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help! bass sound

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by jg42, Jul 24, 2012.


  1. jg42

    jg42

    Jul 12, 2012
    Toronto
    tried to lay down a very short demo. bass went through dbx 386 to Pro Tools. in the mix used compression (joe meek) and eq (joe meek as well). At the end of the day it started sounding like those cheapish mid-90's keyboards sampled bass, whereas I want more grit (think more of Mark King sound rather than Nathan East). Any ideas how to improve? - I also have a sansamp rbi but I'm reluctant to use it for slap...

    Being kind of new to this - what are the rules for tracking slap bass -should I boost lo/hi or just hi and some mid (on the bass itself)?

    p.s. changed strings to EXL180 - sounds better but less sustain now :meh:

    http://soundcloud.com/jg42/test
     
  2. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I'm using less and less compression on bass tracks these days, regardless of the playing style (i.e. finger, slap, pick, etc.).

    My typical setup is a DI'd signal from a Radial JDI. I send a parallel signal through a Sansamp PSA-1 set on a variation of the SVT preset. Both of those get submixed to a buss that has an HPF set to about 40hz, which is followed by a channel EQ with a wide boost around 60hz. They're both compressed with Stillwell Audio's The Rocket compressor, but just enough to hit the highest transient peaks. Lastly the buss goes through Airwindows BussColors3 which takes out a little of the peak energy as well. The rest gets handled by my 2buss compression, and Airwindows ConsoleChannel2 on its way out to the stereo mix.

    That's a really long-winded way of saying that you should try less compression of the individual track. Work on your EQ up front by removing what's getting in the way of everything else, and highlighting where it will fit in the mix. After that, a little compression goes a long way, especially if you have 2buss compression happening to the entire mix. When I hear about the elaborate ways people compress individual bass tracks, I often wonder why they didn't just play the part on a keyboard.
     
  3. jg42

    jg42

    Jul 12, 2012
    Toronto
    thanks, silky. what you said makes sense.

    I'll post the link to my audio file later today, otherwise it's kind of hard to describe what I meant.
     
  4. Dbassmon

    Dbassmon

    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Amp emulation plugin can be helpful to get a little more organic sound, add a little gain drive to simulate a little tube grit.

    Also, try bussing your signal and shelving to two separate channels, one for hi pass and the other for low pass filtering. Vary the amount of compression on the hi pass and low pass filtered channel. You can get some very nice results.
     
  5. jg42

    jg42

    Jul 12, 2012
    Toronto
    Thanks Dbassmon, I'm debating between sansamp rbi and plugin, well, what the heck, I can try both and see what sounds best :)
     
  6. jg42

    jg42

    Jul 12, 2012
    Toronto
    I've updated the original post with soundfile link - feel free to comment.
     
  7. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    At the insistence of an established engineer, I used to do this. I called it the "hi-fi method." It works well, especially if what you're after is a Marcus Miller type sound, or variable processing on the low and high bands. If variable processing isn't something you're after, I've found that the same results can be achieved without all of the extra bussing, or duplication of tracks, simply by using a multiband compressor instead of a single band compressor.
     
  8. jg42

    jg42

    Jul 12, 2012
    Toronto
    Nope, I find Marcus Miller's sound too "hi-fi" for me - way too many highs and almost no mids - I want something dating more to the mid-early 80s (pre 85 level 42) kind of sound.

    Then again, my bass might not be the best way to get there.
     
  9. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    That's not to say that the separate LF/HF processing is only capable of one thing, I just found that's where it's strengths were.
     

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