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Small Rig Shootout

Discussion in 'Rocket Music' started by RocketMusic, May 10, 2010.


  1. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 31, 2007
    Blacksburg, VA
    Owner, Rocket Music
    How much do I love you guys? I spent most of my weekend recording a bunch of these small rigs in my living room :D

    SMALL-RIG-SHOOTOUT.

    I wish I could say I was thrilled with the results... but I'm not. I did all this through headphones, and it's just so hard to guage what the bass tone really sounds like through headphones. I think they all came out sounding just a bit boxy. :meh:

    Oh, well, I did it, so I might as well post it, right? I just hope this actually helps someone without harming any of the product's reputations. Because honestly, they all sounded really good in the room. I'm just still learning about mic'ing cabinets in a recording situation, I can only get better at this. :rollno:

    I used my personal Roscoe bass, and it has a fair amount of bark to it due to the ash body, maple board & barden pups. I think these small rigs accentuate that part of my bass's tone (and not in a good way...).

    So, hey! Have I set your expectations low enough?!? On to the clips after a brief explanation of what you're about to hear.

    I used three heads:
    - TC Classic/RH-450
    - Genz-Benz Shuttle MAX 12.0
    - Genz-Benz Shuttle 6.0

    I also used three cabinets:
    - TC Electronic RS-112
    - Bergantino HT112ER
    - EBS Proline 210

    I laid a drum loop and a chord loop that I repeated 9 times. Each loop is 12 bars long (Suprise! It's a blues shuffle, Willie Dixon's "I'm Ready"), and each pass through the loop used a different head and cab combination for the bass line and the lead line.

    For each head/cab combination, I recorded the direct signal out of the head as well as the mic's signal off the cab. I mixed these equally in the full band clips, but I'll share the direct and mic'd bass lines separately so you can hear exactly what went to tape down low.

    That's enough jibber jabber! Onto the clips:

    "I'm Ready" (full band - drums, bass, chords, leads)
    "I'm Ready" (full band, no leads)
    "I'm Ready" (mic'd bass line)
    "I'm Ready" (direct bass line)

    And here's a temporal breakdown of what you're hearing:
    RH-450 & RS112: 00:00 - 00:24
    MAX12 & RS112: 00:25 - 00:49
    SHUT6 & RS112: 00:50 - 01:12

    RH-450 & HT112ER: 01:13 - 01:37
    MAX12 & HT112ER: 01:38 -02:00
    SHUT6 & HT112ER: 02:01 - 02:25

    RH-450 & EBS-210: 02:26 - 02:48
    MAX12 & EBS-210: 02:49 - 03:13
    SHUT6 & EBS-210: 03:14 - 03:37
     
  2. LilRay

    LilRay Commercial User

    Dec 27, 2007
    Between my Roscoe and Leather
    Owner: Cockeyed Cow Custom Leathercraft
    Man Greg! That's a lotta work! Thanks man!

    I gotta say that Bergie is "kicking" (literally). Sounds like a kick drum in the mic only clips.

    My personal favorite is the MAX12/Berg combo. They all sound great though. That EBS is very "open" and big sounding for a 210. The TC 450 sounds great with the RS cab.

    You did a great job man (IMO) 'specially for somebody like me who rarely leaves the backwoods :smug:

    I know it was hard work for ya :smug: but I appreciate it.


    :D

    God Bless, Ray
     
  3. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 31, 2007
    Blacksburg, VA
    Owner, Rocket Music
    Oh, man, it was a ton of fun. It's hard to call that work :)

    I got to practice my blues solo'ing chops in a safe, non-judgmental environment. My lead chops ain't the greatest, but they're coming along nicely. I'm almost to the point where I'd feel comfortable asking the 'Shed to let me take a pass or two during a shuffle. If I ask for it, I gotta bring it!
     
  4. a shootout that i've been looking for. now, i need to read it....

    okay...now that i've checked it out. i have questions, mostly about the engineering. what microphones did you use? how'd you switch rigs mid-song?

    it's a hard call on my computer speakers. I'm thinking that "MAX12 & HT112ER" is my favorite.
     
  5. Bipslapper

    Bipslapper Well Ahoy, Paloi Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    Cape Cod, MA
    Greg, I take it the wife and kids were gone for the weekend?

    Seriously, how great is it to have a music dealer spend this much time doing "hands on" work for his clients? Bravo!;)

    I am, what I consider, the typical gigging bassist- 1-2 bands at a time, top 40/ Classic Rock / Funk / Jazz, and combo amps/smaller configurations are preferred. I love my GK 1001 RB and SWR Silverado, but must admit I am open to suggestions.
    I love that you do this and honestly do appreciate it. Now, I wanna hear those bluesy tracks again! Very Cool my man, Very cool. :hyper:
     
  6. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 31, 2007
    Blacksburg, VA
    Owner, Rocket Music
    Ah, the engineering! That's turning out to be more important than I initially thought. I've been sitting here trying to make everything sound better, and I muted the mic'd bass track just to see what happens. Kaboom, the bass tones improved dramatically. I think that boxy tone might have been due to some phase sorta stuff going on. I'm spatially separating the the mic'd and direct signals now, and everything is sounding much better. My plan is to push out some new mixes before I leave tonight... yep, I'm still at the store, and I just got the "goodnight, lunatic" call from the wife :)

