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Best UB quality recording

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by geoff, Dec 20, 2001.

  1. geoff


    Nov 5, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    So I've been following the recording methods posts, and forgive me if this has been asked before, but what would you all consider the "best" sounding recording of semi-current jazz UB? I say current, because a friend has semi-pro equipment, and hearing "love that Chambers sound on..." won't really help. I'm also thinking smaller quartet sized stuff where the bass has a chance to shine thru a little more. Thanks!
  2. geoff


    Nov 5, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    thx. I'll check those out. I do realize that many diff bassists have many different recorded sounds. I just want to start building a reference library of sounds to work with when micing my bass, and especially in mixdown. I can do this for EB all day, I've listened closely enough to EB recordings that I can tell what I like for each style. Now's the time to get the UB library of samples going. I also am well aware that frankly speaking, the best players dont necessarily have the best sounds and vice versa. RE: "newage" jazz with EB. IMHO not great music for the most part, but excellent sounds normally.
  3. This is a silly thread since recorded UB sounds are such a silly thing that we seem to have no real control over short of making sure that we aren't going direct to the board through a pick up. I think that Larry Grenadier has the most amazing sound right now. But if you have ever seen him live he sounds ridiculous to start with. I have seen him play with an amp but mostly he plays with an electrovoice RE20. When I first saw him their was a sound man but at a couple of gigs he set up the mic and ran the sound. So I think the key to getting a great recorded sound is to start playing with a mic and learn what it is about your sound that you want to come through.
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I have an album by Ben Allison, called "Medicine Wheel" that sounds really nice and natural. Great tunes too. I also have to second Ed's take on the Joe Lovano trio album, that's one of the best.
  5. geoff


    Nov 5, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Chris, not to sound rude, but I think you're missing the point about getting a recorded sound. There is simply an infinite amount of possibilities of sound manipulation when recording. Mic choice, placement, the room, isolation, live/solo, compression, effects, eq, eq eq, etc. And unless you can get your own professional engineer to handle a recording, on top of much trial and error with the above mentioned variables, it is quite usefull to have reference material to analyze and work with. That's what I was asking for. ;)
  6. geoff


    Nov 5, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ed, I checked those links online only (not the original cd's yet) and I really liked the Neil Miner. I will admit though that it may be due to the fact that the recording sounds the best of all of them when played online (others could be mp3 compressed too much to hear their real quality), and also Neil has a very "up front" spot in his recording, which is undoubtedly due to the fact it's his album. Not that being so up front is always a "good" thing, but it sure lets the bass tone come through.

  7. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I love Dave Holland's sound on "Extensions". That one came out a while ago (dating myself), but the sound is still fresh in my mind. I thought the drums sounded great on that session, too. All the more amazing since ECM doesn't seem budget much in the way of production costs.

    Niels-Henning Orsted-Pedersen always gets a great recorded tone, but it's not your orthodox bouncy-airy DB tone; more like a meaty bass guitar.
  8. geoff


    Nov 5, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm definitely not trying to use "studio tricks" to manipulate my sound into something else, but the bottom line with recording is that it is much more than mic placement + mix level. Subtle variations in your individual track eq, or the overall eq, or compression, can greatly vary the output. What I'm trying to do, is instead of "reinventing the wheel", I might search certain recordings and find a bass sound recording that I really enjoy, and try and analyze how they did it. Only live mics? Mic + DI? Is it panned or eq'd in the mix to help it cut through the rest? Does it sound like you are watching a performance of it, or actually the performer playing it (ie, which vantage point)?

    I realize it is another discussion for another time of whether some may choose to only accurately reproduce what they hear or sound like live, vs, those that may choose to mix in some DI to help the low or high ends, etc. IMHO, that's up to the individual performer even though I'm sure some may feel its not true to the "art" to manipulate your sound.

    See, in older recordings, they were much more limited. But now, I've heard some current stuff where the UB has a scooped eq sound with a present low end and clear highs, and yet I've also heard other stuff where players will opt for a more mid-rangey punchy sound. I guess I just dont feel like I have enough UB recordings of current small jazz stuff to best decide how I would like my own recorded sound.
  9. I agree with Christopher - Dave Holland's tone is pretty awesome. His sound on Bill Frisell's newest disc (w/Elvin Jones) is pretty damn good. Just about every single thing about that record is pretty damn good, IMHO.

    I also like Chris Wood's tone on MMW's Friday Afternoon in the Universe and It's a Jungle in Here.

