Multi-Amping For Clean/Overdrive Tone Advice

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Wangus67, Jun 16, 2020.

  1. Wangus67

    Wangus67 Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2018
    Skylight, KY
    Hullo All-

    I know there are bushels of threads on this topic, but I just want to ask directly about my set up...
    My instrumental three-piece is heading to the studio tomorrow night, and I AM going to be using two rigs to split the tones. However, I was hoping to see what folks might advise on a few details.
    How I have been running it it as follows:

    Fender P-bass > Morely ABY as the splitter...>>
    Clean tone: Diamond Bass Comp Jr. > Ampeg SVT-II > Ampeg 410HE/15EN
    Overdrive tone: Keeley Bassist Comp > Fulltone OCD (I know, I know...) > Tech 21 VT Bass > Mesa Subway+ DI > Ampeg SVT-7pro > Mesa Subway 210/115.

    The result is mighty huge and ferocious, but it is only in our practice space setting...

    Now, I also have two Bergantino HD112s that I was considering instead of the Mesa cabs, seeing as how I have more that enough thunder from the SVT rig (which I plan on using no matter what). They seem to be punchier for the dirt effects. Eh?

    I know some conventional wisdom states that one should use the big tubes as the dirt and the SS (Class D hybrid) as the clean, but I think the SVT-II (non pro) sound amazing, and since there is no gain knob, I would have to use one of the pedals or earth-quaking volume to get the break up, so... no?

    OR, do I use the Mesa Subway+ with the SVT-II?

    Also, I am having trouble dialing in the OCD v.1.7, in that it really does seem to lose a significant amount of bottom, however, if I am going for the overdrive on this 'channel', does that even matter?

    I understand that its 'whatever sounds best to me', but I have run out of time to mess with all of the combinations at realistic volumes here at home.

    Plus, its just plain fun to see what combos folks might come at me with...

    Well... those are the ingredients, what would your recipe be? What say you!?

  2. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    You might be overthinking it too much as you already seem really stoked with your sound. One of the benefits of running clean and OD through separate amps is the clean amp will retain nice tight lows. So I suggest not worrying too much about losing bottom on the OD side of your rig. In fact you might want to apply an HPF to filter out the extreme lows.

    One potential problem with running a clean and dirty channel is the amount of compression varies between the two channels. Distortion is inherently compressed so you may want to add some compression to your clean channel. This can help the two channels integrate better. Otherwise it may sound like distortion riding on top of a clean signal instead of one composite sound. It appears you may already be doing this.

    Another thing you might try if you are running a heavily distorted sound, try running a very light OD and a bit of compression in your clean channel, while running a heavy distortion in the other channel In order for this to work you need an OD that is full range; I.E. the lows don't wash out.

    If you have an EQ pedal, I suggest experimenting with the EQ before and after the distortion pedal. When you run a full range signal through a distortion pedal the entire frequency range tends to saturate. If you put an EQ before the pedal you can boost the specific frequencies you want to push into saturation, and it tends to create a different tonal quality.
    Seashore and Wangus67 like this.
  3. Wangus67

    Wangus67 Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2018
    Skylight, KY
    Yeah, definitely over-thinking! But its sort of a fun mini puzzle...
    I hear ya on the distortion/compression thing... Good point.
    The Mesa Subway DI has a HPF, so I am considering running that in front of the SVT-II clean channel in a mostly neutral setting.
  4. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I suggest trying the HPF in front of your OD pedal. The idea is to prevent saturation at super low frequencies, that may degrade your tone.
    Wangus67 likes this.
  5. Wangus67

    Wangus67 Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2018
    Skylight, KY
    Oooh yeah... Gonna try it.
    Wasnex likes this.
  6. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    I’d find a way to get a direct signal in there as well, and all sources having their own tracks. That’s a lot of stuff being baked into the cake. It’d be a shame if the best performance of your life also had a sound that did not translate to the final mix. Having the naked track gives the engineer the fallback to reamp and recombine if needed.
    Gearhead17, Wasnex and Wangus67 like this.
  7. Wangus67

    Wangus67 Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2018
    Skylight, KY
    Definitely DigitalMan. We will be recording 'live' in a huge studio room with overheads, baffles, etc... , but will also have mic'd amps/drums, as well as line signals. After that, ProTools can make lots of magic happen, I do declare...
  8. BogeyBass

    BogeyBass Inactive

    Sep 14, 2010
    Depends on what distortion your looking for.
    Far as output tube distortion. It works well for a dynamic distortion.

    With light to med playing it stays relatively clean, and digging in you start to get squish.
    if you want more sustain heavy drive pedals are fine.

    the dynamic of the drive will also change if you try running compression before distortion
    or after distortion.

    far as " clean and dry" mixes.
    they are annoying, for me atleast
    and alot of gimmic pedals where you can " blend" distortion and clean.
    doesnt really do much for me either.
    sounds like a fake distortion floating on top of the clean tone.
    and the dynamic dont match.

    you can use different compression levels to make the distortion and the clean sound correct.
    and make the dynamics mix, but im not going to write a story book in the thread to get distortion to sound right in the studio with dry and wet blends

    far as the studio, just bring a sealed 4x10 and a tube amp and a dirt pedal and call it a day.
    and crank it, you run 3 bass tracks, one clean from the bass, on from the amp DI and one from the amp cabinet.

    this gives you not only back up tracks for later, but also give you the dynamics of the cab in the recording.
    if all else fails you have a clean clean track from the bass DI and you can re amp any track later.
    clean meaning from the bass....that is it no compression.

    i callled it the safety track and anything can be done to it later

    if your getting a good big sound with the current amps and setup, id sugest running it the same as practice, and its more going to be the mics that capture a good blended sound.
    using mics for the cabs its more being picky about the room and finding a good sounding room at the studio if that is a option, and possibly using extra tracks or mics for the cabinets. not really about directly micing each speaker, the room sound or room mic will get most the sound
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
    Wangus67 likes this.
  9. Musings. Sometimes a low wattage small amp can sound way louder when running distortion than my big watt amps running clean bass. Sometimes difficult to balance.
    My saving item was the white Ravens Lab MDB-1 (I think). It has a side chain effects send and return and I could get all the nasty and clean out of the same amp. It's discontinued but someone must make something.
    Wangus67 likes this.
  10. Seashore


    Jun 2, 2019
    I've had the best results running distortion into cleaner channels and using the "warmer/fatter/dirtier" channels for my clean full-range tone. I find that it lets the distortion "bite" a little more without turning into a guitar-like midrangey overdriven sound, which can be great on its own but need too much "sculpting" to sit in the mix.

    You probably don't need to mic up the cleaner side of this setup if you're using a DI; the direct signal should give you everything you need. Doesn't hurt to have the extra track there but if it's a setup/equipment-schlepping/mixing hassle I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    I used a Morley ABY in my parallel setup for quite a while and upgrading to a buffered splitter made a noticeable improvement. Nothing wrong with what you've got, but if they have something like that laying around the studio, I'd take advantage of it.