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Not Getting The Bass Sound I Want

Discussion in 'Bass' started by IVleague, Jan 6, 2002.

  1. IVleague

    IVleague Guest

    For some reason my bass sounds are generally muddy and don't settle into the low end. I am trying for a fat, yet punchy sound that has power.
     
  2. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    I'd like to see the patient on the table before I give a diagnosis. What's the signal chain? (bass (including strings, pickups, and electronics), effects if any, amp and/or DI, amp cabinet, mic, preamp, outboard, recording medium, mix down chain.)

    Offer info on other available gear, and if you need to spend out of the problem, your budget. Hopefully you don't have to do that, but it helps us keep the responses useful to you.

    Bear
     
  3. IVleague

    IVleague Guest

    Umm...well, we're using an old Rick, experimented with an SWR cab, also gone direct in (mackie 24/8)with RSP multi-band compression, tried using plug-in compression etc. I am wondering if there are any "standard" ways to get a great bass sound that I just don't know of. Thanks for your help.
     
  4. DSL

    DSL Guest

    compresion on the way in may be killing it? Bass and cheap or missused compression can give unpleasing distortion amd muddiness. I use the Avalon U5 DI.

    My .02
     
  5. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    Ricks sound pretty different from Fenders in the lows, and I haven't worked with them enough to have proven methods of coping. Ricks always seemed to have ample mids and top, but the bottom just isn't as there. Maybe you're overcompensating and that's causing the problems. If you want big bass, you might be better off with a Precison.

    I believe SWR's were something of a standard in LA sessions for a while, so it should be workable. I'd offer that I've never had luck with a biamped bass rig, and I prefer to avoid cabs with a tweeter and crossover. Try to make sure the sound you want is coming out of the amp first, because its nearly impossible to fix after the fact.

    What mic have you been using? If your getting to muddy a sound, try an omni to eliminate the proximity boost in low frequencies. Maybe the quicker transient response of a condensor mic is called for, in which case I'd offer that you might want to try small diaphragm models in addition to the usual suspect large diaphragm models people recomend.

    If using the Mackie pres, avoid using the eq if at all possible (get the sound at the amp and with mic placement) and use the direct out to bypass the summing buses.

    IME, the Mackie 1/4" inputs work for instrument level stuff, but sound pretty lousy for it. If you want to do DI, invest in a good direct box. The Countryman is a long running standard, and there are host of other good ones out there. Some mic pre's also have great DI inputs so if you're shopping for a pre and don't have a DI, consider that function in your search. I've even heard some people with no love for Behringer like the Ultra DI, at about $40 I think, though I can't personally attest to it being decent.

    I haven't messed with multiband compression on bass and don't think it's typically used for it, and I imagine it could be part of the problem. Since you're going into digital, for less aggressive styles I'd suggest just a good soft knee limiter to tame peaks. Compression could be helpful for slapping, but it can sometimes be a bit much for more laid back playing.

    Hope this helps some.

    Bear
     
  6. IVleague

    IVleague Guest

    Thanks Bear you rock! I'll mess with that. Have a great day.
     
  7. Logan

    Logan Active Member

    I vote for the Precision too, I keep one in the studio and when it's offerred to guys after trying to get a sound with some of the stuff I get here, it single handedly, usually, fixes the problem. Use a good DI or instrument level pre.
    See if you can check out the Drawmer MX60 pre which has been the choice of lots of players here when they hear it as the bass DI. Has compression and EQ avaiable on input if you need it,(Handy when controlling an exuberent player into a DAW) and it's pretty reasonable in price.
    Because of leakage issues ,when we're tracking the whole band, I like to just use the direct and reamp if I need an amp sound but there is almost always alot of direct in most of my mixes. I'm not a big fan of the big 18" sound, but prefer a 4 10 cab with the players head of choice, but that's just me. Take care Logan
     
  8. Masternfool

    Masternfool Active Member

    Dump the Rick...You'll spend more time than it's worth..They're not for the studio..In my Opinion.
     
  9. gie

    gie Guest

    Originally posted by Masternfool:
    Dump the Rick...You'll spend more time than it's worth..They're not for the studio..In my Opinion.

    I think it all depends on the style of music you are doing...
    I've done some great recordings with a Rick.... BECAUSE it suited the music so well. I think a Rick can be good to great for retro music.
    For more modern sounds it can suck big way...
    (and sometimes it can work.)
    Like I said: it depends...
     
  10. pan

    pan Guest

    Originally posted by gie:


    I think it all depends on the style of music you are doing...
    I've done some great recordings with a Rick.... BECAUSE it suited the music so well. I think a Rick can be good to great for retro music.
    For more modern sounds it can suck big way...
    (and sometimes it can work.)
    Like I said: it depends...


    You need a really good player to get good sound out of a Rick IMHO! It's all in the fingers!
     
  11. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    I don't know, I've had pretty good luck with Ricks in the past. I take the amp and the DI, maybe a little bit of compression on the way in. Since you say your not getting any bottom I have to ask if the amp and DI are in phase.
     
  12. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

    Multiband compressors run everything through a bunch of filters. All filters ring. The focus, punch, rhythm, power, size and general balls of the resulting audio suffers.

    I avoid multibands like the plague unless there is no way around the need to remix a song with processing and a little eq. won't work.
     
  13. gie

    gie Guest

    [off topic]

    Originally posted by Bob Olhsson:
    Multiband compressors run everything through a bunch of filters. All filters ring.


    What about software ones like Waves C4....
    Do they also ring?
     
  14. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

  15. homerg

    homerg Member

    My 2 cents worth: It is impossible to get a great bass sound with a bad bass player. I don't care how good the signal path is, it won't sound good. I have also found that it is impossible to get a bad sound with a great bass player. The bass is all about feel and the player knowing how to make his/her instrument sound right within the song. Now, if you've got a great bass player and great signal path then you've got something.
    Personaly I like the Fender Jazz bass myself. It rocks, it's funky, and it's got the highs for slaping too. I'm not a fan of active pups for recording either.
    As for the Ric, McCartney got a good sound from one and so did Chris Squire and Getty Lee, so I don't think your problem is the bass.
    If you feel that the bass was recored right and the player is a good player, try rolling off frequencies below 400 and adding a little around the 7-10 khz area to bring out some definition on the bass lines. If you can re-record the bass try micing the bass itself. Yes, put a mic in front of the bass player close to the plucking area. Don't compress much until mixing if possible.
     
  16. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Here's another vote for the Avalon U-5. Just did a session yesterday with one of the area's top bass players using nothing but the U-5 direct into ProTools (U5 Tone set at 4 for a little extra top). Consensus verdict was excellent fat sound. Bass player couldn't believe there wasn't a tube hiding somewhere.
     
  17. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    I never see fender basses in rock bands around here. If its high end its, Smith or Padulah or whatever 7 string bass they can get their hands on. These are great instruments but through a DI they're just too powerfull in the way lo end.

    I have had real good results with a Warwick Fortress One($1400 I think) into a Avalon 737.

    The DI everyone raves about to me is the Evil Twin. Rather high dollar. Anybody got one? Is it worth it?

    The most real pro trick I know for bass (and guitar) is new strings. And none of this "they're just from this weekend" $*^t.

    What are some favored brands?
    Thoughts on Elixers?
     

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