    Reginald Veal's tone on Wynton's Blue Interlude is pretty strong, too.

    I don't think this thread is silly, and I hope this helps. :)
  10. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"

    a) Most producers and engineers don't have anywhere near as much experience with fine acoustic instruments generallly, and double-basses in particular, as they do with planks & strats.

    b) So, in theory, being able to show the producer and engineer some sonic models should help them assist you in reaching your sonic goals.

    c) But, unless it's YOUR session, chances are high they're too busy, don't care or both.

    Geoff, you're talking about semi-pro gear, inexperienced engineer, your project. See if you can button-hole your friend with some high-quality sounds, and try to get into his "studio" WAY before the rest of the band to get sounds. It's your deal, so try to get as close as possible -- politely, don't let the engineer off the hook.
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I don't know about the rest of you guys, but the topic of this thread makes perfect sense to me for several reasons:

    1) I often try to pick up nuances of sounds I like from great recordings and imitate them to the point where they become a part of my regular sound, both in live and recorded situations. Sometimes hearing a player with great command of the instrument lay something down lets me know that a certain sound that I'd never really thought about is possible, and when I hear a sound that I like better than my own, I can try to absorb/internalize the essence of it by repeated listening. Do this enough, and aspects of it WILL start to show up in your own playing. It won't make your bass sound more "Italian", but it can give you a new sonic goal to shoot for.

    2) I've been doing a lot of recording lately, and have come to believe that engineering is really every bit as much an art form as learning to play an instrument. Most of the guys I've worked with so far are grateful when a player comes in with an idea of what they think their instrument should sound like on the recording - especially so if they have a little knowledge of how to get that sound to back it up. When mixing, if you can tell the engineer "roll back 200hz a couple of notches, and boost 1k just a hair", he/she will most often do exactly what you want...whereas if you only know how to say, "uh, it sounds kind of tubby when I play my D string, and it doesn't breathe enough in the mix...couldya fix that?", it only contributes to the rapidity of their hair loss.

    I do a lot of home recording, and when I find a sound I like, I write down what it took me to get it (mic placement, EQ settings, type of rolloff on the original take, etc...) so that I can get the same in someone else's studio. When I finally find the mic that gets "the sound" of my bass (and I just got one that may turn out to BE that mic), I plan on taking it with me to the studio when I record and at the very least setting it up as an option along with whatever CASEY JONES (aka-the studio guy)wants me to try. What's to lose?

    As far as semi-current DB sounds on recordings, I'll list a bunch that I like, but like FUQHORN said, they're all different, and I like them for different reasons having to do with the personality of the player, the type of music, what mood I'm in that day, yadda yadda...

    Drew Gress on Dancing in the Dark, Fred Hersch Trio.

    Scott Colley on Melody, Lynne Arriale Trio.

    Pattitucci on A Long Road Home, Arriale Trio.

    Michael Moore on his Duo CD with Bill Charlap.

    Brian Bromberg on It's About Time:The Acoustic Project, under his leadership.

    Christian McBride on Love Scenes, Diana Krall.

    Anything Ray "PARALLEL" Parker plays on that #$@%#^@$ Sirleto (sp?) Bass of his. Damn, that thing sounds SWEET! (Not that his playing has anything to do with it....I'm sure it's all about THE BASS :rolleyes: :D )
  12. geoff


    Nov 5, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thx Chris for this last reply. With the sources you listed and the ones others listed above, I think I can really start to build up my library of UB sounds (and good songs too).

    Obviously, with doing a bunch of home recording as you said, you do understand how recording is as much as an art form as playing the damn stuff. My friend and I did a quick session one weekend, with some top of the line mics (he works at a large gear rental company here in LA and has access to pro gear, ie, $8000 mics, etc etc), and down to Digital Performer on his Mac. He has some limited engineering experience, and was able to ask some pro guys at his work studio for suggestions to mic his trumpet, my bass, mics for jazz drums, etc. And still, the music sounds only like demo quality once mixed. I'm guessing mostly because of how difficult it is to get UB and horns recorded, compared to the average EB band especially. We actually compared some $10000 mic with his trumpet and a $8000 mic, and you could hear the difference. Not really in quality, but more in taste. I'm sure the demo quality also resulted in the fact that he only spent 5 hours mixing each song + his lack of experience. I started this thread, because I was around for a bit of the mixing, and saw how incredibly varied the output could be with slight adjustments of rolloff on the eq, compression, etc.

