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Fizzy overdriven bass guitar tones


Adam_F
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Hi all!

 

Here's the problem:

When I try adding distortion to my bass guitar tone it always gets extremely fizzy.

 

I have tested different options (lowering high cut even down to 2 kHz, various amps, cabs, IRs, EQs, different models of distortion pedals and amps, different amp settings etc.) - though it's possible to mitigate the problem to an extent, the fizziness is always there.

 

The solution which seems to work best for me is lowering the input impedance, even all the way down to 10k Ohm, which works more or less like turning down the tone knob on the guitar.

 

Basically with that solution I'm quite happy with the tones I'm able to get now, so I'm not really asking for help with solving my problem - I'm just curious if anyone else has come across this issue and what solutions they may have come up with.

 

BTW - with guitar tones setting the amp/IR block high cut to somewhere between 5 and 8 kHz basically always solves the fizziness problem - the more surprised I am at how hard it is to eliminate it from bass guitar tones.

 

[edit]

One thing I forgot to mention - the bass guitar is a Gibson Les Paul Junior Tribute DC - what I mean is I don't suppose the quality of the bass or it's pickup should be a problem.

 

Cheers all!

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It always seems there is a lot more "power" in my bass guitar outputs, despite any level or meter readings. That make some sense, in that slower (lower freq) sine waves carry more energy. Its possible you're over-driving the various blocks in your Helix chain. If you have an audio interface or DI box, try turning down your bass level before it hits your Stomp. Or simply turn down the volume knob on your bass. Experiment and see if that improves what you're hearing...

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Yep, what Soundog said.

 

It's bass pickups nature, other than the much "thicker" signal from low frequencies.

 

I would also suggest to give the input "pad" setting a try, as usually works just great to smooth out fizzy tones with a too narrow clean headroom available.

 

 

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Thank you for your input!

 

When I send the signal to my DAW without any processing (empty patch) I get a comfortable -18dB, so I'm not particulary inclined to concede this could be the root of the problem...

 

In fact, I struggle to get much distortion at all if I don't boost the signal early on in the chain, for example with a compressor or just a gain block.

 

I have tried the input pad of course - when it's on it's even harder to get any distortion at all, even with pedals.

 

BTW - as far as energy goes, it's actually the other way round - higher frequencies carry more energy than lower ones, assuming equal amplitude.

The energy a wave carries results from the relation of amplitude and frequency - to increase energy either amplitude or frequency must be increased, all other things being equal.

In other words - a lower frequency wave must have higher amplitude to match the energy of a higher frequency wave with lower amplitude.

 

I know it might seem counterintuitive, but it's a fact.

https://study.com/academy/lesson/energy-of-waves-amplitude-frequency-energy-loss.html

 

Certainly, an amp may boost lower frequencies to higher amplitudes more than higher frequenices, thus pushing the tubes more in lower registers - which is I suppose what the two of you must have had in mind - but if that was the case, one might expect lower frequencies to distort sooner than higher ones, leading to more crunch in lower registers instead of more fizziness in higher registers - which apparently is not the case.

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35 minutes ago, Adam_F said:

BTW - as far as energy goes, it's actually the other way round - higher frequencies carry more energy than lower ones, assuming equal amplitude.

The energy a wave carries results from the relation of amplitude and frequency - to increase energy either amplitude or frequency must be increased, all other things being equal.

In other words - a lower frequency wave must have higher amplitude to match the energy of a higher frequency wave with lower amplitude.

 

 

In fact I said "thicker", in the domain of headroom (but if you are already at -18dB, then isn't a headroom problem). I didn't say louder. :) 

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13 hours ago, soundog said:

My Helix is working nicely with all of my bass guitars, but it did take work on my part to get it right. You seem to be a smart fellow, so I'm sure you'll get there!

 

Thank you for your kind words :)

As I mentioned in the original post, I seem to have found a solution - which sure isn't stopping me from further experimentation ;)

 

13 hours ago, PierM said:

 

In fact I said "thicker", in the domain of headroom (but if you are already at -18dB, then isn't a headroom problem). I didn't say louder. :) 

 

True that, I'm sorry for the misunderstanding!

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