How to get smokin' bass tone, DI, POD, Mic?

Discussion in 'Bass' started by Jason James, Oct 10, 2003.

  1. Jason James

    Jason James Guest

    Hey guys, have a big session coming up and was wondering if any of you guys have any ideas on how I can get a killer bass tone. (Rock/Country) I ususally go thru a Meek VC3Q which I like and use a LA 2A (uad card) for comp. Sometimes just into my A%H board then Nuendo with the magneto plug in on it. Rarely do I use a mic sound. ( I do have good amps/cabs Eden, GK, Ampeg etc) I was thinking about buying a VAMP Bass Pro (like a POD) or the Aguilar DI box. Any ideas which would be more usefull? As far as basses I have a P-Bass Deluxe, Fender Jazz Deluxe (4 string fretted and 5 string frettless, Warwick Streamer Pro and 72 Rickenbacker, so you can see there pretty nice basses to begin with. Thanks for the time and help.

  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    The Agular, Evil Twin are both excellent DIs. I hate the PODs or any other digital amp emulators, they all sound like hell to me ... The best sound from a pod I ever heard was when I drove over one in my van .... GT has come out with a nice tube DI and now the "Brick" that both go for around 5 bills.

    The best bass tone I ever got was using a SWR Studio amp in BI AMP mode, with the SWR power stage driving a Peavey Black Widow 15" and a Peavey 2-10 powered speaker taking the highs. I used a D112 on the woofer and a ATM 4033 on the highs. Of course, the bass player was a wonderful musician and played everything "just right". That probably had more to do with it than anything I did..
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Well-Known Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    My dollar goes to the Evil Twin.....and nuttin else...Unless you want to get really perfect, then I'd go with the U5 Avalon....also @500.
  4. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    Jul 21, 2002
    I get good results running an EMG loaded P-bass through a DI or standalone preamp (Ampeg SVT Pre)...then applying a touch of Blockfish Compression and Paris VST EQ if needed...

    Another thing that works for me: clone the bass track, and apply a different comp and EQ curve, then blend the two to taste...
  5. Idjiit

    Idjiit Guest

    Well, I'm the odd man out I guess. I try to mic bass whenever possible, I never go direct unless someone specifically asks for it. I alternate between using an old (refurbished) EV RE-20 and an AKG D112, but I definitely favor the RE-20. I'm a bass player, so I suppose I project my own aesthetic in this regard. The stuff I do tends to be on the more aggressive side of things, so it may not mesh well with what you're going for.

    I'm also a huuge fan of the Bass POD, particularly for cranked/overdriven/distortion tones. I really really dislike the Guitar POD, but I think the Bass POD is exceptional. For years I've struggled with the problem that stems from using a full-range cabinet (one with a tweeter) and trying to get good overdriven tones. If you're using distortion through a rig like that, it's like running a guitar rig through your monitors - it sounds like $*^t. But with the Bass POD's cabinet emulation, you can get the results you want. If you're a fan of MusicMan, Bassman and other Fender-esque amps when pushed hard - you should definitely check it out.
  6. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    I have been using the SansAmp Bass Driver as of late, and have been very happy with it. At <$200 it is a steal!

    Also, be sure to check out the Radial DI's. Very high quality clean signal.
  7. Jason James

    Jason James Guest

    Cool, who makes the evil twin? Also, the Aguilar I was talking about is the 924. Its an outboard pre amp with bass and treb controls. Had a guy bring one in and it was very nice. I am saving the pennies to get a SEBETRON 4000e (Or a neve type pre) so perhaps I should just wait. Hey anyone used a SEB on bass? How does it hold up? Thanks guys. Jason
  8. clintrubber

    clintrubber Guest

    FWIW, here's what I do (I'm originally a bass player so this took a while to find and now I'm using it for years - unchanged).

    I'm after a full, clear, raw tone (do they exclude ?).
    Passive J-bass, D&R-roundwounds, pick, 1 or 2 Real Tube pedals @ modest settings (curiously enough I'm not using the Blue Tube here, tried it but too muffled).

