Recording distorted bass...

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by HamInChains, Jul 2, 2003.

  1. HamInChains

    HamInChains Guest

    Oct 9, 2002
    San Diego, CA
    I apologize in advance if I've posted this in teh wrong forum. I'm sure the moderators will correct me. Anyway...

    I plan on recording in a few months and I use a lot of distortion in a few of my bands songs.
    What is the best way to go about doing this? I searched the forums and couldn't find the answer I was looking for.

    This is my gear and situation:
    I use a Stingray and my amplification is an SWR intellar Overdrive pre-amp and powered by an Ampeg SVT Classic. I run all that through an Ampeg 810E.
    I WANT to retain the beefy distorted tone that I get out this set-up. Past attempts at recording have sounded like watered down, high pitched annoying fuzz. Another problem is my use of chords w/distortion. Is there any way to record distorted bass chords without having them come out like poo?

    Where is the best place to place the mic? It seems that plaing it right up on the speaker makes it sound like rotten ass, i.e. that high-pitched fuzzy sound I mentioned.

    Can anyone recommend any kick ass distored bass songs/tracks I could check out for reference?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. Gaz Goldstar

    Gaz Goldstar Guest

    Jul 1, 2003
    Bristol, UK
    I have found that using a akg d112 (normally used for kick drums) is not too bad for getting the bottom end out of the distorted signal. Close micing should be okay though using one of these. maybe put it at the edge of the speaker rather than directly on the cone.
  3. int


    Jan 21, 2002
    Phoenix, AZ
    I also use a D112, up close on one of my 10s. One thing you might try, although it contradicts what you might think - back off the distortion and flatten your EQ.

    Latest recording I'm working on, I let the guitarist get his sound and put a 57 on the grill of his amp. After mucking around for a few hours he realized it just wasn't happening. So I told him to have a little faith in me, and I set his EQ flat and lowered his gain a little. I knocked of about 2db @ 300 HZ and we we're set.

    Same thing applies to bass. I have one track that I wanted a mild distortion on, and it sounded like a**. Backed off the distortion on my SVP-Pro, and found the sound I was looking for.

    And I hate saying this, because I don't believe in fixing anything during mixdown, but you can always add a touch of distortion after tracking.

    Try it and see.
  4. jim primate

    jim primate bass guitarist.

    as far as suggestions for sound i always like the jesus lizard's bass sound. goat, and shot are standout's in my mind. mouth breather has a good sound, as does nub. and the crazy over distortion on the song now then is pretty cool.
    and a lot of bassists are in love with tim commerford's sound in ratm/audioslave.
  5. FallenBassist

    FallenBassist Guest

    Jul 11, 2003
    Kankakee, Il
    definatly the d112, if possible i've used two of 'em before, one at the edge of the speaker, the other over my horn, kinda gives best of both worlds, i agree in the knockin of the amount of gain as you can fix that in "mix down" however if at all possible run multipple trax in a take, 1 line, 2 cab mics, one room mic, you get a more live sound that way.:bassist:
  6. Phyrexian

    Phyrexian Guest

    Jun 29, 2002
    Mechelen, Belgium
    Let's resurrect this old thread.

    I'v been in the studio yesterday. My cabs got miced with this nice AKG D112... a couple of inches away from the cabinet. I liked the tone but the mic didn't seem to capture the real grit and agression (highs and mids) of my sound.

    What should I do to make the mids and highs cut through better with this microphone... getting it closer to the speakers??? Any tips? Other mics?
  7. janek65


    Apr 7, 2005
    try miking it with 2 mics. Try setups with 1 mic close and the other a 2-3 feet from the cab. Try aiming the remote mic right on the horn, or just a bit away from it. Also record to 2 different tracks so you can mix the result afterwards. This way you have way more control over the final sound.
    Most bassdrum mics have a distinctive fall-off at higher frequencies so depending on what sound you want they may not pick up everything you want. Try a 57 for the horn instead maybe?
    All too often the secret of success is experimentation here. So take your time to try things out :D.
    Good luck.
  8. Phyrexian

    Phyrexian Guest

    Jun 29, 2002
    Mechelen, Belgium
    Thanks. Does closening the mic equal more highs?

    BTW I don't use horns...
  9. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    Good tips!
    I would take it a step further and record a direct signal with no distortion as well. This gives you the bass mic, the horn mic, and a direct clean signal to add undistorted bass to fatten up the bottom.
  10. Phyrexian

    Phyrexian Guest

    Jun 29, 2002
    Mechelen, Belgium
    True. I had three signals, two different mics (AKG D112 and another one) plus clean DI. Still the miced sounds didn't have enough highs... although it sounded nice in the room.
  11. I just recorded several distorted tracks and used 2 mics. A SM-57 just off axis 6" in front of the cab and a large diaphram condenser mic about 6' in front of the cab. While I normally play live with a 2x15 and 2x12 I ran my amp thru a 1x15 and it was perfect. The 2 mics sounded so good we dumped the direct tracks.
  12. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    - Record you bass DI.
    - Take an output from the DI bass track and route it though your bass rig.
    - Mic and record the signal coming though the bass rig.
  13. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    When I record distorted bass, the above is how I always start out and I get more nuts from there as necessary. I've found that it's tough to get a good distorted bass sound recorded. The room acoustics have a lot to do with making it work, and at the very least you need phase-matched cab and room mics to do it right.

    The DI is important because it allows you (or whoever) to be in the room with the rig and "play the amp" while getting a good raw signal off of the bass. Then even if the amp mic track isn't useful, you have the DI signal which is a pristene recording of the bass guitar's output before any enhance knobs or EQ smiley faces or what have you. You still have the "life" of the performance but you also have the raw signal that you can use to reamp with.

    I'd also like to suggest using a guitar POD if you have access to one. It may not satisfy 60 year old guitar tone purists who have fleets of old tube amps with five digit price tags but they are great for recording bass, especially if you aren't into messing with microphone geekery or reamping or mixing tricks.
  14. Try out the Sansamp PSA-1 it has some bass amp odels on it with great distortion
  15. DougP

    DougP Guest

    Sep 4, 2001
    here is the way i do it...which is probably counter to every professional method of doing it, but it worked pretty well for me:

    1. i put an SM57 in front of one of my 10" speakers and aimed it off axis a little toward the compression tweeter.
    2. i placed a D112 in front of my 12" speaker and pulled it about 2 and a half feet away from the grill. had to play with it a bit to get the phasing issues sorted out.
    3. i flattened all of the EQs...bass, preamp, everything.
    4. after closing the door on the isolation booth (my bedroom closet haha) i put on headphones and played with the distortion to get it close to what i liked.
    5. i then played along to the song that i would be recording with these settings to see what needed to be changed to fit the song.
    6. i wound up recording three tracks (i added DI) and boosted the mids a bit.

    worked pretty well for me.