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best recording bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tubster, Mar 13, 2005.

  1. tubster


    Feb 5, 2003
    Southwest Spain
    Which bass has given you the best straight sound directly into a DAW (you know, the computer digital recording programs from Pro Tools to garage band and all in between)?

    I have had access to: P bass, J bass, every shade of G&L, MM 'ray, Sadowsky, MM Bongo 5, Cirrus, MTD Kingston but of all, a Peavey Millenium seems to be the best all-rounder. Love to hear what you guys favor?

    Are there any special secrets to getting the best out of a bass for recording?

    BTW. Moderator, please let this thread live here for a while before it gets dumped into recording!
  2. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    Well, I can only tell you about the basses I own. A Fender precision sounds terrible to me direct in, but my fretless jazz sounds beautiful.
  3. gkintn


    Mar 6, 2005
    I've had great luck on rock projects with a Fender Precision.

    So IF you are doing rock here's my take on it...

    I've had some other much hipper Fenders (an original '61 Jazz, and a '79 P-bass) but my current '91 Mexican bass records amazingly well. I did put a Seymour Duncan vintage style P-bass pickup in it, and that made a world of difference. The stock ceramic magnet pickup is way to thick and muddy sounding to my ear, and needs too much EQ.

    I think the KEY to a good recorded bass tone is a very nice compressor, set correctly. I like to run my bass direct into a nice preamp (API, Universal Audio, Great River, Etc.) and then into a Universal Audio 1176 compressor. Most of time I can get away with little to no EQ on mix down. Maybe just a little bump in the highs or upper mids to bring out the fills.

    A good compressor on the cheap are some of the older DBX units. I use to own a couple DBX 166 stereo units which sounded great for tracking bass, and they go for only about $150-$200 used. Also great mic pres on a budget are the ones on each channel of a little Mackie 1202 board, or similar Mackie.

    All that said you could record straight into your DAW with a decent mic pre, then process the track with a "virtual" 1176 compressor using a UAD-1 card and it's plugins. The UAD-1 card is an awesome upgrade for any DAW, and gives you some of the most respected compressors in the business, albiet "virtual" simulations but VERY good ones at that.

    I know, a little off topic here.

    I'm sure others will chime in about different basses, but the P-Bass didn't become the standard for nothin'.
  4. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    My Alembic Essence beat the others with the Conklin GT-5 and the Lightwave Classica running a close second.
  5. waxcomb


    Jun 29, 2003
    Martinez, CA
    Fender Victor Bailey Jazz. Dial up a killer sound every time. I run it into an ART Tube MP and Levelar.
  6. slinkp


    Aug 29, 2003
    brooklyn, NY, USA
    Thunderbird. I literally cannot make this bass sound bad. Plug it into a decent passive or active DI, into any tolerable mic pre and straight into ProTools, no EQ, compress to taste, and you've got a great classic tone for rock, old-school soul, whatever. EQ the heck out of it to radically change the tone and hey, it STILL sounds great.

    I wouldn't necessarily recommend it you're looking for a snappy bright Marcus Miller tone or something, the starting point is too old-school for that - but you didn't really say what you want, so you will doubtless get some irrelevant advice :)
  7. azflyman


    Apr 24, 2004
    Astoria, OR
    I second the Alembic. My Essence is about as good as it gets when recording.


    P. S. - Flea likes his for recording as well.
  8. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Stingray 5!

  9. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    StingRay, period.
    The "plug'n'play" bass for recording.
  10. Broach_insound


    Jan 25, 2005
    New York
    Fender Jazz Deluxe sounds awazing!!!
  11. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    nothing I have ever used sounds better direct then my Series I Alembic.

    I should add that I played a Les Paul recording bass in the early 80's that sounded damn good on tape direct.
  12. tubster


    Feb 5, 2003
    Southwest Spain
    Thanks for all the info. Yup, SlinkP, did not say what I like but all info is good for me on this subject. The compressor thing I know nothing about and is my next step...

    Don't see any Peaveys in your lists!
  13. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    The best recorded sound I ever got was with a neck-through Warwick Thumb, but I had to record sitting down because it balanced so poorly. In the last six years, my Reverend Rumblefish has been aces in the studio. Passive basses seem to work better for me.
  14. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Well I've only tried to record a few basses, none of them the caliber of my Dingwall, and of course the Dingwall blew them all away. Super recordable bass.
  15. klorence


    Nov 21, 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA
    i agree - mine records fantastic, straight into the board.

    i've also had excellent results w/ my pedulla hexabuzz (bart soapbars) and mm SR5. the SR5 benefited from a nice tube pre; rounded it out & warmed it up a bit, but even w/out the pre it had a great sound direct.
  16. zcwilkes

    zcwilkes Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2002
    Barboursville, WV
    +4 Alembic. I had an Essence. I sold it like in 98' and I've regreted it ever since. I'm going to get a Series II as soon as I hit the lottery.
  17. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
    Out of a Fender J, a BTB405, an MMSR5, and my Roscoe SKB3006, the Roscoe is my favorite by far because of the hugeness of the sound, but the SR5 sounded really good too.
  18. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I guess you CAN screw up the DI sound of a precision, but you have to work at it. That would be your simplist soulution.
  19. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I haven't done tons of recording, but all of it has been direct into digital multitracks or Pro Tools. Best results have been with my 2003 Am. Ser. Jazz, with both pickups on full to avoid the 60 cycle hum, or with the S-1 engaged for a series humbucking tone. If I had to bring just one bass to a recording session, the Jazz wins hands down.

    Others I've used are: Am. Ser. P (great, absolutely HUGE with DiMarzio Model P pickup; new, so I need more experience with it), Am. Deluxe P ('99, great with pick), Ibanez SRX 500 ('03, horrendous), Peavey Patriot ('87, surprisingly not bad) and DiPinto Belvedere Standard semi-hollow (great, especially with pick).

    Compression certainly helps if used judiciously. I've had good results with an Aphex Punch Factory, which is only about $140 and works as a DI as well.
  20. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    KEN SMITH. No adjustments at all.... Just plug and play. Then my tobias These usually don't need any eq (or very little). Basses are very even from string to string and top to bottom. As a result, I'm not using compression or using very little. Top end is clear but not to glassy, and bottom end is tight.

    I love J basses but for plugging in and recording on the fly this seems to work best. I can go totally direct with these basses. Enough signal without adding any preamp or di. Literally just plugging in...