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Thread: Tracking bass

  1. #1
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    Tracking bass

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    How does one fix the fact that certain notes played on bass are substantially louder than others? If I am to compress, how would I compress only the louder notes?
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    Quote Originally Posted by peopleperson
    How does one fix the fact that certain notes played on bass are substantially louder than others? If I am to compress, how would I compress only the louder notes?
    p.p.,

    What you describe is, unfortunately, a natural property of most bass guitars. Compression is the accepted way to handle that, but there is no set recipe as the amount and frequency of it varies by guitar model, input levels, etc. You might want to start with some fairly mild compression, say somewhere around 2:1 to 2.5:1 or so, and find the right threshold level for isolating those resonant notes from the rest. Then fine tune the ratio up or down as needed to match the levels as close as possible.

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    the way you only compress the louder notes is by playing with the threshold while looking at the gain reduction meter. you set it high enough to not induce gain reduction on most notes, but when the high volume note hits, it goes over the threshold, and triggers the gain reduction, which will be visible on that meter.

    or you could just set it to like 4:1 at -20 for like 12 or so db of gain reduction on the whole line and just slam it to hell.

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    Or if you're using a DAW, it's pretty easy to automate.

    Also, a very useful/musical spot for a multiband compressor. Find the offensive note/notes, set a narrow band, compress away.

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    Getting a better bass would work aswell. I'm a bassplayer with a 200 dollar bass and my bass has the different levels at different notes aswell, but my teacher's Fodera has absolutely no level differences anywhere (around 2000 dollars though).

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    Yep. Great instrument + great player = even dynamics.

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    i find when that happens it's usually the player - not the bass.

    try some frequency dependent compression. i find this can help, but usually the tone changes along with the volume.

    switching from string to string on a bass should be a big decision. it sometimes isn't given much thought.

    Mike

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    The low E string can give some crappy sounds on some basses. I have a friend that has a rogue bass, and everytime he hits that string while recording it's louder than all of the other strings..and it creates a very distorted sound. I have a Schecter Stilleto C4(around the $500 range), and I've never had that problem...

    ...are you plugging direct or micing?

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    The bass I was having trouble with was actually the direct line that I recorded. I found that the more "effecting" compressors like the Joe Meek optical stuff worked the best when set properly.
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    You may experiment with micing a cab if you have the means(one application that I wouldn't recommend the SM57 for). Compression is the right way to go though for fixing the problem you're having. Through experimentation, you'll find what sounds best.

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