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How can I accomplish this?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Strat-Mangler, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Banned

    Aug 15, 2010
    I'm a noob. There. I said it.

    Having said that, here's what I want to do...

    I wish to plug my bass into an interface which will connect to my 64-bit W7 PC. It'll be easy to setup and I won't spend the afternoon struggling to make this work. I'll play through software that'll simulate certain amps so the sound is fantastic and not sterile-sounding.

    I'm looking at Focusrite interfaces and the Ampeg SVX software. The Saffire 6 USB looked very interesting, but it has USB 1.1 in the back which leads me to believe there could be some lag issues. Am I wrong? If so, I'm thinking of going for perhaps the Firewire-based Sapphire Pro 14.

    What other software would you recommend for fantastic lush rich bass tones? The Ampeg tones might be rather limiting.

    Perhaps reamping would be interesting, but I'm quite unclear on how to actually do it.

    And lastly, can anybody explain to me what Phantom Power is, please? Every explanation I've read sounds like greek.

    Thanks in advance to anybody who'll contribute anything. :D
  2. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    Any interface will do what you want, as long as it has an instrument-level (aka "high impedance") 1/4" input. Most interfaces do. I prefer Tascam stuff, but as I said any interface will do what you want. I wouldn't worry about hardware latency with a USB 1.1 if all you're doing is one channel (your bass) in and two channels (stereo pair) out. I have found that these days latency ("lag") is more a function of software, and especially your computer's sound driver software, than it is hardware.

    You have to get a good, clean signal into your computer before you apply the (software) amp simulator. Therefore, the most important aspect of the hardware interface you choose is how good the built-in preamp and A-D (analog to digital) converters are. Usually, the more you pay, the better they are. Mackie has always had the reputation of putting fairly good preamps in reasonably-priced interfaces.

    Phantom power refers to sending a voltage from the interface up an XLR (3-pin) cable to power a condenser microphone. If you're not going to be using a condenser microphone, you don't have to worry about it. FYI, the other main type of microphone is a dynamic microphone, and dynamic microphones do not need phantom power.
  3. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Banned

    Aug 15, 2010
    I've discovered something that might make things a little easier (or not) for me.

    My Fender Bassman TV 15 amp has a Line Out with a switch called "Ground Lift." Would it be possible to plug the amp directly into the audio interface? If so, how close a sound could I get to what comes out of my amp?

    Here's the pic, for anybody who's interested. It's rather big.

  4. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    Yes, you can plug an XLR cable directly from your amp to the interface. Everything else I said is still true about the quality of the interface's preamp and A-D converter. (The signal that comes out of your amp via XLR connector is analog - the signal that goes into your computer via USB cable is digital - the interface converts the signal from analog to digital.) In this application, if your interface has a phantom power switch, you will definitely leave it switched OFF.

    The only reason you MAY need the ground lift switch on your amp is if your amp and your interface and your computer are plugged into two or more different circuits with different - or missing - ground points. How to avoid this is easy - just plug your computer, your amp and your interface into the same power strip.
  5. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    I think the XLR output on your particular amp is post-EQ, so how you set the bass, mid and treble knobs on your amp will have an effect on the signal sent from your amp to your interface. If you play it back from your computer through the interface into a speaker IDENTICAL to the speaker that's in your bass amp, then it will sound very much like your original sound. If you play it back through some other speakers, like nearfield monitors or headphones, it will only sound somewhat like what originally came out of your bass amp. If you want the sound you record to sound (almost) exactly like what came out of your amp's speaker, you will have to put a microphone in front of your amp's speaker and record that.
  6. jmattis

    jmattis Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2007
    Washington DC
    I'd take a look at the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 as well. It's about the same price as the Saffire 6, but uses usb 2.0. If you're not going to be needing all of the inputs of the Saffire Pro 14, it'd be a great way to go.
  7. If you want 'fantastic' recordings and balk at putting in a whole afternoon figuring out how, the only answer is to hire someone else to record you.
  8. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Line 6 interfaces come with PodFarm which is a surprising good modeler and can be used standalone without a daw.
  9. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Banned

    Aug 15, 2010
    I should've been more precise in my phrasing. What I don't want to spend a whole afternoon doing is figuring out how to install and start using the audio interface.

    If it comes with a thick manual and/or only people who've spend dozens or hundreds of hours can operate it easily, it's not a device I'll be interested in purchasing. I wish to plug the device, install the drivers, for it to be automatically recognized, plug in my bass, open a DAW, and start jamming.

    I can then decide how much I'm willing to invest to tweak it by using compression and the like, but I want some good tones out of the box so that I'm inspired to play.

    Hard to find any non-metal demo of the PodFarm. Every single video clip I see is some metalhead playing distorted or aggressive tones on an Ibanez or other such bass.

    I want smooth old-school Fender Jazz tones. Maybe it can replicate these tones, I don't know. But I sure can't find any proof that it can do anything else than metal tones. Think it's safe to just forego that option, but I thank you for bringing it up nonetheless. :)
  10. Dunno what to say about software (still looking around myself), but as far as an easy to use interface goes, you might look at an Akai EIE...I bought one a couple of weeks ago and had it up and running (amp's DI > GarageBand) about 15 minutes after taking it out of the box. Works on both Mac and PC, and there's a 24-bit version as well (EIE Pro).
  11. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Banned

    Aug 15, 2010
    Thank you, MNIM, but I read your post only after I ordered a Focusrite Saffire Pro 14.

    I'm anxiously waiting for it to arrive and hope that it'll be intuitive and as amazing as is mentioned by every user.

    The Akai EIE is certainly gorgeous to look at and I love the old-school VU meters. Definitely something I would have considered otherwise. If the Focusrite doesn't work for me, I very well might look into it.

    For now, I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope that I'll be able to record my bass relatively painlessly with a great sound once I get it up & running! I'll post samples once I do! :)