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Thread: Bass Tone

  1. #1
    Abbott is offline Senior Member
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    Jan 2002
    Tucson, AZ
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    Bass Tone

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    I am having some trouble getting a good bass sound on my Tascam 414 portastudio mkii. What is happening is the bass is getting lost in the mix. The song we are playing has bass solos in and out of the chorus, that are only a measure long. These bass solos always seem to kind of get drowned amidst all the other instruments and you can't hear it for shit. The thing I'm worried about is maybe it's too crowded a song. There is the bass and drums on one track bounced, but even when they aren't bounced, you still can't hear the solos. There is a marimba playing, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals. What do I do to make this bass sound stand out but not dominate!!!??!!

  2. #2
    Scooter B's Avatar
    Scooter B is offline Force of Nature
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    Dec 2000
    Edmond, Oklahoma USA
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    Brother Abbott,

    As primarily a bass player and song writer I feel your pain. I got into doing home demo's because I was never happy with my recorded bass tone even in three different pro and semi-pro studio's! I liked my live tone but I never had an engineer that seemed to care about working on the bass tone.

    I am currenty using a Yamaha MTX4 4-tracker cassette and have to deal with the bouncing issue also. Finally after four years of frustration I have found success with using a SansAmp Bass Driver and an ART TubePac. The SansAmp alone was harsh to my ears.

    I would recomend using some kind of gain boost and/or EQ boost in the upper mid range during your mixing before combining the bass with the drums into a bounced track.

    There are some mixing articles at Musicians Friend website in the Tech Archives and other sites that describe "Sound Sculpting" wich involves learning to leave sonic space or not clutter up frequency zones by not having all intruments occupying the full frequency spectrum. A simplified example would be to completely cut all low frequecies out of your recorded guitar signals. The guitar sound alone will not sound as full as you are used to hearing them but the bass has room to shine in the lower frequencies now... after the bass and rums are added to the guitar sound you won't miss the low frequencies from the guitar and the instruments have room to be distinct from one another.

    Using this for your bass solo will be more complicated as your bass solo's typically are not in that lower range reserved for the bass and drums. There are many different techniques to achieve your goal. Read everything you can on mixing (Web sites, TapeOp, magazines...) Bassplayer has done columns and articles oon this and interviews with bass players who also solo alot on top of the "bassic" bass track nd how they get it to work on tape in the mix.

    Good luck
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  3. #3
    crosstudio's Avatar
    crosstudio is offline Reggae + Go-Go = Regg'go
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    Dec 1999
    bowie, md
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    abott, simplifiy the mix during the 1 measure bass solo.

    solo means "by myself", so give the bass some breathing room.

    i also use the sanasmp bass di, and i get really good results.

    you might want to EQ the bass track at 800 or 1.5khz to give the bass more clarity.

  4. #4
    Matt303 is offline Senior Member
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    May 2002
    UK, Bristol
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    THis is the same problem I had, although the Bass was there it sounded 'spongy' (for want of a better description) and lacked definition, this was odd becouse the live sound was fine. It was down to mic placement (advice from someone in the forum), the way I got over it was by trying out different locations all close to the speaker and sweeing the mid range. For small movements of the mic I found that some frequencies were missing. When I found a location that gave me some control I recorded and then played with the EQ during the mix. As I knew I had some control over the bass and mid range I could experiment until the sound was what I was after. Oddly when I isolated the sound after mixing it was more 'toppy' that i expected, it seemed that the fret buzz and attack gave the bass line some definition in the mix.

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