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D.I.Y. Recording help

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by bogart, Mar 16, 2004.


  1. bogart

    bogart

    Dec 11, 2003
    big bear, ca
    I'm just starting to lay down the bass tracks for this total do it yourself project. When my band plays live I boost a ton of mid-upper mid, and it sounds great. On the preliminary recordings, The bass and guitar just melded together and got super muddy. I've been told to set my eq flat and/or boost the lows to keep the mix clean. But I refuse to have my bass sound like that. If it'll help I'm playing a Musicman bass through a Carvin R1000 amp. I've tried recording line out, miking with several different mics (sm-57's, condenser mics). I could use advise as far as mic placement, combinations, or anything else that you guys can come up with. :help:
     
  2. Casey C.

    Casey C.

    Sep 16, 2000
    Butler, PA, USA
    well I'm doing my bands diy demo and I've been using a bass drum mic. The best thing is for trial and error. I found that my bass was too bassy at first but I think that problem is solved now. as a bassist on a recording it is hard to stand out. try mid-mid range. The best is to find that medium of not being there too much and not enough. it may be the guitarist also. We did 3 songs today with guitar and bass and I found tones I didn't like coming from the amp and they sounded awesome on the recording. You don't have to blast your amp when you record too, just turn the mic trim up and play around with the eqs on the mixer. I know Im just blabbling right now but my message is simply this: trial and error. sorry I didn't solve your problem straight out. but you gotta play everything.
     
  3. What I'm about to share with you goes against everything that makes you a bass player. But just try it anyway for giggles. Set your treble all the way up on your Musicman. Cut as much bass as you can stand on the Carvin. On your mixer, try to Lo-Cut everything under 60hz at the input. At the EQ, cut everything on the lowest band. Do not boost anything, just cut bass. At this point you will probably hate what you are hearing in the headphones but go ahead and record it anyway. You will be able to get a higher (and clearer) level to tape (or whatever) because the lows aren't sucking up all the headroom so be sure to take advantage of that. Most are very surprised to discover that a ton of bass still prints. This exercise usually turns on a few lightbulbs for the DIYer but most bassists simply never think of cutting bass frequencies. Let me know if this was of benefit or if it just made things worse. Good Luck!
     
  4. thwackless

    thwackless

    Nov 24, 2003
    Smithfield, RI
    Hey, King of Amps has it right, I think. Get all the clarity you can out of your bass, you can darken it up later in the process, if you still need to. The more "sound" you can get at the beginning (read:mids and articulation... read: "highs"), the more it'll be there when everything else tries to get in it's way. You'll still be a bass player... :cool:

    Example you can already relate to: Getting the sound you want on your bass when it's solo'd may not be the sound you want when it's in the mix.

    Be bold...
    Rog.
     
  5. bogart

    bogart

    Dec 11, 2003
    big bear, ca
    Yeah, my guitarist looked confused when he saw me, the Bassmaster, cut lows. I did nothing to the mixer, (some previous advise was to leave it flat) but i did set the eq flat while cutting frequencies at 50 and 75hz. I almost wept while i was playing (my advise is to leave the headphones off) but let me tell you the thunder that was on the recording. No booming. No muddiness. For the record I ended up swapping to a new American Jazz Bass, and used and sm57 to mic the 10's and an akg d112 for the 18. Thank you kingofamps. You surely are the man. I'm working on getting some songs loaded to the cpu to put online, if anyone wants to here results. :hyper:
     
  6. I just learned something new. Awesome.
     
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I run my Lakland flat and EQ at mixdown. I tried boosting bass at the input, and it was just too muffy.
     
  8. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    hmmm maybe Muff means something different over there :)

    I think it was Vanselus who shocked everyone when he announced he actually records with a High pass filter set at 100Hz. As you guys are finding out, it has it's advantages, the main one being it leaves room for the kick drum, creating a seperation that stops them from trying to leap out of the speakers at the same frequencies at the same time.
     
  9. gotta try that out sometime, I usually do a fairly narrow cut at the bass drums fundamental in my sound using a parametric.
     
  10. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    That's works too. But it can be hard to identify the bass drum fundamental. It varies from drum to drum. I also use an old Alesis D4 drum module which has 99 different kick drum sounds (5 of which are usable :) ) which all have a different fundamental. At the end of the day it comes down to what sounds best and that's where experimentation helps.