    The mic I used is an Audio-Technica AT2020 cardioid condenser mic. It's fairly middle of the road, not cheap but also not super nice. We're looking into some super-nice mics as I speak :ninja:

    The mic went straight into a USB interface, so there was no nice tube preamp sitting there to warm it all up with tubey goodness. We're also looking into that :ninja:

    As for making all those takes sound like I did them one after the other, well that's just the magic of a digital audio workstation. In reality, I'd record one pass, set down my bass, tear down the current rig, setup the new rig, do a few test takes to get a good mic location, and then I'd sit down and get serious about doing a good take. I'd set my punch points and my loop points around the 12 bars that I was on, and I'd just record take after take after take until I hit upon a keeper. Most of the bass lines were first takes, but the lead stuff usually took 4-6 passes to make me smile.

    When you do that looping stuff, you just need to be conscious of leaving space for the splices. Like the on bass line turnaround in bar 12, I just always left a hole so that the next bass line could drop in on the down beat in bar 1 and not interfere with the previous take. Sounds complicated, but it's really not.

    Fresh mixes will be available soon, it's sounding much better!
     
  7. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 31, 2007
    Blacksburg, VA
    Owner, Rocket Music
  8. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Really nice all sound great, I liked the MAX12 & Berg112 the best, had a little extra raunchiness, that I dug a lot, though I can imagine it being a turn off for some.

    I'd be happy with any of them setups, I think, but I have a feeling no matter which head, the HT112ER would be the wisest cab choice.
     
  9. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Georgia
    Wow! How cool is this?! :cool:

    Dude! You are the perfect mix of music store owner/player. You don't just know the technical spec's of the equipment, you demo them too!

    If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, then I suspect would think that the sound is worth at least a 10,000 words! :bassist:

    I have to agree with Bill. Which ever head you go with, the Berg HT112 EX is clearly the cabinet of choice.

    Good job! :)
     
  10. This is killer!!!!!

    I'm thinking GB (specifically the max) - Berg on the cab - tho this is a first hearing the EBS, quite a bit darker but nice sound as well...

    -PE
     
  11. LilRay

    LilRay Commercial User

    Dec 27, 2007
    Between my Roscoe and Leather
    Owner: Cockeyed Cow Custom Leathercraft
    COPYCATS!:rolleyes::D

    I'm detecting a pattern here:ninja: I can't put my finger on it though:help:.

    :D

    God Bless, Ray
     
  12. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Why Ray, I hadn't even noticed you had posted...... :bag:
     
  13. LilRay

    LilRay Commercial User

    Dec 27, 2007
    Between my Roscoe and Leather
    Owner: Cockeyed Cow Custom Leathercraft
    :D

    Hey, We'll chalk it up to I was lucky to have a "quick reply" and a good ear ;)

    Genz and Berg does sound good tho'.

    :D

    God Bless, Ray
     
  14. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Good taste, its a common theme among most Roscoeheads, I find. ;)

    For damn sure.
     
  15. chjohnst

    chjohnst

    Nov 24, 2008
    That shuttle has a lot of grit to it, sounds a lot like my GK just a tad bit different. The RH has a very fat tubey sound to it, can't some grit be dialed into it? I can say the Shuttle sits a little better in the mix though.

    The Berg cabinet does kind of come off a bit punchier/midi-er to my ears.

    -Chris
     
  16. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 31, 2007
    Blacksburg, VA
    Owner, Rocket Music
    The RH-450 and my bass didn't seem to like each other very much... I tried dialing in some upper mids, but I got a bad ringing going on in the background of the tone...

    I don't put this as a knock against the RH-450, I think with a different bass it would sound fine. My old Warwick Thumb NT 5 never got along with EBS amps, but it sounded great through Genz, Alembic, Trace-Elliot, etc...

    I think the strong upper mid prescense of my bass and the strong lower mid prescence of the RH450 just don't work together very well...
     
  17. chjohnst

    chjohnst

    Nov 24, 2008
    My warwicks don't sound good in my GK rig in my basement, but sound great in a small room. Where my fender sounds great in my basement and even better in a small room. So yea I could imagine there are trade offs to cabinet/amp/axe.

    I worry that the RH450 may not be gritty enough for my needs, but I suspect with the VT pedal I could could dial in a bit of grit. I am still in a toss up over the Shuttle 9 and RH450... leaning heavily on the RH450 though since it comes with a ton of options.
     
  18. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Georgia
    The tube tone function of the RH450 can dial in some grit. IMO though, a little tube tone goes a looooooooong way. It gets fairly nasty with just a few clicks.
     
  19. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 31, 2007
    Blacksburg, VA
    Owner, Rocket Music
    For what it's worth, I had the Tubetone at 0. That can add a little grind...

    And while I may call this head the RH-450, it was really the Classic 450. The RH-450 would have allowed me to change the center frequencies of the mid bands... I probably would have done that if I hadn't been recording with headphones (and if I'd brought the RH-450 home with me [​IMG]).
     
  20. chjohnst

    chjohnst

    Nov 24, 2008
    Analog sounding, like a real tube (as close as it can get) or very modern/digital sounding? I have an ODB-3 pedal I use to dial some grit in to and to be honest I have not been impressed with it as it sounds too digital (like a b/w TV).

    Very impressed so far though with what I am hearing.
     

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