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(Sometimes) Bad Signal-Noise Ratio when Recording Bass

Discussion in 'Bass' started by numberforty1, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. numberforty1

    numberforty1 Guest

    So, its the weirdest thing, sometimes when I record bass I get a really clean signal, good sound, all sunny and clear...

    ...and then other times its like some evil beast inside my setup is hissing at me for not feeding it or something. Ok, its not THAT bad, but its still noticeably worse at some times than at others.

    I'm using the EXACT same setup in these two scenarios. Active bass into a Fishman Pro EQ/DI into my RNP pre-amp and into ProTools.

    Is it the electrical environment (my room) that I'm recording in? That's the only thing I can imagine it would be.

    The only other thing that confuses me is that I thought I would get a recordable line signal from my Fishman Pre, but I have to max that output and then also add about 30db from my pre-amp after that. Isn't the Fishman Pre/EQ/DI (Amazon.com: Fishman PRO-EQ Platinum Bass Preamp/EQ/DI: Musical Instruments) supposed to boost the signal enough that I don't need to use my RNP?

  2. numberforty1

    numberforty1 Guest

    Oh, and I'm powering the Fishman with phantom power from the RNP. Is that a bad idea?
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Are you using the XLR out or the 1/4" unbalanced out of the Fishman? The XLR out is meant to be fed into the XLR input of a mic pre-amp like your RNP, and it would be normal to have to provide a fair amount of gain. Set the selector switch to XLR PRE unless you want the built-in compression. More hiss sometimes than at other times indicates that you don't always have the gain staging correct. Always have the main Volume knob on the Fishman as high as possible without signal distortion.

    If you use the unbalanced out of the Fishman, take this into the DI input of the RNP. You may need to retain the XLR connection as well just to provide the phantom power, unless you run the Fishman from batteries or from a mains adaptor.
  4. numberforty1

    numberforty1 Guest

    Yes I'm using the XLR out, but I have the selector switch set to XLR POST. If I set it to XLR PRE, then I'm not getting any use out of the EQ or compression, which is why I use it to begin with. However, if I do bypass the Fishman, the noise goes away. But the first time I recorded there was no noise, and I was using the Fishman controls.

    I'm not sure I completely understand what you mean by "gain staging". The main volume knob on the Fishman IS almost maxed out. Do you mean that I did not have the gain settings on the bass/Fishman/RNP at the same levels for the different times I was recording? I'm pretty sure I did. The bass volume is maxed, the Fishman volume is maxed, the Fishman input gain is about 3/4, the RNP at about 30db. Both times. First time sounded fine, second time lots more noise. If there is something else to gain staging though, let me know.

    Also, I'm not sure "hiss" is the right word. It's not a hum either though...its just, well, noise. Fuzzy-ish hiss stuff.
  5. Robin.bjerke

    Robin.bjerke Active Member

    Jan 31, 2010

    I might have encountered what youre experiencing before. I did a session recently where the bass player played a Walden active bass. We kept getting intermittent hums and hisses, which also degraded the sound from the Bass considerably. Sounded like really bad digital clipping at times.

    I found changing the battery in the bass sorted it out. Also changing the battery in DI's and such helped, but the main culprit were the pickups not getting enough juice.

    Hope this helps, I might have missed the mark for all I know :)

    Good luck
  6. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    Chicago area
    Home Page:
    try plugging the active bass directly into a mic pre that has a line level input, or put the bass into a bass amp and see if the bass itself is screwed up. remember, the least amount of $*^t in the chain the better. usually i do this: my session bassist has a musicman with active pickups so i run him right into from the bass to the pre's direct input, from the pre to a comp, with a touch only!!, and into Nuendo, POOF!!! badass bass tracks.
    when you run into these problems my man, you need to break out the troubleshooting skills, start at the beginning and work you way up from there.
    active basses do not need a DI other than the one in your mic pre, inactive bass will need a DI to bring the level up to line level, if your amp has a di use that if the bass is fine plugged into an amp. dont worry about fixing issues when a client is present, these things happen, FIX THE PROBLEM. once its fixed your seen as a pro because you fixed it and now its all good and the tracking can begin.
    so to recap:
    1. plug the bass into an amp and see if its still f'd up, if it is get a better bass.
    2. incative bass needs a DI plugged into a mic pre via XLR and go.
    3. active bass just plug into the pre's DI and go
    4. active bass change the battery, the cables, the tuner whatever.
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