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Recording with an active bass - preamp settings?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jallenbass, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I've always recorded with passive basses and just kept the tone and volume wide open. This time it will be with a Stingray Classic 5. My question:

    What's the SOP for active tone controls? I'm thinking of putting everything neutral (to my ears) and see how that works. I'll be going direct. No amplifier.
  2. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    OK. No one?
  3. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Probably the best way to approach it is to set your preamp flat & make any adjustments only if necessary. Rookie move is to over eq for no reason.
  4. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Spector-Dingwall-Aguilar-DR-Tech 21-Darkglass
    ^ This is really the only answer.

    Set it flat and make slow adjustments to taste as necessary; you can make a world class instrument sound like total garbage pretty easily with excessive/poor EQ choices.
  5. jsbarber


    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    Why wouldn't you just put it in passive mode, and do any EQing with the $$ studio equipment rather than the 9 or 18V, $200, OBP?
  6. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    +1 if you value your engineer trust his ears. If he asks for more highs, do it.
  7. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147

    However, I have found that the EQ I use live is a good place to start. :cool:
  8. EQ should be set flat for recording. Do your equalization with higher quality outboard gear.

    A passive bass is susceptible to "tone suck," with capacitive cable.
  9. MrTaff


    Jan 20, 2014
    I do the same, if I set the EQ flat then all the effects sound different.
  10. dirtgroove


    Jan 10, 2003
    Taipei, Taiwan
    Stingrays record tremendously well flat. With just a pinch of compression the tone gets incredibly full across the spectrum leaving your engineer to cut frequencies out as desired. I'm always surprised at just how deep sounding a stingray set flat can sound, whilst still keeping crisp mids and highs.
  11. odineye


    Dec 29, 2011
    Bear DE
    This. Especially for my own material. If I'm tracking for someone else, I usually try to find out what they are looking for.
  12. I've used slight bass and treble boost recoding with my classic Stingray 4. I suggest working with the engineer to get the best tone to suit your playing......everyone's playing style is different and a Stingray is a good tool to display your own style - and remember you have the mutes - using those recorded gives fabulous Motown like thump. If you fully boost the bass and treble you'll get a great fat sound BUT as live, it will be scooped. The engineer boosted my upper mids a little when recorded with that EQ setting to counter the scoop.

    As others have said the Stingray is a great recording bass.
  13. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    A question for the techs: When i record with the onboard EQ flat and run the signal through an EQ later on, will i be able to achieve the exact same sound as with the EQ set on the bass?
  14. Set it flat. Listen to the engineer and go from there.

    As to your later question. Try to achive your sound at recording time. Also you have to really know that "that" tone works for the song. Define exact same sound, you can copy your tone later with eq at mixing stage but remember your tone soloed sound diferent in the mix.

  15. These points would seem to conflict if your own sound involves boost and cut, which it may do on an active bass. What would be the point in negating half if the sound of the bass - a bit like running a car with the air con/ climate control turned off.

    So long as the signal isn't so hot it klips constantly surely there is no problem. Flat may be a good starting point though.

    Surely, unless I'm missing something, the idea is to record with the sound you perceive to match the music - the engineer's job is to try and mix the music to the best effect - and if the band's music requires a bass prominent sound then so it should be ( for instance Chic).

    I read many people saying leave it to the engineer - but part if the musicians job is tone and timbre. Follow this to logical conclusion and we'd never have heard things like the first RATM album which so obviously had a boosted 2 band Musicman.
  16. The goal is to obtain from the start as much as possible the tone you chase at recording stage. The tone you hear in your bedroom/stage/rehearsal room can be way diferent than through studio monitors in a acoustic controlled room. That´s why the bass should be set flat and than if you want/have to boost or cut because is what the song asks for or you like it, than great.

    And by the way, I try not to use the AC in my car even if it has it :)
  17. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    The tones you hear on a record are the result of a collaborative effort between the musician, engineers and often producer. I think a lot of folks would be surprised at how often a players 'signature sound' is accomplished far differently in the studio than on stage!

    Every situation is unique, but the best results are pulled off more quickly when you at least start simply.
  18. It all depends on the quality/length of cable and whether or not some capacitance adds an effect to the tone that is desired. If a buffer is required, the OBP may not be ideal. This is why often bass is recorded in the control room. Passive bass > short cable > high end channel strip/preamp will generally get you better results versus an OBP buffer to a longer cable and then the recording chain.
  19. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    High quality onboard preamps are super quiet and clean. Plus, they buffer the output so you don't lose fidelity from cable capacitance.

    That doesn't mean onboard preamps are better... depends on the tone you're going for ("tone suck" is a good thing to some). But it's why plenty of players use their Sadowsky, bartolini, Aguilar (etc) onboards in studio situations.