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Author Topic: Eqing with subs  (Read 1284 times)

Mike Murphy

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Eqing with subs
« on: October 06, 2018, 02:43:45 pm »

Hey everyone,

I've been using a dbx analog RTA for a while now both for live sound and recording because:

1) Im old and I just don't hear the nuances I used to
2) The tool is pretty darn accurate and it really never disappoints.
Whether you use the RTA as a primary means to dial in your sound or as barometer to check what your ears told you, its pretty reliable; When all freq bands are in the green the sound is close to perfect.

 I was running a set of old Community XLT 43s, and 1 old boutique JBL sub. The sound has been satisfactory but never really had the kick thumping with this old sub. I recently bought 2 new JBL PRX818XLF 1500 watt subs, and i'm trying to dial the system in.

Even with these brand new large subs, I cant seem to get that perfect chest moving kick drum response, if i'm trusting the RTA. I can see (and hear) that the equing is correct, but the subs merely fill in the missing low end frequencies but don't really punch.

My question is: is it still considered best practices to boost and cut frequencies in the low range to achieve that desired sound, even though the instruments are telling me there's way too much low end, or should I be striving to have that RTA reading correctly while achieving the desired punch.

The JBLs actually come with a wifi connection where you can use an app to eq the sub internally. I did read one post that said cutting 80hz is a good starting point.

Any tips on this is much appreciated.
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Tim Halligan

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Re: Eqing with subs
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2018, 03:00:01 pm »

I'm not sure if I'm interpreting your post correctly, but I question whether eqing the system for thump is an appropriate approach.

Would that not be better handled by eqing or turning up the kick and bass at a channel level?

If your RTA is saying that the eq is good, then it seems to me like you have an issue with level rather than eq. Do you actually have enough rig for the gig?

HTH

Cheers,
Tim

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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Eqing with subs
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2018, 07:50:16 pm »

What you need is a way to phase align a system.  An RTA is phase-blind.  Time for SmaartLive or Systune. 

Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk

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Bob Faulkner

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Re: Eqing with subs
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2018, 09:38:40 am »

Hey everyone,

I've been using a dbx analog RTA for a while now both for live sound and recording because:

1) Im old and I just don't hear the nuances I used to
2) The tool is pretty darn accurate and it really never disappoints.
Whether you use the RTA as a primary means to dial in your sound or as barometer to check what your ears told you, its pretty reliable; When all freq bands are in the green the sound is close to perfect.

 I was running a set of old Community XLT 43s, and 1 old boutique JBL sub. The sound has been satisfactory but never really had the kick thumping with this old sub. I recently bought 2 new JBL PRX818XLF 1500 watt subs, and i'm trying to dial the system in.

Even with these brand new large subs, I cant seem to get that perfect chest moving kick drum response, if i'm trusting the RTA. I can see (and hear) that the equing is correct, but the subs merely fill in the missing low end frequencies but don't really punch.

My question is: is it still considered best practices to boost and cut frequencies in the low range to achieve that desired sound, even though the instruments are telling me there's way too much low end, or should I be striving to have that RTA reading correctly while achieving the desired punch.

The JBLs actually come with a wifi connection where you can use an app to eq the sub internally. I did read one post that said cutting 80hz is a good starting point.

Any tips on this is much appreciated.
This may not be a fair statement, but the JBL 818XLF may not be the best choice for "chest thumping" bass.  I'm only saying that because I have the version before that (718XLF) and I cannot get good chest thumping bass out of it than I can other cabinets.  My primary subs are JBL SRX 728S.  I bought the 718XLF for smaller events, but rarely use it because it doesn't do a good job "hitting". 

The PRX 818 (and 718) are great cabinets for deep sub bass but, in my opinion, seem to run a little light in the "slam" category. 

If you are using the sub for live sound (vs. DJ), some areas need to be considered for a "punch":
1. Mic placement (and mic choice)
2. Proper gain setting
3. Gating/compression
4. Channel EQ

I listed the EQ last, because EQ should be used as a last resort.

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Michael Kofei

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Re: Eqing with subs
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2018, 02:03:56 pm »

Hi Mike,

When you EQ the speakers and subs as a whole system, how does your RTA result look like? Is it flat all the way down to the lowest frequency the subs can produce?
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Jay Barracato

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Re: Eqing with subs
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2018, 02:39:37 pm »

Hi Mike,

When you EQ the speakers and subs as a whole system, how does your RTA result look like? Is it flat all the way down to the lowest frequency the subs can produce?
I looked at mine but it kept changing

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

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Michael Kofei

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Re: Eqing with subs
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2018, 05:16:59 am »

I looked at mine but it kept changing

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

Come on  ;D

I thought it was clear that I meant “average, running pink noise through the system”.

Edit: by the way, the point I was trying to make is that (obviously) a “flat” looking system output is not “balanced” — you need about 10db more low end output for the system to feel “balanced”.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 05:39:32 am by Michael Kofei »
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Eqing with subs
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2018, 08:12:31 am »

Come on  ;D

I thought it was clear that I meant “average, running pink noise through the system”.

Edit: by the way, the point I was trying to make is that (obviously) a “flat” looking system output is not “balanced” — you need about 10db more low end output for the system to feel “balanced”.
That is a matter of OPINION.

It depends greatly on the ACTUAL usage.

In some cases the low end needs to be flat or LOWER than the rest of the response, in other cases, I have seen the bass more than 30dB than the mid/highs.

There is no standard to feel "balanced".
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Frank Koenig

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Re: Eqing with subs
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2018, 02:49:12 pm »

That is a matter of OPINION. It depends greatly on the ACTUAL usage.

All true. In my opinion, having the subs measure more-or-less flat is a good starting point. If you want more bass, turn up the bass (guitar channel, for example). If the relative group delay of the subs and mains has a wide overlap, you have the additional option of changing the relative gain of the subs on the fly without messing up the alignment too badly. It's just another EQ knob, one that I've been known to reach for when switching between a live band and, say, a bass-heavy hip-hop performance using a backing track. Having said that, when making large EQ or gain moves some thought should be given to gain structure to be sure nothing is going to clip. This is less of a worry with modern, all-digital systems.

--Frank
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 02:52:19 pm by Frank Koenig »
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Gordon Brinton

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Re: Eqing with subs
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2018, 04:28:20 am »

...I did read one post that said cutting 80hz is a good starting point...Any tips on this is much appreciated.

I believe that most modern rock and country live kick drum requires a narrow-Q boost at around 80Hz rather than a cut. Sometimes I do make a cut around 150 to 350Hz to remove the ugly mud. However, I do all of this in the mixer channel for the kick drum instead of in the system eq. This because you shouldn't need exaggerated low-end for the other instruments and vocals.
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