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live sound vs. recorded sound

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Devo-lution, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. Devo-lution


    Jun 24, 2009
    This isn't a rant. I'm just wondering if anyone ever had a similar experience.

    My main band is recording a first recording. This is my first real studio experience. The drums, bass, guitar 1, guitar 2 and guitar 3 have already been recorded. Last week, the producer sent us a preview mix.

    It really sounds good, but the bass sound is not the one I'm used to.... Well I recognize my own sound, but somehow it's been altered. Based on feel, I'd say it has been lowpassed and given a low end boost.

    I can see why the producer did this (three guitars and a drummer who LOVES cymbals), but it really took some getting used to when listening to the preview.

    Anyone else had a simimlar experience? What did you do?
  2. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    never really had a problem like that - the producer i regularly use makes the bass sound amazing :smugface:

    (if anything, i tend to comment on the drum sound, or the vocals.)

    anyway - all i'd advise is have a word with the producer, with specific, actionable instructions as to how you'd like the bass sound altered.
  3. Devo-lution


    Jun 24, 2009
    Well, it's a good sound... But it's different. I Think I'm going to adress it on the next rehearsal and see what the rest of the band thinks.
  4. -Asdfgh-


    Apr 13, 2010
    Asking the rest of the band is the best idea. Also if the producer is amenable you could ask him/her to try another treatment of the bass so you and your band can A/B them. If you are looking for commercial success it is worth bearing in mind both what you and the band like but also what works for your target market and target reproduction system. I've mixed stuff that sounded great at home but totally wrong over a big system or over a car radio, and it needs to work for MP3 players too, so the mix might need to be the one that's the best compromise across all of those systems or all of those systems that are relevant for you and your band.
  5. James Judson

    James Judson

    Jul 16, 2009
    Been there done that. I kept my mouth shut. Recording engineer EQ'ed my bass in such a way as I hated it. We sent the recordings off to be Mastered and Mastering Engineer brought out a killer tone. Still wasn't how I would like it but over all the recordings came out nice.

    Recording Engineers need to make sure the bass does not compete for space with the gui****s. More often that naught the bass and kick try to share the same space and need fixing. Plus making it sound good on any speaker combination. If your picky about mixing and mastering you should be there to put in your input for those processes. Otherwise leave the mixing to the producer or replace the producer.

    My question is what do you need 3 guitar players for? Thats about 2.5 to many. Talk about fighting for space. Just my opinion!

  6. Devo-lution


    Jun 24, 2009
    Three guitar players is just something that happened. We used to have two rythm guitar players and then this younger, talented guitar player turns up who really likes a few of our songs. He's now our lead guitar player.

    Also, our main songwriter likes the density of 3 guitars. It's a challenge (who's playing which octave?), but it's doable.
  7. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    If there's a lot of guitars then the bass sound will have to be a compromise. Mixing is basically a process of compromise and if no compromise was achieved, the mix would sound awful.

    I've never been in a band with more than one guitarist and I've done that quite deliberately. ;)
  8. 3506string


    Nov 18, 2004
    Lawton, OK
    I'd say one of two things happened.

    1- There was an actual issue with sonic territory, and an eq decision was made for the betterment of the mix.

    2- The recording engineer is use to putting the same generic eq and comp on every bass guitar he records.
  9. masterFlash


    Jul 6, 2009
    Make sure you listen to the preview on a couple of different sound systems. No two are the same. You might be listening on a bass boosted system.

    If you want it different, speak up now. After the discs are pressed its too late.

    Having the bass stand out from the other instruments is important but having the song sound right is most important.
  10. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    That's a tough call sometimes.

    You don't want to be left listening back to this 10 years from now going "Man I hate that sound. I should have fixed it when I had the chance." However, you also have to ask yourself: does the BAND sound good with this tone?

    There's my dos centavos.
  11. RobbieNuke


    Jan 22, 2008
    I was in a variety/cover band years ago that did a demo CD at a studio. I was not involved in the final mix, but one would have thought I tipped the engineer to boost me (LOL) as it, too, was bass heavy. I've always been interested in the RIAA standard (used on albums in the 60's; a certain amount of boost/cut at the extreme audio spectrum and a single crossover at 500 Hz... the studio reference crossover point back then). I wonder if anyone still uses that standard? I personally like it for having a deeper bass sound on most playback equipment.

