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hmmmm bass guitar options

Discussion in 'Bass' started by bobbo, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. bobbo

    bobbo Active Member

    are you guys using bass modeler plugins, or does anyone have a sweet studio cab and amp head combo they like????

    I want a nice set up for bass, i've got a couple nice preamps and mics, and now i just need to know the best way to go. i've got an ampeg combo amp that has selectable tones on it, its sound ok, but not "beast" i know it comes down to the player and the bass, but should i just look at getting the bass pod or get a sweet vintage bass head and get a custom cab???

    i've been doing this for years, and have never fully gotten the "bass gtr" down, i've had some great sounding bass guitar, but its prob due to luck, and the bass player's gear. but i need to work on this.

    what can i do guys?
  2. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    Bass guitar is a constant thorn in my side as well. Let me know if you figure it out, and I'll do the same! Andy
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    A lot has to do with the bass guitar and its pickups. I've heard some lovely bass guitar's that were cheap bass guitars, like stock Ibanez's.

    I generally like to take the bass guitar direct and rarely if ever put a microphone on the Cabinet. I'll take a feed from somebody's amplifier head if it has good direct outputs.

    I'll take a feed into a active DI, so as not to load down the bass' pick up's. Going into a nice preamplifier is paramount. I'll then frequently take it into a UREI/Universal Audio 1176 with all 4 buttons depressed. It sounds cool. Makes it growl. A Distressor, by empirical labs also sounds quite nice. Try a bit of limiting as well. Always works for me.

    How low can you go?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I'm with Remy on going direct. Bass-pickup-strings-direct box. You might want to tell people what kind of sound you are going for so you can get some specific suggestions.

    Though bass is my main instrument, I'm basically a one-trick-pony. I go for a Jamerson/Dunn/Kaye sound. Fender P with a 62RI pickup and TI Flats. I have a Bass POD XT-Pro on which I use a tweak of their "R-n-B" preset. But actually I record just fine through a Countryman DI.

    I also agree with Remy that a lot of very cheap basses sound just fine. My nephew was getting started and I set up a Squire P for him with the pickup and strings above (which cost about the same as the used bass). His teacher tried it out and couldn't put it down. (I admit I'd spent the better part of a football game dressing and polishing the frets and nut.) A cheap solid body bass with a good setup is closer to pro quality than any "beginner" instrument I know. (Only exception I can think of is a marine band harmonica where beginners and pros use the same instrument.)
  5. cathode_ray

    cathode_ray Active Member

    Most bass players have poor technique. You can't hear it through many amps and at live levels in the context of a band it's indiscernable. DI the signal and all the warts come out...
    just an opinion - most live rigs sound mediocre at best as well so micing that isn't rewarding either (BobRogers comment hear ______?) GIGO

    Seems tone is less of an issue "these days" All about hi-gain guitars and massive bottom bass. A frequent comment I hear on this(and other forums) is the recorded sound isn't representitve of the "live" sound but I wonder if it's really a matter of high volumes masks actual tonality.

    Doing live sound for years revealed the "lost" art of playing live may be hampered by sophisicated sound systems and "fix-it-in-the-mix" mentality. The best sounding groups I ever worked with sounded good no matter what I did - set the mics and push up the levels. But most groups required a hour long "sound check" ("testing testing 1,2 3...996, 997, 998. Yeah, still sux) to try and make 'em sound like something they weren't.

    Later, I gotta get my 7th cup of coffee...
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I don't know that I would go quite as far as Ray, but modern rigs with all the power in the true lows definitely mask a lot of sins. A lot of live rigs are aimed at having people FEEL the low end rather than hearing it. As I said above, the modern, scooped bass sound is not my thing, so I can't really tell someone how to do it right. But even with the old school rigs like the SVT the main goal is to move a lot of air, and that makes them hard to mic cleanly. (We've had a lot of discussions on recording guitar and the advantages of a single speaker cab.) I've always had better luck with some sort of direct sound than micing the cab.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Micing a bass cabinet in the studio is mostly a hit-or-miss proposition. And mostly due to the fact that bass cabinets, for the most part, are woefully deficient in their frequency responses. A lot of power through a multiple speaker cabinet in a venue that has a large low frequency standing wave to begin with is simply masking any deficiencies in the players technique and the bass's ability to produce the notes. Like has been said....DI this in a studio and you can begin to get a very quick and firm grasp on the players abilities as well as the bass guitar itself and its tone or lack thereof.Studio technique requires the player to be accurate as well as even in their attack. I have heard many great players who struggle somewhat in the studio. No amount of gear is going to get that done.

    I use a few different things to record with and these are dependant on the sound I want to achieve.

    I like the Sans-Amp DI. Its very much your standard bass tone and with a tightly strung and punchy bass, its all you need. I also like a quality preamp. I like pres with no 'sag' to them. I want to hear the grace notes and little counters clearly. A good compressor is worth the money. Remy brings up THE comp for recording bass. An 1176 with all the buttons down is the goto for many many years. We cant all afford these so there are other choices which also work. A Symetrx 501 is one of these as is the Dyno-miter from Valley People.

    A bass pre also works well. I find the best bass tones come from pres that have tubes and a tone stack based on Leo Fenders' designs. SWR Interstellar Overdrive is one of the best as well as the Alembic Bass pre.Also the DI on my Ampeg SVTPro3. It also has a tube.

    If you like the speaker sound, then a small and tight cabinet driven by an amp with a low wattage output works best. I have both a small SWR head and an old Ampeg B15 which I run through a 2-10 cabinet built by Harvey Gerlitz. There arent any finer cabinets available and this thing has not failed to produce quality bass tones for many years.

    All of this becomes a moot point if the player doesnt have the technique.
  8. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty hit or miss with bass. The times that everything works out there are two things that are consistent. The bass has to be setup properly and the player has to play well. Everything else is easy after that.

    Personally, I like the sound of a P-Bass with flatwounds going through both my homemade Sansamp box and split to IK Ampeg SVX. Between the DIY sansamp box and the software it is hard to not get a good sound.

    (Yeah....I like the sound of that amp modeling software....wierd huh?)

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