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Best way to record Bass

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by bassplayer48, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. Hi Guys i have a question regarding recording bass at the moment i am plugging straight into the mixer on our home recording setup. I have a sansamp which i love for live work, however i have read a few things here and there that its not that great for recording. My question is if i record as above, when we get it professionaly mixed can the tone be altered at that point? Like adding some kind of tube emulation effect?
  2. First off...Are we talking about The SansAmp Bass Driver DI? If we are, it kicks ass for live and recording. I would go straight into whatever you are recording to with the SansAmp Bass DI. Plug your bass into the BassDriver and come out of the BassDriver via the XLR out and go straight into your mixer/DAW. The BassDriver does do tube emulation.
  3. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    Yes, you can also have them run the signal through an actual tube amplifier.
  4. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    "Not great for recording" is relative to what personal gear choices the person making the statement has made. Is it as good as a $1500 Great River mono preamp/DI? No. Is it better than just plugging into your mixer? Ab-so-freak-in-lute-ly.

    The best way to record your bass is ideally with a DI like the SABDDI or the DI out port on your amp with EQing disabled. There are people who will tell you about cab micing, and they are right if you already know all about recording a mic'd bass cab. Otherwise they are wrong.
  5. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    Many top engineers use Sansamps in tracking and mixing, so it can be a valuable tool.

    You definitely want to make sure you are getting a really good tracked bass sound- in my little experience, mixing can enhance an instrument's sound and make it sit in the mix well, but mixing won't polish turds.
  6. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Most top engineers will tell you that you need to record your bass absolutely flat and clean. That gives you the freedom to capture the performance and tweak the tone at will during mixdown, using outboard or virtual devices which are much better quality (and quieter) than a Sansamp or any other pedal.

    You're better off using a dedicated DI (the best quality you can afford..Avalon makes good affordable units). That'll get your WHOLE tone on the tracks. As much noise is made about the Sansamp stuff, it's simply eq modification to emulate something else. Frequently, they cut mids which are needed to place the bass correctly in the mix...you want those there to work with if needed, and you can still cut them later. Don't short-change yourself right out of the gate.
  7. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    Oh, I totally forgot that you were actually asking something specific.

    The answer is yes.

    mchildree: You can turn off the tone shaping features of the SABDDI, leaving it a normal DI box.
  8. arcellus


    Feb 28, 2004
    Portland, OR
    Agreed. Chances are whatever studio you go to will have much higher quality outboard gear than any of us could afford and will have more experience using it. Use a good DI (such as the SansAmp with the tone-shaping off, or a Radial ProDI, which is what I use) straight into the board
  9. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    True, but there are a number of engineers that have used different methods from time to time. Tchad Blake uses sansamps (the original ones) on everything (drums, bass, wind instruments, horns, keyboards- anything except guitar). He does something really weird where (don't quote me on this) he will use one to knock the kick drum out of phase and it drops about an octave lower. A lot of the time he is using a wet/dry mix, but sometimes he will use a 100% wet signal.

    There is nothing wrong with using a more conventional method, it always be a safer bet. It is just that those $100 boxes do have a place. Sansamps have be used in tracking in favor of far more expensive pieces of equipment. But if you are just trying to get a solid sound for someone else to mix, I would avoid using the tone-shaping features of the Sansamp and try to get a flat signal.
  10. Thanks Guys,
    as usual heaps of great advice, so from the answers here i will use it as a DI box at the very least and maybe use the tone shaping, i am using the programable BBDI do they add much background noise when using the tone shaping for recording?
  11. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    Isn't the DI out on the Sansamp the unaffected signal (it has been a while since I've owned one)? You might want to try recording the bass to two tracks: one of the plain vanilla DI sound, and one w/ the sansamp coloration. The least favorable track could be scrapped or they could be bussed to one track in mixing.
  12. ^ that's exactly what i was going to say! one sound of sansamp color and the other of straight di.
  13. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    I´ve been recording the same way you do. I´ve been primarily using my SABDDI (not the Programmable version) to record my bass tracks alone and then send them to my bandmates.

    I use a bit of its tone shaping abilities. I basically try to add a bit of "depth" or "warmth" to the original sound. I leave the blend option at 50% to balance the original and altered sound.

    I´m quite pleased with the results obtained so far.
    Here´s an example:

    Sample track
  14. I have one of the newer one's. The Parallel Out is the unaffected signal. The other 2 (XLR & jack) are coloured.

    I've only started experimenting with recording with it.
    It's possible to get an XLR out from the Sansamp, have the parallel out going to my amp, take a DI from the amp & mic up the cab.

    3 different recordings of the same performance!

    So far I'm leaning towards just using the Sansamp with a clean & a coloured sound.

    I've also tried duplicating the Sansamp coloured track in Cubase & having 1 regular track & 1 track EQ'd with more mid.
  15. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    Is there that much of a difference between doing that and keeping one track with half as much eq? I've used wet/dry tracks for reverb, gates (generally to send a gated track to a delay/reverb while keeping an ungated track in the mix), compression, and chorus/modulation effects among other things, but I've never used a wet/dry for EQ. I generally try to minimize how many DBs I boost frequencies as I've gone too far in the past causing a weird out-of-phase type of sound.
  16. I find when recording my BDDI sits quite nicely in the mix, i dont boost or cut anything, so the EQ is fairly flat, and i dont turn the blend all the way up (thats a really important one alot of people miss out), on saying that tho, i also usually run a clean channel to the board aswell, so i can blend the clean and coloured recorded sounds :)
  17. i find the sansamp so good that i strive to get everything right when laying down the part so i don't have to do any EQ'ing after the fact. it's sits very well in the mix on its own.
  18. shifter


    Jul 10, 2006
    somewhere else

    Second on that...

    Don't be afraid to layer the bass tracks...

    I generally use a flat (un eqed) signal DI'ed into a compressor (not to much comp though) to keep things at an even dynamic and run that track down the middle of my mix.

    Evrything else is experimentation and depending on the effect will depend on how or where you wish to pan the track.

    A classic eg: of this ( and don't shoot me here boys) is old mate from Korn.

    He actually runs quite a few tracks one being pure bass no mids no treble nothing. This will run down the middle in conjuncion with those freakin 7 string guitars.

    Then the rata ta tat "noise" you and all the rest of hear is pure treble and whatever else which is what he generally gets hammered on.

    Does this make sense???

    Have fun with it mate..

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