Studio problems - warwick overdriving

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AnTz0r, Jul 9, 2005.

  1. Hi there.

    Today my band entered the studio for the first time. I sold my rick 4003 a few weeks ago, so the warwick was all I had - a great bass.

    But not so great as i thought.

    It basically boils down to this: the bass overdrives very ugly. The bass itself. No matter how I recorded it (mic at speakers, DI to table, the amps DI to table, bass directly to table), it kept distorting.

    If I play a bit softer than I normally would, it would stay clean. But I can't record properly like that, playing in a metal cover band.

    If I roll back volume knob on the bass, it will distort too.

    I never noticed it before, because I put some heavy bass eq on my Trace Elliot, and cut the treble. But that tone is no good for recording. I do think the problem was there before - on the amps in our rehearsal space I noticed some distortion before, but blamed it on the ****ty amps they have there.

    Of course I have switched the battery for a new one, but it did not help.

    All I can think of is lowering the pickups, but it really should not help because they are EMG's. I can not check it now because I do not have the proper screwdriver here to do it, I will try tomorrow, for our second and last day of recording. If it fails, I will have to get the warwick fixed and go back to the studio at a later timing, overdubbing the bass track.

    Does anyone else have an idea of what might cause this?

    Btw, this is what the cavity looks like:

  2. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    It's an active bass. Even my high output passives need to be padded on the board while recording. Just pad the signal and you shouldn't overload the input stage anymore. Most engineers will love you if you just run an unaffected signal right into the board. Then it's up to them to EQ it the way they want it. They don't want to fight with your EQ.

    My advice is to pad the signal. That should make everything fine.
  3. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    record with low volume in your bass and set up the volume in the console.
  4. dude, the distortion is IN THE BASS, not in the table. it is the bass it self distorting. padding the signal doesn't make any difference. if i lower the volume it will still distort, unless is soften up my attack much.
  5. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    it sounds to you already know what the problem is...and you just don't want to accept the solution.

    play lighter... lower the pick ups...use less boost...see if there is a trim pot in the electronics cavity that will cool that thing off a little...use a different bass....

    Some basses just sound like crap in the studio
  6. Sounds like the preamp itself is the issue. Time to take it to a Warwick tech....
  7. JAL


    Dec 15, 2004
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Too much warwick growl ;-) ? such thing.
  8. Ah, I just noticed that it's got EMG's but apparently the stock preamp. Could be an impedance mismatch between the two (?)...Or else the preamp has gone kaput.

    But I don't believe this is a normal phenomenom. Something is not correct if there's "distorted" sound even at low volumes.
  9. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Could it be a dying battery?
  10. No if I would know what the problem is I would not have come here.

    play lighter? my normal style is not insanely hard! lower the pickups? I will try that, but with EMG's it is not supposed to matter?

    use less boost? man i tried that of course, as i said in my original post!

    Yea, but a warwick from 93 is supposed to sound good!

    Yes, that could be it. I don't know if the pre amp is original. I will take it to a friend of mine, or to a good luthier in my area. Thanks for the suggestion (and reading all of my post :D ), you could very well be right!

    Dr. Cheese, as I said in first post, I already replaced the battery for a fresh one.
  11. From the EMG manual:

    5) EMG Active Pickups have very little magnetism
    compared to passive pickups. We recommend
    you adjust the pickups as close to the strings as
    possible. Sustain and string movement will not be
    inhibited by close adjustment.

    Well I am not that much an expert in electronic wiring, but please think with me:

    In what order does the signal go? I am correct to assume the big white cable is the signal coming from the pickups right?

    It goes to pickup blender first, then to volume knob, then to the rest.

    If it is something overloading, even when I roll back the volume, it can't be the pre-amp, because it goes to volume first!

    So either the white line is not the signal and it goes to pre-amp first, OR the problem HAS to be in the pickups or the pickup blend pot. Right?
  12. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Despit the condecending tone of you responses...I'm gonna try one more time to help you out... your control cavity.

    See that little black square?

    THAT is a trim pot.

    It controls the output level of your pre amp.

    There is a little dial in the center of it that you can turn

    When you turn it counter-clockwise....the output level of your preamp will come down and the distortion will go away.

    Intersting to note is that you not only dinged me for for not reading your post quoted my post and the quote CONTAINED YOUR FIX
  13. Definately try the trim pot, hopefully that'll take care of the problem. If not, there's something wrong electronically.
  14. Nikolai


    Apr 20, 2004
    Id replace the battery. first thing, then go trying other solutions, it shouldnt distort like that. (and a dying battery will do that to ya)
  15. Right on.

