Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Volume Issues


fingertalkin

Recommended Posts

I need your help again. I have a Carvin Pro Bass 500 head and a GK 4x10SBX cab. The head supposedly puts out 500 watts in bridged mode at 8 ohms. At all times, I never have the volume set above essentially the 2 position. That is the point at which I can hear myself with the volume on my bass turned all of the way up.

 

The problem is that everyone in the band tells me to turn down. We play in very small bars and one that is of a descent size. My problem is that when I let someone sit in on a few songs at one of my last gigs, I could not hear one note he played. I wasn't 20 feet away from the rig itself. At our next show, which was in a room that was comparable to a descent sized restaurant, a group of people that were with our new g*****ist said that the bass was blowing them away. I had it on the same setting.

 

I have tried to go more midrangy to cut through, but when I do that we get all sorts of weird noises on stage. Pretty much I am set flat at all times. I have people that tell me that they can't hear me at all as well.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Our drummer runs the PA, and I don't think that getting PA support is needed in the size clubs that we play. The guitarist plays a 60 watt Fender amp that has my ears ringing at the end of the night and I setup on the other side from him. I normally can't hear myself over the drummer, and when I turn up, they all give me that same stupid look. The only person that likes it loud (other than me) is the singer. Am I only loud in the stage area, or am I just being an loud freak.

 

Thanks,

Shane

How do you sign a computer screen?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 32
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I would have someone you trust to sit out front and monitor the entire band. They can send had signal to each member to balance the volume. It sounds to me that you all need to try to be a balanced sound and not be a battle of noise. Also I think your rig is too powerful for such small venues. Try a small combo amp without any PA. IMHO

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

500 wats is a LOT of power. I am not surprised that you have to run it so low. It is possible that you don't hear it as loud as the other guys do, because they are further away from it than you, particularly if the speaker is blowing past your legs. Try putting the speaker up level with your head. If you can't put it up that high, get it aimed at your head by tilting it back somehow, on a stend or something. It will make a difference.

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a never ending battle. When you don't know what it sounds like out front, you got problems. You can't trust fully what people in the audience say, opinions will vary. Some of the people who say they 'can't' hear you may be people who drive around with thier 'sub-woofers' blasting in thier car and have probably lost half of thier low frequency hearing ability as they slowly go deaf.

I suffer a 'high' frequency loss from playing guitar in a bar band years ago without using PA support. I have had a constant ringing of the ears for years and can not hear things like change jingling in my pocket. As Rocky said, about all you can do is get someone who (hopefully) has a good ear for balance and volume, and have them signal you during a show. You could make it easy by having three simple signs that your drummer could see. One sign with the letter G for guitar, one with B for bass, and one with an arrow. He could simply signal which instrument should be turned up or down. Also, it is not impossible for drummers to control thier level somewhat. If turning up your instruments to be heard over the drummer makes the band too loud, then either your drummer needs to back off some, or you shouldn't be playing the room.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there might be several factors in play here. First off, nothing wrong with running 500 watts. You don't necessarily need it for volume, but it allows your good tone to be heard at the proper level. Another thing that could be happening is that the cabinet may be "throwing" the fundamentals 20-50 feet from the stage. I used to run a 4-10/1-18 rig for a long time, and I was made aware of the fact I was really blasting about 35 feet from the stage! I went to a pair of 12's and started using a 30HZ highpass filter in the effects loop. This setup is much more small-club friendly. If you are setting your cab on the floor, you are probably running too loud in the interest of trying to hear yourself.. I always try to set my speakers at ear level, makes a big difference. If you can't set the cab on a riser or another cab, try tilting it back.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing I've found useful in getting a handle on onstage sound vs. FOH sound is enlisting a friend who plays (preferably similar to your playing style. . .) to go up and play 2-3 songs early in the night. . .I stress "early in the night" because I (myself, at least) tend to get a better picture when I haven't been onstage all night -- no "ear fatigue". . .Walk around the room and "evaluate". . .

 

When it comes to stage volume, in general, I try to turn up/down to the point where I can hear myself well where I stand and still have a clear sonic "picture" of guitars/drums/vocals. It ususally gives me a good "ball-park" read if nothing else. :rolleyes:

 

I don't honestly think wattage is your problem. A 50 watt amp of any stripe can be blastingly, annoyingly, detrimentally loud. One question, do you and your bandmates turn up as the night goes on? That's when I've really noticed patrons/club-owners/bandmates starting to complain when it comes to reaching for the ol' master volume. . .

