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Audio Toyes #16 – Sounding Great at your Gigs

Brian Toye
April 04, 2011

Here is a general tip for Guitar and Bass Amps – In a live situation such as a bar gig or stadium show or outdoor show...ok pretty much anywhere other than in the studio or jamming by yourself in your should NOT set your amp EQ with the classic smiley face setting (high bass, low Mids, high treble). I am sure you have been to many gigs where you simply cannot hear whats going on until the 4th song when the sound guy fixes it. If there's no sound guy and the band is using their own PA, well, I'm sorry. The human ear responds best (is most sensitive to) the mid range of frequencies. This is why we have to boost the bass and treble on our stereos to hear those frequencies better, we are not as sensitive to them. In a live situation it is important to boost the Mids instead of the highs and lows on the guitar and bass amps. Try Bass +2, Mids +4, Treble +1. It may sound like crap when playing alone but when the whole band comes in the “song” will be clear and much more enjoyable. Also remember to keep your levels down. Let the natural snare drum level be louder than your stack. The vocals should be the focal point in most situations. Keeping your levels low and boosting your Mids will let the drums highs and lows come across clearer and will allow more space for the vocals to soar.

(Tip from the Editor)
Don't forget to take a walk around the room when you think everything is set up right too. Some times Monitor placement from gig to gig throws the sound around a bit differently and it's often different at the back of the venue then it is right up front.

Try it out sometime...or EVERY time.
-Brian Toye-
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