    Look, AnTzOr, if you come here for advice, then try to be courtious and stop being so upset in your respnses about the advice you get. Try the advice offered and if it works, fine, but if not then move on! If you don't like wading through the help people are trying to give you, then don't come here; go to a tech and get it worked on, and get it over with. Is this a new Warwick? Maybe you've got a warrenty issue and it could be fixed right, for free, by an expert.

    I agree it's frustrating to hear "change the battery" a couple of times, even after you originally said you did that in your FIRST entry, (dig at Nikolai, for one), but just let it go and move on. Doesn't take much effort to scroll to the next response.
  16. Yes you are right of course. I am sorry for slanting at you bikertrash. I even typed this all before gottawalk's reply, but it got removed when i clicked your thumbnail. so i decided to type it again at a later time.

    i was just upset with the battery reactions, and play lighter, and thought you just ment volume knob with trimpot. my preamp does not have a trimpot. i didnt understand what you meant. guess my emotions were running a bit over the top at the time, with all the recording stuff. so here is my apology.

    anyway, i just got back from 2nd recording day. lowering the pickups did indeed help. I don't know why, since according to EMG it should not matter.
    only explanation i can think of is that my earlier assumptions were wrong. signal goes to pre first, and then to volume knob, and it is the preamp that is overloading.

    i have some time to fiddle with it after all. after doing almost nothing the whole day, waiting for solos and vocals to be recorder, i was too tired to play basslines for 4 tracks and repairing 3 others. so i am going to record them tuesday night.

    my preamp does not have one of those knobs. there are what i believe to be 2 tiny switches saying nothing but "1" and "2"

    any ideas about that?

    by the way, although my bass is active, it does not have a very high output. i still use the passive input on the amp. and the battery has been in there for over a year. when i pull it of bass goes dead, but changing it does not make any difference. guess it is not being fed on that much.
  17. How high a quality was this studio? I'd imagine if it was distorting then they would at least have a P bass or J bass that you could use for scratch bass tracks.

    Anyway, have you just tried going passive? My advice would be get as CLEAN as a signal you can, then EQ it in mixdown. That's a good way to mix the bass tone to your liking, instead of having one tone (like a warwick, or j-bass bridge pickup) that's stuck in the track and you have to overdub the entire song to get rid of.
  18. I'm sorry too. I didn't mean to jump on you, AnTzOr . I just have gotten into this site and am really frustrated with the opinionated guys that aren't here to help; just criticize. Made reading this thread all the more frustrating for a little bit, since there was some good help out there, and this time the recieving end was being difficult. I DEFINATELY understand the "frustration" aspect of electronics; that explains a lot! On to better things.

    Thanks for continuing the thread, 'cause the reason I check this stuff out is to learn from others' experiences. I have a Warwick, too, (just recently purchased a used fretless; love it!), and this caught my eye. I also enjoy doing occasional studio work, so this thread seemed really applicable. I hope it all works out for you! It's really an ego boost to hear the final product! I'm envious that you're in there recording. Take care!
  19. hi freaky fender, they had a squier lying around. but for one song i needed a 5-string, and more importantly: i just have grown to my warwick, i really cant play those fast songs on that bass. it was poorly set up etc. etc. and i use a VERY low action, and a tight string spacing. it just isn't the same.

    i can't turn my warwick passive, when i rip the battery out it goes dead :)

    the engineer also suggested recording as clean as possible and running it through the amp later. but he simultaneously recorded the sound from cab and di, so i can have it both ways.

    well gottawalk, thanks for your reply! even more than the sound of the warwick i really like its playability. whenever i get a fender-ish bass in my hands it really feels weird now, or when i play my old cort :D

    i already heard all recorded parts with vocals and solos mixed in. we recorded 7 (long!) songs in just 2 days, with the bass problem taking up quite some time too of course. i was quite happy with the way the guitars sounded, really tight and killer!

    the studio is in the cultural facilities of my university. it is not super-professional (as in: no stack of neumanns and fancy effects lying around), but the engineer was very relaxed and capable (both very important i think, working with a good engineer helps SO much!), the sound was good. some studio features were:

    isolated studio and control room
    2 analog 8-track tape recorders
    good microphones, don't know what kind of vocal microphone. but of course all the SM58's and 57's were there.
    little "overspraak" (whats english? literally overspeak) little sound leakage from 1 source to another.
    pro-tools ;)

    don't forget to hit the subscribe to thread button, i will post when i have the final product :)
  20. screwball


    Jul 25, 2004
    Manchester UK
    I've seen this problem with a Warwick Thumb BO (MEC pre-amp). The pre-amp just seems to clip even when played with a moderate touch, very odd.