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Recording Your Bass? Read This!!

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by mchildree, Mar 30, 2002.

  1. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000

    It's an article off of ProRec.com about getting best results recording bass...written from the engineer's standpoint. May explain lots of things you might have encountered in the studio and didn't understand.

    ...like why that engineer/producer isn't impressed with your Fodera and wants you to drag out that P-bass...

    I'm posting this link in a couple of places...interesting reading!
  2. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Excellent-I like the bit about miking the strings, I will try that.
  3. Good article. I just (fairly) recently started experimenting with home recording, and one thing that has always bugged me is that when I solo my bass track, it sounds like a big mess. After reading the article, I feel so much better. I quote the writer here -
  4. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Great article, thanks for the research.

    I used the Manley for recording my bass direct on "Big Droppins". Used the Fodera in passive and the sound was killer

  5. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I like this guy!!!

    I ran a direct line and mic'ed last trip through. I even went right into the board on one song. To some extent, I wasn't happy with the tone I got one some of the tracks when the production guy added filters and moved effects around on my signal. However, I was happier with the sound I got from the DI tracks. Maybe it was the mic's or mic placement. Next time, I'll try running passive too.

    Good article!!!
  6. great article.

    the idea of miking the strings is interesting- but you might end up with a lot of position change "screeching" on the strings which could be intrusive in quiet bits of a song.

    re. the ideas for panning of the bass track, usually it's best for it to be in the middle- I find it uncomfortable to listen on headphones to a track with the bass panned to the left or right all the way through.
    I know some Beatles tracks have the bass panned off-centre.
    I've heard autopanning used on bass a bit eg. the end of Led Zeppelin's "Ramble on", and also on "So run down" by the Psychedelic Furs, where the distorted amp bass signal is panned around, while the direct signal stays in the centre.
  7. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    excellent article. Very informative. I've never had good luck recording my sound. Whats that VoxBox he mentioned?
  8. kcdbass


    Feb 27, 2002
    a great read.

    it's hard to get a hold of, but on will lee's solo album entiled, "OH!" he recorded the intro of one tune just miking the strings with the bass unplugged. i don't remember which track, but it's mentioned in the liner notes.

    as a sadowsky owner myself, i can verify how much engineers love 'em ... the guy i was was working with told me to leave all my other basses home (after the first session -- where i brought in two other basses to use, just in case the sadowsky didn't work).

    i also used an avalon vt737 preamp/compressor to record the tracks ... and that box is no slouch either.
  9. Good bass players' tracks always sound noisy when soloed. Chuck Rainey's tracks sound like someone's working on a Buick in the background. But plug it into the mix, and the magic is there.


    good reading, thanks

  10. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Well, that depends on WHICH stereo system you listen on, doesn't it? Since I listen to practically all music through my studio monitors, even the slightest pan can be clearly audible. Not to mention if you put it through headphones! Panning of the bass really drives me nuts, I'm so used to having it dead centre.

    I wouldn't exactly call it "genious". ;)
  11. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    They did it because 2 track (stereo) recording and playback had just been invented at the time. It was the "new toy" of the moment, and people loved it at the time.
  12. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm... Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    Very good article!

    I´m going to try that three-way recording next time :)
    (mic the amp, DI, mic the strings).
  13. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    Those interested in miking the strings might want to read last month's Bass Player interview with Geddy Lee on Rush's latest album. Geddy talks about doing just that on one of the tracks (I can't remember which).
  14. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    FYI - I may have overlooked it in the article, but the thing to watch out for with the 3-way setup is phasing wherein some of your signals will end up cancelling each other out. If I remember correctly, this is generally curable by playing around with slightly different delay times.
  15. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    I'd like to experience bass recording that way :

    D.I. + miking 1x15" cab + miking 2x10" cab
    (then finding the right blend while mixing)

    For the 2x10" cab, which type of microphone would be recommended ? Rather low-end such as AKG D112, or rather "guitar amp" such as Sennheiser e825 ?

    Thanks in advance for your opinions,

    All the best,
  16. pd_5string

    pd_5string Admin: Accnt Disabled

    Jan 23, 2002
    Yeah, I can imagine an engineer telling that to Victor Wooten

    The reason they say that is they are lazy and know how to get a good sound with a J or a P, b/c that is as far as their personal education has taken them, and don't want to take time with the bass player to get a good sound off THEIR instrument. Meanwhile they will try 15 mics for the vocalist, 5 different condensers for the overheads, and 5 mics for the guitar cabinets.
  17. pd_5string

    pd_5string Admin: Accnt Disabled

    Jan 23, 2002
    Too complicated. Just record direct, (DI of course)and tweak from there. Unless you have your own bass room, you are going to be recording live with the drummer, and they (you) don't want bleed into the drum mics.
  18. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I wasn't advocating that position, just passing on a link. But...blanket statements like yours just don't hold water. There are lots of pro players, producers and engineers that prefer the sound of a bolt-on, passive bass...myself included. The convenience or familiarity factor doesn't always have anything to do with it. I've had many boutique, active, neck-thru basses and I still prefer a simple passive bolt-on 4-string. For certain types of music, a hi-fi tone just isn't a good fit.

    And I'd be REAL surprised if Vic hasn't heard "do you have a Fender?", many times before he became a "name"... I bet he even owns a couple *gasp!*
  19. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Awesome!! I must be a good bass player because my bass tracks often sound AWFUL until they get in the mix (where they sound a little less awful). :)

    brad cook
  20. FiedelP


    May 24, 2002
    Hamburg, Germany
    In case, people are interested. There's a good example of Chuck Rainry on the "Standing in the Shadows of Motown"-CD, where you can isolate his bass. It's Bernadette he's playing. He likes a very low action. In a way it's really incredible how he sounds with the backround and how he sounds isolated.

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