recording direct with bow = GAH!

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by SirFunk, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. SirFunk


    May 24, 2001
    Lincoln, NE

    I just recently tried recording my bass with a bow again, direct. I haven't tried this in a while. I recall last time it didn't go so well... and it didn't this time either. I don't really know what the problem is. Here's my setup.

    Revolution Solo pickup -> EA iAmp 500 head (direct out) -> PreSonus Fire Station -> Cubase SX 3

    Everything else i record through this setup sounds FINE. pizz upright, electric, sounds great. However with the bow.. it's hard to explain. It sounds like the a completely oversimplified sound wave. Like a really bad sine wave or something. Come to think of it, i really can't explain it, I'll attach a quick recording in a few minutes.

    Any ideas what might be causing this? I really would love to be able to record my bass direct for quick recordings and critiquing of my playing and such.
  2. Well...are you using an e-bow? :p

    Seriously, piezos don't generally produce a good sound when playing with a bow. You can get a sound that is good enough for live situations, but using only piezo for recording is usually very problematic.
  3. Hi SirFunk,
    Have you tried to record with a mic instead of the RS?
    You could be able to compare the sound results and see if it is the piezo source that causes this problem.
  4. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Pizz and arco usually need different levels/EQ to sound best. I sometimes kick in a SansAmp BassDriverDI pedal to match the level and cut the scratchiness when playing arco. Something like a Boss Graphic EQ pedal would do the trick, too. Not as classy as using a mic but should work for quick recordings.

    Also, with the Rev Solo pickup I've found that (on my bass) I prefer the pizz tone with the "R" up and the arco with the "R" down. The down position has a better pizz/arco volume match to my ears, but the pizz sound is a little hollower on my bass. Might try flipping the pickup to see what happens.
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    "GAH" about covers it. If I may ask, why are you recording direct in the first place? The only reason I can think of not to use a mic is bleed and/or feedback, but for recording solo neither of these things should be an issue. There are some amazingly cheap but still decent mics and preamps on the market these days, and then you'd be getting the real sound of your bass without all of the frustration of that nasty piezo honk.
  6. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    In the liner notes for Wynton Marsalis' "Joe Cool's Blues" album, it says something like:

    "To get more of the wood sound of the bass, this album was recorded without the use of the dreaded bass direct."

    I had to laugh at that but of course it's totally true and the bass sounds (Ben Wolfe and Reginald Veal in different racks) are absolutely wonderful.

    Direct with a piezo for live pizz is one thing but for studio arco is makes no sense at all. Use a decent mic (you can get some ridiculously good condensers for not much money nowadays). Additionally, I can't work out at why you're using the EA head in this scenario. I don't know the specifics of the Revolution Solo but the instrument impedance of the FireStation is 2 MOhm and I'm willing to bet you could plug the pickup straight into it. But of course a mic would be much better, especially for arco.
  7. SirFunk


    May 24, 2001
    Lincoln, NE

    I managed to get the sound a bit better. I think the problem i was having had to do with my DI putting out too strong of a signal or something. I know that with a mic is the best way. I was hoping direct would be ok for a quick recording to be used for critiquing your practice or something. However, even since i got it better it's too "cold" it's almost hard to listen to.

    I guess i need to borrow a mic from my dad for a while.

    Thanks for your feedback.