So I've been playing with a local band recently and I've found my tone to be a bit lacking.

My gear isn't horrible, but it's not amazing - older Ampeg SVT3-Pro into a Yorkville 1510 (a 2x10 + 1x15 in a single enclosure) cab. Here are my settings:

Knobs (numerical value will be using the assumption that flat is "5", to make it easier):
Bass - 5.5
Mid - 7
Mid Freq - #4 (1.6 kHz)
Treble - 6.5

Graphic EQ - I don't know how to explain this, so let me know if there's a "proper" way of doing it. I'm listing from lowest to highest:

33 Hz: Flat
80 Hz : +3 dB
150 Hz: Flat
300 Hz : -3hZ
600 Hz : +3 dB
900 Hz : +4 dB
2 kHz: +5 dB
5 kHz: +4 dB
8 kHz: +2 dB

I also usually leave my Ibanez PD-7 on "clean" and use the "Attack 1" switch to give it a bit of dirt, and have the "Low" knob at 3 o'clock with the "High" knob not far behind.

The problem with my tone is that if I don't use my pedal, either to give it a bit of dirt or just a totally clean boost, I find my tone to sound sort of dull and almost muffled. It can cut through the mix if I really turn my amp up, but then it starts to sound too middy - almost like a pop-punk bass tone or something.

The band leader knows a former Strapping Young Lad keyboardist, who evidently can come in and "fix my tone" for me, but I'd like to get some advice here, or at least some more knowledge so I can have a better tone NOW rather than later.

Am I doing something wrong with my EQ? Or is it as simple as getting new strings?

Also, I struggle to be heard over the singer/guitarist's 5150/Mesa 4x12 stack. I have to turn my gain and master a bit past halfway, and then my clip light starts to go off fairly strongly if I play a bit aggressively. My head pushes 450W and my cab can take 400W... how far can I push the volume?

Thanks for reading this enormous amount of text. I appreciate any comments. :Cheers:
Try cutting the bass a little to around 4 and maybe cut it a little on the graphic EQ too. I've found the best tones with a graphic EQ are found if you use a smooth curve shape, with the frequency you want to accent the most, boosted the highest, then as you get further away from that frequency, cut a little more so it will look like a sad face. Judging by your settings, you are mostly doing this but try boosting 300Hz up to +1dB, leave 150Hz flat, cut 80Hz to -1 dB and cut 33Hz to around -3dB.
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Remember also that the major difference is made with the knobs, not the graphic. Usually the graphic EQ is there to accent what the knobs are doing. Try lessening up on the upper mid frequencies, change the mid frequency to a little higher and then cut that out just a touch. Also, try leaving the 2kHz and 5kHz frequencies on the graphic closer to flat. Also, for a tone that isn't as boring try cutting the 33Hz on the graphic and bringing up the 300Hz to +1. Maybe that should help. And if your strings are old definitely replace them.
This may sound bat-scat nuts, but why not max out your passive EQ? That way, you're getting a flat signal going into an active EQ instead of an already cut one. Cutting then boosting doesn't make any sense to me and I never understood the need for both a passive and active EQ.

In my opinion, you're boosting too much. Remember, you're after a SHAPE - the actual amplitude should be kept to a minimum.

Personally, I'd take every band and decrease it by 2db, while bringing the overall level up.

And, if you're talking about mud, you should DEFINITELY consider switching the values of 150Hz and 300Hz. Leave 300Hz flat (if you choose NOT to decrease everything by 2, or -2 if you do) and cut 150Hz by 3 (or 5). 300Hz is an essential frequency whereas I find 150Hz to be nothing but interference.

How far can you push the volume? 400/450ths of the way... or 40/45ths... 8/9ths. Don't forget, it's 400W PEAK.

But seriously, to summarize:
Try changing your EQ in this order

0) make your passive EQ all 10 (i.e. flat - you're getting 55% of the lows, 70% of the mids, and 65% of the highs) FOR SURE

1) Offset your entire EQ by -2db

2) Bring your EQ back up to where it was, and switch the values for 300Hz and 150Hz

3) Offset 2) by -2db.
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