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Author Topic: Bass/Treble Balance  (Read 1766 times)

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forrest

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Bass/Treble Balance
« on: January 13, 2020, 09:50:21 PM »

  I have had an issue with my D/G Hohner 2815. The basses were always overbearing and raspy-sounding. Often the high and low bass would sound out of sync with one another. When played at rather low volume or pressure, they improved. However, the trebles would then be very soft, with low volume. The treble reeds were well set on a tuning bellows, as were the basses. But once back in the box, they did not sound or play up to par. This led me to the theory that the basses were being "overblown" in relation to the trebles, which prompted me to try this remedy.
  As an experiment, I removed the bass block and using some painter's tape, partially covered the entry ports of the bass block. I noted that the bass ports measured 20mm. After reassembly, viola! The basses were well behaved, in tune, and trebles sounded a bit brighter in the mix. Since this box was converted by me from a G/C, is it possible that Hohner engineered different port diameters for the blocks according to the reed pitch and airflow? Would love to hear some comments on this. Also some ideas for a more permanent fix.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 09:51:55 PM by forrest »
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Corinto

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2020, 10:03:22 PM »

Did a similar mod on the bass side of my little HOHNER PIROL, and it works!
As recommended by the late Bernard Loffet.
link = http://diato.org/trucs/dimbass.htm#1
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playandteach

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2020, 10:57:11 PM »

Did a similar mod on the bass side of my little HOHNER PIROL, and it works!
As recommended by the late Bernard Loffet.
link = http://diato.org/trucs/dimbass.htm#1
Isn't that mod restricting the exhaust air, rather than the intake air? Does either work better?
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forrest

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2020, 11:11:23 PM »

From my reading of the translation of Bernard's article, I think he is talking about masking areas of the grille. The mod that I was trying was to actually decrease the working area of the bass ports in the reed-block itself.
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george garside

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2020, 11:42:49 PM »

whilst partially binging up the bass air flow may be worth experimenting with  the main reason for the bass sounding disproportanately loud compared to the treble lies in the way the box is played.  The air pressure in the bellows at any given time is the same for both treble and bass i.e push/pull harder and both go louder . ease the pressure and both go quieter .  AS the bass reeds are larger than the treble they will  always sound louder for a given air pressure.

The trick is to create a sort of aural illusion  by shortening the bass notes.  this is easily done by lifting the fingers completely off the bass buttons between stikes - the further the  fingers are lifted off the bass buttons the shorter the notes will be  and this will creat the aural illusion that they are being played more quietly.  The bass rhythm will not be effected in any way.

if playing continuous bass i.e droning bass notes rather than generating rhythm  using chords only (no bass notes as they are louder)  can help as can leaving gaps here and there with no bass or perhaps just relying on right hand chords as and where they  are appropriate.

in other words blame the driver rather than the vehicle!

george
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Grape Ape

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2020, 01:34:07 AM »


in other words blame the driver rather than the vehicle!

george

Except that having watched many videos of Forrest’s playing over the years that just can’t be the case.
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Anahata

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2020, 07:43:57 AM »

I'd guess that tape is not significantly restricting the air flow, i.e. not reducing the pressure drop across the reed, because the reed itself will be far more restrictive. More likely it works by blocking some of the sound, most of which comes out through that hole.
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RogerT

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2020, 09:26:14 AM »

I have a 1930s Settimio Soprani PA that has this problem. The bass side is rather loud and tends to drown the treble side. When I originally stripped it for its rebuild I pulled out a lot of card blocking the holes on the bass side. I really ought to put it back.

Theo

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2020, 10:53:24 AM »

Rather than trying to block up holes I think a more effective method is to place sound absorbing inside the bass end in the cavity which holds the mechanism.  Felt is quite effective placed as a lining on any of the inside surfaces.  I’ve done this and it is effective. 

Advantages are:

No interference with air flow which if done sufficiently would reduce volume but could also flatten the pitch, and slow the response of the bass reeds.

Felt will absorb higher frequencies more than low, so you will reduce the brightness without having much effect on the actual bass sound.   I suspect I t’s the higher frequencies that have the effect of drowning the melody side.