    I never complained. I still use the demo for reference when I audition for other bands. The bass sound/feels really present... which is the main thing... but I wish it had more/better chops in there!
  12. Devo-lution


    Jun 24, 2009
    I Spoke to the producer. Apparently, he adjusted bass eq to fit each song. On the dubbier songs, he scooped some of the mids. On the louder songs, he made the tone more agressive. In the end, I quite like it.

    Makes sense that this would seem a little strange to me though as I rarely ever touch the eq on my amp.
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I like to record with the whole band playing at once, each instrument with its own isolated track with the vocals as a reference for the players. Except the first time through the vocals are not recorded. Then the singers can go back and put in the vocals and harmonies and any overdubbed instruments can be added.

    I don't like recording one track at a time to a click track. That gives you a sterile recording.

    When I play bass I play off of the vocals and I like to hear the drummer and guitar because I play off of them as well. There are a lot of nuisances and fills that happen when I hear what the other musicians are playing. This does not happen as much when you play to click tracks.
  14. AuntieBeeb


    Dec 12, 2010
    To be honest, in all the recordings I've done, I've never been overly enamoured with the way the engineer has made my bass sound. This is partly because a lot of these recordings were just one-off sessions - I turned up, plugged in and as long as the guys were happy with what I'd played, my job was done.

    On one of the recordings that I did care about, I hate what they did to the bass: http://cherrywhite.bandcamp.com/ - it's there, but it's buried, compressed to buggery, lowpassed and I think they probably scooped the mids as well. Long story short, I wasn't there for the mixing sessions and our guitarist didn't feel he knew enough about bass to argue with the engineer.

    Fortunately, for the next album, we're off to talk to a different studio tonight. This time, the plan is to record with a "live" setup, and hopefully have a miked bass amp so we've got more options to play with than just a crap DI!

    Edit: e.g., so the first track would have ideally sounded a bit more like this:
  15. If you like the way the bass sounds on the recordings, maybe consider adding EQ shifts to your live to sound to better match the recordings?
  16. I percieve my tone diferent when I play it and when it´s played back. But that happens with vocals too.
  17. Devo-lution


    Jun 24, 2009
    My amp doesn't allow for much tweaking and I'm more into adjusting my sound by means of technique. For example, on the dubby parts I pluck the strings above the fretboard etc...

    That said, I think it's hard to really hear your own sound. Every room sounds different and even the difference between playing with or without ear plugs is huge (and I have musician's earplugs).
  18. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Definitely. On the first EP I ever recorded, the sound was far more round and bass-heavy than my live sound -- which is more hi-fi with a bump in mids. However, it sounds good in the EP's mix and I've gotten compliments from other bassists, so all's well.
  19. Sounds to me like a compressor. They can have that effect sometimes. I loved my bass tone recorded and that's what made me buy the Ernie Ball Stingray I recorded it with from the producer.

    My drummer, on the other hand, didn't like his tom sound. He didn't say anything during the mixing and afterwards we didn't have enough time to fix it.

    Also consider that you're just hearing it in a very controlled environment and you may not get the chance to hear it very well live. I know very few bassists who get the same live and recorded tones, including Justin Chancellor and Johnny Christ, who have some of my favorite tones recorded and both let me down live.
  20. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    Before you think about your sound think about your parts. Have an objective listen to the bits you're playing and decide whether the tone your engineer has dialed in is designed to work with the parts or not

    If the music is really crowded and the bass licks are not super complex then it's really easy to melt the bass into the lower range and let it play a supporting role. If your parts and the composition on a whole is being complimented by the tone you have then it's probably a good tone for the tune, regardless of whether it sounds like 'you' or not.

    Our first mix came back and I didn't like it because of the opposite reason. In my band I don't have a lot of complex parts, and while it's a AAA standard record I didn't like the round mid, present, overdriven sound I was given because it, in my opinion, detracted from my role in this band which is essentially to pummel the chest of the listener and lift out the guitars. I didn't need a highly defined tone in this instance.

    If you have 3 guitarists they're going to be using up most of the available midrange frequencies so you're probably missing a bit of yourself in there. If it doesn't work though and your parts and song are being detracted from then you need to change the tone. That's what I did; because if your producer gets the wrong impression of you you need to make the call because he's not going to figure it out himself.