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getting a good rock bass tone?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by thephilosopher, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. thephilosopher


    Dec 22, 2004
    what tips have you for getting a good rock bass tone? i'm used to recording metal and jazz bass, but i've gotta do a rock session in a week or so - any ideas?

    my basses:

    active 4 string fretted (humbuckers)
    active 4 string fretted (p/j)
    passive 4 string fretted (humbuckers)
    passive 4 string fretless (singles)

    mic? di?
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Both mic and DI. I like using an SM57 for bass. Then DI in to taste.
  3. basadam


    Nov 29, 2005
    With a passive bass
    If you want grit: Sansamp BDDI
    If you want clean: Sadowsky Preamp/DI
  4. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    if your gonna use a mic please use a condensor or more than one. No offense Trevorus but an SM57 is not a great idea. If your using it with more than just that mic maybe, but all your gonna be catching is top end. Ive seen good results with a sm57 like towords the top speakers on your cab as well as some sort of kick drum mic, then mix the 2. Your most realistic positive results will come using a DI. Most engineers wont wanna mess with mics, depending on your budget and time restrictions. A great DI will make a world of difference, as will a great mic pre or board. IF you have neither of these get a great mic setup, but thats if all else fails i think.
  5. charic


    Apr 17, 2006
    Too get a REAL Bass tone especially for rock, i would advice an AKG D112 microphone and mix it in with a DI output aswell that way u can mix the clicky kind of sound you get from DI with the PERFECT low end of the D112 (this is a mic used for kickdrums conventially, but whoever payed attention to convention)
  6. Denyle Guitars

    Denyle Guitars

    Nov 30, 2005
    RE20 on a B-15 to tape. Forget the DI. OK, the DI is a good added measure but in many cases, it'll get dropped from the mix provided the miked sound is there.
  7. Every time I get recorded, I use my cabinet, miked.

    I hate the sound of direct-recorded bass most of the time..unless it's just used for bottom, and sparingly at that....never had a problem with not enough bass from being miked.....in a rock setting, that is..
  8. DemoKing


    Apr 19, 2006
    Going direct really depends on what yo uhave to g ointo and what you are using. A good bass into something like the DI on an API preamp will be great for many things. I rarely have to mic a bass cab, almost always direct. But then, I have an API here, so that helps.
  9. Yikes! Avoid going direct unless the place you are playing has a rediculously good sound system... or unless you have a Sans Amp Bass Driver DI or Sans Amp Para Driver DI or Country Man DI. Those work great for Direct Rock Gigs but Overall the best choice is a cab and mic set up unless your amp and cab stink and then there is nothing you can do about that except by another amp and cab........dang I'm just babbling now..

  10. Denyle Guitars

    Denyle Guitars

    Nov 30, 2005
    Here are a few things I've tried.
    Averill API DI sounds pretty good.
    Buzz Audio DI into the API sounds slightly better.
    Line out from my B-15S into the API sounds amazing.
    Miked B-15S still sounds best to my ears (for rock).
  11. charic


    Apr 17, 2006
    When i say DI aswell for a mix i really mean a slight presence of that, helps bring it out in the mix. Depends what your going for though the D112 is definately a great mic rent one if your unsure. Ive used on multiple recording sessions of bands ive recorded and never had a single complaing :cool:
  12. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Isn't this why most amps have direct outs? I usually prefer the tone of my amp+axe, which is why I buy them both.

    Typically, if I want a monitor, I'll buy a monitor and not an amplifier. :D
  13. wwittman


    Apr 21, 2004
    Westchester, NY

    I was about to say exactly that.

    So there, now I don't have to.

    also good rock bass is toppier than you think... that is, being on the brighter side works well in the track as long as the bottom is also there.
    But it's much better to get the top at the amp instead of through the desk.

    I like to use the same mic on bass drum and bass amp, seems to blend them together better for me.

    But that's a personal preference.
    I DO agree that an SM57 is a lousy choice.
  14. Split your signal, run one direct and one to the micked amp.
    Gives two choices.
    The direct sig will have better low lows and the mic/amp will have good mids. The producer should be able to get a killer sound by mixing the two.
    A bass drum mic is the best bet for a mic and a condenser backed away from the speakers about 1-2 ft.
  15. I've only got live sound experiance,not recording,so maybe I shouldn't even jump into this thread ,But ,of course,I am.;) We always had bad results trying to Mic a bass cab live,although I read (long ago) That Geddy Lee used to mic his top(bi-amped)10's onstage for the highs. and did the lows direct. Maybe somebody knows if this works for recording as well? My experiance with the SM57(one of my all time favorites)was that is was great on drums(not the kick),guitar amps,and was especially good on baritone/bass vocals.It has a very definite "proximity "effect. The closer to sound source to the mic's diphram,there more bass response you will get.The Bass guitar however much lower frequencies that a '57 is capable of capturing in a balanced manner. That was my take on it anyway. Rock Bass Tone is subjective as any other tone.I always associate "rock" tone with some natural overdiven distortion. Not a lot,just some overdriven speaker tone . THAT would seem like the place for the "57". The top end,overdrive part of the tone. Whad'ya think? Yes,? No?
  16. Denyle Guitars

    Denyle Guitars

    Nov 30, 2005
    A 57 will work and I've actually recorded some decent "rock" tracks with it. Here's the problem with a 57 (& some other mics) with this application. LF waves need space to form. The 57 usually sounds best, imo, close but if you can get a decent sound ~12" back, you might be able to pick up some more LF. Try aiming the mic down slightly to roll off some HF. The source and mic placement are more important than anything else, except for being able to play your instrument.

    Using a LDC in the room with a 57 might work but you have phase issues and room noise to deal with.
  17. chardin


    Sep 18, 2000
  18. OrionManMatt


    Feb 17, 2004
    I don't usually like using just any "run of the mill" DI because of the lack of dynamics control and/or the negative effect of too much clarity. Everything comes through, unshaped, uncompressed. unrestricted. However, most good recording programs that have a good compressor plug-in should be able to combat this to a beneficial level. Just be careful setting the attack.

    Personally, I like:
    - AC30 head through an Ampeg cab. Audix D6.
    - tube pre-amp mics at a safe distance, lower volume mixed with direct signal
  19. I couldnt disagree more. As an engineer, I always mic cabs. Try to use as many different mic's as possible to get the sound you want. I, personally, am not a fan of D112's... i find them too boomy, but many like them! Last rock bass I worked with we tried a Sennheiser MD421, Shure Beta52 and an Audio Technica AT4033 and they all gave good results. We also used a DI'd signal from a Tech21 Landmark head of mine, but I would recommend trying to get hold of an Avalon U5 to use as a DI. The room, and the cab's position in the room will also make a huge difference, taking you from a thin sound, to a huge sound, with a simple angling of a cab.
  20. paulraphael


    Apr 13, 2006
    If you heard me play, you'd stop reading what I write.
    here's a graph of an SM57's frequency response:


    i don't see how you're going to get much bass out of it, regardless of where you put it.

    incidentally, it's the only mic i own ... i've used it for micing a bass cab. it works, but i'm sure you can do much better. mixed with a d.i. to give the bass sound a little more ambiance and fatness it works great, but in this case it's really just adding some flavor to the d.i. sound.

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