Lets talk about subs, baby~

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by [J.K.], Feb 27, 2015.

  1. [J.K.]

    [J.K.] Member

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    So the other night, I was waiting with numbing fingers to start our set while the sound guy fiddled with the PA system, teaming up with the bartender to form a brain trust on why the subs weren't working. Spoiler alert: they never figured out why. We ended up playing a set with no subs in the PA, just the low end boosted a bit.

    Best mix I've had in ages.

    Now, I'm not counting the bassists out or anything, but when did we start to set a paradigm of filling the air with subs? I'm not saying we sounded Peel-Session-tight or anything, but I really think that the audience must've appreciated the unsullied sound of a more balanced EQ in that little venue. Anyone here ever ask the sound guy to hold the subs when ordering up the mix? When did music decide that the low end needed that much more attention? Have my guitar centric ways found me to be a bass-ist? I don't think so, but maybe I was wrong...
     
  2. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    If you sound worse with subs than without, you're doing something wrong. What kind of music do you play?
     
  3. Belmont

    Belmont Member

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    The subs contain the frequencies that make bodies want to move.
    Doesn't surprise me that anything that would divert their attention away from the guitar would be unpopular with 6 stringers.
    :D
     
  4. Mugs

    Mugs Member

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    Agreed. 'Thunder-Mud'; I hates it.
     
  5. rolsen

    rolsen Member

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    Where is the freq cross over set? If it's like 80hz, then all the sub is providing is low kick drum (not all the kick, like the high freq 'click' of the kick), lowest of the bass guitar, maybe some ultra low part of a synth, but virtually no guitars nor vocals nor drum overheads etc. so, you missed a little kick drum and that's about it. I'm speaking from familiarity of recording rather than live sound, but if you do a low-pass at where the sub crossover is, hearing just those frequencies, they just go 'doooom dooooom' on their own, but you miss a little fullness if not there.
     
  6. [J.K.]

    [J.K.] Member

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    Puh-puh-puh-punk.


    I'm talking about the subwoofer. Maybe I shouldn't have sounded so broad when I was talking.
     
  7. Ben S.

    Ben S. Member

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    I could write pages on this. Too many. Most mixes I hear are bloated with over done bass.

    One factor is not having enough subs so the engineer turns up the gain and the subs distort. Many "sound engineers" I have come across are very bad at hearing sub distortion.
    Another problem of not having enough subs can lead to the temptation to cross the subwoofers at a higher frequency. It makes the sub mix standout, but depending on how good the driver is compared to the mid range drivers, I usually hear mud.
    When there are enough subs to properly load a space, the standing waves are phased out, the gain feeding the sub amps is down and there is plenty of headroom for clean dynamics.

    Other than those, I just hear bad mixes and below average equipment.

    For a professional example I would point to Phish vs. Umphrey's McGee. Phish will have some of the lowest earth shaking bass while maintaining a clear mix between the kick drum, low bass guitar and low organ.
    Umphrey's show in the same venue -- mud. Bone shaking and body moving, but bloated, woofy and drowning out a lot of detail.
     
  8. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    SUBS are often the reason one band gets the gig over another...

    Good subject working bands should discuss ... as we really haven't tossed this around much.
    But it definitely fits into 'the real world of gigging' subject of how to go over better or less with specific crowds.
     
  9. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Supporting Member

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    Over cooked sub woofers have completely ruined several concerts I've been to in the last 10-15 years. I hate 'em. If I yell at the sound guys "Turn the F***KIN subs off" they get mad and I get in trouble.

    How can they not hear that muddy rumble?? I can see the bass player's fingers moving, but it's impossible to hear what notes he's playing because the subs are just rumbling at some monotone frequency that's too low to have any musical meaning at all.

    Of course, the band has no clue, they can't hear what's going on past the end of the stage, and there are no subs for the stage mix. The last band this happened with was a Chicago concert. It ruined everything, but those punk sound guys thought they were the hot sh*t in town.
     
  10. jerrycasemusic

    jerrycasemusic Member

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    Far too many guys running boards treat all music's low end the same. One size fits all and it's ********. Subs are killer for techno or other dance music. Music designed for that output. The more complex your harmony or grooves the more they interfere with the nuances and make you sound worse in a LOT of cases. Done right = fantastic.
     
  11. GuitarGuy66

    GuitarGuy66 Member

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    You're gonna have to turn down.



    A lot.
     
  12. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Maybe a dumb question ... but are there 'small' subs available these days..
    Which are still capable of high headroom body shaking bass projection?
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
  13. aiq

    aiq Supporting Member

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    I like the added sonic impact from subs but they can be too much. A little kick, a little bass for 3d is nice.

    Went to hear a one off show of Dead music and the bass cabs were crazy loud. Detracted from the overall palate.

    Talking club mix.
     
  14. FrankieSixxxgun

    FrankieSixxxgun Member

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    Installed a couple of 12" subs in my trunk last weekend...

    [​IMG]
     
  15. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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  16. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I use 2 EV ZLX 12's and have recently added an EV 118 stub. For the first two gigs I've gone pretty easy on the sub but it still made a world of difference. At least three musician friends who aren't easy with the compliments came up and the term referenced over and over was clarity. The main set up over the sub has the crossover engaged while the other main on a pole is set flat. This seems to work really well and I've done a lot of testing in my home studio and it's translated really well to our live shows. With that rig I can cover any room that I will encounter with ease and I'm not even pushing the system that hard at all. I could go a lot hotter and probably will in certain circumstances but nothing crazy, I'm always shooting for a very clear and balanced mix.
    Many of the "" sound guys that I have run into really push the subs too hard just because they can. I've literally had conversations with sound guys at the board and they'll be like, watch this! LOL they like stressing the muscles of the gear at the risk of the overall mix.
     
  17. modulusman

    modulusman Member

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    Well for every idiot soundman there is an idiot band that tunes down to Z flat. Doesn't give the soundman anything usable to work with. Everything coming off the stage sounds like a wall of ass.
     
  18. dmr34

    dmr34 Member

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    no need to bring my band into this debate
     
  19. GuitarGuy66

    GuitarGuy66 Member

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    Subs have their place. Just remember, no one goes home humming the kick drum.


    :aok
     
  20. Belmont

    Belmont Member

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    you just mute his channel, for the betterment of the mix
     

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