    I remember having this same discussion with a well know producer and he explained it slightly differently. He likes to think of the whole recording and mixdown process in 3 Dimensions where most people think in 2 Dimensions (turn things up and down - that's it). To him the 3rd dimension is occupied not only by effects and eq, but by the way a standard speaker reproduces the frequencies (and to a lesser extent, how the human ear interprets them). His explaination was very technical and to be honest, he lost me - but I've applied bits of it to my own recordings and live band mixing with good results. The main thing I learned was to try and give each instrument it's own space in the frequency spectrum if possible, especially the lower frequencies that can make speaker cones move quite a lot.
     
  11. to identify the bass drum frequency I usually use a frequency analyser first to get it approximately right, then i cut that frequency on the bass drum track with the eq and vary the frequency until it reaches a minimum. with this method it is quite easy to find the correct frequency.

    And trying to give each instrument its own frequency range is exactly what i do as well.
     
  12. supermonkey

    supermonkey

    Mar 15, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    What people are saying here about finding a unique spot for each instrument in the mix is right on.

    And live v. recorded sound is just apples v. oranges.
    No matter how you set your tone for live playing, you are better off taking the flattest bass signal possible for your fundamental bass track, and then adjusting it as needed at mixdown. Have you tried the dual-input method -- a channel of DI AND a channel of mic'd amp? Balancing those two tracks to create a single bass part might give you the flexibility you need while allowing your tone its space.

    Keep in mind what role the bass has in the recording, and don't get fixated on how it sounds by itself -- that's really unimportant, because nobody will ever hear that! The context of the mix is all-important.
     
  13. thwackless

    thwackless

    Nov 24, 2003
    Smithfield, RI
    That's right! What a difference- it's now one of the fundamental things I think of when considering a mix. Everybody gets a spot in the "room". :bassist:
     
  14. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    the cool thing about recording is you can always fix the tone in post-production. the last recording we did I used most of the direct signal from my Spector and rounded it out with the mic'd 410XLT that was miked with a U87. it's worth it to get it right before you go in to the board. you don't want to have to over-EQ.
     
  15. thwackless

    thwackless

    Nov 24, 2003
    Smithfield, RI
    In other words: You can fix the tone if you've got the tone somewhere "on tape"- as long as the signal exists, you've got it at hand. That old idea of "Fix it in the mix" is what one laughingly offers when one finds that one is screwed...

    :bawl: !
     
  16. supermonkey

    supermonkey

    Mar 15, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    True, "fixing it in the mix" is not the ideal, but I often find that when recording bass it's hard to tell what exactly you're getting until after the fact.

    If you're trying to get it exactly right on input, a lot can depend on when you record the bass. It might sound great alone w/ the drums, but track one guitar and the mix goes to hell.

    I think that was the point of KingOfAmps' post -- that you want to just make sure you hit tape/disk w/ a full signal spread, and then subtractively EQ during the mixdown to find the "pocket" for the bass.
     
  17. Thanks to all,... I think I've learned something today.

    I've always recorded a slightly boosted bass signal that never really "gets there" in the final mix, so perhaps I'll try the flat eq approach and wait until the final mix.

    Interestingly, I've been recording two direct signals lately, one out of the SWR pre amp and another from either a Trace Elliot Dual Comp pedal or a Zoom 9002 with a little compression, just to get something different. I can't mic up any amps in my little project studio so I might as well take advantage of the stereo inputs of the computer.
     
  18. bogart

    bogart

    Dec 11, 2003
    big bear, ca
    I used a rode condenser mic and put my cab(4x10) in the middle of the room. I then placed the mic directly behind the amp facing away from it. I set eq flat and cranked the tone on my jazz bass up. I recorded anesthesia as a sample and let me tell you how much growl came through. I was so intrigued by this I retracked every distorted part on my new record with this technique. :hyper:
     
  19. I thought it was possible to tune each drum individually, albeit they gave you a coarse pitch control but not the usually accompanying fine control. God bless Alesis. :rolleyes:

    Hold on to your pick guards-- this guy, who moderates another forum I hang at, identifies no less than five :eek: dimensions.

     
  20. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Aww C'mon, the D4 was made in 1991 so you can't be too hard on the poor little bugger. At least it's still working :)

    5 Dimensions, and they all make sense. Good advice here.