"When it comes to havin' a good time, nothing beats 'fun'. . ."

 

-- Stefan Johnson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the help guys. I just want to make it clear that I am not some loud freak, I would just like to be heard. I have had thoughts that I was blowing "underneath" me. I am going to have to make something so I can tilt it back.

 

To answer your question rooster, we don't turn up as the night goes on, but we may lose control a little bit. The drummer has a tendency to get louder as the night goes on. Our first set starts off really slow and we progress as the night goes on. The last set is usually just rockin out. We all get excited and lose control, but never with the volume settings.

How do you sign a computer screen?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that as we have evolved the ears on the back of our calves have fallen off. Playing on a small stage area with no room gives you the impression that you aren't loud enough OR you cannot hear yourself. Picker is right on with get that cabinet up in the air behind your head.. or at least your back. It does take longer distances for bass notes to be heard in general but if EVERYONE is complaining then something must be going on. I am guessing that your sound is passing you by in the area that you are playing. Oh, don't feel special, everyone deals with this at some point in their performing experience.

 

Brocko

Don't have a job you don't enjoy. If you're happy in what you're doing, you'll like yourself, you'll have inner peace. ~ Johnny Carson
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I put the cab up in the air behind me, I have the problem of my microphone picking up my sound and that creates a the weird noise that I was talking about in my first post. Especially if I am midrangy and not flat.

 

 

Shane

How do you sign a computer screen?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have 2 suggestions. the first is use a monitor cab . I have one that tilts back nicly. I put it to the side of me and aim it away from the mic (at about 2Oclock from where Im facing). This may not work for your set up because of amp ratings etc.

An other thing is that if you have casters you could take the back ones off. If you dont have casters.... ad them?

I dont know how the cab is shaped but maybe you could put your 410 on its side and find some large rubber feet to ad at the speaker side of the amp to give it a tilt. TIlting it just a little will make a differance IMO.

Maybe you could switch sides with the guitarist. You stand in front of his amp and he in front of yours?

In some small-medium clubs I see people turn their cabs around to face the back wall. For bassists this may help because it gives the sound space to develope.

Its tough man. Good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First things first - if your ears are ringing then you need hearing protection. Get some earplugs before you do anything else!

 

You say the rest of the band don't play loud but they obviously are if you can't hear yourself over them. If you can get the guitarist to turn down then the drummer will play less loud and so on. The best way to get a guitarist to turn down is to point his amp at his ears - guitar amps are so directional that they are far louder when they're pointed straight at you.

 

In terms of hearing the midrange and treble clearly your ears need to be within about 30 degrees of on axis to the speakers. The best ways to achieve this are with tall narrow speakers stacks if you have multiple cabs, or to tilt back your cab if you use just one. That's the midrange and treble sorted but I suspect that's not the main problem.

 

The problem that everyone comes up against with the bass is that the lower frequencies come out from the speakers in all directions. They don't just go forwards, they go up, down, sideways and backwards. What happens when the sound that's going backwards hits the wall behind you? It bounces off the wall and comes back towards you. Unfortunately it's delayed compared to the sound that started off going forwards so when the two waves meet up some frequencies are doubled up (good!) but others are cancelled out (very bad!). The amount of cancellation is huge - 24dB typically. If you have the misfortune of positioning your cab so that the frequencies around 100Hz get cancelled then you're losing as much bass as you would by turning the bass knob all the way down.

 

Furthermore, not only do soundwaves cancel each other out when they bounce off the walls and meet again at the bass cab, they also bounce off the walls and create loud and quiet spots around the room. If you then stand in a quiet spot and your guitarist stands in a loud spot, no wonder you can't hear yourself and he thinks you're way too loud.

 

What's the solution? Well there's no perfect solution other than playing outdoors in the middle of a large field, but there are two things you can do to help yourself. The first is to always try to get your cab backed into the corner of the room. The next best thing is to have it against one wall (side or back, doesn't matter). The worst scenario is neither in a corner, nor against a wall, and lifted off the floor too - that equals bass disaster! The second part of the solution is to increase the ratio of direct to reflected sound. How do you do this? Simple - turn down.

