1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
     
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Recording Parallel Signals: Direct

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by low.end, Apr 27, 2017.


Tags:
  1. low.end

    low.end

    Jul 4, 2014
    Mainz, Germany
    So I've browsed many of the threads here and haven't quite found the answer I'm looking for, so I thought maybe I'd ask for some guidance. We're recording an album and I am looking to do things a little differently on the bass tracks than I have in the past.
    My live setup is my Sterling HS 5 through some pedals (B3K, Manta, Boss Flanger) and into my DG Microtubes. From there through Hartke 4x10 & 1x15. This combination delivers a very signature sound with different drive depths that I like to vary.
    When recording in the past, I would have just taken the clean (but post-preamp) DI signal from my old Hartke head to lay down every track front to back. Then I would have gone back and layered the drive parts over top, mixing and compressing the two tracks later.

    With the tracks we want to do now, I'm looking to lose the slight "softness" (lack of punchiness?) that doubling adds to my sound (like here, or even more at this transistion), so what I'd really like to do is play through each track just once (or rather until I get one good take), recording three signals parallel:
    1. My mic'd amp sound, 1m or so from one of the 12" cones. We have a room that sounds pretty great, and I hope that this will capture the character of my sound well.
    2. The DI signal from the Microtubes, with the preamp in VMT mode. The signature DG grit without the room will probably be the primary signal.
    3. The unadulterated sound of the Sterling I picked up from CL400Peavey on here. It has great character and tone, and I figure I can mix this sound into any of the drive parts if we do end up losing any low end. I'd like this sound to be as direct as possible so that if anything goes wrong I can also re-amp it if needed.
    Getting to this third signal is what I'm hung up on. Do I get a simple signal splitter and use it to branch the active bass right into the board while going into the pedal board at the same time? If so: recommendations?
    Or should I go with something like the Ampeg SCR DI, sending its signal to the board and the direct line into the pedals? (The Avalon U5 is out of my price range.)

    I'd love to hear tips from any of the more experienced folks here.
     
  2. "The unadulterated sound of the Sterling" & Ampeg SCR DI are mutally exclusive, if you don't use the direct line.
    Doesn't the DG Microtubes have all you need and offers the same or more outputs as the Ampeg?
    If youn need a high quality splitter, take a look at the Lehle devices!
     
  3. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World

    Nov 25, 2008
    Hollywood
  4. low.end

    low.end

    Jul 4, 2014
    Mainz, Germany
    Thanks for the responses.
    @DirkP You're probably right about the Ampeg not being quite neutral. The problem with using the Microtubes DI for the untouched signal is that I'd be giving up the post-preamp signal. Thanks for the Lehle tip. Will the splitter variant work OK just depending on the active signal from the bass?
    @monsterthompson I was actually looking at a different Radial box, but the ProDI should work well and is a bit less expensive.
     
    monsterthompson likes this.
  5. I own the Lehle Basswitch, but the Lehle splitters work the same way and has a very high reputation. The Basswitch is very good and versatile and could do everything you want in your situation, but is a bit pricy.
     
  6. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Are you doing the engineering yourself, or are you hiring that out? If you're doing it yourself, get a phase correction tool (software). Two bass tracks is bad enough in terms of phase, and three will be even worse.
     
  7. Does this occur no matter if the tracks are recorded with mics or direct? I would have supposed that if you record 3 tracks directly or just one is recorded with one(!!!) mic, you don't have a problem with phase. Am I wrong?
     
  8. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Multiple signals, of any type (mic or DI) coming from a single source will always result in varying degrees of phase differences. The degree of difference depends on a number of factors including frequency response and distance of the mic from the sound source.

    You can partially account for phase differences by manually time aligning all of the tracks together relative to a peak. I say partially because that only accounts for time in one spot and does nothing for frequency response. Phase requires both.
     
  9. ofajen

    ofajen Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    Since it's an active bass, it may not be loaded excessively by running parallel into both the pedalboard and whatever you connect to for recording purposes. You just need some kind of a mult to try it out and see. You can use a 1/4" parallel plug or a patch bay/box with jacks in parallel. Give it a try.

