4x10 or 8x10 for recording??

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Kink Rimson, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. I originally posted this in amps but it was suggested I move it her, so here goes...

    My band will be going onto the studio to record our album at the end of the month. I will be using my '79 Fender Precision and Ashdown EVO500 for the whole thing but I am unsure which cab to take:

    I own a 4x10 and 8x10, both from the Ashdown ABM series. I expect I will take both along in the van but I am curious about what sound differences, if any, that will show up.

    The bass is going to be recorded live with the drums, as the studio is a converted barn and allows the band to play live rather than track individually. So the bass will be loud. My sound has lots of highs and I use a fair bit of overdrive from the amp, a la Wetton, Entwistle etc.

    I expect the engineer will take a DI as well as mike the speaker, but in the past my recorded sound has tended to favour the miked amp sound.

    So the question is - will the cabs sound different beyond the extra 'power' that the 8x10 gives off?
  2. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    I would suspect the engineer will mike up one speaker in you cab and DI it as well to the desk to create two sound sources to blend to create your bass sound. The problem he will have will be about "how much air" you move as this will create vibrations and overtones in the studio so baffeling of some sort will be used or isolation to counter this. In all you only need one "10" speaker because thats all that will be miked up, so take the least amount you can and listen to the engineers advice.
    Good luck hope it all goes well, i have been using a Line 6 studio 110 this year and found it better than my rig or anything the studios had to offer.
  3. the_ruckus

    the_ruckus Guest

    Dec 28, 2008

    run a split signal, one D.I. and one with a mic'd 10 and blend the two to your liking.
  4. Use the one that sounds better.

    If they sound about the same use the one that's more convenient.

    What do you do live? That's a good starting point, set up the rig and let the engineer decide how to capture what you actually sound like.
  5. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I have recorded in a couple of ways. When I used my amp, it was always direct/DI. If I included speakers, then always a DI/Direct and a mic. Most of the time however I plugged straight into the board. No amp or anything. I did most of my parts in the control booth. Straight bass. When I run like this, I usually use a passive P type bass.
  6. again, i say take a DI while tracking, reamp it later.

    the amp in the room will be a mess.
  7. If your engineer can't figure out how to mic up an amp without making a 'mess' you shouldn't be paying him.

    You are the client, if you like the sound of your amp and are more comfortable with that then he is being payed to figure out a way to make that work.

    That's what engineers do.

    Be very wary of the new breed of recording engineers that do not have the skills to actually manage the recording of a live band. If they need you to jump through a bunch of hoops and play in a manner that is not comfortable, solely to make their job easier, you probably need a different engineer.
  8. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    More volume in the room isn't that helpful in a recording session. In fact, more volume just means more chance that something will rattle and mess things up. A nice 1x10 would do just as well or better. Less efficient cabs work in your favor here: The amp is working hard but the SPLs in the room are more manageable. Go with the smallest solution that works for you. Be aware that when you're evaluating tone that psycho-acoustics will fool you into thinking that louder is better.

  9. iCombs

    iCombs Guest

    Jan 6, 2009
    I dunno about the whole 1x10 thing...even though the mic is going to be on one speaker, in many ways the mic hears more than just that speaker...I'll venture to say that hearing the bigger, lower resonance of a bigger cab will probably help more than it hurts...if it were me, I'd roll my 8x10 in and work with the engineer to figure out how best to meet both our needs.

    As a recording engineer, I will say that cabs that are heavily ported are best left onstage...Those cabs are so reliant on productive interference that when you put a mic on the cab, you don't get ANYTHING like what you hear in the room...IMO, Eden XLT cabs are some of the worst offenders in that regard...those shelf ports top and bottom contribute a lot to their sound in the room, and when you put a mic on a speaker, you'll understand exactly how much they contribute.

    I'd say sealed cabs are a good bet, and a 4 or 8X10 shouldn't be a problem.
  10. Jehos


    Mar 22, 2006
    DFW, TX
    That's the most myopic thing I've read all day.

    Recording isn't a client/provider kind of thing, it's a collaboration. If you're trying to make a recording with lots of channel separation for all the reasons you'd want channel separation, the advice above is exactly wrong. If on the other hand you're wanting to capture a whole-band performance, then it's probably right. Which method to use is between your band and the engineers, not a bunch of people on the internet.

    That said, an 8x10 is dumb in either situation. Take the 4x10 and save your back and the engineer's sanity.
  11. Absolute nonsense.

    If you have a sound you are comfortable with any qualified engineer can work with it. The problem is that in this day and age being able to navigate the sub-menu's in ProTools counts as being an engineer.

    The OP has already stated that he tends to end up using a good deal of amp sound, and that he wants to record live with the drummer. The response of any engineer worth your money to that request is "no problem".

    If the guy is charging money for a studio and hasn't figured out a system for isolating a few different sources of sound you are in the wrong place.
    madmaskbass likes this.
  12. Craig_S

    Craig_S Inactive

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    I've always gone direct.
  13. BassmanAd


    Mar 19, 2008
    Let's try and get this back on track here...

    In my experience I've found that less is more for recording. I'm not a sound engineer so I don't know the science behind it but I have found that 8x10's don't sound that great for recording but single speakers do. Here's my logic...

    When you stand in front of a nice loud 8x10 the sound you hear is the sound of eight speakers working together to create a sound. When you record you most likely put some sort of dynamic mic in front of one of those speakers. So the signal you record is the sound of just one speaker doing 1/8 of the work and unless you mic up all of the speakers to record eight tracks of bass then you won't get your big sound. So a single speaker system will theoretically sound much punchier as one speaker is doing 100% of the work.

