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Recording your bass

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by olivier, Dec 13, 2001.

  1. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    My first attempt at recording myself was very disappointing: I wanted to check out how I was doing on a little Mozart study for beginners and it sounded more like highly distorted heavy metal guitar than sweet arco sound!

    After checking Ray Parker's cool site, I am now thinking about getting some minidisk equipment. Would you guys care to share your experience with that stuff? Which mic do you use?
  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I suspect my viewpoint may be in the minority around these parts, but here goes:

    Beware G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome).

    If your goal is to make a tape of yourself practicing so that you can hear yourself and make improvements, a $50 close-and-play cassette recorder may be the most efficient method.

    If you want to make demo CDs of your ensembles at home, get ready to invest as much time and money becoming fluent as a recordist as you have put into becoming a bassist.
  3. dhosek


    May 25, 2000
    Los Angeles, CA
    Yes, be warned about deciding to do real recordings. I started with a $100 cassette 4-track, then spent $900 on a Mackie 1604 mixer and another $500 on an Emu Hard Disk recorder, plus $250 for some mixing software, I've since spent another $300 on computer software, and am saving to buy a TiBook ($3000) and Metric Halo Mobile I/O ($1500). Of course I'll eventually be wanting an 8 bus digital mixer ($3-5000), and perhaps another MIO. Haven't even mentioned the roughly $1000 worth of mics I own. And why is there a monkey on the donate button?

  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I record my stuff on a Yahama MD4s, which is a 4 track minidisc (check out my sound clip for a sample of recording quality). I use mostly condenser mics, but the bass on the sound clip track was recorded using a plain old Shure SM58. Personally, I LOVE minidisc....it's very intuitive and user friendly, easy to edit, and very difficult to mess up. If you don't like spending a lot of time reading user manuals for electronics equipment, I'd definitely say that minidisc is the way to go, since it basically works a lot like tape, only it's digital. The other nice thing about MD is that each disc can be recorded over a million times without losing sound quality. AND, they're cheap to begin with.

    I'd be happy to send you a CD of recordings made on the Yamaha machine if you're interested.

    Good luck.
  5. What recorder did you use? What mic? Sounds like you have improper gain structure.
  6. geoff


    Nov 5, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    how have any of you been able to manage to get a clean clear sound just miking the bass, when recording live with a quartet? Drums, even when played lightly, seem to drown out the bass tones. And the horns are fairly loud too. Or do you just opt for a direct signal too from pickups? or do you play through an amp and mic that?
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    If he asks, he shall receive.

    About the "what/where to mic the bass question", I'd have to agree that micing the bass is the only way to go. In the studio, it's no big deal as long as the engineer knows what's going on. Live, the important thing to remember is the polar pattern of your mic...in a live situation (especially with a drummer) you'll want to use a tight cardiod pattern or even hypercardiod pattern mic for each instrument (assuming you're multitracking or at least running through a mixer). I find that dynamic mics are best for individual micing live, and condensers are hands down better in the studio. I have a bunch of old live recordings of trio stuff with drums where the bass was recorded using an old SM57, and it sounds great. Not great by studio standards, mind you, but great for live stuff.

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