    Then on to
    Ampeg SVT-IIp, BBE 411(?) son-max and to a pair
    of SWR Goliath IIs each driven by the power-sections of two SWR SM-400 amps. Tweeters are only slightly on.

    Best results for me for recording is a combination of DI (post-preamp) & mic. Mic-wise, the MD421 always works, but the best I ever got was with a AKG D12. Strangely enough it didn't do the trick on another session so it became the 421 again.
    For homerecording I guess you can ge decent sounds with DI and/or DSP-stuff (V-Amp, POD) but the real thing (above) feels better.


  9. mardyk

    mardyk Guest

    I been getting some really sick bass tones out of the Nigel/preflex thing on the UAD-1 card. I can send you some presets I've made if you like. If you have a nice solid DI signal you can blend them to taste, I've been using a DBX 386 and an RNC compressor for DI which works great for me. I like the slightly overdriven sound of gentle tube distorsion on bass.
  10. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Oh ho ho.... That is too funny! Good One!

    The key to killer bass sound, like most any other sound, is the total sum of all it's parts. Your using hardware and plugs. I suggest you change or add something to one of them and eliminate the others. If you insist on not using a Mic, then a non colored DI like a Countryman into the Meek may just be the ticket. I don't know about the VC3Q, but I've gotten very good to great results out of my VC1Qcs Meek.

    Ya, the Evil Twin is bomb man. It goes down to 8Hz! I got mine with the optional mic pre option. The Evil Twin is made by Eclair Engineering (who also make the awsoeme and gorgeous sounding LALA dual tube compressor) but the designer/builder as of a few months ago, had been having some health problems and getting units built/shipped had come to a halt. You can find info at I find it works well with a real LA2A, Manley Vari-Mu, Tube-Tech Cl1B/CL2A, dbx 160SL and sometimes a 1176.

    The Agular is good also, it really surprised me. I find that the Avalon U5 is great also, but it is more hit and miss.
  11. white swan

    white swan Guest

    Here's one more vote for the Avalon U5.
  12. Malpasoman

    Malpasoman Active Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    When I use my Fender Jazz bass, I use the DI on my API 3124+ (I love that sound). When I use my G&L ASAT bass, I use the DI on my GT Vipre.
  13. Jason James

    Jason James Guest

    Well I am looking into getting a Sebetron, Vintech, or JLM etc. Should I save my apples and get one of these to use or go for the Aguiliar outboard pre or tube pre. Also, I do have several nice bass rigs, I've been thinking about selling them to pick up a small Aguilar rig. Would this be the equivilent to getting say the Aguilar DI? (i.e. usining the di out of the aguilar amp/preamp)? Thanks J.

    ps, i'm not opposed to micing I just typicly get a tone I like better by DI than mic. I have a little GK 12" combo that I mic and blend with a DI and get some cool tones. I've never liked miking my 4x10 cabs though.
  14. wwittman

    wwittman Active Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    In my experience the secret to a great bass sound is almost always an old Ampeg B-15.

    I mic it with an SM-7 or an RE20 (and use the SAME mic in the bass drum)...Altec 436 limiter or if that's not available i like a DBX 160vu (which is actually a relatively lousy sounding compressor that works well on bass for some reason)

    i get the tone at the amp and the bass... and record it without EQ usually, or with a tiny bit of 4k for edge.
    i avoid EQ'ing anywhere near the range of actual NOTES so as not to upset the internal balance.

    i VERY rarely take a DI... i like the Sans Amp RBI or Bass Driver because it doesn't sound like a DI... but i've also used the Retrospec with success.
    The Little Labs also sounds pretty good.
    I don't much like the Avalon and i REALLY dislike the Countrymans.
    Sometimes all passive transformer DI's seem to work best on bass and they're certainly cheap enough to try.

    but i think on the whole great bass sounds are RECORDED, not MADE.
    start with a great sound coming out of a great amp and then it's easy.

    [ October 15, 2003, 06:21 PM: Message edited by: wwittman ]

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