 

Good luck!

 

Alex

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a couple of factors that play into this.

 

First is that bass tends to bloom about 20 feet from the amp -- I'm not a physicist, but it has to do with the size of the sound waves and how long they take to develop. So in many cases, what you're hearing is not what everyone else is hearing.

 

Second, and just as important, is that a lot of instrumentation besides the bass produces bass frequencies. The kick drum does, the guitars do, the keyboards do.

 

I don't know how many times I've had sound guys tell me "the bass is too loud" only to tell them "I wasn't playing just then -- that was the keyboard you were hearing."

 

What I do whenever I can is have someone else play bass for a song during sound check, and I go stand by the PA guy and walk around the room to find out what's really going on.

 

Then I can help the sound guy adjust the overall "bass" sound. "You're getting some low-end feedback on the acoustic guitar whenever he plays a "D" so you may want to adjust the eq on that" or "the kick is a little boomy -- you may want to tweak that a little."

"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to say that since I read Alex's suggestions in another thread which he repeats above, I've been placing my cab in a corner, on the floor and tilted up and I've been loving my sound.

 

The rest of the band seem to have been loving it too.

Now theres three of you in a band, youre like a proper band. Youre like the policemen.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by jcadmus:

First is that bass tends to bloom about 20 feet from the amp -- I'm not a physicist, but it has to do with the size of the sound waves and how long they take to develop. So in many cases, what you're hearing is not what everyone else is hearing.

This is once of those myths which I hear oft repeated. Bass does not bloom about 20 feet from the amp, nor does it take the sound waves any distance to develop. If this was the case, how would headphones work?

 

It's an easy mistake to make because if you stick your cab in the typical not-next-to-the-wall position and then stand in the usual my-ears-are-in-my-knees position, it's hard to hear the bass. Then walk 20 feet away from your amp and suddenly you can hear yourself! What's changed? You're no longer standing in an area of bass cancellation because your amp wasn't up against a boundary. You're no longer miles off-axis so you can hear your midrange. Wow, tone!

 

If you want to test this theory, stick your ear right up against your speakers - does bass really need room to develop or can you feel your whole head vibrating?! ;)

 

Originally posted by jcadmus:

Second, and just as important, is that a lot of instrumentation besides the bass produces bass frequencies. The kick drum does, the guitars do, the keyboards do.

 

I don't know how many times I've had sound guys tell me "the bass is too loud" only to tell them "I wasn't playing just then -- that was the keyboard you were hearing."

That is such a good point! On the relatively few occasions I've played with keyboardists I've had some nasty sonic clashes - I remember being completely baffled the first time, to the point of messing with my controls to get rid of that awful boomy mud that was infecting my sound...

 

Alex

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are other things you can do that will cost money.

 

1. Get a wireless unit so you can walk around the venue during your sound check. This way you don't have to rely on anybody else's ears.

 

2. Get an in-ear monitor (IEM). Now you don't have to worry about pointing cabs, mic interference, and not being able to hear yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by C. Alexander Claber:

Originally posted by jcadmus:

First is that bass tends to bloom about 20 feet from the amp -- I'm not a physicist, but it has to do with the size of the sound waves and how long they take to develop. So in many cases, what you're hearing is not what everyone else is hearing.

This is once of those myths which I hear oft repeated. Bass does not bloom about 20 feet from the amp, nor does it take the sound waves any distance to develop. If this was the case, how would headphones work?

 

It's an easy mistake to make because if you stick your cab in the typical not-next-to-the-wall position and then stand in the usual my-ears-are-in-my-knees position, it's hard to hear the bass. Then walk 20 feet away from your amp and suddenly you can hear yourself! What's changed? You're no longer standing in an area of bass cancellation because your amp wasn't up against a boundary. You're no longer miles off-axis so you can hear your midrange. Wow, tone!

 

If you want to test this theory, stick your ear right up against your speakers - does bass really need room to develop or can you feel your whole head vibrating?! ;)

 

Alex

I'm not sure this is worth debating, but that's incorrect.

 

I have tested this extensively, standing at various distances from my rig (which incidentally has one cab about chest high) and the low end is significantly more pronounced 20 + feet away that it is right up next to the cab.

