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Thread: Recording bass

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by grimtraveller View Post
    Over the years I've had to get acquainted with how something sounds in phones as opposed to speakers. I used to be quite shocked when I'd hear something that seemed au fait in phones on the speakers. Now, I don't. There's just a way one learns to listen. There's a way I can get the bass to duck under drums and get the kick to plop on the bass so I can hear both or shake the guitar or whatever and at that point I know it'll be OK on speakers.In some ways, this is the best position to be in.........but that's dependent on you and your tastes. In a sense, what you're saying is that you don't really know what sound you want from the bass but you'll know it when you find/hear it and what you currently have isn't it.
    My acoustic bass guitar has an input and because it's fretless, I sometimes use it as an approximation of a fretless bass. But what a struggle I have to get a sound that accords with what I like ! Which brings me to my main point ~ experiment. Your experimentation may involve you being fussy or not fussy. I think I searched for a long time [a couple of decades, actually} for a bass sound that I was happy with. Part of that was the bass I had at the time, part of that was the amp, part of that was the way I play and part of that was that I didn't really know exactly what I was looking for. When I played live I never really worried about my bass 'sound' because I was always in the hands of a sound engineer who would do this and that from the desk or some instrumentalist or singer that would have very definite ideas about how the bass should sound. I like a more twangy bass but more often than not, many of the people I played with wanted ultra deep bass with no treble whatsoever ~ especially once I'd bought a 5 string. Prior to that I just plugged it into whatever amp I used and played ! If sound came out and was deep, that was fine.
    So when it came to recording it took me a while to get to that place where I could work out a variety of different bass sounds and utilize them at different times. The way I've been for the last 10 or so years is that I never get to flabby or woofy on my electric bass. I have a number of different ways of recording it. Sometimes I'll just DI straight into my recorder. Or I'll mic the amp {either the bass or a guitar amp}. Or I'll play through the amp but DI the amp. Or I'll simultaneously play through a bass amp and a guitar amp, both at very different settings, then I'll DI from the amps and blend the two tracks. Or I might mic both amps and blend. Or mic one and DI one and blend. Or do a three tier thing where I DI straight in, mic the amp and take the line out of the amp {for some growl} and then blend the three sounds into one. Or I might use my "Sans amp" { a cheap but very adaptable Behringer. I think it's the BD21 or something like that}, either on its own or in combo with any one of the above mentioned. Bear in mind that if utilizing two or more sources, the settings have to be pretty different but having said that, maybe not ! I'll also use a variety of guitar pedals I have or even put it through the effects section of my mixer. It's a similar story of that aforementioned acoustic bass guitar although there, there is more chance of the sound becoming flabby and woofy. But by experimenting, I've narrowed down a sound or two that works well. Compression on it can be good and tight or a disaster.
    The point is that there really are any number of ways of recording the bass. I appreciate that to many people "it's just the bass" and as ez willis once so eloquently put it, the sound of the bass is not going to be the deal breaker in whether or not a person likes a song. But I take a different approach when it comes to musical instruments like electric guitar and bass guitar and drums in particular. I think that they are packed with such a variety of tones and those tones, the actual sonics, can actually be a contributing factor in how appealing a song sounds. My oldest son likes a lot of indie stuff and when he plays stuff for me, I always zero in on the bass. And depending on who the band or artist is and when the song was recorded, I hear a juicy variety of bass tones.
    But always keep in mind that the instrument, as great as it may sound on its own, is the servant of the song. Bass guitars make empathetic servants but hostile, overbearing masters !
    Good read and I'm glad its not just my inexperience / ineptitude that is making this part of the recording process difficult! I'll keep experimenting 👍

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gtoboy View Post
    That is correct and I have used that specific DI on bass and it does well. I have actually used one of these :Nady Direct Boxes | Guitar Center and it works great for getting rid of video monitor noise and has a good bit of presence.

    As for software I can recommend the Plugin Alliance Ampeg modelers for great "rock" tone and they are often on sale (watch for Black Friday/Cyber Monday)
    Thanks Gtoboy

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    I echo using a DI box, it works well. Also if your amp has a DI or line out, see about using that into the DI box then into the DAW. Run that into an amp/cabinet sim and you should get a good sound! I got more full/loud signal into my interface with the DI out on my Hartke TX600 vs just straight bass->DI . also parallel process the compression and use the main track for punch and the parallel track for thickness, blend to taste

    Edit: the Hartke has an XLR DI out that I plugged straight into the preamp on my interface

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    All good advice here, but at the end of the day, there are many ways to skin a cat. I have struggled to get a great bass tone for years. I have used DI, Amp Sims. Mic'd real amps. DI out of a real amp, compressors, tube pre-amps, etc. You just have to do the best with the gear you have. My current setup is 1 track running DI through an outboard tube pre-amp and a tube compressor. The 2nd channel is the bass setting on the YAMAHA THR10C. The 2 combined gives me great tones that cut through the mix, regardless if I'm using my PBass, Jazz, or Stingray. But even then I sometimes have to do a small bit of EQ'ing in the box.

