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Record my Jbass passive vs. active

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by mambo4, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I will be recording and EP with my band soon, and I'm wondering if I should record my usual live/active tone or try to record more Flat/Passive.
    My axe is a very nice Mike Lull MV4 (boutique Jazz Bass- fretted- with great active EQ) and TI Jazz flats.
    I will record direct using my GenzBenz GBE head's DI.

    I really love the tone of my bass with my Active settings cranked: I usually max the bass and set the treble at 3/4 full up, leaving my amp pretty much flat.

    I confess I am not a big fan of the flat EQ, passive jazz bass tone, but I know this: it cuts in the mix very,very well. Even tho I somewhat dislike the tone, I DO like the idea of being heard clearly.

    Last detail:the ensemble is Vox, guitar, Drums, keys and violin.

    what would you recommend?
  2. Well, you should really record your bass flat, it's easy to eq and remove frequencies out of a recorded track to make the sound fit the song more but when you try to boost a frenquency that was cut before, it sounds unatural.

    Once your bass is recorded there is no rule that says that it shouldn't be touched ever again.
  3. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA

    I learned that the hard way, years ago. I had my bass all set up to sound just the way I liked it - and it completely faded in the mix. Way too scooped (yes, we've had that discussion here before!) - the lesson I learned is to record DEAD FLAT - that way you can remove any spectra you don't like late - - but adding spectra - lows, mids, highs - never sounds as good.
  4. i find is a bass line is recorded with too much treble to begin with you can often get too much of the string noise and it can stand out too much and be hard to remove.
    best roll off some of the treble and eq later with more ephasis on the higher mids perhaps?
  5. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    When I do recordings, I try to keep it flat coming out of the guitar or bass, record the DI, and have the player adjust the amp EQ to however they feel it sounds the best. It usually makes them play a lot better and I have two signals to mess with when I'm done.

    I'd suggest doing one active and one passive 'keeper' take per song.
  6. lowendgenerator


    Mar 26, 2006
    Indeed, flat recording works. I like to bump the bass and midrange a little bit, but that can be done in the mix. Once you put it to tape, or disc, it's there for good.
  7. depalm


    Apr 22, 2004
    São Paulo
    I always record in two channels one DI, flat, no EQ etc... and another one with form my amp and cab, mic, EQ, compression etc...
    Many times I use to re-amp the DI signal on the mix.
  8. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Recording is all about getting a good performance and solid even signal on tape. In fact recording on the bright side is good. Boosting bottom doesn't add noise and sounds natural. Boosting highs adds noise so recording bright for clean note and roll off highs as necessary helps eliminate noise.

    Practice playing even noob's don't realize how all over the place their level is, be able to control your dynamics. Engineer should be using Compression for effect not for corrective reasons. Work on you time and performance they are the most critical aspects of recording. No engineer can fix a bad soul-less performance. Bad time can be fixed, but if it has to be fixed too much it starts sounding stiff. You and your drummer should be practicing with a click. Again having to fix time too much doesn't sound good.

    So to get ready to record practice with an ultra clean amp with headphones. Hear all the noise your fingering and playing make and try to eliminate it. Listen to the balance between strings. Is your bass noisy, are your cables good. If you are planing to use your amp how quiet is it, your cabinet have rattles?

    As you can see the tone isn't high on the list of recording priorities. In fact a big fat tone can work against you. In recording the different the tracks have to cover the range of frequencies. So a big fat bass with a big fat kick drum, and any other low end instruments will sum together for a big fat mess. That why you hear people talking about great basses they cut thru in the mix.
  9. js1


    Oct 1, 2006
    Have the same MV4 bass, though I have DR rounds on it, and the TI flats are still in the package. Best recording bass I've ever owned.

    Active/passive from that bass - both are good.

    DON'T record it with the active bass cranked, especially if you're going in direct. That's a huge bass boost and it won't blend nor sit with the other instruments. And the compressor won't like it.

    The thing about a Jazz bass recorded flat is that it may sound bland on its own, but sounds great in the track and takes EQ like nobody's business. You can give it weight while leaving room for other instruments. That's why it's used so often in recordings.

    Better still is to use an amp or combination of amp/direct (phase aligned). Rather than use the amp DI, why not stick a mic on the speaker?


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