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question regarding the bass tone during recording

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by clashbonez, May 4, 2003.

  1. clashbonez


    May 4, 2003
    hey there guys, i'm kinda confused regarding the bass tone during recording.
    Just got back from a recording session and i'm not really happy with what happened. i went to the studio, set up my bass and bass pod and got the tone that i wanted but the engineer said that it was too boomy and the tone wasn't there so what he did was to turn all the eq knobs on my bass to full and also fiddled with my bass pod till i ended with a iron maiden kind of tone. the "clangy" tone as i call it. i hated it. but it was my first time and the engineer said that we could eq it during mixing to get rid of the "clangy" sound. so i was just wondering do u record with the tone that u want or do u guys eq it later during mixing to get the tone that u want?
    I also read the older threads mentioning about going in with a flat signal. so what is a flat signal and how do u go about getting such a signal?

    sorry if this has been asked before, it's my first time recording and any help would be appreciated.
  2. int


    Jan 21, 2002
    Phoenix, AZ
    Anytime an engineer says "we'll fix it in the mix" I cringe. If it sounds like crap when you listen back then it will sound like fixed crap when it's "fixed." Crap either way.

    So how does it sound when you play it back?

    Remember, you're paying the engineer to work for you, not the other way around. So if you don't like it, don't buy it.

    When I'm playing I get the sound I want, then let the engineer do slight modifications. Then we record a take and I listen back and input as necessary.

    When I'm engineering I let the player get his sound and then make my mods. Usually I roll the lows off a little (as the mic and the DI pick up enough). Basically I try to leave the EQ as flat as possible (on the bass, amp, and then the board) and then compress it enough to tame any peaks that arise.

    Flat means setting your EQ to the neutral position. For instance, my bass has an EQ knob on it that boosts the lows. If I set it at 12 o'clock it is essentially "off", or flat - it has no effect on the sound in that position. Turning it either way adds or subtracts the lows accordingly - not flat.

    Ever see a graphic EQ? Maybe in a car or home stereo setup? Basically, you have a rectagular box with vertical sliders on it. Moving the far left slider up adds some really deep lows to the sound, and moving the right slider adds some really high highs. Everything in the middle corresponds to the "graphical" tone - the left does lows, then the middle does mids, and the right does highs - every slider has it's own frequency set to it.

    For now, flatten out your EQ, have the engineer mic or DI you (or both, as I prefer), and play. Then listen. What don't you like? Can your amp knobs fix it? If you need to turn them, so it ever so slightly, just enough to remove the problem. Communicate with the guy and you should end up finding something you at least like, if not love.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The bass track when heard by itself should sound too trebly. Once mixed, the other instruments cover up the bass quite a bit and suddenly that "clanky" track sounds just right.

    When I record I just DI; if the bass is passive I run volume and tone wide open, if active EQ I set it flat. This works fine every time. Even if you want a different kind of tone, it's always a good place to start from.
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I'd go with flat. In fact, I'd probably just use my Countryman straight to the board to make sure it's flat. EQ the bass flat too. The reason I say this is that I've added bottom at the SansAmp, and it indeed came out too boomy in the mix. It just mushes things up and gets lost. You CAN add some bottom at mixdown, if necessary. But like the others said, you can't fix bad EQ in the mix. So go flat.

    Also, at mixdown, listen to your mix through several types of speakers ... big ones, small ones, headphones, and cut a preliminary CD so you can play it in your car. If you use, say, just small studio monitors at mixdown, you're likely to add a lot of bottom to get the response out of them. Then, when you play the mix through some real speakers or a system with subwoofers, it's all bass.

    Anyway, good luck, man. Have fun.
  5. Definitely go as flat as possible into the board, and let the engineer play with it. I only record direct for that reason.
  6. clashbonez


    May 4, 2003
    I guess the way to go is flat
    i'm gonna do that during the next recording.

    Thanks for all the help guys