Rock Bass Mixing

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Voiceofallanger, Jan 31, 2011.

  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    Nov 18, 2010
    Birkenhead, UK
    Ok so this is pretty much a straight forward one. I know how I do this and the tone I get sounds pretty awesome.

    I'm just wondering because I am open to ideas and always like to learn from people.

    What do you guys use to record your bass and what is the typical EQ and compression application you would go by ?

    I narrowed it down to "rock" to keep it pretty standard as I know between genres us lot have to do a lot of playing about.

    Be interested to hear how you guys go about it.


    - Dan
  2. studiopa

    studiopa Active Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Home Page:
    Hi Dan

    You'll probably hear a lot of this, but for EQ and compression in mixing it really depends on the specific player, instrument, amp (if used) and song. One trick I've learned, especially for rock, is to add a small amount of distortion--either during tracking or later in mixing--to the bass track. You may not even notice the distortion in the mix but it helps "glue" the bass into the song.

    For tracking, I often use an AT4047 (nice highs and round bottom) on the amp and almost always record a direct line to have re-amping/modeler options later--even if it's never used.
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    As a bass player as well as as a engineer/producer I'm always searching for that quick and easy method for bass. Its not always quick and easy.

    When you think about the impact and the large amount of sonic space the bass takes up in rock music, then the importance of its tonal balance becomes clear.

    Unfortunately, modern bass sounds have strayed away from the fundamental being important and we're left, most times, with a subsonic blur thats almost undefinable.

    Alot of this can be attributed to down-tuning and a down-tuned bass guitar is simply not going to have any firmness in its physical action and therefore the fundamental of the note will be slewed and suffer as a result. This can certainly make a mix a real challenge when the lowend cant be defined easily and with the subsonic nature of the sound, the harmonics can create spikes that are as prevalent as the root and spread themselves throughout all the rest of the instrumentation.

    So, bass isnt as easy as it might seem. It is the MAJOR difference between semi pro and professional recordings IMHO.

    There are some pres that through the years, were the ones to go to for bass. Plug and play as well as a line out to an amp. For many many years these amps werent big or loud or even bass amps. Yet the body of work heard recorded this way defined the role of electric bass in music. It was really a simple task and was all about the player and his/her hands and their ability to lock the bass into the groove. You could simply marry the bass with some other track and all was well if the part was played well. Bass was usually , sonically, slightly under the kick drums' lowend or slightly above depending on the style of the song. but synced to it completely.

    Defining bass now is all a matter of the compressor. In tracking and in mixing. Defining the chordal movements with the lowend. Giving some life to a busy part. Definition is the key and it starts with the tracking. Its almost impossible to 'fix' a bass track in a way that enhances the rest of the recording. So, I try to get a pass that is the definitive bass sound AT TRACKING so its simply a matter of a small adjustment and a simple slider move at mix.

    The room has to be right if you're recording a loud amp. The DI has to be right if you're going direct. I still like a dedicated tube pre for the bass and even a bass preamp with its own set of controls. Alembic, SWR, Demeter, others...its a way of really getting the bass to be what you're going to want later on. And the instrument can make of break the track.

    But its still really all about the player.

    Some things never change.
  4. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    Nov 18, 2010
    Birkenhead, UK
    Interesting........ most interesting..................... Thanks for the replies guys, most appreciated! I await more wisdom! :p

    PS. Dave - I think the detail you give in your replies is very admirable. I just thought I'd highlight that because it stands out. I'd like to go to your place and learn a thing or two :p!
  5. bicasaur

    bicasaur Active Member

    Oct 19, 2010
    I play bass but I wouldn't call myself a bass player. I've recorded plenty of bands, though, and I've discovered that I get the best results for bass when I process the lows freqs seperately from the rest of the instrument. I'll duplicate the track once I'm done with the tracking, then low pass one usually around 150Hz and high pass at a similar freq. The track with the lows usually gets just compression, but the other track gets all the treatment you might usually applly; compression, eq, distorion, maybe even chorus.
  6. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2003
    I always use a Sansamp Tech 21 DI and never mic the cabinets. My engineers sometimes do for click but now I have the GT ViPre I intend to DI and then use the ViPre for warmth. If I owned a really good bass amp, like an old Ampeg, I would mic up, but I own Ashdowns, Trace Elliots, Crates and nothing sounds good. I've actually had good results putting a bass through a Fender Twin but for obvious reasons there's only one person I would trust to play through that setup - me.

    Bicasaur thats a very interesting statement. We're on 2011 shootout/house sound duties at the moment while its quiet and thats something I just might try.

Share This Page