#1
i usually play with my mids all the way down, when i turn them up at all the distortion sounds really messy and chaotic. anyone know why this is?
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Sir Shoelace is a sexy, sexy man.
#2
I think this goes in Guitar Gear and Accessories.

And I'm not sure why, but you'll get a better answer in the other forum maybe?
#3
depends on the type of distortion you're using, if you're playing sloppily that may be the reason
#4
it's not my playing, it sounds crappy just playing the simplest things. is it just my amp?
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Sir Shoelace is a sexy, sexy man.
#5
Quote by Sir-Shoelace
i usually play with my mids all the way down, when i turn them up at all the distortion sounds really messy and chaotic. anyone know why this is?


ajust your other settings when you turn up the mids. You don't need as much treble when you have those mid frequencies. same with bass.
Read my post. Not this.
#6
There are a variety of reasons your sound might be wrong. Depeding on your setup, your pickups may be "overloading" your signal when it's sent to the amp. If your gain is high, and your bass and treble are turned up, then you are getting a situation where your string vibration frequencies are being amplified too much. If you don't have a distortion pedal in the loop and are just using your amp's distortion that is probably the case. Your mid freq's provide warmth and heaviness to your sound, and if you turn those up when your other settings are up (by other settings I mean the volume, gain, bass and treble) then you will end up pushing too many frequencies to your speakers. Without knowing your other settings, it's hard to troubleshoot, but I would say to flatline everything (around 5 on a 10, or the 12:00 position) and see what it sounds like. Then adjust your bass, mids, and treble accordingly. Having your gain too high in conjuction with your volume and your eq will end up "distorting" your distortion, and will jumble your frequencies.
#8
Understanding distortion is the key to understanding how your eq settings effect it, instead of just guessing.

Distortion is primarily a system of clipping a wave. As a sound wave travels along it has it's peaks and its negative peaks. When you "cut" the edges off of those peaks, you create new frequencies in the wave, which in turn are also clipped if they're strong enough, creating new frequencies.

There are primarily two types of distortion; symmetrical and asymetrical. Asymetrical distortion only clips the wave on one side (or more on one side), and symmetrical distortion clips evenly on both sides. With asymmetrical distortion, the new waves generated are at the odd harmonics of the fundamental pitch. So say you're playing a note that has a frequency of 100hz, it's harmonics are 200, 300, 400, 500hz ... etc. Assymetrical distortion on such a wave will emphasize the odd harmonics. Generally we hear that as smoother distortion (this is the basic physics behind tube distortion). Symmetrical distortion will emphasize harmonics at every interval, generally giving a grittier rougher sound.

Now those of you who know about sound will go "But if it's only effecting the harmonics, then it's just emphasizing the pitch and not really distorting it." That's why mild distortion doesn't effect single note lines as much as it does chords or power chords. Something interesting happens when you distort two notes being played at the same time.

When you run two or more notes through a distortion system, not only are all of their harmonics doubles, but a completely new pitch is created, somewhere right around halfway between the two fundamental pitches. For instance, if you're playing two notes that have frequencies of 100hz and 500hz, then a completely new wave as an effect of distortion will be created at about300hz. Using more real pitches, if you're playing a power chord on the low E of the guitar, then you're playing the E at ~82.4hz, and the B at ~123.4hz, the new wave generated will be ~103.4zh. Interestingly, this is just small of being the major third above that E, the G#. This is why power chords sound particularly good run through distortion.

OK, enough about distortion for a minute, let's talk about the guitar. The lowest note on the instrument is low E at 82.4hz (assuming you're not tuned down). We can simply double that to figure out what the next E above it is. ~164. Again, we can double that to get get the next pitch, at about 320hz for the high E string; and again a little over 640 for the high E-string at the twelfth fret. A lot of numbers, but they'll make sense in a minute.

Time to talk about EQ: Generally when you have a three band semi-parametric (low-mid-high) the EQ works as a low-shelf, a mid-parametric, and a high-boost, with the ranges for each of these defined, but not "perfect", in the sense that they overlap some. Generally your low shelf works on frequences <200hz. If you compare that to the ranges above, you can see that's actually a fair chunk of the guitar. A low shelf works by rounding off the sound for lower frequences, so a "low" low shelf cuts the very low end more than the low-mids. The mid parametric works on the ranges ~200hz - ~500hz for most amps, again, looking at the ranges above, that's also a fair bit of the neck. The mid parametric boosts or reduces frequencies in its range, but also on a curve, having more effect roughly in the middle of its range. The high boost on most amps works on frequencies ~500hz - ~2kHz, and is somewhat similar to how the lows work.

Here's how this might look graphed out:(img courtesy of Trash)

Why does all of this matter? Because when you play a note, frequencies throughout all of those ranges sound. On a guitar, the strongest section of sound is the mids. When you play a low-mid range note, that note sounds and all of its harmonics. Any of those frequencies (the note or its harmonics) that are high enough to be clipped by the distortion effect WILL be clipped by the distortion effect. Now remember what I said about multiple pitches all getting clipped at the same time?

What ends up happening when you have a mid-boost, or high mids setting, is that the added sound of distortion itself gets distorted, and you end up with a bunch of really small frequencies right next to each other, giving a thick muddy sound. This is also the same reason heavy distortion and full chords don't tend to mix... thirds getting clipped together tend to produce out of tune seconds... and you can just imagine (or you might not need to) how that sounds when it's all stacked up together with fifths, and the effect keeps snowballing.

This doesn't effect your lows because by the time the frequency has doubled (its first harmonic) it's no longer in the 'low' eq. So A high low setting gives a punchy feel to lower notes, but doesn't cause excessive distortion like your mids do. It doesn't effect your highs so much because by the time all of the frequencies caused by distorition get into the high range, they're relatively weak, so you can boost the hell out of them and get nowhere near re-clipping them (and even if you do, they're so high that it doesn't sound bad).

