How tight is YOUR bass? (probably a common question)

Discussion in 'Bass' started by hxckid88, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    So yes, for those veterans of the forum who are annoyed of people asking the question "How do you get the bass to sound tight?", I HAVE searched the forum, and I HAVE found answers, but I'm still not getting it.

    I cannot get my electric bass to sound punchy enough, on my monitors it sounds fine, pretty bassy, but as soon as I put it in my car, BOOM, too much bass. And it's not really CLEAN bass either, it's a little muddy.

    As for me, I'm a technical bass player (yes I am recording myself), I play alot of low end bassy notes I venture into no mans land (past 12th fret on all four strings) not to mention I'll throw in some slap. It's hard to perfect the tone. I dont want to seperate the finger picking from the slap picking because its too complicated sometimes.

    If you'd like to hear what I'm talkin about (which would be greatly appreciated if you took the time to listen) you can go to my myspace and check out GOLDFISH, it is the newest song I recorded. Oh yeah also check out Its Coming From the Light, I think I acheived a better sound there but it almost sounds TOO fat...All the songs are done by me, every instrument, so I'd like feedback on how I recorded them. I cant seem to get the bass sound down. In the goldfish recording, I did NOT use my SVT4 because it was at my bands practice spot, but I recorded it direct. Maybe thats why the tone is completely satisfying.

    Anywho, can I get some feedback and some h elp on getting that bass sound TIGHT but still bassy with all the detail? And yes, I know, it's not as easy as 1 2 3 and it's all in the ear and experimenting, but at least some guidelines :) thanks
  2. Lostinspace

    Lostinspace Active Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    Home Page:
    Try one of these....
  3. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    I'd rather use a digital compressor, I don't have any money to buy anything else.
  4. Lostinspace

    Lostinspace Active Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    Home Page:
    Well it depends on what your recording to and mixing down to......
  5. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    WAY WAY WAY too much bass on Goldfish.

    It was distorting my tiny iPod earbuds.

    Get your CD's out of your car, and listen to them on your monitors. Make sure any EQ is turned off in your playback software. You'll be surprised at how little bass there is in most commercial stuff. Then do trial and error runs adjusting the bass, burning it, and checking it elsewhere (car, home stereo, whatever). You'll get it down eventually, and you'll learn a lot from it.

    For punch, there are a couple things you can try...scooping out some mids to clear up the mud, getting the compressor to breathe with the bass, all sorts of stuff, and in different combinations.
  6. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    Yeah I was sure to have NO EQs and and everything nuetral and flat.

    On my monitors it was fairly bassy, so I figured it was good.

    I guess I didnt hear that distortion since I my car has nice speakers, it sounded bass and FAT but TOO fat, thats why I asked to make sure if I was just tripping.

    I like clarity in those high notes, I wont lose it if I scoop the mids will I? I suppose I should try instead of just asking. But when I set my bass tone on my amp my mids are like LOADED.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Or you could spend a lot of dough and get an 1176 and squash the bejesus out of it.

    The Avalon U5 is a very good 'punchy box' to record bass through.

    While I do like digital compressors at mixdown, I would never ever track through them.

    I wouldnt be so quick to dismiss this Aphex item either. All of their stuff does what its advertised....
  8. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    No offense, but you need to listen to more reference CD's on your system. When I got my new monitors, I listened to CD's for about 2 weeks before I tried a serious mix on them.

    The U5 dave recommends is good, but fairly expensive. I have a Radial JDI, which is a great DI that runs about $180. If you're recording at 24 bit, just leave yourself enough headroom to not clip, then squish the hell out of it using your digital compressor.

    Personally I don't use 1176's on bass that much because they have a tendency to suck out some low end, but with the buttons mashed in, you could definitely limit the hell out of it and come up with something.
  9. Tommy P.

    Tommy P. Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    You could get a hell of a lot more punch if you were interacting with a real drummer instead of a drum machine. Dynamics and punch in performance. It gets real good when you are being inspired by another talented player. No studio tool will give you that kind of magic. Put yourself in the mix where you want to be with an acute awareness and a solid give and take dynamic interaction. In the zone. Swing hard and stay tight in the pocket. Leave space for your bandmate to phrase, then compliment it. A chemistry will develop, knowing each others moves, and style, reacting in a complimentary way. In effect making each other sound better as a whole. You'll get a lot more than just the punch you're after.
  10. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    Thanks guys.

    First of all just so everyone knows where Im coming from... I'm recording myself and doing projects, yes I am using MIDI drums, I am using my practice amp, my crappy Ibanez guitar. I want to go to college for audio engineering but I dont have money for this kind of stuff. I'm just learning as I go with what I have, so all this "You should go out and buy this" isnt much at the moment haha. It wont mean much next year when I have a college tuition, dorm, and car to pay for. I'm learning as much as I can with what I have. Not to say I wont advance. It's just, this is the situation NOW.

