thanks for the good advice. I seem to be doing the right thing; I am trying to get the 80's/90's EMG sound, and I've been scooping the mids and boosting the bass.

You guys are talking about sound in a manner that's more sophisticated than I can really understand at this point; I have some listening and learning to do.

I played bass for years in blues bands long ago, but this is a whole different bag... I might as well have been playing tuba.
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Re: Bass EQ question

Postby cosmicbass » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:06 pm

ugly rumor wrote:Run your amp flat, and use your ears and experiment. Personally I would chase the sound I like, rather than copy Phil, but that's just me. Keep in mind that Phil's tone is different at different times. Also, remember that the sound you get alone may be very different from the sound in the mix. But if you start with a flat amp and a flat guitar, you can dial in the tone that pleases you most. My opinion, of course.


+1

The only way to get a perfect Phil sound is to be playing with the exact guys Phil is playing with at any given gig. That is, the keys, guitars etc of every individual musician are going to be occupying a frequency space in the mix that is individual to each and every musician. Everyone plays different equipment, sets it up differently and plays it in different ways. As a bassist if you want to be heard and get "that tone" you need to figure out what frequencies you are occupying that may need to be cut or boosted to fit in with the overall mix. Where are you clashing with the keys? Where are you too loud, where do you need a boost. And this changes day to day, band to band, venue to venue. Experimentation is the key.

The best thing to do is find a baseline that works with your current band. Then you can tweak a little here and there.

Phil's been chasing his tone for decades. Don't chase Phil (he'll lap you anyways). Chase your own sound. Learn from what Phil does to chase his sound to inform your own chase.
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Re: Bass EQ question

Postby cosmicbass » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:09 pm

javalina wrote:Thanks for the good advice. I seem to be doing the right thing; I am trying to get the 80's/90's EMG sound, and I've been scooping the mids and boosting the bass.

You guys are talking about sound in a manner that's more sophisticated than I can really understand at this point; I have some listening and learning to do.

I played bass for years in blues bands long ago, but this is a whole different bag... I might as well have been playing tuba.


Phil has gone was big into cutting at one point, now he is boosting and cutting. One thing I'd suggest: be careful with scooping mids across the board. You always want to have some frequency of mids pretty prominent in the mix or you're going to be lost. And what frequency that is depends on the band you're in and the music you're playing. Even Phil does that with his current EQ -- he scoops out some mids, but pushes a lot back in at certain frequencies down the chain.
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