MM Bongo signal too hot into Scarlett 2i2 3rd gen

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Nicholas Smith, Feb 7, 2021.


  1. Nicholas Smith

    Nicholas Smith

    Apr 10, 2019
    Hello again,

    For years I recorded my MM Stingray into a Roland Quad Capture with few worries about the signal causing clipping...

    Now I have a MM Bongo and a Scarlett 2i2 3rd gen and the signal is so hot I can barely turn the bass volume dial up beyond 30%, not to speak of having the input gain also very low on the Scarlett.

    Having played live many times, I could easily turn the bass vol to Max and use the EQ’s and amp settings to create a gorgeous tone.

    Recording direct into the interface means I am not able to give the 100% bass tone I’d love to hear / share when making demos.

    Should I invest in something like a Sans Amp? If I do, that will not allow for the Bongo to shine through as a clean unaltered sound.

    The Bongo is an active 18v machine so maybe it’s just too hot for an audio interface?

    Should I consider a different interface?
    Any ideas / experience would be amazing as it’s sad that I have to keep the Bongo vol signal so low...
     
  2. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Should be a trim pot inside the bass controlling the output gain. Turn it down.
     
    seamonkey likes this.
  3. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    It’s an active bass. Turning it down has zero tone implications. If it’s too hot just turn it down.
     
  4. Nicholas Smith

    Nicholas Smith

    Apr 10, 2019
    Makes sense! Thank you!
     
  5. Lovep

    Lovep

    Mar 17, 2011
    Indianapolis, IN
    Sounds like you either need another interface with more dynamic range or put a DI box in the chain with a -15db pad.
     
  6. Nicholas Smith

    Nicholas Smith

    Apr 10, 2019
    Could you recommend a pad?
     
  7. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Why bother with a pad when you’re using an active bass with a volume control? Keep it simple and just turn down.
     
    JKos likes this.
  8. Nicholas Smith

    Nicholas Smith

    Apr 10, 2019
    Yes, but the signal is so damn hot. Would be nice to turn up the Scarlett a bit. Not used to keeping the gain so low. Used to having the bass vol at maximum...
     
  9. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Again, if the signal is hot just make it less so by using the onboard controls already present in your bass, which is active so it can be turned up or down without any tone implications. The Scarlett is also quite linear from -INF up to 0dbfs provided there’s no intersample clipping. Having its preamp gain higher or lower won’t make a perceptible difference.
     
  10. Nicholas Smith

    Nicholas Smith

    Apr 10, 2019
    Alright. Would you then discount the need for a preamp of any kind? Are there any out there that would benefit the Bongo at all? Managing frequencies?
     
  11. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    An external preamp would be fine if you wanted the additional tone color, saturation, dynamic range limiting, or other elements that various preamps can provide. If that’s what you’re after then by all means. There are tons of cool options, all of which will do something, for better or worse, to your Bongo.

    If you’re looking for one to solve your gain issue it will just be needlessly throwing money at a problem that can be solved with the existing gear you already own and fewer components/connections.
     
    DrMole, AGCurry and JKos like this.
  12. Nicholas Smith

    Nicholas Smith

    Apr 10, 2019
    Well, with my other bass, I used a MarkBass Compressore. Would love a superior compression pedal (compact size but extremely powerful)...
     
  13. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    The first thing to figure out with compressors is what kind of circuit you like. The various types (FET, VCA, opto, vari-mu, etc.) all have different characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. Once you've got that figured out there are many options available of every variety.
     
  14. Nicholas Smith

    Nicholas Smith

    Apr 10, 2019
    If only I had your knowledge.

    I’ve been using a MarkBass Compressore for a year or more. But I don’t have it with me due to Covid. It’s a tube compressor. I like it fine. Have no other comparisons. StudioBass sounds good.

    What we circuit it is, as long as it can squash the hell of my signal, I’m open to any circuit...
     
  15. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Too many years of nerd'ing for my own good :p

    There are very few true tube compressors. Most just use the tube as a gain stage and maybe for some color/saturation. I don't know for certain, but the fattening of the Compressore makes me think that it's an opto compressor, but I don't know for certain. I don't see any references to an optical element on the product page or in the write-up on Ovnilab, so I'm probably wrong about that.

    If you're going for heavy squash you might consider a compressor with a dry bend, also known as parallel compression. With this you can heavily squash things and also blend in some dry signal in parallel to preserve some of your transients which is usually where all of the cool "stuff" in a bass signal happens to live.
     
  16. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Does your model of Scarlett have the input pad (attenuation) control (-10dB)? If so, engage that and see if that tames the signal from the Bongo. This is separate from the input gain control.
     
  17. Lovep

    Lovep

    Mar 17, 2011
    Indianapolis, IN
    I don't have a recommendation since I have just started the "recording journey" myself. I have used several DIs that I like, including the Telefunken TDA1. It has a -15db pad. There is some coloration of your tone with this DI, but I think it sounds really good.

    My new toy, a UA Solo 610 is on its way to me. I hope this will be my main DI for home recording.
     
  18. Nicholas Smith

    Nicholas Smith

    Apr 10, 2019
    Sadly, no pad...mine is the 3rd gen. 2i4 has that feature.
     
    DirtDog likes this.
  19. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
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