 

Perhaps some of the physics majors on this forum can wade in on how and why this is.

"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by jcadmus:

I'm not sure this is worth debating, but that's incorrect.

 

I have tested this extensively, standing at various distances from my rig (which incidentally has one cab about chest high) and the low end is significantly more pronounced 20 + feet away that it is right up next to the cab.

 

Perhaps some of the physics majors on this forum can wade in on how and why this is.

This is absolutely worth debating because 90% of bassists are under the same misconception as yourself.

 

If your low end seems more pronounced 20+ feet away than it is right next to your cab, then this is due to boundary effects and/or high frequency attenuation from atmospheric effects or furnishings. If you have extensively tested this in a non-anecdotal manner then I would like to see your results because they prove contrary to all my acoustics knowledge and everything I have read from legitimate sources on this matter.

 

I may not be a 'physics major' but I do have an engineering degree and have reading and learning bass/SR/acoustics related theory/practice since I started playing bass in '96.

 

One thing I have observed repeatedly is that most people's ears are not to be trusted when it comes to quantifying situations. For qualitative and subjective views on whether something sounds good to them, they're fine, but when they try to make objective statements regarding frequency response they're usually way off. Witness the Nordstrand/Q-Tuner clips where most of the bassists here thought the Nordstrands had more highs and more bottom, when in fact they have less extension in both directions than the Q-Tuners. That doesn't mean they don't sound great but it does mean that even experienced bassists' ears can rarely quantify frequencies accurately.

 

Alex

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by jcadmus:

Perhaps some of the physics majors on this forum can [weigh] in on how and why this is.

I studied one year of physics as part of my majors. We spent a whole quarter on just waves. (I even had to buy a separate and expensive book for that term.) I'm more used to working with electromagnetic waves in the visible spectrum, i.e. different colored light. So, I'm definitely not an authority on sound waves and acoustics.

 

However, it doesn't make any sense that a compression wave traveling through air (sound) would be absent in the first 20 feet from the source and then suddenly be present from that point on. Waves don't work that way. Air doesn't work that way. You're not compressing any air within the first 20 feet, but then suddenly the air is moving outside of 20 feet?

 

Alex' explanation makes perfect sense. If there is another source of (sound) waves, it is possible they will interfere with each other, either constructively (louder) or destructively (softer).

 

If your bass cab is the only thing in the room making sound, then where do the other waves come from? As Alex points out, these are reflections from hard surfaces, like walls, floors, ceilings, tables, chairs, etc. It can be rather complex. Again, as Alex says, a bass rig tends to act as a point source, radiating in all directions (especially at lower frequencies).

 

So, if you're not hearing sound from your amp until you're 20 feet away, I'd say Alex is probably correct in identifying reflections and destructive interference as the cause.

 

Alex was also kind enough to give us some distances a while back, as in "How far should I place my cab from a wall?". That works for the distance from the floor (and ceiling), too. The upshot is to keep the distance as small as possible.

 

It may be that putting your one and only cab up at shoulder height is producing an awful lot of destructive interference in the area immediately around your cab. This could be observed and described as the sound "blooming" at a certain distance, but that would not be an accurate description of what is really going on.

 

They do make stands that hold your amp slightly off the floor and tilted back. If you're using a combo, no worries. Otherwise, you'll have to figure out how to secure your head (so it won't slide off the top of your cab) or find another place to put it. As Alex says, at least the more directional frequencies can still be pointed at your ears this way. It won't eliminate destructive interference all together.

 

I just had an idea. Since we're dealing with reflections, why can't we just make a "sonic mirror" for our monitor? Something that sits on the floor in front of us and our amp that reflects sound waves back towards our ears? It wouldn't be as efficient as a powered monitor, but would it be possible? Practical? I'm envisioning something that looks like a 1 foot cube that has been sliced from edge to opposite edge to form a wedge. If you need something more like a 8x4 sheet of plywood, then forget it. And if it costs more and weighs more than a powered monitor, no dice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to clarify, it seems like the band is telling you to turn down, but you can't be heard "out there".

 

To some extent, tough on them. Bass tends to be very subject to the room and other sounds (see above). You may need more volume on stage than they want so you can be heard in the audience. Experiment with positioning so that you can hear yourself without blowing up the rest of the band. I like to have my amp back by the drummers (so they can hear me) and I stand further up front. The wave is in better "form" when it reaches me, and it seems that it works out OK.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by jcadmus:

...bass tends to bloom about 20 feet from the amp ...

