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Recording Bass Guitar - odd tonal disparity

Discussion in 'Bass' started by zydeceltico, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. zydeceltico

    zydeceltico Active Member

    I am setting up to record a bass guitar track and working with the eq. This bass - which admittedly isn't THE greatest bass - has an odd tone thing happening. Any note I play anywhere on the neck has this great punchy clarity to it EXCEPT for any A note - especially open A and the A on the 7th fret of the d-string. They have some mighty powerful "over-ring" to them that tonally sounds very different from the almot trebly punch everywhere else on the neck.

    Any one have any idea why I'm hearing what I'm hearing? Or have I had too much coffee? Is this perhaps a characteristic of my monitors?


  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    You may be answering your own questions? What one doesn't really realize is that different harmonic power exists at different frequencies. It's called resonance. Some of this is generally controlled with a dynamic range limiter which we frequently all use on bass guitars for reasons such as what you've described. Because recorded sound never sounds like live sound unless it's manipulated to try and mimic how we perceive it live. So the only thing you have to make certain of, during recording, is that you do not overload or clip the recorded track. Then when you mix, you can insert a dynamic range limiter on the bass guitar track and adjust it accordingly for a lovely round and full sound still with plenty of transient punch. Sometimes I don't bother with a limiter. I can simply overdrive my transistor console to provide its own limiting coupled with very desirable harmonic distortion from over driving transistors to saturating transformers. But that's a whole other thing. So without that console, I just use a limiter on bass guitar. Frequently I will utilize it while recording it and sometimes I'll just be careful when recording it and utilize that on Mixdown. And then there is also a slight usage sometimes of equalization to further enhance or eliminate frequency-based problems. Sometimes we equalize before the limiter. Other times we equalize after the limiter. Sometimes we equalize before and after the limiter. And then some more on the Mixdown. Then it goes to the mastering engineer who utilizes yet more gobbledygook and voilĂ !

    It's all there for you
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    In addition to that fine advice, I would say it is not uncommon for the bass guitar to excite the problem low frequencies in a room. And due to the specific measurements from wall to wall and floor to ceiling, it's possible any A at 27.5 Hz, 55Hz, 110Hz, 220Hz, 440Hz etc. will all excite that room mode frequency to different degrees and make one note seem significantly louder. In live-sound it's very common to side-chain an EQ to a compressor so it steps hardest on the problem mode frequencies of a room.

    I'd be curious to know if the bass behaves the same in headphones (speakers off) as it does when using whatever speaker system you're listening to now.
  4. zydeceltico

    zydeceltico Active Member

    Great advice both of you!

    Dynamic range limiter - got it. sweet.

    It is not nearly as prominent in the cans as it is in the room. I am recording the bass thru a DI so it's not an amp thing. And after fiddling with the eq and compressor/limiters I seemed to have apparently tamed the beast - for now. :)

    Thank you again.

  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Remember you can use that EQ before the compressor/limiter, after the compressor/limiter or, both before and after. I also laugh when people tell me I can't hear a difference in Mono polarity. Ha! Maybe that clown can't but I can. Try it. But listen to it when you're also listening to everything else when you try that. If you don't hear a difference, everything is fine. If you do hear a difference, everything is fine except for the fact that you will have to make a decision which one is the better fine.

    Still while you think there is no acoustic interaction with the room because you're going DI, that's not necessarily 100% accurate. The room in which you are monitoring in is as big a factor as the bass guitar makes with its amplifier and speaker in the room even if that's not what you are recording. Nodal standing waves and all that other jazz wreaks havoc with what you are hearing in each and every particular room. That's not controlled by a bunch of boob foam all over your walls either. It just looks really cool and official in a " you've got an acoustic nightmare on your hands" kind of way.

    You can call me crazy... since I am.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

    All righty then.
  6. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you've got a handle on it. But, if this is in large part a room/monitor situation contributing to the problem - adjusting it to sound better while playing and mixing in your room may make it (especially the A) sound weak when played everywhere else.
  7. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Can't really say anything that hasn't already been said. One thing though, when I run into a problem like this, I bounce a copy of the BARE file with absolutely no processing on it and take it into my car to listen on that system. You may be surprised how much your monitors/headphones/room will trick you. If you are not careful, you can quickly end up with an entire album that only sounds good in YOUR room, at a certain volume, and only if you've eaten a bacon egg and cheese sandwich that day.
  8. LittleJohn

    LittleJohn Active Member

    guitarfreak beat me to it... ditto !!
    make sure it is not a room or speaker issue first.
    (from what you SAID, (just the A note) I really think that is what you are dealing with )
    In my room, i get the same thing on "B" but it aint on the track...as witnessed playing it elsewhere.
  9. zydeceltico

    zydeceltico Active Member

    Yup - I have discovered that it is not only the room but HOW the things in the room are arranged. depending on how we have the furniture set about - I do or do not have the feedback/hum/resonance on the A. Wacky.

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