    And yes actually my M-Audio DX4s are simply my computer speakers/monitors. I dont have a studio, I dont have 2 computers, this is one computer that does everything because Its all I can afford. When I first listned to a CD with these monitors, I was AMAZED by what different things I could hear. IT was so much different. Thats why I trust the monitors because now I knonw hte difference between just plain old computer speakers and monitors.

    Obviously on my recording I overloaded the bass because I wasn't listening carefully.

    Quick qustion, Sansamp DI? Any comments on that? Does that do any sort of compression? I've heard great things about that, but I'm not gonna go spend $100+ where I can just digitall compress.

    And when we talk about digitall compressing, does that mean... Recording the bass through the amp as is, compressing, reinsterting the .wav into the project and compressing again?
  11. mark_van_j

    mark_van_j Active Member

    Oct 28, 2005
    Maribor, Slovenia
    As someone who also uses DX4's I can tell you what I do.

    I try to lay back the bass, so in most of my mixes you can hardly hear the bass. But I use headphones to double check. I have studio headphones, and while I don't mix through them, I use them to see where I'm at as far as the bass and kick is concened.

    Also I recommend doing a sweep to see if it's really just the monitors, or is it room acoustics. I have a room acoustics problem, so sometimes you I will put the speakers louder, and walk to a corner of my room where the bass is more than audible, just to see if it's all making sense.

    Trust me, it IS possible to do a good mix on these monitors. But as others have said, listen to cd's. Know each bump and dip they have, and burn cds. Burn burn burn, and listen in every possible environment. Also try mixing somehere else, and see what it sounds like on the DX4s. Pretty soon the little eq in your brain will adjust for the lack of low end response, and suddenly you will hear it much better.
  12. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    Yeah thats almost exactly what I do, I'll use my low budget studio headphones to check. Then I'll play the song, walk to the corner, walk around the house, just to see if it sounds like a normal song from wherever. I'll put it in my ipod, I'll go to my car and play it, my friend's car, if I had CD-Rs I'd burn them, I need to get some...hah.
  13. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2005
    Home Page:
    In addition to what the other's have said, if you shelf the high's above 11kHz or so and bump 350Hz by like 2dB with a Q around 3 you might get more edge and seperation from the rest of the mix. Bumping around 350Hz will definitely give you a little more edge. If there's room on your canvass you might even consider bumping 1kHz a little.
  14. vladlv

    vladlv Guest

    EQ, EQ, EQ and again EQ is the trick.

    first use good pre to record it. (i like Ampeg).
    if you don't have Pre, use Bass CAB with speaker modelling output.

    if you have much money you can afford Direct / Micked blend
    70% Direct, 30% Mic.

    because i don't own Neuman U-47 i have only listened how in sounds in Spectrasonics Trilogy. and it is great. This makes more Edge to bass.

    Background here is to MIX different waveforms, this is in order to avoid Comb filtering effect.

    Another option is to use Direct recorded only and use "Digital" VST plugin like "Waves RBass" (i like it).
    Again background here is to MIX different Waveforms.
    RBass is distorting same waveform abit. and blends it with original signal.
    the effect is the same as blending with micked sound.

    if you don't own Ampeg nor Bass CAB, you shoudl use DI, to match impendance to Audio Interface PRE.

    One more thing here, i personally like to have moderate middle cut, by using Ampeg built in EQ (around 350 HZ), same applies to Bass CAB.
    If it is Tube Amp, like Ampeg is, You should try to overdload it abit to make sound more "fat", but this depends on style.

    ok, Recorded.

    Next Stage is mixing part.
    And use EQ here entirely:
    1) first of all, roll off all frequencies after 5k (unless it is Slap playing)
    2) Cut around 130..200HZ it is moodiness (you mention)
    use EQ as spectroscope, to find particular frequency. this is second Harmonic of Bass. you shoudl also try to cut third harmonic. also if it is required. Now throw away your monitors and possibly go to PC speekers, Boom box and adjust it for them.

    3) Use 1-st bass harmonic 66..80HZ to EQ it and adjust it to sound good for Speakers, this means shpeakers shoudl not distort it!!! usually i moderately rise it.

    The key point here is to find proper frequencies and Q values.
    it is really smart work, it shoudl be millimetric precise.

    4) Remove DC and offending Low frequencies which HI-FI equipment cannot reproduce, because they add Crack to Bass sound, again use Boom box, not monitors.
    Cut extrimely at 20HZ.

    Last thing it could be good to use a Spectroscope and to see it. Uou should see the hill with top point at 66..80HZ.
    then it shoudl slowly come down to 5kHZ.
    And note, what most Dynamics should be still present in 130..200HZ (they shoudl move more quickly and with more range then 66..80 HZ).

    don't overwork step 2) you shoudl still have 2-nd harmonic, because then bass goes up, you shoudl have that ass kick feeling.

    Thats probably all my experiance about bass.
    i think it shoudl be enough.
  15. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    Thanks a bunch that was definately alot of help. In my next recording I'm gonna try and take these into consideration, and of course use my ear.

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