Cure, The (Robert Smith)/Robert's Amp EQ (80's sound)


Hi Wid,
I apologize if you've had this question before, but a few hours of searching has brought back nothing.
I'm looking for Robert's EQ settings for the period of "sad" 80's albums (Seventeen Seconds - Pornography era).
I know that with his Bass VI the Peavey was set

Bass - 5
Mid - 0
Treble - 10

or thereabouts, but I'm unsure if he had a different set up for guitar amps, considering he used a different collection of pedals for the bass VI also. I just feel that cutting all of the midrange from his Jazzmaster would sound odd? Maybe I'm wrong. I play a JM into a Peavey via Boss pedals myself, and I always loved the space RS' guitar sits in the mix on these records.

Thanks in advance, you seem very knowledgeable on the subject.

Hi Daria,

I don't know what you can achieve with the kind of settings you mention, but it would certainly lead to eardrums splitting troubles (at least with the 2 main amps used during this era).

In 1980 / 1981, Robert used a Roland JC-160 (I suspect it was used as a backup amp for guitars in 1981, and mainly drove the synths because a Roland RS-09 played through such an amp plays exactly the same as what could be heard by then). I lost the experience about this one (JC-160), but as I'm still owning a JC-120 which is pretty similar, here is the settings I use :

High : 6 to 7
Mid : 5
Low : 4 to 5

In 1981 / 1982, Robert switched from Roland JC-160 to a Peavey Musician Mark III head and 412 cab. After watching a few hundreds pics from this era, here is what I found out :  

Input : Automix (both channels A and B are "on" - both LEDs lit).

Channel A :
* Pre : between 5 and 6
* Low : 4
* High : 6
* Post : between 4 and 5
* Phaser : Color : 0 / Off (but I'm sure that the phaser heard on "A strange day" is coming from the Peavey head. In this case the settings are something around : Color 4 / Rate : 1 to 2).

Channel B :
* Pre : 5
* Low : 4
* Mid : 5
* High : 6
* Post : 5
* Reverb : 1

Don't forget the Peavey Musician Mark III also features a graphic EQ which can be engaged while  channels A/B's EQs are still operating. The settings for 1982 (as seen on pics) were a harsh "U" shape :

Low range :
* 100 Hz : around +10 (on a -12/+12 range)
* 300 Hz : around +9
* 600 Hz : around -10

High range :
* 1.5 khz : around -10
* 3 kHz : around +9
* 8 kHz : around +10

But having said that, I use my Peavey Musician head with a less agressive setting which works pretty well too ("V" shape) (this was used by Robert Smith in 1986) :

Low range :
* 100 Hz : around +6
* 300 Hz : around +3
* 600 Hz : around 0

High range :
* 1.5 khz : around 0
* 3 kHz : around +6
* 8 kHz : around +10

As for pedals, I don't think he used any different rig for his Jazzmaster and Bass VI through this era. To summarize it, it was :

  - 1980 / 1981 : MXR "Distortion +" (M104) / MXR "Flanger" (M117) / Electro Harmonix "Deluxe Memory Man".
  - 1982 : Boss DS-1 "Distortion" / MXR "Flanger" (M117) / Electro Harmonix "Deluxe Memory Man" / Boss CE-3 "Chorus" taped to the amp head (some videos show a Boss BF-2 Flanger, but it was certainly used for synths, well, that would be logical, because it was located beside the keyboard of what I think was a Korg Trident).   

So the question is : how did Robert divide the input of the effect chain for his Jazzmaster and Bass VI ? To this one, I've no reply... Except that one of the 3 amps used by The Cure in 1982 on stage  was a combination of a Peavey Musician Mk III head and 215 BW cab. This one was certainly used to amplify the Bass VI and synths (the Jazzmaster went through a 412 cab). Simon used a Peavey Bass Mk III with a 215 BW cab.

Hope the answer helps.


Cure, The (Robert Smith)

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READ THIS CAREFULLY BEFORE ASKING !!! I will answer any kind of query about their music & instruments. I won't answer questions about private life. Just don't ask or the questions will be rejected. Be sure I won't waste my time explaining why. I'm not able and (above all) not willing to answer questions about their wives (please subscribe to the Sunday Sun for this kind of questions, you may find answers). Sounds crazy to write that but I've received some really stupid queries about this subject lately... Other point of interest before you send questions : I'm not a psychanalyst. All questions revolving around you loving Robert as a dad (or lover) are no questions but matter of fact. I'll be delighted not to answer these queries... Last but not least : I won't answer people who don't even care reading replies (yeah, strange, but some "people" do that, showing the interest they put in their own questions and how the respect the time given by volunteers...). No read or rate ? no further questions answered !


Cure fan since 1981, semi-pro musician


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