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Bass guitar direct into mixer?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by beta_442, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. beta_442


    Apr 7, 2008
    Hillsboro, OR
    Ok, maybe someone can lend me some advice here. I'll admit that I'm a complete noob. I've only been playing bass for about 8 months. I was a rhythm guitar player in our band, but we just got a new singer who plays guitar too and we didn't have a bass player, so you guessed it, I'm the new bass player. Anyway, we've got about 10 songs now and the singer knows a new studio starting up and they want us to record some 'live' demos for free. Sounds great, but they said not to bring my bass rig. They'll just plug me direct into the mixer. This totally doesn't make any sense. I have a really nice setup and sound (Yorkville BM400 head and Avatar 410 NEO cab). How is going direct into the mixer with no amp or cab going to work? Am I missing something here? plz explain... :meh:
  2. SubXero


    Apr 27, 2008
    i've done things like that before. Generally it only works well if the mixer has some kind of mic/instrument preamp input on it and it will usually sound ok. Some active basses have a high enough output that it will sound fine even at line level. Personally, I use one of those art tube preamps when recording direct, although there's many other preamps and DI boxes you could consider. You can sometimes even use the line output on your head as a sort of preamp. Given they told you just to bring your bass, I'm assuming their mixer has some sort of built in preamp instead. Some people prefer to mic their cab though, i guess its really a matter of opinion as to which is "best"
  3. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I split my signal into an MXR bass di+ and a Line6 bass pod. The mxr gives me a clean modern signal and the bass pod gives me a retro tube growlly mid distorted sound. I mix the 2 back into a mon signal with a small rills 4 channel mixer and I run that into an amp, or a pa, or a mixer, or a recorder, etc ... It works well in all situations ... So I can play with or without an amp. This weekend I did a gig plugged directly into the pa. But usually I run into an ampeg b2r with 4 10s.
  4. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    Recording live bands can get kinda tricky in some rooms, he's probably ran into issues with bass amps bleeding onto all the other mics on his past live band recordings. I'd guess he'll have you (or possibly the whole band) wearing headphones with a mix of the bass and everything else for monitoring.

    I think you should contact the studio in advance and get some further info on his plans for your bass tracks. Try to find out what kind of mixer/external preamp/recorder etcetera he'll be using on your bass. He may have very good reasons for not using your bass amp. (recording guys usually like talking about their gear and methods as just much as bassist)

    Unless he'll be using a really nice mixer or some external preamp/effects unit for your basses channel, your bass track(s) are going to pretty much just be the clean output of your bass. Depending on allot of things, this might end up sounding really great for some bands styles and possibly kinda sterile and thin sounding for others.

    Unless he's got some nice gear I like SubXero's suggestion, I think you should ask him if he'd consider just trying the DI out of your head connected to his mixer. (with no speakers - its safe for solid state amps)

    Good luck and let us know how everything works out... :)
  5. whoapower


    Jul 14, 2005
    Austin, TX
    This is how I recorded in the studio two months ago. I started out using active preamp, MB amp and a tube preamp, but those went away on the final recording. Ended up going direct through a few board pre's he had setup, direct into the board. Pbass with flats. Turned out well and fitting for the recording we were looking for, but it might... or might not work best for what you are looking for. Make sure you hear the final mix and let your ears tell if it works for the band as a whole.
  6. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    What you are missing is that there will be a DI between you and the mixer. There may also be a preamp and compressor in line before it hits "tape".
  7. beta_442


    Apr 7, 2008
    Hillsboro, OR
    Thanks everyone for helping me understand the setup. This is a whole new experience for me. I'll contact the studio and make sure we are all on the same page about equipment. I'll let you know how it goes. We are scheduled to go in about 2 weeks.
    Thanks again...
  8. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY

    It's that simple. The large majority of recordings are done in this fashion.

    The term they usually use is "going direct", it's asummed they'll be a DI in the middle
  9. oyobass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Spanaway, WA
    Some boards (Mackie Onyx and others) have a "super channel or two that have a DI built in, but as others have said, the seperate DI box is usually the way to go.

  10. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Another point people new to recording don't realize is your amp doesn't sound the same in a studio with a mic. When playing in the real world you amp sound i affected by the room and everything in it and the other sounds around. That there are sounds above your hearing range that are bouncing around affecting what you do hear. So that good sounding live amp doesn't sound the same to a mic, pre-amp, and AD convertor.

    You get into a studio you are in a acoustically treated room with a mic with a typical range of 20-20K. So you amp is going to sound different. Also a lots of amps people have blasted live with are full of cabinet rattles, amp hiss and noise, etc. That is why people who record a lot usually have a separate rig for recording. Many studios have amps that are know to record well. I would say talk to the engineer about the sound you want, give references if you can, say an amp sound is important to you. Also from your post you haven't been playing long, just worry about your playing, don't worry about the studio let the engineer do their job, and just focus on getting some experience recording.

    On a side note recording is a whole different world that many discover the hard way after their first experiences. As discussed above you live gear isn't generally good recording gear. You need to put together a good recording setup that gets the sound you want. Make friends with an engineer and learn about what they do and what gear gets what sound. If lucky maybe they will bring you in to experiment and hear sound of different DI's, amps, outboard gear, plug-ins, and re-amping a track.

    Last in the studio the mic, but especially a DI picks up every little string noise and hand movement you make with your bass. Most of that you don't want or want to at least reduce. In fact if you plan to record a lot it worth putting together a little recording setup at home and practice with a DI to hear the noise you make when playing and also know about getting a good sound.
  11. N10


    Sep 17, 2010
    Lately I got fed up with bringing my back breaking Fender TB-600 to gigs and decided to run the bass through my pedalboard and straight into the mixer. By the way, on the pedalboard I have a comp and an EQ, there's also a stompbox on too, but it came with the amp and so without it you basically can't use it. Well, about the bass-comp-eq-mixer, it sounded really great, I must say I was surprised by how good it actually sounded. The only downturn was I couldn't use the amp built in drive/distortion which I use in some songs. It got me thinking - what if I got a multi effect, say Zoom B3 or the more elegant Zoom MS-60B, put it in the chain before my comp and eq and straight into the mixer. It could give me more sound options, plus there's also amp sims on there which is nice.
    What do you guys think? If this utopian ideal of bass amplification worked, I could start bringing to gigs just two bags, and that sounds really tempting..
  12. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    From what I understand the best way to record bass is as clean as possible. There are MANY options in post production to get your sound. There are amp emulators, or he could even play the track through and amp and record what comes out. Recording clean will give the recording engineer/producer a lot more options in post production. You can always make a clean bass signal dirty, but it is much harder to make a dirty signal clean.
    vmabus likes this.
  13. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    it's been fine for me with a high output bass like a g&l sb-2 or a L2000, we just added the envelope filter and the dirt in post
  14. vmabus


    Nov 1, 2013
    Yes. You can probably use the output from the Zoom to directly drive the power amp of your choice, if you also need stage sound.
  15. BazzTard

    BazzTard Banned

    I'm assuming you will all have headphones so the others can hear your bass.
    And as others have said, take your SS head if it has a DI out, most do these days. A dry signal is just that, pretty drab without some assistance, a compressor at least is a must, if you have one, use it before the DI,you may need to argue with the engineer over this hehe,they love their favourite outboard compressors!
    Most importantly, enjoy the experience !
  16. I don't think you need to carry the amp. Recording a bass direct sounds great, I'm sure they'll have enough equipment in the studio to make sure you don't sound sterile.