Why can't I get a good bass sound with all the equiptment I have?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by 60HzRumble, Mar 31, 2002.

  1. 60HzRumble


    Mar 31, 2002
    Harrisburg, PA
    I have all top of the line gear (which I will list below) but "THE SOUND" eludes me. I am recording in a digital studio using the Aardvark Q10 and Nuendo. I can get some great sounds, but they all lose it in the mix (two beefy guitars don't help, but this really isn't a problem live). I'm looking for recording tips, gear, ANYTHING that you think may be helpful..I've been told to pick up an Avalon U5 DI box and an SWR-400S, but I want some more opinions before I spend any more $$$.

    Here's my equiptment list:
    Trace Elliot AH600SM
    SWR Goliath III 4x10
    Line6 Bass Pod Pro (with digital out)
    SansAmp Bass Driver
    Joe Meek VC6Q British Channel
    PreSonus Blue Max compressor/limiter
    Johnson J-Station

    Warwick 5-str Thumb Bolt-on
    MusicMan Sterling
    Fender American P-Bass deluxe (P & J Basslines pickups)
    Cort used-to-be fretted slammer bass (Don't laugh, it sounds cool with the Fender's Lace pickups :D )

    Thanks for all your expertise in advance!

    Never Crash Now
  2. 60HzRumble


    Mar 31, 2002
    Harrisburg, PA
    oops...forgot the mics

    Joe Meek JM47
    Studio Projects C1
    the ol' Shure SM57
  3. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I know this sounds like a stupid question, but have you tried a simple passive bass, direct into the board or just miking the amp? No effects, no gadgets, etc?

    My experience is that high-tech trickery doesn't guarantee a good tone...many times it just causes problems. What usually works well for me is to DI the bass, maybe mike the amp too. Don't even begin fiddling with the tone until you've placed it into the mix. Then work with it in the context that you'll be using it.

    Edit: Ditch the compressors unless you're very inconsistent in your technique. Find a good flat tone and use that with a minimum of eq'ing.
  4. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Many times you need to use a little (emphasis on little) creative EQ to allow room for everything in the mix. It sounds like you get through live by brute force, but in a recording that will not work. Try cutting and boosting mid frequencies by around 3db. (guitar, kick, bass). When you find one's that work, knock that back by half and see if you can live with it for a while. (I read this in EQ magazine). See if you can't find a btter OVERALL mix that way, even if it's worse when solo'ed. Good Luck!
  5. LowEndRider

    LowEndRider Guest

    Mar 4, 2002
    Two main things to consider when placing the Bass in a mix -
    1. Don't get a killer sound solo and then try to fit it in ....it won't work.
    You must find a sound that compliments the overall mix and try not to wince when you hear it solo.
    2. Make sure the other instruments are carved up in terms of EQ - i.e. Leave dynamic and frequency "holes" in the mix to sit each instrument.
    A simple example of this is rolling off everthing below 200-250hz on a guitar so it won't muddy up the Kick/Bass combo.
    Leaving a 3k dip in the backing music and boosting the vocals in the same frequency will bring out the voice without excessive compression.
    Speaking of compression - don't squash the Bass too much - try to control the dynamics with your playing (loud section?...play harder! - quiet section?...stroke them strings).
    Finally, let your ears do the work and ignore the visual when tweaking FX etc.

    - Have fun.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree entirely - one of my favourite and most successful recorded sounds, was a passive Fender RB V straight into the board! We miked an amp as well, but went purely with the direct sound!
  7. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    The best bass sounds I've ever gotten have always been direct into the board. I recently recorded my Fender USA Jazz V direct and it sounded incredible. IMO all that high tech gadgetry just gets in the way of a good tone (and that includes active EQ).
  8. 60HzRumble


    Mar 31, 2002
    Harrisburg, PA
    Thanks for all your help. I've taken some of your suggestions and we've come up with a great bass sound that really cuts through. but complements the mix. We recorded one track direct to get the clarity, and one track through the bass pod to get the grit and tone I wanted. The result is absolutely phenomenal - the uncompressed direct track makes gives the dynamics and punch, while the pod side gives the BIG mic'd cabinet sound.

    Looks for some new MP3s shortly...

    Never Crash Now