One other very important point -  the player always hears a different bass/treble balance compared with someone in the audience,  so always get someone else, preferably an experienced player, to listen to you playing from the audience position before making changes. 
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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2020, 12:50:37 PM »

Another easy way to quieten your bass is to use it less. I think a good bass line should be … about 50% empty space. This is particularly true in 3/4 or 6/8  time

Don't worry about rhythm, the right end, and audience's brains still carry that. And frankly, a quaver of silence is as much a rhythm event as a quaver with your finger jamming the button down.

Guess I’m echoing George, and definitely Anahata, whose creative left end lines can be fabulously light. Not a felt blanket in sight …
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george garside

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2020, 01:37:01 PM »

perhaps we should start a NON TURGID BASS society!

George >:E ;D
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2020, 01:56:53 PM »

I recognise Forrest's problem, and most players do indeed adjust the length of bass notes accordingly, because a braying bass is awful.  However, and as a bass guitar player as well, I have some concerns about the idea that just shortening bass note lengths is always an effective remedy - you need the freedom as a box player to vary the balance between LHS and RHS volume, and this isn't available on a box. I wonder whether there might be a technical fix here, involving some sort of adjustable bass baffles?
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Pat McInnis

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2020, 04:39:36 PM »

Great topic. I've been trying to help my friend deal with this issue on his Saltarelle PA. So far I've just used some light cloth on the inside of the bass grill but it didn't do too much. I like Theo's idea of adhesive felt inside the bass side cavity. I'll give that a go next.
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george garside

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2020, 04:55:15 PM »

adhesive felt works on a castagnari  lilly  which is the only box I have had  in which the bass are, to me, inherently loud in relation to the treble and which is difficult to ''quieten'' with playing technique.  I also have a felt pad across the outside of the bass end where all th'oles are.  Not only does this help it is incidentaly very comfortable on the had!
george
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Anahata

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2020, 05:44:10 PM »

you need the freedom as a box player to vary the balance between LHS and RHS volume, and this isn't available on a box. I wonder whether there might be a technical fix here, involving some sort of adjustable bass baffles?

We (some of us) already have thirds stops and low reed stops on the bass end: isn't that enough?
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Graham Wood

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2020, 05:57:07 PM »

Sharon Shannon always has a big sponge thing under her left wrist. I suspect that's more for comfort but it surely must muffle some of the bass side.
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Graham W

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2020, 06:51:23 PM »

Slightly off topic - but Hello to Graham Wood!

Just for the avoidance of confusion I'm also Graham Wood, albeit a different one, in Wales.
Many years ago I had the possibly naive idea that it wasn't a good plan to broadcast my name on the internet so abbreviated it, but there are plenty of people who will know me as Graham Wood
so just to say I'm very definately still in Wales :)

Graham W (ood)

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Graham Wood

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2020, 07:29:56 PM »

Hi Graham Wood who is still in Wales. Pleased to meet you.

One thing you could do is record yourself with the mic out at the front of where you are playing. The recording might sound more balanced than from where you are actually playing. I mentioned it because the video I made sounds slightly different to how I remember it sounding when I actually played it. Just a thought.....
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Theo

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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2020, 07:40:49 PM »

Hi Graham Wood who is still in Wales. Pleased to meet you.

One thing you could do is record yourself with the mic out at the front of where you are playing. The recording might sound more balanced than from where you are actually playing. I mentioned it because the video I made sounds slightly different to how I remember it sounding when I actually played it. Just a thought.....

That's the point I was trying to make further back on this page.  Bass sounds travel pretty much equally strongly in all directions, irrespective of the nature of the source.   Treble sounds are much more directional, and in our case radiate forward and to the side much more strongly than behind.  The result is that the player hears an exaggerated the bass sound, compared to what a listener in front will hear.
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Re: Bass/Treble Balance
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2020, 09:04:26 PM »

"the player hears an exaggerated the bass sound, compared to what a listener in front will hear."

I don't play the basses properly (that's not all, actually!) but I have noticed in my recordings that the bass notes are always louder than the trebles.
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