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Recording an active bass in Garageband

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by SuperSnake2012, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. SuperSnake2012

    SuperSnake2012 floppy b strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    Bronx, NY
    Whenever I record with my active bass on my Macbook, it seems that the active bass overloads the input and my bass usually comes out pretty distorted. Most of the time I'll just record with my passive Fender, my but my five string is active. What is the best way to record with an active bass?

    I usually go in direct with my bass, sometimes I use an amp I have as a preamp, and use the line out from it.
  2. stranger0


    May 10, 2007
    What are you plugging your bass into? (Interface)

    I'm just starting my research to look for a lil mobile recording rig and I have an active bass so this comes as something I need to check into. On my PC I just use a small little M-Audio box and acid and don't have any problems distorting my sound but that being said, my volume on the amp is NOT cranked at all since you are pumping that much power.

    What I did notice a little while ago is that my PC was distorting my sound so after a reboot, it worked fine.
  3. Get a good pedal compressor
  4. !Rob!


    Mar 2, 2007
    I would suggest looking into an audio interface with a padded input, like the Toneport UX2, works great for me.
  5. stingray69

    stingray69 Talkbass Legit

    Aug 11, 2004
    St Louis Area
    Go into Control Panel>Sounds...check your Windows Mixer levels, it may be running a little too high to handle such a hot input.
  6. lowerclef


    Nov 10, 2003
    Control Panel? No, that's Windows. GarageBand is Mac only.

    Double-click on the bass track, and you'll get a pop-up window with the track settings. That volume slider between the input and monitor settings is your input volume, which you need to turn down. You can also go into System Preferences (the logo with the apple and the light switch). Select Sound, then Input. Line In will already be selected, and you can check your bass level and adjust accordingly.

    BTW, you can easily get great sounds on GarageBand just by plugging in direct. If you do vocals though, you'll need an interface to boost the mic signal. But once your input level is correct, you should be all set.
  7. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    +1 here.
    And it's a great live recording tool as well.
  8. pseudo7


    May 6, 2007
    System pref --> sound --> lower the input level, though i think you can edit the levels in garageband.

    Not that i know anything about recording, i use a stealth plug.
  9. bluestarbass


    Jul 31, 2007
    active basses almost always distort with an onboard soundcard. An outboard soundcard is the quickest way to fix your problem while bettering your signal chain. Lowering the volume may work, youll have to play with it alot, im a PC user so I cant be of much specific help.
  10. lowerclef


    Nov 10, 2003
    I've done lots of recording on GarageBand with both passive and active basses plugging directly into the computer and getting a great sound with no distortion. I'm not saying to NOT buy an interface - there are great ones out there - but you should at least try adjusting the input volume as described above and seeing if you're happy with the sound first before spending the money on additional equipment.
  11. stingray69

    stingray69 Talkbass Legit

    Aug 11, 2004
    St Louis Area
    Oops, guess I didn't read closely...now where did I put that rock to crawl under for just such occasions?

    Oh...here it is: :bag:
  12. lowerclef


    Nov 10, 2003
  13. how are you plugging in directly? I tried using the toneport ux2 but I had to uninstall that because it was conflicting with my final cut express. So then I went out and bought a washburn/lyon lightsnake usb interface. It fires in garageband and I can see the audio input, but I can't get it to allow me to monitor when I play. You're saying that I can go in direct without even using an usb card? how? by using a 1/4 to a mini and going into the mic in? Also, why won't garageband allow me to monitor my bass live? any thoughts?
  14. I record active bass tracks all the time in GB by running directly into my computer(dual 2.5 ghz G5) using the Monster Cable guitar to Mic adapter. I can hear the track as I record it without any problem. I just set my input volume by double clicking the track and setting the input volume level at the bottom of the panel and turning the monitor on. Thats all there is to it..

    If you need any more info let me know..

  15. Gegatso


    Jan 16, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    I'm using the Mbox 2 pro. My Fodera has the 18v active and is just a way hotter signal than all the other active basses I've used (but an equal signal to a Bongo, though). I did my attempt at Amazing Grace using it - can be heard on the myspace link below.
  16. I did it and it worked! Thanks! Interestingly enough there was one supplied with that Lyon/Washburn lightsnake usb sound cable that i bought that never worked. I plugged that in directly as you said and it was great. I'm working on a 17" Powerbook 1.33 ghz single processor on garageband 08. Its working like a charm. For some reason the lightsnake thing kept triggering the feedback protection and was preventing me from monitoring. My question is though, how can I kill the mic even thouhg I'm going through the mic line with my sound? I'm pretty good on macs but this one has me stumped.. And please, please post a pic of your jerzy drozd!


  17. I'm not to familiar with the Powerbooks but I would think that the system prefs holds the answer. As for posting a picture of my Jerzy Drozd I'll go one better and post a picture of my main three babies.

  18. tumba94


    Oct 11, 2006
    I'm not sure what it means to plug your bass in "directly". Are you saying that there is a 1/4 inch to USB cable that converts the signal ? I'm a pro bassist and Garage Band novice and haven't had much success getting a good bass sound using my M Audio interface. Any advice is welcome. I'm going to follow some of the things I've read here but I don't understand what it means to plug my Sadowsky active bass in "directly." I have a 2015 Macbook Pro. Thanks.
  19. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    First, I’d forget about what someone was trying to do 12 years ago!

    Second - what is it that you’re hearing that you don’t like? Too dry? Echo-y? Distorted? Latency?

    What model of m-audio interface are you using?

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