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Bass EQing

Discussion in 'Bass' started by NCdan, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Here's one for the more experienced engineers and home studio veterans: tell me if there's anything wrong in how I'm EQing my bass parts. So, I use an e906 (in neutral, which is really just an e609) to mic the bass cab. (I EQ the bass amp with the lows and low mids turned down to where they aren't boomy.) Then, once it's recorded, I boost the crap out of about 125 Hz (about 8-10 db's) (the highest frequency I can go without getting that fuzzy and warbly sound), and put a low filter below 125 Hz. I've found that this doesn't get boomy, yet it boosts the "juicyness" of the bass without killing the brightness. I've tried a lot different EQ's, and this is my favorite. Btw, I don't like the sound of recording direct: not ampy enough. So, what do you guys think? Oh, and I use an analog compressor/limiter, so the EQing is post compression/limiting.
  2. Greener

    Greener Guest

    "and put a low filter below 125 Hz"

    Is that a low pass filter set to 125hz or a high pass filter set to 125hz?
  3. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I think he meant high pass filter. But I wonder can you hear the 125hz clearly? Have you tried your 125Hz boosted mixes on other speakers? Tried your car? I relize you first turned the low end on the amp down, but I am just curious....
  4. Greener

    Greener Guest

    125hz is about the highest freq which comes through my cars sub with any energy... Maybe even lower.

    That's like all the notes from b2 down.

    G.. the thinnest bass string, and the highest is only 97.999hz...
  5. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Agreed. It depends on where the bass player is playing on the strings/neck., but typically around 125Hz is the first or second overtone.

    For most sounds, it seems to me that boosting the fundamental makes it sound round. the 2nd and 3rd overtone define the character, 4th up to about 7th are the fuzz(think trumpet), and above that is the air(think flute). This overlap with the way our ears hear frequency ranges differently depending on where the fundamental is. What I'm trying to say is that there are two ways to think about the EQ of an instrument. As overtones and as absolute frequency. Both have their place when working EQ magic. ... Then there is working the EQ for the mix which is another thing all together.

    So... 125Hz is where the bass has character, and is not boomy. So generally Boosting this area will add more character without making it sound thin. Boosting something from 100 up to about 300 is common for a couple of reasons. It makes the bass audible on cheep speakers, and it bring out the characteristic sound of the bass. In rock, where you boost depends on where the kick drum sits.
  6. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Gecko, as usual that is insightful.
    I have a bookish knowledge of what you're talking about but am yet to hear it in practice. So it's all cool stuff for me to look into. Cheers.

    "It makes the bass audible on cheep speakers"

    That's a drift I can catch. :)
  7. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    8-10 db at 125hz sounded like a lot to me, so I was wondering how well the mix translated.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I'll generally take a bass direct every time. Whether it's directly off the pickups or all of the back of a good bass amp. Rarely, rarely will I mike the cabinet. Perhaps for jazz but almost certainly never for rock and roll.

    I'll generally record flat but may actually record and/or mix utilizing any number of different, well-recognized, limiters. Many of which will impart a sonic twist that puts the instrument into a nice little sonic package that not only slides right in but is completely prominent and wonderfully audible with everything from three-inch speakers on your portable battery-operated TV, to full-blown large control room monitors, never losing its place in the mix.

    The preamp used for the recording process of the bass is also a huge factor since many can also be "pushed" to provide a series of other harmonic enhancements heretofore not available in mediocre chip built equipment. I like that mean growling dog sound ready to jump out and bite me when he's ready to "pick me off".

    Turn the mix upside down and try again
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  9. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Definitely. I was thinking in side the EQ box, and neglected to step out. Remy's suggestion is a great way to get good tone.
  10. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    High pass (oops) :D .

    I'm assuming you're referring to tube preamps here? Idk if pushing the solid state preamp on my bass combo will accomplish much.

    Well, I've always heard that direct is the way to go, but to my ears, direct sounds so... dull and lifeless. There's no spunk or tooooone to the bass. I want to hear the bass and not have a boomy, subby mess, and when you can really hear a direct bass it sounds so lifeless to my ears. I think the speaker really does a lot for bringing life to a bass track. But I am aware I'm in the minority.

    I usually bring it up enough to bring out the "character" (as GeckoMusic stated) of the bass. I think my last mix I ended up boosting around 9 db's, which is quite high, I'll admit. I think that usually I end up boosting around 5-7 db's, actually.

    Well, it's good to know that no one is really disagreeing with me here (I think). I was worried I was boosting a bit too low, but that was the frequency that sounded good to me 8) . I welcome any further feedback or suggestions. Thanks all and God bless.
  11. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    trust your ears, but don't rely on one set on monitors.
  12. DonnyWright

    DonnyWright Guest

    Put on new strings, too.
  13. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Yeah, good advice. I usually use my studio monitors and nice headphones to listen, but I think it may be wise to monitor through my craptacular, original computer speakers as well.

    The bass doesn't get much use, as I'm really a drummer and guitarist, and I have stainless steel strings on there, but once they start sounding dull or not staying in tune I change strings.
  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I have a couple nice tube vintage preamps. I like to look at them sitting on the floor in the corner of the room not being used. Safer than a space heater.

    Basses need to cut through the mix and so, I don't recommend tube preamps. They're too soft and so is there overload. You need a little crunch. A good transistor preamp & limiter, with less equalization should get you there. And I'm not referring to Mackie preamps as they are actually a fixed gain preamp. The level trim on some of these low-cost preamps are a post preamp buffer amp and doesn't provide the same kind of sonic character of the preamp whose actual gain structure has been increased utilizing less negative feedback into the inverting input of its operational amplifier or, "Op amp". More gain = less negative feedback = more open sounding. Less squeezed sounding. Lower gain settings are softer sounding in their character since more signal is actually returned into the inverting input side of the op-amp. And in some situations, it is better to engage the pad (if the preamp has one) and increase the gain. Sure, this will increase noise by the same amount as the pad but the more open loop structure of this type of gain staging provides a higher more articulated sound. Of course, overload is of great concern since you want that dynamic headroom. When boutique preamps are utilized such as the Universal Audio, Neve, API types they'll do this cute little thing before they go crunchy. It's that fine line that you have to find by listening. It will sound like you suddenly drank a half-gallon of beer in 15 seconds.

    If that's not an option? That's where these hardware devices such as 1176's with all four ratio buttons depressed & Empirical Labs Distressors can truly make the difference.

    If that's not an option? Some creative light software clipping can also be tried. An easy way to try and emulate that is to attempt to normalize the bass track over 100%. It's an experimentation process so I can't give you a specific amount. 105% 107%? Once you've done that you'll then want to reduce that tracks amplitude to more controllable levels. This will leave the clipping intact which will provide odd order harmonic content. This will make the bass cut through better. Even order distortion like tubes produce is friendly distortion. You don't want that. You want that more angry sounding odd order distortion but not so bad to produce digital over "clicking". Try smoking that?

    I'm thinking green and it ain't money
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  15. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Hmmm, very interesting. I'll have to play around with that on sonme bass tracks I've already recorded and see what happens. You're just full of great advice, you know (no sarcasm intended) :D .

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