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Recording an instructional, using DI and Pro Tools 8

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by muthagoose, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. muthagoose


    Jan 18, 2004
    I'm looking to record a few instructional videos with just a bass track, and maybe a click track. I know the very basics of recording, but I am still very new to it, and the guides I've found for mixing bass mostly cover a band setting.

    What are some basic plug-ins and settings you would recommend to get a clear sound? Are there any do's and don'ts I should keep in mind?

  2. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    Start with no plugins and all the knobs "neutral" on your bass. Use a good DI and plug your bass into it and run it into your computer. How does it sound? If it's good, you might be done. If it's not you have to adjust things based on what it sounds like and what you want it to sound like. Other than possibly rolling off some of the very low and very high frequencies (below around 40 hz and above around 10k) there's nothing that is likely to make it sound better without evaluating how it sounds at first.
  3. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    I totally agree with And I. And I agree, today's latest interfaces and DAWs have a lot of power and a lot better clear sound quality and volume overhead than those say 5 to 10 years ago.

    With that said, that is the reason you really don't need to use a lot of plug ins to mix. One thing that can help you learn and tune your ears for mixing is a good set of transparent studio headphones. Or monitors in a 1/2 decent acoustic set up room. And learning what frequency values are for bass, guitar, drums, vocals, and other instruments. This will help you churn out mixes easier and faster. Once you've trained your ears to hear and know frequencies, you can be creative and get into adding in effects, and playing around with adding bus channels and side-chain effects, plug-ins, and automation. Remember the MIXING is the final step in getting the right sound, or the sound right.
  4. muthagoose


    Jan 18, 2004
    I hadn't considered the need for a DI box. I've just been plugging my bass directly into the DI-slot on my M-box, and after doing some reading, might explain why my bass sounds kind of weak and flat. Thanks!

    That's good to know, thanks!
  5. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I strongly agree with your first two points, but disagree with your third. 0dbfs today is the same as it was 5 to 10 years ago.

    The input of your M-Box is a DI. It converts a high-z input signal to a low-z output to feed your preamps and converters. If your bass sounds "king of weak and flat" the M-Box isn't the problem. You might see some minor tonal change (read: not necessarily an improvement) by using a higher end DI box, but it's not going to be night and day.

    As to your original question: Outside of the excellent advise you've already received from @And I and @Badwater I would suggest a very specific EQ primer. Once you've removed the unwanted "stuff" (too deep lows, and too extended highs) you should zero in on the upper midrange. Use a spectrum analyzer to correlate what your ears are hearing. Bass in a mix needs more upper midrange than most people typically think if you want it to sound present and detailed. Bass on its own doesn't have to fight through guitars, cymbals, drum attack, vocals, etc. and as such can get away with less going on in the upper midrange. If you find things sounding overly aggressive, excessive amounts of string/finger noise, ganky, clanky, etc. you can use a narrow Q cut in the upper midrange to make things more pleasant in this solo context.
  6. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    All great points. Some might be less relevant than others given the intent of recording solo bass tracks, but nonetheless all of these ideas are good to have in the toolbox. You might choose to EQ bass "wrong" when it's the only instrument.

    IMO the key to instructional videos is production quality. Great tone along with good lighting, editing, camera position, etc., along with being able to deliver information in a clear, simple, and logical manner. If you don't sound good, who will want to sound like you?

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