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Thread: Bass...tracking approach

  1. #1
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    Bass...tracking approach

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    I just ran my gear thru a shootout to see what sounds best to my ears and is non-biased as I can be, as I dont really care....but I do expect more from more expensive stuff.

    in short I plugged the Fender P-Bass into:

    1)Interface DI
    2)Interface DI with Realtime Plugins
    3)JDI into MicPre/Interface
    4)JDI into Cloudlifter into MicPre/Interface
    5) JDI>Cloudlifter> MicPre/Interface >Realtime plugins
    6) 73Pre into interface(line in)
    7) 73Pre into KT2A (line in)
    8) JDI>Cloudlifter>Outboard preamp> Interface /Line IN

    **my least fav's 1,3,4,6 were the "missing something" group.

    being older Ill use a Beatle analogy...
    its like #7... the 73/KT2A gets up to the Rubber Soul album...where things were straight forward and cleaner in a compressed way, ...analogish....plugin, hit record an play.

    Then theres #5 & #2 ..the PlugInAmpSim approach that can offer Revolver, SgtPepper through MMT. ...flangers,verbs triple comps,eq, wahwahs telephone voice wangyflungshinz noises... (the PluginAmpsim can also do AbbeyRoad cleaner, with rich chamber verbs) and offers more technical stuff like RECALL, SAVE AS and all that.

    food for thought...pondering in gear land...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails bass-shoot-png  

    if it's not happening in the room, it ain't gonna happen on tape.-H.Gerst

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    Quote Originally Posted by CoolCat View Post
    I just ran my gear thru a shootout to see what sounds best to my ears and is non-biased as I can be, as I dont really care....but I do expect more from more expensive stuff.

    in short I plugged the Fender P-Bass into: ...
    Have you listened to each within a mix yet? The reason i ask is I just finished my own sort of bass recording test but with an amp. I was trying something different from the usual dynamic in front of the speaker (Oktava MK219 around 2 feat from the cab) and found that in order to get a track that fit with the rest of the instrumentation i had a crazy eq on the amp that literally sounded horrible in the room. A great bass sound by itself can often interfere severely with the sound of the kick in a track.
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    true....all the shoots dont mean much in a mix..lol
    crazy but youre right. I remember a mix class article the dude said "dont waste time on solo tracks!!" why waste the time?

    in real world we are really looking for crap-gear maybe?...and most pieces arent crap. a cheap DI or a plugin...or a $1000 preamp...

    and then in the mix we slather the plugs and eq on.... so the original track is unrecognizable. at least imo....

    good point, reminder! like microphones...spend all the time doing comparisons and full ness...and the first thing turn on the HPF...lol

    if it's not happening in the room, it ain't gonna happen on tape.-H.Gerst

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    That is a huge amount of pre-processing. My bass goes into the front input of the interface. That's it - one cable. Once it's in the machine, I can fiddle and tweak without compromising the pure signal the bass stuck out. I never pre-process unless there is a really significant reason - maybe like some strange playing style that needs gain adjustment, or because the recording signal is being 'sniffed' from the path the bass takes to an amp or other system, and I have no choice.

    Is your bass very low output? My jazz is easily able to make LEDs go red at half gain - so why the cloudlifter? This is very odd?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    ...so why the cloudlifter?
    I’d imagine an attempt to make up the stepdown loss from the DI in hopes it will be less noisy than just getting extra gain from preamp.

    I had trouble figuring out if the OP was about getting a decent final tone or just about satisfaction during tracking. In either case really I’m not super surprised that the clean flat sound of the bass was less enjoyable than when it’s been compressed, saturated, and filtered.

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    I belong to the Rob Aylestone school of tracking bass: one cable straight into interface.

    Sort out verything else once it's recorded.

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    Most simplest Bass - If I plug my US P-Bass into the Interface Instrument jack, there is hardly any signal = no wave.
    I can hear it if I turn my headphone way up. Can add volume later I suppose. There seems a odd digital compression/limiter too on my unit.

    other options-
    Another approach is Bass > J-DI > Interface preamp but preamps not super powerful either....so
    Bass> J-DI > Cloudlifter +20db gain> Interface Preamp gets a nice volume and decent sized wave requiring less ITB gain/stuff later.

    or use the internal Realtime Ampsims plus....some mouse work but recall and save as is a great world, right? Just plug in the Instrument in jack and pull up the AMP and Gear PLugins...

    Maybe some interface Instrument inputs are better than others? Mine has some odd things going on , like some compression/limiter fx.
    IF I play lightly its better, but I kind of hit the strings hard and the interface instrument in doesnt like it...like it overloads?

    there is the attraction to plugging in analog real gear vs plugins for me...ymmv so whether a JDI+Cloudlifter or outboard PRe/DI box...with knobs...is maybe a Tracking choice?

    if it's not happening in the room, it ain't gonna happen on tape.-H.Gerst

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    Quote Originally Posted by CoolCat View Post
    Most simplest Bass - If I plug my US P-Bass into the Interface Instrument jack, there is hardly any signal = no wave.
    I can hear it if I turn my headphone way up. Can add volume later I suppose. There seems a odd digital compression/limiter too on my unit.

    other options-
    Another approach is Bass > J-DI > Interface preamp but preamps not super powerful either....so
    Bass> J-DI > Cloudlifter +20db gain> Interface Preamp gets a nice volume and decent sized wave requiring less ITB gain/stuff later.

    or use the internal Realtime Ampsims plus....some mouse work but recall and save as is a great world, right? Just plug in the Instrument in jack and pull up the AMP and Gear PLugins...

    Maybe some interface Instrument inputs are better than others? Mine has some odd things going on , like some compression/limiter fx.
    IF I play lightly its better, but I kind of hit the strings hard and the interface instrument in doesnt like it...like it overloads?

    there is the attraction to plugging in analog real gear vs plugins for me...ymmv so whether a JDI+Cloudlifter or outboard PRe/DI box...with knobs...is maybe a Tracking choice?
    I am curious about which interface you are using? I have both a FR 2i2 and an old M-audio mini pre )as well as the main system which is 32 ch AH which does not have "instrument" inputs)
    and neither one has a problem getting a good -18 to -12 db signal into my Pro Tools. I personally often track through a DI and/or a compressor for color when I already know what I want and amp + DI when wanted( I will take the instrument out of the DI into the amp and the mic level into the interface)


    Have you checked what the nominal gain is supposed to be for your instrument input? I would think you wouldn't need more than ~40-50 db for a passive bass to get a good level to DAW
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    Most iinterface instrument inputs have about 9db gain over their line input, and that is usually about enough for most instruments, and sometimes too much for really hot instruments, especially when the interface doesn’t have a whole lot of headroom to begin with.

    I suspect there’s something strange happening, maybe something in whatever software bullshit your interface manufacturer has put between the hardware and your DAW. If it seems to be topping out, but is not also clipping in the DAW, then it must be attenuated before you get there. Check in whatever mixer panel thing the manufacturer made you install and see if something is turned down or routed weird or otherwise fucked with for no good reason.

    All that said, don’t use the input gain to adjust your monitoring level. It’s so weird to me that we have to say this so often. Adjust your input gain to get a decent recording level, and use the track fader or a plugin (or both) to adjust what hits your ears. Not “later”, but now during tracking.

  10. #10
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    There's no hidden attenuator is there? As in it's expecting +4dB levels? Both of my interfaces manage guitars and basses fine - that's really what the socket is for. If yours doesn't, something is odd?

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