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Home Recording Problems...Active Bass into Tascam Unit

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by rydin4lifebass, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. I've posted a few times and received some good tips from fellow TBers but I'm still having issues. I'm using two active Ibanez basse to record into a Tascam DP-008. When recording "lower" notes such as the open E or F on the E string and anything below the E-F on the low B string, I get terrible "buzz" from the unit. I've tried rolling the input down, I've used the low & medium level input settings, turned the input to Guitar level & mic/line level. I even using the headphone out on my amp to the line in on the unit. No matter what setting I'm using, I either hear the notes I'm playing but get "fuzz" or I turn everything down so low you can barely hear it.

    I picked up an xlr cable and ran it from my amp to the xlr on the Tascam unit. This doesn't seem to be working at all.

    I've tried Tascam email support but found no new information. Do I have a bad unit or is the active bass too "hot" for the unit?
  2. audioglenn


    Jul 14, 2012
    I took a look at the owner's manual for you and from what you described, you're doing everything right. Just so you know, Tascam does recommend that you have Chan A input switched to "Mic/line" if you are plugging an active guitar(or bass) into it. They do say that you should not let the input overload indicator light when you are recording. Double check that it is not lit when you play those low notes. If it does, that would explain the buzz you are hearing.
    What you're describing sounds like you are overloading the input, but it's hard to tell without hearing it. It could very well be a defective unit.

    Sorry I can't be more help.
  3. I would tend to have to agree that it sounds like an overloaded input, but may not be. I have no familiarity with the Tascam unit, but I do have to watch my Behringer mixer closely when I set my bass up. But if you are sure you're not lighting the overload up, the problem may very well be elsewhere in the unit.

    Other than that, I can't be of much more help either.
  4. I do appreciate the help. I do lower the input setting and keep the input switch to mic/line. I'm not sure why the xlr input isn't picking up anything from the amp though. Is it just because it's not an actual condenser mic and it's not recognized?
  5. audioglenn


    Jul 14, 2012
    No...that's not the reason. Is there an output level control next to the xlr output on your amp?
  6. I did a little more digging, and I found a similar problem. Even with the gain lowered, the bass was still overloading a mixer and distorting. It is possible that the signal is too hot. Can you run the bass passive, if need be? That would be one solution, if possible.

    The other would be a DI box with an extra form of pad/trim control that could turn the signal down more, before it hits the mixer.

    As to the XLR cable form amp not working, do you have any separate controls on the amp for using it, or should it just work when you plug into it?
    If it's just a matter of plugging it in, and it doesn't work, perhaps it isn't being recognized.

    Again, I don't know your setup, and none of us are there to see or hear what you do, so I am just speculating. But its some things to consider.
  7. audioglenn - No output level for the xlr on my amp (Fender Rumble 350). The only thing by the xlr is a ground loop button, that's it.

    SquierJazz72 - I plugged the xlr from the amp directly to the Tascam unit. I tried keeping my amp's speaker output plugged into my 4x10 and also tried it with it disconnected, no sound either way. The Tascam unit does have phantom power for a condenser mic which I've tried on and off with no luck.

    I use a standard tuned 4 string with the unit and it sounds fine for the most part...unless I hammer on the lower notes, I still get a good bit of clipping so I have to keep the input turned down a good bit. I was hoping to run from the amp into the Tascam to get some different sounds and tweak the tone a little more. The amp also has an adjustable input from passive to active so I was hoping that would give me a little "cushion" as well.
  8. There are 3 things you need to check.
    1. Make sure the input on your interface is not overloaded.
    2. Make sure the input level in you system preferences input level is not overloaded
    3. Make sure the input (recording level) on the track you are recording to is not overloaded.
  9. Next best thing, as above, check every point where you have some control over input levels: interface, preferences, etc. Anything you haven't checked yet. Sounds like your thinking it through pretty well, but check it all.

    On the XLR to amp, if there is no separate control, it should just work. It is a point to point electro/mechanical connection. Signal is either there or not. Just a thought, but have you tested the cable on something else, to make sure it is good?
  10. Bassdirty

    Bassdirty Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2010
    Do you have the bass knob on your bass guitar cranked all the way up?
    are you runnin any effects?
    when i record with my ibby i keep my tone knobs flat..(well in the middle)
    and eq/ add effects as needed.
    maybe your boosting the lows too much?

  11. That was my next thought too. I know on mine, while my bass is passive, the pre-amped input on my Behringer has an EQ section, and if I go working that, I have to adjust the gain up or down accordingly to keep a clean signal level. And effects, if you use them, can require readjusting input levels too.

    Can you try another bass(preferably purely passive) with it and see what happens, or is that not an option?
  12. I do have a passive precision I can try. It's not the "sound" I want for what I'm doing but it will be fine to test with. I have the volume knob up pretty far as well. As far as input settings, the only options on the tascam I'm aware of are the choices between low/medium/high for the external inputs as well as the guitar/line selector. As I said, I'm using the line level input and the low setting. If I go medium (or high), I get a lot of feedback and clipping.

    I'll try to turn the volume on the bass down and then I can hopefully increase the level knob for the input and see if that makes a difference. I do have the treble, bass, and pickup control knobs all set to flat.
  13. Just got home and I've been playing around. I turned the volume on the bass down to about the 1/3 to 1/2 mark. I could then turn the input limiter up and got better result. I'm still working on tweaking but that does seem to make a difference.
  14. Glad you're getting somewhere. Sometimes it's just trial and error(and a lot of messing around) with this stuff.
  15. audioglenn


    Jul 14, 2012
    +1 It's good to hear you're beginning to have some success. Don't get discouraged! All of the steps you have taken and your questions make sense. You are learning one of the most important things in recording and that is SIGNAL FLOW.
  16. Learning signal flow is where I'm at too. My old rig was all software, and very basic, but I recently added a digital audio interface and small mixer, so I have been learning my way around it too. Everytime I switch between guitar,bass, or mic, I have to readjust gain. The bottom end of the bass will overload a lot faster than guitar, if I use the same gain level for both. Even my mics behave slightly differently from each other, I have noticed.
  17. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    Instead of adjusting the input level on the Tascam try turning down the volume on the bass. It seems like the same thing but it isn't.

    The input adjustment on the Tascam, or most mixers/interfaces, happens after the fact. It would still be getting hit with the full force coming out of your bass. By adjusting the output level coming out of your bass you can help to avoid clipping.

    Keep in mind that your active electronics are adding or subtracting around 12db per control, i.e. a 12db boost to the bass frequencies. If you boost your lows and you boost your highs you are adding quite a bit of extra oomph to the signal. If you do subtle tweaks it's not to bad but if you max them out your overall output will change quite dramatically and you risk clipping.

    I hope this helps in some way.

    It appears you already figured it out.
  18. hemmerlinj


    Sep 21, 2012
    Astoria, NY
    In my experience all of Tascams pres overload too quickly. Always use a pad before the inputs on these devices.
  19. I'm going to "fiddle" with it again tonight and see what I can get out of it.

    Raymeous - Appreciate the help!

    Hemmerlinj - What kind of pad do you have in mind exactly?
  20. uhdinator


    Apr 20, 2010
    Have seen many different forums where people are having problems with clipping interface inputs with active instruments.

    Passive instruments outputs are Hi impedance and low level measured In millivolts. So they make recorders and interfaces with an "instrument" input designed for this.

    The problem is:
    Active instruments/pu's have an integrated pre amp. I have seen specs on EMG active PU's of 3 volts average/6 volts peak. Active circuits are low impedance as well.

    Try using a line input. Your active instrument is already pre amped, unlike a passive instrument.

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