    Of course all this doesn't matter that much as the sound that you hear on the record will most likely be about 90% D.I. and 10% mic for a bit of warmth. :)

    All of the above is just my experience at making records; I'm sure somebody knows better than me. :)

    The nicest bass sound I ever found recording was a JV Squier P Bass into a late 60's Ampeg B15. Precious Venus...
  14. ishouldbeking


    Feb 5, 2007
    I think it really depends on how much your amp and cabinets factor into your sound. I've learned over the years that just running a straight DI signal (whether it's through a sansamp type of preamp-DI or just a countryman) NEVER gets the sound I want without a ton of EQ, reamping, compression, and a whole lot of obnoxious work. If you're going for fingerstyle solo tone, sure you might take your active bass and run it through a clean DI and find that you love the tone, but I like a more old school rock tone... which for me means the ultra lows and ultra highs are less present and the mids accentuated by my sealed 610.

    I run a similar rig to the OP: a Peavey T-40 and/or a P bass into an Ashdown ABM 500 evo II into the sealed 610. I'm a pick player and i too play pretty overdriven with a good amount of top end... but i like the smoothing effect overdriven treble receives from coming through a speaker, rather than a tweeter or what's available through a DI. Since, IIRC, both of those ashdown cabs are ported (as opposed to an ampeg 810[sealed] vs ampeg 410[ported]), I suspect the tone of an individual 10" speaker will probably be pretty similar, I'd go with the 410 for the ease of moving it and to help keep the overall volume down to help minimize bleed through into the drum mics.

    And to those who say every instrument should be isolated... i say... uh, no. In theory, sure, if you can eliminate every trace of bleed through from everyone else' mic, great. My last record was tracked with 2 guitarists, a keyboardist, a drummer and myself all in the same room. To be fair, we threw up some sound baffles so the blaring AC-15 wasn't aimed directly at the drum overheads, but we were able to capture far more energy than any previous recording session i've ever done, and we didn't sacrifice any sound quality. Sure it doesn't hurt that we have two professional engineers in the band, but as has been mentioned above, an engineer worth his salt should be able to make your situation work, so long as you work with him.
  15. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Part true part phalacy, let me start by saying i have recorded in all situations required of a bass player, i'm a pro.
    So here the bottom line if you will.

    Whatever you record, the bass will not be heard through the amp and cab you recorded with so all other points and arguments are worthless. the same is true of all the other instruments.
    What you are trying to do is have a sound that will work on whatever format it is played back on. Ipod, computer, radio, stereo, hi-fi etc.

    Whether its through ear plugs, head phones, small speakers, large speakers a single speaker etc. What EQ the listener will not apply, bass boost, mid cut, graphic etc.

    So the job in hand is to reproduce the sound, not record it.

    Yes in a live room situation some younger engineers and producers have limited experience of live recording, but that is not there fault, that is the way of modern recording.
    And that "no problem" only works if the room is fit for such a purpose, by design or accident.

    Thats why so many people get recording wrong, they try to record what they want rather than reproduce it. The most important thing in recording is a clean strong signal to the recorder, thats why you have banks of patches and effects and a desk with channels and eq that goes on forever....so you can alter and eq that signal to make it sound like your amp in the final mix.

    Check this out Line 6 1x10 amp, DI and mike, live studio situation.

    And in a gig situation
  16. wow.. you're not clueless or anything..

    bass waves are large and omnidirectional. they take up a TON of bandwidth. hes talking about recording in a barn.. which i equate to not being all that large. definitely not large enough to keep a powerful bass amp AND drums clean.

    i said take a DI, THEN reamp. send it back through the amp later and get your tone THEN so its clean. the drums will sound cleaner, the bass will sound cleaner, and by proxy, the song will sound cleaner.

    as an up and coming engineer, i feel this is the best way to go about it, as i have come up with a solution to not only improve the sound of the room, but give an opportunity to make the bass track sound its absolute best. my typical setup for recording bass includes a room mic.. one that i sure as hell dont want full of drums.

  17. isolating an 8x10 at drum volume? are you insane?

    recording live doesnt mean you HAVE to have an amp around. my DI/reamp solution works best here

    and those who run pro tools are operators, and the good ones dont use sub menus.. we use all the hotkeys.
  18. thats why i run a room mic. 421 and my sub kick on the grill. bluebird in the room to capture all that extra amp. it has incredible low end and at that distance, the bass waves will be developing fully instead of relying on the extreme proximity effect of the sub kick.

    if you want something to sound huge, record it huge.

    not on anything i record. i REFUSE to settle for a DI. at very least i will run it through an amp sim. you wont hear DI bass in my work.
  19. a little bit of bleed doesnt hurt unless you want a clean, modern sound. but bass is a BIG bunch of sound. keeping that out of the drum overheads will be nearly impossible. baffles or not.

    i did a session where they tracked everything live, and they wanted scratch vocals done. for some reason, the singer felt she needed to sing full blast to get it right. the guitars were in an iso booth, the bass was DI (against my will). the room mic we set for the drums was garbage at that point. there was scratch vocal in the kick so we couldnt compress it much. thats a bad kind of bleed. bass amp in the room would be just as bad.
  20. No

    Unlike bedroom pro-tools 'engineers' most of us that know what we are doing have access to things like isolation booths, multiple rooms, gobos, all sorts of tricks. How you solve the problem depends on the situation. If you are unable to even fathom how such a thing is possible I'd suggest that you are not in a position to be expecting people to pay good money to you as a 'local engineer for hire.'