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Thread: Muddy Bass

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    Muddy Bass

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    howdy,

    I got my analog studio up and going and am quite happy with how things are sounding these days. Thanks to alot of you here for all your help along the way. Something I'm experiencing now is a little bit of a muddy sounding bass. Particularly through the headphones. It's not in the bass gear because I've recorded it in various ways. I'm not sure what to blame for this. Is it the DBX units? The mixer? Bad tape? My recorder? I'm using the tascam 38 with with 2 4d dbx units and a tascam 308 mixer. I keep the levels around -5 to -7 in keeping with the dbx units. Maybe someone here has experienced the same problem with a similar setup and might be able to help me shortcut to a solution. I realize there may be a number of reasons but with a few ideas I can start the process of elimination and zero in on a probable reason. Maybe I need to get the 38 serviced, calibrated?

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    Could be the ol' "head bump" effect. All analog machines have a noticeable rise in frequency response at a low frequency determined by the head gap and tape speed. If I recall correctly, for the 38 it's about 100Hz. Also your headphones may just be "boomy".

    Don

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    Quote Originally Posted by DonF
    Could be the ol' "head bump" effect. All analog machines have a noticeable rise in frequency response at a low frequency determined by the head gap and tape speed. If I recall correctly, for the 38 it's about 100Hz. Also your headphones may just be "boomy".

    Don
    Thanks for the feedback.

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    what pre amp are you using? Are you using any compression? How are you recording the bass? These are key elements. What board are you using?

    If you suspect the dbx unit, turn off the channel when you lay it down. That will tell you if thats what the problem is.
    Bass can be tricky. But nothing beats analog when it comes to recording bass.
    Keep experimenting. You'll get it.

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    Unless the 38 was recently, professionally calibrated, it could be a whole host of adjustments that are off inside the recorder. Also, keep in mind that 456 tape has a tendency to loose high end response and must be compensated for with judicious use of playback eq on mixdown, on the mixer.

    Cheers!

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    Thanks Reel and GFM for the

    what pre amp are you using? Are you using any compression? How are you recording the bass? These are key elements. What board are you using?
    .

    I'm miking an amp with an sm 57 . I also tried the AKG d112 but I like the 57 better it's punchier. I go to a dbx compressor with soft knee compression into the board which is the Tascam M308. I eq it with a sonic maximizer which is inserted. No eq on the board.

    It doesn't bother me much. I almost forget about it because the overall mix sounds great. So much more exciting than the sound I was getting with the digital workstation. In the headphones though it sounds pretty muddy. It may be the low end in general.

    Unless the 38 was recently, professionally calibrated, it could be a whole host of adjustments that are off inside the recorder. Also, keep in mind that 456 tape has a tendency to loose high end response and must be compensated for with judicious use of playback eq on mixdown, on the mixer.
    I'm wondering if I should just get it calibrated anyway. I don't know the history of it but I doubt it was recently done because I think the seller would have said it. Is there a better tape to use? Around how much does it cost to get it calibrated? Also who does that kind of work?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ghost of FM
    Unless the 38 was recently, professionally calibrated, it could be a whole host of adjustments that are off inside the recorder. Also, keep in mind that 456 tape has a tendency to loose high end response and must be compensated for with judicious use of playback eq on mixdown, on the mixer.

    Cheers!
    The worst possibility is that the heads need re-lapping. The bass is the first thing to go when the heads get old.

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    I don't think its your gear at all. My guess is its the room, where your head is, where the speakers are, and where the mic is. This is the granddaddy of homerecording rooms and is very typical. Judicious use and location of panels of 3" x 24" x 48" Owens Corning 703 RIDGID FIBERGLASS works wonders. Remember, room modes terminate in the corners, room dimensions determine the room response and room modes, and standing waves(resonance) between parallel walls create nulls, of which, if your head or mic is in one, no amount ot EQ, equipment tweaking, or speaker placement will help. Also, monitoring in headphones is NOT the best way to monitor, as they too alter your perception of what the sound really is telling you.
    Also, if your mics are in a seperate studio than the control room, correct layout of the mixing station is of extreme importance. Relationship between the mixing station, the rear wall, side walls and ceiling will determine proper treatment in these locations to eliminate early reflections, create a RFZ(Reflection Free Zone) establish a TDG(time delay gap) longer in the control room than in the studio to monitor comb filter effects due to mic placement in the studio. Early reflections off the front, side walls and ceiling in the control room can mask these effects. The TDG is determined by the round trip distance of direct sound from your ears to the rear wall and back. At the speed of sound, this distance determines in milliseconds if there is a gap at all, as the brain will intigrate all sounds arriving at your ears within .2 milliseconds, yet these signals can smear your perception of what you hear. If the distance from the engineering position to the rear wall is less than 12 feet, it is better to absorb these reflections via resistance absorbers such as OC 703. If longer, then a combination of bass traps and diffusers are recommended, as specular reflection off a rear wall combines to form unpleasant wideband colorations.

    If you are interested in the REAL solutions to make better recordings, visit the Studio Design forum.
    fitZ
    Last edited by RICK FITZPATRICK; 03-08-2005 at 08:40.
    alright breaks over, back on your heads!

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    I would suggest DI ing the bass, and either use it by itself or mix with the mic'd bass and see if that improves the sound. Also,(its worth a try) don't compress on the way in. You can try and compress afterward.
    I think its just a trial and error thing. There are so many possible ways of doing it, eventually you'll find it.
    good luck.

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