    The miked signal will have a few milliseconds of delay, but the two other signals may play together ok. Again, it's worth a try. The more likely and obvious issue will be any actual polarity reversals from any of the pedals or other devices. Don't be shocked if you have a pedal that reverses signal polarity. I suppose if you have an even number of them in the pedalboard, you won't notice.

    Otto
     
  10. low.end

    low.end

    Jul 4, 2014
    Mainz, Germany
    Thanks for all the great additional replies!
    DIY. Phase correction is affirmative in the software. We've actually been playing with that a bit on the two snare mics (top and bottom) ans are quite surprised by the sound difference.
    Good point and likely worth a try before making an investment.
    The delay on the mic signal may well be an issue, but I think the software should correct it pretty well. My underlying assumption anyway is that either the amp's DI or the mic will end up being my primary signal. Most likely the DI, and I'll just mix in the mic very lightly to add room character where needed. The corrected delay should then not be a problem, I would hope.
    I've never noticed a polarity reversal before. What effect does that have on the recorded track?
     
  11. ofajen

    ofajen Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    You wouldn't notice it if you are just listening to one signal at a time, but if pedalboard has a device that reverses polarity and you combine that with the direct signal, you will get a lot of cancellation, probably more so on the low end. The more equally you mix them and the more accurate the processed signal is to the direct one, the more complete the cancellation will be.

    Otto
     
  12. low.end

    low.end

    Jul 4, 2014
    Mainz, Germany
    Any way to test or research whether any of the pedals switch polarity?
     
  13. ofajen

    ofajen Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    There are several, but in particular if you mix two versions of a signal and the combined signal starts to get quieter, weaker and funkier sounding than either signal alone, then you may suspect that is going on. If you just run a simple test tone through the device, but also run the direct signal and sum both signals, you can easily hear the cancellation when they are mixed equally if the processed signal has been inverted.

    You can see this if you have an easy source of an asymmetrical waveform, like a ramp wave synth tone. You can record it direct and then thru the pedal and see if the ramp slopes the proper way on the processed tone when you view the recorded waveforms.

    As long as each bit is separately recorded, it would be trivial to adjust polarity on any reversed track.

    I wouldn't think the amp would create issues, so I only mentioned it since you were talking about taking the direct instrument signal and the signal that goes through the pedalboard.

    A summing or amp stage will typically invert and then it's another amp stage to re-invert or generate the non-inverting leg of a balanced output. For a serial processing guitar or bass pedal (just in and out, not operated in parallel with other devices), the usual assumption is the signal just goes through and that's the only signal you care about. So, you can save an amp stage by leaving the output inverted.

    Otto
     
  14. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    What DAW includes phase correction plugins? Top and bottom of snare will have some effect, but since they're both close mics it shouldn't be terribly drastic. The big difference is found when combining close mics with overhead and room mics where there is a lot of physical space space between mics collecting sound from the same source.
     
  15. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Banned

    Curious as to your opinion: how much "better" will tracks aligned via a phase correction plugin sound compared to those time aligned by eyeball/ ears? I've never had the opportunity to use a phase correction plug, and I've really been wondering if it's something I should drop some cash on.
     
  16. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    As with all things audio engineering... It depends. What is the phase relationship? How much of a time differential is there? How much frequency variation is there? Do you dig the sound despite the phase difference more than the corrected sound?

    As a for instance; Depending on the genre, I might actually prefer drums mixed with the phase left all over the place rather than whatever correction can be provided in post. Most times I prefer it corrected, but not always.
     
    TheEmptyCell likes this.
  17. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Banned

    What plugin do you prefer for the task? I see Waves' phase correction plug is $29 right now, but if something else is better/easier to use/ etc. I'd like to try it.
     
  18. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Little Labs is the standard, it requires a UA card last time I checked. Voxengo makes one that evidently works on time and frequency. Radix makes one that again is time only, so not really phase, but still useful. Waves as you mentioned is a low cost option. To my knowledge, Waves aligns the beginning of two waveforms, whereas Radix calculates an average offset across the entire waveforms and is my preferred of the two. Little Labs does the best job to my ears, and is one of the few reasons I've considered going UA in recent years.
     
    TheEmptyCell likes this.

Share This Page