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What do I need and how should I use my gear for home recording???

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by andbaggio, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. andbaggio


    Dec 16, 2011
    Treviso, Italy
    Hello everyone, I'm not an expert, but I would love to record myself at home and putting down ideas that come to mind while practicing.

    The gear I have available is: a PC, Cubase, a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, a compressor pedal, a distorsion pedal, a tuner pedal, a chorus pedal, a GK amp, an Ampeg cab and of course my fender jazz bass.

    I do have software like Guitar Rig and Amplitube and software for creating drum tracks like Addictive Drums and EZDrummer.

    What am I missing? Do I need something else? And how should I use my gear for a good recording? Just a note, I can't bring my ampeg cab into my house because it's heavy and big. It's a 6x10 and I live on the first floor and the cab is in the garage underground. So leave the cab out of the question.

    Please give me some advice on getting a good tone. Right now I practice plugging the bass directly into the scarlett 2i2 and using Amplitube on a track on Cubase. Nothing else. But I don't really love the tone. Please give me some advice. Thanks
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Keep practicing until you like the sound of your bass direct! This is how engineers have recorded my bass 99% of the time. Practice articulation, muting, dynamics, etc. and listen to isolated bass tracks from master players for inspiration.

    Are you listening back to your bass solo, or in the mix with the vocals and other instruments? In my experience, it is normal to dislike the sound of the bass soloed. How it sounds in the mix is what matter, ultimately.
  3. joeaba


    Aug 20, 2015
    I am in a similar situation. I'm using presonus audio one. Initially thought it would take forever to figure out, but it started getting easier after about 10 hours of experimenting. I had a great tone going into the pc, but it sounded flat after being recorded, I would adjust the eq after recording and get it sounding good but it was still not 100%. I realised after a while that I could increase the volume of the incoming signal via the soundcard of the pc, after increasing the signal, there was a big improvement in tone and clarity. Hope this info helps.
    Badwater likes this.
  4. andbaggio


    Dec 16, 2011
    Treviso, Italy
    Do you use any plugins or stuff like that or do you record it straight on a track without anything? How did you adjust EQ after recording?
  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    A good place to start: High-pass filter (HPF), low-pass filter (LPF), and compressor. You can achieve a lot of classic bass sounds just with those three.

    Art students study paintings by master painters. Writing students study books by master authors. If you ever find yourself stuck for inspiration in the studio, do some "deep listening" to your favorite classic albums. :)
  6. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    To get good digital bass tracks will require a workflow that you create which will work for the sound/tone you want. With that said, there is a lot of trial and error and learning involved. If you want a good quality sound, it's best to Start simple and just record DI bass tracks first and tweak out or adjust the settings on your bass DI, and DAW. Once you find the right settings, make a record of it, and use it for recording that specific tone.

    Keep in mind that whenever you add things into the line before the Scarlet, i.e., preamps, fx, compressors, etc..., you complicate the process with more things to adjust. That's why I prefer to use DAW plugins for the fx, compression, and EQ, as well as other bass guitar amp plugin.

    One thing that helped me record and mix bass tracks is to learn about frequency ranges and what frequency ranges the bass occupies, as well as what other instruments ranges are. This will give you knowledge to visually look at a DAW and EQ and see where you need to cut or boost.

    If you want great sound, you'll also have to train your ears to determine what sounds good on a good set of studio monitor headphones. I suggest headphones vs studio monitors unless you have a good size room that is acoustically treated. Studio monitoring headphones can be used to EQ and mix. Studio monitors in a poorly treated room will not give you an accurate sound of the bass. Thus, once you master and render a CD or digital file of your recording it will sound different when played on a HiFi system, CD player, or even MP3 player.

    Keep in mind the sound you hear on a recording through a set of studio monitors (or headphones) is a flat sound but covers a wide dynamic range. It's not like the Car CD or multimedia speakers where everything is enhanced.

    Also knowing how to mix bass is one of the challenging instruments, as it tends to overlap with the kick and toms, keyboards, guitar, and vocals. Thus, learning how to use high pass filters in the DAW's EQ will give you the best adjustments for bass tone, as well as fitting in the bass with the rest of the instruments. There are a lot of free tutorials on YouTube on how to EQ bass, and they mostly all use high pass filters.

    Another thing you can do to add to your sound is get a MIDI keyboard controller and create drum tracks for your music. I learned a great deal about playing drums without ever using a real drum set, because I needed to learn the various styles of drum playing to create drum tracks in the DAW. Blues, Reggae, country, rock, funk, etc... all have specific characteristics to drums, much like how the bass grooves different between these styles.

    Anyway, that's my take on how you can get started to recording great bass tracks. Not easy, but once you get your ears tuned to what you're monitoring and mixing you'll be able to save your settings as presets for future use. And the knowledge you gain will make you a better studio bass player. And, once you get the hang of EQ and how to mix, you can create your own music with various instruments.
  7. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    If the model of GK head you have has a recording output it might provide a different tone/character than running the bass into the scarlett's instrument input. It might work well for some songs, depending on what you're going for.

    I would recommend a set of decent small powered studio monitors. And if you're doing a lot of listening / mixing I'd suggest some acoustical treatment for your room (consult with a pro on this to make sure you get the right stuff for your space). Hard to make something sound right if you can't hear it right.
  8. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    S. Texas Hill Country
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    It might be a good idea to try investing in a good set of headphones for sure. I like these Shures and these Sennheisers, but really-practice makes perfect. If you listen to a bunch of music that you like the sound of the bass in with your phones, you'll at least have some sort of reference point. And that's the whole purpose of studio monitoring-reference. Also, graduate to a nice set of monitor speakers when you can. Wash. Rinse. Repeat...often. And I's suggestion (above) about monitors and acoustic treatment is a good idea too.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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