How to EQ Bass Amp – The Best Settings

I recently gave a bass DI vs amp comparison in stacking up the pros and cons of each method for recording your bass tone. One of the advantages to recording a bass amp. Whether you’re recording or just playing for yourself, here is how to EQ a bass amp for the best possible tone.

How to EQ Bass Amp

how to EQ bass amp

Let me preface this by saying that the best EQ settings for a bass amp are going to be somewhat subjective. Some bassists prefer a brighter tone which helps to cut through the mix, others prefer that warmer body tone which serves as the backbone of the mix.

How to Mic a Bass Amp

Before we get into EQ settings, if you’re planning on recording your bass then make sure you have your microphone placement set up how you want it.

I did a recent overview of how to mic a bass amp in which I explained how much microphone location and distance relative to the amp will affect your bass tone.

The long and the short of it was that placing the microphone on center with the speaker will result in a brighter and attack heavy sound whereas placing the microphone off center from the speaker will yield a darker, warmer tone.

Additionally, placing the microphone 1-12 inches from the amp will result in a drier, cleaner, and brighter sound, not to mention yield more of the sound of the amp itself. Conversely, placing the microphone several feet from the amp will sacrifice clarity while bringing in more of the room and its reflections.

how to mic a bass amp

I say this as a reminder that regardless of the EQ settings you go with for the bass amp itself, the microphone placement has just as much an impact on the recorded tone.

Also remember that the room itself has a huge impact on the sound of your bass through the amp. The best settings for one room may need to be tweaked as you move into a different sized room. Specifically larger rooms typically result in darker tones because lower frequencies travel and exist better in larger rooms. Conversely in a smaller room you’ll generally get a brighter sound where the higher frequencies are able to reflect.

LASTLY, remember that the tone knob (unsurprisingly) affects your tone. It typically and essentially works as a low pass filter, rolling off the higher frequencies or overtones, and instead focusing on the fundamental frequencies of the notes themselves (more on this in a moment).

Best Bass Amp EQ Settings

The first thing to establish regarding your bass amp EQ settings is that the middle position (which is typically “5”) means that you’re leaving the particular frequency range which that dial controls flat.

In other words, if you don’t want to boost or cut in a particular range, turn it to and leave it at 5.

There is an exception which really depends on the bass amp itself. Some bass amps feature a slightly scooped tone which favors a more sculpted, low and treble heavy sound with everything in the middle/at a 5. It’s something to be aware of, but we’ll be operating as if 5 is flat as intended as is the case on many amps.

We’ll identify what frequency range each dial is typically controlling on the bass amp itself in a moment, but regarding the frequency profile of the bass itself, my bass guitar frequency chart shows what’s happening in each section:

bass guitar frequency chart

This gives you some context as to the character of the bass tone at each frequency range so you better understand what boosting or cutting in different areas is affecting.

Now let’s break down each individual dial on the bass amp itself, what frequency range it typically represents, and where to set it for the best tone.


The bass knob on a bass amp typically comprises the entire fundamental of your bass, controlling that 40-200Hz range.

By fundamental, I mean the predominant frequencies which are produced when you pluck each string (which the chart above shows).

Even playing the G string fretted an octave up at the 12th fret is within this range at 196Hz.

As such, the entire practical fundamental frequency range of the bass is contained within this one knob.

Usually the assumption is, this is a bass amp for the bass guitar, you want lots of bass, so you should turn this up, yes?

The truth is you rarely if ever need to go above 5/the middle which again is flat. If you’re close miking the bass with that microphone right on the speaker, you might bump it up to a 6, otherwise you don’t need to boost.

By the same token, the only time I’d drop below a 5 down to a 4 is if the microphone is farther away or off center to compensate for try to balance out this slightly bass heavier/darker/thicker leaning sound like I described earlier.

It’s not an exciting answer, but flat/middle/5 is the best position for the bass setting 95% of the time.

If you decide you need to attenuate or boost in the fundamental later, you can do so in the mixing stage (see my bass guitar EQ guide).

Regardless, you should sidechain the bass to the kick later to help these two low frequency fundamental rich instruments co-exist in the center of your mix, but that’s another discussion.

Low Mid

Not all bass amps offer a setting which is specific to the low mids, but if they do we’re generally referring to the 200-400Hz range which is where the first overtones of most of the notes on the bass occur.

Despite the fundamental being lower, there’s a lot of character and body in the tone in this 200-400Hz range.

The problem is you can see from the above chart that we start to get into the “wonk” kind of boxy sound.

A lot of amps or virtual amps feature a “Contour” setting or dial which scoops out the low mids and mids. This places a greater emphasis on the fundamental low end and treble of the attack and transients of the strings themselves via subtractive EQ.

While this sounds like it’s cleaning up the bass tone upon engaging it, you’re scooping out some of the first overtones which greatly contribute to the character of the bass.

As such, if the amp features a low mid setting then I’ll typically set this at a “4” for a tiny cut. This provides a little clarity without gutting the character out of the tone completely.


More often than not most amps, bass or otherwise, simply feature a “Mid” or “Mids” setting for everything which isn’t bass or treble.

When that’s the case, the “mid” setting roughly encompasses 300-2000Hz.

The same principle applies as we did with the low mids – this is where the character of the bass resides.

Boosting this can make it sound wonky and kind of muddy to the point of overwhelming the other ends.

But again, like I just mentioned with the low mids, we don’t want to turn the dial down excessively as we’ll be gutting the expression of the bass.

Similar to the low mids, I like a very small cut to add a little clarity via subtractive EQ, placing a greater emphasis on the low and high ends in the process.

As such, “4” is an ideal position to set the mid dial on a bass amp to in order to clean up the tone without killing the voice of your bass.


The treble of the bass affects roughly 2k and up and affects more of the transient “bite” of the strings themselves not to obviously mention the clarity of the tone itself.

This setting more than any other will depend on the natural tone of the bass itself combined with the microphone placement you’re using and what you want.

More often than not, I like a small boost to help that bass assert itself a little bit more in the mix. If I add this to my recorded tone ahead of time via the treble dial then I know I won’t have to boost something which isn’t inherently there in the mixing stage.

With all this in mind, I like to set my treble dial to “6”, giving the bass guitar a tiny boost for a little more bite and presence in the context of a live or studio mix.

How to EQ Bass Amp Reviewed

The tl/dr of how to EQ your bass amp is that the best bass amp EQ settings are: Bass (20-200Hz) at 5, Low Mid and Mids (200-2000Hz) at 4, and Treble (2000-10000Hz) at 6.

That’s assuming that 5 is “flat”, meaning not favoring a cut or a boost in those frequencies.

This results in a slightly contoured sound where we’re going for slightly sculpted clean round tone which asserts itself with that high end presence but without sacrificing too much of the natural voice of the bass in the mids.

Once again, keep in mind that the natural bass tone as well as the microphone choice and placement in relation to the amp and specifically the speaker will drastically affect the tone, as well. Know what kind of sound you want ahead of time and use the above mentioned tips to achieve the “sum” of what you want to accomplish between the settings and miking.

One last word or reminder – every amp sounds different and approaches these changes differently. Some amps may benefit the tone if you adjust more aggressively or conservatively than I detail here, so as always trust your ears when making your adjustments.

Okay, one FINAL word of advice, use a splitter when possible to capture a DI signal of your bass, as well, so that you have choices later on to blend with the amp recorded instance.

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