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What am I hearing?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Matthew Bryson, Apr 29, 2003.

  1. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I have had no experience recording my playing before yesterday. What I'm using is an old 70's era tape deck with 1/4" stereo mic inputs - I'm running a cable from the pre out on my Peavy combo to one of the mic inputs on the deck, and I'm playing back by running a cable from the decks head phone jack to the amps low gain input - it's pretty cool. I was under the impression that my slap tone left much to be desired, but I didn't know what I needed to do about it. By recording, I found that my slap play sounds a lot better than I realized - in fact it sounds like the recordings I've heard of other people's playing - and I always wondered why my slap play doesn't sound like that...maybe it does. So why am I not hearing it when I'm playing it? I think that it's probably because I'm not playing at very high volumes and I'm actually listening to my strings rather than what's coming out of the amp and a lot of the fret and string noise just doesn't come through the pick ups. - the other possibility is that the tape deck is coloring my tone somehow so that the recording actually does sound better than the live sound. Like I said, this recording stuff is all new to me. I guess the question is - is it safe to assume that what I hear on the tape is what I really sound like?
  2. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    tape adds a natural compression to the recording. (That's why it is still popular for drums and final mixes.)
  3. yeah buy a compressor, a lot of bassists around here wont even try to slap without one
  4. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Thanks guys - that makes sense. I knew that the tape sounded better than what I hear and I couldn't understand how that could be...the guy that gave me the cassette deck said my tone would be slightly colored by the deck being analog - he must not know about compression and bass and slap play... it's a huge difference IMO - and in a good way. I need a compressor now.
  5. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    I've used a 1/4" inch Sony for years, it is a great way to record your stuff.

    I've noticed that the stuff I recorded in the 70's is still in very good shape, don't be cheap on the tape quality. My friends like the TDK black tape, I always used BASF and didn't have a problem.

    I actually used it to tape some gigs at some local venues.

    There I just hung 2 mikes from the ceiling separated by a few yards, and had the board guy check the VU meter, came out excellently.

    Try an acoustic recording of your bass using a mike and see what you think. You may find it different
    than a line recording, as when you set the VU levels
    direct, there may be some compression.

    I am thinking that setting the VU levels lower will allow more dynamic range to come thru ( with the mikes), and may give you a more accurate reproduction of your sound for critical purposes.

    I used to run tape at rehearsals and gigs, and I used it to eliminate riffs, runs and stylisic habits I was into that didn't work well with particular pieces, and to identify what was really working and reinforce that. Also, every once in a while you knock off something really good together, what I call the 'crystal moment', where everything and everyone is in the pocket, and you can hear it all working together. Getting that on tape and replaying that for the band is very positive, " Here's what you are REALLY capable of when you are paying attention and focused ...".
    Gives you a reason to get them not to come to rehearsal under the influence all the time.

    Then try recording with the compressor hooked up
    and see what you think of your sound and how it has changed.

    I also think that what you hear when you play is different from what you hear afterward. When you play, you have the amplified vibration of the instrument in your hands, and vibrations thru body parts, your torso and your inner ear. Just like speaking - your recorded speaking voice sounds different to you when played back, as you dont have the sound vibrations that affect your inner ear or cochlea.

    Also, when you are playing, all your attention is not focused mentally on just listening, your brain reserves capacity to process other info, - what note am I playing next - where I am going with this change this time - is that idiot gplayer gonna screw up the change again - who's that beautiful creature looking over here - i'm thirsty - etc.
    Thus sitting down and just listening to a playback
    eliminates a lot of the buzz or mental 'signal to noise ratio'. [ Amateur experimental psychologist at work ]

    Just a few thoughts
  6. Check out the 12 band Trace Elliot heads. They have separate compressions for highs and lows, so you can really tailor the compression to your style. And they have a more transparent sound than Peavey.