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Recording Bass frustration

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by gblueslover1, Dec 24, 2003.

  1. Does any know how to get a real thick deep but yet CLEAR sound when recording Bass on to a recording track. It's done ALL the time by pros, so whats TYPICALLY used ? I know its gonna depend on what type of music I play, but I'd like to know some typical ways of doing it used by Rock, Jazz, and blues artists.

    In my arsenal, I have :

    Yamaha Aw-16 G Recorder
    Yahmaha NE-1 Bass parametric equalizer
    Ampeg Svt-4 ( with Pre amp out for recording)
    Aphex model 204 Arual exiter w/ optical big bottom
    BBE 882i and BBE482 signal processers
    Carvin Bunny Brunell Bass guitar
    Modulus Sonic Hammer Bass guitar

    Presently, I get "good" recoring results, but really, I would just like to know here if I'm missing something. It seems when I try to get a deeper sound its gets distorted. I dunno, is it my recorder's capability ? It's only a 16 bit recorder, so whats up with all this ? What the heck am I missing ? E mail me if you could with your responses.

    Thanks !
  2. Recording Direct input (DI)

    The easiest way to record bass is by going direct from the amp into the board. This method will give you a natural tone with equalization flexibility. There are no speakers or microphones to alter the sound of the guitar. The only drawback of direct recording is that the sound may lack midrange clarity. In this case it is better to boost the mids on the amp instead of on the mixer since the amp's tone controls are more suited for bass guitar.

    You can also try taking a direct out from the Bass( I use a countrymen) to the mixer. This will give you a warmer sound with more low-end. However, I find that getting a signal direct from the bass amp will give me a cleaner sound and will punch through the mix.

    You may need a bit of compression for the bass guitar. Start with a 3:1 ratio and lower the threshold until there is almost always gain reduction. This will insure that the loudest parts of the signal will be affected and the quietest parts won't, which will keep your signals a few decibels hotter and preserve some dynamics. I then increase the ratio until I get between 3 and 6 decibels of gain reduction. The attack should be fast enough to catch peaks but not so fast that it cuts down the attack (depending on pick or finger style technique). The release should be fast enough to let go of the signal before the next note can cross the threshold. However, if your release is too fast, you'll either hear the compression or you'll hear the bass signal distort. I usually start with a 10 ms attack and a 250 ms release.


    Another method for recording the bass is by micing the amplifier. When the bass player gets his sound, place a microphone(D122, 421, or an sm57) four inches from the grill of his/her speaker cabinet. Aim it where the dust cap meets the speaker cone. If the sound coming from the mic isn't what you want, try moving the mic. Moving it closer to the center of the speaker will give you a brighter sound. Moving it closer to the edge will give you a duller sound. Either way, try to avoid using EQ. Compression can also help with the tone. (I love the LA2A for bass).


    Direct recording can lack midrange punch and using a microphone can lack low-end depth. So, another method of recording bass would be the combination of both direct and miced sounds. Simply split the signal after the bass and send one signal to the amp and one signal to the mixing board. This will give you the best of both worlds - the midrange punch of a miced signal and the low-end boom of a direct sound. Use the miced sound as your main sound and blend in the direct signal for low end. Try compressing the blended signals to help to further smooth out the bass sound.

    Please let me know if you have any more questions, I'll be happy to help!



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