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Audio interface to record bass

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by porteous, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. porteous


    Mar 24, 2006
    Berkeley, CA
    I got a Tascam firewire audio interface for my Mac so I could record myself playing. I chose the interface in part because it has a 1/4 input for guitar. The problem is, that the signal is just too weak.. I can barely hear my bass. I have active pickups, and my bass volume maxed out, and the input gain maxed out, but still very low volume.

    I was wondering if perhaps I just picked the wrong interface.. Were there interfaces out here where you can just plug in you bass direct and get a good level?

    I see Ashdown has announced the "MiBass Audio Interface".. looks like it would be just what I need, although it isn't available yet.
  2. audioglenn


    Jul 14, 2012
    Are you sure the battery is good in your bass? Is that 1/4" input labeled as a line input or guitar input? What's the model# of the Tascam interface? I can take a look at the specs to help you out some more.
  3. porteous


    Mar 24, 2006
    Berkeley, CA
    The battery is OK- It's only a few months old, and it works fine in my amp. The unit is a Tascam FireOne interface. The input on the front is labeled "Guitar"
  4. Tractorr


    Aug 23, 2011
    Did you flip the switch on the back to switch to the guitar input?
  5. Try throwing a boost or something similar in between your bass & the interface. I have pretty good results using an EQ.
  6. ersheff


    Jan 8, 2012
    While the MiBass looks very cool, I would avoid it simply because it only does 16-bit.
    24-bit might not be that important for bass, but a product with a converter that only does 16-bit makes me scratch my head.
    Your description makes me think that something is wrong with either your bass' electronics or the Tascam. You shouldn't be struggling to get a decent level, even with a low-end audio interface.
    However, it wouldn't be a terrible idea to add an external preamp to get a great sound. Cheap audio interfaces are most noticeably weak when it comes to their preamps.
    I used to record my bass direct into a Presonus interface, and the first time I used a UA pre/compressor in front of it, WOW!
    Now, I'm not suggesting you spend $1,000+ on a preamp, but putting something like an Aguilar Tone Hammer in front of the Tascam might not be a bad idea:
  7. Tractorr


    Aug 23, 2011
    It may be an impedance problem. These interfaces have to cut corners and much like how some pedals don't work so well with active basses the same holds true with prosumer interfaces.
  8. In my experience, even line-level inputs while offering the ability to plug straight in, generally leave something to be desired tone-wise. It doesn't seem as though you should have to crank everything though, something is afoot. I have a Tascam US800 that has 2 line-level inputs, and while it works okay, putting something in between the instrument & interface always yields better results.
  9. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Try plugging in something else into the "guitar" input and see if it's loud enough.
    If not a guitar, then iPod or something.

    If it's also quiet, then it's the interface or set up of it.
    I would bet the interface is fine, and probably a little tech support from Tascam would help you.
  10. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    Have you tried borrowing a DI and going into the microphone input. A bassist can always use a good DI. That should take care of the gain problem without having to swap out interfaces.

    I've used this one for recording and the results were great going into a preamp. EWI LDB 101 (bottom of page)

  11. audioglenn


    Jul 14, 2012
    +1 just checked the owner's manual for the tascam fireone and Tractorr is correct. You must flip the switch on the back of it if want to route the front panel guitar input to record.

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