    I totally agree that what you are monitoring on is key!!

    Just keep experimenting with the gear you have. Research new gear that is affordable and how you might be able to benefit from it.

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    I don't know if this will help. In all my years of recording I've gone direct.

    I have a Tube MP Studio 3, you'll notice it has a bass setting.

    I didn't always have one. But, it does punch up the sound a bit.

    It's $100. But, I know I didn't pay that much (I'm cheap) I think I bought it off ebay new much cheaper.

    180610000000000-00-500x500-jpg

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    those ART voiced/ OPL units are really good. "V3"

    i was going through a bunch of old clips and listening to many different pre/comps mics, bass tracks past few days...and the specific ART V3 w/ OPL (TPS/DPS) sounded as good as anything at any price and much better than others.

    the OPL can smash or be clean, and the unit has the +20db bump, which really can get some overdrive tones too, or bump up a dynamic mic and no need for boosters.

    the reason I tried one was after hearing a really nice sounding local cd and they used the units across various instruments and mics. the price is so cheap and it sounded like the $1700 unit I had with pre/comp-lim it can make one wonder what the hell is going on in ones mind...the standard MP without the V3 OPL settings, was chosen over a $1000 preamp in a blindfold shoot...so it is confusing the mind.

    in some ways I like the solo unit pictured because theres more room on it and theres a larger VU meter.
    the rack unit $215 has pretty tiny knobs and the linearity of the gain pot wasnt perfect (a lot of the gain in the last 30%)...it did have impedance knob and the rack thing, dual channel , and the plugs being on the front is excellent for a desktop unit. while its not "super clean"...it matched the LA610 unit I had so well it wasnt fair really considering the cost.

    it really has a nice rounded-comp, tube sound though I liked. Im currently messing with a KT2A and it doesnt have the range of tones these units do, it does one sound really well, but the OPL units go from the 2A clean to distortion preamp colors. The rack version has Impedance knob too which is great.

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

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    My 1.35 cents, FWIW..

    I'd start with your bass' pickups. Which pup configuration is your Ibanez?. I'm of the opinion your pups (and electronics) should give you most of the sound you're after just as they are, straight into your interface with no other processing - paired with a new, or fairly new set of good quality strings of course. From there you can experiment with other devices and plugins to enhance it.
    Failure - - the path of least persistence
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybbj View Post
    All good advice here, but at the end of the day, there are many ways to skin a cat.
    I totally agree that what you are monitoring on is key!!

    Just keep experimenting with the gear you have. Research new gear that is affordable and how you might be able to benefit from it.
    Agreed...just don't wanna maim too many cats in achieving it. Once I've finished a song as best I can, I never go back so if a great song has a shite bass tone, thats just the way it will stay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman999 View Post
    I don't know if this will help. In all my years of recording I've gone direct.

    I have a Tube MP Studio 3, you'll notice it has a bass setting.

    I didn't always have one. But, it does punch up the sound a bit.

    It's $100. But, I know I didn't pay that much (I'm cheap) I think I bought it off ebay new much cheaper.

    180610000000000-00-500x500-jpg
    I like the sound of that...cheap as and if I hadn't already gone for that DI box recommended earlier in the thread I may well have taken you up on it. If the DI doesn't do much then I will revisit.

    Quote Originally Posted by spantini View Post
    My 1.35 cents, FWIW..

    I'd start with your bass' pickups. Which pup configuration is your Ibanez?. I'm of the opinion your pups (and electronics) should give you most of the sound you're after just as they are, straight into your interface with no other processing - paired with a new, or fairly new set of good quality strings of course. From there you can experiment with other devices and plugins to enhance it.
    I'd tended to have agreed prior to getting feedback from others (far more experienced than myself) on this thread. It woukd seem that some basses just record better than others...I'm not gonna stop playing around with the one I have and make use of the advice garnered here.

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    I've been very happy with my sans amp bass driver.

    Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI V2 | Sweetwater

    Some grit/distortion on the bass is what i've found to make the bass really define and stand out.
    "Hey man, am I drivin ok?" "You're stopped man"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stratomaster View Post
    I've been very happy with my sans amp bass driver.

    Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI V2 | Sweetwater

    Some grit/distortion on the bass is what i've found to make the bass really define and stand out.
    I'm using the VST plugin version and am also very happy with that.

    TSE Audio - Software
    Failure - - the path of least persistence
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