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Marcus Miller

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by tyjacks, Nov 25, 2004.


  1. tyjacks

    tyjacks Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    Memphis, TN.
    Anyone know what, if any type of effect M2 uses on his recordings, after listening closely there appears to be some extra sustain in his slap/pluck sound in POWER.
     
  2. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    MM uses some compression and hard limiting on most of his slapped bass tracks on his solo albums, and always did when he was more of a "gun for hire".

    Since slap has such a wide dynamic range and is so forceful and forward, the limiting is used to keep the levels from going above a preset point. It smoothes everything out a little, gives a slick and professional sound and makes it easier to mix. It's especially useful when the bass takes the lead voice role in a tune.

    This applies to a lead style line as in "Power" or standard low bass tracks.
     
  3. tyjacks

    tyjacks Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    Memphis, TN.
    Thanks, for the info. Do you know what compression device he uses?
     
  4. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    As a long-time NYC studio man before he struck out as a solo act, MM probably used whatever was in the studios. It's too cold, crowded, and expensive to cart gear around in town. These units are the expensive, rack-mounted broadcast quality units like the Urei 1176 or the Telefunken LA-2. Also popular was the dbx 160, which he used live back in the day as well.

    I saw him live a few years ago and he was using a Empirical Labs Distressor. Also expensive:


    http://www.samedaymusic.com/product--EMPEL8XDIST

    The good news is that there's a ton of affordable pedals out there that can cop this. Whatever they call the Boss limiter now is good, as is the SansAmp Bass Compactor. Even the stock compression plugins in Acid 4.0 do a good job of duplicating that sound.
     
  5. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I use the Boss unit full-time (never turn it off). It works quite well.

    One thing with using very much compression (not so much the case with just peak-limiting) is that it brings up the finger, fret and open string noise between notes - you have to use good muting technique. I almost always use at least a little 'mini scrunchy' up next to the nut, even when using some open strings in a song, but I compress pretty heavily. It's pretty much a 'wall of sound'; even with tapped and stopped harmonics, and fretboard-hammered notes.

    I'd like to put a nice, fully-adjustable rackmount compressor in the insert loop when I'm able, but I'm amazed at how well this little four-knobber Boss pedal works.

    Joe
     
  6. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    Marcus Miller not only uses compression and limiting, he also uses chorus, reverb, and occasionally some distortion or octave. On tour he brings all the EBS pedals along, though he may only use two or three.

    Bear in mind he uses an EBS TD650 Head, which is equipped with its own limiter and compressor.
     
  7. Luciano_Bass

    Luciano_Bass Guest

    Nov 6, 2004
    Glasgow
    Does Miller ever play a 6 string?

    I'm curious because I'm really having to fine tune my compressor to get slap accorss the whole neck to sound even as there is such a variation in sound.

    Cheers
     
  8. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    He played a Modulus 6 string fretless on a cut on his "Tales" CD, but I don't hear much compression on it. MM usually sticks to the four string Jazz Bass for slap style.

    I'd look to what Alain Caron uses as far as effects gear for slapping a 6 string. Given his command of the instrument and the nuance involved, I'd bet he uses little to no compression.

    This isn't to say MM isn't less than stellar, but a J-Bass is usually very agressive and dynamic in the mix, more so than a non-Fender custom axe. This type of sound usually calls for some pull on the leash from a compressor.
     
  9. Luciano_Bass

    Luciano_Bass Guest

    Nov 6, 2004
    Glasgow
    If you go to the Roland/Boass website, and check out the Roland V-Bass (I think that's the one), there's a video of alain caron playing live it's a totaly beast u should check it.

    It's a total machine of a pedal.

    Piece
     
  10. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    I don't agree with your take on compression (so you must die :spit: ). But I know for a fact that Marcus Miller uses compression even when he is not slapping. You can hear it especially well on the slower tracks on "The Sun Don't Lie" (like "Moons"). When I saw him live, he didn't mess with his pedals the whole show, I believe he just used one setting the whole time, and he did everything from "Run for Cover" to "Ethiopia."

    Being more skilled does not decress the necessity (or lack thereof depending on who you talk to) for compression. Especially if you're playing a six string. To me, compression makes slap sound better with all players, all the time, in virtually any scenario. The amount of compression will change from player to player, but this has nothing to do with ability, it is simply a stylistic matter. Some players like that ultra compressed and limited sound (the most extreme example that comes to mind is Flea on Mother's Milk), some players like a "standard" amount (like MM), and some like little to none (like Bootzy Collins). Compression is just an effect like any other.

    Also, when I saw MM live, if my memory serves me correctly, he had a six string fretted Ken Smith, that he never touched the entire show.
     
  11. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Thanks for the 411, I guess.