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Bass Guitar recording?

Discussion in 'Bass' started by eddies880, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

    Need some ideas on recording bass guitars----------------Ive pluged in direct----and miced up an amp----comp,preamp,etc......
    The sound Im getting is good---but I sure would like to hear some diff concepts and ides :cool:
  2. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    You sound like you've got it pretty well covered... You can always switch microphones, maybe add a little gentle compression...

    New strings...


    Different bass...
  3. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    so much happens at the fingers
  4. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

    Well Ill be a S.O.B----- :cool: You hit it right on the money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    My bass player is probably the best bass player Ive ever played (Live) with,but when It comes to putting a set of cans on and laying some tracks down,he,you might say,is better suited for live performances.
    Ah----------what I would give for a Studio bass player :oops:
  5. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    When recording bass these are my personal guidelines....

    1. Get a good bass with new strings (and in tune)
    2. A nice sounding bass amp
    3. A good mic (D112 or Beta 52)
    4. A DI into the board
    5. A little compression

    I always record 2 sources (mic and DI) from the bass amp. This gives you more to play with in the mix. Normally when I'm mixing I try to find which bass track holds up on its own in the mix. From there I try to see if the other track can add anything to it. On my last recording the bass player was really dynamic and we only wanted to smooth it out a tad. I took the approach that I take on drums and squashed the one track and mixed it just underneath the "good" bass track. I then added extremely light compression to the "good" bass track to tame it a little bit. What came out was a really smooth, well rounded, yet punchy bass.

    I'm not that experienced so what I did could've been wrong, but the end result sounded good to my ears.
  6. jobu2u

    jobu2u Guest

    You all might think I'm nuts but what about a Bass POD?

    I personally cannot stand the guitar POD; the artifacts of "modeling' are more than transparent to me. But, I have experimented quite a bit with Bass POD that I picked up recently and I must say: I have gotten some astonishing results!

    Another plus is that you can run outs separately from the DI and "modeling" channels simultaneously, as to avoid any phasing issues that you might find when DI/mic'ing.

  7. Don't know why everyone thinks new strings are a must for bass, I personally hate the sound of new strings, all twangy and bright, I like 'em nice and old and smooth! If you want twangy, go get a guitar! :D

    If you're miking an amp, make sure the room is good, it really affects the sound of the amp. You have to get quite a way back from a bass amp to get a true and balanced tone, near miking is a different sound altogether... (but can be useful) Easiest way is to use a quality DI, preferably dedicated for studio stuff rather than one of those utility boxes designed to be beer proof... I got to play with a Sebatron Deuterium DI a while ago.. WOW! Most quality mic pre's have a DI input as well, use it!
    To get the best groove out of your bass player's fingers, I highly recommend tracking live with the drummer and preferably rhythm guitarist, which means either an iso room for the amp or using only a DI...
  8. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    The Bass POD isn't bad, IMO. I own a $139 Korg Bassworks which is a shitty little battery operated knock off of a bass amp simulator. I've even gotten pretty good sounds out of that. Of course there is a difference in sound between a Korg Bassworks and a good bass amp, but it does the job in a pinch.
  9. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    all good advice so far

    you get that

    I too was having trouble with a good friend of mine. We just were not happy with the end results.

    I decided to simplify things and as tracks were already recorded the bass had to be O/D'd
    I set him up by himself to go it alone.

    My best passive DI ... an external mic-pre
    we auditioned many and settled for one of my simplest units
    ... then a big VU meter right in front of him
    ... then to the recorder.

    I showed him how to open tracks and told him the guitar and the gain knob of the mic-pre, which was a rotary switched, were his only controls ...
    PLUS his fingers

    " keep that meter half way ... all the time ... as best you can "

    ... a little different to the live feel and it did take a while but the end results were much easier to mix with.

    worked for us ... 8)
    he now wants his own system ... :shock:
  10. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    i recently found out that my di-boxes could take output of the speaker-out of a bassamp. so i used that and it sounded awesome.

    i tried micing the bassamp (which was a fender bassman and a 4x12 cabinet) but couldnt minimize the bleeding. (those stupid bassfrequencies go through everything!!)
    i found this to be closest to the real sound
  11. imagineaudio

    imagineaudio Active Member

    What about a SansAmp bass DI?
  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Its good that folks are admitting just how hard it can be to get that bass sound to really be good. I mostly record through a DI..Countryman 85...Its simple and it has a transformer....The other piece we sometimes use is an old B15 Ampeg head and a Harvey Gerlitz 2-10 cabinet.Ususally an ATM25 or an LD condenser out a foot or so and blended with the DI.Both myself and one of my partners are long-time players with a lot of studio experience. We usually get a track in a take and a half...The basses are usually the 65 stock P bass with Roto-sound black nylon flats on it...this is nothing but thump as well as a pure note...the other bass is sometimes a 56 Pbass with roundwounds..its also stock...I agree with the poster about the bass strings not being so new...I hate that sound...It needs to get a bit of dirt and grit on the strings before they really punch...not so for live but definately in the studio.You want a nice well-rounded sound that all the notes articulate clearly but add no sub harmonics or clicks and other noises.Especially when you start adding compression...The comp will enhance the little noises associated with new strings and can cause more problems than needed. For compression It always depends on the track...I like the Aphex compellor a lot for bass...at mix I'm starting to like the 670 Fairchild plug....a real one would be cool......Articulation, clarity,a purposeful attack without heavy overages,and a sense of the groove are very meaningful to attaining a useful bass guitar recording.
  13. bossa

