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Thread: bass mixing tips

  1. #1
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    bass mixing tips

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    HI all,
    When I record programmed bass on my groovebox it sounds fine in the mix, but with a live bass I have trouble mixing it in. When I take out the bass track everything else sounds good, but when I punch the bass back in, it's kind of muddy and not clear. I recently got the safesound p1, and the bassplayer went through it to record, and it seems like it's going to be much better, but I didn't sing yet... so i'm not sure what will happen when everything is all done. This has always been an issue. Recording with fender jazz bass was the best.... easier to eq and get it to sound nice in the mix. But my bassplayer has an alembic brown bass, and it's much harder to get it to just blend the way the fender would.
    Any tips on mixing in live bass? Articles or links?
    Oh, also... the drums are programmed drums... so, we need to get this bass mixed in nice...
    the songs are rock/pop style
    thanx,
    evt

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    Are you using a direct box or going through a mic or lined out amp? I find if I don't pre-amp the signal, I need to add too much gain or volume, which turns the mix to mud. At first, I tried to fix that with too much EQ, but I ended up making the sound too flat. If your signal is good going in, you'll need to fix it with EQ and compression, but make sure you have a good hot signal going in. With the eq, you'll be mostly taking away, maybe boosting in places. Use a multiband parametric if possible.

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    I forgot to say that I was recording into a fostex 16... We've tried going through a fishman and we've used an eden traveler 400, and last recording, we went through the safesound p1. Got the safesound to try to help the bass, guitar, vocals, and keyboards before going into the digital 16. But, the main problem has always been getting the bass to sound good in the mix. For the drum machines we are going through the dbx mc6 mini compressor. Everything else sounds good.. it's ALWAYS the bass....
    thanx
    evt

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    I've been diggin amplitube recently for livening up flat-sounding bass tracks. Also I found that cutting the really low bass and boosting around 200-400 works (works for my bass player, his playing style and gear which makes a big difference, obviously. )

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    Bass Clarity

    Before you read or try my suggestion, be advised that I am a guitarist and novice-intermediate level home recordist. This is just one very simple and elementary approach. Search the forum for similar subject matter responses. There are lots of real smart and experienced people on here who can give you a great education.

    This process works for me on troublesome bass tracks:

    - cut everything below 150.....relax, it is a starting point only
    - boost to taste around 800 until you get the clarity & definition you desire
    - work some lows back in until you have bottom without losing definition

    When you solo the track it will sound thin. In the mix it should sound fine.

    Also, make sure the guitars are not competing with the bass frequencies. I've worked with a number of rhythm guitar players that I call "bedroom guitarists". They have this lush, full, powerful, crunchy tone that sounds awesome when they are jamming alone in their bedroom. Put them in a mix and it is pure mud.

    Check your guitars and roll off competing lows.

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    If the bass souns fine on its own then the answer is to start EQing the other tracks. start cutting low end on all the other tracks to make room for the bass. It is very common for me to cut the low end off every track in a mix except the bass and the kick drum and even they get cut some times.
    Ronan Chris Murphy
    Ronan's Recording Show
    Home Recording Boot Camp Six Day Recording Workshops

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    The first time in a studio, the engineer said to turn the bass tone all the way down. I told him that really sucked, so he added bass through the phones so it sounded like a bass again. After that first song, control room playback; it sounded great because he recorded it dry, then added bass on playback. Don't add too much bass to the original track, add it on playback.

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