So I am in a band...
April 8, 2004 6:18 PM   Subscribe

So I am in a band, and I usually play through a Carvin DC-127T guitar, through a Zoom1010 effects processor and then directly into a PA system. I need help with the tone, however. [more inside]

So my issue is this: I am plugging into the mixer for the PA directly, and then running the sound through two 15" carvin speakers. The mixer, amp, and speakers are all very high quality, but for some reason the guitar tone comes our sounding really bad. I have tried all sorts of EQ settings and effects loops, but it just doesn't sound "full". I know the easiest solution would probably be to just play through an amplifier and then run an out to the mixer, but I can't afford a new amp right now. Any low-cost ideas on how to fix the tone? If you need more specs on anything, just let me know. Thanks!
posted by lazaruslong to Media & Arts (13 answers total)
Are your speakers PA speakers or guitar amp speakers? Based on the 15" size, I'd bet that they're designed for a PA, not DI guitar.

Guitar amp speakers have an adjusted frequency response with a boost in the mids, in order to get that 'full' sound. PA speakers are generally flat-line so they re-produce the input signal accurately - that's why guitars plugged into stereo systems sound dull and lifeless.

Also, impedence, but I don't remember enough of my 1st year uni electronics to explain this properly. the basic gist is that your zoom box will be outputting a different level signal than what your PA box is designed to take.

I don't know what situation you use your guitar in (Live? Bedroom? Etc?), so I think your basic solutions are these:

- buy a DI box, which sits between your zoom box and your PA. it should sort out your impedence and tone issues, but still won't sound as good as a real amp.

- save up and buy an amp.

- save up and buy a low-powered amp (i've got a 15W vox solid state which sounds pretty damn good for what I paid for it -- AUD260) and mic it up to your PA.
posted by cheaily at 8:01 PM on April 8, 2004

Response by poster: Ahh. The impedence issue is one that I thought of, but only in terms of "Maybe it has something to with impedence, whatever that means". I know next to nothing about the electronics. That's a great idea though. A DI box would help a lot.

In terms of the speakers, they are PA speakers designed for live perfomance music. That makes me think that they should have the ability to reproduce a guitar sound nicely, but probably not as a direct input. As far as the mid boosting goes, can a different eq/gain setting take care of that? I have a 3band on every channel, and then a larger graphical eq (10?12 band maybe) as a master for each monitor out. Also an independent gain on each channel (along with the gain/fx settings from the pedal)

Know any good ways of tweaking those?
posted by lazaruslong at 9:08 PM on April 8, 2004

Response by poster: Also, my mixer is here

Amp is here

Speakers here
posted by lazaruslong at 9:14 PM on April 8, 2004

There is such a thing as a speaker simulator which is intended to mimic the colored response of a guitar speaker through a flat(er) response PA speaker.

I'd be inclined to check out a Pod or a Sansamp that's designed to work as a DI. I've never heard a Sansamp in person, but I've read/heard good things. As for the Pod, I've heard good metal-y, rockish sounds out of them. Nothing that suits my taste particularily, but I carry an unspeakably heavy silverface Fender when I gig. Personal preference and all that.

Which leads to the question, what sort of tone are you looking for? Brian May's tone? BB King's tone? Junior Brown's? That guy from Korn?
posted by stet at 10:26 PM on April 8, 2004

Response by poster: Right. You know, I really should have said that in the beginning. The tone I am looking for is kind of wide ranging....for distorted sounds, a mix between the Foo Fighters style of rock distortion, yes with soemwhat clearer individual notes, and a Weezer-esque neo-brit nerd rock distortion (the vox would probably be good for that). For clean sounds, I am looking for a jazzy tone, with warm mids and crisp highs. Think Buddy Guy and Wes Montgomery?

That vague enough? Heh.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:07 PM on April 8, 2004

Response by poster: yet with somewhat*

posted by lazaruslong at 11:07 PM on April 8, 2004

okay, save up, and buy a line6 pod, like stet suggested. you'll be able to plug that straight into your mixer, as pod's are designed to be used in that manner, plus you'll get the range of tones/sounds that you're after.

in theory, I guess that you could tweak your 12-band EQ a bit, but you're still going to get the colouration from the speakers, as well as the impedence problem. your 3-band isn't going to do a thing for you there.

if you're after a reccomendation, I know that weezer used them live for a tour, and they were reportedly very happy with 'em. i've played around with one, and while I'm a tone nerd (i'm quite happy just plugging my tele into an AC30 (when i can get my hands on one)), the pod was pretty good for a few different sounds.
posted by cheaily at 11:24 PM on April 8, 2004

Response by poster: Pod it is then. Thanks folks, I appreciate the wisdom.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:01 AM on April 9, 2004

A pod'll probably set you back as much as a small amp, though.
posted by armoured-ant at 5:16 AM on April 9, 2004

armoured-ant: yeah, but considering he's already got the power amplification aspect well-covered, a POD would serve him better, less redundancy.
posted by cheaily at 9:58 AM on April 9, 2004

I second (third, whatever) getting a Pod XT. For ~ $US300 you can't beat it.
posted by turbodog at 11:23 AM on April 9, 2004

There is such a thing as a speaker simulator

The Red Box Pro is one such.
posted by kindall at 12:59 PM on April 9, 2004

Response by poster: Hey, that looks nice kindall. Especially the $120 price tag, much less than the pod. Thanks!
posted by lazaruslong at 3:21 PM on April 9, 2004

« Older need prepaid mobile phone in texas for SMSing   |   House heating Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.