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HIGH PASS FILTERS: getting rid of the mud and rumble
Recent News and Updates
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The COVID-19 pandemic has people understandably highly concerned. With abundant cautionary procedures, the bassists at Gollihur Music are still maintaining our normal (online) business hours and shipping out orders every weekday.

Since we are not a "bricks and mortar" store, we are not affected by mandatory retail closures. There are just two of us here at the shop, and we have temporarily put a halt to in-person appointments to limit any chance of exposure. We are taking appropriate measures to protect ourselves and our customers from any possible infection. We're confident that we can continue to provide you with your bass needs through this complex time.

Do note that some of our suppliers have been suspending or limiting operations, though, so some products may be a little less available. But we are well stocked with the bass-ics!

Recently Added Products
Aria Carbon Fiber Double Bass Bow with Case
Aria Carbon Fiber Double Bass Bow with Case
These bows are crafted of a special uni-directional carbon fiber, and feature a particularly light tip for lessened fatigue over long sessions. Beautiful, pro-level bows! Includes an Artino Bow Case!
Bass Clef Domed Decal for your Apple Computer Logo
Bass Clef Domed Decal for your Apple Computer Logo
Do you own a Mac? This is a slick new way to show the world that you're a member of the Nation of Bass! Sized to fit most MacBook computers (the kind with a glowing Apple logo) it has a clear bass clef for the logo's light to shine through.
Digital Audio Wireless System - Model U2, Wood Finish
Digital Audio Wireless System - Model U2, Wood Finish
If you need to go wireless, you need to choose a wireless system carefully to avoid impedance issues that will kill your sound. Here's one that works well, and it's even finished in a woodgrain look so it visually blends with your bass top!
If you lurk in on-line bass forums you'll likely see posts discussing the need for High Pass Filters. This useful feature deserves a specific explanation of exactly what they do and why you might benefit by having and using one. Simply speaking, they are filters that let the highs pass (and that's where the name comes from) above a certain frequency but gradually block lows below that point. Why on earth would we bass players want to block lows?? When those frequencies are below our lowest bass note. Think of a high pass filter as a sort of adjustable sub-bass tone cut control.

Upright basses can particularly be a problem to amplify (like you didn't know THAT), as pickups can often generate all sorts of rumble and mud along with the desirable bass tone. This occurs not just as we play, but also as the huge hollow body captures all the sounds in the room. (Try it sometime, leave your amp on and put your ear up to the speaker; you'll usually be able to hear sounds from the room that you are amplifying!) There are a number of reasons why this can be a problem.

Those low lows muddy up our notes, hurting our clarity, because the speaker is trying to reproduce those very low frequencies. That interferes with the notes we want our audience to hear. Another big negative is that unneeded lower frequencies eat up watts, power that we need to be heard clearly, especially when we're nearing the edge of what our amp and speaker can deliver.

Using the filter: It's always best to adjust filters and tone controls by using your ears rather than numbers (frequencies like the 41.2Hz of the open low E string). Your control may differ, but most have a knob that chooses the frequency below which the filter begins to roll off the sound. This is important to know-- these and similar filters do not have a sharp cut-off (like a notch filter), the control won't cut the frequencies off below that point like a knife — it's a gradual reduction. You'll often see specifications of -6db or -12db per octave.

Ok, those are the numbers, but as I said, it's best to use your ears, and make teeny-tiny adjustments to the frequency control until you arrive at a good compromise between thickness and clarity. The High Pass Filter can be a real sanity-saver when you're stuck in the walled back corner on The Stage From Hell — you know, the hollow plywood kind that vibrates, resonates, and makes everything on stage sound muddy. The control can benefit all bass players, not just URB. (I play bass guitar gigs on one of those stages from hell regularly.)

Don't have a high pass filter on your current amp but still want to overcome the mud? There are a number of external preamps and devices that could help, either with specific high pass filters, frequency adjustable (parametric or semi-parametric) EQ sections, or the tone controls you already have. For instance, I use the lowest control of the semi-parametric EQ (tone control) section on my Euphonic Audio iAMP800 (newer iAMP versions with same preamp are available, and there are other amps and outboard units that have similar EQ sections) at the lowest setting to help clear the mud. Yes, I know we bass players instinctively do the opposite, but fight the urge and don't be afraid to roll the bass control on your amp to the left a little bit. Very often that satisfying fat tone on stage turns to mud out in the audience.

These filters can be called the different things on various products. For instance, the Fishman Pro-EQ Platinum Bass DI calls it a Depth Control. Both Acoustic Image (on all Series III amps) and Euphonic Audio (on Micro and Doubler) do label it as a High Pass Filter.

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The Fine Print:

The information contained herein is based on what's in my brain — and/or my observations and opinions from my personal experiences (and those of Bob, before me) — as of this moment today, and is subject to change. I'm sure that a great deal more information and detail could be added — but the intent of these writings is to present easily understood, quick FAQs, to address common questions and improve the reader's general knowledge.

What's written here is by no means any kind of authoritative absolute answer, for I am not the world's greatest authority on bass (not even close), or on much of anything else, for that matter. So, by all means, get a second opinion, and know that all the information provided here is for general informational purposes only. I am not providing professional advice; be aware that, where applicable, any information acted upon is at your own risk.

I simply and sincerely hope the information and opinions here are helpful to you on your quest for knowledge about the bass and related subjects... that's the point!

I welcome email with dissenting and additional viewpoints/information/updates that help improve my personal awareness and these content pages. If you have a question that you think belongs here, please let me know.

PS: It should go without saying that all of the information here, unless otherwise attributed, was expressly created by us for the benefit of our customers. All graphics, text, data, and other information is copyrighted © 1995-current. You are not permitted to re-use any text, information, or graphical elements on your own website; you may post links to it, or small excerpts, on message boards if properly attributed and linked back to our pages.