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Which bass should i bring to record? Active or passive?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by leftyguy81, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. leftyguy81


    Nov 11, 2005
    Im going to be recording my first record next week with my punk/hardcore band. I was wondering.....do people usually record with active or passive basses? i have a Musicman Sterling, and a Fender Jazz MIJ and im not sure which will sound better on a recording because i dont have any recording experience. any help would be appreciated!
  2. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    I would say bring both.

    Since you're in a punk band, i'd tend to lead more towards the passive bass however.
  3. jwl


    Jan 25, 2005
    i agree with this. you also must tell the engineer what it is you are looking for in a bass sound if this is a self produced project. the engineer is part of your signal chain. if you are working with a producer, he/she may have an idea already for a bass sound or a sonic direction the band should explore. or maybe not. be absolutely certain that your instruments are well maintained and set up to your liking. you have two good axes. either one will be fine. consistancy is the name of the game for the studio musician. good luck and have fun. peace, jeff
  4. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    Bring both.

    Plug them in.

    Whichever one sounds better, is better :)
  5. leftyguy81


    Nov 11, 2005
    thanks guys, anyone else?
  6. With out a doubt, both.

    You may use both. You may have a problem with one or the other. There is more than one reason to bring more than one bass, but being prepared in more than enough of a reason.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    You will have more tonal flexibility with the active but if the passive works well inthe mix go for it , have a good session ! :bassist:
  8. Masher88

    Masher88 Believe in absurdities and you commit atrocities

    May 7, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Ahhh...Words of wisdom! I recorded our 1st punk album with a Peavey Foundation, our 2nd with a Jazz bass and 3rd with a Sterling. All of them came out great. The mixing man has a lot to do with the final sound you hear.
  9. Denyle Guitars

    Denyle Guitars

    Nov 30, 2005
    Like everyone has suggested, bring both. Especially if you're using the studio's amp/DI, the rest of the signal chain might favor one bass. For rock tracks, I tend to prefer a passive J-bass into a B-15.

    Put fresh strings on your basses too.
  10. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Yup, I agree. Bring both.
  11. Take both basses, but base your first choice on the bass you prefer to play and which bass your bandmates prefer. Discuss your preference with the engineer/producer but keep an open mind and listen to their suggestions. If time allows try both basses but don't get too caught up in the technical side because you still need to get a solid, grooving track recorded and that is most important over tone concerns. Frustrations over things you can't control can have a negative effect on your results.
    It's your first recording experience so have fun, learn as much as you can and be satisfied with your best effort so you will be better the next time you record.
  12. spectorbass83


    Jun 6, 2005
    Bring both...Go with whatever sounds better in the recording. You may find the passive bass to give you a better tone thats more suitable than your active. Trail and error is the best way to learn.
  13. Funkzfly


    Jun 15, 2005
    You reckon? I'd probably wear mine in a bit first...
  14. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    That all depends on the sound you're going for. I can't stand new strings personally.

    If you can only bring one bring the passive, engineers generally have an easier time working with those. Take both and see which one sounds best if you can though.
  15. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Definitely new strings.
    It's better to record with plenty of high end... it can always be taken away in the mix, but it can't be added.
    Also, I'm guessing that in a punk setting, you'll want an aggressive, biting sound, and new roundwounds will help with that.
    Just make sure the strings are stretched out enough before you record, or else you'll be going flat. I always put them on the night before I record, and play the bass for a half hour or so. Then, by the next morning they're stretched out and will stay in tune.
    Good luck and have fun.
    Oh yes, and bring both basses.
    And make sure they're both properly intonated.
  16. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    It's better to record with what sound you want. I can hear the bass just fine on Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" and that was recorded on flatwounds that were probably about 8 -9 years old. If you have good engineer he'll get you in the mix. Why take the bass out of bass?
  17. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    I agree 100%, and I have an old Univox Precision copy with 10-year-old flatwounds on it for that purpose.
    I should have been more specific that for a punk project, and particularly one that I was guessing had a small budget (thus, little time allotted to finetuning the bass mix), I felt it's safer to go with new roundwounds. That way, he'll have more of a fighting chance of hearing himself in the finished product.
  18. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    In that case yeah I'd do that or I've also had success with running people DI and boosting the lows a lot so they sit below all the guitars and come through. And that was in a punk situation, I was not playing bass. The bass was an ibanez artcore with some brand of round wounds, not new though. But if you can DI is the way, and if possible get a track just for the bass (if the studio can handle, if it's a 4 track tape, then give the extra to the drums). That's the best way to get the bass into the mix.
  19. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Good suggestions.
    I wanted to add that the bass sound in "What's Going On" is a funny example to bring up here. It's one of the greatest ever, but think of all the advantages it had going for it: especially by 1971, no one at Motown was about to let Jamerson get buried in the mix; Jamerson himself had some additional control over his sound-- didn't he have access to a tube preamp or DI that he could overdrive to different degrees at will, by twisting a knob?; the other instruments weren't particularly thick-sounding and likely to mask the bass (unlike the distorted electric guitars in a punk band).
  20. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN

    I agree with Doug on the round wound set up. Don't get me wrong, I think flats on a bass sound incredible and usually cut through as good if not better sometimes than rounds. However, for a punk sound, the sound is based on rounds all the way and all the overtones they manage to produce. Most punk players use some variation of a P with rounds and a pick. They roll the treble and bass up and the mids way down. Seriously scooped sound. I would recomend, as many others have, take both basses. Try them out, listen to the engineers opinions and your band mates and go from there.

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