    So I think I will be able to benefit myself by researching recording sounds, playing to them to help as you suggested, and figuring out what exactly I like for a particular situation.
  13. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    My recording experiences have been incredibly frustrating. When I record with my AudioTechnica AT822 (single-point stereo recording mic) straight into my MD recorder, I get what sounds to me like my bass. Every time I go into the studio I hate the sound that makes it on tape. I can tell you a bunch of ways that don't work and am still looking for the way that does work. Here are a few things to minimize the cussing when you get into the control room:

    • If the bass sounds crappy in the room where you are recording, it'll sound crappy no matter what you do.
    • My AT822 gets a great present sound at about 3-4 feet from the bass with the height at about level with the bridge. The studio mics that I've used (been subjected to) don't work this way at all. Anything further than a foot or two and all presence is lost.
    • Drawing a plane straight forward from the bridge (cutting the room in half from bottom to top), as you go below the bridge you get more bottom / boom, and above you get more finger noise and mid / high end. Two mics / channels is nice if you can get it.
    • The best mic that I've had access to for Bass is the AKG SolidTube. Not an expensive mic and seemed to be pretty transparent. At last look they were about $800 on eBay. I'm considering snagging one for myself just for the future.
    • As the mic is at an un-natural distance from the bass, soften up your touch considerably for the event. I do a lot of acoustic playing and am accustomed to having to project the sound, and the projected sound won't make it to the mic as you're projecting into the sound-proof wall behind the mic. The sound that you get when you project and then place the mic @ 12" sounds like you really hate the bass.
    • If you don't get a good sound in the first place, nothing will help.
    • In talking to bass players that record a lot, there is myth/experience that some basses just plain record better (easier?) than other basses; basses that have a lot of volume acoustically are more difficult to record because the sound is coming out of the bass wierd at close range and doesn't gel until you are too far away for the mic to work, basses that are low in volume record more easily because the total sound produced happens closer to the bass.
    • I've heard very natural sound made with a little pickup mixed in to give clarity. I've tried it and it doesn't work for me.
  14. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    AKG SolidTube @ eBay

    'Buy it now' for $600. Jeez -- wish I still had the computer job this week :)
  15. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Yep. Only I'm not real happy with that sound on the recordings you have because to my ears, it's too tubby and "thick". Part of that was due to the fact that I was using a cheap *ss mic to record the bass, and another part was that I didn't know what the **** I was doing in terms of recording at the time I did it. The first recording you have is of my American Standard, and the second is of my German bass. The sound of the German is very different, and I'm happier with it, but the next Johnson disc will have a much more "transparent" bass sound because I know how to get that now, and because I have a better bass mic.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that recording your bass is a two-way street... I use the recordings I make as "reference recordings" in two ways:

    1) as a reference of, "am I getting the sound I want out of my bass, and if not, what does that say about the way I'm playing it? What can I learn about my playing from this recording that can help me improve?"

    2) as a guide to how well I'm understanding the art of recording. In other words, "now that this is in the can, how can I get the best sound possible out of what's there, and what do I want to try and change the next time so that I don't have to d*ck with it as much the next time I'm done playing?"

    I really believe that both aspects are important, especially for those of us who can't afford to pay others to do it for us (mixing time costs as much as recording time). I'm not saying that you need to be a rocket scientist to be a recording bass player, but it also doesn't hurt to do your homework....especially when some no-ear mother****er tries to compress the hell out your sound from the booth because that's what FieLdY did on his last record, you can simply say, "Yo, Skippy...nix the compression, okay?" rather than get into some big long involved vague discussion about why what he's getting isn't what you're hearing from your bass.
  16. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Pete's is where I ran into the AKG. I didn't record in the bass booth as there were some modals (standing frequencies) that I didn't want to deal with-- in ohter words, some real boomy areas on the bass. I ended up in the room to the pianists right. I would really liked to have been in one spot that I found in the main room, but moving the drums to another room wasn't really an option.
  17. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    I LOVE Dave Hollands Ones all . Its such a great recording of a double bass :D I think it even has some info on the gear used in the liner notes
    With the right stereo It sounds like that bass being played in the room. Theres a guy here in boston who has the bass played on the album lately Ive been doing sound and recording his local every other weekly gig so I gotten the oppertunaty to hear that bass alot. It really helps me to appreciate the recording


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