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recording bass to 2" tape- what bass to play?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jchikhale, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. jchikhale


    Feb 25, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have beenin the studio recording tracks for my band's first full length album and have had the problem of my Warwick Streamer Stage II hitting too hard in the mix.. the only solution i have is using another bass- I was hooked up with a Fender American Deluxe V which i will use in the trouble parts where my Warwick makes the drums sound weak and thin- dispite the fact that on their own they found huge. anyone had similar experiences in the studio?
  2. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    A fender pbass works great, and has worked great since the 50's.
  3. A p-bass may do very nicely.

    Some kind of bass that was around when 2" recording was the sh**
  4. jchikhale


    Feb 25, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    ok. i knew i'd get answers like that. thanks. dont you have a voice though?- a voice which your bass allows you to speak with? no fender will ever ramain tight at the lower 5th string frets. ever. i just am loooking for some advice on working with what i have
  5. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    My fender p stays tight at the lower 5th fret. Are you going DI that works best for some.
  6. jwl


    Jan 25, 2005
    the problem may not be the bass or the fact you are recording to 2". you have a quality bass. an experienced engineer should be able to get a sound out of it knowing that your warwick is the only axe you have. i have recorded to 2" with zons and alembics which are active basses that can have strong sonic personalties not unlike your warwick. i had no problem but i made the engineer aware of what i wanted in a diplomatic way. on the other hand, i switched to fender four string passive basses several years ago. bigger sound imo. sits better in any mix-fact. peace, jeff
  7. If the Warwick is your sound, and you feel that sound works for your band, then the problem is not your bass, and it's not the 2" medium. You need a better, or at least a more accommodating or inventive, engineer. The engineer's job is not to make everybody sound like some idealized P-bass sound he has in his head (or hers, of course). The job is to make the client's sound work.

    As if no one ever got a workable recorded sound from a Warwick....
  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I would think a studio with 2" analog tape would have house basses. Try their basses if they have one to offer.
  9. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I agree completly with Richard.

    I'd suggest panning toward the neck pickup on the SSII as a starting point, then working with EQ to get you out of the way of the kick. Whats the rest of the signal chain? I hope you're using a mic'ed amp and not relying on only a direct signal.

    If somebody else is paying you on this date, then use whatever they tell you to use. If its your record and your bill, then the engineer needs to work to capture the tone in your head.
  10. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    +1. This shouldn't even be an issue. Bad engineer, no biscuit.
  11. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    You can also try using a "side chain" compressor to make your bass "duck" under the kick.
  12. I'm in the midst of recording on to 2" tape. I tried 5 basses (Reverend Rumblefish, P-Bass clone, fretless MIJ Jazz, Hamer 2-Tek CruiseBass, old Silvertone / Danelectro double cutaway) running into an Avalon DI. The Hamer, a passive J-style bass with Duncan single coils, sounded best of the basses I tried. I have both pickups wide open and the tone control about 2/3 of the way up. So far, it sounds good without overpowering everything else. Frankly, I think your engineer is the problem, not your bass
  13. Coop Soup

    Coop Soup

    Aug 24, 2005
    Sounds to me like an EQing issue. It's amazing how bass and/or drums can kill each other without proper eq settings. I was nearly non-existant on my old band's last EP. I was unable to attend the final mix... damn drummer wrecked it for me. :)
  14. Sounds like the engineer is an idiot....

    You should try giving him a little signal compression from your side of the glass... YOU need to control your sound.

    Too many engineers automatically patch in a compressor on the bass signal channel without EVER re-adjusting it from player to player or session to session.

    I've done studio work for so long, I make them eliminate the compressor in the booth and I usually record without it.

    But when I do use one, I use an old ART Levelar (they sound a lot like an LA2A) between my bass and my Demeter when going direct with just a small amout of compression to eliminate the peaks. I control it from my end of the signal chain.

    Use your neck pickup and a pick. It will give you a fat sound, the attack will set well with the bass drum..

    Even better, ff you can find a set, flatwounds record great becuase they provide excellent fundamental sound with controlled overtones. They really punch and sound huge on tape.

    When tracking, don't go overboard with your EQ.. it is impossible to remove excess eq in the mix down process.

    Solid mids are your best friend when tracking, they will give your sound point and definition. You can always add more lows in:bassist: mix down. If you add too much low end when tracking, your sound gets tubby and lost in the mix.

    Good luck.
  15. BassFelt


    Mar 26, 2002
    It's easy for us here be solidary bassists and blame the engineer, but on the other hand: he is probably more experienced than you, and we don't know what signal you give him. We just don't know either way.

    The fact that the bass sounds fine to you by itself doesn't automatically mean that it's the best sound for the mix.

    If the Warwick is active, try not to overdo the bass boost.

    Personally I'm not too keen on Warwicks, and yes, in my experience too, Fenders work great for recording.
  16. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Understatement. Want a perfect recorded tone? Plug a passive Fender Jazz or Precision bass through a direct box. Instant perfect sound.
  17. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    If the engineer can't get the sound on tape, it's on him. If it's not there to start, it's on you.

    Not for noting but, who's idea was it to dumb down the bass track so the drums would sound better? All that will get you is bad bass AND bad drums.

    If I had to opine from 3,000 miles away I would say that the only thing weak and thin is your engineers ability.
  18. Well, that's not really instant perfect sound in any overarching general sense. Perfect for you, maybe. Perfect for somebody else, maybe. Perfect for everybody, no. I've been there and done it, and it's certainly not perfect for me. You can't really say it's perfect for our OP either.

    That's like saying: Want a perfect car? Buy a Honda Odyssey! Sure, it's a perfectly fine vehicle, but it's certainly not the perfect vehicle for everybody. For some, it would be exactly the wrong vehicle.
  19. The engineer is not always right. I've been around a fair number of them, and as in any field I know of, there are plenty of lazy and/or incompetent and/or closed-minded individuals along with the ones who are undeniably hard-working and skilled and open-minded. IME an engineer who can only get a sound with the one or two pieces of gear he/she is already familiar with has never turned out to be a great engineer to work with. The best ones IME have been the people that work with *your* sound. (This presupposes, of course, that it's your session and that you're hiring the engineer to work for you. As has been said before, if you're the hired gun, you play what you're asked to play.)

    Whether you, or I, or anybody is fond of Warwicks is beside the point. If that's the sound of this bassist in this band, and the band is the client, then the engineer should work to capture that sound. A Fender *doesn't* sound great for recording if that Fender sound isn't what you want to hear.
  20. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I've had situations where I've used a Fender Precision to get instant good sound, and others where I've used something else, then hounded and hounded the engineer until I thought we had the EQ right.

    Both work, and any "option 3" (where you use the bass you like, and when you sit down for playback it already sounds killer) is rare indeed, and indicates you are working with a talented audio engineer. I've found "option 3" guys in the strangest places ... like garages and cheap rehersal spaces doubling as studios. You should hear the tone this one garage guy got from my wierd fretless, my all Peavey rig, and a 1/2" reel to reel. And I never had to say a word.

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