The bass will sound louder over 12 feet away because you can treat the speaker as a point source. To hear the best sound you should be inside the 30 degrees on axis of the sound. If you do the math. 12 feet from the speaker and 30 degrees up is 6ft, the height your ears are at. This is why angling your speaker up works well for you but not the audience. Keep the angle less than 30 degrees.

 

Boosting at around 120Hz will also help.

Feel the groove internally within your own creativity. - fingertalkin

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem that I have when I boost at 120Hz is that it creates this weird noise. It sounds like when tuning with harmonics and your off by a little bit. The other weird thing is that it only does it on the G and down to the open E obviously on the E string. The bar were at next is the one where I couldn't hear myself right out in front off the stage, but was very boomy in the stage area. So maybe their I can boost the mids. Two weeks after that is the place where I get the weird G note sounds. Now the last time we played there, I tried to angle my rig and bounce it of the wall, which worked great. But, as the night went on(the show was a train wreck), I started to mess with the knobs on the bass. As I turned up the treble, I got that weird sound. Apparantly, you can only hear it in the stage area. I had friends in the crowd that thought was the best tone I had all night. I guess I am just going to have to really do some research on acoustics and stuff and adjust as I go.

 

You all have been great in your help, unfortunately I am not so bright so some of the stuff your talking about is waaayyyy over my head. :freak:

How do you sign a computer screen?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by fingertalkin:

You all have been great in your help, unfortunately I am not so bright so some of the stuff your talking about is waaayyyy over my head. :freak:

Hopefully this is not insulting, but here is a site that covers some basics:

The Physics Classroom: Sound Waves and Music

 

It should be a good start before trying to tackle acoustics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope you know what feedback is and what causes it, if not;

 

I think that 'weird noise' you are getting is feedback. Certain frequencies will be picked up by the mike and amplified more. These amplified sounds will get amplified again and again and cause a kind of howling. If this is coming from your vocal monitors, this is what you have. You need to position your mic so that the sound from the bass amp doesn't get picked up. This is not as simple as it appears as just tilting your mic up can cause it to get refections from low ceilings which can make things even worse.

 

Most vocal mics are tailored to accentuate 2kHz-3kHz so are very sensitive in this area. You'll just have to play around. If you have a graphic on your vocal monitor, you could try pulling down the faders that correspond to the pitch of your feedback.

 

You need to know what pattern the mic has. It will be a cardiod, or hypercardiod or something else. You should get a little diagram with the mic which will show where the most sensitive areas of the mic are and these should be aimed away from your cab.

 

Another explanation could be mechanical resonance, either your speaker grill or raised floor or drum kit is resonating in sympathy with the notes you are playing. Or the stage area might just be the right size to become a resonating chamber at certain frequencies.

Feel the groove internally within your own creativity. - fingertalkin

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My band played a gig recently where we were set up at the end of the room on a concrete floor. The sound did seem a bit more difficult to get right than usual . Is this why sometimes bands have rugs on the floor in front of their amps? How does the floor surface affect the sound waves?
'The most important thing is to settle on a bass then commit to it. Get to know your bass inside and out and play it in every situation you can.' Marcus Miller
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Flat hard surfaces will reflect the high frequency sounds.

Soft furnishings (rugs, seats, peoples clothes) will absorb the high frequencies (and stop them reverberating round)

The lower frequencies are more likely to be transmitted through objects than bounce off them. A heavy concrete floor is more likely to absorb the bass frequencies than transmit them.

Feel the groove internally within your own creativity. - fingertalkin

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We usually practice in a garage, and after reading this and related posts, my rig has been pushed tightly into the corner, which has improved the overall clarity of the sound. The neighbors complained to the association, so we practiced in a school classroom yesterday for the first time(we have a teacher in the band).

 

The room was a long rectangle, and I positioned my rig in the center, about 1/3 of the length of the room from the wall. I was suprised that my volume settings were lower than in the small garage, and more easily heard. I was a little worried before we started, because I couldn't get to a corner, but it didn't matter. The room is the pottery class, so there was lots of stuff on the shelves and tables, and clay dust over everything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...