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D.I. or amp for bass guitar?

Discussion in 'Bass' started by monkeytastic, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. monkeytastic

    monkeytastic Guest

    Hi there. I've been recording bass guitar using a bass pod for ages and have grown sick of it! I record big, dirty sounding bass primarily. I'm looking into buying a mid-range amp for my bass, but am wondering - in your experience, is it best to D.I. bass or use an amp? I know this one tends to split people but I'd love some input please!

  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    DI for me. It's hard to make a bass sound good in a small room, especially if you are getting an amp designed for a bigger room. The main design goal for a bass amp is power - not what you need to move a microphone diaphragm.

    Before you go spending money, experiment with all of the direct inputs in the preamps that you already own. You may be surprised.
  3. agreatheight

    agreatheight Guest

    Also DI for me.

    It can take a lot of time / effort to get a good sound from mic'ing a bass cab, even if you have a great room (I don't). DI is a lot easier, and the results are solid, often better. Given no time restraints and a good space, I would record both mic and DI and probably mix them. But as much as I love a good bass tone (I am primarily a bassist) I can be hard to discern much difference in many final mixes.
  4. natural

    natural Active Member

    And I do both.
    The amp by itself rarely sounds better than the DI, But the DI can sound a little sterile especially if you're trying to do something aggressive. So I use the DI to split the signal, and blend the amp and DI together. But the amp does need to sound decent otherwise the effort is futile.
  5. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    I too do both
    and the amp is hard to get sweet but worth it when you do

    DI is very usable in the mix with less efforts

    It all starts with the bass guitar and the fingers

    The amp can be used for special bits and effect bits
    use it in short busts and mix in when you need to say something
    automate the mix

    practice the mix tricks .. eq and comp

    when you mix both together try filtering the very low from the amp and let the low waves of the DI to dominate

    sometimes all you want from the bass is the low drone
    I know bass players want the fingers and picks and strings edges etc
    but often there is no room with other guitars and vocals and keys etc

    it can't all be lead at once
    let eh bass pop through for short runs and notes
    once the seed is planted in the listener ... you can squash the upper tones and the listener will still follow without hearing ... ???
    yeah I know ... weird
  6. monkeytastic

    monkeytastic Guest

    Brilliant, thanks everyone! My direct inputs all sound horrific but I may splash out on a really good DI box and use the rest of my amp money for more pedals! Cheers all
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    For the money you would pay out for even a mediocre bass amp you can get a seriously fine DI that will cure all your doubts about DI sounds. Look into bass preamps. Alembic, SWR , Hartke, and Conrad just to name a few. All tube and none slacker.
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Another big question - how deeply have you explored the settings on your Bass POD? Which version is it? Have you edited the settings on the computer? There is a lot of flexibility in the deep editing features of the POD. Make sure you explore it before spending money.

    Just for the record, I use a Bass Pod XTPro almost exclusively for recording. I've been able to find a couple of tones that work well with my rig, but I'm going for an old school R&B P-bass with flats through a B-15 vibe.
  9. bsharpbass

    bsharpbass Guest

    So what's generally considered a mediocre amp? I play through an Ampeg SVT3-PRO, which has a direct out that's switchable pre/post EQ. I've has success with getting a great sound from the direct out as opposed to a D6 on the cabinet, a 410HLF (ported)

    For live shows I switch to pre EQ, as my live sound typically isn't the best for printing, and for studio use I switch to post EQ to tailor my sound a bit.

    Is this generally acceptable, or am I fooling myself in thinking that my amp is affecting my overall DI tone? (save for the tube pre)
  10. monkeytastic

    monkeytastic Guest

    I've explored the POD greatly - it's the kidney shaped XT version. Know a newer one would be better but I want to get away from modelling units - sound fine but hate them when it comes to mixing - not enough power to them, no matter what I do
  11. vladu

    vladu Guest

    hi guys,sorry for quations what is pre EQ,i just start to learn all about recording a sound
  12. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Pre EQ means something that is before the EQ. In this case, the DI out from the amp.

    Post-EQ is after the EQ is applied, of course.
  13. soundfarm1

    soundfarm1 Active Member

    sorta both

    I have had very good luck recording with a good quality active DI or pre, So I would recommend starting there as others have already pointed out. This is a must (IMHO). However, I can say I have also had surprisingly good luck applying the Ampeg SVX plugin from IK Multimedia. Been able to get some really good tones with it and saved me the hassle of trying to mic up an amp in my cruddy little hobbit size room.

  14. vladu

    vladu Guest

    thanks a lot codemonkey
  15. TomTama

    TomTama Guest

    Re: sorta both

    I've had great success with this plug-in as well. I either use a DI or the pre-amp out on the bass amp into my audio interface.
  16. monkeytastic

    monkeytastic Guest

    I'm now looking into the preamp options, but am hitting a brick wall trying to research them online. Could anyone recommend a decent preamp (tube would be nice)? My budget is ideally £400 ish but can now be stretched a bit if called for
  17. monkeytastic

    monkeytastic Guest

    On the cheaper side of things ( to allow for other toys to be purchased ) has anyone used the Hartke VXL Bass Attack Pedal?
  18. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dedicated bass pres? Or mic pres with a DI option?

    There are four really really good bass preamps that I know well. They are all KILLER instant great bass sounds and they are those sounds you hear on most great recordings.

    SWR Interstellar Overdrive. IMHO THE BEST! Tubes....Fender based tone stack...this is what bass sounds like. Alembic. A close tie for first place. Demeter. Great bass pre. Conrad. Yes, my friend Conrad builds a bass pre based on the preamp section of the Sunn 200S head of the 60's. It is KILLER and is also tied for first place.

    I dont know how much money that your budget quote translates to in dollars, but you'll have to find these online. The SWR isnt made any more. The Conrad is about $700 usd. Look it up on his site. conradamplification.com I think will get you there. The Demeter is on their website too and of course the Alembic stuff is still available and is the most expensive of the lot.

    There are lots of other options such as a micpre with DI inputs. Very good sounding stuff there. Research research research.
  19. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    As far as research goes, I assume you have seen the Basstasters preamp page. Tons of samples.
  20. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Great link Bob. I have a Hartke Bass Attack pedal. It works really well for the money.

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