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Avalon preamps

Discussion in 'Ask Janek Gwizdala' started by Hestan, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. Hestan


    Jan 29, 2007
    Hi Janek,

    I'm recording some tracks on a Mac with logic at the moment but can't seem to get a fat sound on the recorded tracks compared to when playing bass live.

    If I plug straight into my firewire audio interface the bass sound seems pretty weak. I have a bass POD which if I use fattens things up a bit, but this piece of kit doesn't seem like a long term professional solution.

    In another thread you mentioned avalon equipment. - A 737 and U5 I think. What do these pieces of gear do and which has more suitability for the home producer?

    cheers for any advice,

  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    A POD isn't bad at all. For home recording, I'd use it if I had one.
  3. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Avalon's are high end DI's. Many studios have them and some musicians have their own.

    Just a quick note your recorded bass isn't going to sound like your live sound without work. The live sound is bigger due to the freguencies above and below the human hearing range, they bounce around the room and affect what you do hear. The recording process doesn't have that same frequecy range, in general 20-20khz. Cheaper gear has even smaller range. So you have to approach getting your sound differently. Maybe use DI and mic. The DI for clarity and mic for some grit. In my day we recorded instruments on the bright side for two reasons. Adding highs in the mix adds hiss and gets brittle sounding. So we'd record bright for note clarity and then roll off highs in the mix. Adding low end in the mix sounds good. Also in studio you may use different basses depending on the sound your looking for like a short scale bass with flatwounds, a PBass. Some basses just record better than other even same brand and model. Also doubling the line with a ABG to add some overtones, just mix it under the BG.

    Bottom line recording is another skill that you have learn.
  4. janekbass


    Jan 28, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Founder and CEO of http://janeksbassstudio.com

    I'm guessing that you're the m-audio 410 firewire? which has m-audio preamps in it, or maybe the motu 828?

    both devices, as many of them do, have built in preamps that you just have to put up with unless you buy outboard gear to get a different sound. I have the Avalon 737, and also an Avalon U5. both of which I've used live and in the studio. I also use a Fender TBP-1 tube preamp which rocks, and is a permanent fixture in my live rig.

    It's all a matter of taste and how much you want to spend. You can go on spending into the tens of 1000's when it comes to preamps and outboard gear. And certain things will make a huge difference to the sound. But the basic sound of your bass (the wood, the strings and the fingers) is what you're looking to be most developed.

    A U5 can give you a really powerful signal,and clean, fat sound for a relativly low price. I'm always blown away by the power of this small piece of gear.

    But you should also look at what you're comparing the sound you're getting in your laptop to. Are you listening to finished productions? albums that sound really great? There are so many things that happen in the recording chain after you lay down the initial track that can improve the sound beyond recognition.

    I mean look at Britney Spears. Do you really think she "sings" like that in the studio? I'm sure she isn't even present for some of her "vocal" sessions. It's all brought to life in post production with the mix and the master.

    If you're making demos in the mac with Logic I would strongly reccommend reading up and studying a little about mastering plugins. These can help the sound of a demo in a big way. Just by using the right amount of gain, trim, distortion or compression on your master fader will help the overall sound of a demo track in the laptop. And of course there are things you can do in the channel strip of the bass when you mix that will help thing greatly.

    So, get a great natrual sound of the bass together before you start recording. Then don't freak out too much if it doesn't sound like a Red Hot Chilli Peppers track as soon as you hit the stop button after tracking and listen back. Rick Rubin had a lot to do with Fleas bass sound on those albums he produced for the band, and the same goes for any band. They have prodcuers and engineers that really know how to manipulate any sound that has been tracked already, and turn it into something useable.


  5. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL

    I've been using logic for a number of years now, and Janek has a very good point. Getting the core sound of your bass clean is the first step.

    In logic and recording in general there are several things to consider. While tracking, the monitor mix for speakers / head phones is the thing that will get your playing mood motivated especially if the sound / mix is how you like to feel it.
    This takes time to get that going. But once you've done it, you save it in your template. After all is down on "tape" or disk, you've got the mixdown. I also highly recommend powered plug ins to give your sound that extra oomph, juice, or whatever. I'm using a UAD card, and accompanying plug ins. They really make it nice.

    Big thing here.. Be as patient as you can, and spend some time getting your tracking mix/headphone mix. Think about using buses, they'll help greatly.

    I can give some logic specific tips and or steer you to some good web resources. Just PM me.

    Take care,

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