    bossa Active Member

    I have a sansamp bassdriver. Picked it up on ebay used for about $150 I think. It works pretty well, but can break up quite early, so subtlety is needed for a clean sound. My bass has active pickups and I had to disable them by taking out the battery because using them active, plus the sansamp made for a muddy mess. Overall I was pretty happy, but bass is very tricky to record in some ways and I am dreaming about having some kind of kick ass bass pre amp.
    Also, the fingers do the talking. If I play the bass back near the bridge, it always pops out of the mix better, but looses some warmth. Conversly, if I go too far from the bridge, it gets too soft. It might sound good by itself, but gets lost in the mix. An inch makes alot of difference, as the actress said to the bishop.

    Check out the Los Blancos recording of Spoonful on my site. The bass was tracked through the sansamp and that was all. No cabinet and not much tweaking. I kinda like it, especially for the money.

  14. bossa

    bossa Active Member

    Actually I tell a lie. I probably ran the bass signal through my RNC compressor at 4:1 after it came out of the sansamp, but nothing else other than that.

  15. J-3

    J-3 Active Member

    Hey Davedog, I was wondering two things. 1. Which Compellor are you using? I'm looking to get a good unit just for bass. Second, how do you like those ATM 25's? I'm wanting to get some good mics for toms and bass cabs. I'd love to get an RE-20, SM-7 or md 421 but I need several for toms and one for bass cabs. What's your suggestion? How does a ATM25 stack up to an RE-20 for bass? Toms?

  16. J-3

    J-3 Active Member

    Actually, Davedog, I have a UAD card but no Fairchild. I guess it would be cheaper to get the UAD Fairchild. When multitracking I use a MP2NV and a EL8x Distressor for bass, but I'm getting into tracking as much as possible live so I'd only be using sofware (fairchild) for bass. At the moment I use the 1176. Thoughts?
  17. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

    I have always contemplated the thought of using the "Nylons".
    And as you have said Dave-----Low to low mids is what it sounds like-------it sure sounds better than using new strings----I too hate new strings------like them live on a bass guitar----but not on my guitars.
    Is it possible to eq the preferable tone into the mix after using Nylons? :?
  18. Come on guys! Electric bass has to be THE easiest instrument to record in the average rock band! If you've got 50's fenders and ampeg heads and 1176s you can't help but get a great tone, it's just a matter of what colour you want, but even a cheap bass played through an average passive DI by a good player will hold its place in the mix and no-one except a recording engineer or a bass player will notice the difference!
    Who 'listens' to the bass anyway, apart from those 2 categories? Bass is aimed at regions lower than the ears!
    Try recording double bass live in a room with a kit and then you'll realise how easy an electric is!!!

    On a technical note, be careful using a DI on the speaker output of a valve head. Valve amps have an output transformer that 'transforms' the impedance of the speakers into something that the valves like driving, that is why there is often an 8ohm/16ohm switch so that the valves are kept in the ideal impedance region. A DI with a speaker input has a high input impedance, because it can't soak the power that a speaker can, (remember high school physics, lower impedance = higher current = more power and vice versa) so if you have only the DI connected, your valves aren't seeing the impedance the circuit was designed for. Your valve life may be reduced and the output transformer may be damaged (very expensive part to replace!!!) It is best to always have a speaker connected, or if you really can't do that, get yourself a passive load (a big bunch of high power resistors wired to make 8ohm will do it, or there are commercial options)
  19. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Hey Eddie.... its like this... with that bass and those strings,as soon as the track goes down and is a keeper....thats it. We never use EQ at all and as i said only a bit of compression going in (very very little), its why i like the compellor,they're very subtle but effective..... I will add some compression at the mix to accentuate and sort of separate the bass from everything else.The plug or hardware used will depend entirely on what the track calls for...I like the UAD 1176 plug...the LA 2A plug(or hardware)...the Fairchild is very nice for bass...I dont use any digital at tracking as I'm still a fan of analog...The Compellor I use is the 9301 unit which fits in my DBX 900 series rack.I think the single rack space unit is the 670 but dont quote me on that...You can find them used still very cheap but they work really well as does all the Aphex gear.IMHO a very underrated set of kit. Both myself, and the Good Doctor play the bass lines in our material and we both have very even handed attacks and just dont need to electronically control the overs...There just arent any...But this takes a LOT of tracking experience to accomplish.. Live we both can just wail away as the song calls for it.The studio requires a discipline without being so mechanical that the song suffers in its groove. Theres beauty and art to doing this. I've had incredible fabulous bassists in for sessions in my experiences, and while they could play anything backwards and forwards, when the cans went on and lights went down they struggled to catch a track...It is a very different environment.. I would tell you what tracks I had to be the ghost bassist on but then they'd kill me.... :wink:
  20. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    I normally wouldn't post here but....

    I just did a session with a great player who's a friend of mine. We DI'd him strait into a SebatronVMP, tuned it in just a bit. Hit record and WOW! We used a small amp to minimize room bleed and he felt he never sounded better.

    With a flip of a switch (literally) I could make him sound like a fretless, give him punch for a funkier latin tune and darken him up so it was almost impossible to tell that it wasn't an upright.

    I'm never lookin' back.

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