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Help With DI Recording Bass Guitar

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Ovechcro8778, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Ovechcro8778


    Mar 29, 2013
    Hello, this is my first post here. I've been playing electric guitar for 5 years, and I've just recently started learning bass guitar as well.

    I have a Vintage Modified Fender Jazz Bass (no active electronics or pickups) and I'm currently recording directly into my Audio Kontrol 1 audio interface.

    My tone sounds decent, but many people say that a preamp and a Di box will improve your tone significantly. My Audio Kontrol 1 has an instrument input. Does this mean my signal impendence is already fine, therefore negating the need for the DI box? Or does it mean I don't need a preamp? Or could I still benefit from both of them?

    Basically, what I'm trying to ask, will buying a preamp and/or a DI box be worthwhile investments, when recording a passive bass into an instrument input on an audio interface?

    Also, I was considering buying a $50 Art Tube MP preamp (if in fact, I do need it). Is it possible that buying a cheap preamp could make my tone worse?

    Yes, I have read the FAQ, but I'm still confused about my specific situation.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    The instrument input on your interface is a DI input, in most cases. There are exceptions, so you should check the manual for the interface, and look up its input impedance. If it's at least 500K or higher, like 1 Meg, you don't need a DI box.

    Many people recommend recording "clean" with no effects, no extra preamping or EQ or other tone shaping. This allows you to add that tone processing afterward, by running the recorded track through the tone shaper gear, or through an amp-simulating plugin. The reason is that if the amp-sim or preamp ends up sucking, you just try a different one, without having to re-record the bass part. You've got that clean track ready to be processed any of a hundred ways, convenient and not messed up.

    If you want to record with the tone shaping though, that's fine really, especially if you're just recording for your own enjoyment. Look into the Tech21 product line for many options; also search on "preamp" in the Effects forum for many more options.

    Check the FAQ linked in my sig for an explanation of premp versus DI.
  3. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    Yes, the instrument input on your Audio Kontrol interface is an instrument DI with the correct impedance - no other hardware needed.


    A tube preamp can make your recorded bass sound even better. If you're gonna buy a Tube MP anyway, by all means try running your bass through it when you record. (The output of the Tube MP will then be at low impedance and should be connected to a microphone input on your interface.) In fact, if you want to spring a few more dollars I would recommend the ART Tube MP Studio V3 model. It has lots of different settings to add more or less warmth with and without a limiter ("OPL"). I have used this model with very good results.
  4. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    There are SO many options when recording bass! It depends upon what sounds you are after, who you are recording for, and how much time and money you wish to invest...

    Straight in is the most versatile, offering innumerable options ITB.

    I prefer an input signal chain with a decent transformer ("iron") in it. It's the iron in some preamps, EQs and compressors that make them more desirable than those without (UA1176 comp comes to mind)...

    I also use the Art Tube MP, Tech 21 "Blonde" Sans Amp, Zoom B2.1u, several guitar pedals, and my TC RH450 DI...

    Another time tested method is to get the sound you like from your amp, then record it with a close mic and another mic 3'-4' away and blend to taste... Along those lines, my personla favorite either my Fender Deluxe Amp or Princeton Amp through my 2x12 bass cab and mic'ed as described above...

    There is really no "wrong" way to get sounds you like... "If it sounds good, it is good!" So, it's more about the journey and experimentation.

    Have at it, and have fun!
  5. This is how I plan on doing mine (once I have mics, that it) along with a DI from the amp. FWIW.
  6. ThingsAbove


    Jul 11, 2011
    You can pickup a used SansAmp pretty cheap and it gives you a nice range of tones from clean to dirt. Easypeasy
  7. overbybr

    overbybr Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Buying a good preamp and a good DI will always be good investments. If you play out live, you may not want to use the house DI because its covered in duct tape and looks like its seen the underside of a truck too many times. If you bring your own DI, you know exactly what you will be sending to the house board. As for a preamp, there are so many options its ridiculous. It took me a few years to realize what tone I was looking for, and after MUCH research I settled on an Aguilar Tone Hammer DI. It has excellent tone shaping capabilities, is a great preamp, and is a solid DI all in one. Be sure to check the classifieds section and you'll probably find what you settle on for a good price. By the way, I bought 80% of my gear through the TB classifieds!

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