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Finding the right sound in the studio

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by jenderfazz, Jan 9, 2005.

  1. I'm planning to record some bass tracks with my band on Tuesday through a laptop belonging to a friend of ours. Not a real "studio" session, but either way... I've found that for some of our originals, there's a lot of ambiguity to my bass tones. Generally I'll play a little with my settings and go with it. If we practice the entire set and my tone is trebley, then so be it. If it's deep and driven, so be it.

    However, when it comes time to record, what should I do? Some songs could work with a pick or fingers, or even both. I get more articulation out of fingerstyle, but more attack out of a pick. Meanwhile, the tone itself is another problem... Driven? Clean? Bassy? Trebley?

    How do you guys go about finding that right tone, especially without the input of a producer? The tone is up to you... what do you do?
  2. I would practice along to the song in your own spare time, fiddle with the controls, and then go through each song. (IE first time do it with a dub-bass sound, second time get like a J-bass sound) and see which one you think serves the song best.
  3. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks!

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    It's tough to get a good sound by yourself. What you sound like playing alone isn't the same as how your tone sits in the mix of the whole band. Top end of the frequency spectrum tends to get lost in high hat sound and guitar sounds. Do some test recordings of just a verse or so and check it out. It's a good way to get a better mix, too. If you have a rehearsal before the session, just use a cheap tape recorder and get a rough idea of how your tone sits in the mix before you have the real session.

    Chris A. :rolleyes: :bassist:
  4. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Don't forget about the principle of 're-miking' - you record your bass clean to the channel; then you pipe this clean bass signal back out to your miked amp. Now you can dink with the amp settings and mic placement while recording it back to another track, and see how it sounds with the mix. When you find the perfect one, just use that track for your mix-down.

  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    What I do is record direct and find "the sound" in the mix later. With a passive bass I run volume and tone up 100%. With an active bass I run any EQ flat and volume all the way up unless the engineer says it's too hot.

    If you tweak the sound too much when laying down the track you may find at mix time it's unusable. Like Joe P wrote you can always "remike" at mix time or run the track through amp emulators (like a POD or one of many software plugins).