Sadowskys in the Studio, part Deux

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by kjones, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. kjones

    kjones Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    I was in the studio (one of Maryland's best) yesterday, and had a deja vu experience. My rig was in an isolation booth to minimize bleed (band playing live to the extent possible). I was using an Aguilar 750, line taken direct, set on pre, and nice AKG in front of the Whappo, Jr., mostly in the direction of the woofer 12". My bass was the Sadowsky PJ4, Sadowsky nickel strings, about halfway towards the P pickup, tone rolled off no more than a jit, treble boost just above flat, bass boost up maybe 20%.

    We do three takes of the first song with scratch vocals. Go in the control booth to listen to the playback. Listen to the whole thing, tone is great. I ask the engineer, what kind of mix is he using mic vs. direct. He says, "Oh, that's 100% direct. I listened during the warm-up, heard how the tone was distinct but fat and full at the same time, and just stuck with that."

    If you'll recall, the same thing happened to me three weeks ago in a different studio, different engineer, different band.

    I guess these Sadowskys do sound good with nothing added on top.
  2. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA

    just go direct. your engineer will thank you for it. ;)
  3. kjones

    kjones Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    Yeah, and I'm getting tired of bringing a rig and then finding out I could have walked out with only my bass bag in my hand.
  4. kjones

    kjones Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    As soon as mixing's done!
  5. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    ok,thanks,good luck with your band.
  6. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Ferndale MI.
    Artist: Xotic Basses/AccuGroove

    Dude, that rocks!!!
    I have the same thing happen to me as well.
    Makes me all tingly and stuff :D
  7. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Nice. I think unless you are going for a dirty, rock sound (that will be achieved nicely with a loud tube Ampeg and 8x10 cab) or a super traditional Motown sound (P-Bass with flats and Ampeg B-15) there is no reason to go through the trouble of mic'ing.

    But, I also think this applies to any good bass, not only Sadowskys.

    Put any decent bass through an Avalon U5 direct box, and voil√°!
  8. Going direct can be cool. I mean, direct guitar can be horrid, especially high gain guitar. But bass tends to work.

    So if you have a good bass and a really good mic pre or high quality DI, going direct can be beautiful. My Universal Audio mic Pre happens to work well as a instrument DI so I am relying on that to do my recording. IF it works, don't mess with it
  9. Emperor Elite

    Emperor Elite

    Oct 20, 2004
    I too have had excellent feedback from producers and engineers about the tone of my single-coil teal V5. I always go direct. I usually keep the treble knob all the way down and the bass knob at 20%. Perfect tone everytime. The bass is crisp and fat at the same time. It really fills the track. I am delighted with it.

  10. They'd better sound good, for all the money they cost. And doesn't the same apply to all high-end basses? I mean, I got the same kind of compliments for the sound of my Wal, my Bossa basses and my Warwick. I always record them direct or at most through some Fishman pre-amp.

    Besides, in the end it's all subjective anyway.
  11. kjones

    kjones Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    I don't know if the same applies to other high-end basses, because I've never owned them, nor have I recorded with them. I would enjoy hearing your experiences recording with your basses, because I try to steal good ideas from other musicians, and would also like to learn what other good basses sound like. That's why I go listen to live music as much as possible, and your input about your Wal, Warwick, etc. would be appreciated.

    Of course it's all subjective; all of us are stuck hearing through our own ears. However, when I'm hired, what I'm being paid for is my talent or lack thereof putting the best possible bass playing and sound before the public. That's why I love hearing other's real world experiences in this forum (there are some fine players who frequent this board), and I share my experiences so that perhaps someone else can reinforce or challenge some of their own opinions.
  12. Well, it's very tough to come up with general rules for getting a proper bass tone for recording. It all depends on taste, skill, the kind of music you play and the tone you're after. What works for one may totally backfire for the other.

    The general approach for all my recordings is that I try to go as direct as possible, usually just cutting some highs. For a while I used a Bass Pod Pro, but I got dissatisfied with all the same-y sounds on it, so nowadays I mostly use it for its digital output and for recording dub bass. If I want to mellow down the sound somewhat or have more low-mid beef, I use a Fishman PRO EQ Platinum Bass Preamp.. and that's about it. The rest is up to my fingers and imagination, just like with everybody else :D
  13. I've got my own studio with ProTools HD Accel and a bunch of nice outboard stuff.

    I've been experimenting a bunch lately, and I cannot do better than my basses direct into an Ag DB-680 (thanks Van) and a wee bit of compression using an old LA-4a.

    To vary tone I switch basses: my main tone being my Sad PJ5 alder/rw with SS Sad flats in passive mode. For more grit I use my ash/maple Sad JJ5 with Slowwounds (tnx Mike) and for solos my MTD 535 koa/spalt/wenge with MTD SS rounds. A couple of tracks worked best with my Pedulla Pentabuzz, my fave fretless, with Slowwounds.

    I was able to track the whole project without altering any setting on bass, pre or compressor, making it really easy to come back later for a few punches. I've got the internal gain on the MTD and Pedulla set to equal the passive level of the Sads.

    In no case were we able to get a miked cab to sound as good as the direct, and it makes things a lot easier.


  14. kjones

    kjones Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    Jonathan, I appreciate your going into the details, but maybe I'm dumb or it's just late here (just got back from reharsal for JC, Superstar). I understand that your settings are essentially staying the same, which is very cool, but do I understand you're saying you're playing the Sads passive? Or are you just saying that you're not using any boost on the basses' internal preamp?
  15. Passive, with the preamp disengaged.

    Gigging, I like the preamp in. They record very nicely in passive mode.

    I've got some bass boost dialed in on the DB-680.


  16. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    [broken record on]

    FYI, for a long time, i used a live rig that presented my sadowsky as they sound thru studio monitors. i.e. Acme cabs, Stewart power amp, Avalon U5 as preamp, etc.

    sounded so good in studio, that it made me want to replicate that sound onstage. thankfully, at the time, i didnt have to deal with PITA bandmates in volume wars, so i got away with it, and the results were fantastic.

    no other bass or piece of gear for that matter has made me change my rig in such dramatic ways.

    [broken record off]
  17. kjones

    kjones Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    Jonathan, thanks very much for clearing that up. I will definitely give that a try next time, just to see what kind of tone differences I can get.