This has been a watered down version of "why distortion works and how your eq effects it." The entire system is a lot more complex than that, but you should have the basic idea now of why your mids make your distortion sound like crap, and a better idea of how to control your eq and have it control your sound.
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Member #3 of the Corwinoid Fan Club
#9
^I taught this guy everything he knows.


Oh, wait, I'm lying. ****.
Looking for my India/Django.
#10
basically, low/mid range frequencies from about 200hz ish to about 500hz ish sound "muddy" and really uglies up the sound if it's not balanced right.
#11
Quote by redwing_suck
^I taught this guy everything he knows.
Everything I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten...
Quote by les_kris
Corwinoid is God
I'm not even God-like... I've officially usurped the Almighty's throne.
Click here to worship me.

Member #3 of the Corwinoid Fan Club
#12
thanks a lot for the lesson (you all know who i'm talking to) that helped me a lot, do you have a link to a good site that'll tell me more?
Quote by Sir-Shoelace
Sir Shoelace is a sexy, sexy man.
#13
Quote by Corwinoid
Understanding distortion is the key to understanding how your eq settings effect it, instead of just guessing.

Distortion is primarily a system of clipping a wave. As a sound wave travels along it has it's peaks and its negative peaks. When you "cut" the edges off of those peaks, you create new frequencies in the wave, which in turn are also clipped if they're strong enough, creating new frequencies.

There are primarily two types of distortion; symmetrical and asymetrical. Asymetrical distortion only clips the wave on one side (or more on one side), and symmetrical distortion clips evenly on both sides. With asymmetrical distortion, the new waves generated are at the odd harmonics of the fundamental pitch. So say you're playing a note that has a frequency of 100hz, it's harmonics are 200, 300, 400, 500hz ... etc. Assymetrical distortion on such a wave will emphasize the odd harmonics. Generally we hear that as smoother distortion (this is the basic physics behind tube distortion). Symmetrical distortion will emphasize harmonics at every interval, generally giving a grittier rougher sound.

Now those of you who know about sound will go "But if it's only effecting the harmonics, then it's just emphasizing the pitch and not really distorting it." That's why mild distortion doesn't effect single note lines as much as it does chords or power chords. Something interesting happens when you distort two notes being played at the same time.

When you run two or more notes through a distortion system, not only are all of their harmonics doubles, but a completely new pitch is created, somewhere right around halfway between the two fundamental pitches. For instance, if you're playing two notes that have frequencies of 100hz and 500hz, then a completely new wave as an effect of distortion will be created at about300hz. Using more real pitches, if you're playing a power chord on the low E of the guitar, then you're playing the E at ~82.4hz, and the B at ~123.4hz, the new wave generated will be ~103.4zh. Interestingly, this is just small of being the major third above that E, the G#. This is why power chords sound particularly good run through distortion.

OK, enough about distortion for a minute, let's talk about the guitar. The lowest note on the instrument is low E at 82.4hz (assuming you're not tuned down). We can simply double that to figure out what the next E above it is. ~164. Again, we can double that to get get the next pitch, at about 320hz for the high E string; and again a little over 640 for the high E-string at the twelfth fret. A lot of numbers, but they'll make sense in a minute.

Time to talk about EQ: Generally when you have a three band semi-parametric (low-mid-high) the EQ works as a low-shelf, a mid-parametric, and a high-boost, with the ranges for each of these defined, but not "perfect", in the sense that they overlap some. Generally your low shelf works on frequences <200hz. If you compare that to the ranges above, you can see that's actually a fair chunk of the guitar. A low shelf works by rounding off the sound for lower frequences, so a "low" low shelf cuts the very low end more than the low-mids. The mid parametric works on the ranges ~200hz - ~500hz for most amps, again, looking at the ranges above, that's also a fair bit of the neck. The mid parametric boosts or reduces frequencies in its range, but also on a curve, having more effect roughly in the middle of its range. The high boost on most amps works on frequencies ~500hz - ~2kHz, and is somewhat similar to how the lows work.

Here's how this might look graphed out:(img courtesy of Trash)

Why does all of this matter? Because when you play a note, frequencies throughout all of those ranges sound. On a guitar, the strongest section of sound is the mids. When you play a low-mid range note, that note sounds and all of its harmonics. Any of those frequencies (the note or its harmonics) that are high enough to be clipped by the distortion effect WILL be clipped by the distortion effect. Now remember what I said about multiple pitches all getting clipped at the same time?

What ends up happening when you have a mid-boost, or high mids setting, is that the added sound of distortion itself gets distorted, and you end up with a bunch of really small frequencies right next to each other, giving a thick muddy sound. This is also the same reason heavy distortion and full chords don't tend to mix... thirds getting clipped together tend to produce out of tune seconds... and you can just imagine (or you might not need to) how that sounds when it's all stacked up together with fifths, and the effect keeps snowballing.

This doesn't effect your lows because by the time the frequency has doubled (its first harmonic) it's no longer in the 'low' eq. So A high low setting gives a punchy feel to lower notes, but doesn't cause excessive distortion like your mids do. It doesn't effect your highs so much because by the time all of the frequencies caused by distorition get into the high range, they're relatively weak, so you can boost the hell out of them and get nowhere near re-clipping them (and even if you do, they're so high that it doesn't sound bad).

This has been a watered down version of "why distortion works and how your eq effects it." The entire system is a lot more complex than that, but you should have the basic idea now of why your mids make your distortion sound like crap, and a better idea of how to control your eq and have it control your sound.


Corwinoid, you are the smartest man alive.